Stop press – The following change of policy has now been introduced. Under the heading “Questions from Readers” in a recent Watchtower, the Society stated:
“As to whether they will personally vote for someone running in an election, each one of Jehovah’s Witnesses makes a decision based on his Bible-trained conscience and an understanding of his responsibility to God and the state…There may be people who are stumbled when they observe that during an election in their country, some Witnesses of Jehovah go to the polling booth and others do not. They may say that ‘Jehovah Witnesses are not consistent.’ People should recognize, though, that in matters of individual conscience such as this, each Christian has to make his own decision before Jehovah God” (Watchtower –1st November 1999— Pages 27,28)
This sudden change of policy came as a surprise to the membership. Over the years the Society have quoted scripture to support their ban on voting. Does this mean that Jehovah ’ s Witnesses will now as a group vote at elections? How can they now disregard the “ scriptural proof ” that was used for many decades to support their ruling? If this issue is a matter of conscience, why was it made into law and enforced for so long? Could this be another attempt by the Society to conform to The Human Rights Act, as it is fundamentally against the law to deny people the right to vote in a democracy?
What of the many who left or refused to become Witnesses because ofthe original ruling? By saying that voting is now a matter of conscience there is no conflict with the law of the land. In some countries it is against the law to abstain from voting and this has caused many difficulties for members. In some countries, such as Malawi members lost their lives at the hands of the authorities because they refused to vote.
Is this really a genuine change of direction or will it continue to be made clear that a properly trained Christian conscience will stop one from voting? The Watchtower article, just quoted from, made it clear that members should stay separate from the world and listed five “ factors ” to be considered when making what is now a personal decision.
It appears that although voting is now officially allowed, the practice of voting will continue to be frowned upon, and Jehovah ’ s Witnesses as a group will continue to avoid voting, as a matter of conscience. There are a lot of question marks above, which sums up the present position that Witnesses find themselves in. The Society claim that truth is a bright light that is getting brighter and brighter but as in this case, and the position with regard to the use of blood fractions (dealt with in chapter 13) the light or guidance seems to be getting dimmer.
The above is taken from a book called: Opening the Door to Jehovah's Witnesses - by Trevor Willis. A free download is available. If you are interested, go to Lulu.com and type or paste into the search box the number 5456415 ........... You will be able to read the about the book before downloading it.