My JW mom is now willing to "listen" to our side...Need advice pls
You also need to treat your dear mother with lots of empathy and avoid giving her too much information too soon (and run the risk of giving her spiritual indigestion).
You've had time to adjust to your doubts and have willingly made room for a greater awareness of what's gone on in the organization.
Your mother will likely struggle to take in what is being said. Give her time and, yes, that old fashioned quality of treating her with respect. Which ever way the conversation goes, you want to reduce the likelihood of doing or saying anything that will needlessly get in the way of her also feeling heard.
If she were my Mom, I'd want to give her a big hug and tell her how much I love her. Best wishes!
A huge shock for any longtime Witness is their involvement with the UN and OSCE (see threads on those topics). Last week my mother asked a circuit overseer's wife about the OSCE, so she replied: "The Society will NEVER become involved with the OSCE. Other people are using the name of Jehovah's Witnesses for their own ends." Yeah, sure, if you use the Society's names or emblems for you own ends they will sue the pants off you... Ignorance is bliss! On top of that, one could mention their stance on pedophilia. But note above warnings, all this can come as a big shock to an elderly Witness, so tread carefully.
P.S. After my mother mentioned above topics, she is treated as a leper. Some will not greet her (she is a Witness in good standing).
Your mum must be uncomfortable about something. You should find out what this is.
Tell her that the religion as it exists today is not the same one she was baptised into, because there have been so many changes. Even the ministry has changed from teaching people about God, to advertising a website.
(For a list of changes either look here on jw.net, or here on jw.org)
The WT have condemned themselves:
-- WT 5/15/76 p.298 "It is a serious matter to represent God and Christ in one way, then find that our understanding of the major teachings and fundamental doctrines of the Scriptures was in error, and then after that, to go back to the very doctrines that, by years of study, we had thoroughly determined to be in error. Christians cannot be vacillating - 'wishy-washy' - about such fundamental teachings. What confidence can one put in the sincerity or judgment of such persons?"
They claim to be the mouthpiece and channel of God providing food at the proper time. What is proper about serving such bad food that they have to keep removing items off the menu?.
One example is how the decreasing number of memorial partakers was proof that we are close to the end. Now the numbers have climbed higher than at any time since 1960, so what does that do to their 'proof'?
If you don't want to focus on one topic, you can ask your mum to give you one teaching that has never changed, just to emphasize that they are all under constant change. If she says hell fire, immortality of the soul, paradise earth, or the trinity have never changed, tell her that these teachings were established before the F&DS were appointed in 1919, then correct your question to "What teachings from the F&DS (since 1919) have never changed, since only the F&DS are approved by Christ?"
There are none.
As the first WT quote I pasted says, How can you have confidence in that?
And be prepared for all of the stock responses:
"Even the Apostles made mistakes"
It is true that the Apostles sometimes made mistakes. Does that mean that it is ok to make mistakes? No.
Is it also okay for other religious leaders to make mistakes, since the apostles made mistakes? No.
And Harold Camping getting the dates wrong for the end of the world in 2012, is that also ok? No.
It is fallacious to think that an act is acceptable just because someone else engaged in it.
The point is, that since a JW accepts that the Bible is infallible (w10 9/1 p.12), they also accept that the apostles did not make mistakes when putting doctrine into writing. It is impossible for God to lie.
"The Truth doesn't change, only our understanding of it changes"
The Truth isn't being called into question, it's why we are not teaching the truth that is.
Is it acceptable that our teachings of the Truth are not the truth?
If our teachings are from Jehovah, why are they different to what is actually the Truth?
Is this a valid statement for when Churches change their teachings too?
The congregations are told that we are given food at the proper time. What is proper about serving spiritual food that is not truthful?
"It's better to make mistakes and stay on the Watch, than fall asleep"
Actually it's better to stay on the watch and not keep raising false alarms which can be just as dangerous as falling asleep, as made famous by Aesop's Fable of the Boy who Cried 'Wolf!':
*** g93 3/22 p. 3 Why So Many False Alarms? ***
THE story is told of a boy who watched the sheep of the villagers. To stir up a bit of excitement, one day he cried out, "Wolf! Wolf!" when there was no wolf... So it has become with those who proclaim the end of the world. Down through the centuries since Jesus’ day, so many unfulfilled predictions have been made that many no longer take them seriously.
Does the failure of such predictions to come true convict as false prophets those who made them, within the meaning of Deuteronomy 18:20-22?
We have been on the watch for over a century. A real Watch has many shifts so the watchmen do not fall asleep or make bad judgement calls from tiredness and false expectations.
What would you do with a smoke detector that constantly gives off false alarms?
What would you do with an unreliable Watchman? What did the Israelites do?
Is it correct to 'stone' (penalise / disfellowship) those who expose the false alarms?
"We need to rely on the Slave for our understanding"
Does that mean we must not look into things for ourselves?:
"Do not put YOUR trust in nobles" - Psalm 146:3
"when he entered the house Jesus got ahead of him by saying: "What do you think, Simon?" -Mt 17:25
Jesus asking them "What do YOU think?" - Matthew 18:12; 21:28
"Now the latter were more noble-minded than those in Thes·sa·lo·ni′ca, for they received the word with the greatest eagerness of mind, carefully examining the Scriptures" (Ac 17:11)
"keep testing whether you are in the faith " 2Co 13:5
"present your bodies...a sacred service with your power of reason" Ro 12:1
"think so as to have a sound mind" - Romans 12:3
"go on perceiving what the will of Jehovah is" Eph 5:17
"make sure of the more important things" Php 1:10
"make sure of all things" 1Thes 5:21
"we request of YOU not to be quickly shaken from YOUR reason nor to be excited either through an inspired expression or through a verbal message or through a letter as though from us" 2Th 2:1, 2
"God gave us not a spirit of cowardice, but that of power and of love and of soundness of mind." 2Tim 1:7
"I am arousing YOUR clear thinking faculties by way of a reminder" 2Pe 3:1
"test the inspired expressions to see whether they originate with God" 1Jo 4:1
"he has given us intellectual capacity that we may gain the knowledge of the true one" 1Jo 5:20
"Those references you are using are old!"
All of these WT references are from Jehovah's channel - do you believe the FDS are Jehovah's channel? If so why would you dismiss something as old? The Bible is old, do we dismiss that?
One day in the future, today's teachings will be old. Will you one day dismiss these the same way as you are dismissing the other 'old' teachings? If so, why not just dismiss them right now?
The Society will themselves often refer to early WT references such as these. Do we dismiss those also?
"Wait on Jehovah"
'Wait on Jehovah' is an excuse for inaction, or to avoid discussing something. It's an attempt at ending the conversation.
Typically it is used when the credibility of the Watchtower Organization or the leader’s authority is in question.
When some completely incomprehensible new understanding (which is going to be changed in the next Watchtower) is published and people express their concern, they are asked to "wait on Jehovah". What they are being told to do, in fact, is stop thinking and stop asking questions that cannot be answered.
The Society take action when they need to, like going to court. Are they waiting on Jehovah?
Wait on Jehovah often really means Wait on the Society.
What is the difference between "obey without questioning", and "Wait on Jehovah"?
When someone says "wait on Jehovah", what they really mean is "wait on the GB", forgetting that Jehovah and the GB are quite different.
I have learned so much since I have left, I wish I could take back my initial talk with my parents.
As others have mentioned, don't hammer her with fact after fact. She might be open to honest discourse, this could also be an attempt at Witnessing to you and if you lay the "apostate" on too thick, she may panic and run.
What I would suggest would be talking to her over the phone or email and ask her questions about why she joined and listen carefully!! If she was born in, ask her how she knew she was ready for baptism and what made her certain. That is her trigger, focus on that first.
She would be more likely to question the organization as a whole if the reasoning for her joining is shown to be questionable. Each person is different.
1) Shown that God has a name, Jehovah, that was covered up by other religions
2) Lost a close one in death and eager to see them again soon
3) Likes the idea of living forever on earth
4) Felt warm and invited when attending meetings.
Just figure out her trigger and discuss that. Argue both sides. Do a summary of the actual truth of the topic, then explain in detail what reasonings the Watchtower has for that decision, then show how those reasonings are false.
Sound familiar? Yup, that is the Watchtower conversion script. It will feel natural since that is how they are trained to hold bible studies. But you won't be misquoting or hiding any facts. If she thinks you are hiding or covering up anything, she could just brand you a liar and run back.
I wish you luck and the big thing will be to open a discourse that will last many visits. After saying all you could on one topic, call it there and have a social visit. Let her think and process it and remember that the visit was pleasurable. Talk about good memories you had with her as well as good memories you have made since then. Let her know you are happy.
Remember she may not have any social network outside of the congregation, that can be terrifying as well. Ask questions about the friends she used to have, what she enjoyed to to with them. Just not believing isn't enough if her life is lonely. Maybe pick a class or hobby that she likes and do it together so she can meet people that are not Witnesses and remember that for the most part, people are nice, not wicked and evil agents of Satan, out to steal her eternal prize.
What I have found works best for the witnesses is showing them relevant news articles e.g child abuse. It's neutral and I just leave it there. The absolute worst thing you can do is take her directly to an apostate web site because that is just going to close her mind.
Simple and quick.
The Watchtower uses it to claim a person who dies has paid for his sins.
Where does that leave the new covenant and Jesus' sacrifice which Matthew 26:28 says paid for our sins?
Acts 5:31 says that God exalted Jesus to His right hand for the forgiveness of sins.
If our death pays for our sins then there was no need for Jesus to die for us.
Also Romans 6:1-14 has nothing to do with our death paying for our sins.
Romans 6:1-14 describes the new life a believer experinces in Christ.
Id print out 3-5 questions you feel may get her attention, then have an answer there in the form of a few scriptures or JW literature, (its great how the WTBTS stuff things up for themselves). Saves arguing or getting stuck on one topic or her leaving and you thinking...'damn i should have said this or that'.
Suggest that she just look it up in private, maybe come back to discuss if she wants to.
Id probably tell her that these are the questions/contradictions that got you thinking.
This is my fantasy scenario that I get this chance with my parents.
Good luck. xx
There are some awesome points here. There are lots of points on blood for me like.... does God really want me to sacrifice my childs life for him by denying it a blood transfusion? Then the scriptures on blood where its clearly about eating blood, even then it is ok in dire circumstances and you just remain unclean for 7 days. What about donating blood? JWs are willing to take fractions but dont give back??