Liars for the Watchtower?
Were They Liars for the Watchtower?
Some forum members have made much of the letter from the Portuguese branch of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, explaining why the Watchtower affiliated with the United Nations Department of Public Information; they believe it contradicts a similar letter from Britain. In this post I rebut that argument. Letters relevant to this argument are ones which I refer to as the Brooklyn, Britain, and Portugal letters; the relevant portions of these letters are presented below, followed by an analysis.
Our purpose for registering with the Department of Public Information as a nongovernmental organization (NGO) in 1991 was to have access to research material available on health, ecological, and social problems at the United Nations library facilities.Britain:
(Source: * http://www.thetruthhurts.freeservers.com/wtresponseun.htm)
one of our legal corporations registered with the United Nations as a NGO (non-governmental organization) for the sole purpose of getting access to the extensive library of the United Nations.Portugal:
(Source: * http://www.jehovahs-witness.com/forum/thread.asp?id=13530&page=13 )
The registry as NGO was made only to be able to give humanitarian helpAnalysis:
(Source: * http://www.jehovahs-witness.com/forum/thread.asp?id=14107 )
The research material on health, ecological, and social problems mentioned by Brooklyn clearly relates to humanitarian needs and was being gathered for an unstated but obvious reason: it would be used to give humanitarian aid. Thus, we may summarize the implied message from Brooklyn this way: The only reason for the affiliation was to be able to give humanitarian aid. This is in complete agreement with the Portugal letter.
Britain tells us that affiliation was only for access, and doesn’t bother to explain why access was desired; it doesn’t explain that the access was needed to obtain research materials, and that the materials would be used to given humanitarian aid. It’s not a very helpful letter, but it is completely consistent with the letter from Brooklyn.
The three letters paint a perfectly consistent picture. Nevertheless, accusers will struggle to suggest how-it-can-be-a-lie scenarios. They will perhaps argue that since Britain said, only for access, while Portugal said, only for aid, then the Watchtower is a liar because access does not literally equate to aid. I reject arguments of this type, and hope that most forum members will do the same.
I seems that the difference between the two statements exists only because the two organizations evidently chose to emphasize different parts of the whole. If there had been an attempt by the Watchtower to lie its way through this whole thing--if, indeed, it had done anything wrong--then wouldn’t we expect the various branches to be singing exactly the same tune, lest Watchtower destroyers would suspect that the differences were contradictions? Surely, the Watchtower could have commanded the various branches to say exactly the same thing. The fact that a different emphasis is found in each letter--but an overall consistent theme--should be taken as evidence that the Watchtower wasn’t trying to cover up anything.
In summary, I conclude there is not the slightest bit of evidence of lying to be found in the excerpts above from the Brooklyn, Britain, and Portugal letters.
Joseph F. Alward
"Skeptical Views of Christianity and the Bible"
I don't comment often on your work, but I want to tell you that I like it. You are certainly no JW apologest, yet you bring a sense of objectivity to the discussion that is sorely needed. I believe that some xJWs are so emotionally involved that they will grasp at any agruement or criticism and accept it without thinking. This, I think, hurts their cause. If they want to make a case against the JW organization, then they need to sift out the facts and deal with them objectively.
I'm not at all familiar with your posts and consequently I don't know where you stand. I agree with Larc (concerning this post, at least) and I like your style and approach.
:::I seems that the difference between the two statements exists only because the two organizations evidently chose to emphasize different parts of the whole. ::: That could very well be the case and that may be all there was to it. It would be nice, however, if someone could point out some specific examples of how that information was used for humanitarian aid by the Society. The Society isn't known for it's charity.
:::wouldn’t we expect the various branches to be singing exactly the same tune, lest Watchtower destroyers would suspect that the differences were contradictions? Surely, the Watchtower could have commanded the various branches to say exactly the same thing. The fact that a different emphasis is found in each letter--but an overall consistent theme--should be taken as evidence that the Watchtower wasn’t trying to cover up anything.:::
That is not necessarily the case. Sometimes people jump the gun and don't wait for 'Momma' first. On the other hand, the Society certainly could have COMMANDED the various branches to send out the same form letter but then again those letters, as you point out, can be viewed as consistent with each other and could very well have come from Brooklyn and made to look like individual responses from those branches. I would not see that as inconsistent with their M.O.
I'm not making any accusations against the Society in this matter simply because I really don't know what happened. For the same reason I cannot defend them in this matter either. What I can do is see both sides of the picture.
Their pattern of behavior in the past as to how they deal with erroneous statements, misunderstandings of the Scriptures, faulty doctrines, and, in particular, false predictions of the end of the world certainly gives cause to suspect any and all ‘explanations’ issuing forth from the main office. A better track record would certainly go a long way in establishing credibility and trust in it’s members, both present and former.
Thank you for bringing out these points for they are certainly worth considering. As I have stated many times before in my long tenure on this board, I would love to be shown where I am wrong about the Society. The concept of the truth was very precious to me.
Ummm excuse me... I have a question... Since when does the org give "humanitarian aid"?
I thought their main purpose was the preaching work and that was their sole purpose.
What kind of "humanitarian aid" do they provide and to whom? And why would they need access to the library to be able to determine who should get that aid?
Rejoice in the healing and not in the pain.
Rejoice in the challenge overcome and not in the past hurts.
Rejoice in the present - full of love and joy.
Rejoice in the future for it is filled with new horizons yet to be explored. - Lee Marsh 2002
Wow, that is a pretty good piece of work, thanks.
I was wondering though since they have had access since 1991, can you point to any such humanitiarian aid that has been given?
Or did someone just drop the ball on that?
It is hard for me to believe that they could not get access to the lybrary information simply as Americans, because America is part of the wild beast(UN). Does anyone know is the lybrary online? Bringing up another good point that I believe Russel used to use. It does not matter where you get "truth", even if it is from the mouth of the devil himself. So gaining this information from the wild beast (UN) is justified even if you have to join his ranks and become a member to do so.
WHAT?!?!?! The boys in Brooklyn will sometimes lie about stuff! I would have never thought it.
I don't need to fight
To prove I'm right
I don't need to be forgiven.
The portugal letter is doing nothing less than trying to convince the reader that the WT was utilizing the UN (even if just as a tool, at best) to do direct humanitarian aid.
On the other hand, the publishing house of the WT and Awake tells you they got this card to do research, you assume, rightly so, that this research is for the material to put in the WT and Awake magazines. Something not connected with humanitarian aide even in mind of the most brainwashed witness.
The two statements can only be reconciled thru mental gynastics.
Someone has been less than honest.
NGOs affiliate with the UN so that they can pursue shared goals - in this case those goals would be humanitarian goals since the WTS registered in the area of Human rights. The obvious reason that an NGO is given access to the library and other UN facilities is so that they can pursue those goals. That is, affiliation with the UN is for multiple connected purposes - it is not intended to be a one-way street in which an NGO simply gets a grounds pass.
Thus, all Alward has done is to say what is obvious - that access to the library is so that an NGO can pursue those goals. But note that it is Alward who has said it - not the WTS. Gillies said that the sole purpose for affiliation was to get access to the library. What part of "sole" doesn't Alward understand?
That is why it is possible to have access to the library without being an NGO. The sole purpose of an NGO is not access to the library - it is furtherance of shared goals, and is more along the lines explained by the Portuguese branch.
In fact, very few JWs will be aware of all three of these statements -and even if they were they would defer to the official letter from Brooklyn - which Brooklyn (really Patterson) states supercedes all previous letters.
What Alward seems to miss is that the WTS has not honestly stated what they were doing. Gillies' letter tells JWs that it was just for a library card and this has become embedded in the minds of many JWs -as it was intended to be. Any mention of the UN issue is met with "Oh, that was just to get into the library." So the seriousnes of the matter is trivialized - as was the intention. When Stepen Bates emailed Gillies and pointed out the errors in his letter did Gillies correct them? Of course not.
Does the WTS care to clear this misperception up by explaining that there was a humanitarian aspect to its affiliation? Or did it send a letter to all branches telling them that what they will say in response to future inquiries? The Brooklyn letter mention ecological problems etc but is a far cry from what the Portuguese branch said which also stated
It is not a political maneuver", says the AJW spokesman, "because without the support of theNow, why do you need a library card to distribute humanitarian help? And why doesn't this admirable statement appear in the other letters if the "resistry as NGO was made only to be able to give humanitarian help ...."
UNO it would not be possible to distribute humanitarian help". And as the registry "does not violate
the statutory precepts" of the JW, the criticisms to the registry in the DPI "do not have any basis",
says Pedro Candeias.»
Since when has the WTS economized on the length of letters? Alward's arguments start from a false premise - the WTS did not lie. He has written so much about that that now he cannot back away from it without losing face. Note what Alward said yeterday in another thread:
If someone besides Hartley wishes to present the "Portuguese" argument in a dispassionate, objective manner, I would be happy to try to rebut it.For all his talk of objectivity, Alward shows that even before hearing what the argument was he would try to rebut it. Why? Because, apparently he has formulated his opinion already!
Many people have written genuine letters - e.g., zev - to the WTS asking for clarification. All they get back is a form letter that conveys a totally misleading impression. That is lying. Those who talk to their elders may be threatened - as was badwillie.
It boils down to the following - does an individual think the WTS was being honest or not? No one can make that decision for another, and no amount of discussion can resolve it, especially when the debate is reduced to semantical nonsense. At that point the language itself loses its meaning - as anyone who cares to look at some of the threads in the "Scandal" section will realize.
But if the WTS did want to deceive people then they have certainly done a good job. On the other hand, if they wanted to be honest then how simple it would be for such a large printing organization to clear the matter up.
So here's the acid test; Alward, and anyone else who wishes should call up the WTS, or write to them, or talk with their elders and ask them about the points made by Alward as well as the other multiple discrepancies discussed elsewhere. For if the WTS is anxious that the truth be known then it will answer anyone who inquires. I'd suggest calling Harry Peloyan, the editor of Awake!, and asking him for clarification. Why this endless debate when the honesty of the WTS can be put to the test directly.
here in sweden i dont think anyone nows about this UN thing, only few as read on internet, i have littel hard to understand the bigg noice, when i see the new movie about russian JW, it was a lot of Un opeopel intervjud, on this matters,
perhaps it is esyer to have statment if you are a member of NGO, just a proposal.
I tell you what Alward.Go do 20 years with the dubs then come back and tell us how things work.FOOL!...OUTLAW