I'm new here..... Studying with the Witnesses

by PenelopePaige 160 Replies latest jw friends

  • PenelopePaige

    Actually, the truth is, even though I was raised in church (Baptist) I never really read my bible. And I didn't learn much in church. I suppose it's just the church I went to. Alot of the sermons seemed to be more "self-help" type stuff than the nitty gritty bible stories that I feel I should have been learning. Like, last night I saw on the TBN channel, a pastor on there giving a sermon that basically went in circles like this "You should praise God, because you want to praise him! Praise God because he IS God! Praise God when you eat breakfast! Amen! Praise God when you eat lunch! AMEN! Praise God when you're eating dinner! Can I get an Amen? Praise him when you Praise him! Praise him Praise him!" Basically this went on for about 30 minutes and sort of reminded me of my church. I walked away, knowing I should praise him and be a good Christian but didn't know why. I don't think we had a very good pastor. So, only in the last year or so have I decided that I really need to learn my bible and understand as much as I can so that I'm not just Praising God because I've been told that I should. And I also have not really had an interest in religion until recent years. I mean, I called myself a Christian but I'm not so sure I always acted like one. And when I say that I've been confused, it's not so much the bible, it's everything coming at me; things I see on the History Channel (for instance, I didn't know until recently that there were MANY Gods- I know alot of people know this but I just didn't) and things I have heard from different people from different religious groups. Anyway, there's some background. :)

  • InterestedOne

    Hi Penelope. I lost my network connection, so I couldn't respond right away. Thanks for sharing some more of your background. We all have gaps in our knowledge. I have an electrical engineering degree, but I am embarassed that my knowledge of the basic history of Western civilization is sorely lacking. I wish I had taken more college-level history courses. Don't be afraid to be up front about any gaps in your own knowledge, even things that most people take for granted. Regarding your interest in religion, when you were in college, did you take any courses that might be related to it? Like any history classes?

  • Chariklo


    It's not quite as black as you've painted, is it? I think that it's impoortant not to fall into the trap of condemning absolutely everything, and in doing so misrepresenting what they actually say. Sorry to disagree, especially as your posts are normally so reasonable, but I think it's not right to say they say something that they don't.

    This is for the sake of accuracy, and so that Penelope can make an informed choice.

    What to wear. Not exactly. To dress respectfully, modestly and not casually, if you want to do what JW's perceive Jehovah as wanting.

    What to think (jehovah knows ALL your thoughts, and WILL judge you for them). Not really. They'll teach you, from the Bible, what God wants, and then it's your choice, and that's even if you accept the Bible and God's word, and provided you even accept that there is a God.

    What people you are allowed to spend time with (only other JWs). They'll teach you, from the Bible, what God wants, and how best to approach pleasing him. Up to you what you do.

    That your marriage mate is a Satan worshiper. No, they won't. Not at all. Not unless your marriage mate actually knows and understands all that the Bible says and then actively chooses to turn his/her back on all of that and, knowing and understanding all the ramifications, chooses to go against God, a deliberate choice. That is a very unlikely event. Therefore they don't teach that your marriage mate is a Satan worshipper. QED.

    You can never have a blood transfusion for you or your children. Yes, because that is what they perceive the Bible as saying. Find out what they really teach and make your own choice.

    That your family of birth is, like your mate, a Satan worshiper. Not true at all, see above for marriage mate.

    That you cannot join the military or sell tobacco products as part of your job. Correct, not if you wish to be a JW. Why? Find out their actual reasons and make your choice.

    That you must be SUBMISSIVE to your husband, and his decisions are FINAL. Almost completely true, but find out their actual reasons and make your choice.

    That the only basis for divorce is INFIDELITY (yes, he can beat you black and blue, but you can't divorce him). Not entirely true but as above for finding out exactly what they really teach. In practice, it isn't true at all. I know of four sisters just in our local congregation who obtained divorces because of severe beatings, and are JW's in good standing. Three were actually rescued by elders, one in this congregation and the others elsewhere.

    There will absolutely be NO Christmas, birthdays, halloween, 4th of July, or ANY celebration except your wedding anniversary and what they call "the Memorial", which is a celebration of Jesus' death. Pretty well yes, but find out why they teach what they do and make your choice. As to the Memorial, it is not so much celebrating Jesus' death but the ransom paid for us. A very big subject, so best to find out what they really teach.

    That you MUST go door-to-door and 'preach the word' on a regular basis. Find out what they really teach and why.

    If you are a smoker, you are EVIL and WILL be disfellowshipped. They teach that smoking is unclean and displeasing to Jehovah. Well, in the UK every tobacco product carries a large prominent label stating "Smoking Kills". Find out what theiy really teach and why.

    Again, sorry Talesin, hate to challenge you like that, but those statements really weren't fair and accurate. Whether or not one agrees with JW teaching is one thing, but it's reasonable not to misrepresent what they actually say and why they say it.

    PS. Penelope, I've sent you a PM.

  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    I can't speak for the individuals. My aunt and uncle were very sincere Witnesses. I am unfortunate enough to have my family active since Russell. They don't care about you and your boundaries. Once you make it clear that you have reservations, you will be dropped so they can spend time on greener pastures. If you think the Witnesses are true Christianity, you have never read a New Testament. I despise them on doctrinal points but my present religion also requires faith. What distinguishes the Witnesses from Baptists and other is mind control and regimentation.

    Evangelicals made What Would Jesus Do? a powerful slogan. Altho I am far from an evangelical, it is the question I pose. Note the ferocity of the feelings here. This is not an abstract debate. Did you watch Star Trek: The Next Generation when Jean Luc is assimilated by the Borg. We don't call JWs the Borg for no reason.

    Whatever, don't substitute my reasons for the Watchtower reasons. Do your own research. Pick up any legitimate Bible translation, which excludes the New World, and read verse by consecutive verse. Don't jump around. I suggest not reading commentary. Read the Bible, verse by verse, and ask what you believe it says. What you believe is more likely true than the Witness lies. Don't trust another person. You are sufficient. There is academic religious studies which approach the Bible as a history source. Exposure yourself to some of this work. Crossan, N.T. Wright, Marcus Borg, Karen King, Elaine Pagels. There is almost uniform agreement about the historicity of the Bible and what certain verses mean. I urge you to do it yourself, though. Only then can you trust it.

  • Concerned JW
    Concerned JW

    penelopePaige I hope you don't mind but I would like to reply to Partydelights who brings up some valid points I would like to address.

    Partydelights I sympathise for your time in prison and applaud your honest hearted stance on biblical neutrality about not being "part of the world" while submitting to the authority of it's rulers. But can I say that however many times someone has read the bible cover to cover, it isn't an adequate qualification biblically. The biblical principle of the Eunuch and Philip shows this. When the eunuch himself acknowledges that the bible needs explaining despite clearly reading it and knowing it himself. This is the the principle that there has to be biblical insight when understanding scripture. This would explain why hundred's of religions use the bible but still have unbiblical beliefs like trinity, hellfire, immortallity of the soul in their doctrines.

    The usage of the Apostles and Jesus as intepretors of the bible give lie to your words that special insight isn't given to certain groups biblically. The bible also sets down the qualification for gaining insight and it requires prayer, being a united group, asking for spirit guidance, asking Jehovah our father specifically through his son and yes looking to the bible for explanation as well. I think you would have to back up your assumption that knowledge is gained by simply reading the bible from cover to cover.

    I am trying to understand why you are saying the basis for an annointed group to be kings and priests in heaven, 144,000 heirs with Jesus rests on just one scripture in Gal. From my personal knowledge alone it is based on a vast number of scriptures which if you then try and say either "we are all annointed" or "we are all not annointed" they unravel horribly and mean you have to cut out masses of scriptures to sustain that point. The specific usage of the name "discreet/faithful slave" is a direct quote from a parable of Jesus's which for me is very relevent showing that there will be shepherds right until Jesus returns who will look after the flock. The argument that the flock is shepherdless until Jesus returns is a massive contradiction to the bible.

    Bible prophecy is meant to be used but I've read nowhere in the bible that intepreting prophecy fulfillment would be a perfect science. It is like saying the Jews couldn't be God's people because they failed to interpret biblical prophecy on the Messiah correctly. Not getting biblical prophecy fulfillment right is a really, really weak premise to condemn any religion on? I'm frankly surprised you even use it considering how well read on the bible you are?

    This is where the perfection point comes into it. It is not that defenders of the witnesses are saying we are imperfect as an excuse but that attackers against witnesses have an unrealistic expectation of perfection! They expect perfect understanding, a mistake-free religion, perfect understanding of biblical prophecy fullfillment, perfect administration, perfect mistake-free shepherds, a religion that perfectly agrees with their own opinions. This is a very unrealistic expectation which is bound to crumble when faced with the feet of clay which is the reality of imperfection. And what is more important is that the bible does not say the congregation will be perfect, far from it but what qualifies us biblically is our adherence and faith in Jehovah and his word despite our imperfection as his people.

  • NewChapter

    We've all heard this before Concerned. Did you think you were passing on a light bulb moment?

  • ziddina
    "we actually had a little boy in our basement who would walk out of the wall and say "Lonely. Stay here." before vanishing. ..."

    Ah, Penelope...

    What if that actually was the spirit of a very lonely little boy? And not something from "Satan"?

    Wouldn't you be lonely, too, if you were stuck somewhere, confused about what might have happened, not sure whether you're alive or dead, and then to have people scream and freak and LEAVE you ALONE again???

    Poor kid... That'd be enough to make ME break dishes or mess up the house, too...

    You seem to be seeing things in a rather 'black-and-white' fashion - rather than "unexplained" - at this point in time, you are seeing these phenomena as "from Satan".

    What if you're wrong?

    By the way, humanity has worshipped many, many goddesses and gods LONG before the bible came along. The oldest deity/totem/icon found so far, is the Berekhat Ram figurine - that is the form of a woman, probably an earth goddess, and it is OVER Two-Hundred THOUSAND YEARS OLD.

    On the other hand, the bible is a mere 3,500 years old...

    So, which one do you think is more likely to be the ACTUAL 'deity'? The OLDEST one - that's well over TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND YEARS OLD, or the Johnny-come-lately Middle-Eastern male-generated Bronze-Age volcano 'god'???

    In my book, the OLDEST is the FIRST - and all others came AFTERWARDS, and have NO VALIDITY. Which negates ANY superstitions generated by the bible's Middle-Eastern male writers.


  • PenelopePaige


    For years, after our paranormal experiences, I thought like you, that it was just something unexplained, not neccesarily good/ not neccesarily bad. But, how awful for a little boy to be "trapped" somewhere in the in -between. Why would that happen to a child or anyone? I tell you- It was the most horrifying experience. Creepy isn't a good enough word. It was awful. Now, after studying with the Witnesses, it does make more sense to me that it would be Satan trying to trick and decieve than to think that some poor child would be "stuck" in nothingness.

    And, like I said earlier, where I get completely befuddled is when I read things like what you posted above; about the Berekhat Ram figurine. When I hear about things I never knew of like that, I think my head might as well just explode; I get so confused.

  • sabastious
    For years, after our paranormal experiences, I thought like you, that it was just something unexplained, not neccesarily good/ not neccesarily bad. But, how awful for a little boy to be "trapped" somewhere in the in -between. Why would that happen to a child or anyone? I tell you- It was the most horrifying experience. Creepy isn't a good enough word. It was awful. Now, after studying with the Witnesses, it does make more sense to me that it would be Satan trying to trick and decieve than to think that some poor child would be "stuck" in nothingness.

    What if I gave you a scanario that made since to you involving alien abduction? Would you then conclude that you were abducted by aliens?


  • ziddina

    Penelope, the bible is one of the most recent forms of worship to come into existence on the planet....

    Stonehenge is older than the bible... Around a thousand years older, at least.

    The cave paintings in France are older than the bible... 12,000 to 17,000 years older, at least.

    The worship of the Goddess Inanna is older than the bible... Around a thousand to 1,500 years older, at least.

    The temples to an earth Goddess on the island of Malta are older than the bible... Around [If I recall correctly...] 8,000 years or more older than the bible.

    And so on.

    So, you're not worshipping the most ancient deity - you're worshipping a Johnny-come-lately, Bronze-Age Middle-Eastern male volcano 'god'.

    Just thought you ought to know...


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