Dear Brothers and Sisters,
It can be one of life’s biggest trials when you come to the realization that the Watchtower Society is not what it claims to be, namely God’s organization. I remember the feelings that I had, shock, dismay, anger, depression, disbelief, fear and then finally acceptance.
Many of the questions that we have at this time in our awakening to the truth about the truth include…
• Where else do we go?
• How can we serve God without a visible structured organization?
• Am I simply just being too critical and fooling myself?
• Why isn’t God fixing the problems within the organization?
Brothers and Sisters, regardless of whether you are active or inactive, or even disfellowshipped, be assured that there are many of us who feel or have felt the same way. This article aims to encourage all who have these questions listed above by using God’s word to give guidance on these questions.
“Where else do we go”?
In John chapter 6 there is the account of how many people became stumbled at one of Jesus’ statements, when he said that to have life a person must eat his flesh and drink his blood. Many people stopped following him then and there. As Jesus watched the people leave, he turned to his disciples and asked if they wanted to go also? Simon Peter was always the apostle who spoke up. Notice what he said.
John 6:68 NIV Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
Peter and the apostles recognized that there was no salvation in anyone or anything else. Jesus the Son of God was the only key to receiving everlasting life. Everlasting life was not predicated on their attendance at the synagogue, or their animal sacrifices, it was simply following Jesus as Lord.
The Watchtower Society will often quote John 6:68 to try to convince Witnesses that there is “nowhere else to go.” When the Society does this they intentionally put themselves into the place of Jesus and twist the scripture to support this faulty concept. Note that Peter did not say, “where else would I go.” He said Lord to whom shall we go? You have sayings of everlasting life.
The truth is that there is not an organization on earth that can take the place of Jesus as our Savior. We cannot use the Watchtower Society as a surrogate savior. It is only through our faith and sincere devotion to God and his Son that we can gain this free gift of everlasting life. A man made corporation cannot provide that gift for us, only a personal relationship with Jesus and his Father will bring everlasting blessings. An organization does not need to be involved.
It is important to remember that there is no other name that we can receive salvation through. This includes Organizational names such as the “Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, or the Watchtower Society.
Acts 4:12 J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)
12 In no one else can salvation be found. For in all the world no other name has been given to men but this, and it is by this name that we must be saved!”
How can we serve god without a visible structured organization?
This can be a scary thought when all you have known is very structured routines of worship. Despite what the Watchtower Society claims, the first century Christian congregation was a scattered, disorganized group of men and women strongly united by their love and appreciation for Jesus. The message that they bore was about his resurrection and the grand promises in store for mankind.
The early Christians met in small groups in private homes to encourage and build up each other in the truth. Jesus had reminded them earlier that he would be there with them “when two or more are gathered in my name” Virtually all of the accounts of Christian gatherings found in the Greek scriptures mention only several brothers and sisters meeting in private homes for upbuilding discussions. For example consider the accounts of Cornelius, Lydia, and Prisca and Aquila, all were small groups of believers who met together to encourage and upbuild one another.
It is true that the apostles took the lead in spreading the good news, but they did not serve as a centralized Governing Body in Jerusalem. There was no centralized organization that managed the congregation, and the expression “Governing Body” does not appear in any Bible.
Consider the single account in Acts 15 which is used often by the Society to support the concept of an organized “Governing Body”. The issue of the day was whether or not it was necessary to be circumcised for salvation.
Acts 15:1 NIV- Certain people came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.”
It is clear that the issue of circumcision was decided in Jerusalem simply because that is where the divisions originated from. So this was an issue that divided some of the first century Christians, and they decided collectively to address it at the very source of the problem. It is interesting to note who met in Jerusalem to resolve this divisive issue of circumcision:
Acts 15:12 The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them.
Acts 15:22 Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas.
So who was involved in this issue? It was the whole congregation in Jerusalem. It was not a cloistered meeting of the church hierarchy. Today the Governing Body is made up of 7 men who meet in closed meetings in Brooklyn New York. Their model of operation is dramatically different from what happened in the first century. Even in Israelite times, judicial matters and decisions were more transparent, taking place openly at the city gate. (Joshua 20:4; Deuteronomy 21:18-21)
It is also important to note that none of Paul’s, Peter’s, or John’s letters came from the “Governing Body”, but simply from the apostle directly without the stamp of approval of the other apostles or older men. This was God’s spirit in action, and it did not need a central organization to accomplish the work of teaching and building up the faithful ones.
Today, Circuit and District overseers are appointed by the Governing Body after a lengthy application and review process. Paul was appointed by Jesus directly and did not even meet any other apostles for another 14 years thereafter. (Galatians 1:21-2:2) This shows that there was no hierarchical, organized central administrative body like we are led to believe, which is how the Watchtower Organization is run today.
So we see that the first century congregation was united in message and focus, but not organized into tight congregations, circuits, districts, and zones that received their marching orders from a central Governing Body ruling in Jerusalem. These faithful ones met in small groups in private homes to upbuild and encourage each other. There was no central headquarters that they received literature or letters from. They did not compile their field service time and send it to the GB in Jerusalem for an annual report. Rather they were focused on the simple message that Christ died for our sins and would soon bring blessings to all mankind. There is ample evidence in scripture and in history that God has blessed this arrangement. This message was so appealing that by the end of the first century there were an estimated 1 million Christians serving God under the leadership of His newly appointed King Christ Jesus.
In the 1870’s Brother Russell was disillusioned by the false teachings and corruption in the churches around him and so he started to privately meet with friends and have bible discussions in their homes. They took this approach to avoid the dogmatism and wrath of the local clergy. As Witnesses we celebrate this as being noble and courageous, as he felt compelled by God’s Spirit to leave the Adventist religion and strike out on his own. We may feel we must do the same today as the 1st century Christians and Brother Russell did, by meeting together and upbuilding one another without the need for a centralized organization with man-made creeds to follow.
The Watchtower organization boasts unity worldwide that is in fact simply enforced uniformity. Yes, everyone studies the same material the same day. This is because we are forced to. Uniformity is not the same as unity. As you look to your future, realize that you do not need a formal, corporate-like structure to govern your worship. Simply find one brother or sister or more if you can and study the scriptures together, in prayer and in humility. You will be blessed, and be following the words of Jesus to meet together. (Matthew 18:20)
Am I simply just being too critical and fooling myself?
I have worried about this question myself. We are taught by the Society to never question because our “hearts are treacherous”. To answer this for myself if I was being wrongly critical, I carefully considered several scriptures.
Acts 17:11 New Living Translation (NLT)
11 And the people of Beroea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth.”
Here the Beroeans were commended by Paul for their earnest research in determining whether or not the things Paul taught were true. They did not blindly believe, but instead took a somewhat critical eye to the things Paul said and then independently verified them. Oftentimes in the pages of the Watchtower we are encouraged to “examine the scriptures daily or as the NLT Bible renders it “search the scriptures day after day”. This is important, but it is also important to realize why we should do so; to see if the truth is being taught.
To follow the example of the Beroeans we need to check, verify, and investigate whether or not the truth of the scriptures is being taught by the Society. Why would we be encouraged by the Bible to copy the example of the Beroean Jews, if everything that came from the Society was already true and in harmony with God’s word? There would be no need to check and investigate in contradiction with what is encouraged in Acts 17:11. And as all Witnesses know, many times in the past the Watchtower has been in error in its teachings and needed correction. But the sayings of God found in the Bible are never in error, and never become outdated. The 1989 Kingdom Ministry article, “Are You Using What You Have?” said this :
“Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount is just as practical today as when it was delivered almost 2,000 years ago. There is no need for new revelations of truth when what we need has already been provided.”
Another scripture that helped to settle my mind about being somewhat critical was the encouragement that the Apostle John gives us at 1 John 4:1- MSG Bible
“1 My dear friends, don’t believe everything you hear. Carefully weigh and examine what people tell you. Not everyone who talks about God comes from God. There are a lot of lying preachers loose in the world.”
By the time John wrote this, the foretold apostasy had already begun. He encouraged the 1st century Christians to not believe everything they heard, and asked them to carefully examine what they were told.
We can be no different. We have an obligation to research and investigate the things that we have been told by the Watchtower Society. As the years pass, some of the teachings that we have been originally taught by the Society change over and over, thus proving that the original “truths” were in fact lies.
God encourages us to examine our faith and to put it to the test. Questioning your long held beliefs is not being critical it is simply just following the precedents and instructions in the Bible. Jehovah gave us the gift of the power of reason and the ability to use logic. Use those gifts to determine if certain doctrines of the Society are true. Thoroughly research 1914, Jesus as our Mediator (1 Tim 2:4,5), Blood Transfusions, 144,000 as a literal number and other core doctrines to see if they add up with the scriptures and are supported by logic. Use all the tools at your disposal, such as Bible commentaries and internet resources that are taken from reliable and verifiable sources.
Why isn’t God fixing the problems within the organization?
This is a tough question to answer because it seems as if he should step in and stop the current path of the Governing Body. Remember though that God has always used his true servants to stand up for what is right. He gave them wisdom and courage to speak out with boldness when they saw that the truth had been distorted. Look at Nathan, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Malachi, and Jesus as he boldly condemned the Pharisee’s of his day. All were outspoken against the religious establishment of their time. Stephen was stoned to death in Acts chapter 7 for his “apostate ideas” boldly leveled against these ones.
After much prayer and meditation I have come to the conclusion that God will use those who see the organization for what it is to speak out in protest. Hopefully their message will be heard by the current leadership, and they will receive God’s blessing for their brave effort. Throughout history, man has consistently taken the scriptures and twisted them to further their own means. An example is the Catholic Church in the dark ages. They used the Bible as a basis to oppress and take advantage of their flock. To be accepted by God the people were told that they needed to obey everything the Church said, including buying indulgences.
The Church at that time even twisted scriptures to the point where the ruling class and church leaders felt that it was not only justified, but their God-given duty to punish any who spoke out in opposition to their abuse of the scriptures. Martin Luther, John Wycliffe, and John Calvin were all used by God to expose the corruption of the church. This came at a great personal cost for many of them.
Today the Watchtower organization has taken the pure truths of the scriptures and built a pharisaical structure of policies, practices and rules to control the true servants of God. This is no different than the Catholic Church in the dark ages, that tried to control their member’s lives to an excessive degree. The Watchtower organization has also taken the beautiful arrangement of Christ as a mediator for all men and inserted itself in between Jesus and his followers.
Your Godly heart, and your Christian conscience will lead you in the right path. You yourself knowing the truth and acting on what you know to be true is evidence that God is using you to speak out and change things. So when you wonder why God is not fixing the problems within, look at yourself. He is fixing you! You and I and literally thousands of others like us are the solution or remedy to what is wrong within the organization. Allow God to use you to bring change to this corrupted organization and restore Christian freedom to yourself, your family, and to future generations.
 According to the World Christian Encyclopedia (1982), it is estimated that by A.D. 100 there were 1 million Christians in theRoman Empireout of a population of 181 million. This means that by the end of the first century less than 1 percent of the population (0.6% to be exact) was Christian. (In case [some] wonder about the reliability of the World Christian Encyclopedia, it is generally held in very high regard as a source of information.)
 km 8/89 p. 3 par. 4 Are You Using What You Have?
 See the following films: “God’s Outlaw: the Story of William Tyndale”, “Luther” (2003), Martin Luther, (1953 film) most are available on Netflix and other streaming video services.