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"