This forum offers the stories of folks with as many variations as there are folks and a “great crowd” of lurkers whose stories may never be offered. I am an outsider with a broken heart for some insiders that I love more than they know. After reading nearly every “apostate” book ever written, lurking, being worn out searching the WT CD, I have come to an idea that I present for your appraisal.
Just so you know where I am coming from, I accept the simple gospel as told in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 in that I receive, stand on, am saved by the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. The good news by definition is the invitation to personally accept the person and work of Jesus. The Watchtower says:
*** w 90 8/1 p. 24 The Romans Get the Best of News ***
The Law was perfect. The problem was that imperfect people could not obey the Law. “We know that the Law is spiritual,” wrote Paul, “but I am fleshly, sold under sin.” An imperfect human cannot keep God’s perfect Law and so is condemned by it. How wonderful, then, that “those in union with Christ Jesus have no condemnation”! Anointed Christians have been adopted by spirit to be God’s sons. Jehovah’s spirit helps them to wrestle with the imperfections of the flesh. “Who will file accusation against God’s chosen ones? God is the One who declares them righteous.” (Romans 7:14; 8:1, 33) Nothing can separate them from God’s love.
I don’t see a single character in any word in this paragraph to disagree with. I have never set foot in a Kingdom hall, never had a “Bible study” and this paragraph has my belief to a T. But, there is no such thing as an un-anointed Christian. Saying some Christians are anointed is like saying some triangles have three sides.
*** it-1 p. 212 Atonement ***
Justice satisfied by propitiation. Still, justice required satisfaction. Man, though created perfect, fell from that state through sin and thus Adam and his offspring came under God’s condemnation. Justice and fidelity to principles of righteousness necessitated that God execute the sentence of his law against disobedient Adam. But love moved God to purpose a substitutional arrangement whereby justice would be satisfied, and yet without any violation of justice, repentant offspring of sinner Adam could be forgiven and could achieve peace with God. (Col 1:19-23) Therefore, Jehovah “sent forth his Son as a propitiatory sacrifice for our sins.” (1Jo 4:10; Heb 2:17) Propitiation is that which makes propitious, or favorable. Jesus’ propitiatory sacrifice removes the reason for God to condemn a human creature and makes possible the extending to him of God’s favor and mercy. This propitiation removes the charge of sin and the resulting condemnation to death in the case of spiritual Israel and all others availing themselves of it.—1Jo 2:1, 2; Ro 6:23.
The idea of substitution is prominent in certain Biblical texts relating to atonement. For instance, Paul observed that “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” (1Co 15:3), and that “Christ by purchase released us from the curse of the Law by becoming a curse instead of us [Jews], because it is written: ‘Accursed is every man hanged upon a stake.’”
(Ga 3:13; De 21:23) Peter commented: “He himself bore our sins in his own body upon the stake, in order that we might be done with sins and live to righteousness. And ‘by his stripes you were healed.’” (1Pe 2:24; Isa 53:5) Peter also wrote: “Christ died once for all time concerning sins, a righteous person for unrighteous ones, that he might lead you to God.”—1Pe 3:18.
Again this is the gospel as plain as can be. Except there is a problem with one little clause. “all others availing themselves of it”
How do people avail themselves of it? Well these “all others” cannot get the atonement directly from Jesus because
*** w72 9/1 p. 520 A Death That Brings Gain ***
they are not counted as ‘impaled with Christ’
*** w51 11/15 p. 685 par. 35 Baptism for Salvation and Fire Baptism ***
They are not baptized into Christ’s death So
*** w68 7/1 p. 406 par. 16 Part 2—Empowering a Priesthood for Effectual Service ***
after his entry into the heavens, and after he was authorized by the heavenly Father to turn his attention again to the earth, he did send forth from his heavenly throne many more blessings of life-giving knowledge and understanding, first to his body of priests yet on earth, and then through them to the “other sheep,” a great crowd of whom are now joining in pure worship of the Most High.—John 10:16 So
*** w83 8/15 p. 23 par. 14 United Fruit Bearers ***
While the “other sheep” are not branches of the Abrahamic-covenant “olive tree” or of “the true vine,” Christ Jesus, they must prove themselves to be Christ’s disciples. Like all the anointed Christian “branches,” they must “keep bearing much fruit.” This they do by producing Christlike qualities of the new personality, including “the fruitage of the spirit.” (Galatians 5:22, 23; Matthew 28:19, 20; Colossians 3:5-14) But to be really fruitful they give active expression to such qualities by sharing in the work of preaching “this good news.” (Matthew 24:14) Just as the anointed “branches” of the “true vine” must remain in union with Christ, the “other sheep” must remain in close union with “the faithful and discreet slave,” Christ’s anointed “brothers.” Only thus can they hope to ‘inherit the Kingdom prepared for them from the founding of the world.’—Matthew 25:31-40.
This Watchtower was printed in 1983. In 1983 the slave was all the 144,000. In 2016 the slave has been changed to just the Governing body. Is that not a big deal? If they are wrong about their very own identity maybe they are wrong about your identity. Maybe this is still true and valid statement for you.
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He that remains in union with me, and I in union with him, this one bears much fruit; because apart from me you can do nothing at all.”
Consider how easy it is to see someone else’s problem:
*** w56 5/15 p. 294 Is the Queenship of Mary Scriptural? ***
The pope expressed firm confidence that through Mary “mankind will little by little progress along this way of salvation and she will guide the rulers of nations and the hearts of their peoples toward concord and charity.”—Our Sunday Visitor, October 17, 1954
As an outsider I see many reasons to never be an insider and I stand to be schooled by people who post here as you have lived it. The people I love who are insiders are actually living well. It is my observation that different congregations / Elder bodies are as varied as the people who attend, much like this forum. Not being qualified, I would not propose advise to anyone, however is this not worth considering? Maybe the gospel Jesus preached is still true?
*** w67 12/15 p. 753 par. 1 What Now Distinguishes the Good News to Be Preached ***
What vital thing has now been added to the good news of the kingdom of God that Jesus Christ and his zealous apostles used to preach nineteen hundred years ago?
My job has me in my car where I listen to talk radio. I heard an interview with a lady who was a holocaust survivor. During the interview she gave a description like you would expect with her whole family starving to death leaving her a young orphan. As the half hour was up and the music started she said wait I need to say one more thing. “This is not who I am”. “This is just a bad thing that happened to me”. She did not have time to elaborate but I turned the radio off because I had just heard Wisdom. I repeat, if they don’t know who they are, how the hell do they fancy they know who you are?
Maybe the gospel Jesus offered is still being offered. Maybe leaving the organization is not the only option. The problem with families is they have people in them and there is not a one size fits all situation but here is where I invite your comment. If you have not rejected God, only the Watchtower version, what is wrong with simply accepting the gospel Jesus offered and saying so.
Would you have to leave to do that? I have more questions but that one for today.
Just learning how to format . . sorry
Would you have to leave to do that?
Yes i think so as if you identify yourself as a JW you identify with the good news that they preach
Thank you so much for carrying, Jerryh... Many of us have been down every road that can be investigated, & found "the wicked web they weave when first they practiced to deceive" as you can see by reading the confusing articles they print..
“This is not who I am”. “This is just a bad thing that happened to me”.
Bottom line we are not our stories.
As easy as that is to say, still people choose to believe in all or parts of their stories.
One problem with the org is that it is extremely controlling and promotes fear instead of real love as its agenda. It is true that some can ignore the "bad" teachings of the org while excepting the "good", but what happens when that individual must then make the choice between obeying the org's commands to abstain from blood or letting their child accept a life saving blood transfusion? If they disobey and choose to blood, they face disfellowshipping and shunning by their friends, family, and congregation. Or, perhaps, the JW is given a promotion at work that would interfere with their attendance at an assembly or convention. The org expects them to attend the convention at all costs. There are many other scenarios that play out here where JW's aren't just guided by scripture but rather controlled by a corporation. Even disagreeing with WT interpretation is a no-no within the group, and it leads to expulsion and shunning. Those who are choosing to stay "in" may seem happy, but they are completely living in denial.
I have come to believe the simple Gospel of Christ that goes against the WT teachings and conforms more to mainstream christianity. I can no longer preach the 'different kind of gospel' that WT teaches. If I go to meetings it's simply for the sake of my family. They still believe in the WT teachings (even if not all) and find they can still follow Christ in their own way. It's hard to try and live the way Christ taught when so much goes against WT teachings but I'm sure he understands.
In a word, no.
there is only one tenet that a JW must believe - that the governing body IS the faithful and discreet slave, the representatives of God on earth.
As you so correctly pointed out, if they don't know who THEY ARE can one be sure they know who you are? As for older ones there may be some room for them to not keep up with the chariot and believe that all the anointed 144,000 are the FDS but that's all the leeway a JW might get. To believe that ALL Christians are Christs brothers,saved , anointed with Holy Spirit or however you wish to put it - well, that would simply get you disfellowshipped if you spoke out which a Christian must do as Christ commanded to preach the good news.
sorry if this is going to be hard on you, were you perhaps thinking of joining for those you love???
Ps really enjoyed your post btw - you've put a great deal of thought into this - I really wish you all the best whatever the outcome.
If you renounce your belief and become a JW, your baptism will be to the Father, the Son and the spirit directed Organization. But, if you believe that you are born anew of the spirit and you confess Jesus as your savior, there is no room for you as a JW.
That is just my 2 cents for what it is worth.