: Contrary to forum opinion, Jehovah's Witnesses are not an evil cult. They are good natured people who purportedly believe in a mixture of old fashioned values and distintive biblical doctrines.
Tell that to the thousands of abused people who have been forcibly cut off from their families, undergone divorces, lost children, parents and other loved ones due to Watchtower-induced shunning.
You're arrogantly above it all for one and only one reason: your ox has not yet been gored.
Alligator Wisdom wrote:
: Do any of you think/understand that the WTS (an organization) is the same as JWs (an individual)? I always thought that they were seperate. The Bible says that each will render an account to God on an individual basis - Romans 14:12.
I'm not entirely sure what you're trying to say here. I don't think anyone on this board confuses, or thinks that individual JWs are confusing in a technical sense the Watchtower corporations with the religion that calls itself "Jehovah's Witnesses". Are you trying to say that some people on this board think that some JWs think that the Watchtower Society's corporations are equivalent to Jehovah? I ask that because of your next statements:
: I grew up and lived as a JW for 35 years. Never did I think that the WTS and JWs are the same in any way, shape or form. I felt that my relationship with God was personal with him only, regardless of it being close or not. Hence, a JW. There is no mistaking that, in my testimony.
Here you seem to be switching from "JWs" to "God" without a pause.
: The WTS, on the other hand, was a human run organization/corporation. This is what I was taught from my childhood from the elders, my mother and the older ones in my congregation. They (WTS & JW) are not the same. Apparently many here feel that they are the same. Why? Is it because you were taught such or just believed it because it seemed somewhat parallel?
I really do think you're confused, so let me give you a bit of history.
C. T. Russell made no bones that the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania that he had created, and the various subsidiary corporations he created, were not the equivalent of the loose group known as Bible Students that he had created. Neither group was originally the equivalent of God. However, because Russell was the head of the Watchtower corporations and the Bible Students, and the only way that his religious group called Bible Students put information out to the world was through the various Watchtower corporations, and he claimed that God used him and his various organizations to preach to the world, it's obvious that in practice, there came to be no difference between the Bible Student organization and the Watchtower Society, and Russell's followers considered whatever they read in Watchtower publications to be the Word of God.
When Rutherford took over, he gradually jettisoned most of Russell's teachings and caused the Bible Students / Watchtower corporations to become even more centralized. He wrote a number of articles in The Watchtower instructing his followers that "the Society" was God's organization and that God spoke to them only through it, and so it became dogma among the Bible Students of the late 1920s, and subsequently "Jehovah's witnesses", that "the Society" was equivalent to the religion and organization that called itself "Jehovah's witnesses". And again, since Jehovah spoke only through this religion and organization, these were equivalent to God. And again, since this religion and organization spoke only through the publications and officers of the various Watchtower corporations, these were also equivalent to God. I know very well how this worked, because my Dad was a low-level Bethel official in the early 1940s, serving alongside the same men who are now the highest officials in the various Watchtower corporations. To these men, "the Society" was a synonym for the various Watchtower corporations and for the men who are the leaders of the religion now known as Jehovah's Witnesses.
Over the years, various JWs, including some Watchtower leaders, have attempted to make distinctions between the Watchtower corporations and the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses. But these distinctions are artificial, because the men who actually run things in each supposedly different organization have generally been the same men. For example, until about 1971, the President and Vice President of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, Nathan Knorr and Fred Franz, were literally the leaders of the religion of Jehovah's witnesses. There was also a group of "directors" of this Society, but they had no real power, although for political purposes they were sometimes referred to as a "governing body". What Knorr and Franz decided as leaders of the JW religion and the JW organization were put forth through the various Watchtower corporations. So again in pratice, "the Society", the JW religion and organization, and "God" were pretty much all the same in the minds of most JWs.
The only difference in the way things are run today is that the men of the Governing Body are not officers of any of the many Watchtower corporations. This has only been since 2000, when for liability reasons the Society split itself into many more pieces. Nevertheless, this Governing Body still dictates all of the corporate actions, including publishing their religion doctrines and policies, and running organizations like the Service Department which in turn runs the hiearchy of officials in the field, such as Branch, District and Circuit Overseers, and to which all Bodies of Elders are responsible.
The fact that these organizations are viewed as equivalent to God is proved by the fact that to disagree with what the Watchtower corporations publish or its officials say is grounds for accusations of apostasy and disfellowshipping.