My wife and I had stopped going to meetings in April; in December of that year we travelled interstate and stayed with the Witness couple who had "brought me into the truth". We had already told them we'd quit meetings and there was a certain tension in the air for the first couple of days until Sunday morning, when, over a breakfast that eventually lasted several hours, they began to interrogate us about WHY we had left. Had we been stumbled? It's not about the people, you know! Well, we said, that's our private decision. We left, we're not going back, but we'd rather not discuss our reasons.
It was a session I described in my diary as the Breakfast Grill. They told me there was a Watchtower that very day was addressed at our very situation, about how Jesus cares for his lost sheep, and they assured me that when we returned to Melbourne, we would surely have contact from our old congregation. Stirred up by the timely article, those loving, concerned brothers would definitiely inquire after our spiritual wellbeing. If he was a gambling man, he'd put money on it. Rubbish, I told them. They'll attend the Watchtower study, answer the questions and give us no thought at all. It's a Watchtower study, just words on a page. That's the way it is. I didn't want them to visit in any case: we'd made a definite decision to leave, based on very firm grounds.
And so on they went, hour after hour, tears in their eyes as they grieved for our loss. OUR loss! But then there was curious question.
He looked my wife in the eye and asked her,
"Do you believe Jehovah is using the faithful and discreet slave as his organisation on earth?”
My wife paused. How the hell do you answer that question? The answer, of course, was , No, absolutely not. I jumped in and deflected and quickly the question was forgotten.
But I've never forgotten that question. Why did he ask it? It's a loaded question, a bit like a Witness being asked by a householder, "Do you accept the divinity of Christ, yes or no?" Well, there's a trap, because it depends on your definition.
His question assumes several things:
1. God has an organization (which is an interpretation peculiar to the Witnesses).
2. If he does have one, it is the Watch Tower Society. (Please God, no!)
3. The faithful and discreet slave is more than just a figure in a parable: it is a "class" of Christians as Russell decided. (Again, among all religions, only the Witnesses have decided that parabolic figure represents a group of Christians who would be represented in the last days).
4. If the Watch Tower Society is indeed God's organization, the faithful and discreet slave "class" actually plays a role. (There is no evidence that those 11,200 self-professed anointed scattered throughout the globe play any role in the formation of doctrine or direction of the beliefs or activities of Witnesses. As Ray Franz pointed out, they mean nothing, zilch, to the Governing Body).
So why did he ask it? Did someone suggest it to him? Reading threads on this forum, and listening to the recordings at the Death or Obedience blog, it seems this is a question commonly asked at judicial committees. I searched in the "Shepherd the Flock of God" book for a suggestion that elders ask the question, and couldn't find it. Is there some unwritten convention that elders ask that question of those they suspect are apostates, searching for the evidence that would allow them to disfellowship them? Because answering in the negative is an immediate confession that one is no longer a believer, no longer under the spell of the Watch Tower Society.
Have you ever been asked that question? Do elders share it among themselves as the $64,000 question? Why did he ask it?