GB's Attitude Toward Suffering of "Foreign" Brothers

by compound complex 20 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • compound complex
    compound complex


    Ray Franz received letters from Branch Committee members that displayed thoughtfulness and breadth of viewpoint that were in sharp contrast to the rigidity and narrowness of several members of the Governing Body:

    What was the effect of all this? Remember that any decision made would affect the life of thousands of persons. The existing policy had already resulted in imprisonments representing tens of thousands of years. Again, I believe the way the matter was handled is remarkably revealing. It illustrates the way long-standing, traditional policies can exercise overruling power on the thinking of men who have declared their determination to let God's Word be their sole and supreme authority. [ISOCF, Ray Franz, p. 266.]

    The Governing Body met and discussed the issue in four separate sessions extending from September 26 to November 15, 1978. In all these four days of discussion the letters submitted received only cursory attention; none of the arguments or questions received careful analysis or point-by-point discussion, and this was equally true of the fourteen pages of Biblical and historical evidence I had personally supplied. The meetings were typical of most Governing Body sessions in that there was no particular order of discussion, no systematic consideration of one question or point of issue before moving on to consideration of another point at issue. Discussion could jump, as it typically did, from one aspect of the problem to another entirely different and relatively unrelated aspect. One member might conclude with the question, "What Scriptural basis is there then for saying that because a service is 'alternative' it therefore becomes the equivalent of what it substitutes for?" The next member recognized by the chairman might take up a totally different point, leaving the previous member's question hanging in midair. [The question of substitution equalling equivalency had been raised in the letter (from Belgium) that initiated the whole discussion. The writer, Michel Weber, was an elder who had visited Witnesses in prison in his country and realized their inability to grasp the reasoning behind the Society's policy. Among other things, he asked why, after receiving a blood transfusion, we did not consistently also refuse any SUBSTITUTE given in PLACE OF blood? Should not the reasoning apply in the same way? (emphasis: RF.)]

    Those favoring retention of the existing policy referred to the Branch Committee letters primarily to discount their importance. Thus, Ted Jaracz said, "Regardless of what the brothers may say, it is the Bible that guides us." He then went on to discuss some points, not from the Bible, but from certain WATCHTOWER articles dealing with the issue.

    Yet many of the Branch Committee men had brought up serious points from the Bible and these had neither been refuted nor clearly answered, at least not to the satisfaction of the majority of the Governing Body members themselves, as subsequent voting revealed. Ted Jaracz, however, urged that we should ask ourselves, "Just how much of a problem is it all over the world?" (inasmuch as the survey showed that the majority of the counries had no provision for alternative service). Acknowledging that perhaps "a hundred or so are disfellowshiped" as a result of the existing policy, he asked, "What of all the brothers in the worldwide organization who rejected alternative service and what of the suffering already undergone by those who took such a stand?" This question would seem to say that, because a past wrong view caused considerable suffering, this would somehow justify the continuance of the wrong view --- and the suffering it would produce! It exemplifies how traditional policies can, in the minds of some, override both Scripture and logic. [ibid., pp. 266, 267.]

    As a further reason for maintaining the policy that led to this "suffering," he added, "If we allow the brothers this latitude we will have serious problems, similar to those where latitude is shown in matters of employment." In reality, the only "problems" that latitude in matters of employment had produced were problems for those seeking to maintain tight control over the activities of fellow Christians. Whatever risk there might be was not truly to the morality or Christian integrity of the congregation; what was at risk was the exercise of ecclesiastical authority.

  • minimus

    The Bible & Watchtower are the same, I thought.

  • compound complex
  • tresdecu


    Thanks for posting these little snippits from Ray's books. I'm sure many newbies / lurkers (incld myself) have not read these yet.

  • compound complex
    compound complex

    You are welcome, "Very Deceived"!

    Your comments make the time and effort put into this small but very important endeavor worthwhile. \

    But there's more!


  • compound complex
    compound complex


    Introduction to this thread quotes from ISOCF; the opening words are a paraphrase from the first sentence of this complete paragraph:

    Reading the letters of these Branch Committee members I could not help but contrast the thoughtfulness and breadth of viewpoint many of their expressions revealed as compared with the narrowness and rigidity of the assertions made by several of the Governing Body members. I had already submitted to the Governing Body a 14-page, carefully documented discussion of the Biblical and historical evidence relative to submission to government authority and when that authority orders a citizen to perform certain work or service of a non-military nature. Among other things, I felt that the evidence clearly showed that performance of such service came within the Scriptural designation of taxation, since taxation from ancient times has included compulsory forms of labor. As just one example, at 1 Kings 5:13-18 we read (NEW WORLD TRANSLATION) of Solomon's "bringing up those conscripted for forced labor out of all Israel." The Hebrew expression rendered "forced labor" is the word MAS, meaning compulsory labor. [ibid., p. 265.]

  • compound complex
    compound complex

    [...] what was at risk was the exercise of ecclesiastical authority.

    Indicative of this, the Society's president, Fred Franz, also expressed doubt as to the weight to be given to the expressions of the Branch Committee members. He reminded the Body that he had not voted in favor of the worldwide survey and then, sharply increasing the force of his tone, asked: "Where does all this information come from anyway? Does it come from the TOP DOWN? Or from the BOTTOM UP?" He said that we should not build our decision around the situations found in different countries. [emphasis: FF.]

    As noted, this phrase regarding "top" and "bottom" was not new to me. As recently as 1971 in a WATCHTOWER article, Fred Franz had used it, along with reference to the "rank and file" members of the organization. But the whole tone of the discussion was extremely upsetting to me, particularly such expressions as "If WE allow the brothers this latitude." When recognized by Chairman Klein, I reminded the members that it was the Governing Body's decision to write the Branch Committee members, that those men were among the most respected elders in their respective countries, and if we could not give weight to their expressions then to whose expressions could we do so? I felt compelled to add that my understanding was that we considered ourselves as a BROTHERHOOD and had no reason to look on ourselves as the "top" of anything, that we should even find the concept personally repelling. [emphasis: RF.]

  • compound complex
    compound complex

    once again ...

  • justhuman

    As a "foreign"brother" I have seen from FIRST hand how we were treated by the OLD FOOLS in Brooklyn. For 20 years we were going in and out in prison due to "neutrality" issue. Many of us couldn't go on with normal life.

    The Goverment was offering us an alternative solution for our Army Service, but for 20 YEARS the GB MURDERS, refused us that choice. Then the Holy Spirit "changed" its mind and alternative service was ok!!!

    Our Goverment has a special tax, called Defense Fund, and it is a 3% and everyone pays this, including religious and non profit Organizations. So the WT Branch does pay the 3% tax. When we asked if it is correct to pay the Defense Tax, WT said to us that is ok because the Ceasar can do what ever he wants with the tax money!!!

    I was lucky because I was born in a European Country. If I was in Africa or somewere else(third world country) for sure I was going to be executed for treason!!! This is exactly of what has happened to the brothers and sisters in Malawi. They suffered needesly for not buying a 2 cent fucking card of the Party, since the Party was the Goverment also...while the brothers in Mexico bribe the officials to give them a paper that shows they have done their Military service and they are on reserves.

    The Governing Body of the WT is GUILTY for all those lifes died needesly..they are MURDERS and should be brought into to justice for Crimes against Humanity

  • Fadeout

    The utter contempt toward non-US members was dramatically evidenced in the Book Study letter. One reason given for the change was "gas prices."

    The brothers in Eurpoe paying $10 per gallon for years prior, or those in Africa jumping over crocodiles to get to the meetings were not cause to reconsider the schedule... but driving the Escalade ten minutes to the hall costs an extra few bucks a month so we'll cancel the "most important" meeting. Way to give the rest the world the finger, Governing Body!

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