Jehovah's Witnesses Are Believers But Know Not What They Teach
Yes, but there is a huge body of Catholic scholarship about many subjects that are not viewed as apostate or heretical; the Vatican lets them exist without crushing them.
Consider John Dominic Crossan; he does not follow orthodox Catholic teaching, but he has never been condemned by the Vatican.
And the Catholic Church, despite the horrific abuse issues that are still coming to light, does perform vast charity work throughout the world.
The WT is NOT willing to allow any flexibility of doctrine, or allow dissenting voices.
They certainly do not believe in real charity of any type.
They will never be mainstream; they don't have any real thinkers, or leaders, that would allow that kind of tolerance.
Wrath Of Jehu:
Was this "dear elder' by any chance related to Johnathan Swift or, better still, Aesop?
When I joined the religion back in the early '80s, it at least felt like we really were Bible students.
Of course, Crazy Freddy's ideas were whacked and false, but at least they were interesting and had the feel of scholarship, albeit a cheap imitation of the real thing. I actually enjoyed the rare but challenging discussion with someone when we would pull out the Bible and go over various scriptures and discuss and debate their meaning.
Now, all JWs are simply followers of whatever the WTBTS decides to print in their latest publications, in print or virtual.
Now JWs stand on the street by a literature cart and if someone is curious enough to approach them, they'll use their iPads to direct this bored or lost soul to a website. The Bible is little more than a prop.
Exactly; when I sent someone a link to the Conti lawsuit (AP, a major news site), there was no response, just a link to their jay w dot org website.
It has become their good luck charm, their talisman, to ward off dissent and bad news.
Similar to Pistoff, I believe that JWs have one belief - the GB is god's spokesmen and all JWs must unquestionably follow as the GB dictates.
How else could any JW justify changing long held beliefs views (aka true understanding - aka TRUTH) due a "new understanding" (aka New Light) as uttered only from those claiming to be the GB although the new light is not supported by the bible and maybe soon changed again and their position cannot be verified?
Although the GB are often referred as the "slave", how many "slaves" are actually in a position of leadership?
Unless specifically made clear by the "Master", a slave that claims prominence is most often only due to claims made by that slave in his desire for prominence and have little to do with reality.
When I was a young teenager and "in the truth", I was talking to an elder and his wife and they offered me some hot tea. I declined and told them that I like ice tea but I do not care for hot tea. The elder told me that when I get older and find a "sister" that I fall in love with, if she likes hot tea, then I will like hot tea as well.
How little did I realize that it at the time, but he just spoke volumes about life itself, the Watchtower Org, and religion in general.
If a young man really has no interest in religion but he meets a woman of a particular faith that he falls head over heels in love with, he will fall in love with her religion as well, if for no other reason than to "get the girl".
And I have known many JW's who fall into this category including the elder who gave me the "hot tea" analogy. In fact, I truly believe that had his wife been a Mormon, then he would have become a Mormon. JW's, like many other cults and religions, are simply a bunch of lemmings.
Become a JW and you can go far! Get you a beautiful wife, often times you can marry into a good job, you can become a part of a social group. Knowing the real history of the organization is not a requirement. Just do what you are told!
Wonderfully perceptive comments in the OP and subsequent posts. Yes, the hypocrisy looms large. In earlier decades, Witnesses thundered home the criticism that members of the churches of Christendom blindly followed their church leaders and had very little knowledge about their doctrines - and the little knowledge they did have was false.
Nowadays, you could be forgiven for concluding this thunderous critcism applies equally to the Witnesses themselves. I think, though, it goes beyond ignorance to indifference - especially among the born-ins. I could not even describe them as "students" of the Watchtower - because their superficiality is so astonishing.
There is one global circumstance in which even an indifferently-disposed JW can hold their own: When they are talking to someone who either has a religion or doesn't and who has very little knowledge of religion in general. Witnesses can wipe the floor with you if you are religiously ignorant.
And it is to the religiously ignorant that they direct their "sermons". Note how simplistic their Kingdom Ministry spiels are.
First you ask the householder/passerby a couple of token questions then you insert a statement or two about your beliefs. That's as thought-provoking as it gets. The average JW is simply unable to engage meaningfully with anyone who has active brain cells.
To the "religiously ignorant", the average JW appears to be wise beyond years! And, let's face it, there is still a huge pool of religiously ignorant ones out there.
In my mind, at least for the last 15 years or so, I have likened the way JW's operate to how a pimp operates. Pimps know their business, they know how to recruit! They often case the bus stations, looking for that runaway girl with no home to go to, often running away from something more than they are running to something. The pimp represents safety, security, he offers kind words and the appearance of love.
JW's, likewise, case their territory looking for the religiously destitute. The JW offers them something with kind words that represent safety, security, and love.
Neither the pimp nor the JW offers real love. The authoritarian pimp keeps his girls working the streets to take in as much money as possible, to make a better life for themselves. The WT keeps its members out working the streets for the same reasons!
The hooker and the JW both know that if they disobey they will be beaten (the hooker physically, the JW mentally), both with the ultimate threat of death.
“smiddy”: “Jehovah Witnesses are not students of the Bible, they are, to term the phrase loosely, students of the Watchtower and its publications. Which is never consistent from one ten year period to the next ten year period.”
Actually, now the teachings of the Watchtower organization are not consistent even within the same year – especially now with their new online televangelist station (“http://tv.jw.org”), where their teachings, and even their kingdom songs (corporate church hymns), can be changed and added to daily! Well, at least the “world” at large is now able to see their dog-and-pony show for what it is (a dog-and-pony show).