This is just the tip of the iceberg....
*** Watchtower 1954 4/1 pp. 201-205 The Tobacco Habit—Compatible with Christianity? ***
The Tobacco Habit—Compatible with Christianity?
"Therefore, since we have these promises, beloved ones, let us cleanse ourselves of every defilement of flesh and spirit, perfection holiness in God’s fear."—2 Corinthians 7:1, NW.
IT WAS July 18, 1953, the day before the international New World Society Assembly of Jehovah’s Witnesses was to open at Yankee Stadium in New York city. Among the eager and curious spectators on the convention grounds outside the stadium was seen a young man smoking a cigarette. Although there were others who were smoking, yet this particular young man attracted attention. Why? Because he also wore a badge identifying himself as one of Jehovah’s witnesses. Upon being engaged in conversation he revealed that he lived in the immediate vicinity of the stadium and had only recently become interested in the work of Jehovah’s witnesses and that the subject of smoking had at no time been broached by the witness who was conducting a Bible study in his home.
Why do Jehovah’s witnesses frown on the use of tobacco? Do the Scriptures explicitly forbid smoking in just so many words? No, they do not. However, the entire tenor of the Scriptures is that the use of tobacco is incompatible with true Christianity.
Christ Jesus summed up true Christianity by saying: "You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind and with your whole strength," and "you must love your neighbor as yourself." (Mark 12:30, 31, NW) The use of tobacco cannot be reconciled with obedience to these two great commandments, and that on some ten different counts.
INCOMPATIBLE WITH THE FIRST COMMANDMENT
To love Jehovah with all our strength means to give to God’s service the very best that our bodies are capable of giving. But we cannot do that if we deliberately engage in practices that harm our bodies, can we? And the use of tobacco is harmful. Researchers, working in four of the most respected research centers in the United States, recently met and went on record that the blame for the rise in lung cancer and certain circulatory or heart ailments must be placed squarely on the increase in cigarette smoking. And a doctor and author, who for ten years was research adviser to a major tobacco company, warns that tobacco contains thirty different substances such as nicotine, arsenic, alcohol and ammonia. According to him "tobacco contains as nice a collection of poisons as you will find anywhere in one small package."
Christians have much and important work to do and need all the strength their bodies can supply. If respect for our bodies should be sufficient to discourage the use of tobacco, then certainly respect for the service of God should be even stronger reason for not using it. The use of tobacco is incompatible with our loving God with all our strength.
Loving Jehovah with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength also means worshiping him with clean bodies. Jehovah and everything associated with him, his Word and his organization, are pure, clean and righteous. Tobacco befouls one’s body, one’s breath, one’s clothing and one’s home. The Scriptures admonish us not to touch or have anything to do with that which is unclean, and this applies to literal as well as figurative uncleanness: "Therefore, since we have these promises, beloved ones, let us cleanse ourselves of every defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in God’s fear." "Every defilement of flesh" includes defilement by tobacco. Further, we are counseled to avoid "uncleanness of every kind" and to "put away all filthiness."—2 Cor. 7:1; Eph. 5:3; Jas. 1:21; 2 Cor. 6:17; Col. 3:5-9, NW.
Our bodies are vessels for God’s holy spirit, earthen vessels containing the treasure of the ministry, and therefore must be kept clean. Tobacco-stained and tobacco-saturated bodies, clothes and homes are incompatible with Christianity.—2 Cor. 4:7.
Again, loving Jehovah with all our soul means also to love him with all the means we have at our disposal, and that includes our money. Since tobacco is not essential to our well-being, but rather works injury to our health, there can be no excuse for squandering our money upon it. If we smoke a package of cigarettes a day, in the course of a year we will have spent from $75 to $100 for tobacco. Many smoke more than one package a day. How much better to use that money to help spread the truth of God’s kingdom in foreign lands or to support the Kingdom witness in our local territory. Or, money thus saved could be used to pay our way to an international assembly of Jehovah’s witnesses, or to provide wholesome entertainment and relaxation for ourselves and our families. Truly, the tobacco habit represents a waste of money that is incompatible with true Christianity.
And further: to love Jehovah whole-souledly means that our wills must be his, subject to him and only to him. The Scriptures show that, by virtue of our having been ransomed by the blood of Christ and by virtue of our having dedicated ourselves to do God’s will, we are his slaves and so we cannot be the slaves of men or of any bad habit. (1 Cor. 6:20; 7:23, NW) We must be as free men and yet not using our freedom as a cloak for moral badness.—1 Pet. 2:16, NW.
However, it is a well-known fact that tobacco is a narcotic, the most widely used of all narcotics. Narcotics are habit-forming and bring one into slavery to them. Many persons admit that the only reason they continue smoking tobacco is that they are unable to stop. While some boast they could stop if they wanted to, yet more likely than not such boasts are mere rationalization because of an unwillingness to admit that they are slaves to the tobacco habit. We are slaves to that which we obey, and slavery to the tobacco habit is incompatible with Christianity, which is free.
If we would love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, we must also avoid everything contaminated by his enemy, Satan the Devil. The Israelites were strictly forbidden to have anything to do with pagan demonism in any form, and the law for Christians is not less strict. (1 Cor. 10:19-24) Historical facts show that among the chief uses to which the American Indians put tobacco was in connection with "most significant and solemn tribal ceremonies," which, of course, were steeped in pagan demonism. This original use of tobacco furnishes another argument why its use today is not compatible with Christianity.
INCOMPATIBLE WITH LOVE OF NEIGHBOR
True Christianity, as expounded by Christ Jesus, in addition to requiring that we love Jehovah God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, also means loving our neighbor as ourselves.—Mark 12:31, NW.
In view of the many injurious substances that tobacco smoke contains, are we loving our neighbor as ourselves, are we doing to others as we would have them do to us, when we pollute with tobacco smoke the air they breathe, although many of them do not smoke but find tobacco fumes very obnoxious? Certainly not! We may blow our own smoke away from ourselves and thus minimize the harm it does to us by not inhaling, but what about others? And all this is especially inexcusable when done in homes, places of employment or public conveyances during inclement weather. Surely such thoughtlessness is incompatible with Christianity’s neighbor love.
Loving our neighbors as ourselves also requires that we set a good example. Just as we would not want others to stumble us or influence us in a wrong way, so we should be careful not to stumble or adversely influence others. Paul would even have refused to eat certain meat if that stumbled another. And as he counseled Timothy: "Become an example to the faithful ones in speaking, in conduct, in love, in faith, in chasteness." (1 Tim. 4:12; 1 Cor. 8:13, NW) Is thoughtlessness regarding the spiritual welfare of our neighbor or fellow Christian compatible with Christianity?
Then again, the New World society of Jehovah’s witnesses has gained a reputation for being a clean organization, and it is recognized as a society of ministers. As ministers we should be very jealous of our power to influence others for good. Many who are "conscious of their spiritual need," who are "hungering and thirsting for righteousness," may be prejudiced against accepting aid from us if they note us using tobacco. We are a "theatrical spectacle to the world," we are to follow the example Christ Jesus set, we are ambassadors in his stead. (Matt. 5:3, 6; 1 Cor. 4:9;1 Pet. 2:21; 2 Cor. 5:20, NW) Could we imagine Christ Jesus smoking? Unless we can, we must admit that smoking tobacco is incompatible with Christianity.
And finally there is the hope of everlasting life in Jehovah’s righteous new world. In that new world men will not use any narcotics, for there will be no pain, sorrow or death there. It will be a clean world and its inhabitants will be clean. Shall we be able to enjoy that new world if we enter it as slaves to the tobacco habit? Having this hope of a clean new world should help us to be clean even now, for are we not to live now by the same rules and principles as will prevail then? Smoking tobacco now while holding out to others as desirable the hope of a beautiful clean new world in which there will be no smoking is not consistent, is it?
NO ARGUMENTS FOR TOBACCO
Some argue that because the Bible does not specifically forbid the use of tobacco there can be no objection to its use. Such, however, overlook the historical fact that until the Western Hemisphere was discovered the use of tobacco was limited to the Indians residing in that hemisphere; so there was no occasion for tobacco to be mentioned or forbidden among Jehovah’s servants.
Then again, some claim that it is inconsistent to be so strict regarding tobacco and yet permit the use of alcoholic beverages, as do Jehovah’s witnesses. However, let it be noted that the Bible tells us that Jehovah God provided wine to make glad the hearts of man, and Paul instructed Timothy to take a little wine for his stomach’s sake. Such was fermented wine, for without modern means for preserving it grape juice could not remain unfermented. But if you do not need it there is no need to use it. (Ps. 104:15; 1 Tim. 5:23) Of course, it is wrong to drink too much, even as it is wrong to overeat, and that is why the Bible condemns both gluttony and drunkenness. Certainly the Christian ministers in such lands as France, Germany and Italy who drink wine or beer regularly with their meals are bringing no reproach upon Jehovah, nor are they harming their bodies by following the custom of the people. Moderate use of wine and like beverages is compatible with Christianity, with loving Jehovah God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength and loving our neighbor as ourself. But keep in mind, moderation, never once getting drunk!
But tobacco is not a food; it is a habit-forming drug, a narcotic. When first taken into one’s system it usually produces illness, showing that the body rebels against the poison. The tobacco habit injures one’s health, is unclean, is a waste of money, enslaves its users; its origin is associated with demon worship, all of which are incompatible with our loving Jehovah with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. And since it pollutes the air others must breathe, sets them a bad example and gives them a bad impression of the New World society, its use indicates a lack of neighbor love. The fact that smokers are inclined to be indifferent toward the rights of others is indicated by the number of fires caused by careless smokers, some 15 per cent, or approximately 100,000 fires a year, being caused by careless smokers in the United States alone. In Jehovah’s new world there will be no smoking of tobacco.
Some smoke because of tenseness, nervousness or restlessness. Such, however, should endeavor to get at the cause of their condition rather than to take an injurious drug to palliate the symptoms. Self-examination might reveal such traits as greed, competition or ambition; or it may be double-mindedness; or then again the prickings of a guilty conscience may be the cause. For such cases ‘godliness and contentment, or self-sufficiency,’ is the remedy.—1 Tim. 6:6, NW.
Tens of thousands of Christian ministers of Jehovah at one time had the tobacco habit, but, finding it incompatible with Christianity, they dropped it. All who would take Christianity seriously certainly will divest themselves of it if saddled with it. One can stop smoking if he really wants to. The thing is to be fully convinced that smoking tobacco is displeasing to Jehovah God, shows lack of neighbor love and is not good for the one smoking, either physically, spiritually, mentally or morally. Incidentally, until one has overcome the habit, let him show neighbor love by keeping his vice to himself, not flaunting his folly. (Prov. 13:16, AS) As the apostle Paul well said, "For all things I have the strength by virtue of him who imparts power to me." That includes strength to overcome the tobacco habit.—Phil. 4:13, NW.
*** Watchtower 74 4/1 pp. 223-224 Questions From Readers ***
Questions From Readers
? Since Jehovah’s witnesses regard smoking as contrary to Christian practice, do they prevent others from smoking when these come to their homes or business establishments?—U.S.A.
Whatever individual Witnesses decide to do in this regard is a personal matter governed by their Bible-trained conscience.
Generally, however, Jehovah’s witnesses prefer that no one does any smoking in their homes. In this way they safeguard the health of their families and prevent their homes from being befouled with the stench of tobacco. Then, too, as Jehovah’s witnesses are concerned about helping others to ‘cleanse themselves of every defilement of flesh and spirit,’ would it be consistent for them to permit indiscriminate smoking in their homes? (2 Cor. 7:1) If they did, would it not suggest to others that they do not regard smoking as a serious matter?
When visitors are kindly informed about the view of Jehovah’s witnesses, they usually respect the wishes of the homeowner. But if their addiction to the tobacco habit is so great that they feel they absolutely must smoke a cigarette, they may be able to do their smoking where it would be least offensive and harmful to others. Just what individual Witnesses might arrange or permit in that case is for them to decide, and it would be influenced by whether the family head is a Witness.
In places of business it is not uncommon to see "No Smoking" signs. Of course, the law of the land may not specifically prohibit smoking in certain business places, and smokers may expect to be able to indulge in their habit while waiting to be served. As the Christian renders personal services to all who might come to him, he may not necessarily feel that he is in position to lay down rules for his customers. He knows that he is in the world and therefore cannot avoid contact with persons having habits that he does not approve. (1 Cor. 5:9, 10) In view of this, some of Jehovah’s witnesses may conclude that the circumstances prevent them from prohibiting smoking at their business establishments. Hence, they may feel obliged to provide receptacles for customers who smoke. Other Witnesses, however, may decide to put up a sign requesting that no smoking be done. They may reason that this would make things more pleasant for themselves and the many nonsmokers frequenting their business establishment.
*** Watchtower 1981 2/1 pp. 8-10 Can You Love Your Neighbor and Smoke? ***
Can You Love Your Neighbor and Smoke?
Humans who smoke not only foul the air that others must breathe but also damage their own health. They themselves would be healthier if they stopped smoking. And they would also save a lot of money by not polluting—up to $700 a year or so just for the cost of the cigarettes. So the only reasonable course for a smoker is to stop smoking.
Consider the amount of pollution in the smoke that curls off the burning end of a cigarette. It is much more toxic than the smoke inhaled by the smoker. Sidestream smoke contains twice the amount of tar and nicotine, five times more carbon monoxide and 50 times more ammonia than mainstream smoke, not to mention other poisons.
The burning of 10 cigarettes in a closed automobile will raise the carbon monoxide level to 100 parts per million, far above the exposure permitted by United States federal air-quality standards. "At a typical campus party," noted the New York Times, "the level of particulates in the air from cigarette smoke is 40 times above the United States air quality standard." And, as observed above, the harm done to those regularly forced to breathe such smoke has been well established.
CONSISTENT WITH NEIGHBOR LOVE?
The Bible says that to "love your neighbor as yourself" is "the kingly law," thus emphasizing this law’s importance. (Jas. 2:8) Would it be showing love to your neighbor willfully to throw garbage onto his property or to spit in his face? "Of course not!" you may say. Would doing these things to your neighbor be a sin?
The definition of sin helps to answer this question. "Sin is a breaking of the law"—God’s law—the Bible says. (1 John 3:4, Today’s English Version) So willfully to impose on your neighbor something as objectionable as spit in his face or garbage on his property would be a sin. It would be a violation of "the kingly law" that says, "You must love your neighbor as yourself."
But how does this relate to smoking? Dr. Isaac Asimov, in an editorial in Cancer News, very forcefully showed how. "When someone smokes in my presence," he said, "his vice is not private. His foul emanations find their way into my lungs and bloodstream. His stench becomes my stench and clings to me. And, he raises my chance of heart disease and lung cancer."
In answer to smokers who may claim the freedom to smoke in the presence of others, Dr. Asimov said: "If he feels he must smoke and that by objecting I am depriving him of his freedom, then would he be willing to bear with me if I feel I must kick him in the groin and that by objecting he would deprive me of my freedom? Let’s put it this way: Your freedom to smoke ends where my lungs begin."
No question about it, kicking someone in the groin, spitting in his face, or throwing garbage on his property is not consistent with neighbor love. Neither is smoking. It is infringing on the rights of others—hurting them rather than loving them. Yes, smoking is a sin.
However, a smoker may explain: "I realize that smoking can be harmful. That’s why I never smoke around people." So, if one only smokes privately, is it sin? No one else is harmed.
SIN TO SMOKE PRIVATELY?
Yet consider: The smoker’s own life is adversely affected. And who really is the source of our lives? "With you [Jehovah God] is the source of life," the Bible answers. "He himself gives to all persons life and breath." (Ps. 36:9; Acts 17:25) Yes, our life is really a marvelous gift from God.
How do we show appreciation for God’s gift of life? By doing what can ruin it? Of course not! Willfully doing so obviously would be wrong. In such a context, examine the statement of Joseph Califano, former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare: "Today there can be no doubt that smoking is truly slow-motion suicide."
Deliberately destroying human life is wrong—it is a sin. The Bible commands Christians not even to pollute their bodies. "Let us cleanse ourselves of every defilement of flesh," it urges. (2 Cor. 7:1) For a smoker to obey this command, he must rid himself of the tobacco habit, since it is indeed defiling. It defiles the smoker’s fingers, teeth, breath, clothes—practically everything with which it comes in contact.
But what if a smoker wants to quit, yet is so addicted that he cannot? Will God mercifully understand that, since Jesus Christ said, ‘The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak’?—Matt. 26:41.
EXCUSED DUE TO WEAKNESS?
No question about it, to quit smoking can be extremely difficult. "It was much easier to quit heroin than cigarettes," addicts have said. The withdrawal symptoms last much longer with tobacco. "For most, craving persists at least a month," observes the magazine Science 80, "and for about a fifth it continues five to nine years after they quit."
This helps explain why many quit smoking for a while, but then start again. Nine out of 10 smokers want to stop. But to stay off tobacco is a continual day-in, day-out battle, sometimes lasting for years. Millions have won the battle. Tens of millions have fought and lost. If a person has tried to quit and has failed, is it wise to assume that God will understand and forgive this shortcoming?
A source of the problem is that a person may enjoy smoking. Yet that does not excuse the practice when God condemns it. The Bible says that, "rather than to have the temporary enjoyment of sin," Moses wisely chose to serve God. (Heb. 11:24-26) God expects his servants to fight against and, with his help, overcome practices that are contrary to his laws.
Consider fornication as an example. It is a practice that may seem enjoyable for a time. And when practiced, a person’s craving for sex with a variety of partners can be as strong as any urge for a cigarette. Yet fornication is breaking God’s law, and willful, unrepentant practicers of fornication will not be favored with God’s gift of everlasting life. Neither will those who continue to smoke.—Heb. 13:4; Rom. 6:23.
It takes real effort to be obedient to God’s laws. This was also true for God’s Son, Jesus Christ. He underwent the most extreme suffering, eventually dying a horrible death. Yet he remained faithful to God. For some persons, the agonies experienced in order to quit smoking may seem just as difficult to endure as the sufferings Christ underwent. Yet the tobacco habit can be overcome. How?
*** Watchtower 1950 2/15 pp. 59-61 Why Christians Shun Tobacco ***
Why Christians Shun Tobacco
MANY new ones are coming to a knowledge of the truths in the Bible and are taking their place in the gospel-preaching ranks of Jehovah’s witnesses. Many of these new ones formerly smoked tobacco, but have now quit. A few others come to a knowledge of the truth but do not quit smoking. When an effort is tactfully made to instruct them they reply that the Bible does not forbid smoking, that when they are shown from the Bible that it is wrong then they will quit. Some of these have even offered cigarettes to non-smoking witnesses when at local Kingdom Halls. At least, their attempt at humor is unbecoming and savors of taunting. At most, they could tempt only another who had cleansed himself of the habit.
It is true that the Bible does not specifically name tobacco-smoking as an evil to be avoided. If Christians should shun it, why does not the Bible definitely mention it? Because in the times when the Bible was written the smoking of tobacco was unknown. Under the heading "Tobacco" the Encyclopedia Americana, 1942 edition, states:
"Originating in America, the use of tobacco has been extended into practically all parts of the world, and, indeed, it has come to be incomparably the most generally used of all narcotics. . . . Tobacco was widely used by the Indians at the time of the discovery of America by Columbus and relics of the Mound Builders show that pipe smoking was a very ancient custom among the aborigines. On landing in the West Indies in 1492 members of Columbus’ crew observed that the natives smoked rolls of dried tobacco leaves. When the Spaniards landed in Mexico in 1519 they found the natives cultivating tobacco with care and skill. . . . The American Indians had evolved methods of cultivating tobacco and preparing it in all forms which are now used. . . . The culture and the use of tobacco were introduced into India, Persia and other Asiatic countries early in the 17th century."
Hence it was not used in Biblical lands till more than fifteen centuries after the last book of the Bible was written. Nevertheless, inspired admonition contained in Scripture is of such scope as to definitely embrace the use of tobacco. A meek and humble person who wishes to receive instruction could consider with profit such scriptures as Proverbs 30:12, Isaiah 52:11, Galatians 5:19, Colossians 3:5, James 1:22, Ephesians 5:3, 4, and other texts concerning cleanness in matters both physical and spiritual. These texts establish a principle of purity and cleanness that should guide Christians, and 2 Corinthians 7:1 is explicit when it orders: "Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." A translation in modern English reads: "Let us cleanse ourselves from everything that contaminates either flesh or spirit; let us be fully consecrated by reverence for God."—Moffatt.
Is not tobacco-smoking filthy in that it stains the flesh, stinks clothes and body, and litters ashes about? Is it not expressing inconsiderate selfishness rather than love when one fouls the air with strong smoke for others to breathe, and which smarts the eyes? Does not the habit contaminate the flesh by harming health? It admittedly cuts wind or endurance, slows reflexes, fogs the brain, promotes diseases of heart and blood vessels, lowers vitality, irritates sinuses and membranes of nose, mouth, throat and lungs, induces cancer, impairs reproductive functions in both men and women, weakens moral fiber and shortens the life span. To what advantages can cigarette smokers point to counterbalance these disadvantages? Can one consecrate his full potential of strength and energy to God if he siphons off a measure of it by sucking on cigarettes? Is a Christian’s consecrated strength and time and money being wisely spent when dissipated and wasted through the tobacco habit? It is not necessary for Jehovah’s witnesses to badger or heckle smokers with these and similar questions. It is sufficient for each smoker, particularly those who have come to a knowledge of the truth and who engage in Jehovah’s service, to honestly consider these questions and look frankly into his own mind and heart for the answer.
They might also remember that it was Jehovah’s visible organization that God used to rid their mind of false religious doctrine, that He used it to teach them Kingdom truths, to picture for them new-earth blessings, and to train them in the gospel-preaching work that leads to such joys and eternal life. They trusted the organization in those matters, certain that God was and still is using it. Is it not reasonable that God also uses it to cleanse His people of such filthy habits as smoking? After the novice becomes a witness through the organization’s aid, does he suddenly become wiser than his visible teacher on the subject of cleanliness and on explaining scriptures relating thereto? On different occasions in times past The Watchtower has discussed the use of tobacco. Note the following comments taken from the Watchtower magazine of July 1, 1942, after it quoted 2 Corinthians 7:1.
"Any filthiness, whether it be of the flesh or of the spirit, is abominable in His sight. Cleanliness of the flesh and spirit is the very opposite of filthiness, and means that the creature must be clean in body and in mind and use the natural faculties with which he is endowed to the glory of God. Having taken his position on the side of Jehovah in the great issue, and having been granted by Jehovah the great privilege of being associated with his Theocratic organization, he must deport himself in keeping with that holy organization.
"The armies [of this world], and the religious organizations with them, are seeing to it that those fighting for world domination are amply supplied with tobacco. The Encyclopædia Britannica (Vol. 26) says: ‘As the continent of America was opened up and explored, it became evident that the consumption of tobacco, especially by smoking, was a universal and immemorial usage, in many cases BOUND UP WITH THE MOST SIGNIFICANT AND SOLEMN TRIBAL CEREMONIES.’ That means the use of that herb was associated with demonism, to bring its dupes under the power of the demons. Is the use of tobacco, then, clean or filthy within the meaning of the Scriptures? The use of tobacco is extremely filthy, regardless of the form in which it is used. It befouls the body and dulls the mental faculties. It makes the user offensive to those with whom he comes in contact, and works great injury to the user and is a dishonor to God and Christ. The use of tobacco has greatly demoralized the human race. It creates an appetite for other impure and filthy things. Under no condition is the use of tobacco approved by God’s Word, although not mentioned by name.
"It, therefore, does not seem consistent for anyone of God’s organization or those who have been privileged by His grace to enter the ‘cities of refuge’, to use tobacco. . . . Those who persist in the use of the harmful weed cannot be considered as proper examples in word, in charity, in spirit, in faith, or in purity, and by their course of action the example they are setting forth works ill to their neighbor. They are rebelling against a reasonable requirement of the Lord’s organization . . .
"If a man chooses to injure himself by the use of tobacco, no one has the right to say he shall not use it, but certainly no person has the right to blow tobacco smoke into the nostrils of another person. The habit of tobacco-smoking is one of the most selfish that is exercised by human creatures; and, being selfish, it is the very opposite of love. The smoker fails to give any consideration to the rights and privileges of others about, to whom tobacco may be offensive. There is every reason against the use of tobacco; there is not one reason that supports its use. . . .
"Tobacco is the Devil’s weed employed for the purpose of demoralizing human creatures, particularly in the ‘time of the end’. The use of tobacco having originated with demonism, it should be expected that the ‘prince of the demons’ would introduce its use into Christendom by religionists and popularize it there among religious practitioners. The contaminating influence thereof has spread to all parts of the earth. Imagine the ‘great multitude’ of Armageddon survivors, under the righteous rule of the visible ‘princes in all the earth’, with cigarettes in their lips and trying to carry out the divine mandate to fill the earth with a healthy-blooded righteous race!" (Pages 205, 206)
PROPER REGARD FOR THE ORGANIZATION
And one more point that new ones among Jehovah’s witnesses should remember relative to the use of tobacco. That is, is it their purpose to bring filthiness into the organization and spoil its reputation for cleanness? The fact that Jehovah’s witnesses as a group do not smoke has become a marker of them, a sign that distinguishes them from worldlings, a cause for special notice and comment by outside observers. Typical of this is the press report in the Springfield Union, July 2, 1949, in the section "With the Witnesses" published during the district assembly held in Springfield, Massachusetts:
"One boy about 12 years old had his binoculars trained on the speakers, even though he had a seat right near the front. Use of the glasses tended to create a racetrack atmosphere. But another condition in the Coliseum was a far cry from what’s usual at sporting events of any sort. People who attend hockey games there, particularly, wouldn’t have recognized the place. Indeed, who had ever before been in the Coliseum with 4,500 other people when there wasn’t the tiniest trace of cigaret smoke?"
Do new ones wish to mar this standard of cleanness that has made Jehovah’s visible organization outstanding? It does not seem that any new witnesses appreciative of the truths they have learned from the organization would want to repay by doing evil, by wrecking such a long-established reputation for freedom from tobacco’s filth. It is not the purpose of the visible organization to be narrow or dogmatic or lacking in tolerance and mercy. It realizes that it takes time for new ones to cleanse themselves of worldly filth, both physical and spiritual, and those making up the visible organization should exercise patience and understanding with one another. New ones should be meek and teachable and not stubbornly resist for selfish reasons the Scriptural admonitions against the filthiness of the tobacco habit. On the other hand, those in the organization who are clean of this contamination of the flesh should not fall short of being merciful and long-suffering, but should allow time for new ones to readjust themselves and conform to the Scriptural ways of Jehovah’s organization.
Many different methods for breaking the tobacco habit are recommended by worldly theorists, such as special diets, exercise, medicines, gradual tapering-off of smoking, etc. The best method for quitting is to have a good incentive for doing so and then to stop abruptly. It is the method used by many when they became Jehovah’s witnesses and wanted to cease fouling themselves with tobacco. Many of this multitude of witnesses numbering into the tens of thousands were at one time in slavery to tobacco with the rest of the world, but they broke free of its unclean bonds, not because they followed a special diet or course of exercise, but because they realized that it was defiling their bodies and harming their health and making them unclean for Jehovah’s service. Had they not learned that Jehovah’s witnesses were commanded to be clean in both mind and body?—Isa. 52:11; 2 Cor. 7:1.
How, then, were so many thousands able to break the tobacco habit? Most people fail to appreciate that the mind is the agency that controls, governs and directs the body and its habits. But Jehovah’s witnesses fully realize this and know that the battle against tobacco must be fought and won in the mind. They know full well that the great adversary the Devil as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour attacks one’s mind, and so they take mental refuge under the protecting hand of Jehovah God. (1 Pet. 5:8) Under such overshadowing protection they are taught by God’s Word, the Bible. But in addition to a mind fed, strengthened and directed by God’s Word he gives them that all-necessary invisible force or energy toward righteousness, and that is his holy spirit. To those who ask him persistently he gives this spirit more readily than earthly parents give good gifts to beloved children. Thus, fortified and moved by his holy spirit, and with honest-to-goodness appeal or prayer to God for his help to overcome the entrenched habit, they are bound to vindicate his power in gaining the victory.
Food and exercise are also important factors for Jehovah’s witnesses. Their special diet is that prescribed by the great Physician: "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." (Matt. 4:4) They do not get choosy and stubbornly reject the spiritual food that puts their unclean habits in an unfavorable light, but partake of the spiritual food to get strength to overcome the uncleanness. For exercise they have their "feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace" (Eph. 6:15), and they hasten from house to house with this good news. They do not sit around in a tobacco-laden atmosphere, but get out into the fresh air and occupy their mind and body by standing on the street corners with magazines heralding forth the Kingdom message.
This, then, is the sure and positive cure for the tobacco habit, and anyone who will make a clean and abrupt break from the snare and follow this course will find that in a short time he will have lost his desire for the weed. Then he will have more health and strength and energy to expend in Jehovah’s service. He will have redeemed time and money for worth-while uses. He will have Scripturally cleansed himself from that particular "filthiness of the flesh". Then, instead of tearing down the organization’s reputation for cleanness, he will be a clean associate of the clean organization that today is preaching the good news of Jehovah God’s righteous new world of endless blessings.