When one talks about the subject of Jesus' death with the witnesses the most important thing obviously is the ransom sacrifice.
I find it really odd though that there is SO much focus on whether or not Jesus was killed on a stake or a cross when obviously it didn't really matter how he died... in fact, he could've been tortured in many different ways and it would still have the same meaning, right?
So since you would no doubt be disfellowshipped for saying, "hey maybe it was a cross and not a stake" I decided to look up where they got their information and make sure it was a credible source.
And I quote from the insight book:
An instrument such as that on which Jesus Christ met death by impalement. (Mt 27:32-40; Mr 15:21-30; Lu 23:26; Joh 19:17-19, 25) In classical Greek the word (stau?ros′) rendered “torture stake” in the New World Translation primarily denotes an upright stake, or pole, and there is no evidence that the writers of the Christian Greek Scriptures used it to designate a stake with a crossbeam.—See IMPALEMENT; Int, pp. 1149-1151.
The book The Non-Christian Cross, by John Denham Parsons, states: “There is not a single sentence in any of the numerous writings forming the New Testament, which, in the original Greek, bears even indirect evidence to the effect that the stauros used in the case of Jesus was other than an ordinary stauros; much less to the effect that it consisted, not of one piece of timber, but of two pieces nailed together in the form of a cross. . . . it is not a little misleading upon the part of our teachers to translate the word stauros as ‘cross’ when rendering the Greek documents of the Church into our native tongue, and to support that action by putting ‘cross’ in our lexicons as the meaning of stauros without carefully explaining that that was at any rate not the primary meaning of the word in the days of the Apostles, did not become its primary signification till long afterwards, and became so then, if at all, only because, despite the absence of corroborative evidence, it was for some reason or other assumed that the particular stauros upon which Jesus was executed had that particular shape.”—London, 1896, pp. 23, 24.
The first laugh comes from the fact that they state their own translation of the bible as an authority reference (sorry you can't reference yourself as a source). Then the second comes the question of the reliability of John Denham Parons. I mean who is this guy and how is he an expert? Well a quick google search reveals that the source that has taught us for so long that it was a cross and not a stake is most famous for being a skeptic regarding whether or not Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare... or the "Shakespeare Authorship Question". He teamed up with some dude and released a bunch of pamphlets on the issue.
Furthermore, the man has published books regarding the Horus (Egyption man/God) and Jesus connection and other "controversial" issues.
So my question is, why the hell is a skeptic an authority to the Watchtower and Bible Tract Society? Why is it that we have this man named in the insight book yet we aren't taught about him and his research about Horus as well? If he was such a genius why don't we get a tract about John Denham Parson's talking about his contribution to the witnesses and how Shakespeare is a fraud.
Anyhow, "Torture Stake" or "Cross" its the same thing. Anyone who is dumb enough to get mad or upset or argue that it was one or the other is an idiot. An organization that will kick you out for thinking that it is one and not the other is crooked. After doing a little non-JW research on the matter you can probably see that the odds are it was probably a cross. BIG SURPRISE, my point is it shouldn't have ever mattered in the first place. Just like those who wear crosses around their necks and are condemned by the Jehovah's Witnesses, the JWs themselves where invisible stakes around their necks and if you don't wear one of those invisible stakes you are OUT baby!
Now I'll be nice and say THIS MUCH... the international Bible Students (later Jehovah's Witnesses) wanted to get away from "evil Christendom" and apparently they wanted to get as far away as they could. Seeing any sort of hypocrisy and recognizing it is commendable. HOWEVER, using things like THE CROSS to try and blatantly be different in a dishonest way is well, DISHONEST.
So the next time you see a cross, think about John Denham Parsons and why he was such a valid source to the society. Then google him. Then read the insight book and google their other "sources". Then rinse and repeat until you feel sick.