You may remember the exchange I posted a while back with a spiritual brother and friend, a Jehovah’s Witness publisher named “Ben”. Well we began to exchange some emails recently, and it turned into a long running dialogue about the problems within the organization. To his credit, he defends what he has been taught with an open mind, trying his best to reason with me. I do the same, with the goal of helping him to awaken to the flaws of the organization.
First I will give you a brief summary of the (quite lengthy) exchange, as well as my impressions of what went right and what went wrong and some background on the brother. I spent many hours composing these emails and their attachments, but ultimately it may have been too much too fast. We may never know…or I may hear from him tomorrow, it’s impossible to say.
Summary: Ben asks how I am. I explain that I have had some problems, and stepped down. (We only talk a few times a year as he lives quite far away) I explain that my conscience was troubling me due to the worship of the GB by many of the friends. He acknowledges this, and says that he had a close friend that was an elder and left, saying almost that exact thing. I point out many scriptural problems and flaws that indicate that Jehovah’s spirit couldn’t be leading these men. He feels that there are flaws but this is the “one Club” that God has been using and we have to follow the rules of the club. I counter this reasoning, citing many scriptures and articles. It gets a little less civil, and he worries I am becoming like all the other smug born-again Christians he knows. I respond firmly (too firmly?) that the WT and the GB are misleading many and building an empire worth many billions of dollars. It is also pointed out that in all his emails, he has never cited one article or Bible verse. He does not respond back after this.
Background: Ben has endured some extremely hard knocks, and has seen some awful things done by congregation members as well as his own father who was a closeted homosexual elder. Commendably, rather than focus on the negative he has tried his best to stay loyal to Jehovah God and to the truth. His first wife (an active Witness) cheated on him with another brother, then after a time he attempted to remarry a divorced sister. She was supposedly “not scripturally free” to marry again. They prayed and pleaded and tried to explain why she was free to the elders. They then married before being given the “ok”. Judicial action ensued. While it was all pending they wrote the society and appealed the matter, did hours and hours of research, and then basically received a “form letter” from the branch office. They were then disfellowshipped. (wrongly in my opinion but I do not know all the details)
They worked hard to get reinstated and it took nearly a year. Now he keeps his head down and does little but attend meetings. He has a successful business, and stays in the congregation for social and spiritual reasons, calling it “The Club”, but admits he does no deep Bible study.
My impressions: One brother that successfully faded a number of years ago told me that he does not actively try to persuade Witnesses to leave the Watchtower Organization. Nor would he convince them to stay in either. His reasoning is that if they “have an itch” then they will scratch it, and he would happily help them scratch it if they asked. If they don’t…well then they won’t and he won’t.
There is a certain logic to this reasoning, but it is a cold spock-like logic, and hard for many of us to practice in the real world. Perhaps that’s what I should have done. I honestly don’t know. Many of these emails (his and mine) were written late into the night, are off the cuff, contain mispellings, etc.
Could I have done a better job in reasoning with him? Undoubtedly. Used better/different quotes, reasoning points, etc.? I’m certain of it. Suffice it to say as the conversation unfolded, I did what we all do- the best we can.
In my heart I feel that is what our loving heavenly Father wants from each of us. To try our best, and do what we can to help one another, while we keep lowliness of mind in the forefront, because we are not any better than anyone else. This pleases Almighty God and our Lord Jesus because it is one of the things that Christ commanded us to do as his followers. Whether we use the fruit of our lips; or our fingertips- we must be Witnesses for Jesus in whatever ways we can. (Acts 1:8; Acts 10:42; Revelation 19:10) Now, and for as long as we live.
The email exchange follows. Please note that names and other identifying details have been edited or removed. Brackets are used for clarification or to preserve anonymity and were not a part of the original text.
Ben Smith <Ben@[redacted].com> Fri, Dec 23, at 3:13 AM
Just thought I would check in on you and see how things are going?
Family is good here. Ann thought her job was threatened [where] she works for, but all is well. Business for me is the busiest its ever been. We are actually building a new home. This one is just getting too small for us. And that’s very exciting to us. Congregation is actually building too…well not exactly. We have a new building picked out and its being worked on. Our present building is just becoming too much to keep up… I guess. Plus the new hall will house four congregations.
Hope all is well with you and yours.
[redacted]@gmail.com Sat, Dec 31, at 7:22 AM
To: Ben Smith <Ben@[redacted].com>
Hey Ben thanks for saying hi. Things have been good and things have been not so good lol.
I’m glad you and Ann’s work is going so well- that’s great esp in this economy. My job is good- they have finally lifted some of cuts and for the first time in years we have gotten a raise yippee! LOL.
Building your own home how exciting – that’s awesome. The American dream haha good for you.
My marriage has been going thru major trials. My wife has talked about leaving me but we are working through it. I stepped down due to conscience reasons and she thinks I am weak in the truth. The loss of status and talk among the friends [is very hard for her to handle]. Some GOOD news is that I have been doing more deep study than I ever have and am learning a lot of things, including studying Biblical Greek- but mainly just the basics like the alphabet and the pronunciation. It’s very cool to be able to sound out a word in the Kingdom Interlinear and easily look up the meaning. My prayer and relationship w Jah and Jesus is strong and we have a great weekly study we all enjoy, the kids included.
Anyway, sorry to dump that on you but I thought well there’s not that many around here I can tell lol.
Ben Smith <Ben@[redacted].com> Sat, Dec 31, at 7:55 AM
BRO!! Whats going on??? Your marriage?? Sorry to be personal…and if you dont want to tell me anything, I totally understand.
But… what??? YOU …? HER?
Trouble in a marriage 99 times out of a 100 only means one thing. Whats going on??
(again… if its not my busines, its not my business, just tell me. Just I’ve been there, I can help, if you want it.)
[redacted]@gmail.com Sat, Dec 31, at 10:23 AM
To: Ben Smith <Ben@[redacted].com>
Well we are working through it, getting better a tiny bit at a time. She has been [sick for a few] years, undiagnosed, trying to figure out what’s wrong. It has taken a toll and finally it’s getting fixed somewhat. That’s not all it’s a long story of course.
You can ask me anything at all – we go back a ways plus ur so far away lol it’s not like I have to worry about you telling anyone around here 😉
What does 99% mean?
Ben Smith <Ben@[redacted].com> Sat, Dec 31, at 10:26 AM
Ok. 99% : someone in the relationship has sex outside the marriage.
You? Her? I’m not being judgemental. I just have for loss of a better term an expert in this area. Dealing with a couple right now that’s going thru it.
JJ Sat, Dec 31, at 11:44 AM
To: Ben Smith <Ben@[redacted].com>
No infidelity in our marriage- that’s not a problem. You’re not being judgemental. You are dealing with a couple? Are you an elder now? Or MS? Or freelance therapist in your spare time lol JK…
Ben Smith <Ben@[redacted].com> Sat, Dec 31, at 12:23 PM
ok … cool.
Nope not an elder or a MS (honestly, not sure if I ever want to go back there….at least not in the near future – too much work – call me selfish, but the less I know about some brothers and sisters, the better I feel about the truth. hahah – I have too much baggage.)
I do feel I am a part time therapist at times though. Its actually a [co-worker] of mine is going thru the problem. She just wants to leave him, … for “no reason”. Theres ALWAYS a reason.
Ok… well, I am really sorry to hear you are going thru that. I dont really know you “personally” enough to even have a feel for how things were/are with you guys. But that seems well… rather sucky.
How long have you guys been married? Do you guys “fight” at all much? How old is your wife? MAN, I am getting personal.
And you stepping down for a “conscience reasons” – whats going on?
[redacted]@gmail.com Sun, Jan 1, at 2:55 AM
To: Ben Smith <Ben@[redacted].com>
[Her health is] better she [takes meds for it now.] Been married [a long time]. We don’t fight that often actually. We wanted to get remarried… you know have a ceremony again last year- but there’s a WT article on that- doestn really say why but just says “Christians don’t do that” so we didn’t…It got me going bc if it’s in the Bible well that’s it I believe it. But if it isn’t in the Bible well then its hard for me to understand and agree. I’m a skeptical person that’s the way my dad raised me.
I have a friend in Virginia he was an elder but stepped down. Another [near Arizona] he stepped down too. And one North of me too. All former elders like me- Something’s not right…ppl r worshipping the org instead of looking to Jah and Christ. I love the truth and Iove the brothers I’m just waiting on Jehovah that’s all I can do right?
There are some that are hoping for reform…probably never happen the way we think but Jeremiah he preached to his own ppl right? no one else just the believers and they were out of line. Have you ever researched this stuff online? It’s a trip. Sorry to go sideways on you lol hope you aren’t mad at me!
Ben Smith <Ben@[redacted].com> Mon, Jan 2, at 5:34 AM
I say WOW like that, because the last thing you said is the same kind of thoughts I have been saying.
I had a very close long time friend, elder, etc, leave the truth last year for the same type things. He felt the Slave was saying “worship us”. Which I felt he was being negative. But he left. …and he has never felt so spiritual at the time…doing lots of studying etc.
I have alot of thoughts myself. I am not a huge reader or “study-er”, but I lost alot of faith in … people. I dont know how to talk about this stuff since it feels rather…apostate. And I feel in the truth, you cant talk about this stuff. Its either people will try to FIX YOU or they SHUN YOU! How do you ever get fixed then??
A personal question for you: (curious how you would answer – for myself) How do you know your not “becoming apostate” with this type of thinking?
Yesterday at the meeting, I thought, during the public talk, there always has been an organization. Way back to Noahs time. There was a “WAY TO DO IT” and people that followed. Everyone that followed weren’t always privy to why they were doing it that way. It was…
“This is what Jehovah of armies has said”. And that message was delivered by some guy…who for most part was someone everyone admired. Then… later… people would rebel, and it never worked out for them.
HOW do you know this type of thinks doesnt put us in the same boats of the Isrealites who rebelled?
Again… I am not being critical of you. I was just dumb founded how right how you are with my type of thinking (at times, I fight it.) I am just wondering how you deal with it.
As far as doing research on the net about it, I wont do that. I think there is a real threat with apostasy. It was during bible times…. Satan WOULD be working hard at messing with the minds of the true religion. Without doing any research on that point alone (worldly or JW material), that only makes sense. And the net is the EASY way for Satan to encourage people to deliever messages of confusion and disorder. So… for me, I don’t need to find it. And bro… you gotta know thats dangerous areas to look into…. right?
I hope you understand where I am coming from and not being judgemental.
JJ Wed, Jan 4, at 9:43 AM
To: Ben Smith <Ben@[redacted].com>
Sorry to take a few days to get back to you- been busy and this is a big topic lol. Your words and your email are so appreciated- I have gone through much agony over the last year or so over these thoughts.
Your elder friend is not an anomaly- there are many that have been waking up to a systemic problem that nags at the back of their mind. Remember when we had that chat awhile back and we talked about the Matrix and Morpheus and saying it’s like a splinter in your mind, etc. well lots of us feel that.
So anyway to your comments and question(s):
The “apostate” label is a serious one to slap on someone or something. Propagandists often put a label on something to discredit it. Is a so-called “banned book” or website of necessity apostate? Maybe it is. Maybe it is not. It depends. Job said “does not the ear test words as the palate tastes food?” (Job 12:11) If someone is an angry bitter spewer of hateful slander and negativity, then your heart/mind tells you the answer. But if a person is fair, accurate, dispassionate and loving in what they are saying, should
we shrink away and not be willing to listen? If the information is accurate and you are able to cross-check the statements, should we be afraid to scrutinize what we have learned and what we believe? The
scriptures say to “keep testing whether we are in the faith.” (2 Cor 13:5) Another says “not to believe every inspired expression”. (1 John 4:1; also see attached file, “Open mind”. It is a list of excellent WT quotes on this point)
Another well known expression is “knowledge is power” and there is hardly a person on the planet that will disagree with that one. However it wasn’t always this way. The Catholic church tried to keep knowledge away from the people for years. The Bible was a banned book basically. I just watched the story of Martin Luther with my kids. He saw that there were flaws in the church but he didn’t want to leave the Catholic religion- he respected the leaders, and loved the Bible, and loved the truth. He was disgusted by some of the things they had strayed on. He stood up to the authority structure.
And they tried to kill him and were almost successful. But there was a growing underground of dissidents that supported him and agreed with him- more than he could have ever known existed. His writings were banned also- and considered “apostate” and heretical and “dangerous”.
Elijah thought he was all alone in not worshiping the Baals, yet Jehovah told him that there were 7,000 more that had not bent the knee to them even thought the majority in the nation of Israel were apostate themselves. (1 Kings 19:18) Jeremiah was considered an apostate and a rabble-rouser and preached exclusively to God’s people. (As was Jesus!)
As for Moses, the Israelites that rebelled against Moses were going against someone that was directly appointed by God- someone that had amazing miraculous gifts to prove his appointment. When Moses told them the words of Jehovah he was infallible- it was God talking through him. This was a unique time in history and the miracles, and God speaking to people, it had not yet ceased. But today they have ceased. The brothers have candidly admitted that they are not inspired. If it’s in the Bible it’s inspired. If it’s not in the Bible, then it’s not inspired, as simple as that.
Just like that article that my wife and I read that said we as Christians “don’t get remarried”…I casually asked an older elder that is real tech savvy and very smart who I look up to about it (he is in a neighboring area) He said, “well just go off to Vegas and do it, and don’t tell anybody!” Which of course we could have done. But the point was WHY do I have to SNEAK off to show the world that I love my wife? If certain ones did get wind of it though, I would be brought into the backroom and counseled for it, guaranteed. No scriptures can be cited that “prove” that it is sinful, damaging, etc. We just “don’t do it” according to the article. And a servant is supposed to be exemplary and follow every policy to the letter right?
The same can be said of beards. Around the 1920s Rutherford told one of the Bethel overseers to shave his beard off- no explanation was given but it may have had to do with the fact that many still were loyal to Russell (who had a beard) and he was making many changes and trying to keep everyone in line. About 2/3 of the Bible Students left the movement over those years, especially when Rutherford changed our name in 1931. So that was it- beards began to be phased out and Jesus was depicted without a beard for many years in the publications, even though we all know he had a beard. Today the tradition in most parts of the western world is that if a brother has a beard he cannot be used. He can’t be a servant or an elder, etc.
Now having a beard is not a “big deal” to me, I don’t have one. But if I was to show up at the meeting after a trip and not shave my vacation beard, what would the “talk” be in the Hall? That I was rebellious, worldly, etc… Why? Not because of my Christian character, nor any Bible scriptures I had violated, but because of a tradition and an opinion that goes back 80 some years. Jesus told the Pharisees that they had made the Word of God invalid because of their tradition. They had overstepped their bounds and used the power they had to control the people.
You said: “there always has been an organization. Way back to Noahs time.” Well God directly spoke to one man, and he and his 7 family members carried out His will. Does 8 people make up an “organization”?
IDK, possibly, but it really just seems like Jehovah speaking to one man and then he and his family carrying out his will. No one else joined their “organization”.
You said: “I lost alot of faith in … people.” Well I know that feeling. Men have feet of clay and not a one of them are perfect or can save us. The scriptures say repeatedly that only Jesus can save us. (1 John 5:1) Some put elders up on a pedestal. Or COs or GB members, etc. I used to also. But not any more. Jesus said that HE was “the truth” in John 14:6. In John 1:1 he is called the Word, or Logos in Greek. In John 17:17 he said “your WORD is TRUTH.” and used the SAME Greek word, “Logos”. In a roundabout way (like he often did) he was telling us that HE was the truth. Not the Jewish organization. Not the pharisees. He was the truth. So I am waiting on Jehovah and staying in the truth- but I am not waiting on imperfect men, to whom no salvation belongs. (Ps 146:3)
You said: “It feels rather…apostate. And I feel in the truth, you cant talk about this stuff. Its either people will try to FIX YOU or they SHUN YOU! How do you ever get fixed then??”
This is a brilliant point, and a glaring problem. There is a website jwreform.org that talks about this and is not written by “angry apostates”. (IMO) Don’t visit it if you feel uncomfortable, I just refer to it to illustrate this point. It talks respectfully about three major areas that they feel needs reforming. The brothers that operate the site are by necessity anonymous, but only because they have no other choice. They are not unique. There are many misconceptions about blood, DFing, the overlapping generation changes, etc. that sincere brothers and sisters cannot figure out because there are no clear scriptural direction. If we abstain from blood, why is it
that we are allowed to accept liter bags of blood fractions into our veins? How do we know which fractions are okay and which are not? It doesn’t make sense to many. If we cannot store our own blood because it is supposed to be poured out on to the ground, why can someone else’s blood be stored and then transfused into us as long as it is certain combinations of fractions? Well the scriptures don’t say. We don’t really know. Why can’t I donate my blood since thousands of Witnesses receive blood fractions and blood products in fractionated form every year? We use the fractions but we don’t contribute to the supply because we feel that is sinful…it makes no sense. The problem is that people’s lives are at stake and many have died needlessly.
Here’s one example:
In 1961 organ transplants were allowed in the Watchtower 1961 Aug 1 p.480 Questions from Readers. Then in the Watchtower 1967 Nov 15 pp.702-704 they were considered cannibalism. Then in 1980 the WT said:
“There is no Biblical command pointedly forbidding the taking in of other human tissue … It is a matter for personal decision…” (Watchtower 1980 Mar 15 p 31) The Watchtower has gone even further now, commending transplants for the way they have “helped” people. (Awake! 1989 Aug 22 p.6) What is shameful in all this is that it was never stated that the view had changed. The Watchtower Index does not reference the 1967 article in regards to transplants. No apology has been published for the sake of those that were wrongfully disfellowshipped and those that unnecessarily lost their lives. How must this make a Witness feel that lost a loved one over the issue during the 1970’s? If a person accepted a transplant in February of 1980, one month prior to the policy beibng changed and was DFed, were they re-instated when the policy changed? Were they ever really in disfavor with Jehovah to begin with?
Another example is oral and anal sex. (See attached document of quotes) There are others but I am going to stop here. Please forgive me for writing a book lol. I was trying to give a proper explanation. I love Jehovah and Jesus and I love the friends in my hall. I have no beef with the elders, they are for the most part humble guys just trying to do their best. If you have questions ask away, ask anything.
But I won’t bring it up again if you don’t bro. I’m not in the tearing down business I am looking for the positive side of things as of late and much prefer building up.
I didn’t think you were being judgemental at all- just being a good friend. Thanks for that.
Ben Smith <Ben@[redacted].com> Thu, Jan 5, at 11:23 AM
Sorry for my delay as well. Super busy with so much stuff going on. I read your email a few times. And honestly… its all good stuff. Something I never told you.
[A few years ago], I remarried…. a sister…. who wasn’t free to remarry. Her ex had told her after a year and a half of marriage, that he had [been unfaithful] while they were dating. Including their engagement…. within a month of their wedding… in the kingdom hall. We were already friends….but now we had the same problem with our exs… this brought us closer. We were going to run off and get married. But… I couldn’t do it. I wanted to see if there was anyway scripturally to marry. It just didn’t make sense …or loving… that she couldnt.
Ann did all kinds of research. We spent TWO YEARS searching. Tons of research. Amazingly valid points that showed (in our opinion) there really was no solid scriptual basis that she couldn’t remarry.
One simple point (of many): Isrealites who committed adultery while married had the pentality of death. Outside of marriage, those who committed fornication, did not face death. What about ones who were engaged? DEATH! The same pentalty as if married. So Jehovah must of viewed engagement as sacred. One of our questions were, when did Jehovah change his view of the seriousness of engagement? We JWs base our whole not-allowing remarriage on Matt 19:9. But if you seriously look at the events of that scripture, and who Jesus was talking to, the Slaves explanation doesn’t make much sense.
This point by itself is nothing much… we have a TON of logical reasoning, but…
After two letters to the Society, with no real answer… I mean… its like they didn’t even read our 6 pages of research. They basically sent back a form letter answer. Sigh. …. we just got married. Thus breaking the “spell” we were under. I personally felt we did the right thing in Jehovahs eyes….but it didnt matter. We were disfellowshipped….but it took 6 weeks for them to come to an answer. The letters were so logical and baffling, our situation went thru several congregation bodies, the CO…and up to the DO.
Since we basically made every meeting… we were reinstated [in about a year]. The exact time one brother, who knew our dilemma, said it would take.
My point is: I totally understand where you are coming from. Some things dont seem right.
BUT…. my question to you… and it was to my friend (who is now not making any meetings, avoids all elders, etc… gone)… Where is all this questioning going to get you? I mean… are you hoping a division will happen? If there is, there are so many “signs” that point to our religion is the one that really is trying hard to please Jehovah. This new division would really have to live up to alot of what we as JWs are already doing… right? Our organization, I feel, as a whole, tries. It tries to do the right thing. Its trying to come up with answers in this complex world that feels to be in alignment with the Bible…. but …Is it perfect? – No. Is it making dumb rules and mistakes at times? – Yep. But…what is the alternative??
I’m not judging you, my friend. You have no idea how aligned I can be with this “alternative”
thinking. I grew up in the “truth”… I dont know anything else. I DO know, we have heard nothing but stories of how many brothers and sisters couldnt find satifying answers within their past religion.
And that dissatisfaction lead to an open mind for when a JW knocked their door. Sigh. Many times I feel dissatisfied with answers. What would happen if someone new knocked on my door? Try to fix their logic? Shun them?
I’m just not sure where all of this “thinking” will get us.
JJ Tue, Jan 10, at 11:56 AM
To: Ben Smith <Ben@[redacted].com>
My heart really goes out to you two for what you went through. How horrible!
As for what you said about “…what is the alternative??”
Well this goes to the core of the problem IMO. Please take a look at the attached file “John 6.68 explained” if you can. I felt like just writing it out in a doc file to make it easier.
You also said: “You have no idea how aligned I can be with this “alternative” thinking.I grew up in the “truth”… I dont know anything else…Many times I feel dissatisfied with answers…I’m just not sure where all of this “thinking” will get us.”
Well there is a great article from a 1946 WT attached as a jpg. Look at it now if you can. I have learned SO MUCH in the last year from just reading and studying the Bible with a truly open mind and heart. 2 Timothy 3:16,17 says that all we need is his Word for the man of God to be fully complete. I’m not sure what the future holds and I certainly don’t have all the answers. And I don’t want to undermine your faith or love for God- please don’t think that’s what I am trying to do. I just can no longer worship an Organization- it sickens me. My faith has been getting stronger, not weaker- and initially I was very angry about finding out some horrible things that the Org has done, etc. Like lives being ruined, people dying, belonging to the United Nations for 10 years, etc.
But now I’m trying to move past those feelings and just serve Jah and Jesus as best I can and leave it in their hands. If you want to know more that’s fine. If you don’t, that’s ok too bro.
Ben Smith <Ben@[redacted].com> Wed, Jan 11, at 5:07 AM
JJ, my friend, my brother.
Hear me out for a second. Try not to read this defensively. Im sure its going to be hard to do though. But try to understand I am speaking strictly as a friend….and nothing more.
Here is the deal.
I personally don’t need all this research. Not that I am blindly following,… but because of a basic point. And again…. please try to read this knowing I am your friend… nothing more.
Here it is: This kind of thinking does nothing but divide… not unite.
We have aligned ourselves with a group/organization/channel (whatever you want to call it) that has showed us the TRUTH of the bible. Without that channel, we wouldnt know what we know. Do I agree with everything that is said by the WT Society? – No. But without it, no one is at the helm. No one as a global united-in-bible-truth is encouraging Jehovahs Kingdom as the solution to mankinds problems. No one is globally preaching this TRUTH of the bible we have come to believe and apply in our lives.
When we start to become vocally critical of what the WT Society is teaching or proclaiming… then we are dividing. We will then start to decide what is right and what is wrong. We will start to pick and choose. How does that keep unity?
In an email back, you picked at choosing of words by saying, “there has always been an organization”. My choosing of words may have been the best. I apoligize. To correct the thought, … There has always been a channel that God has used exclusively throughout bible history. And that channel has always been thru a UNITED GROUP of followers. One Adam and Eve, One Noah’s Ark, One Group left Egypt, One rule was ruled with Kings & Judges, One Jesus, One way of teaching, One group of united Christians…. why would there not be ONE UNITED GROUP united in these last days?
If you do not believe the “organization / Society” whatever you choose to call it, …then who is the Faithful Slave? If you do not believe the Faithful Slave is an organization or channel Jehovah is using today, …what is our hope? If we do not have hope or trust that there is an organization or channel, and think we can just serve God on our own… aren’t we like the world in that thinking?
You used the phrase “worship an organization”.
I can already hear you explain why you chose this phrase…but true Christians do not worship an organization. We worship Jehovah God. And JWs believe that the organization known as the Watchtower Society is leading the helm in this worship. Do they say things that are goofy and seem stuffy or arrogant….absolutely!
Does it annoy me? ABSOLUTELY!
But…. that kind of stuff, it minimal. The truth of the bible is STILL taught. Are there causalities among the followers…. yep! But there is in any organization. Even in bible times.
So… what do we do? If we feel annoyances? We just have to stay patient. Stay steady. Am I serving? No. Do I have intentions of reaching out again? Not at this time. Why? I feel similar to you.
BUT…. there is no where else to go? Just as Peter said to Jesus, who else is teaching truth?
Until there is another organization or channel that is actively preaching, living clean morals, not involved with politics or mans wars, ….this is ALL we have. This is the UNITED GROUP we need to be close to. We can’t be looking for cracks to expose. This will just divide, not unite.
If there is another group that is united in bible truth and is doing all those things, then they have alot of work to do. They should be knocking on my door. When they do, I will give them my attention.
Has there been reform in the past? Yes…but it was foretold. And there was also a group that was aware of its foretold-ing, and were awaiting patiently, while remaining obedient within the current structure, until the reform was obviously here to them.
But for now, this type of thinking you are aligning yourself with… divides. Divides the congregation you dwell among. Divides the family that preaches Jahs truth you have. This is not the kind of dividing Jesus talked about. This division is what Paul talked about.
Going down this road with eventually lead you to a lonely place. Again Bro. I am only saying this stuff to help. Im sure you have thoughts against this kind of thinking as you read this. Im not here to argue the specific points out. There is no where else to go (right now) than the group we have aligned ourselves with for so long. Until then, we really have to be patient.
I certainly hope you dont take offense to any of this. I hope you see its just in your best interest….as i know you have mine.
[redacted]@gmail.com Wed, Jan 11, at 7:14 AM
To: Ben Smith <Ben@[redacted].com>
Its ok Ben. I’m not offended in the least. Your responses are conditioned ones and I am familiar with them.
I feel the Org is the one that has divided us. They have placed themselves in-between Jehovah and Jesus. They say we must come to THEM to get saved. Yet the Scriptures do not support this. Jesus himself was disfellowshipped by the Pharisees, the leaders of “The Organization” of that day. You and your wife were wrongly shunned and DFed by them as well so I know you can relate.
I’m disappointed you don’t feel the need to do more research or really read what I sent, but that’s entirely your conscience bro. I concluded my last email by saying if you didn’t want to learn more then that was okay…so I’ll stick to that.
Take care until next time we talk.
Ben Smith <Ben@[redacted].com> Wed, Jan 11, at 8:05 AM
“Conditioned ones” sounds like “brainwashed” to me.
Or… one of the “text-book” lemmings that are so prevalent in the congregation. I was really hoping to sound like a friend who totally relates…and is sad to see you are so troubled by it all.
I have never been a deep study guy… EVER. Its just my personality. It really has nothing to do what you are sending me… so please dont think otherwise. I know we have been encouraged to study the deeper things… nope. Not me. Too much confuses me.
But, I have been around. I know what seems right and what seems wrong. Or at least what appears to be on what I do know. I did look at a few of the things you sent. Its all very interesting. And like I said, I don’t disagree with them. They feel DEAD ON.
But again… the problem to all of this is that even though it all seems DEAD ON… there is no ONE UNITED channel with it all. So… for now… it all appears like a distraction. I look more at the BIGGER picture, than all the little pieces. For now…I can’t accept that there ISN’T a ONE channel. Maybe I’m wrong for thinking that. Maybe I’m wrong for not investigating it. Maybe I’m too burned.
I mean seriously dude… are you not one of “Jehovah’s Witnesses” anymore? My elder friend claims he is not. He has left, what we have called for so long, “the Truth”. Doesn’t attend meetings, service, association… gone. He was, for the longest time, my best friend.
Are heading in that direction too? I’m not being judgemental… or even trying to figure how to interact with you in the future (as so many JWs do – they will either try to fix, or shun) – I am just curious what your big plan is. …again as a friend.
All of this is just me being a friend. … not even really being a “brother”. If you understand what I mean.
JJ Wed, Jan 11, at 11:22 PM
To: Ben Smith <Ben@[redacted].com>
I didn’t intend to be offensive at all in my initial statement on
the last email. I don’t think of you as a lemming or anything like
that. I know you have been around and have seen a lot. And you are
being very open minded and non-judgemental and a true friend. I need
all the friends I can get lol!
I’m still one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and as has been brought out,
Jehovah has had Witnesses for him for thousands of years and he
always will. As has Jesus too. (Revelation 17:6, “the witnesses of
Jesus”) I have slowed down in my meeting attendance due to cognitive
dissonance, but I do listen in on every meeting via the internet
hookup our congregation has setup. I read every magazine as soon as
it comes out and I read the Bible every day and am learning the
basics of Biblical Greek, which is fascinating to me. I can now
sound out the words from the Kingdom Interlinear which is really
cool, and I have a Bible app on my iPad that lets me pop up the
Greek definitions from Strong’s Concordance quickly.
The fact that you acknowledge that what I’ve brought out and learned
in my studies is “DEAD ON” shows me that you sense that the Matrix
is all around you, and the mind control that is going on within the
I have talked on the phone and via email to about two dozen other
brothers that are former elders and servants- they stepped down due
to conscience reasons. I have talked to (and met) an older brother
that knew many of these ones. He has corroborated much of what I have learned.
COs, even DOs have resigned as well. Did you know that the elder’s
manual has a paragraph in it that says if an elder commits
fornication or other serious sin and hides it for several years but
is repentant when it comes to light, he can continue to be an elder
and not lose his privileges- and the friends will never even know or
be told about it. (I can supply a scan of the page if you wish to
see it; and I personally saw this happen once when I was an elder)
Yet a repentant publisher would lose all privileges and not even be
allowed to comment let alone serve! Something is terribly wrong and
this indeed does supply large pieces of the “big picture”.
Two Governing Body members were dismissed due to being homosexuals
in the 1980s. One of them was also accused of pedophilia, Leo
Greenlees. They were not DFed, or even publicly reproved. I have
listened to an interview of the man that claims he was abused by
this brother. He sounds credible, but of course this is unconfirmed
as Leo is now deceased. Another GB member stepped down due to
conscience matters, and was offered a $10,000 sum of money and
special pioneer status for the rest of his life upon leaving. He
declined the offer.
But you don’t have to take my word for it. Read the attached file
and judge for yourself. It is one of the most balanced and eye
opening things I have ever read. It is not filled with slander or
half-truths, or anger or malice. I know that you’ve mentioned that
you aren’t a big “study-person” and I get that, but this IMO is one
of the most important things in our lives we could ever investigate.
Ben Smith <Ben@[redacted].com> Thu, Jan 12, at 4:48 AM
I appreciate everything your saying. I am not doubting that there
are bad things going on… but they are going on everywhere.
Are these stories true? I’M SURE THEY ARE. You keep telling me
these like as if I dont believe it. I DO.
My point is… where are we going to go? What else is there right
I truly believe the organization is affected as much as any other
organization out there.. ..for Gods sake this is SATANs world.
To think for a second that we are complete free from any influence
is just crazy thinking to me. We aren’t.
I’ve seen and heard about stuff like this all my life…. its
irritating for someone like me who grew up in the “truth” and
believe we live in a “spiritual paradise” now. …and this kind of
crap goes on.
My dad was an elder… a PO… for years… during that time… he was a homosexual!!! And mom wasn’t allowed to be “scriptually free” during that time, because homosexuality sex wasn’t considered adultery!!! Can you believe it?? And so yes…another victim of what call…
The Club Rules.
This is the deal. Jehovahs Witnesses is a club. Its a fact. That’s what we are. This is what I have always told my kids. Its an exclusive club. Perfect?? NOPE… but its a club…and for the most part… we like it! And the membership rules change. And some of the member leaders are scumbags. (My ex-wife who was a pioneer was sleeping with my long time elder friend… nice!) But… if we want to be in the club… which we must because me and you are still here…. we have to follow the rules. (or… if we dont agree with them, we stay out the member leader positions, and not announce we we are doing privately…why do we have to do this… because we want to stay in the club!)
The club gives us a purpose in life. It gives us community
interaction. Being a club with purpose and sharing that purpose
with others is a fundamental thing we humans need. A sense of
belonging to a higher purpose.
My question over and over. (and Im not just saying this to you)
Where else are we going to go? (right now)
Because amid all the crap that may go on behind the scenes… I
believe this organization is (and here is the key word) TRYING to do
the best it can. I truly believe it is TRYING. This stories will
make you think there is some devious scam going on. And if thats
what you believe, then you shouldn’t be in the club.
But I think, as a rule, as a fundamental rule, JWs are TRYING to do
the right thing.
JJ Thu, Jan 19, at 2:51 PM
To: Ben Smith <Ben@[redacted].com>
Sorry to take so long to get back to you- I’ve been praying about it and just thinking a lot about what you said. Your honesty and candor in confiding some of the things you’ve gone through is truly amazing to me. There is so much junk in the world these days.
You said: “I truly believe the organization is affected as much as any other organization out there…”
If that’s the case, then belonging to ANY group, or “club” as you have put it, is ok. I did some research and found that the Mormon’s and the Catholics both have used John 6:68 to say to dissenting members “Where else will you go? There is nowhere else that has the truth!” They say this with all honesty and sincerity, just as you say it.
Our particular club has caused the death of thousands of its members due to human ideas on blood, malawi, organ transplants, suicides from the extreme shunning, etc. If it’s just about memberghip in a club, like a gym, then we can take our business elsewhere- what difference would it make?
Did you know that the Bible Students are alive and well and there are about 1 million members worldwide? They are trying very hard to follow Christ also. So are many, many other Christian groups. They are trying to live a daily life of devotion to God. So is TRYING enough?
Trying to do the best one can is commendable. (Matthew 7:21-23) I have researched for many hundreds of hours and discovered that the 607 date is a sham. Jerusalem fell around 587. The dating is all off and the WT are the ONLY ones spouting 607 because 1914 DEPENDS upon the date 607. Did you know that 1874 was first predicted as Armageddon? When it passed, Russell attributed it to an invisible presence. Then 1914 was chosen using complex (and ridiculous) calculations based on pyramidology and the width of stones and dimensions of the pyramids. Once 1914 came and went, it was said that Jesus came invisibly then.
(It is interesting that Harold Camping predicted August of as the date of Armageddon. When it passed he said that it had begun invisibly, but that October would be the actual date when all would see it. This also came and went.)
Then Rutherford launched the “Millions now living will never die” campaign in the early 1920s. The date of armageddon was reset to 1925. When that came and went Rutherford admitted he had made an “ass of himself” (WT 1984 10/1 p. 24)
After that other dates were hinted at. Then Fred Franz engineered the 1975 date and many publications state that 1975 was going to be the end. (See www.jwfacts.com/watchtower/1975.php)
Then when I was younger we used to calculate that a generation was 70-80 years based on Psalms 90:10 and preach that 1914 + 70 to 80 years means that it must be coming soon. I told this to countless people in service when I was pioneering. I was lying to all of them! I was misled. Then in 1995, “new light” arrives just in time (1914+80) and the meaning of what a “generation” is was changed., for the first in a number of confusing ways. Now the generations are said to be “overlapping” and hardly any of us even understand what that means.
Deuteronomy 18:20-22 gives a litmus test for whether a prophet is a true one or a false one. It says:
‘However, the prophet who presumes to speak in my name a word that I have not commanded him to speak or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet must die. And in case you should say in your heart: “How shall we know the word that Jehovah has not spoken?” When the prophet speaks in the name of Jehovah and the word does not occur or come true, that is the word that Jehovah did not speak. With presumptuousness the prophet spoke it. You must not get frightened at him.’
So EVERY single date the Society has predicted has been in error. Why would 1914 be correct when the others weren’t? That is simple logic. So I am no longer frightened of the men that run the WT. They have no power or authority over me. I love the local friends in my congregation, and I love you. “DFed” or not, I would have happily had you and your wife over for dinner, because that is loving. That is what Christ would do. My conscience tells me the rightness of it.
My faith in Jehovah and Christ has not wavered. My love for the
Bible is stronger than ever. But I have no faith in this
organization anymore. It is a “club” as you say. No better or worse
than others. A club that is trying to do what’s right, succeeding no
more or less than many others.
How could they possibly be guided exclusively by God’s holy spirit
and make so many mistakes? Predict so many false and ignorant things
over the many many years of their existence? My questions to you are
What have you learned in the last five years that has really made it
possible for you to understand the Bible better? What benefits have
the meetings brought to you personally? How many real friends do you
have? With how many can you have substantive conversations? How have
your mental, emotional, and spiritual needs been met by the
arrangement? What would you have done if you lived in the ten-tribe
kingdom of Israel? How would you have maintained your faith in God
and aided your family to do the same?
We are all ultimatley on our own when it comes to worshipping God.
His son is the Judge of all things now. (John 5:22-23)
You said: “My point is… where are we going to go? What else is
there right now.”
The answer to that is that it is not a matter of WHERE. It is a
matter of WHOM. John 6:68 doesn’t say where. Peter says that JESUS
has sayings of everlasting life. Not the WT…not any man. The Bible
is inspired. The publications are not. In many cases they have
proved to be horribly, horribly wrong, to the point of killing many
of their adherents. Does that strike you as God’s direction? Would
he want a brother to refuse a blood fraction and die, then the next
month an article comes out in a magazine saying it’s ok to take that
particular fraction? THAT HAS HAPPENED. It is not God’s will for us
to follow the writings of men. (Ps 146:3,4; Psalms 118:8,9)
2 Tim 3:16,17 says: “All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial
for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for
disciplining in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be fully
competent, completely equipped for every good work.”
This means we have all that we need when we hold the Bible in our
hand. The scripture says we don’t require anything more to ascertain
God’s will for us. We are completely equipped.
Well I suppose I am writing a book and that was not my intention. We
have been going back and forth for a number of emails now and I am
happy that we can be open-minded about the whole thing. It is nice
to be able to get some of these things off my chest as it has been
very hard to learn some of these things for me. I just wish that we
would be allowed to respectfully disagree. To not be banned from
speaking or simply questioning certain things…but there is no room
for that in the WT Organization. If there was, many of the thousands
of us that are dissidents might not have to hide, and real, positive
change might come. Thanks for reading this far lol.
Ben Smith <Ben@[redacted].com> Fri, Jan 20, at 5:49 AM
You are on a mission dude. haha Listen… I totally understand where your coming from. It doesn’t seem right, everything you say. I don’t disagree with you on ANYTHING here. I know much of what you said that goes on (if true) seems ridiculous and extremely irritating.
Except…what I have trouble with … in all your conclusions… is that you are suggesting there to be no group supported by Jehovah… escepially any group that is actually DOING the will that Jesus said would happen: Preaching! Who is preaching WORLDWIDE with a UNIFIED message?
Because then shouldn’t you be grouping up with other Ex-JWs (which is where you are heading you know) and preach the Kindgom message? Or… are you telling me we dont have to?
And then are you claiming to say that despite the entire bible
history of there always being ONE GROUP (I will refrain from using
the word “organization”) One Adam and Eve, One Ark, One Group that
left Egypt, One lineage of Kings approved by Jehovah, One Jesus, One
Group of his apostles….. are you claiming that people can be their
own entity in what (at least you believed for years and years – not
sure where you stand on that one now) we believe to be the “last
You can do your own thing, without an organization to communicate
with and pull everyone together worldwide?
Or what is your new thought on that?
I know I am sounding a bit facetious here, but you have to be in my
You and I have been JWs for years…and the path you are
constructing for yourself with guide you to leave.
And you may look at this (from your new vantage point) as
But (and you have to look at this from my vantage point) you are
leaving what we were unified in at one time.
JJ Tue, Jan 24, at 3:51 PM
To: Ben Smith <Ben@[redacted].com>
I can see that you are satisfied with where you are and how you are
worshiping God, and I respect that. I’m not going to pressure you to
investigate something that you don’t feel inclined to investigate.
Your questions are valid ones…but if a person is not willing or
interested in digging deeply into God’s word and researching them,
then the answers would be practically meaningless if simply recited
to them. (Proverbs 2:3-5)
The book I sent you a few emails back, Crisis of Conscience, is
AMAZING. But it is scary, and it is hard to face these things. It
sat on my hard drive for about six months before I finally had the
nerve to read this “banned” book. It was one of the most eye-opening
things I’ve ever read. There was no slander, half-truths or anger. A
mild, humble, Godly man (Ray Franz) wrote it, and that shines
through. Ray Franz never “went apostate” and until he died he had
respect for Jehovah’s Witnesses. You don’t have to take my words for
When you have time, consider reading these verses:
1 Corinthians 4:6
1 John 4:1-3
1 Thes 5:21
The attached doc files answer your question/point re: “one group one
club one organization”. The simple fact is that the Bible does not
contain ANY scriptures using the word “organization”. There is not a
single verse that says you can only serve God one way and with one
group of people. The apostles tried to stop a man that was
performing works and preaching in Jesus name, but he was acting
independantly of them. Jesus said to leave him alone. (Luke 9:49,
50) The WT society certainly wants us to believe that only they have
the keys to the Kingdom, so that they can maintain the maximum
amount of control over their members. They rule our lives and our
consciences- you have said as much to me several times. They have
gone beyond the things that are written. This is a sin of the
highest caliber. Please read Matthew 15:3-6 if you can, and see if
it fits or not. It is not about trying to emulate the way that the
WT says we should do things. My goal is to imitate the first century
congregation and the words and writings of Jesus and Paul. It is
here that we have gone off the tracks.
If you are able to research this the way you did the freedom to
marry topic you would be a richer man in wisdom and knowledge.
Knowledge is truly power. I have spent hundreds of hours studying
and praying about this and it is not a conclusion I came to lightly
Some of the GB haven’t even believed in 1914, such as Brother
Swingle, and Brother Knorr. One current member doesn’t agree with
the blood prohibition and knows that lives are being lost for no
scriptural reason. Like the Titanic, they don’t know how to turn the
boat around, or they are too stubborn to do so. The GB must have a
2/3 majority vote to effect any doctrinal change, so the hardliners
continue to maintain the status quo. It saddens me to feel the need
to leave the organization- but I will never leave my Heavenly Father
Jehovah and my Savior Jesus. I will wait on Jehovah- but that’s not
the same as waiting on an organization of imperfect men.
I don’t claim to have all the answers- no man does. And I have
humbled myself in the last year more than I ever have in my entire
life. I walked away from the [congregation] position [and] from other privileges. I did it not because
of going off half cocked or out of anger. There are at least a
hundred thousand Witnesses (in my estimations) out there that pray for Jehovah to
reform, fix, or soften the pharisaical legalism that now
unfortunately permeates the policies and leadership in New York. You
can Google “conscious class”, “strugglers”, “awake witnesses”, etc.
to find out more on the magnitude of brothers and sisters that feel
this way. These are not apostates. They are your brothers and
sisters and likely a few of them sit in nearby seats in your own
So I guess I may be forcing my opinion on you and I hope that is not
the way it comes across. You’re a smart guy and you know what you
are doing. And ultimately we all have to follow our heart and our
Bible-trained conscience, which is what I am striving to do.
1 Corinthians 4:3-5: Now to me it is a very trivial matter that I
should be examined by YOU or by a human tribunal…For I am not
conscious of anything against myself. Yet by this I am not proved
righteous, but he that examines me is Jehovah. Hence do not judge
anything before the due time, until the Lord comes, who will both
bring the secret things of darkness to light and make the counsels
of the hearts manifest, and then each one will have his praise come
to him from God.
Ben Smith <Ben@[redacted].com> Wed, Jan 25, at 6:40 AM
“Satisfied with where (I am) with how (I am) worshiping God.” –
Dude… you have no idea how I really feel on that actually.
My feelings on “worshiping God” are very different from your
feelings right now, and it has nothing to do with JWs…or anything
your saying. But … thats me. Thats something I’m working out…
however I do that…whenever I do that. I have WHOLE other issues
that “at the core” doesnt make sense…and again it has NOTHING to
do what JWs teach.
There is really not much I feel I can say to you Bro. I love ya …
but you are on a mission.
But its a mission without unified purpose.
And you are very critical of JWs…the very ones that brought you
90% of what you believe as a “worshiper of God”. (at least I would
hope you still do).
I’m sorry….and I dont mean this to sound mean (but you may take it
that way). And I am ONLY saying this as a long time friend.
But…You sound like one of these born again Christians I used to
work with. They walk around with a smug smile on their face like as
if they have a secret they would love to share, but they do it in a
pompous high-minded way that just doesnt feel like God could really
be supporting that attitude as well. “I’m so holy, I am so in touch
with God, I will show you the way.”… I used to feel sick around
those people. (That kinda sounds mean. And I dont mean it to. I
honestly dont think ill of you. I am just giving you an honest
reaction….take it or leave it. I would think – because it sounds
mean – you will leave it and not even consider it.)
I know when we went thru the whole “Is Ann free to remarry” issue.
I became highly critical of the GB and WT Society.
And honestly, I am not recovered. I am not walking around now like
a congregational lemming and doing “what I am told”.
Because in the long run, it doesnt matter.
But…. your stance just doesnt totally make sense to me.
I understand your issues. I understand your problems with things
taught. I understand your beefs.
But… (and maybe you cant see it because you are in the THICK of
it, like I was)….
Where are you going with all this?
You mean to tell me that your new found faith allows you to NOT
Dude…there WAS an organization in bible times. There always as
been. SURE the word “organization…but there always has been an
organized way to serve God. There has ALWAYS been structure.
Even Jesus spoke to assemblies of people. Groups…all guided from
a singular source.
There WAS a GOVERNING BODY back in the days of the apostles. You
can’t refute that.
Jesus was no longer on the earth, and the apostles were following
the command to PREACH AND TEACH, and BAPITIZING… until the
CONCLUSION OF THE SYSTEM OF THINGS.
And the apostles carried that out and formed congregations – guided
by a GB and had visiting men to keep the congregations in check.
So… we don’t have to do that anymore? Does the GB have the wrong
view of that?
You mean to tell me that the GB wants “control over their members”?
ok… for what reason???
Money?? Fame? What? What would be their motive then if its not to
“try to do the right thing” in the eyes of God? And I don’t mean
TRY like just do a half-way, good enough job, but TRY in the sense
of desiring to do what is right, reading the bible, praying,
meditating on it, and them follow the examples set out the in Holy
Scripture to guide the masses like the first century Christians did.
Why would they want to “control” the congregations? What do they
get out of it? There is nothing rewarding monetarily as far as I
see. (Heck I havent donated in I cant tell you when.) So then its
“mind control” just to say they have it?? None of your reasoning
makes sense when you step back from all these details you are
filling your mind with.
You pick on every point I bring up … but never really answer it
Your details are very detailed, but complex, and no simple answer…
which is what I have always found to be the very source of TRUTH.
Truth is honest and simple. You dont need to be a research-aholic
to know when you’ve heard the truth….on ANY matter.
Do I believe 100% what the GB believes? Honestly, No.
Do I hope there is a change of views on matters that I have to keep
But… deep down, I think there is something the JWs STILL HAVE …
the members try to serve God the best way we have been instructed.
If the GB is wrong, then its them that face Jehovah’s wrath… not
us as members.
I am not totally satified with how things are…and some things DO
But I think the CORE of what is taught is the truth. You are
dis-crediting that. And JWs are preaching the world over. No over
religion has the non-paid staff to do that WORLD-WIDE.
Are there problems in the congregations and with its members? SURE!
But show me another group that is EXCEEDING in member retention, and
growing, and still doing the same work …that is in harmony with
I know… you won’t really honestly take to heart what I am saying.
You are in a mind-space that probably is condescendingly looking
down on me. (I really don’t think you will admit it… I certainly
wouldnt of back 6 years ago. Everybody was wrong…
But… I am still your friend. … and I certainly hope you
can see I am trying to be one.
JJ Tue, Jan 25, at 9:59 PM
To: Ben Smith <Ben@[redacted].com>
I took to heart what you said. I prayed about it. I am not trying to come across arrogant or condescending at all. I must be though at least a little or you would not have said that, and I apologize. We all must humble ourselves and that’s something will work on. You are my friend- thank you.
Your early words: My feelings on “worshiping God” are very different from your feelings right now, and it has nothing to do with JWs…or anything your saying. …I have WHOLE other issues that “at the core” doesnt make sense…and again it has NOTHING to do what JWs teach.
Wow- this tells me you are not sharing something major. (Which is your right of course, it may not be any of my business) I wonder if it has to do with evolution or lack of faith in the Bible due to scientific discoveries, etc.? I can tell you that I studied the whole flood thing in great detail and have plenty to chew on on that topic. Would you mind telling me what it is? Am I right in my guess? Or way off? I only ask because I care…
As for your other points: I believe the majority of the same things other Witnesses do. Jesus died for our sins, his Father is YHWH, Jehovah, and he is the true God. We don’t go to a burning hell, etc. We have to share our faith and preach, which I do regularly. (My only beef with the WT is on HOW we preach. Knocking on mostly-empty doors, driving around in a mini-van with 6-8 of us and making RVs maybe getting out once every 45 minutes, then taking a Starbuck break at 11:30 to finish the morning so we can get our hours in is a problem for me. For many it has become a “form of Godly devotion” as 2 Tim 3:5 says. If we really wanted to “get the word out” we should be running internet ads, TV ads, billboards, podcasts, radio and TV shows, etc. This is how to truly reach people initially- THEN we setup Bible studies and face to face meetings. It would be 1000% more efficient IMO.)
It currently takes about 40 years of publisher hours to baptize ONE new Witness. It’s a crazy amount of time to make one convert. (A guy has done the math on it based on yearbook stats- I’ll get you the references if you like, it is fascinating.) Also, we have one of the highest rates of turnover of any religion- the Pew foundation just recently did a study and polled thousands of people for it. The link is here: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1716987,00.html
Anyway, you made a really good point in your last email about it all being very simple. It is. Jesus died for our sins. He is “the way the truth and the life” and if we put our faith in him we will have everlasting life. Jehovah is our heavenly father and we must love him w heart soul and mind and our neighbor as ourselves. If we try our best to follow these things we can receive the “free gift” of everlasting life. That’s it…
We don’t need hundreds of rules, unwritten laws, creeds, and masters telling us what and how we should study, preach, etc. That’s what the Catholic Church setup and began over a thousand years ago. Martin Luther, William Tyndale and others stood up to it, and were branded heretics. Jesus himself was DFed from the synagogue, God’s “Org” at the time. Jeremiah preached against the leaders, God’s “one channel” in his day. Was he in the wrong to act independently of the nation? He had to. What if you and your family lived in the ten-tribe kingdom and the king was telling you all to worship Baal? Would you feel compelled to go along with it bc it was God’s organization? It would have been a test and it would have been very hard to know what to do….
The notion of a GB in the first century is a fiction. The words “governing body” do not appear in any Bible. Just as the word Trinity doesn’t… Don’t take my word for it bro…I have an mp3 (and a transcript) of Brother Fred Franz, 4th president of the society, in 1975 giving a talk at Gilead graduation. I’ve listened to it, it’s him. In his talk he PROVES from Acts that there was no GB directing Paul. He gave this talk shortly before the governing body was formed (On Jan 1, 1976, according to the Proclaimers book) because he was against sharing the power with a body of men. But of course that undermines the power and authority of these men. Please don’t take my word for it- you can listen to it for yourself. If you google it you will find the clip otherwise let me know and I will send it to you.
You said: “I know you won’t really honestly take to heart what I am saying. You are in a mind-space that probably is condescendingly looking down on me.”
Nothing could be further from the truth- I have analyzed these points and heard them many times and have really prayed about them- and sometimes it comes down to opinion and I respect yours. I DO NOT think that I’m smarter or wiser than you or others. It’s not about that. But I feel that we have been lied to and fed mind-controlling information our whole lives.
Not bc the brothers running the Org are evil- they are not, I was there for a few years. But they are imperfect men, trying to bolster and maintain a structure that is man-made. (See Jeremiah 10:23) The WT Bible and Tract Society is a CORPORATION. And what do corporations do? They seek to grow and to increase their bottom lines. This is what the WTS is right now- not an evil empire, but a publishing corporation worth over 1 billion dollars. And once they sell the Brooklyn properties they will be worth over TWO billion soon. Are they giving their money to help feed the starving and the poor? (Which was about half of the work that Jesus and the Apostles did BTW, besides preaching) No. They hold onto their wealth and power and seek to multiply it. We of the rank and file are told to seek first the kingdom and simplify- bc the end is near. Yet they plan and setup building projects that will take many years to complete. And the building and KH remodeling never ends bc it is very profitable. Free labor, donated materials in many cases…then, downsize and sell at a 5-10 fold profit.
They are trying to save up and remodel our KH right now…but there is almost nothing wrong with it except we need new carpet. …Plenty of seating. Good parking… but they are going to knock out walls, and spend $280K to “upgrade”. Several have said, “well it’ll be nice, but why are we doing this…” It is bc this is one of the primary ways the Society makes money. They own every single KH now. It used to be that the local friends owned them- not anymore. The WTS lends us money and then when it is payed back, they own the KH bc it is transferred into the WTS name. (When I was an elder we signed our KH over to the WTS by putting them on the deed. That is how it is done now.) Not on contributions lol…you said you haven’t given for some time, and you are making fairly good money. 😉
This might sound harsh but its that way it is done now. Money and contributions are tracked in great detail and talked about A LOT at Bethel. I remember that distinctly while I was there.
I’m not trying to be negative- in fact I have been working towards focusing less on flaws and more just on my ministry and my study. I love to study the scriptures and I have been trying to learn Biblical Greek. (I’m not doing so well lol its HARD) I look up and read articles in the WT Library almost daily, and I also read Bible commentaries like the ones quoted in the publications. There is a wealth of information to be found in used book stores. I guess my point is that I am learning new things all the time and my goal is to seek truth and do what Jehovah wants me to do, to be used by him. That is my “mission” as you say lol. The myth that an “apostate” is a weak, doubting person that barely prays or loves Bible study is perpetuated by the publications. I love the truth and am not against any of the friends. I think we all should have the freedom to worship in the way that we feel in our cores is correct, without fear of repercussions. Jehovah knows, and he his King Christ is the judge.
If I can encourage you, or help you or any other of my brothers or sisters, that is awesome. That’s what I love to do. I am not trying to “wake up” any Witnesses that don’t want to talk about it or don’t have an itch to scratch. But Ben you do have some itches that you are scratching and I appreciate that you are a thinking person and I love that about you.
To conclude, what is it that is this “core” question you have? You have agreed with so much of what I have said, it blows me away- it amazes me frankly. Hats off to you, and please know that this morning on my way to work I said a prayer for you and your family for several minutes. I hope you can do the same for me.
Your long-distance buddy and fellow-debater,
Ben Smith <Ben@[redacted].com> Wed, Jan 26, at 7:42 AM
Your comments are all very fascinating, as I have told you before. And I’m glad to see you are not (completely) distancing yourself from the JWs.
I really don’t want to detailed thoughts on my other issue. Its has to do with Prayer… fundamental stuff.
Nothing with this doctrine or that teaching. Fundamental stuff that all religions say, and honestly NONE of us have an answer…just an opinion. There is no proof of anything, just guesses.
Basically though JJ, thru all of this you still still seem like you are highlighting what JWs are doing wrong or have done, …and missing what they are doing right.
If you are claiming that the reason the GB asks for donations so that they can build Kingdom Halls… THATS their big purpose? To buy property? Really?
Thats the WHOLE purpose of all this preaching and teaching … is to buy property!
And that article from Time Magazine saying we has a turn over of 2/3s…dude. seriously? It was based on ones that SPOKE to that PEW organization (which was 35,000 people… which seriously how many JWs would you know that are in good standing in the congregation are actually going to be involved in a religious survey?… and how many out of those 35,000 would even be (or even no longer be) JWs out of the 35,000? This is hardly a gauge dude. That is so one sided its amazing you would even quote that.
And dude, yes the term “Governing Body” is not in the bible, But there was a group of “older men” that shepard-ed the congregation.
Which makes me think you are blinded to basic facts like that because you are on a mission!
It seems like your splitting hairs, nit-picking on specifics which is clouding basic principles.
But whatever… I’m not a huge reader. Not a huge fact finder. Not a big studier…. and have NO plan to be.
The truth of the bible should be simple and clear.
And ones representing the clear bible truths should be obviously NOT getting involved in Politics, War, etc “things of the world”. (Or maybe your going to tell me that bible student can now.)
Thru everything you have said, it does not make sense to me that in a time that seems to parallal events that Jesus said would be the last days, and during a time when a group of people are preaching FREE OF CHARGE despite the quality each hour is spent, and its members sincerely, for the most part, try to do the right thing according to what they are learning from the bible, and one of the extremely few organizations that puts JEHOVAH’s name on HIGH above his son JESUS, and doe not teach doctrines that are not in harmony with the bible….
Its hard to believe that its totally acceptable to be rogue David Carradine Kung Fu types, and roam the earth with a message that is strictly one that is not united with another (to the best of their ability) organized group of believers.
THAT my friend, does not make any SIMPLE and CLEAR sense to me.
Its always been a common thread in the bible.
Regardless of what you are trying to prove with these little details.
And my whole OVERALL view is… if I’m (or any JW) is wrong. Oh well.
Its the best I have to offer. Jehovah strike me down if this is the wrong attitude, but its what I have right now.
When a pair of door-to-door visitors come to my door and claim to be of a new group of reformed JWs, that is growing, have the same beliefs, and is carrying out the preaching work the same way, but things have been slightly revised… THEN, I will take notice.
Call me blind. Call me stupid. Call me deliberated staying in the dark. Whatever.
But compared to whatever alternative you are living (or semi-offering) it doesn’t sound better in structure.
It sounds like you answer to now one but your inner calling… and that doesnt seem right either.
Have you ever seen the movie “Frailty”? It’s R …but I find the whole subject of God’s voice directing someone, fascinating. What people will do, on their own, when they feel God is talking to them.
I’m not saying thats you are feeling God is talking you directly (or heck maybe you do. LOL)
But what if you felt he was? How far left of center would you go because you are a rogue, no one to guide or watch you, all in the name of God?
All of this said, strictly as a friend… (I hope you understand that)
Jan 30, at 4:22 AM, Ben Smith <Ben@[redacted].com> wrote:
Even though I agree with many of sentiments, Jesus DID organize his apostles to preach.
They went out in twos and preached from city to city, door to door.
This message of “no religion” seems right, but it at the same time seems very destructive.
Its saying “you dont have to answer to no one – but Jesus”…but Bro, just like the Ethiopian eunuch that said “Really, how could I ever do so, unless someone guided me?” – implies there should always be someone leading. Someone directing.
If not, we are rogues. Rebels without a cause.
“Jesus, Jesus, Jesus” is what these Born Again wanders preach.
Be careful dude.
If JWs ARE the religion of choice by Jehovah, however flawed, are you sure you want to be outside the ark?… back down to the city of Jerusalem where the armies didn’t come in and destroy it?…. turning around to see Sodom has been actually destroyed?
Just because things may not make sense, doesn’t mean there isn’t a BIG PICTURE plan.
Your rogue-ness however logical, seems to put you outside… just like this guy in the video.
Your friend…and only said as your friend.
JJ Tue, Jan 30, at 2:15 PM
To: Ben Smith <Ben@[redacted].com>
Thanks for sending the vid. That guy’s little rap was kinda lame lol. He means well though I think.
I don’t agree with him- we do need to meet together and all of us can benefit from guidance. Jesus said “where two or three are gathered, there I am in their midst.” So it’s not about how many, or how big a group it is either IMO.
The WTS has predicted many false dates- 1874, 1914, 1915 (look it up!) 1925, 1975, and 1995 (The generation won’t pass away until 1914+80years). Since all these dates have been in error, what do the Scriptures say about such false predictions?
However, the prophet who presumes to speak in my name a word that I have not commanded him to speak or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet must die. And in case you should say in your heart: “How shall we know the word that Jehovah has not spoken?” When the prophet speaks in the name of Jehovah and the word does not occur or come true, that is the word that Jehovah did not speak. With presumptuousness the prophet spoke it. You must not get frightened at him.
So I am no longer frightened of the WTS. They were founded by a sincere man, CT Russell. Many sincere men of God followed after him, although Rutherford was known as an alcoholic and had young female companions that stayed in adjoining rooms with him throughout his world travels, while his wife and son were always left at home. This I have verified myself through many hours of research. (One has reportedly come forward in her old age to acknowledge certain improprieties but I have not verified this.) Today there are many sincere men serving at NY headquarters. But they are not inspired. God does not speak to them as he did to Noah, Moses, and the apostles. They are men who claim to NOT be inspired- yet if you disagree with one of their teachings in the WT you will be shunned and considered an evil person worthy of death at Armageddon.
Throughout the many emails we have exchanged, I have quoted dozens and dozens of scriptures, and cited many WT publications, and other books, websites, and sources. You on the other hand have never cited any Scriptures, when reasoning with me, not even one. You have shared your opinions and reasonings on things. I do respect your thoughts and ideas, but what does this illustrate? One of us is using the Bible and deep research to arrive at his conclusions. The other is simply trusting his heart and his gut and what he has been told to believe his entire life. It is far easier to expound off the top of our heads and then go back to whatever we were doing five minutes earlier, as opposed to checking the facts and verifying whether what we were told is true or not. This is what the Boreans did in Acts 17:11. They verified and looked up what Paul was telling them, and carefully examined the Scriptures he was quoting to them. This took effort.
You discount Time magazine, and Pew research, both reputable groups with a wave of your hand. Ok fine. You can arrive at the same results by doing some math on the statistics given in the yearbook. (See: http://www.jwfacts.com/watchtower/statistics.php ) It is sad but I seriously doubt you will bother to look into the statistics, as you have admitted you are not a study-er or researcher. I challenge you to go outside your comfort zone and set aside time to investigate even this one point. We are talking about our relationship with our Heavenly Father and the everlasting lives of ourselves and our families after all aren’t we? Isn’t this what we tell people out in service? That they owe it themselves to spend the time to investigate their church and their beliefs? Notice these brief quotes from the publications about this:
“The Scriptures show that if we are part of any organization that is bloodguilty before God, we must sever our ties with it if we do not want to share in its sins.” (United in Worship, 1983, Chap. 20, p. 155, par. 4)
“If, after making an honest investigation, you are less than pleased with what you see, do more than just complain. . .Church members . . .are responsible for what the church says and does. So ask yourself: Am I willing to share responsibility for everything my church says and does? . . . But your life depends upon being 100 percent sure. . . . Make your choice accordingly.” (Awake!, Sept. 8, 1987, pp. 19-11)
“It is important, then, that you “keep testing whether you are in the faith,” as Paul declared. Keep checking to see whether the things you believe are in keeping with God’s Word. But the question is, Are you willing to put your religion through such a test? There is nothing to fear, because if you have the right religion you can only be reassured by the examination. And if what you believe is not in keeping with the Bible, then you should welcome the truth, because it leads to light and life.” (W/58 05/01 p.261 “Is Your Religion the Right One?”)
It is hard to face the horrible flaws and the hypocrisy in the WT leadership. It is far easier to simply duck down and go along with the flow at the KH, reasoning that “well, as long as I follow the GB and the Org then its on them if we are wrong. Jehovah knows my heart. I don’t need to study hard or try and research and learn more- I know enough and God understands.” But the Bible does not support this! Look at these verses:
(Psalms 118:8,9) It is better to take refuge in Jehovah than to trust in earthling man. It is better to take refuge in Jehovah than to trust in nobles.
(1 John 4:1-3) 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. YOU gain the knowledge of the inspired expression from God by this: Every inspired expression that confesses Jesus Christ as having come in the flesh originates with God, but every inspired expression that does not confess Jesus does not originate with God.
You said that I might be a “rogue” and a “rebel without a cause”. But wasn’t Jesus spoken of as such by his opposers because he questioned their teachings and broke their man-made rules? He flatly condemned them when he said:
(Matthew 15:8-9) This people honors me with their lips, yet their heart is far removed from me. It is in vain that they keep worshiping me, because they teach commands of men as doctrines.
This is what many organized religions have done. Built a hierarchy, a structure, created rules or creeds, and compelled there people to follow them. The Catholic church invented this method. And many other churches do the same thing. Try verbalizing some of the feelings you have shared with me in past emails at your Hall with some of the friends…or even one of the elders. You will find yourself in the back room in short order, again facing a tribunal of men that may judge you as worthy of being shunned. You don’t deserve that Ben! You never did the previous time either. You and Ann were good and sincere Christians then, and you still are IMO.
You also said: “If JWs ARE the religion of choice by Jehovah, however flawed, are you sure you want to be outside the ark?”
Well based on all the many many verses and references I’ve cited, and all the enormous flaws that have been pointed out and that you have agreed with in previous emails, I think deep down you already know the answer to this supposition. In Acts 11:26 Christ’s followers were given a name by God himself. The last part reads:
“The disciples were by Divine Providence called Christians.”
They were not called YHWH’s Witnesses. (The name Jehovah was not coined until 1270 by a Spanish monk. See this site for more info: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Where_did_the_name_Jehovah_come_from )
They were not called Jesus’ Witnesses either, even though Acts 1:8 does say they were to be Witnesses of Jesus. And Revelation 19:10 says we “have the work of witnessing to Jesus.”
But the point is that we are Christians. The “ark” today is certainly not a man-made belief system or some physical structure, like a Kingdom Hall. That is a fiction written and espoused to keep you under control and asleep in the Matrix of the Org.
I too speak to you AS A FRIEND. I actually prayed before writing this that I not come across as arrogant or high-minded. I am a good for nothing slave as the scripture says, not any better (or worse lol) than you.
This is the truth- the simple truth- that Jesus is our Lord and Savior. He died for us and we can only receive life by putting our faith and our trust in him. This is why his Father sent him, and why Jehovah God approved of him. Once he came to earth everything changed.
Please brother, stop and look up 1 Corinthians 1:22-25 and 2:1-5 right now. It is simple! It is beautiful. Paul said “For I decided not to know anything among YOU except Jesus Christ, and him impaled.” This shows we are saved not through perfect meeting attendance or putting ten hours per month in on a slip of paper, or even in how accurate every single doctrine we believe is. We are saved through union in Christ! Romans 8:1 says:
“Therefore those in union with Christ Jesus have no condemnation.”
Are you in union with Christ my brother? Or are you condemned? Acts 4:12 says:
“Furthermore, there is no salvation in anyone else, for there is not another name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must get saved.”
The memorial is coming up soon. Celebrating it is so important…but would first-century Christians recognize what takes place as anything they ever did? They would find it very strange to see a group assembled in a building and merely looking at the bread and wine as it is ceremonially passed from hand to hand. It certainly does not harmonize with Jesus’ words “take, eat,” and “drink.” How can Christ be our head, but we not be a member of his body? It doesn’t make sense to me. Honestly, can you explain to me from the Bible how it could be otherwise?
Well thank you for reading this far. I have some work I have to get to and have neglected it lol. Pray about these scriptures and what we are discussing. Mediate on them. This is something that I will do too.