IF THEY ARE READY TO RECEIVE IT
Most if not all of us have considered talking to a close friend and broaching the subject of “the truth about the truth” with them. How would we go about it? Is it worth the risk? How much should we share? How little? It is a dangerous course, but may be a necessary one. Ezekiel told us to sound a warning. Does that apply in this case? Only you and your Bible-trained conscience can answer that. Consider this article’s words:
Jesus expressed his willingness to accept the responsibility to do good to others with the words: “I want to.” (Luke 5:12, 13) …Accepting our responsibility to “work what is good toward all” requires a determined effort and perhaps personal sacrifice on our part. (Gal. 6:10) But when we see the good that is accomplished, we can agree with Paul, who said: “With such sacrifices God is well pleased.”—Heb. 13:16. (Our Kingdom Ministry, 9/1991 p. 1 par. 7)
Brother Greybeard wrote about being careful before speaking truth to someone. He helped us to see that we need to ascertain whether a friend or family member would be willing to listen to the truth about the truth before we blurt out something that we will regret later. “How to Test the Waters with a JW Friend” is an excellent post to read if you have not done so already. My goal now is to go beyond that to the next step. What if you feel your friend is ready to hear more? What if your love for them and your need to try and help them is overwhelming to the point that you are like Jeremiah? He said:
And in my heart it proved to be like a burning fire shut up in my bones; and I got tired of holding in, and I was unable to endure it. (Jeremiah 20:9)
Yes there is a risk, because you are exposing yourself to a “heresy trial”. It has happened to some among us. But just as many Christians over the centuries have been willing to risk imprisonment, persecution and even death to share their faith with others, if we feel compelled to take this risk then we should pray about it, and then do it. Here follows is one way that may work to reach your friend. The below “what if” exchange is written in a conversational style, and could be used as a starting point. It can be downloaded as a PDF file here, and printed out for your reference as you speak to them. As always, be careful, and remember Jesus’ words:
“Look! I am sending YOU forth as sheep amidst wolves; therefore prove yourselves cautious as serpents and yet innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16)
CONVERSATION WITH FRIEND OR FAMILY MEMBER
• HAVE YOU EVER HAD DOUBTS? I MEAN REAL DOUBTS ABOUT OUR BELIEFS ON A CERTAIN TOPIC? (WAIT FOR RESPONSE. IF POSITIVE, CONTINUE. IF NOT, SIMPLY MENTION THAT YOU HAVE HAD DOUBTS ABOUT SOME THINGS BUT ARE DETERMINED TO WAIT ON JEHOVAH, AND CHANGE TOPIC)
DISCLAIMER AND REASSURANCE OF CONFIDENTIALITY
• A WHILE BACK I STARTED AN INTENSE STUDY ON THEOCRATIC HISTORY. LOOKING UP ARTICLES FROM THE 1920s, THE 1910s AND EARLIER. RUSSELL’S WRITINGS, RUTHERFORD’S BOOKS, STUDYING AND CHECKING THE MANY REFERENCES FROM THE PROCLAIMERS BOOK, AND WHAT I FOUND…WAS STARTLING. THINGS I DIDN’T EVEN WANT TO KNOW- NEVER DREAMED POSSIBLE. HUNDRED HOURS ON THIS HAS BEEN SPENT AND I’VE LOOKED UP SO MANY ARTICLES AND SCRIPTURES. THE PROCLAIMERS BOOK WAS INSTRUMENTAL- ACTUALLY GOING AND LOOKING UP MANY OF THE ARTICLES AND EVENTS MENTIONED IN THE BOOK… AND WHAT I FOUND WAS SHOCKING. IT MADE ME UNSURE OF WHAT TO DO, WHAT TO THINK. SO WHEN YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO, WHAT’S THE BEST THING TO DO? NOTHING, RIGHT? JUST TAKE IN MORE KNOWLEDGE, WAIT ON JEHOVAH, AND PRAY AND STUDY MORE. AND THAT’S WHAT I’VE BEEN DOING SINCE THEN. JUST TRYING TO FIGURE IT ALL OUT, AND NOT GO OFF HALF-COCKED.
• I FEEL VERY CLOSE TO YOU, LIKE I CAN CONFIDE IN YOU ABOUT ANYTHING- I WANT TO TELL YOU MORE BUT I MUST ASK THAT YOU KEEP IT TO YOURSELF- BY THAT I ASK YOU TO PROMISE ME THAT YOU WON’T SPEAK OF THIS TO ANYONE- NOT YOUR WIFE, OR ANOTHER FRIEND, CERTAINLY NOT ONE OF THE ELDERS BECAUSE I DON’T WANT YOU TO GET IN TROUBLE AND I DON’T WANT TO GET IN TROUBLE EITHER. IF YOU ARE UNCOMFORTABLE DOING THAT IT’S OK- I’M NOT GOING TO BE HURT OR OFFENDED. WE CAN TALK ABOUT SOMETHING ELSE AND IT’S FORGOTTEN, I WON’T BRING IT UP AGAIN… I THINK YOU KNOW THAT I HAVE WANTED TO TELL YOU SOMETHING FOR A WHILE BUT HELD MY TONGUE. MY GOAL IS TO BUILD UP, TO ENCOURAGE PEOPLE- MY FRIENDS, MY FAMILY. THAT’S MY NATURE. BUT IF YOU WANT ME TO CONTINUE I NEED SOME ASSURANCE THAT YOU WILL KEEP THIS IN CONFIDENCE- THAT YOU WILL LOOK ME IN THE EYE AND SWEAR TO ME THAT YOU WILL NOT TELL ANYONE WHAT I’VE LEARNED… CAN YOU DO THAT? THIS INFORMATION, IF TALKED ABOUT OPENLY, COULD GET ME DFed. IT COULD GET YOU DFed AND THAT’S THE LAST THING I WANT… (WAIT FOR RESPONSE– IF THEY SWEAR, CONTINUE. IF NOT STOP. YOU HAVE NOT DIVULGED ANYTHING YET) …DO YOU KNOW WHAT MORPHEUS SAID WHEN HE OFFERED TO TELL NEO ABOUT THE MATRIX? ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH THE MOVIE? (WAIT FOR ANSWER) I KNOW IT’S JUST A MOVIE BUT THE ANALOGY HOLDS TRUE- TAKE THE BLUE PILL, AND YOU GO HOME AND SLEEP SOUNDLY IN YOUR BED BECAUSE IGNORANCE IS BLISS. TAKE THE RED PILL AND SEE HOW FAR THE RABBIT HOLE GOES… IT WAS LIKE THAT FOR ME.
THE HISTORY OF THE ORGANIZATION – A RECAP
• SO ANYWAY I LEARNED THE HISTORY OF THE ORGANIZATION IN GREAT DETAIL AND I NEED TO GIVE YOU A RECAP OF THIS FIRST SO BEAR WITH ME, BUT KNOWING YOU AS WELL AS I DO
I THINK YOU’LL FIND IT INTERESTING: FIRST OFF, IN RUSSELL’S TIME HE WAS CONSIDERED THE FAITHFUL SLAVE. THIS ISN’T A SECRET AT ALL, IT’S IN THE PROCLAIMERS BOOK. RUSSELL DIDN’T DENY IT, AND HE WAS CONSIDERED “THE SLAVE” FOR NEARLY 40 YEARS, THEN HE DIED IN 1916. AFTER THAT, RUTHERFORD BECAME THE FAITHFUL SLAVE ACCORDING TO THE WT ARTICLES AND BOOKS OF THE TIME. HE EXERCISED TOTAL CONTROL OF THE ORGANIZATION, JUST AS RUSSELL HAD…BUT NOT AT FIRST. A.H. MCMILLIAN WAS THE V.P., THERE WAS A BOARD OF DIRECTORS THAT HAD TO RATIFY WHAT THE PRESIDENT DID, ETC., BUT THAT ONLY LASTED FOR A VERY SHORT TIME. IN RUSSELL’S WILL HE ASKED THAT IT BE SETUP THAT WAY. RUTHERFORD WAS ABLE GET RID OF THESE ONES QUICKLY AND HE OUSTED ALL THE DIRECTORS LOYAL TO RUSSELL. HE WAS A SHREWD MAN, A SHREWD LAWYER, AND IT WAS EASY FOR HIM. AGAIN, THIS IS IN THE OLD ARTICLES AND BOOKS FROM THE 1920S AND 1930S, IT’S PRETTY MUCH ALL THERE. ALSO THERE ARE COURT RECORDS ATTESTING TO THESE FACTS- RUTHERFORD WAS SUED FOR LIBEL AND SLANDER DURING THIS TIME AND I’VE READ PORTIONS OF THOSE DOCUMENTS THERE’S LITERALLY HUNDREDS OF PAGES AND ALSO LETTERS FROM A COUPLE OF THE BROTHERS THAT WERE HURT BY WHAT HAPPENED AND FELT THAT THEY HAD TO LEAVE BETHEL BECAUSE OF IT. SO HE CONTROLLED THE ORGANIZATION FOR ABOUT 25 YEARS, WAS CONSIDERED THE FAITHFUL SLAVE, AND THEN HE DIED.
BTW I WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT THIS ISN’T ABOUT FINDING FLAWS IN IMPERFECT MEN AND USING THAT AS SOME KIND OF EXCUSE. THIS OVERVIEW ISN’T ABOUT THAT AT ALL. ARE YOU OK? ARE YOU STILL WITH ME OR DO YOU WANT ME TO STOP? (WAIT FOR RESPONSE. NOTHING ACTUALLY “APOSTATE” HAS YET BEEN SAID, ONLY THAT YOU HAVE DOUBTS)
• NOW NORR AND FRANZ HAD BEEN HIS CLOSEST ALLIES AND THEY BEGAN A KIND OF JOINT MANAGEMENT OF THE WTS AT THAT TIME. THIS ISN’T A SECRET EITHER; IT’S IN THE OLD PUBLICATIONS AND OTHER WRITINGS. SO NORR WAS NOW CONSIDERED THE “FAITHFUL SLAVE”. REMEMBER, THE SCRIPTURE IN MATT 24:45-47 IS IN THE SINGULAR, AND BROTHERS AT HQ HAD ALWAYS LOOKED AT IT THAT WAY, AS ONE PRESIDENT HANDLING GOD’S INTERESTS ON EARTH. AND IT’S OF COURSE ALSO A PARABLE, THE PARALLEL ACCOUNT IN LUKE SHOWS THAT… BUT ANYWAY, NORR RAN THINGS, AND FRANZ DID MOST OF THE WRITING AND OVERSAW ALL THE DOCTRINAL STUFF. NORR WASN’T AS INTERESTED IN THE DEEP SCRIPTURAL THINGS REALLY- HE WAS AN ORGANIZER. THIS ALSO IS MENTIONED IN VARIOUS WT ARTICLES AND PUBLICATIONS. BOOK PRODUCTION WENT THROUGH THE ROOF WHEN NORR TOOK OVER, HE INSTITUTED QUOTAS AND ALL NIGHT PRESS RUNS, ETC. THAT WAS HIS FORTE AND HE WAS GOOD AT IT.
• SO STILL AT THIS POINT IN TIME THERE WAS NO “GOVERNING BODY” LIKE IT EXISTS TODAY, WITH SEVEN BROTHERS ON IT, JOINTLY DECIDING WHAT GETS PUBLISHED AND WHAT THE POLICIES ARE AND SO ON. SO IT’S THE EARLY 1970s AND A NUMBER OF RESPONSIBLE BROTHERS ON THE CORPORATION, AND IN THE WRITING DEPT, ORGANIZED THEMSELVES AND EXPLAINED THAT THEY FELT THAT THE SOCIETY SHOULD NOT BE RUN BY JUST ONE PERSON, THE PRESIDENT. THE PRESIDENT HAD ALWAYS BEEN DE FACTO, “THE SLAVE”, EVER SINCE RUSSELL BASICALLY WAS, AS MENTIONED. DO YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS? (WAIT FOR RESPONSE)
• SO I’M FINALLY GETTING TO THE POINT A BIT MORE BUT LET ME CLARIFY A COUPLE THINGS: SINCE 1971 THERE WAS AN ENLARGING OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE SOCIETY, AND BY 1975 THERE WERE 17 MEMBERS. (FROM PROCLAIMERS, p. 108) BUT THE DIRECTORS HAD NO ACTUAL POWER OR CONTROLLING VOTES AS TO WHAT THE SOCIETY WOULD DO; THAT HAD BEEN CHANGED ALL THE WAY BACK WHEN RUTHERFORD TOOK OVER. SO THESE ONES FELT THAT THINGS WERE NOT BEING RUN THEOCRATICALLY, AND WANTED TO RESTRUCTURE THE ORGANIZATION. SO IT CAME TO A BIT OF A HEAD WHEN FRED FRANZ GAVE A TALK IN SEPTEMBER OF 1975 AT THE GILEAD GRADUATION. THIS WAS IN FRONT OF ALL THE HEADQUARTERS STAFF AND BETHELITES AND THE MISSIONARIES- ABOUT 2,000 BROTHERS. IN HIS TALK HE SHOWED FROM THE BOOK OF ACTS THAT JEHOVAH GOD AND CHRIST JESUS NEVER HAD A GOVERNING BODY DURING THE DAYS OF THE APOSTLES, AND THAT NO SUCH BODY SINCE THAT TIME HAS EVER EXISTED. WHERE WAS THE GOVERNING BODY IN RUSSELL’S TIME HE ASKED? HE FURTHER BROUGHT OUT THAT GOD HAS ALWAYS DEALT THROUGH ONE MAN, AND THAT MAN HAS ALWAYS BEEN THE PRESIDENT OF THE WTS. …NOW MY JAW HIT THE FLOOR WHEN I READ ABOUT THIS. I WOULDN’T HAVE BELIEVED IT IF I HADN’T SEEN THE TRANSCRIPT AND ACTUALLY LISTENED TO THE RECORDING OF BROTHER FRANZ– I’VE LISTENED TO IT TWICE, AND FRED FRANZ HAS A VERY DISTINCTIVE VOICE THERE’S NO DOUBT IT’S HIM… AND HE WAS RIGHT- THE WORD “GOVERNING BODY” DOESN’T EVEN APPEAR IN THE SCRIPTURES. NOR DOES THE WORD “ORGANIZATION”. YOU KNOW WHAT NORR SAID, SHORTLY AFTER THE GILEAD GRADUATION? I MEAN, A PUBLIC LIKE THAT TALK, STATING THAT THERE WAS NO G.B. DURING THE 1ST CENTURY CAUSED QUIT A STIR, BUT HE WAS TRYING TO DEFEND NORR AND HIS POSITION AS V.P. AND AS THE NEXT PRESIDENT. IF IT HAD BEEN ANYBODY ELSE FRED FRANZ WOULD HAVE BEEN DISFELLOWSHIPPED FOR APOSTASY. SO NORR SAID THIS LATER:
“THERE ARE SOME THINGS I KNOW—I KNOW THAT JEHOVAH IS GOD, THAT CHRIST JESUS IS HIS SON, THAT HE GAVE HIS LIFE AS A RANSOM FOR US, THAT THERE IS A RESURRECTION. OTHER THINGS I’M NOT SO CERTAIN ABOUT. 1914— I DON’T KNOW. WE HAVE TALKED ABOUT 1914 FOR A LONGTIME. WE MAY BE RIGHT AND I HOPE WE ARE.” (SEE CRISIS OF CONSCIENCE, PAGE 260)
LYMAN SWINGLE SAID THIS: “AS FAR AS 1914 IS CONCERNED, JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES GOT THE WHOLE THING—LOCK, STOCK AND BARREL—FROM THE SECOND ADVENTISTS.” (SEE CRISIS OF CONSCIENCE, PAGE 259)
• SO SHORTLY AFTER ALL THIS FRANZ AND NORR LOST THEIR BATTLE TO STOP THE FORMING OF AN ACTUAL “GOVERNING BODY” AND THEN BEGINNING IN JANUARY OF 1976 THESE DIRECTORS AL BECAME GOVERNING BODY MEMBERS. (FROM PROCLAIMERS, p. 109) SO WHAT I DISCOVERED IS THAT THERE IS AN ENORMOUS AMOUNT OF THINGS THAT ARE LEFT OUT OF THE PROCLAIMERS BOOK, AND THERE ARE MANY THINGS IN THE OLDER PUBLICATIONS THAT ARE SURPRISING, TO SAY THE LEAST. IF THESE DETAILS WERE TO BECOME COMMON KNOWLEDGE IT WOULD BE DISASTROUS TO THE FAITH OF MANY.
• SO IT ALL COMES UP TO THE PRESENT. “THE SLAVE” IS BEING EMPHASIZED LIKE CRAZY, WITH RECENT STUDY ARTICLES SAYING THINGS LIKE, “IF YOU DON’T LISTEN TO THE SLAVE, YOU ARE NOT LISTENING TO JEHOVAH”, AND IT HAS BECOME A FORM OF IDOLATRY- A MODERN-DAY GOLDEN CALF FOR SOME WITNESSES, AND IT IS REALLY BOTHERING ME. WELL THAT’S IT FOR NOW…MY INTENT WAS NOT TO OVERWHELM YOU WITH INFORMATION AND I HOPE I HAVEN’T DONE THAT. DO YOU HAVE ANY COMMENTS OR QUESTIONS? (WAIT FOR RESPONSE)