Many of us are in a similar situation in that our spouses are blind to the “truth about the truth”. Very often they refuse to even investigate and consider the possibility that the Watchtower org. is not God’s chosen channel. How can we break through to them? How can we get them to do an impartial investigation of the facts?
First, we could consider a few bible texts:
1 Thess. 5:21 – “Make sure of all things; hold fast to what is fine.”
1 John 4:1 – “Beloved ones, do not believe every inspired expression, but test the inspired expressions to see whether they originate with God, because many false prophets have gone forth into the world.”
Acts 17:11 – “Now the latter were more noble-minded than those in Thes·sa·lo·ni´ca, for they received the word with the greatest eagerness of mind, carefully examining the Scriptures daily as to whether these things were so.”
Many times a few quotes from the publications that reflect sober thinking and wise judgement will help a loved one decide to examine more closely the organization and it’s teachings. Here are a few:
***w69 3/15 p. 166 Why It Is Wise to Examine Your Religion***
Since we do not want our worship to be in vain, it is important for each one of us to examine his religion.
We need to examine, not only what we personally believe, but also what is taught by any religious organization with which we may be associated. Are its teachings in full harmony with God’s Word, or are they based on the traditions of men? If we are lovers of the truth, there is nothing to fear from such an examination. It should be the sincere desire of every one of us to learn what God’s will is for us, and then to do it.—John 8:32.
***g78 8/22 pp. 3-4 Do Others Do Your Thinking? ***
Do Others Do Your Thinking?
EDUCATION teaches you how to think. Propagandists tell you what to think. True educators present all sides of an issue and encourage discussion. Propagandists hammer hard on their view and discourage discussion. Many times their true motives are hidden. They sift the facts, tell the favorable ones and conceal the others. They distort and twist facts, specialize in lies and half-truths. Your emotions, not your logical thinking abilities, are their target. Many fall easy prey because it takes no effort to feel, whereas thinking is hard labor. And the propagandist sees to it that his message is made to seem wise, the right and moral one, and gives you a sense of importance and belonging if you follow it. You are one of the smart ones, you are not alone, you are comfortable and secure—so they say.
Propagandists have little respect for people’s thinking abilities. Hitler wrote: “The intelligence of the masses is small. Their forgetfulness is great. They must be told the same thing a thousand times.” Lenin was more discriminating. He used historical and scientific arguments to persuade the educated minority, but slogans and half-truths to arouse the masses, whom he considered unable to grasp complicated ideas. The pen may be mightier than the sword, but oftentimes it is used to prepare the way before the sword.
Tricks of Propagandists Symbols
Tyranny of authority, ridicule, name-calling, smears, slurs, personal digs—all such tactics are marshaled to assail your mind and take it by storm. Sound evidence, reasoning, logic? The propagandist’s deadliest foes! He therefore attempts to rout reason and stimulate passion. As emotion rises, judgment declines; and, under the lash of stinging words and reckless rhetoric, the mind is herded along. Some propaganda is of this inflammatory kind, but much of it today is more subtle. Many people today are more sophisticated and see through the rambunctious oratory; so a “soft sell” is used instead.
Television commercials specialize in this. Products are associated with happy families, beautiful girls, romantic men, cuddly babies, playful kittens and puppies—all desirable things but which have nothing to do with the products. Television programs are often propaganda, for the new morality, for materialistic goals, for selfish satisfactions. Newscasts are colored. Most situation comedies are superficial fluff.
But even educated, sophisticated persons fall prey to a very unfair and untrue type of propaganda. This type assumes a superior air of dismissal of an opponent’s viewpoint, treating it as rather pathetic and really not worth attention. It is what many evolutionists resort to in order to evade questions that they cannot answer. They can’t prove their theory. So they resort to making assertions, and they scoff at all who dare to dispute them. And if any suggest that evolution conflicts with the Bible, these wise ones indulgently smile at the simple souls and indicate that they need this crutch, but that “intelligent persons know that God’s Word is only ancient myths.” They prove neither their assertions nor their smears, but by the tyranny of authority they pontificate their opinions, squelch objections and intimidate opposers. It works, and supposedly intelligent people who know nothing about the theory believe it because “all intelligent people believe it.” But more on this in the next article, “Creation Goes to College.”
What About You?
Proverbs 14:15 states: “A simple man believes every word he hears; a clever man understands the need for proof.” (The New English Bible) Many today are like sponges; they soak up whatever they are submerged in. It is the easy way. Exercise for the muscles is hard work; exercising the mind is even harder. It is so much easier to soak up whatever is around—and today, for the most part, that is television, the printed page, radio and movies. There are, however, some good books, movies and television programs. They require more mental effort to read or to watch. So each individual must choose what he will feed his mind. It is said that we are what we eat, and this can apply to food for both the body and the mind. Whatever you read or watch or listen to, test whether it is propaganda or whether it is the truth. “The god of this system of things has blinded the minds of the unbelievers,” that they might not know the vital truths of our time. What about you? Will you let others think for you, or will you do your own thinking? Do your own, and “thinking ability itself will keep guard over you.” At the same time, it must be admitted that we need good and proper guidance.—2 Cor. 4:4, 6; Prov. 2:11; Ps. 36:9; Jer. 10:23.
***g8411/22pp.3-4 An Open or a Closed Mind—Which Do You Have?***
What Is an Open Mind?
An open mind is free from the fetters of prejudice, which by one dictionary is defined as follows: “A judgment or opinion, favorable or unfavorable, formed beforehand or without due examination; a mental decision based on other grounds than reason or justice; especially, a premature or adversely biased opinion.”
A necessary part of life is that we make decisions and reach judgments. But decisions made “without due examination” or judgments reached “on other grounds than reason or justice” are evidences of a closed mind.
Having an open mind, on the other hand, means to be receptive to new information and ideas. It means being willing to examine and to evaluate information without a biased attitude. By retaining what is worthwhile and rejecting what is worthless, we can reach definite conclusions on a solid basis and still leave our minds open to further revision should additional information become available at a future time. He who feels he has learned it all can be sure that this attitude will prevent him from ever learning more.
Why People Have Closed Minds
A closed mind may indicate lack of knowledge. We may know so little about a subject, or have information so distorted or incomplete, that the facts necessary to reach proper conclusions are missing. For example, if you are living in Germany and are so sure that everyone from Berlin is a loudmouth, ask yourself just how many people from Berlin you know. Enough to judge several million people accurately? Perhaps more careful thought will lead you to the realization that you have met more loudmouths from Hamburg, Frankfurt or Munich than you ever have met from Berlin.
A closed mind may betray a lack of interest in the subject or a reluctance to look into the matter. In fact, it could even be a sign of uncertainty or doubt. For example, if we are unable to defend our religious views, we may find ourselves lashing out against those who challenge our beliefs, not with logical arguments, but with slurs and innuendos. This smacks of prejudice and of a closed mind.
A closed mind may also indicate a selfish desire to retain certain advantages that an open mind might cause us to lose. In some countries racial groups have been suppressed so that other groups can enjoy certain privileges. Unwilling to share these with others, the privileged groups retreat to the prejudicial position of “we are better than you,” closing their minds to all evidence to the contrary.
Are you open-minded enough to consider the possibility that you may not be? It will pay to find out. Whereas an open mind can serve to your advantage, a closed one will almost certainly serve to your detriment.
These comments from the Society’s own publications perhaps will help our loved ones see that they have a closed mind on the subject. We do have to realize however that it is ultimately up to our spouse to determine if they will open their mind enough to do an investigation on the organization or not. If we try to forcefully push our new beliefs we could cause tremendous pressure on our marriage. Some who have not used tact and patience have seen their marriages end. We can only plant a seed it is up to God to “make it grow” (1 Corinthians 3:7).
Reading the bible, especially the Greek scriptures, together as a family can help our spouses see that we are not rebelling against God. The very reason we are questioning the Society is because of our loyalty to God. We can make certain comments on each portion of the scriptures that we read. Some of our comments may agree with the JW interpretation of the bible others may not. We can tell how open we can be with our comments by our spouses reaction.
Although it can very frustrating when we feel we aren’t making any progress with our spouse, we need to cultivate modesty and recognize our limited power and influence. Let us live the best life we can as Christians and leave it up to God and His son to open the eyes of our loved ones.