Newbie question about the NGO story

by gcc2k 30 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • gcc2k

    I'm going to be unpopular and take a contrarian view here. I hope we can have an intelligent discussion and that my post won't simply vanish.

    First, let's assume that all this story is true, and the WT got caught doing something wrong, and were forced to do damage control.

    What, exactly, did they gain by becoming an NGO? NGOs do not appear to have any special position as far as anything the WT would be interested in, ie expanding into other countries. This is a critical piece of information that is missing from the story.

    Second, on the UN NGO information page (, we read the following:

    "The DPI/NGO Section at United Nations Headquarters provides a number of services to its associated organizations. For example, the Section:"
    "Provides ground passes which grant a main and an alternate NGO representative access to all "open" meetings of UN bodies; to DPI photo, film and audio libraries; to the Dag Hammarskjold Library; and, as observers, to the meetings of some 22 NGO committees organized by the Conference of NGOs in Consultative Status with ECOSOC (CONGO);"

    So there is possibly some validity to the WT's claim that they became an NGO to gain library and research access.
    Yes, I've read the letter from the UN librarian about the UN's library pass policy, and I requested independent verification of her statement.
    However, her letter dealt with library pass access, not necessarily access to all libraries and media.

    I think it's quite possible that the WT engaged in "theocratic warfare", bending a few rules to become an NGO. My question is, why?

    I agree that the WT should never have had NGO membership, since this directly contradicts statements in the WT about the UN:
    "Since the founding days of the United Nations in San Francisco, NGOs have made valuable contributions to the international community by drawing attention to issues, suggesting ideas and programmes, disseminating information and mobilizing public opinion in support of the UN and its Specialized Agencies".

    As far as the WT still being listed as an NGO, I count 61 religious NGOs, and the WT is not listed. Now, what do all these groups (such as the Knights of Columbus) get from being an NGO? Are they all looking for library passes too, or are they trying to promote and support the UN, or am I missing something else here?

  • undercover
    What, exactly, did they gain by becoming an NGO? NGOs do not appear to have any special position as far as anything the WT would be interested in, ie expanding into other countries. This is a critical piece of information that is missing from the story.

    Why is this critical? It all boils down to the fact that for decades the WTS claimed that the UN was the "Wild Beast" and that any religions that had connection with them were part of the "harlot" and doomed for destruction. No matter what their reason for joining is, the fact is that they joined. They jumped up on the back of the wild beast right along with the other harlots. True, they dissassociated themselves but after they got caught with their hand in the cookie jar. So any argument as to why they joined is a moot point. They joined. They admitted it. They're guilty of being part of the wild beast. Therefore according to their own teachings, they are destined to be destroyed with the rest of false religion.

  • rocketman

    Unlike the WTS, few if any religions make claims about the UN that the WTS makes, so if they decide to become NGOs, it's not a big deal.

  • Swan
    I think it's quite possible that the WT engaged in "theocratic warfare", bending a few rules to become an NGO. My question is, why?

    That fits in with lying about their membership at first. Only when pressed did they come up with the library card excuse. Lying to your enemy is a part of theocratic warfare strategy. Apostates are their enemy. So I understand them lying to apostates. This only leaves the question why did they at first lie to their rank and file about not being members of the UN? The rank and file are their brothers and sisters, not the enemy. So I don't understand this part.

    What did they have to gain by UN membership other than a library card? I asked that question too. It is my understanding, and this I have only heard second hand, that they did it to help gain acceptance in some European countries. This is consistent with other things they have done to avoid the seizing of assets by governments (such as the denial of being a religion in Mexico) or the paying of taxes (giving away books and food at assemblies, but asking for donations, so as to avoid sales taxes).

    Even if it was just for the library card, was it appropriate? Yes. They should be allowed to join the UN as an NGO just like any other religion. I am glad they did this as it is a step in the right direction. They may be trying to become more mainstream like the Mormons. If so, maybe someday they will relax the shunning rules.

    Even if it was appropriate to be an NGO for the library card, was it hypocritical? Yes. Considering that people in Malawi were brutally tortured and killed for not purchasing a national ID card, yes. Considering that Witness children were never allowed to donate money at school to help UNICEF, yes. Considering that JWs are chastised if they use a stamp that has a flag on it, yes. Considering that JW children can never hold student council offices even though these positions are without any power what-so-ever, yes. Considering that rank and file JWs can't use certain facilities associated with some patriotic, nationalistic, or religious organizations, yes.


  • gcc2k

    I'm asking questions that most any thinking JW (no sarcasm please) will ask when presented with this matter.
    Thanks for your reply Swan.

    I'd like to hear some of the Megapostates (TM) weigh in on this. :)

    This is no different than complaining about money matters with the Society. Yeah, it's all big business, and they have a ton of money. So, if it's about the money, who is benefitting from the money, and where does it go?

  • Swan
    I'd like to hear some of the Megapostates (TM) weigh in on this. :)

    I guess that makes me just a garden variety apostate.

  • undercover
    I'm asking questions that most any thinking JW (no sarcasm please) will ask when presented with this matter.

    I can appreciate how your trying to use reason to try to counter against any arguments a JW may present but the fact is most JWs are going to throw up an invisible shield when you critize their beliefs. To me the UN thing is quite simple. The WTS says that the UN is the Wild Beast. The WTS says that any religions that associate with the UN are false religions and thus to be destroyed by God. The WTS for decades put themselves above all other religions and claimed to not be a part of Babylon the Great. Then in the 90s they are caught having a partnership with the Wild Beast, the UN. So by their own criteria, they are a false religion. Now if you go and try to use that against a JW you will get nowhere(unless they are already in doubt).

    I too would like to hear from the mega-apostates on this. Am I simplifying this too much? To me it's pretty black and white.

    (Can someone named minimus be a mega-apostate?)

  • gcc2k

    I should probably put this into its own thread, but it's relevant to this discussion.

    I sent the following email to the librarian at the UN who is quoted in several of the pages about this topic. It reads:

    ---> begin message
    " Dear Ms. Loytved,

    I am sorry to have to bother you on this topic, as I'm sure you have received countless inquiries about it.

    I have read all the information that has been posted online, and I would simply like to confirm with you that the information contained in the below link was actually written by you. If you are unable to click to an external link, I have pasted the content of the page at the end of my note. The link is:

    Since your name and email address are listed within, I'm sure you would not want false information circulating on the internet. I would be happy to call for the removal of this information if it is in fact false, or, provide independent verification of its validity once you have confirmed it.

    My goal in seeking verification of this information is to determine whether the Watchtower's rebuttal claim is valid or not. Their statement is that:
    "Our purpose for registering with the Department of Public Information as a nongovernmental organization (NGO) in 1991 was to have access to research material available on health, ecological, and social problems at the United Nations library facilities. We had been using the library for many-years prior to 1991, but in that year it became necessary to register as an NGO to have continued access. Registration papers filed with the United Nations that we have on file contain no statements that conflict with our Christian beliefs. Moreover, NGOs are informed by the United Nations that "association of NGOs with the DPI does not constitute their incorporation into the United Nations system, nor does it entitle associated organizations or their staff to any kind of privileges, immunities or special status."

    Many thanks, and I again apologize for disturbing you at such a critical time.
    The following is the response of a letter sent by a sister to the United Nations Reference Desk (see end of email). The Watchtower is apparently lying about their reason for joining the U.N. as an NGO was only to get a "library card."


 , the application is approved and sent to UN

    Dana Loytve

    Senior Reference Librarian-UN/SA Reference Desk-United Nations Library, New York
    ---> end message

    I received the following reply some hours later:
    ---> begin reply

    Please be advised that the posted text reflects a message sent by me. ---
    You may wish to have a look at the conditions under which an organization
    obtains its status with DPI:

    Best regards,
    Dana Loytved

    Senior Reference Librarian
    UN/SA Reference Team
    United Nations Library, New York
    ---> end reply

    I assure you these are actual emails, I have simply left the headers off for privacy reasons.

    I am satisified that the reply is genuine, and therefore I need to know why Brooklyn would be (apparently) telling a lie. That is my next step.

  • FreeWilly

    What did the WT have to gain by becoming an NGO? - Legitimacy and leverage

    I believe the WT "showed their hand" in the first few days of the scandal. I think it was the Portuguese branch that answered inquiries with a letter that listed some benefits JWs worldwide might receive in the human rights arena. The Awake! article (that was apparently submitted to the UN in fulfillment of the NGO requirement to "Promote the interests of the UN") was about the Human rights aspects of UN programs. Considering the backlash JW's have undergone particularly in former Soviet republics, it would be advantageous for the WT to use its leverage as a UN affiliate. Many of these countries are seeking acceptance in the world community. Human rights is definitely a issue for some of them. UN membership gives the WT a legitimacy and a voice that these countries may be compelled to listen to.

    WT has made moral compromises before. When they were attempting to gain acceptance in Bulgaria the modified their position on Blood transfusions to make it appear that there would be no sanctions against JWs who opted for a transfusion. This shows me that getting registered in foriegn countries is pretty important to them.

    Becoming a registered religion is definitely advantageous to WT. Aside from the tax benefits, it cuts down on the cost of distribution of literature and organizing assemblies. Also they can proselytize more publicly. There are probably other benefits that we aren't aware of.

    But If you ask me, this is what UN membership buys for them - legitimacy and leverage.

  • gcc2k

    Thanks freewilly, I agree that makes sense. The problem is poses is that it presents another out for those who choose to overlook the dishonesty. "Well, you see, the Society is just using Satan's whore and this wicked old system of things to further the good news."
    That was sort of the gist of the reply from the Portuguese branch, right?

    Why am I being so nitpicky? Because I have to. I need irrefutable proof that something is rotten in Denmark. I have my (personal) reasons and as I think I've shown, have the ability to discuss a matter without any bias other than that which I bring to the table for myself.
    The quote from the 6/1/01 WT taken from Robert Muller is pretty damaging and hard to get around. Is it possible that someone researching the article did not know that the WT was an NGO, and just happened to leave off the NGO part, perhaps because most people wouldn't understand what that means? The key here may be that I believe I read somewhere that the head of the writing department was listed on the NGO application, and I assume all WT publications have to undergo a review process, ultimately being blessed by the head of the department?

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