I am doing a small group Daniel study. I prepare the material with first hand research. We discuss as a group, agree to disagree at times, etc. By not researching first hand, JWs are only as good as the research they are fed. The WT too often misquotes scholars (...), so if someone went to original sources, they would see that the WT research is shoddy, deceptive, false. Given the WT track record, they lack credibility and have proven to be untrustworthy and inconsistent in the quality of their research. Counter-cult ministries that photocopy original sources and contrast with WT isolated misquotes would do a service to truth, but the average JW is not allowed to expose themselves to a more accurate picture. If this is not mind-control, what is? Again, the individual is without excuse because the info is out there and there is no biblical prohibition to research like a Berean (it also does not help that studying the poor, sectarian NWT is too often not accurate Bible translation, let alone interpretation). The WT urges others to examine their religion objectively and not associate if they teach falsehoods, yet they won't let WT slaves have the same freedom in relation to WT.
Parroting in the meetings
mind you also godrutz (pleasure to "meet" you btw), that witnesses are told to NOT read the bible and make their own interpretations. that the wt lit is needed to properly translate the message. this being so, can the witnesses even be considered protestant as is commonly believed by the public?
JWs are a cult, not a Christian denomination. Mormons also like to be perceived as a Christian denomination, but they are not. I think most people would think JWs are an extreme sect/cult, while Mormons have not tried to distance themselves from 'Christendom' as much (they want to be accepted as another version of Christianity, while WT disses all other religions). I have read quotes from the WT that say that if one just reads the Bible, they will revert back to Christendom's views or that one cannot understand the Bible apart from GB (vs illumination of the Holy Spirit)?! This painfully shows that they read the Bible through the eyes of the WT (so pick up their false views and bad research) instead of being a Berean who would read Book of Mormon, WT literature, Koran, etc. through eyes of the Bible (oldest revelation). Scary and sad stuff.
Well, Broken, I hope you won't take offense. I know you're smart and that's what I would have thought of you if you had been in the hall at that time.
I noticed many things because I didn't really want to be at that Kingdom Hall. Also, I had read a lot on sites like this. I also noticed that one of the elders sat right behind me and checked what I was doing. "Elder" sounds like too much for him, because he was something like 26.
Blondie, I very much liked your post. So a witness is supposed to be creative enough to show the message was understood, but not too creative as to add, say, a conclusion that the Watchtower does not want you to reach.
the false impression that Witnesses are somehow bound to the dictates of some religious sect.
Someone is clever enough to notice that a worldly will smell something is wrong if the witnesses simply repeat what the magazines say.
I understand the Bible to teach...
That someone is also clever enough to make an individual witness be personally responsible for what she said, even if it was only what she was supposed to say. "I understand the Bible to teach that the generation of 1914 wouldn't pass away" is easy to disown officially: "The sister ´understood´ the Bible to teach that, but that is not what it teaches. See sister, (yadda, yadda)... Do you agree?" "Yes, I do".
I also noticed that the witness I went for (and with) was perhaps the only one taking notes while the elder spoke. She was also the smartest commentator. I suppose this two things combined mean she's one of the uber-witnesses.
From what I remember (my last meeting was over 11 years ago) they wanted people to parrot the answers straight out of the paragraph. Those that appeared to have read the material and actually thought about it enough to formulate their own answers in their own words were given no encouragment from the podium, and they would usually re-ask the question in the hopes of getting the response they wanted. Often some kid would quickly put up his/her hand and read back part of the paragraph...and get all kinds of praise. It was weird and upsetting to me to see how they minimized and marginalized those who actually studied and thought about the junk they were trying to impart and demonstrated (at least to me) how they didn't want people to actually think at all.
In the local congregation I attended for 14 months before my common sense kicked in, people were encouraged to do their own research but within the material provided. In other words, everyone was encouraged to use the Reference Bible, the Insight books, past Watchtower books. "All Scripture is Inspired", DVD's, any publication at all from the WT.
Naturally, new to it all, and being of a nature that tended to think and then share my thoughts, I would put up my hand and come up with my own original ideas, though self-edited because (sorry about this) I was consciously trying to fit in. Occasionally others also would come up with their own thoughts, and these were not rejected.
I have to say that my comments were always welcomed...in fact far beyond what they merited...and I did notkice that people seemed to find them profound whereas, used to theological discussions in another church, I knew that they were rather shallow. Still, for the sake of truth and balance, I'm just saying that in this one congregation at least, the weekly WT study sessions were not conducted in a notably restrictive manner.
NB The local study conductor is clearly an intelligent man with a mind of his own. I do wonder how he manages to accept everything!
Yes, the parroting drove me insane. It made me actually like hearing when people would stupidly analyze all the illustrations in the WT, because at least it was something from their own brain. I flat out asked someone once "Didn't we just read the freakin' answer in the paragraph?" At least parroting gave the kids a chance to answer up and their responses were only one line, ("Jehovah", "pray.") as opposed to Sister No Life who had a 15 minute answer starting with "I met someone in field service who..."
This makes me laugh... i have had several different study teachers, but one of them was an older pioneer sister. At first I never pre-studied the material and repeated what was in the book when it was time to answer. I felt stupid doing so, and even said to my teacher "It's already written in MY words." I did try my best to turn the wording around a bit though, pfft. So she told me to start pre-studying, and have the answers ready. So I did. I looked up EVERY scripture in the paragraph, and incorporated it all into the answer. NOW, as we know, the scripture rarely makes sense out of context, so i was getting confused and presenting questions my teacher couldn't answer because the rest of the scripture had nothing to do with what we were discussing. My answers became very complex (hey, i was proud of them! And i learned a hell of a lot more) and i knew my teacher found it bizarre.
A week later, an elder comes on our study. Big surprise. I pull out the one page answer for each question. Hahaha.
He looked blown away. I thought i was impressing him, until he tells me not to pre-study and just answer up off the top of my head because "yes, the answer is there, but it's good to repeat it so you can understand it." Well, thanks for assuming i can't understand shit simply by reading it.
Now I know why!
JWs are easily confused when the try to answer in their own words and the study conductor gets confused, too.
So they stick to verbatim questions and answers, just so they don't get confused like Charlie- is it, "people like tuna with good taste, or tuna that taste good?" We don't want Charlie to explain what a generation is, either.
Dgp, offense not taken.
I know many smart ones still in the organisation. I can't believe that they still believe in it, but it is a cult, and so many are trapped for family reasons. I just hope one day they get smart and find a way to leave.
Like BP, I was raised to comment from my "heart" so it would show where the answer came from.
Verbatum was good for little ones, but meatier answers were for mature Christians.
I didn't notice they parroted from the paragraphs until 2002-2005.
Old ladies and grown-ups in the truth for centuries simply read the answers like little grade schoolers.
I thought they were being so lazy and simple minded about it.