Faith in spite of the WTBTS --- Hillary, et. al.

by LoneWolf 8 Replies latest jw friends

  • LoneWolf

    To all ---About Faith.

    I posted this some months ago on another board. The comments then were thoughtful and appreciated. I'd like to know yours, too.

    A brief background first: I first became active in service in December of 1946, and have been disfellowshipped for over 12 years now, not for gross wrongdoing, but because I asked too many questions and wouldn't quit. All of my family are still in the organization, and counting aunts, uncles, cousins, etc., probably number upward of 80 or 90 people.

    I think in some of my previous posts (On the other board) I’ve made a few comments to the effect that I was affected very little by my disfellowshipping, especially as to faith, and that is true. Actually, my faith is stronger now than at any other time of my life, including those times that we moved to unassigned territory or pioneered. Now it just feels comfortable, peaceful, almost proven, and there is an eagerness in it that surpasses anything I’ve ever known before.

    Now be patient with me here. While that may sound like bragging, or even a crowing over others, I don’t feel that way at all. Actually, it bothers me, because in looking around at others who have experienced the same sort of shabby treatment from the Society, I see a considerable amount of agony.

    I also see that they have almost completely lost faith in anything, even the Bible and Jehovah himself. In realizing the fact that they were at one time, like me, in the congregations and thoroughly believing all of these things, is rather startling to me. The question that bothers me so much is this: These are normal people. Why have I not been as drastically affected as they have? Am I a freak or something? (No wise guys, now. GGG)

    I’ve always attributed this equanimity to the fact that I was a loner. I never really cared all that much what man’s opinion was. If someone said something, I’d check it out, even as the Bible says that we should. If that somebody got his dander up due to my checking it out, that was good, excellent even. After all, like it says in Zedekiah 3:8 --- “Always keep a pompous ass in a state of perpetual outrage. It’s the ONLY Christian way to fly.”

    I feel that I have been in the doghouse most of my life due to my own insistence on not doing things because I was “supposed to”. I felt that it was highly important that I do them because I wanted to and decided to. Others, of course, usually interpret that as an independent streak or even rebelliousness.

    It wasn’t, though. It truly bothered my conscience, and it took a long time to figure out how to express that in words.

    You undoubtedly remember such scriptures as 1 Thess. 5:19 where it says “Do not put out the fire of the spirit”; like Col. 3:23, “Whatever you are doing, work at it whole-souled as to Jehovah, and not to men” (my italics); of how we are supposed to have joy, as it is a fruitage of the spirit (Gal. 5:22); such as Matt. 22:37, You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind”; and when teaching, that we should be careful to “sound it down into their hearts”.

    It seemed to me that many individuals and even the organization itself was doing exactly that: “putting out the fire of the spirit.” Let’s examine some of the ways they were doing that:

    On the simplest level, such things as joy and love are not things that we can get simply because we are “supposed to” have them. They are things that are delicate and precious and have to be nurtured. They stem from the things we have in our life such as our activities and associations. We cannot force these qualities out of ourselves any more than we can force them out of our wives and children by beating on them until they give it to us.

    Those who condemn others for not having enough love for God or joy in their service are on a par with those who would condemn someone for bleeding just because they got stabbed. The only things they accomplish are to demonstrate their own lack of understanding as to what true love and joy is, and to add to the load of the one they are trying to motivate.

    To lay a guilt trip on such ones only makes things worse, for love that is forced is not love. It is at best only fealty. Likewise joy that is forced is not joy. It is a hypocritical false front that destroys one’s self-respect and confidence. Both are destructive to the individual himself (or herself) and to any relationship he may have with his heavenly father. Long term exposure to such things can lead to everything from a hatred of those he should love - to suicide.

    To have a lack of love or joy in one’s service to God does not necessarily mean that one’s heart condition is bad. In my experience, the problem is usually that someone or something is obscuring that one’s vision or understanding of what Jehovah desires of us. That leads us to the next problem.

    There are far too many numbskulls (Paul called them “superfine apostles” in 2 Cor. 11:5 & 12:11) who seem to have convinced themselves that they are so holy that they have the right, responsibility, and moral capital to pass judgement on every aspect of other people’s faith. To illustrate, as it is now, we cannot get baptized – without someone else’s permission. We cannot pioneer – without someone else’s permission. We cannot express ourselves in meeting – without someone else’s permission. We cannot raise questions – without someone else’s permission. Of course, all of these things can be argued interminably, so let’s just cut to the chase by using an illustration: How long would you tolerate someone standing between you and your wife in order to pass judgement on and guarantee that everything you said to her was just so?

    Likewise, anyone who stands between me and the God that I love in order to make sure that I do everything just so, is an interloper and meddler. And I don’t give the foggiest damn how holy he thinks he is or how much his butt weighs. There is war in camp until he moves that stinking butt. Indeed, I feel so strongly about this that I have no intentions whatsoever of giving him any respect, let alone appeasement, and won’t be satisfied unless he’s running in panic with his tail between his legs and yelling “Ki-yi, ki-yi, ki-yi!” all the way out the door. (The one exception to that, of course, is Jesus Christ himself.)

    Let’s look at it another way. We desire our wife’s love and we have authority. Suppose we lay down the requirements that she “prove her love” by coming to us every hour on the hour and smooching us up real good and submitting to sex promptly at 10:00 every morning and evening. Let’s also say that she actually cooperated with this arrangement. Now, would this prove that she loved us? Or could it mean that she is afraid of us and doesn’t want to make us mad? My point here is that in such things as true love, whole-souled service, and joy, there is an element of spontaneity. There is a freedom from fear and a knowledge that if we are not absolutely perfect that it will not be held against us.

    So tell me, how can we exercise this spontaneity toward Jehovah while someone is standing between us, watching every move we make, and demanding that we ask their permission before doing anything whatsoever? Their very presence destroys the spirit, as he is demanding that we serve him, a man, rather than God.

    As to the thought about “sounding these things down into our hearts”: here too we must consider the mechanics of how such a thing is done. If all we do is take the word of these “superfine apostles” that we should believe simply because they are holy and they tell us to (as seems to be the requirement these days), then we are building our house upon sand. Why? Because all they have to do is make one mistake of any kind and it calls into question all of what they have taught. Moreover, we violate the commandment given to all of us to “test the inspired expressions to see whether they originate with God, . . .” (1 John 4:1)

    Rather, Paul emphasizes in his definition; “Faith is the assured expectation of things hoped for, the evident demonstration of realities (those that have evidence demonstrating their authenticity) though not beheld.” (Heb. 11:1 --- Italics are mine.) Because somebody says so is not evidence, and faith without this evidence is not faith. It is gullibility.

    The point is this: To sound things down into our heart, we must have the freedom to test, to question, to probe, to challenge, to bounce it on the floor, to hit it with a hammer, to dip it in acid, to do whatever it takes to convince our hearts that it is something to be trusted. That is impossible to do as long as someone is standing there demanding we believe because they tell us to.

    There is no way to overemphasize the importance of this. Its import extends far beyond our own salvation, but goes to the very core of the heavenly dispute between Jehovah and Satan. Here’s how:

    "Be wise, my son, and make my heart rejoice, that I may make a reply to him that is taunting me." (Proverbs 27: 11) There is no way to escape the conclusion that Jehovah needs something from us, and that it is important. You may remember this passage in the “Truth” book:

    "Satan's false charges against God may be illustrated, to a certain extent, in a human way. Suppose a man having a large family is accused by one of his neighbors of many false things about the way he manages his household. Suppose the neighbor also says that the family members have no real love for their father but only stay with him to obtain the food and material things he gives them. How might the father of the family answer such charges? If he simply used violence against the accuser, this would not answer the charges. Instead, it might suggest that they were true. But what a fine answer it would be if he permitted his own family to be his witnesses to show that their father was indeed a just and loving family head and that they were happy to live with him because they loved him! Thus he would be completely vindicated. --- Proverbs 27: 11; Isaiah 43: 10." (The Truth That Leads to Eternal Life, page 67, paragraph 7.)

    This makes sense as far as it goes. But upon reflection one must realize that there has to be more to it than that. To let one's own family provide the answer would work only under the right conditions, otherwise Satan need merely claim that Jehovah had intimidated them into it. "Well, sure, they would say that. After all, if they say any different you will kick them out in the cold like you did Adam and Eve."

    He could also claim that because Jehovah had poisoned our minds we are too frightened to examine the evidence impartially. Or he could say that we cling to Jehovah for the simple reason that that is all we know and that we would never stick to him if we were aware of all the wonderful things he (Satan) had for us.

    The only way for such questions to be answered is for Satan himself to have access to us. AND if our answers are to be of any use whatsoever, then they must be uniquely ours. No careful repetition of dogma, no predetermined “approved” phrasing of words, and no blind following of others’ instructions will do any good whatsoever.

    They must come straight from our own heart. This is the reason that we will all be tested alone at the time of the end. How can we form that answer without practice? How can we get that practice if someone else is constantly interfering and condemning us for “thinking independently”?

    To go back to the illustration above, while it would be absolutely infuriating to have someone step between a man and his wife, it could also be very damaging to their relationship. It’s much like when a woman is raped. Even though it may not be her fault whatsoever, the relationship with her husband changes dramatically, and not for the good.

    Could you be in a similar situation now? That thanks to those meddlers, your relationship with Jehovah has become strained, uncomfortable, and severely damaged? That the reason you argue so vehemently against the Society and others was not so much that you hated them, but because you had to have time to think and try to heal your spiritual relationship? (I realize that there are many other and good reasons. I’m just wondering what a factor, if any, that this was.) But that the situation is so confused, thanks to them, that you don’t know where to start?

    I’ve come to realize that this is probably the biggest reason that these things haven’t affected me as much. I’ve always tested everything out using the worst acid tests I could devise and paid no attention whatever to those fools who thought they were indispensable to my spiritual well being. To find that they were not worthy of my confidence came as no surprise, because I never really thought they were anyway.

    What are your thoughts?


  • LoneWolf

    Sorry about the double post. My computer had the hiccups. Is their a way to delete one of them?

  • thinkers wife
    thinkers wife

    Lone Wolf,
    I like the way you think! I wish I had had the strenth to stand up to the elders way back when. You made some very good points.

  • Liberated

    Hi Lone Wolf,

    I enjoyed reading your comments.

    When I found that the wts was indeed inserting itself into the stream of salvation and putting itself in the place of Jesus Christ, cutting me off from Him, I could no longer agree with their teachings. I felt betrayed, disappointed, used, and angry. To leave without my children has been intensely painful.

    True, I could have stayed.

    Ultimately, the deciding factor for me to leave, rather than stay and preserve fellowship with family and friends, was to show my family and friends the way out should any of them ever get to that point.

    And I have found a wealth of joy and peace in leaving. I have found, or re-found, a closeness with God my father that is supremely fulfilling. And I am in the process of "collecting" those things that have helped me....your post is one of them.

    Here are two others: from Ray Franz--"Because of not being under law, the Christian is put in the position of showing what he or she really is at heart. And that alone counts with God."

    And from Pastor Bill Stonebraker about the parable of the Good Samaritan---"The man was looking for a short list of rules, but instead Jesus gave him a principle: Practice love in relationships. It is easier to keep rules than to love."

    of the liberated class.

  • Introspection

    Hi everyone,

    I would agree with the last quote Libby shared. It makes me think of the scripture that says how can you love God, who you have not seen, when you have not loved your brother, who you have seen?

    Lone Wolf, I can appreciate where you're coming from, because I myself was a loner when in the org. However, what finally woke me up wasn't an intellectual process, though I drifted over time. It was essentially a matter of self examination, and I came to see that love is really what it's all about. It is an experience, and no amount of intellectual analysis is equal to it. I think that while we need discernment and wisdom, the mind needs to work in harmony with the heart, it is one system if you will. If your heart is open, you can forgive those who are still trapped in the organization, and it is only then that you can truly move on and extend love to others.

  • hillary_step


    A host of well thought our points. Thank you for sharing them with me, they have been useful.


  • teejay

    Hello again, LoneWolf,

    Interesting thoughts. They, and you, can be summed up easily --

    you never were a Witness.

    Oh sure, you got baptized, went to the meetings, you had the
    appearance of a Dub, just never bought into the whole spiel. I'll
    show you what I mean.

    You said:
    I also see that they have almost completely lost faith in anything,
    even the Bible and Jehovah himself. In realizing the fact that they were at
    one time, like me, in the congregations and thoroughly believing
    all of these things

    your following questions/statements serve to lift the mystery. Your question:
    Why have I not been as drastically affected as they have?
    you yourself answer: I was a loner. I never really cared all that
    much what man's opinion was


    I have been in the doghouse most of my life due to my own
    insistence on not doing things because I was "supposed to". I felt that it
    was highly important that I do them because I wanted to and decided to.

    that type of person is antithetical to a truly loyal Witness. Surely you see
    that. Loyal Dubs don't exercise (or even recognize that they have) the right
    to pick and choose the way you've done "your whole life." Those that you
    see as having problems overcoming their JW experience are those who were
    like the Boreans, but only up to a point. (I've always been amused by the
    scriptural references to them. Yes they questioned what they heard and that
    was the last we ever heard of them!!) The typical, loyal JW, sure enough,
    checks and double-checks what they read or hear, but they are most likely
    to do so with reference material produced by the speaker/writer. Not
    surprisingly, it all jibes, and in those few instances when it doesn't they
    "faithfully wait on Jehovah."

    You were never so encumbered with Borean thinking. You were a lone
    wolf. You believed in God, the Son the Holy Word. You just didn't buy
    into the Organizational BS. According to ITS definition, you were
    an apostate, a wolf (!!) in sheep's (jw) clothing the whole time. That
    made recovery for you a very short step. You never fully adopted the
    JW mentality to begin with.

    I'm sure you've seen "The Wizard of Oz." Remember Dorothy's
    disillusionment when Toto pulled back the curtain and it all of a sudden
    dawned on her that the person of her admiration, the Great and Powerful
    OZ, was just a frail, error-prone human just like her, with none of the
    special gifts she long thought he possessed? The realization that she and her
    friends accomplished what they did on their own all along?

    Well, from reading your history and getting to know you better, I couldn't
    say that you fit Dorothy's pattern of belief. Many others do. A life is bound
    to become at least a little shaky when a (small or big) part of it is lived
    under a delusion that one day evaporates. (see the movie The
    Truman Show

    You said:

    There are far too many numbskulls ("superfine apostles") who seem
    to have convinced themselves that they are so holy that they have the right,
    responsibility, and moral capital to pass judgement on every aspect of other
    people's faith… we cannot get baptized - without someone else's
    permission. We cannot pioneer - without someone else's permission.
    We cannot express ourselves in meeting - without someone else's
    permission. We cannot raise questions - without someone else's

    Who is the "someone else" who's permission YOU sought before getting
    baptiszed, pioneering, or commenting in meetings? Isn't it the JW version
    of the Great and Powerful OZ? Can you saaayyyy "governing body"?

    you said:

    Likewise, anyone who stands between me and the God that I love in
    order to make sure that I do everything just so, is an interloper and meddler.
    And I don't give the foggiest damn how holy he thinks he is or how much
    his butt weighs.

    but you DID care. You appeased the interloper, the meddler. You dropped
    your Lone Wolf persona, ever so little, and bought into the dream. Even
    lone wolves have to interact with their kind, team up with their fellows, for
    self-preservation. So did you, if only for a time.

    Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition.
    ____________-- Timothy Leary

  • JanH

    It's just one profound mystery of the xtian religion, and that is why people believe in it. It proclaims, without any evidence, that there is an invisible man who wants you to do some things and not do some other things, and will condemn or reward you based on this.

    Apparently there were some questions about the legitimacy of the saviour's birth, or the chastity of his mother. "He was born by a virgin woman," the religionists say, with a perfectly straight face. How come people don't burst out laughing at this ludicruous excuse?

    There are so many absurd ideas that make up this belief system it's hard to imagine.

    How have believers handled this? How do they meet challenges to their superstitious beliefs? Simply: By proclaiming gullability to be the greatest of virtues. Hidden under the word "faith" the true believers can proudly proclaim: "I am gullible!" Ok, they say "I have faith", and because of the conditioning in our part of the world, people consider this perfectly sane. If they used the correct word, everybody would see through the absurd sham.

    - Jan
    "Pluralitas non est ponenda sine neccesitate." - Occam

  • CornerStone

    Hello TeeJay,

    I find that I can identify with your assestment of LoneWolf's standing as a witness; "you never were a Witness." This seems to describe me to a tee. I too was a social loner, not antisocial, just not going out to seek friendships. The "love bombing" I encountered when I started studying was a new experience for me and served to wake me out of my "loner" status. But despite the new experiences I never gave my heart or mind over to the WTS. Through the study, baptisism, and the last handfull of years I found it impossible to "pretend" that the WTS was who they claimed to be. All the scriptual errors in the teachings and my previous Bible knowledge and my step back and look at the whole picture attitude PREVENTED me from accepting the WTS's claimes.
    So, I guess at heart, I too was never really a witness. I do believe, however, I continued to be a Christian at least to myself.
    You know, I think that means I could not be accused of being an apostate since I never REALLY BELIEVED the WTS's claimes in the first place. I believe the Bibles claims but not the WTS's claimes. To me, this means I never LEFT something I never ARRIVED at in the first place! (What I just say?)
    Anyway, I feel very similar to the way LoneWolf feels in his post. Good to see that the orgs. influence begins to crumble where common sense begins.


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