Imagine you are standing in the shoes of a person living in the year 1879.
If you were in Ireland you'd have heard about an appearance of the Virgin Mary, St.Joseph and St.John the Evangelist to locals in the town of Knock.
You'd have heard that an inventor, Thomas Edison, was performing his first experiments on something called a "light bulb."
Reading your local newspaper you'd be astonished to discover that an American aviator, Cal Rodgers, had actually flown clear across the three thousand miles of the American continent all by himself!
In the same year a haberdasher's son, Charles Taze Russell, begins publishing Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christs Presence. From that small start, today we have The Watchtower Organization run by a Governing Body and 8 million members worldwide.
This religion has been accused of doctrinal inconsistency and reversals, failed predictions, a mistranslation of the NWT Bible, harsh treatment of former members and autocratic and coercive leadership.
Are these accusations backed up by sufficient reasons from the leaders as to why there is so much contradiction in policy?
Let's ask a fundamental question:
What is the difference between an "explanation" and an "excuse"?
An excuse is an account of what happened given in an attempt to avoid responsibility for your actions. An excuse usually includes a sentiment along the lines of, "It not OUR fault."
What is the difference between an explanation and a justification?
An explanation tells why something was done, and a justification tries to tell why thepurpose for doing it was good or at least why that action should be excused.
Explanation - A reason for why something happened. A process to help the listener understand.
Excuse – An attempt at an explanation, but with the aim of absolving self or others from responsibility.
An explanation is an account demonstrating a willingness to change: "what can I do to make it right?"
Is there a key principle differentiating explanations and justifications? What should we ask?
Does the explanation torture the logic of cause and effect? Or, does the flow of facts come as a natural flow of events?
About events the following questions might well be applied:
Was foresight necessary to avoid what happened; foresight that an average person would exercise? Well, that wouldn't apply if JEHOVAH were directing you, would it?
Failed predictions explicitly stated or strongly implied, particularly linked to dates in 1914, 1918, 1925 and 1975, have led to the alteration or abandonment of some doctrines.
The Society's publications have at times dismissed previous statements, asserting that members had "read into the Watch Tower statements that were never intended."
Jehovah's Witnesses in the Divine Purpose, Watch Tower Society, 1959, page 52.
Moreover, pointing the finger back on members, the Society has said the beliefs of members were "based on wrong premises."
"A Solid Basis for Confidence", The Watchtower, July 15, 1976, page 440.
The Watchtower states that some of its expectations have needed adjustment because of eagerness for God's kingdom, but that those adjustments are no reason to "call into question the whole body of truth."
"Allow No Place for the Devil!", The Watchtower, March 15, 1986, page 19, "Some opposers claim that Jehovah’s Witnesses are false prophets. These opponents say that dates have been set, but nothing has happened. ... Yes, Jehovah’s people have had to revise expectations from time to time. Because of our eagerness, we have hoped for the new system earlier than Jehovah’s timetable has called for it. But we display our faith in God’s Word and its sure promises by declaring its message to others. Moreover, the need to revise our understanding somewhat does not make us false prophets or change the fact that we are living in 'the last days,' ... How foolish to take the view that expectations needing some adjustment should call into question the whole body of truth! The evidence is clear that Jehovah has used and is continuing to use his one organization."
Apply this same excuse and self-justification to standing up in a crowded theater and screaming: FIRE! FIRE! FIRE!
There is a difference between smelling smoke and blowing smoke up other people's ass.
Beyond making excuse, the Watchtower Society denounces any person who might criticize them for their errors. Former Governing Body member Ray Franz adds that the organization's eagerness for the Millennium does not give it license to impugn the motives of those who fail to accept its predictions.
Raymond Franz, Crisis of Conscience, 2007, page 174, "No less serious is it when a group of men have divided views on predictions related to a certain date and yet present their adherents an outward appearance of united confidence, encouraging those adherents to place unwavering trust in those predictions."
Watch Tower Society publications state that doctrinal changes result from a process of "progressive revelation", in which God gradually reveals his will.
Jehovah's Witnesses - Proclaimers of God's Kingdom, Watch Tower Society, 1993, page 708.
By this reasoning, your local weatherman can predict rain and, when it comes sunshine instead, claim "progressive revelation"!
Who is actually directing Jehovah's Witnesses worldwide? Is it Jehovah, Jesus or fallible men who make excuses?
The facts and their own words make the answer plain enough.
LEADERS in the GOVERNING BODY are corrupt, dishonest, malefactors claiming divine guidance.