I know a lot of this has already been hashed out before, but for my own personal mental health I feel compelled to post this stuff. Who knows maybe someone out there can use it towards their freedom. So here is the last letter my wife and I submitted to the Elders:
As you are aware, the response to our previously submitted letter to the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society left us both stunned and disappointed when it was not addressed to us, but rather to you. In an effort to stream line the process and expedite a response we are submitting this letter to you as our Presiding Overseer. With regards to our last letter, we were saddened that the main points went unanswered. This we feel may have been due to some vagueness on our part or perhaps emphasis in the wrong area, in any case, at this time we are asking for clarification on the following issues:
Our last letter focused on the application process to become associated with the Department of Public Information (DPI) and the fact that all United Nations (UN) published materials are available off-site through the United Nations Dag Hammarskjöld Library system.
We did not mean to be argumentative as to the nuances of the application process rather we wanted to know how could the Society become associated as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO)? Reflecting back and meditating on the 1979 Watchtower, page 30, Questions from Readers, how could the Society, in good conscience form this association? The article states: "In joining the YMCA as a member a person accepts or endorses the general objectives and principles of the organization."
Since NGO’s must support and respect the principles of the Charter of the UN and have a clear mission statement that is consistent with those principles - how was it justified that this association was different than what is stated in this Watchtower article?
You have obligated us as Christians to implore again; how can this association be justified? We know that it ended in 2001, but to this day the Society maintains that there was nothing wrong with it. How is this possible? (See Watchtower November 1, 1972; pp. 643-644 - Be Big Enough to Admit a Mistake.) This is our main question to you and above all others this is the one that requires an answer.
We do realize that the DPI is not a religious organization, nor is interfaith encouraged, but were the NGO’s that were already members looked at? By this we mean was it considered how it would make Jehovah’s name look when his earthly organization voluntarily made association with the DPI? The same association that has been made by Catholics For a Free Choice, The Evangelical Covenant Church, National Baptist Convention of the USA, The Knights of Columbus, United Religious Initiative, and many other religious groups. This would have been an ideal situation to lovingly apply 1 Corinthians 8:11-13 (See also Watchtower 9/15, 2000 pp 25-28)
Our next reference is taken from "Organized To Do Jehovah’s Will" page 155; "…a person might renounce his place in the Christian congregation by his action, such as becoming part of a secular organization that has objectives contrary to the Bible and, hence, is under judgment by Jehovah God."
As stated above, the DPI is not a religious organization - it is however part of the Secretariat, the Principle Organ of the United Nations. As such, the DPI along with its UN-affiliated and non-affiliated NGO’s are required to support and respect the principles of the Charter of the UN. Article 42 from this charter states; "…the Security Council…may take such action by air, sea, or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security."
We find this alliance to be contrary with our Bible trained consciences. Doesn’t the Bible teach us that peace and security can only come through God’s righteous rule? (Micah 4:4) We were also reassured by the elder body that the UN is not a political group, ‘they have no land or direct jurisdiction over people.’ Keeping that statement in mind we would like to direct you to the October 22, 2000 Awake! page 31. This article titled, ‘Effort to Oust Vatican From UN’, states in the last paragraph, ‘The coalition wants UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and ultimately the UN General Assembly to conduct an official review of the place the Vatican occupies within the world’s largest political body.’ This is not a quote from an outside source, but rather on of the Society’s viewpoints, and contrary to what the Endicott body has told us with regard to the political status of the UN.
Now we will respond directly to the Society’s last letter. We ask that you address these issues as well so that we may bring this matter to a close. As you informed us that you were instructed to not allow us to have a copy of the letter, we must rely on our memory of that single reading. Why was the response not addressed to us? In fact, why were we called before you to have their response read to us? We found this disturbing. After approaching the Society, upon your recommendation, with legitimate questions we were not even treated with the tenderness of Christ - let alone given the consideration of a personal response. Why was this? For what reasons were we not even copied on the response? Is there a scriptural reason for this lack of consideration? Instead the response to two baptized faithful members was delivered with a condescending attitude, going as far as to accuse us of deceiving ourselves. They had the audacity to imply that by merely using our ability to read we had begun letting Satan direct our steps. Our heartfelt entreaties for an explanation were completely disregarded. That is the most disturbing and unsettling feeling that we have been grappling with since we first contacted you last year.
Our next question concentrates on the Society’s claim that ‘a man in the library’ stated that the Society needed to become an NGO in order to have access to the UN library. Who was this ‘man’ and what documentation did he request to become an associated NGO? The DPI lists the following required application materials:
• A completed Application Form for Non-Governmental Organizations
(Note: All responses must be typed. Handwritten responses will not be accepted.)
• A completed Summary of Application
• A copy of the organization’s constitution/charter or by-laws
• Official proof of not-for-profit status, issued by public authorities, and tax exemption status
(Note: The document should be on official letterhead and dated.)
• A copy of the organization’s most recent audited annual budget or financial statement, conducted by a qualified and independent accountant.
• Evidence of an active information programme relevant to the UN: at least six (6) different types of samples of the organization’s most recent information materials (e.g. newsletter, periodicals, tapes of radio or television programmes, conference reports, web site, news clippings)
(Note: Electronic materials, such as a website or periodicals, should be sent in hard copy form.)
• Two (2) letters of recommendation from organizations (UN or others)
• References (see question 21 in the application form)
Based on telephone conversations with different employees of the DPI, UN, as well as other independent agencies, these above listed documents are and have always been required for the application process; there are no short cuts. This was also confirmed again through the CBS News New York office. This brings about the following questions: What did The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society submit as representation of its constitution/charter or by-laws? Is this something that has been published and presented to the rest of Jehovah’s Organization? What is the ‘active information programme relevant to the UN’? What other organizations gave recommendations?
The claims of ‘just a library card’ do not hold up under investigation. The process of becoming an NGO is both detailed and deliberate requiring multiple transactions with waiting periods of up to six months before approval status is granted. Should we believe that throughout this whole application process no flags were thrown up? Should we believe that through all the levels and departments involved (Legal, for documentation of not-for-profit, Accounts for ‘most recent audited annual budget or financial statement’, Writing, for ‘Evidence of an active information programme’, perhaps others as well) nobody questioned this association?
Another statement in the letter is especially perplexing to us; ‘needing access to the library.’ Based on our research prior to September 11, 2001, anyone wanting access to the UN library at their headquarters in New York City would need to fill out an application form and supply a letter of recommendation in support of the research. Then, if the required martial was not available in a UN depository library (i.e. Columbia University located on the upper West Side) the application would be approved. The request would then have to clear security as well as their Pass Office. It is plainly obvious that access to the UN library at their headquarters was only considered if the information was unavailable in either the depositories or the archives.
All this effort to receive ‘just a library card.’
United Nations Dag Hammarskjöld Library states the following:
"Depositories may hold a partial deposit (comprising official records and printed publications) or a full deposit (comprising official records, printed publications and masthead documents).
Depository libraries with full or free deposit may choose to substitute online access to the Official Document System (ODS) for hard copy distribution of their entitlements.
All designated depository libraries are mandated to place the material received in the care of qualified library staff, to keep it in good order and to make it accessible to the general public, free of charge, at reasonable hours. They are also expected to make deposited items available through interlibrary loan or photocopy to users within their area who cannot easily visit the depository library concerned."
Columbia University, New York University and St. John's University School of Law are all full depositories housing all the UN’s published materials. As the above statement indicates the system was put in place to make their information available to all who seek it. Wouldn’t this include the Society? In addition to these satellite locations there is the UN archive which houses all the UN unpublished materials, which is off-site and requires no clearance. What information and contacts were being sought at the UN headquarters that were not available elsewhere?
Will the Society be willing to provide documentation that supports their claim that NGO status was required to access reference material? Were they deceived or mislead? It seems that one would need to go out of their way to get onto the grounds of the UN and avoid the public libraries that are home to full and partial UN deposits as well as the archives. In fact the UN reference desk states that:
"The issuance of a library pass was independent of NGO status or any other status. There was no change in the library pass policy until 2001. As a consequence of the September 11 attacks, the issuance of library passes has been suspended."
For many years the Governing Body has instructed us to get all business matters in writing. How can it be that they do not have supporting documentation to their claims? We find it appalling that the Society may not have kept detailed records when entering into a relationship with the United Nations. After all, isn’t this the Scarlet Colored Wild Beast?
In our meeting with you we were admonished not to mislead ourselves. Could you please expand on this point? We went to the Society with a set of facts and asked for an explanation, something the elder body was unwilling or unable to do. We get back no supporting documentation of their claim and then we are told that we are misleading ourselves. In fact the only material that was quoted was from publications, the bible was never opened. This is clearly out of line and certainly without love for your brothers. If they do not posses any evidence to the claims of a ‘man at the library’, then they need to state as much. If they do not have any documentation of the ‘textual changes’ in the DPI charter then they must state that as well. Do not throw this on us. We asked straightforward questions only to be told how it is a matter of our perception. Perception is something that is achieved by examining presented facts, they, and in turn you, have yet to provide any facts.
The October 22, 2005 Awake! pp. 9-10, "A first-century disciple of Jesus Christ wrote approvingly of those who listened to the apostle Paul but then checked Paul’s sources to verify the truth of what he taught.—Acts 17:11" The article continues "…Wisely, the reader may check different sources for verification. He may also discuss what he reads with others." This article is entitled "How to Benefit From the Newspaper." Our original information was first read in a newspaper, all along we have been trying to apply this counsel. In turn if such verification is recommended for news articles, how much more so should we be certain of our religious education since this means our very lives? Are the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society publications infallible? The August 15, 1950 Watchtower, "The Watchtower does not claim to be inspired in its utterances, nor is it dogmatic. It invites careful and critical examination of its contents in the light of the Scriptures." Are we as members not responsible for each others spiritual well being? Or should we submit our faith blindly to an admittedly human and fallible organization? The only reliable source of information is the Bible, man’s translation and subsequent interpretation is not necessarily so. It would be wise for all to examine what they read as well as the actions of those they willingly follow. Yet, if one is to do historical research, using the very publications and sources frequently cited by the Society, these actions are immediately viewed under suspicion and any resultant questions are immediately deemed apostate in nature.
These facts have been brushed off by many as being untrue. Research is not encouraged and in fact often discouraged when questions regarding our organization arise, as the Watchtower June 1, 1967; pp. 338 states the following; "But in Jehovah's organization it is not necessary to spend a lot of time and energy in research, for there are brothers in the organization who are assigned to do that very thing…" In alignment with this article R. Iknoweverything recently told us that "in our researching the history of the New World Translation, the only material we need is the CD ROM library, that publications other than the Society’s could not be viewed as accurate." Although the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society and the Governing Body claim not to be infallible, doesn’t dictating what information their members can and cannot read in conjunction with limiting questioning with regards to teachings and actions of the Society and Governing Body give them infallibility? That is to say, if research into historical facts is curtailed and likewise questioning is automatically viewed as apostate, where is the responsibility to truth? "Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" – But who will watch the custodians themselves?
I also sent my mom this e-mail with the above letter attached:
I have attached the original letter that I sent into the Society with the questions regarding the association with the United Nations. Just to keep you up to speed with the process to date, here is a quick run down of the events that have happened far. After sending in our original letter, as per Bill's recommendation (as well as your suggestion) did not receive any response from the Society. Rather a reply was sent to the Body of Elders in Endicott so they could read it to us, we were not allowed to have a copy or to even hold their copy. When asked why Bill's reply was that these letters need to be kept under control. I still do not know what this means exactly, it would seem logical that any response that was accurate in fact and content would not need to be controlled in such a manner.
We were called into a meeting at the Kingdom Hall for this formal reading of their response. Our
questions were not answered. They did, however, inform us that we have deceived ourselves and that we had begun to let Satan direct our steps. Tell me, do you think that Satan is directing me? We used our powers of perception, logic and reason to critically examine the facts as they were confirmed, nothing else.
Due to our writing of this first letter many life long friends have started to call us Apostates behind our backs, in fact a former Pioneer has referred to us as ‘known Apostates". In all this time none have approached us out of love or compassion to help us recover our supposed ‘lost spirituality.’
I have also attached a second letter that was sent to Bill today. Please read these, they contain only facts that I personally have found true. Each fact has been verified through at least three separate, independent sources, in some cases the Service Desk at Patterson.
We have spent at least the past 18 months researching the facts of this and other issues. This is not something that we have taken lightly. In this time we have spoke to only a handful of people, who include you, xxxxxxx and xxxxxxx, xxxxxxx and two others. We have done this specifically in attempt to not cause commotion within the congregation, yet we are labeled as Apostate. The second letter further adds to the list of facts that this was an inappropriate relationship, furthered by the apparent white washing of it. I ask you this single question, if this is not being covered over then why is the only way to find out what happened to do independent research? In addition why are the ones that inquire labeled?
I have no expectations that any answers will be forthcoming, I do expect however that the Society will deal swiftly with us.
Your Son and Daughter,
Her reply was as follows:
I feel sorry for you. I would hate to take a stand against Jehovah,the God
of the universe, for such a lame excuse.
My wife responed thus: I couldn't agree with you more. The excuse the society is giving to honest
inquiries as to their association with the UN for a decade (aka Scarlett
Colored Wild Beast, please see your Revelation Book) is indeed, lame.
Jim please let go, you will not change a million or so, and all witnesses
cant (wont even say hello to you or the family) just disappear for a few
years, if not to late, let go and adjust your mind to leaving with no
We replied with the following, and have not heard anything in almost a week. I see the light, its getting closer. We are getting closer to getting the ax dropped on us, Thank God. Dad,
You asked us to leave quietly and to ‘undo’ what we have started. We have not started this, we merely asked sincere questions that have gone unanswered -- in fact there has been a refusal to give answers. Walking away either today or 18 months ago makes no difference, what it would mean is that we would need to sacrifice our principles, our convictions.
I find it very interesting that we are the ones expected to compromise when the Society is the one that has not held to their teachings, their dogma. If you re-read the second letter this is pointed out rather clearly. Please let me know if you or Mom would like to discuss any of the facts regarding this matter. Tell me, whose grace will be salvaged if we compromise our principles; ours, yours, or mom’s? Wouldn’t you rather be able to look at your son and say that he is a principled man solid in his convictions? Or does the thought of someone weak and vulnerable sound more like the son you raised?
Leaving this organization can not be accomplished in a quiet manner. Yes, we do realize the consequences and those that choose not to associate with us will be the ones that will be punished, our door will never be closed nor will we ever turn our backs on our families.
By not holding fallible men to task for their secretive hypocritical actions, we only help further this organization’s appearance of infallibility. We are not the only ones at this crossroad; there are many others that are as equally disturbed over the recent conduct of the ‘true’ religion. I might add that there are also other controversial areas that this organization is involved in that I do not wish to discuss at this time for the simple reason that we do not wish to cause anyone harm or tear them away from something that makes them happy or brings them peace. However, we will not live in a state of denial in order to save face for anyone.
We will not make apologies for our convictions. This is not a religion that Carrie and I chose; rather this was one we were raised in and expected to carry on with. Our religion was supposedly safeguarding us but in actuality they threw us under the bus, so to speak. Carrie and I are now taking on the task of both parents and students. Try to imagine what it feels like to be a part of the generation that was forbidden to attend college, as it was frowned upon… How much simpler would our lives be now if we were well established in our chosen fields, at least we wouldn’t we living hand to mouth and struggling to make ends meet. You can talk the talk, that is – oh, you wouldn’t be taking the classes you are now but does that truly bring you comfort? I doubt it. You see how we live, the struggles we are faced with and whether you
acknowledge it or not it was our lives that were tampered with. We were the ones held back, held down and now, expected to carry on with the grand tradition of swallowing the rhetoric of controlling men only to find out that they themselves did not/do not live according to their own rules! That is lame, no, that is shameful.
We will do what we feel is best for the future of OUR family regardless of how many tears are shed because when it comes right down to it, the choice is ours to make, the only choice you have is whether or not you choose to remove ourselves from our lives.
Any that are still debating leaving and just poking around here please remember, you will end up where your going if you don’t change direction.