Blondie, thanks for posting the 1996 article. In 1998 they opened
their fly and exposed the fact that many of us were not too pleased with
them. Who knows how many letters they got regarding the 1996 article but it
must have been plenty for them to print the article below. Also, it should be
noted that brothers in other countries were also going to jail. A letter
was printed during this same time from a brother I believe from Greece
who expressed his appreciation for the changes in civilian service.The Watchtower's extreme positions on this and other things like
blood, shunning of relatives etc. have negatively effected many lives,
if not ruined them or even killed them.
(emphasis mine below)
*** w98 8/15 p. 17 Strengthening Our Confidence in God’s Righteousness ***
Feelings of Having Suffered Needlessly
6 In the past, some Witnesses have suffered for refusing to share in an activity that their conscience now might permit. For example, this might have been their choice years ago as to certain types of civilian service.
A brother might now feel that he could conscientiously perform such
without overstepping his Christian neutrality regarding the present
system of things.
(It was NOT our choice. They forced the choice on us.)
7 Was it unrighteous on Jehovah’s part to allow him to suffer for rejecting what he now might do without consequences?
Most who have had that experience would not think so. Rather, they
rejoice that they had the opportunity of demonstrating publicly and
clearly that they were determined to be firm on the issue of universal
sovereignty. (Compare Job 27:5.) What reason could anyone have to regret having followed his conscience in taking a firm stand for Jehovah? By loyally upholding Christian principles as they understood them or
by responding to the proddings of conscience, they proved worthy of
Jehovah’s friendship. Certainly, it is wise to avoid a course that would
disturb one’s conscience or that would likely cause others to be
stumbled. We can think in this regard of the example that the apostle
Paul set.—1 Corinthians 8:12, 13; 10:31-33.
( Please note, first
they blame God. "Without consequences" means without consequences from
the Watchtower. "Christian principles as they understood them"
is, pardon the expression bullshit. We understood ONLY what we were told
to understand. What follows is an even greater kick in the pants.)
order to please Jehovah, the Jews were required to obey the Ten
Commandments and also a wide variety of about 600 additional laws. Later, under the Christian arrangement, obedience to these laws as such was no longer a requirement for serving Jehovah,
not even for fleshly Jews. The laws no longer binding included those
dealing with circumcision, keeping the Sabbath, offering animal
sacrifices, and observing certain dietary restrictions. (1 Corinthians
7:19; 10:25; Colossians 2:16, 17; Hebrews 10:1, 11-14) Jews—including
the apostles—who became Christians were released from the obligation to
keep laws that they were required to obey when they were under the Law
covenant. Did they complain that God’s arrangement was unrighteous in
having formerly required of them things that were no longer necessary? No, they rejoiced in the broadened understanding of Jehovah’s purposes.—Acts 16:4, 5.
(Please note, they are comparing the changes they make to the change in worship made in the Bible. I don't why I did not explode then but I was too blinded.)
modern times, there have been some Witnesses who were very strict in
their view of what they would or would not do. For that reason they
suffered more than others. Later, increased knowledge helped them to expand their view of matters.
But they have no reason to regret having earlier acted in harmony with
their conscience, even when this possibly brought extra suffering. It
truly is commendable that they demonstrated their willingness to suffer
in faithfulness to Jehovah, to “do all things for the sake of the good
news.” Jehovah blesses that kind of godly devotion. (1 Corinthians 9:23;
Hebrews 6:10) The apostle Peter wrote with insight: “If, when you are
doing good and you suffer, you endure it, this is a thing agreeable with
God.”—1 Peter 2:20.
(We were not strict. We simply did as we were
told. Either we tried to get a minister classification or we went to
prison. I was in the northeast at the time and some of us did go prison
because we were told that was the only Christian choice to make. If we
joined the military quiet disfellowshiping was the result. "Increased
knowledge" was the 1996 Watchtower article.)
Thanks again Blondie for bringing up the 1996 article.