Conscience---Oh really?

by Terry 14 Replies latest watchtower medical

  • Terry

    Whatever else you may think about Jehovah's Witnesses, what THEY think about their own "trained Christian conscience" is an absolute.

    The Governing Body feeds them what they should think and say and do; they obey.

    Conversely, what they must not think and say or do must be obeyed absolutely as well. Agreed?

    By internalizing these instructions, directions and taboos all Jehovah's Witnesses become tuned in to the collective Authority of Jehovah's "arrangement."

    What is the test of this conscience?

    There is a long list, of course.

    It comes down to what NOT to participate in doing.

    Birthday celebrations, Flag salute, singing the National Anthem, Christmas celebrations, Easter celebrations, Military Service, Alternate Service, blood transfusions.....we are all familiar with the Taboos.

    The penalty is severe and "justice" is swift. Being disfellowshipped is the JW equivalence of Captial Punishment. Only it isn't the Judicial committee or the Governing Body who will actually kill you. They only represent the ultimate penalty. Their pronouncement seals the deal. Jehovah wields the Axe.

    What would you say if I were to tell you none of the above is consistent with CONSCIENCE?

    Would it shock you to discover that the Watchtower spin on what Conscience is--is entirely bogus and contrived? I thought not.

    The oldest version of Christianity (as an institution) was the Catholic Church. What is the Catholic definition of "conscience"?

    "Man has the right to act according to his conscience and in freedom so as personally to make moral decisions. He must not be forced to act contrary to his conscience. Nor must he be prevented from acting according to his conscience, especially in religious matters".

    As powerful as the Church is, the power of the individual to CHOOSE is superior to outside persuasions.

    Interesting as it may seem to compare Jehovah's Witness conscience and compare it to Catholic conscience the real test comes in COURT.

    In 1918 the Watchtower Society leadership made one of a series of horrible errors in judgement which landed them in jail.

    Anti-government tirades strongly influenced soldiers serving in the Armed Forces during a time of war to seek release from their oath of allegience.

    Harshly judging this a treason the Federal Government hauled Rutherford and his board into prison.

    Without going in to all the petty details of the court case, suffice for our purposes today, the real shakedown was an abiding FEAR placed deep into the core of Jehovah's Witness leaders from that point forward. Fear of what? Fear of BEING HELD ACCOUNTABLE for advice, counsel, instruction or pressure upon the CONSCIENCE OF ITS MEMBERS.

    From their release from Prison forward, presidents and board members resorted to covert control in matters of Governmental Authority.

    In order to achieve the control over its members they would have to destroy obedience to Government Authority another way: Changing the Bible itself!

    Romans 13:1 would be reversed! Superior Authority was not Government. It was the Watchtower Leadership! (More on this later...)

    Instead of a "shoot first-ask questions later" policy---the Top of the Watchtower changed course. It would cover its own ass!

    Hayden Covington used the Supreme court of the U.S. to OBTAIN OFFICIAL PERMISSIONs for religious policies FIRST.

    Several landmark cases were won.

    Note: these cases are hailed as granting PERSONAL FREEDOM for worshippers. In reality, it was to prevent what happened in 1918 from happening to the Leaders again!

    It is tricky and subtle for Rutherford, Fred Franz and the board to claim to be Superior Authorities whle simultaneously ASKING PERMISSION OF THE COURT to exercise its own CONSCIENCE!

    If Jehovah God and Jesus Christ were the only Authority the Faithful and Discreet Slave followed---they would happily embrace persecution, imprisonment and even death without flinching. Instead, they offset their OWN liablility and went underground in seeking control over others.

    In two arenas is this obvious:

    1.Military Service

    2.Blood Transfusions


    Did you know:

    Privately, young Jehovah's Witness males were strongly counseled and advised what to do concerning Alternate Military Service.

    Alternate Service for Conscientious Objectors is Federal Law: No person is compelled against thier own conscience to violate deeply held beliefs.


    JW's were specifically told never to reveal that their own personal conscience WAS INSTRUCTED what to "think".

    To wit: Refusing ALTERNATE service so as to demonstrate, for PR purposes, how righteous they were as a sort of Billboard advert.

    Why this backdoor policy? The GB wanted to leave no fingerprints on the person's "conscience."

    Secondarily, if a District Court Judged refused to allow this and SENTENCED the young man to ALTERNATE service---GET THIS:

    The young JW MUST COMPLY according to the Watchtower Leadership!!

    Can you see why Romans 13:1 had to be changed BACK again?

    The CONSCIENCE MATTER suddenly vanished into irrelevence.


    Further refusal would lead to TROUBLE for the GB at the top. How? Naive young JW's would petition the Society to defend them, advise them and protect them as Hayden Covington often did (for 10K a pop). It would be revealed what the secret policy was and ---back to prison!

    As a matter of Conscience it was all PURE BULLSHIT.

    Watchtower "conscience" is indoctrinated into the member with no protest or question allowed. They must accept or get kicked out. No personal Freedom of Choice can ever be allowed.

    Read the Catholic definition again and compare:

    "Man has the right to act according to his conscience and in freedom so as personally to make moral decisions. He must not be forced to act contrary to his conscience. Nor must he be prevented from acting according to his conscience, especially in religious matters".

    Take a look at how the official dogma of Watchtower "light" from Jehovah defined submission to Governmental Authority until 1962.

    From wikipedia:

    • Identity of the "superior authorities". Russell taught that the "superior authorities" of Romans 13:1, to whom Christians had to show subjection and obedience, were governmental authorities. In 1929 The Watchtower discarded this view, stating that the term referred only to God and Christ, and saying the change of doctrine was evidence of "advancing light" of truth shining forth to God's chosen people. [ 79 ] In 1952, The Watchtower stated that the words of Romans 13 "could never have applied to the political powers of Caesar’s world as wrongly claimed by the clergy of Christendom," [ 80 ] and in 1960 The Watchtower described the earlier view as a factor that had caused the Bible Student movement to be "unclean" in God's eyes during the 1914–1918 period. Two years later, in 1962, The Watchtower reverted to Russell's initial doctrine. [ 79 ]

    Bottom line? There is no such thing as CONSCIENCE in the doctrines or policies of Jehovah's Witnesses. It is Jargon.

    Supreme Authority and not PERSONAL CHOICE determine who does what and why.

    Conscience is the opposite of what Jehovah's Witnesses practice in their daily lives. They ARE FORCED to consult leadership on every trivial matter in their day to day lives because THEY HAVE NO PERSONAL CHOICE!

    The GB are afraid of the Court of the Land for good reasons. If your child is dying and needs blood they will pressure you to obey them rather than LOVE the child's life.

    It is all P.R.

    Conscience is a "cover".

    In summary: Your conscience is between YOU and GOD. The Watchtower GB steps IN BETWEEN.

  • JWinprotest

    I always found the conscience issue very strange, especially when there were consequences handed down by the org for following your conscience. For example, a few years ago, carrying a firearm was made mandatory where I work. So being the good JW that I was, I researched the WT publications to see what "god's" view on the matter was.

    Well much to my surprise, as evil as the WT made it out to be, they conclude the article by saying that carrying a firearm as part of one's employement is a conscience matter. However, the article also says that if a brother who holds a high position of responsibility in the congregation decides to do it, his ability to carry out those priveleages should be reviewed by the elders of the congregation (we all know what that means).

    But that's just one example, there are probably hundreds just like it. They say let your conscience guide you, listen to your conscience, but we all know that every JWs conscience is the GB.

  • Ding

    WT "matter of conscience" = "Do what you know we want you to do, but if things go south because of it -- it's your problem, not ours."

  • Terry

    The main point I wanted to bring out (and I got too long winded about it) was the Neutrality duplicity.

    Remember Malawi?

    Malwai was the giant poster the Watchtower wanted to display persecution against THEM. These brothers and sisters were specifically advised

    NOT to purchase a political party card. It meant torture, rape, death.

    At the same time, the green light was given to a similar situation in Mexico. Why? Because the penalty wouldn't make headlines and serve their PR purposes.

    I still meet people who think the reason I went to Prison was because the U.S. Federal Law wouldn't recognize my minister status.

    On the contrary, I was given a pass in working at Terrell hospital in Alternate Service.

    I was specifically TOLD by my congregation Overseer (and assistant) NOT to accept--but-NOT TO TELL anybody they told me this.

  • Marvin Shilmer
    Marvin Shilmer

    Terry writes:

    “I was specifically TOLD by my congregation Overseer (and assistant) NOT to accept--but-NOT TO TELL anybody they told me this.”

    That is exactly the way it was. Most folks don’t believe it, but it’s true. When telling the truth hurts Watchtower they tell you not to tell. When telling the truth hurts Joe Publisher, what choice does he have but to take the hurt, just like you and many of us did.

    Marvin Shilmer

  • Terry

    This is why they label ex-JW's "Apostate" and mentally ill and encourage publishers to "hate" us and not even pray for us.

    If they allowed them to TALK TO US we'd tell them what REALLY went on.

    They have to keep our word a "curse".

  • sd-7

    This calls to mind a comment I remember hearing about "conscience matters". It was to the effect of, "Just because it's a conscience matter doesn't mean you can do what you want to do." Which of course means, IT'S NOT REALLY A CONSCIENCE MATTER. So if it's not really a conscience matter, why say it is? It serves no purpose...ah, except it presents the WT as not issuing a directive about it, thus wiggling them out of any responsibility for the consequences.

    One of the many tragedies of this cult is the suffering from that alternative service issue. Years lost...such a horrible waste.


  • Bungi Bill
    Bungi Bill

    Further to their many, various utterances about conscience:

    - During the mid-1970s, there was a series of Watchtower articles about this very subject. Also, it would seem that at the same time the elders heard a lot about conscience - and its proper role in things - while attending the Kingdom Ministry School. I even heard it said by one brother on his return from the Kingdom Ministry School that the then Branch Overseer was going to "have to alter his approach."

    - Indeed, the whole thrust suddenly became to the effect that the WTS's publications, talks from the platform, counsel from the elders, everything in fact, was no longer about telling a person what to do, but "making suggestions."

    (I can even recall one Circuit Overseer reprimanding a brother for asking him a question "that your conscience should answer for you.")

    Some congregations then took this "new light" at face value, and removed most man made rules and regulations. Aroundabout this time, I was in a congregation that allowed its Ministerial Servants to sport beards; and (horror of horrors!), the sisters were permitted to wear pants suits.

    It goes without saying that this situation did not last very long!

    By the early 1980s, pointed remarks were being made at District Conventions - and quoting some obscure "fashion consultant" - that pants suits were "inappropriate for wearing to church." Also at that same DC, a directive came out beforehand regarding the attendants that "no beards allowed."

    A memorable quote from one of our congregation's elders sometime after that was to the effect that "The Society does make suggestions to us, but expects us to carry these out."

    In other words, the previous situation in which everybody was free to do as they were told had been totally restored!


  • Terry

    Everything positive that people who are members admire most about Jehovah's Witnesses is a thin veneer of pretense.

    Everybody pretends something.

    The worst thing pretended is that the leadership HAS a conscience or that they allow others to operate out their own.

    Yet, CONSCIENCE talk is everywhere and everything.

    The faithful and discreet slave FEARS the existence of conscience. It has always done everything it can to destroy it.

  • dgp

    Great post, Terry. Like many others from you.

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