JW Definition of "Spiritual Activities" - Ridiculously Narrow

by Seeker4 21 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Seeker4

    The thread on JWs and hobbies got me to thinking about this, one of my basic disagreements with Witness thinking.
    The WTS always seemed to be dividing activities into those that were "spiritual," and those that weren't.

    In Witness-land, going to meetings, praying, going out in field service and personal Bible study were basically considered the only "spiritual activities." The JW trinity of "study, prayer and service."
    So, we were warned not to get involved in other pursuits, which could distract us from these "spiritual" ones.

    I can now see what an artificial and incredibly shallow view of spirituality this is. Only among the Witnesses is reading Watchtower or Bible-related literature, sitting at JW meetings and knocking on doors in field service considered the only way one expresses ones spirituality.

    Outside of Watchtower-world, music, art, writing, contact with nature, serving others, even athletic pursuits and other physical endeavors are routinely viewed as possible avenues of spiritual expression and growth. Among the Witnesses, they cannot see how this is possibly true, and see these things only as a distraction.

    Have any others come to see how great a spectrum of ways there are to express and grow in a spiritual sense, far, far beyond what the WTS ever led us to believe? And what pursuits that the WTS would see as "worldly" do you find can be quite spiritually refreshing?

    Two I can think of right off are long distance trail running and fly fishing. What else?

  • blondie

    There was an expansion of what sacred service mean in the 70's.

    for example


    w76 10/1 pp. 599-600 Rendering Sacred Service Night and Day ***


    Housewives have a fine opportunity to perform acceptable "sacred service" to God. Their fine works that others can see would certainly include keeping a neat, clean house, taking care of the cooking and the clothing needs of the family. For what is more on display to others than one’s home? A wife’s hospitality, her readiness to help her neighbors, particularly her willingness to ‘put herself out’ to assist other sisters in the congregation in whatever their needs may be—these are sacrifices in which God is well pleased. When people know these things about her, then her public declaration of the good news in the congregation territory will have a more powerful influence.—Acts 9:36-41; Titus 2:4, 5.

    But this was all retracted in 1980


    w80 12/15 p. 29 Do You Remember? ***


    "sacred service" include everyday activities of life, such as caring for our families, maintaining good morals and the like?

    No. "Sacred service" applies to that which directly involves our worship of God. It includes formal and informal witnessing, sharing in worship at Kingdom Halls, caring for our meeting places, all activity related to providing Bibles and Bible literature, as well as sacrifices that we may make in encouraging and aiding our brothers, spiritually and materially, to keep active in Jehovah’s work.—8/15, pp. 30, 31.


  • NewYork44M

    Blondie, I was a teenager at the time of the so-called expansion of the sacred service definition. When it was all taken back later I heard that it was "those apostates" that tried to discount the public preaching because they did not like going out in service.

  • Seeker4

    I remember the sacred service changes very well, and I also heard that the change made in the mid-70s was from those in the "great apostasy" at Bethel.

    The Witnesses try to present this idea of their living in a spiritual paradise, they being truly spiritual people. So their spirituality "appears" wide as an ocean, affecting everything they do. Unfortunately it's only an inch deep. Shallow spirituality is all they have. A truly spiritual person will really struggle to stay a JW.


  • lowden
    A truly spiritual person will really struggle to stay a JW.

    And conversely, a truly JW person will really struggle to be spiritual.

    In fact, they will struggle to be ANYTHING other than what they have been told to be by the WTS.




  • lovelylil

    good thread and so true. The Jewish nation was much like the JW's of today in that they judged spirituality by what they saw on the outside and what they saw had to be measured by their own (man made) rigteousness. Usually this would consists of rules and regulations on how to do everything, including washing your hands or other simple tasks.

    The JW's forget that Jesus did away with this way of doing things. He constantly chastised the pharisees for judging what their eyes could see not what was really inside a person. The other ways of expressing spirituality that were mentioned, art, music, showing love, among others all comes from within the person. Therefore, the WT cannot "see" it and compare it to their standards of measurment.

    No wonder Jesus said to the Pharisees "Go learn what this means, I want mercy and not sacrifice". The WT should apply this also to themselves. For they are modern day Pharisees.

    Most other Christian religions do accept many other forms of expression of spirituality. That is why they, and not the WT are busy in the communities giving time, food, money and other aid to those in need. This is an expression of their faith in Christ and love Christ had for them that they wish to give to others.

    The only thing the WT is accomplishing by promoting their form of spirituality is they are making an abundance of "white washed graves", they look good on the outside (or on paper) but are devoid of any real spirituality inside. They are simply obeying out of fear of the Org. not love of God or Christ.

    Disclaimer: I don't think the above applies to all JW's. Obviously we have many on this board who have left or are fading and have shown a deep, real faith. Lilly

  • KennyC

    Yeppers. In fact the duties of orphans to their widow parents and grandparents are not even considered spiritual activities.

    Apparently, in Christianity an orphan is a person who has lost a father or has none of any account to mention as a father.That being the case, he is supposed to provide some financial and material/service-related relief for his parents and grandparents, such as keeping up the houses and cars. But we all know that secular work is not a spiritual activity, and the fact that they are not “Pioneering” proves their lack of spirituality.

    In fact, such activity is eventually scoffed at as materialism and mundane activity by the masses in JW’ism who are beaming with “Pioneer Spirit” and any individual who engages in such secular activity is on the virge of apostasy.

    Oh well, they “aren’t doing anything” anyway, like putting a Watchtower on a laundry-mat bench to get your time started at 7:30 AM before getting a McMuffin at McDonald's.

    Well, I'm McMiffed now, cuz I know this plate of crap all too well.

  • yaddayadda

    The holy trinity for JW's is not 'study, prayer and service'

    Its 'study (watchtower publications), meetings and service'

  • Seeker4

    "The Jewish nation was much like the JW's of today in that they judged spirituality by what they saw on the outside and what they saw had to be measured by their own (man made) rigteousness."

    Yeah. Superficial spirituality. Shallow.


  • KennyC

    ..."it's all right there on his service record."

    I would say that he is narrow-minded indeed, but the fact is, the org' has created the methods and the spiritual climate to make him see things that way. What is the word? Oh yes, "brainwashed".

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