Cheap Shots Fired
When @Brian J’s “Bullet in the Head” thread went live (https://www.jehovahs-witness.com/topic/4747450574176256/session-8-bullet-head) those written shots echoed in my mind.
A week later while overhearing a Bible Study, the conductor was asked if God really has given us “free will”. The illustration was put to her that, suppose she was held hostage with a gun and her kidnapper said, “you are free to disobey me. But if you do, I’ll shoot you in the head. Could you honestly say you had free will in that situation?” The analogy fell on conditioned ears. The conductor stared blankly for a moment and blinked a few times before responding, “No. But if someone ever put a gun to my head and asked me to renounce my faith as a Jehovah’s Witness, I would die.”
Most people would pull a hamstring trying to find a conversational segway like the one above. But this study conductor did it with such fluidity and with what I can only describe as a Pavlovion reflex. The words “gun to your head” was enough neural stimuli to trigger the sister’s proclamation of WT martyrdom in a picosecond.
Do you remember thinking this as a fully-fledged Witness? I do. In fact, I have a memory of being just ten years old and randomly asking my 15 year old sister what ever would she do if a swarm of “army police men” were to kick down the front door and ask her if she was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses (perfectly normal pre-pubescent angst to have, by the way, right up there with “who stole my Lip Smacker?”). My sister paused before answering: “I’d say no. But my sister is.” She never really liked me.
All of this seemed like such normal behavior. Of course, it’s a whole different story once you’ve woken up and seen the value of your own life. And how our heart’s ache when loved ones demonstrate how cheap their lives are when they unflinchingly subject themselves to WT’s demands for blood to be shed. It’s as though the next best thing after leaving literature behind with people, is for individuals to leave behind a corpse as a “witness” to their executioners.
The reason I bring this up in a thread today is for this sudden realization I had: theocratic warfare and “untruths” (à la Rahab) are perfectly acceptable when the fate of your brothers is at stake. To preserve the lives of fellow Witnesses, brothers can lie to officials. But when death stares our brothers in the eye and they’re asked if they will renounce their faith, theocratic warfare suddenly cowers in the trenches of semantics. The brother asked to renounce his faith on paper can know full well in his heart what his faith is. After all, Jehovah is more interested in reading hearts than Governmental slips of paper, no? Why is the brother’s own life not shielded by the theocratic warfare strategy?
On an unrelated matter, and in typical WT folklore pageantry, Gerrit Lösh has infamously regaled audiences with the “true story” of a young man who suffered a debilitating mental disorder. To end the suffering, he put a rifle in his mouth and pulled the trigger to end his suffering. By freak chance, the bullet perforated the part of his brain that was responsible for his compulsive disorder. “He survived and managed to live a normal life,” Lösch concluded. It is my utmost hope for any future brother or sister facing execution that the same stroke of luck befalls them. May the shot fired completely dislodge the mental ailment known as undue influence so that the Witness in question may go on to live a normal, happy life.
"I'll just leave a tract corpse on the door, no ones home"
great point about the theocratic warfare though. It's meant to be ok to use in situations where it protects gods good news and continues its spread, but to prevent the death of a pioneer seems like it should fit that bill.... but then again , I guess the persecution complex is just too damn alluring.
One slight hitch with your original scenario women will never be allowed to be study conductors
Wow, great post. They really cheapen the value of life. One's life is nothing of value but of the service that it provides to Jeho.....the organization. It is a mere commodity to be traded.
I would have died for it. I could have taken my own life because of it. I'm happy that I did neither and reclaimed my life. I'm happy for all that did. I can't believe they owned me so thoroughly at one point, that I gave those bastards my life.
That story by Losch is messed up. That's horrific.
I used to tell my wife that if they ever tried to have me renounce my faith by signing something I'd sign it, walk out, and serve Jehovah nonetheless. I couldn't understand how the corpse me would be more productive than a free me that witnessed underground. Your point about theocratic warfare stands. Their martyrdom is stupid.
Ruddy good point! ( Also I was trying to think if I would have come up with an answer to the free will conundrum so fast...I think I'd just say Its god so he knows best)
Now interestingly I was told I could lie to save my life.....but that opens a whole 'nother can of worms for Witnesses
God hates lies....but you can break that rule to save your life
God says abstain from blood....why can't you break that rule to save your life? And that ones not even a commandment!
Talking of Rahab Wasn't she horrible?! What would you think of a person who betrayed her people to the enemy to save her own skin ?!( So, officer, if I hand you the witnesses you won't kill me? Well then "The brothers" are next door, officer, in the basement and here is the key !)
"But if someone ever put a gun to my head and asked me to renounce my faith as a Jehovah’s Witness, I would die."
The genuine response from a cult member. They would drink the kool aid too. It's easy to say that when you have never had a gun put to your head. Ask someone who has really had a gun put to their head. Easier said than done.
Most of these "men" would cower in the corner if real persecution came knocking at their door.
Very true that most witnesses - the "rank and file" ones anyway - would stand up for their faith in very terrible situations.
Then you have geoffrey jackson using a convenient lie to save himself on the stand. Oh the embarrassment of being found God's spokesmen, would have been like "death" to him.
WAKE ME UP & DUBSTEPPED:
Good thread! I was always disturbed by the martyrdom aspect of the JW religion. Apparently, God is only happy when there’s a dead body.
When I found out about all the lies of the religion and how they have absolutely NO regard for anybody’s lives or time, I was furious. They can rot. And I want nothing to do with any religion ever again.
Great thread! Well reasoned @Wake-me!
Your point about "theocratic warfare" was great!
I also came to that thought years ago when it came to telling the government why I didn't vote in the elections. (In Australia, it is compulsory to vote. If you don't, you have to pay a fine, or write a reason) Also, at Census time, I wrote "no religion" rather than JW.
I chose to just pay the fine, and not write a reason. Many witnesses use it as a chance to "give a fine witness and preach". I thought that it would be more prudent to NOT tell the Govt I was a witness, so that in the GT they could not track me, and I may be able to be of more help to the bros and sis by NOT being rounded up and imprisoned!