Talking points for reasoning with JWs

by bluecanary 45 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • bluecanary

    I've emailed this to several people now so figured I might as well post it and share with all. The following information has been compiled from various sources on the web, including and free minds. A fraction of it is from my own mind. But I've compiled this information in a way that I feel is organized for me to use with a JW. I will post the talking points for each question as a new comment on this thread. The questions are as follows:

    • Is it acceptable to question what the Watchtower Society teaches?
    • When Jesus inspected the Watchtower Society in 1919, what did he find?
    • Do Witness teachings come from the Bible or from the Watchtower Society?
    • Why does a religion claiming to be the only group to have truth revealed to them by Jehovah require ongoing changes in doctrine? Does truth change?
    • Is the Watchtower Society inspired by God's holy spirit?
    • Does the Watchtower Society encourage people to read the Bible?
    • Does the Bible really support the teaching that God disapproves of blood transfusions?
    • Is the Watchtower Society's practice of disfellowshipping consistent with the Bible?
    • Should a minor child be allowed to make a baptismal vow?
    • Is belonging to an Organization a requirement for salvation?
    • Who is your mediator?

    This is a resource thread, rather than a debate thread. If you would like to argue on some of the information posted here, I invite you to begin a new thread on that topic. If you have furthur points to add, I invite you to share them here.

    Apologies; some of the formatting is not translating well onto this forum. If anyone would like me to email them this info in a word document, just shoot me a pm.

  • bluecanary

    Is it acceptable to question what the Watchtower Society teaches?

    What the Watchtower Society says:

    • We need to examine not only what we personally believe, but also what is taught by any religious organization with which we may be associated ... if we are lovers of the truth, there is nothing to fear from such an examination."

    Truth that Leads to Everlasting Life, pg. 13

    • Reasonable persons agree that the only fair method is to examine the evidence on both sides, both for and against a disputed theory. That is how one arrives at the truth.- Awake!, 10/22/1973, pg 6
    • It is not a form of religious persecution for anyone to say and show that another religion is false. Why should anyone practice a religion unless he is convinced that it is true and right? - Watchtower, 11/15/63, pg 688, 689

    Why, then does the Watchtower contradict itself with the following statements?

    "Avoid independent thinking...questioning the counsel that is provided by God's visible organization." (Watchtower, Jan. 15, 1983 pg. 22)

    • Why is it that when Witnesses study with a newly interested person, they encourage that person to question everything, both about their current religion and what the Witnesses are teaching-but once that person is baptized they are no longer allowed to question the Witnesses? Why do we ask others to examine their faith using independent resources, yet Witnesses are banned from doing this very thing?

    "What will you do if you receive a letter or some literature, open it, and see right away that it is from an apostate? Will curiosity cause you to read it, just to see what he has to say? You may even reason: 'It won't affect me; I'm too strong in the truth. And besides, if we have the truth, we have nothing to fear. The truth will stand the test.' In thinking this way, some have fed their minds upon apostate reasoning and have fallen prey to serious questioning and doubt." (Watchtower, March 15, 1986 p12)

    • If you plan to make a purchase on the internet, do you read only the product description given by the manufacturer or do you read personal reviews? Do you read only positive reviews or do you also read negative ones? Why?
    • If, as the previous Watchtower said, examining BOTH sides of a matter is how one arrives at the truth, how can one know that the Watchtower Society teaches truth unless one examines evidence from those who have become convinced that it does not? In a court case, if one listens only to the defense counsel, how will one ever know if the prosecution might not have been in the right?
  • bluecanary

    When Jesus inspected the Watchtower Society in 1919, what did he find?

    "On inspecting the remnant of his anointed disciples in the year 1919 C.E., the reigning King Jesus Christ did find the appointed "slave" faithful and discreet in the feeding of his "domestics." Accordingly, he appointed this "slave" class over all his belongings."" God's Kingdom of a Thousand Years Has Approached pp.350,355

    What did Jesus find during his inspection?

    • They predicted that Armageddon would occur in 1914 and 1918, respectively.-[Zion's Watch Tower 1894 July 15 p.226 W 10/1/17 p.292,293]
    • President C.T. Russell was teaching pyramidology and astrology.-[ Watchtower 1922 June 15 p.187; Zion's Watchtower 1905 October 1 p.293]
    • They celebrated Christmas, New Years and birthdays.-[ Zion's Watch Tower 1904 December 1 p.364; Watchtower 1940 Jan 1 p.16]
    • They prayed for victory in war and honored the flag.-[ Watchtower 1918 June 1 p.174; Watch Tower 1917 May 15]
    • They taught that the white race was superior and blacks could change their skin color in the new system.-[Watchtower July 15 1902 p.215;Watchtower 1904 February 15 pp.52-53]
    • They worshipped Jesus.-[1945 yearbook]
    • They accepted blood transfusions.-[Consolation 1940 December 25 p. 19]
    • They served in the military.-[ Zion's Watch Tower 1898 Aug. 1 p.231 (see also jv p.191)]

    If the teachings were correct in 1919, when Jesus chose the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, Jesus would have to abandon them now because their belief system is totally reversed.

    If the teachings are correct now, they were therefore wrong then, so on what basis would the Watchtower Society have been chosen?

  • bluecanary

    Do Witness teachings come from the Bible or from the Watchtower Society?

    "In order to avoid misunderstandings, Jehovah's Witnesses try to be careful about how they express themselves. Instead of saying, "the Society teaches," many Witnesses prefer to use such expressions as, "the Bible says" or, "I understand the Bible to teach." In this way they emphasize the personal decision that each Witness has made in accepting Bible teachings and also avoid giving the false impression that Witnesses are somehow bound to the dictates of some religious sect." - WT 1998 - 3/15 p.19

    • Compare with this statement: "To hold to the headship of Christ, it is therefore necessary to obey the organization that he is personally directing. Doing what the organizations says is to do what he says!"- WT 1959 5/1

    Instead of saying, "The society teaches . . ." can you show people your beliefs from the Bible, saying, "I understand the Bible to teach . . . ?" Can you explain these from the Bible without quoting from the Society's literature?

    • I understand the Bible to teach that blood transfusions are unacceptable for Christians but certain blood fractions are not.
    • I understand the Bible to teach that oral sex with one's own spouse is inappropriate for Christians.
    • I understand the Bible to teach that Jesus Christ began ruling invisibly in 1914.
    • I understand the Bible to teach that Michael and Jesus are the same person.
    • I understand the Bible to teach that wedding customs based on pagan origins are acceptable, but birthday parties are not.
    • I understand the Bible to teach that Jesus inspected Jehovah's Witnesses in 1919 and chose them as the only true religion.
    • I understand the Bible to teach that when Jesus said, "This generation will by no means pass away" he was referring to the remnant of the 144,000 anointed ones alive on earth today.
    • I understand the Bible to teach that the "superior authorities" of Romans 13:1 refers to world governments.

    If we go back in time a few decades, you might have made statements such as these:

    • I understand the Bible to teach that Jesus returned in 1874.-[ Creation 1927 2,175,000 ed. p.289]
    • I understand the Bible to teach that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, among others, will be resurrected to earth in 1925.-[ Millions Now Living Will Never Die p.88; Golden Age 1930 March 19]
    • I understand the Bible to teach that Israel building a successful and wealthy nation in Palestine is a vital part of God's plan today.-[ Studies In the Scriptures Series IV - The Day of Vengeance - Forward pp. xviii, xix]
    • I understand the Bible to teach that vaccinations are an abomination and unsuitable for Christians.-[ Golden Age 1921 October 12 p.17; Golden Age 1931 February 4 p.293]
    • I understand the Bible to teach that organ transplants are a form of cannibalism and can cause you take on the personality traits of the donor.-[ Watchtower 1967 November 15 pp.702-704; Watchtower 1975 September 1 p.519]
    • I understand the Bible to teach that the Great Crowd will go to heaven.-[ Jehovah's Witnesses - Proclaimers of God's Kingdom pp.160, 161]
    • I understand the Bible to teach that the "superior authorities" of Romans 13:1 refers to Jehovah and Jesus.-[ This Means Everlasting Life (1950) p.197]
    • I understand the Bible to teach that when Jesus said, "This generation will by no means pass away" he meant that those who were anointed in 1914 will live to see Armageddon.-[ Watchtower 1951 Jul 1 p.404]
    • I understand the Bible to teach that when Jesus said, "This generation will by no means pass away" he was referring to the general wicked generation that exists on earth at this time.-[ Watchtower 1995 Nov 1 pp.14,20]

    How embarrassing it would be to make any of those claims today. How many of today's claims will you be embarrassed to have made tomorrow?

    In light of the evidence, is the "impression that Witnesses are somehow bound to the dictates of some religious sect" really a false one? If you disagree with a current teaching, are you free to share your understanding with others, or are you supposed to believe only what the Watchtower Society is teaching at any given time?

  • bluecanary

    Why does a religion claiming to be the only group to have truth revealed to them by Jehovah require ongoing changes in doctrine? Does truth change?

    "But the path of the righteous ones is like the bright light that is getting lighter and lighter until the day is firmly established." Proverbs 4:18

    • Rather than extract a sentence, in entirety the context of Proverbs chapter 4 is a comparison of behavior between good and bad people, not the revealing of doctrinal truth through an organization.

    "If we were following a man undoubtedly it would be different with us; undoubtedly one human idea would contradict another and that which was light one or two or six years ago would be regarded as darkness now; But with God there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning, and so it is with truth; any knowledge or light coming from God must be like its author. A new view of truth never can contradict a former truth. ... "New Light" never extinguishes older "light" but adds to it..." Zion's Watch Tower 1881 February pp.3, 188

    Does the light get brighter or does it flicker on and off?

    • Organ transplants
      • 1949-acceptable-[Watchtower 1961 August 1 p.480 Questions from Readers]
      • 1967-unacceptable-[Watchtower 1967 November 15 pp.702-704]
      • 1970-acceptable-[Watchtower March 15, 1980, p 31:]
    • Matthew 24:34-"Truly I say to you that this generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur." What is the generation?
      • 1897-a contemporary group of people55
      • 1927-the anointed-[Watchtower 1927 Feb 15 p.62]
      • 1951-a fixed period of time from 1914-[Watchtower 1951 Jul 1 p.404]
      • 1995-a contemporary group of people-[Watchtower 1995 Nov 1 pp.14,20]
      • 2008-the anointed-[Watchtower 2008 Feb 15 p.24]
    • Will Sodom and Gommorah be resurrected?
      • 1879-yes-[Studies in the Scriptures, Series I p.110 (see also w.1879 July p.8)]
      • 1952-no-[Watchtower 1954 February 1 p.85]
      • 1965-yes-[Watchtower 1965 March 1 p.139]
      • 1989-no-[Watchtower 1990 April 15 p.20]
    • Who are the "superior authorities" of Romans 13:1 that we are to obey?
      • Up to 1929-earthly governments-[Studies In the Scriptures Series I - The Divine Plan of the Ages p.250]
      • 1929-1962-Jesus and Jehovah-[This Means Everlasting Life (1950) p.197]
      • 1962-present-earthly governments-[Life everlasting in Freedom of the Sons of God (1966) p.189]
    • What is the appropriate use for blood?
      • C. T. Russell's time-ok to transfuse and to eat-[Watchtower 1892 January 15 pp.349-352, Watchtower 1909 April 15 pp.116-117]
      • 1927-still ok to transfuse but not to eat-[ Watchtower 1927 Dec p.371]
      • 1945-transfusions are wrong, but not a disfellowship offense-[Watchtower 1945 July 1 p.198-201]
      • 1961-transfusions are a disfellowship offense-[Watchtower 1961 January 15 pp.63-64]
      • 2000-the use of many blood components is acceptable-[Watchtower 2000 June 15 pp.29-31]

    "Like the apostles of Jesus Christ, they have at times had some wrong expectations." Reasoning from the Scriptures p.136

    This addresses an issue quite different to the one at hand. No one questions that individual Jehovah's Witnesses or even individual members of the Governing Body have to have perfect understanding. The issue is whether the Governing Body operates under guidance of Holy Spirit as a collective group, after prayer. Does Jehovah direct what appears in the Watchtower journals?

    • 1 John 4:1: "Beloved ones, do not believe every inspired expression, but test the inspired expressions to see whether they originate with God, because many false prophets have gone forth into the world."

    Rather than suggesting that Apostles made mistakes, ask "What percentage of the Apostles writings in the Bible are wrong?" Zero percent. "What percentage of Watchtower statements has been wrong?"

  • bluecanary

    Is the Watchtower Society inspired by God's holy spirit?

    • Yes: "Jehovah God has made known to his anointed ones in advance what these scriptures mean." Watchtower 1931 June 1 p.160
    • No: "Jehovah's people confess no powers of inspiration today" Watchtower 1952 Apr. 15 p.253
    • Yes: "The Watchtower is not the instrument of any man or set of men, nor is it published according to the whims of men. No man's opinion is expressed in The Watchtower." Watchtower 1931 Nov. 1 p.327
    • No: "The brothers preparing these publications are not infallible. Their writings are not inspired as are those of Paul and the other Bible writers." Awake! 1993 Mar. 22 p.4

    God has always used imperfect humans to relay His messages. However, has there ever been an instance when Jehovah used messengers who relayed incorrect messages? If any did, would Jehovah not hold such ones accountable?

    If His messenger relates a faulty message, is it because Jehovah did not make the message clear? Or is it because the messenger was not truly coming from Jehovah?

    • Deuteronomy 18:20, 22: "However, the prophet who presumes to speak in my name a word that I have not commanded him to speak or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet must die . . . When the prophet speaks in the name of Jehovah and the word does not occur or come true, that is the word that Jehovah did not speak. With presumptuousness the prophet spoke it. You must not get frightened at him."

    Watchtower publications clearly state that Jehovah directed:

    • imperfect people to infallibly write the Bible,
    • the first century Apostles to make infallible guidelines when directing the early Christian congregations,
    • the Governing Body to provide the Watchtower in our day -but this time God's Organization is being guided with the inclusion of mistakes.

    The Witnesses are required to treat the words of the Governing Body as if they are inspired, just like the Bible. They are required to believe and teach the current understanding as set out in the Watchtower; no deviation.

    Why would God use fallible men in the past to reveal infallible truths but use a fallible organization today that teaches mistaken doctrines?

    "As Jehovah's dedicated Witnesses, all of us must be loyal to him and to his organization. We should never even contemplate turning aside from God's wonderful light, pursuing an apostate course that can lead to spiritual death now and eventual destruction." Watchtower 1992 Nov. 15 pp. 19-20

    The Watchtower Society has admitted to making numerous mistakes. Why is that disagreeing with doctrines that may turn out to be mistakes, is considered apostasy? If someone is disfellowshipped for disagreeing with a doctrine that the Watchtower Society later abandons, is that person automatically forgiven? Who is accountable for the propagation of false teachings?

    If they are not inspired and could potentially be wrong, why do they need to use fear and coercion to keep members from hearing alternate viewpoints?

    Should we place our eternal life and our relationship with God in the hands of men who may be wildly guessing or purposefully untruthful? Should we accept as a mouthpiece for our God ones who have been known to teach falsehood?

  • bluecanary

    Does the Watchtower Society encourage people to read the Bible?

    "Read God's Word the Bible Daily"-quote from the sign outside Brooklyn Bethel

    "Does the faithful and discreet slave endorse independent groups of Witnesses who meet together to engage in Scriptural research or debate? No it does not. And yet, in various parts of the world, a few associates of our organization have formed groups to do independent research on Bible-based subjects. Some have pursued an independent group study of Biblical Hebrew and Greek so as to analyze the accuracy of the New World Translation. For those who wish to do extra Bible study and research, we recommend that they explore Insight on the Scriptures, All Scripture is Inspired of God and Beneficial, and our other publications."-KM 09/07 p.3

    • Only the Watchtower Society can understand the Bible. If you want to understand the Bible, you may only do so by reading their own published works, in which all the research and reaching of conclusions has been done for you.
    • The Watchtower Society discourages members from analyzing the accuracy of its publications. What does that suggest to you?

    "From time to time, there have arisen from among the ranks of Jehovah's people those, who, like the original Satan, have adopted an independent, fault-finding attitude . . . They say that it is sufficient to read the Bible exclusively, either alone or in small groups at home. But strangely, through such 'Bible reading,' they have reverted right back to the apostate doctrines that commentaries by Christendom's clergy were teaching 100 years ago." W 08/15/81 p.29

    • If you read the Bible independently, you are like Satan. Is independent thinking synonymous with "fault-finding"? Is there no valid reason for which one might choose to read the Bible exclusively?
    • If you read the Bible by itself, you will stop believing what the Watchtower Society is teaching. Could this be because what the Watchtower Society teaches is not supported by the Bible alone?
    • The Watchtower Society has been known to revert to doctrines that Christendom has been teaching for years. (e.g. "superior authorities" of Romans 13:1.)
    • Here, 'Bible reading' is in quotes, as if to suggest that this is some kind of euphemism or misnomer. Is the Watchtower Society cynically suggesting that persons who claim to be reading the Bible are, in fact, not?
    • Compare this statement: "People today are developing an aversion to thinking. . . Their thinking must be channeled for them, ready-made by propagandists. This suits Satan's purpose. He deluges the mass mind with anything and everything but God's truth. To keep minds from doing godly thinking Satan keeps them busy with thoughts that are either trivial or ungodly. It is tailor-made thinking, and the tailor of it is the Devil. Minds work, but in the way that a horse is led. Independent thinking is difficult, unpopular and even suspect. Thought conformity is the order of our day. To seek solitude for meditation is frowned upon as antisocial and neurotic."-August 1, 1957; Watchtower p. 469 par. 7

    o Is Satan responsible both for independent thinking and for preventing independent thinking?

    o Does not the Watchtower society lead us as a horse with ready-made, channeled thinking in the form of Watchtowers and books in which the questions are both asked and answered with no need for independent thought? Are not our thoughts supposed to conform to whatever the Watchtower teaches at the time regardless of whether new light may flash forth?

    "Furthermore, not only do we find that people cannot see the divine plan in studying the Bible by itself, but we see, also, that if anyone lays the scripture studies aside, even after he has used them, after he has become familiar with them, after he has read them for ten years-if he then lays them aside and ignores them and goes to the Bible alone, though he has understood his Bible for ten years, our experience shows that within two years he goes into darkness." W 09/15/10

    • This statement was made shortly after a time when C.T. Russell made a break from mainstream religion by studying the Bible alone and with small groups. The Watchtower Society is in existence today thanks to independent Bible study. Is it not hypocritical to disparage others who do the same?
    • If independent Bible research leads to faulty conclusions does that mean that the Watchtower Society is founded upon faulty conclusions?
    • The "divine plan" that the Watchtower Society taught from the Bible in 1910 bears little resemblance to the one they understand to be true today, supposedly due to "flashes of light getting brighter." Why is it that changes in beliefs brought about by independent study are due to darkness, but changes in belief brought about by the Watchtower Society's study are due to flashes of light?

    "Now the latter were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with the greatest eagerness of mind, carefully examining the Scriptures daily as to whether these things were so."-Acts 17:11

    • The Bereans were here commended for making a search in the Bible to see if the information they were now being given was indeed true according to the Scriptures. Would it not be irresponsible to accept information from the Watchtower Society or any source without making an independent comparison from the Scriptures? Would not God bless such an action, as he did with the Bereans?

    How does the Watchtower Society feel about independent thinking?

    • Questioning the clergy: "To ask a sound religious question is a demonstration of lack of faith in God and the church, according to the clergy. As a result, the Irish people do very little independent thinking. They are victims of the clergy and fear; but freedom is in sight."-August 1, 1958 Watchtower p. 460
    • Questioning the Watchtower Society: "From the very outset of his rebellion Satan called into question God's way of doing things. He promoted independent thinking. 'You can decide for yourself what is good and bad,' Satan told Eve. 'You don't have to listen to God. He is not really telling you the truth.' To this day, it has been Satan's subtle design to infect God's people with this type of thinking. How is such independent thinking manifested? A common way is by questioning the counsel that is provided by God's visible organization.-January 15, 1983 Watchtower p. 22

    Does it not seem self-serving for a group to demand that you never check independent sources to see if they are right or wrong? If they are right, they have nothing to lose. If they are teaching falsehoods, they will be found out only by comparing their teachings with independent Bible study.

    If using the Bible as our sole source of truth leads ones to conclusions that differ from information presented by the Watchtower Society, what is the more likely cause? That Satan uses God's own word to blind people's minds to truth? Or that the Watchtower Society is teaching something different than the Bible and is therefore not teaching truth? Has the Bible ever been wrong? Has the Watchtower Society ever been wrong?

  • bluecanary

    Does the Bible really support the teaching that God disapproves of blood transfusions?

    How Blood Can Save Your Life? p.7 says "You owe it to yourself to get the facts in order to make an informed choice about blood."

    • The Jews were instructed to pour out the blood of the animal because that represented the animal's life. This was fitting because that animal had relinquished its life. When a person receives a blood transfusion, it is from another live person whose lifeblood is still flowing and will be poured out at a future date upon death.
    • Transfusing blood into your veins is not the equivalent of injecting food into them. If you are starving and you receive a blood transfusion, you will still die of starvation.
    • If consuming blood was a capitol offense, why were Saul's men not executed when they fell to eating blood along with the meat? (1 Sam. 14:31-35)
    • Deuteronomy 14:21:"You must not eat any body [already] dead. To the alien resident who is inside your gates you may give it, and he must eat it; or there may be a selling of it to a foreigner, because you are a holy people to Jehovah your God."

    o W 04 6/15 pp. 14-15After the Flood, mankind started anew with just eight souls. In a declaration applying to all humans, God . . . said that humans could eat animal flesh, but he set this restriction: "Every moving animal that is alive may serve as food for you. As in the case of green vegetation, I do give it all to you. Only flesh with its soul-its blood-you must not eat."

    ยง Why would the Watchtower Society try to apply this to all of humanity when it is clear from the above quote in Deuteronomy that God later applied it only to Israelites under the Mosaic law, which has since been done away with?

    o Israel was in a covenant relationship with God, foreigners were not. The Watchtower teaches that the Great Crowd is not in a covenant relationship with Jehovah. That being the case it would seem that only the anointed should be required to abstain from blood.

    • Most meats still contain trace elements of blood. If abstaining from blood is so important, why don't Witnesses eat only meat that has been slaughtered in the Kosher method of the Jews? (Side point: Jews will accept blood transfusions.)
    • Acts 15:28-29 "For the holy spirit and we ourselves have favored adding no further burden to you, except these necessary things, to keep abstaining from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication. If you carefully keep yourselves from these things, you will prosper. Good health to you!"

    o Notice that along with abstaining from blood, we also hear the command to abstain from "things sacrificed to idols." At 1 Corinthians 8:4-8 Paul helps the reader to see that the "eating of food sacrificed to idols" was really a conscience matter. This decision was rendered so that the newer "Gentile" Christians would be conscious not to stumble the more traditional Jewish Christians, many of which were still rooted in Mosaic Law.

    o Of these four, only fornication is later absolutely prohibited for Christians.

    o Christians today do not question whether the animals whose meat they eat have been strangled. Oftentimes they have.

    • Now various blood fractions are considered a conscience matter. Some of these "fractions" take far more blood and donors to make them, than accepting whole unaltered blood. If blood is so sacred that it can not be stored for a transfusion then the storing of blood and processing it into fractions should also be disallowed. If stealing and reselling a car is a crime, would it be any less of a crime if the thief took the car apart and sold only components of it?

    o How can we say that Jehovah's Witnesses "abstain from blood", since all of these fractions that Watchtower Society now permits clearly tap into the world's blood supply and can be (and are) used by Jehovah's Witnesses today?

    o If then, Jehovah's Witnesses can with a clear conscience now use these fractions that come from the blood supply, why are they forbidden from donating to this same blood supply? And, why are they still not allowed to store their own blood?

    o If it is wrong for a Witness to donate blood, who do the blood fractions they use come from?

    o If blood must be poured on the ground, where are the blood fractions they use derived from?

    o If blood fractions were always acceptable to Jehovah, who is responsible for the Witnesses that died refusing them, due to previous Watchtower policy?

    Would Jesus have made an exception to what was then a dietary rule in order to save someone's life?

    • Jesus performed many miraculous works on the Sabbath. Yet to work on the Sabbath was to bring the death penalty upon oneself.
    • Mathew 12:11, 12 "So they asked him "Is it lawful to cure on the Sabbath?" that they might get an accusation against him. He said to them: "Who will be the man among you that has one sheep and, if this falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not get hold of it and lift it out? All considered, of how much more worth is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do a fine thing on the Sabbath."
      • Of how much more worth is a man's life who will die without receiving a blood transfusion?
    • Matthew 12:7 "However, if you had understood what this means, 'I want mercy, and not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the guiltless ones."

    "The blood in any person is in reality the person himself. ... poisons due to personal living, eating and drinking habits ... The poisons that produce the impulse to commit suicide, murder, or steal are in the blood. Moral insanity, sexual perversions, repression, inferiority complexes, petty crimes - these often follow in the wake of blood transfusion." (Watchtower, Sept. 1, 1961 page 564)

    In light of the evidence, does it appear that Jehovah is directing the Society in issuing medical directives? If Jehovah did not intend for people to die for the sake of a symbol of life, if the Watchtower Society has clung to this policy against all Biblical evidence, are they not blood-guilty on behalf of the many that have died by refusing blood transfusions? Jehovah has the power to resurrect, but does he not hold accountable those who are responsible for untimely deaths?

  • bluecanary

    Is the Watchtower Society's practice of disfellowshipping consistent with the Bible?

    2 Thessalonians 3:6, 14-15 "Now we are giving you orders, brothers, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, to withdraw from every brother walking disorderly and not according to the tradition you received from us....But if anyone is not obedient to our word through this letter, keep this one marked, stop associating with him, that he may become ashamed. And yet do not be considering him as an enemy, but continue admonishing him as a brother."

    • The "word through this letter" of 2 Thessalonians included more than non-serious sins. It included those not glorifying "the name of our Lord Jesus", those refusing to work for a living, and any who had been swayed by apostasy.
    • Paul did not say to disfellowship and shun such people, but rather instructed the congregation to 'mark' or 'take note of' such a person, yet "continue admonishing him as a brother". There is a difference between taking note of someone's behavior so as not be influenced by it and completely shunning the person.

    1 Corinthians 5:11 "But now I am writing you to quit mixing in company with anyone called a brother that is a fornicator or a greedy person or an idolater or a reviler or a drunkard or an extortioner, not even eating with such a man.

    • This advice is in regards to a person "called a brother" who "is" a wrongdoer. No indication is given that they should be avoided when they are no longer recognized as a Jehovah's Witness brother. Nor does it say to shun a person who has stopped their wrongdoing.

    2 Corinthians 2:5-6 "Now if anyone has caused sadness, he has saddened, not me, but all of you to an extent-not to be too harsh in what I say. This rebuke given by the majority is sufficient for such a man."

    • Paul does not insist that everyone participate in the rebuke. Some may choose not to.

    When the person was publicly reproved, the congregation was to know why. Paul openly told the congregation of the wrong conduct of Peter, Hymenaeus, Alexander and Diotrephes. To avoid legal problems, the Society does not follow this scriptural advice. The extent of both the disfellowshipping and disassociating announcement is now stated in Organised to do Jehovah's Will (2005) p.154 to be restricted to:

    "[Name of person] is no longer one of Jehovah's Witnesses."

    2 John 7-11: "For many deceivers have gone forth into the world, persons not confessing Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. Look out for yourselves, that you do not lose the things we have worked to produce, but that you may obtain a full reward. Everyone that pushes ahead and does not remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God. He that does remain in this teaching is the one that has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, never receive him into your homes or say a greeting to him. For he that says a greeting to him is a sharer in his wicked works."

      • John is here referring to the antichrist and it should not be applied across the board to all forms of sin.
    • Galatians 6:1 "Brothers, even though a man takes some false step before he is aware of it, you who have spiritual qualifications try to readjust such a man in a spirit of mildness, as you each keep an eye on yourself, for fear you also may be tempted."
      • In the scriptures, it makes no mention of a time limit over which the process must take place. It does indicate that quite some period of time may be involved. If a person is addicted to certain practices or if they are having doubts about doctrine it could take months of effort to overcome these. Yet in many cases when a Jehovah's Witness confesses or another person reports their activities to the elders they are disfellowshipped within a few weeks.

    What did Jesus have to say on the matter?

    • Luke 6:27-37, in list form: "But I say to you who are listening,
      • Continue to love your enemies,
      • to do good to those hating you,
      • to bless those cursing you,
      • to pray for those who are insulting you.
      • To him that strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also; and from him that takes away your outer garment, do not withhold even the undergarment.
      • Give to everyone asking you, and from the one taking your things away do not ask [them] back.
      • "Also, just as you want men to do to you, do the same way to them.
      • "And if you love those loving you, of what credit is it to you? For even the sinners love those loving them. And if you do good to those doing good to you, really of what credit is it to you? Even the sinners do the same.
      • Also, if you lend [without interest] to those from whom you hope to receive, of what credit is it to you? Even sinners lend [without interest] to sinners that they may get back as much.
      • To the contrary, continue to love your enemies and to do good and to lend [without interest], not hoping for anything back; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind toward the unthankful and wicked.
      • Continue becoming merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
      • "Moreover, stop judging, and you will by no means be judged; and stop condemning, and you will by no means be condemned."
    • Jesus introduced the standard on how Christian wrongdoers should be treated, saying at Matthew 18:15-17: "Moreover, if your brother commits a sin, go lay bare his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take along with you one or two more, in order that at the mouth of two or three witnesses every matter may be established. If he does not listen to them, speak to the congregation. If he does not listen even to the congregation, let him be to you just as a man of the nations and as a tax collector."
      • Jesus did not say to never utter a word to an unrepentant wrong doer but to treat them "as a tax collector". He himself spoke to and ate with tax collectors. (Matthew 9:11).
      • In determining if a person should be disfellowshipped the elders form a (judicial committee) to meet with the 'wrongdoer'. This is done in private, and the wrongdoer is not allowed an onlooker, lawyer or recording device. The word "judicial committee" does not appear in the Bible and both the Israelites and early Christian congregations kept matters open to ordinary persons. Rather than being done in private in front of elders only, matters were done at the city gates so a fair discussion with onlookers could be made. This prevented the injustice that can take place before small closed bodies of elders.
    • Since the word disfellowship does not appear in the Scriptures, the New World Translation Reference Bible "Bible words indexed" directs the reader to the term "expelled". The references given are regarding the Pharisees' practice of expelling from the Synagogue. The closest Scriptural example the Watchtower can find for the term disfellowship is that of the Pharisees.

    In light of Scriptural evidence, does the Watchtower Society's policy of disfellowshipping seem to be in harmony with what Jesus taught and with what was practiced by first century Christians?

  • bluecanary

    Should a minor child be allowed to make a baptismal vow?

    Baptism as a Jehovah's Witness is a binding verbal contract with the Watchtower Society. In most countries today, minors are prohibited from making any kind of contract. A child's knowledge and ideas change dramatically between the teens and twenties, and for this reason the law protects the rights of minors.

    Never is the baptism of a minor mentioned in the Bible. Jesus was not baptized until he was 30 and Jews felt a person became an adult at 30. When Cornelius and his family were baptized it does not state that any non adults were baptized and there is no scriptural evidence of any children or teenagers ever being baptized.

    Minor children of Jehovah's Witnesses are discouraged from participating in non-sinful activities that worldly children take for granted (e.g. choosing entertainment, clothing and association, dating, attending parties without supervision) because they are not yet mature. How is it that someone who must run nearly every decision they make through a parental filter is deemed mature enough to make a vow dedicating themselves to live the remainder of their lives according to the dictates of an organization that may change rules and doctrines at any time?

    As soon as a child is old enough to speak, it is old enough to parrot its parents' beliefs. Memorizing doctrines and reciting programmed answers to baptismal questions does not ensure that a child understands the beliefs they purport to have. Do not the Witnesses pooh-pooh other religions for baptizing those without capacity for understanding?

    In light of Biblical evidence and common sense about the sensibilities of children, is it reasonable to allow minors to get baptized and hold them accountable for a vow they made at time when they could not truly understand what they were dedicating themselves to?

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