Peoples since the beginning of time have been revising their history. When a person in favor with the king lost his status or went rogue, his name was never spoken again. If his likeness or name was carved into the walls, the walls were destroyed or erased. Officially, he never existed. A number of books have been written that include this topic of revisionism or denialism, with 1984 by George Orwell being among the most famous. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury is another great book that is ironically about the banning of books. It was itself a banned book for many years and may still be in certain places of the world. Sadly, we as Witnesses find ourselves in this position, and there are many books we are banned from looking at or reading by our leadership. If we are seen or caught possessing them, a judicial inquiry will begin, and a possible heresy trial will ensue.
Is this an over-dramatization of what might happen? A few of the friends I’m able to speak openly to about this have said as much. Serving as an elder for the years I did I can unequivocally tell you that these kinds of trials can and do happen regularly. “Loyalty questions” will be asked. (Research McCarthyism for more on this) And when a person is cast out and DFed or DAed they are marginalized. One of the main goals is to silence and expunge that person from history. Is everything that they ever did or said now invalidated? Do you believe that? Are they now an evil apostate lying in their own filth returning to their vomit? This is unfortunately the mindset of some that attend at the Kingdom Hall. Not all, but many feel this way. It is because of the conditioning that we have all received that these ideas and behaviors are sometimes ingrained into us. I tried to get someone to read a book that would really help explain my point once. Here’s how the conversation went. The first question they asked was:
“Are they DFed?”
My answer: “Not when they wrote it.”
Response: “Are they DFed now?”
“Then I don’t want to read it- ever.”
…Then there was some silence…Then I was told:
“All you do is fill your mind on these negative, slanderous things from those that will agree with you. Why not get help from the brothers that are there to help you?”
My answer: “And when they ask me loyalty questions and I give even one wrong answer, they will attempt to spiritually execute me by disfellowshipping me. I don’t want that. I love Jehovah, I love Jesus, the Scriptures, and the friends at Hall too. I am not doing anything wrong. I have never been reproved, and have not engaged in any wrongdoing. There is no profit to be gained by meeting with or seeking out this kind of help. They wouldn’t even be able to address my concerns because they are completely ignorant of the points I would wish to discuss.”
And on and on it goes. Possibly hundreds of us on this site, and certainly tens of thousands of other Witnesses all over the world have gone through this scenario with a friend or loved one, and it is sad. But regardless, we need to keep an open mind. We need to be willing to accept counsel like Hebrews 12:5,6 which says:
But YOU have entirely forgotten the exhortation which addresses YOU as sons: “My son, do not belittle [the] discipline from Jehovah, neither give out when you are corrected by him; 6 for whom Jehovah loves he disciplines; in fact, he scourges every one whom he receives as a son.”
You can’t believe everything that you hear or read. We don’t want to go off half cocked. We need to be corrected and we welcome that. But at the same time, we cannot stop searching the scriptures, studying the truth about the truth, and pursing our Christian Freedom. (John 8:32) We can’t and we won’t. When I first started awakening I did an intense study of the Proclaimers book, and the history of the Watchtower Organization. Are there examples of Revisionist history there? Dozens and dozens of them- perhaps more. And it still continues to this day. The WT is constantly re-writing itself, even stooping to the point that it will change something written in an original magazine, and the bound volumes and CD-ROM copies will say something different. Here’s one example of this at work:
There are more of these examples, but the point is this: Revising history is not going to hide the truth. Trying to erase a person from memory or destroy their credibility is not right. Who would do these things and still claim to be God’s mouthpiece? Why would we think that they are God’s spokesmen when they do so?