If it please the Court, Your Honour, I, as Co-Counsel for the Prosecution, would like to present for your examination the following evidence.
The purpose of this trial is to determine whether the Watchtower Society and its adherents, known commonly as Jehovah's Witnesses, are entitled to respect.
By the agreement of this court, the term 'respect' was held to mean the according of courtesy to others in our interactions with them. In behaving in a courteous manner, the understanding of the term 'respect' would necessarily include honesty in communications. Respectful conduct with regard to honesty would involve not withholding truthful information as much as it includes refraining from wilfully misinforming others.
I submit for your examination the following quotations which are found in literature published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, which is read by and adhered to by Jehovah's Witnesses.
I have taken the liberty to highlight sections of particular interest with regard to our discussion of honesty. It is generally understood that lying, or falsehood, is the opposite of truth or honesty. Kindly take note the following definition and explanation of the word "Lie", as purported by the Watchtower Society:
*** it-2 244-5 Lie *** LIE
The opposite of truth. Lying generally involves saying something false to a person who is entitled to know the truth and doing so with the intent to deceive or to injure him or another person. A lie need not always be verbal. It can also be expressed in action, that is, a person may be living a lie... While malicious lying is definitely condemned in the Bible, this does not mean that a person is under obligation to divulge truthful information to people who are not entitled to it.
*** w60 6/1 351 Questions from Readers *** • From time to time letters are received asking whether a certain circumstance would justify making an exception to the Christian's obligation to tell the truth. In reply to these the following is given:
God's Word commands: "Speak truth each of you with his neighbor." (Eph. 4:25) This command, however, does not mean that we should tell everyone who asks us all he wants to know. We must tell the truth to one who is entitled to know, but if one is not so entitled we may be evasive ... As a soldier of Christ he is in theocratic warfare and he must exercise added caution when dealing with God's foes. Thus the Scriptures show that for the purpose of protecting the interests of God's cause, it is proper to hide the truth from God's enemies.
*** Watchtower 1957 May 1 p285, 286 Use Theocratic War Strategy *** A WITNESS of Jehovah was going from house to house in Eastern Germany when she met a violent opposer. Knowing at once what to expect she changed her red blouse for a green one in the very next hallway. No sooner had she appeared on the street than a Communist officer asked her if she had seen a woman with a red blouse. No, she replied, and went on her way. Did she tell a lie? No, she did not. . She was not a liar. Rather, she was using theocratic war strategy, hiding the truth by action and word for the sake of the ministry.
In this she had good Scriptural precedent. Did not Rahab hide the Israelite spies by both action and word? Did not Abraham, Isaac, David and others likewise hide the truth at times when faced with a hostile enemy? They certainly did, and never do we read a word of censure for their doing so. Rather, we read of their being termed exemplary servants of Jehovah. Their actions were in line with Jesus' wise counsel: "Look! I am sending you forth as sheep amidst wolves; therefore prove yourselves cautious as serpents and yet innocent as doves."-Matt. 10:16, NW.
Perhaps some will wonder as to where the line is to be drawn between use of theocratic war strategy in hiding the truth and the telling of lies. First of all, let it be noted that whenever one takes an oath to tell the truth he is obligated to do so. By dedicating himself to do God's will each Christian has taken a vow or made an oath to do God's will and to be faithful to him. To this oath he certainly must be true. Likewise, when a Christian is placed on a witness stand he is obligated to speak the truth if he speaks at all. At times he may prefer to refuse to speak and suffer the consequences rather than betray his brothers or the interests of God's work. And, of course, there is no occasion for use of war strategy when dealing with our Christian brothers. In dealing with them we tell the truth or tactfully remind them that what they seek to know does not concern them.
Lies are untruths told for selfish reasons and which work injury to others. Satan told a lie to Eve that worked great harm to her and all the human race. Ananias and Sapphira told lies for selfish reasons. But hiding the truth, which he is not entitled to know, from an enemy does not harm him, especially when he would use such information to harm others who are innocent.
A great work is being done by the witnesses even in lands where their activity is banned. The only way they can fulfill the command to preach the good news of God's kingdom is by use of theocratic war strategy. By underground methods the literature is brought into the country and distributed. Would it make sense to hide this literature by one's actions and then reveal its whereabouts by one's words when queried? Of course not! So in time of spiritual warfare it is proper to misdirect the enemy by hiding the truth. It is done unselfishly; it does not harm anyone; on the contrary, it does much good.
Today God's servants are engaged in a warfare, a spiritual, theocratic warfare, a warfare ordered by God against wicked spirit forces and against false teachings. God's servants are sent forth as sheep among wolves and therefore need to exercise the extreme caution of serpents so as to protect properly the interests of God's kingdom committed to them. At all times they must be very careful not to divulge any information to the enemy that he could use to hamper the preaching work. Your Honour, it is the position of the Prosecution, based on these direct quotes, that the Defense may, at this very moment be engaged in "Theocratic War Strategy" in his attempts to persuade the court to decide in his favour. Indeed, Your Honour, the Defense may in fact consider this Court and You, Yourself, Your Honour, to 'not be entitled to the truth'.
Yes, indeed, if the Defense is supporting the cause of the Watchtower Society, it would not only be profitable for him to engage in "Theocratic War Strategy", but the very cause itself would DEMAND his use of it.
Your Honour, I hereby submit that in view of these findings, it is impossible to determine whether the Defense is in fact being honest and, indeed, RESPECTFUL with this Court.
I further submit, these questions for the Court's indulgence:
How much respect can one have for a religion that says that it is appropriate to lie for the furtherance of their cause?
How much respect can one have for persons who willingly submit to, and when required, will lie for the organization they represent?
My concluding remarks in this matter shall also consist of a direct quote from the Watchtower Society:
*** ts (Is This Life All There Is? 1974) 46 What Is This Thing Called "Soul"? ***
...God, who is himself "the God of truth" and who hates lies, will not look with favor on persons who cling to organizations that teach
[or promote!] falsehood.
(Psalm 31:5; Proverbs 6:16-19; Revelation 21:8) And, really, would you want to be even associated with a religion that had not been honest with you?
The facts speak for themselves, Your Honour. The very words of the Watchtower Society itself have condemned them. The willingness to lie for the furtherance of its goals on the part of both the leadership and the adherents proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the Watchtower Society has NO RESPECT for the social propriety of respect, and therefore, does not merit the respect of anyone.
Submitted to Your Honour for Her Consideration,
Ms. Scully, Co-Counsel for the Prosecution