The real dividing line isn’t between apostates and apologists it’s between...

by slimboyfat 39 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Earnest

    Watchtower, August 15, 2002, pp.19,20

    And regardless of what some of Christendom's clergy say, we do not need to learn ancient Biblical languages in order to become teachers of God's Word. ... So a knowledge of ancient languages, while occasionally useful, is not essential. Furthermore, pride in having linguistic ability can cause one to lose a trait that is essential to true Christians—teachableness—1 Timothy 6:4

    Kingdom Ministry, September 2007, p3

    Question Box

    Does "the faithful and discreet slave" endorse independent groups of Witnesses who meet together to engage in Scriptural research or debate?-Matt. 24:45, 47.

    No, it does not. And yet, in various parts of the world, a few associates of our organization have formed groups to do independent research on Bible-related subjects. Some have pursued an independent group study of Biblical Hebrew and Greek so as to analyze the accuracy of the New World Translation. Others explore scientific subjects related to the Bible. They have created Web sites and chat rooms for the purpose of exchanging and debating their views. They have also held conferences and produced publications to present their findings and to supplement what is provided at our Christian meetings and through our literature.

    Throughout the earth, Jehovah's people are receiving ample spiritual instruction and encouragement at congregation meetings, assemblies, and conventions, as well as through the publications of Jehovah's organization. Under the guidance of his holy spirit and on the basis of his Word of truth, Jehovah provides what is needed so that all of God's people may be "fitly united in the same mind and in the same line of thought" and remain "stabilized in the faith." (1 Cor. 1:10; Col. 2:6, 7) Surely we are grateful for Jehovah's spiritual provisions in these last days. Thus, "the faithful and discreet slave" does not endorse any literature, meetings, or Web sites that are not produced or organized under its oversight.-Matt. 24:45-47.

    It is commendable for individuals to want to use their thinking ability in support of the good news. However, no personal pursuit should detract from what Jesus Christ is accomplishing through his congregation on earth today. In the first century, the apostle Paul warned about getting involved in exhausting, time-consuming subjects, such as "genealogies, which end up in nothing, but which furnish questions for research rather than a dispensing of anything by God in connection with faith." (1 Tim. 1:3-7) All Christians should strive to "shun foolish questionings and genealogies and strife and fights over the Law, for they are unprofitable and futile."-Titus 3:9.

    For those who wish to do extra Bible study and research, we recommend that they explore Insight on the Scriptures, "All Scripture Is Inspired of God and Beneficial," and our other publications, such as those that discuss the prophecies found in the Bible books of Daniel, Isaiah, and Revelation. These provide abundant material for Bible study and meditation, whereby we can be "filled with the accurate knowledge of [God's] will in all wisdom and spiritual comprehension, in order to walk worthily of Jehovah to the end of fully pleasing him as [we] go on bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the accurate knowledge of God."-Col. 1:9, 10.

    Watchtower, November 1, 2009, pp.20-23

    Article "Do You Need to Learn Hebrew and Greek"

    Summary of Article

    No. Having knowledge of those languages does not in itself make a person more likely to understand the Bible's message. One who has studied those languages is still dependent on dictionaries and grammar books. The fact that God indpired the preserving of the words of his greatest Servant only in translation shows that a person can use and learn the truth from Bible languages in current languages.

  • Magnum

    Careful, I will be presumptuous and venture a response to your post.

    First, I think you might be comparing apples to oranges. The OP is about people who take the religion "too seriously" from the org's perspective - people who really dig for truth (maybe not always in the org's published material). Maybe those you listed don’t take the religion seriously in the sense of the OP. Maybe they're not really into real, honest analysis. Maybe they don't want the real truth. Maybe they're not in JWdom for the reasons that those who "take it seriously" are.

    Also, one’s knowledge of Bible languages isn't really that relevant in this thread; it’s just a side point that came up. Again, the thread is about those who take the religion "too seriously" from the org's perspective – whether they know anything about Bible languages or not.

    I don't recognize all the names you listed, but could it be that all have too much invested in JWdom and wouldn't leave even if they were shown definitive evidence against it? Also, maybe they don't really have the knowledge & intelligence that you imply in your post. First, as I understand, "classics" does not include Bible (Koine) Greek and Bible Hebrew (classical Greek is different from Bible Greek). Also, even if some of these have studied Bible languages, that doesn't mean they have good understanding of such and are really intelligent (I know people with college degrees who can't manipulate simple fractions and know nothing of English grammar (their native tongue)).

    In order for your question to be valid, you'd have to first prove that those you list really do take the religion seriously as indicated in the OP and really do dig deeply for truth. If not, then they are not even relevant in this discussion.

  • joey jojo
    joey jojo

    Really interesting way to look at it SBF.

    I posted about the zizek trilemma a month or 2 ago because it resonated so well with me as to the behaviour of high control groups, including JW's.

    Intelligence and honesty are not as important as loyalty, in fact, those qualities are dangerous to the organisation. Loyalty above all - even truth.

  • slimboyfat

    Careful I didn’t mean to say that all brothers who take the truth seriously or, much more narrowly, that all brothers who learn biblical languages, are destined to leave the truth.

    What I meant to say is that brothers who take the truth seriously are significantly more prone to leaving the truth as apostates than those who don’t take it all too seriously. I am sure many of us can relate to the experience of hearing that a brother has decided to study in depth some aspect of Watchtower teaching or history and observe the collective thinking, “oh, oh, here comes trouble, what’s he doing that for?” (Yes, “collective” intended as both noun and adjective in that sentence)

    Similarly, whenever yet another letter on 1914 chronology arrives on the desk at Brooklyn Warwick, whether it was written by a super loyal brother with enthusiastic new avenues of support, or from a predictable apostate-curious brother pointing out the flaws, I suspect both letters are met with the same weary resignation in either case. Because they know the story often ends the same regardless of the starting point. Apostates and apologists both suffer from the same disease of taking the thing too seriously.

    I certainly didn’t mean to say that learning biblical languages necessarily leads people out of the truth. I am sure many people find support for JW teachings such as their Christology, the divine name, conditional immortality, and so on, through academic study. It’s not so much knowledge in itself, but knowledge in the context of an organisation that values obedience rather than depth of knowledge. Plus as Magnum says, I meant people who take the JW religion seriously in various ways, not just learning biblical languages.

    I think your list of successes is both dubious and incomplete. On the successes side we could probably add brothers such as Tony Byatt, Vivian Capel, Rob Gwosdz, Solomon Landers, Marley Cole, Nelson Herle, and others I could name and couldn’t name. (Mostly dead, admittedly. Are we only counting the living?) Not to mention Jolene Chu, James Pellechia, Carolyn Wah, and other serious researchers who have operated inside the bowels of the organisation. (Who knows where Johannes Wrobel stands now?)

    On the dubious side, I am not convinced that Gérard Gertoux makes the cut as a loyal active JW. (Or his friend Didier Fontaine who you didn’t name, for that matter) Gertoux seems to have gone off the deep end on chronology for one thing. And Rolf Furuli has reportedly had his troubles with the organisation over higher education. And he’s not a travelling overseer any longer, so it seems. Vasileiadis I am not sure, but I get the impression he is quite young? In which case give it time. There’s another brother who wrote on the divine name in Mexico whose name escapes me. Hal Flemings has apparently been in and out the organisation, a bit like, but not as extreme as Firpo Carr. Max Wörnhardt and Edgar Foster are perhaps your best examples.

    I can only go by what I read online, but is there possibly a race element to some JWs remaining in the organisation? Black people are over represented inside the organisation in the US, but apparently under represented in terms of apostates who leave the organisation. (I have no firm evidence for this, but it’s my overall impression from interested observation) So a black brother who learns Bible languages may be somewhat more prone to stay in the organisation partly because black brothers are more loyal generally.

    Let’s remember all the people who started out as apologists and turned apostate.

    William Schnell was selling Bible aids that support Watchtower, and writing effusive letters to Watchtower one minute — before you know it he’s out writing “Thirty Years a Watchtower Slave”!

    James Penton started out defending JWs, writing supportive history — next minute he’s writing his “apologia pro vita” in the preface of his apostate history text “Apocalypse Delayed”.

    Carl Olof Jonsson started out trying to defend 1914 — after years of trying to get answers from Brooklyn he gave up and turned famous apostate.

    Raymond Franz was commissioned to write the Aid book as a fresh exploration of organisational practice in the light of scripture — he too questioned too much, flung out on his ear, eventually turned apostate.

    And, got to be my favourite example, Jay Hess, who first wrote a tract called “Jehovah’s Witnesses are not false prophets” followed a few years later by another book called “Jehovah’s Witnesses ARE false prophets”.

    Matthew Alfs — a bit less clear exatly what happened in that case. He started out defending JWs in his “Evocative Religion” book and a book on the Trinity. How and when did he leave JWs? Maybe he’d like to tell us, since he’s a sometime contributor to the forum.

    Greg Stafford learned Greek and debated evangelicals on the Trinty and published a defence of JW teachings on Jesus, God, the divine name, blood, prophecies, anointed heavenly class, and more — ended up apostate of course.

    Ditto Heinz Schmitz, prominent early JW apologist online, and many others who followed the same trajectory.

    And didn’t Paul Grundy’s jwfacts begin as a personal project intended to prove Watchtower correct?

    There are many more names could be added to this list. In fact it’s a rare JW apologist who doesn’t turn apostate in the end. Max Wörnhard and Rolf Furuli are noteworthy exceptions. It’s also worth noting that both men managed the rare double feats of becoming COs and academics, quite a remarkable combination. There are obviously complicated social, personal, and belief factors involved in such individual cases.

    So I don’t think such rare examples refute the general observation that people who take the truth too seriously often find themselves outside the organisation before too long.

    Thank you Earnest for the 2002 reference in particular! Learning Greek is prideful? Wow. I possibly sat next to a brother on this thread in that very Watchtower Study. I remember it vividly. The date fits my recollection of the timing.

  • Simon

    The OP is spot on.

    A few people go on endlessly about scriptures and proving or disproving various things by regurgitating references as though we're meant to be impressed.

    It's a singularly pointless skill that is of zero value other than to waste your time with others who suffer the same mental affliction - that you think there's any logic to it all.

    You can prove the bible is BS by using the bible, that's all you can do with it (the same as every other holy book).

    Very few JWs really give a crap about the bible, most read it because they are made to. If anyone started going on about the bible as though it was real, I'm pretty sure most JWs would consider them a nutter - I know I used to.


    If the GB know that the religion can’t undergo scrutiny and survive, that means they must have a sense of the wrongness of the religion.

    That means they don’t take it seriously on the apologist end of the spectrum. They aren’t true believers. If they were, then they would never suspect that there were any flaws at all and therefore would never think to warn anyone away from deep study.

    Ray Franz took it seriously...

    The current GB are just 100% liars and hypocrites. They are worse than believing apologists and apostates.

    Just Lett ( see what I did there..) sink in...


  • Dagney

    OP is spot on Slim, and so well written.


    They don’t care about 1914 or the divine name or whatever else. They think the anointed 144,000/generation/partakers issues are a problem, but they figure that it will sort itself out in the end.

    The days of defending the "truth" are over for the R & F JW. They see inconsistencies but are thrilled to point all to and not have to ever explain a damn thing ever again. (2,520 year explanation comes to mind...) They just want to go to the hall, socialize with friends, travel and count time/pioneer by standing next to a cart.

    For those that have done extensive research and have maintained their JW belief system, I would say it's just a matter of faith. They choose to believe. Theologians have been debating the same word/issues for years and are wise enough to offer up a theory, because absolutes in history cannot truly be proven. Faith is what you need to follow a religion and its ever changing dogma.

    Thanks for posting Slim!

  • smiddy3

    Inside the organisation there are many JWs (perhaps the majority) who believe in the teachings of JWs in a general sense, and are happy to follow the practices and requirements, but they essentially don’t care about the details. They don’t care about 1914 or the divine name or whatever else. They think the anointed 144,000/generation/partakers issues are a problem, but they figure that it will sort itself out in the end. They don’t care about the details because they don’t take it too seriously.

    I agree with you 100% slimboyfat, and I put it down being intellectually lazy which may be attributed to in some degree to the many changes that the I.B.S.A. / JW / WT religion has made over the years with the excuse that the light gets brighter and brighter .

  • inbetween09

    Totally agree, before I got out mentally, I had the wish more and more to dig deeper, having real spiritual discussions and achieving full understanding of JW teachings. I could Always easily explain 2520 years, was my favourite subject when conducting bible studies (it left the Student Always puzzled anyhow).

    It was my effort to understand the blood doctrine, About Major and minor components, that opened the crack slowly. later on, the article Sept 2007 KMS (qouted earleir) was my next shake up.

    It ended up Living as a PIMO, not being able to leave yet because if Family.

    My wife is the opposite example, she always had problems explaining deeper Things, mainly because she didn`t take the time to study it. She fortunately agrees on some of my critical views, but since doctrine never was the most important issue, she is not ready to leave, and thinks, Jah will fix it in due time, and of course, where else shall we go

  • Half banana
    Half banana

    @ Magnum, Btw the Koine Greek of the NT is actually the same as the Greek written and spoken in the Late Classical period.

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