Alternate military service pre and post 1996 witness policies. Please comments.

by benny 21 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • sir82

    I was a little kid when the Vietnam war was still being fought.

    I remember that, among my other fears of persecution / torture (Malawi torture porn being a regular feature of the mags back then), was a fear of having to go to prison as a result of refusing to be drafted.

    Of course, eventually the Vietnam war ended and the US military draft stopped, so that was at least one less thing to dread about growing up.

  • joe134cd

    This highlights how asleep I was as a JW. It wasn’t until I come here that I realised that the policy on alternative service had changed. I still thought it was a straight “NO” to everything related to war.

    I also didn’t know about the blood fraction thing as well. I remember (as a pimi) not to long ago fretting that I may of unwittingly taken blood in the form of a vaccination.

  • Bill Covert
    Bill Covert

    "Community service in lieu of military induction was a compromise of Christian conscience!"

    I did not get prison but a $3,000 fine [ Sacramento Ca. US judge was a huge fan of Abraham Lincoln , as seen by portraits in his office, it cost $300 to buy your way out of army during Civil War factor in inflation hence $3,000] and am a felon. 1968.

    Some who took community service got disfellowshipped.

  • btlc

    In my country (SE Europe) military service was mandatory till 1997. I delayed my military invitations as much as I can, but in the summer 1997 police came and packed me to military base where I was prisoned 8 days. I had talks with some high ranked military heads, and I had oportunity to explain our standing (as JW, I was devouted in that time), that we don't reject service to our homeland, just we can't service under military department, but we can accept pure civilian service. I was releised, and few months later i was assigned to 15 months service in Center for disabled persons (mostly Down sindrom and autistic people) 10 min drive from my home. I was the 6th in my country who was assigned for pure civil service and the 1st who actualy finished it. It was positive experience after all.

    I really don't know how I would explain the "old light" if military got me prior the 1996, I never understood how rotting in the prison is better than doing something usefull for community.

    Years later when I discovered WT-UN scandal, I found that in same time (mid '90ties) UN demanded from several countries (mine included) to lose pressure on JW about military service and made available pure civilian service instead. Check points 30, 34 on this document dated 23 October 1996:

    I can't get rid of the impression that the "new light" about civilian service was just an agreement (compromise) between JW and UN - at least one good thing out of that scandal...

  • Crazyguy2

    Does anyone know the exact WT? And also the one written after where they blamed the brothers for going to prison sating they had to strong of a conscience?

  • sparky1

    The draft ended in the United States in 1973. However, I went to prison for my beliefs in 1974. I became a Bethelite!

  • blondie

    Feelings of Having Suffered Needlessly

    6, 7. (a) Why might some Witnesses who suffered in the past now have a different understanding? (b) Why should we not view Jehovah as unrighteous for having permitted such suffering in the past?

    6 In the past, some Witnesses have suffered for refusing to share in an activity that their conscience now might permit. For example, this might have been their choice years ago as to certain types of civilian service. A brother might now feel that he could conscientiously perform such without overstepping his Christian neutrality regarding the present system of things. THIS QUOTE FRO

    7 Was it unrighteous on Jehovah’s part to allow him to suffer for rejecting what he now might do without consequences? Most who have had that experience would not think so. Rather, they rejoice that they had the opportunity of demonstrating publicly and clearly that they were determined to be firm on the issue of universal sovereignty. (Compare Job 27:5.) What reason could anyone have to regret having followed his conscience in taking a firm stand for Jehovah? By loyally upholding Christian principles as they understood them or by responding to the proddings of conscience, they proved worthy of Jehovah’s friendship. Certainly, it is wise to avoid a course that would disturb one’s conscience or that would likely cause others to be stumbled. We can think in this regard of the example that the apostle Paul set.—1 Corinthians 8:12, 13; 10:31-33 THIS QUOTE FROM 1998?

  • Earnest

    Crazyguy2 : Does anyone know the exact WT?

    The Watchtower of 1 May, 1996 had a study article "Paying Back Caesar's Things to Caesar". There were four sub-headings :

    .“God’s Things”, “Caesar’s Things”, Compulsory Military Service, and Civilian Service.

    Under the sub-heading "Civilian Service", para.19 - 21 states :

    19. How should a Christian approach the matter if Caesar asks him to perform nonmilitary national service for a period of time?

    19 What, though, if the State requires a Christian for a period of time to perform civilian service that is a part of national service under a civilian administration? Here again, Christians must make their own decision based on an informed conscience. “We shall all stand before the judgment seat of God.” (Romans 14:10) Christians faced with a requirement of Caesar should prayerfully study the matter and meditate on it. [Footnote : The Watchtower of May 15, 1964, page 308, paragraph 21.] It may also be wise to talk the matter over with mature Christians in the congregation. After this a personal decision must be made.— Proverbs 2:1-5; Philippians 4:5.

    20. What questions and Scriptural principles help a Christian to reason on the matter of nonmilitary national civilian service?

    20 While engaged in such research, Christians would consider a number of Bible principles. Paul said that we must “be obedient to governments and authorities as rulers, . . . be ready for every good work . . . be reasonable, exhibiting all mildness toward all men.” (Titus 3:1, 2) At the same time, Christians would do well to examine the proposed civilian work. If they accept it, will they be able to maintain Christian neutrality? (Micah 4:3, 5; John 17:16) Would it involve them with some false religion? (Revelation 18:4, 20, 21) Would performing it prevent or unreasonably limit them from fulfilling their Christian responsibilities? (Matthew 24:14; Hebrews 10:24, 25) On the other hand, would they be able to continue to make spiritual progress, perhaps even sharing in the full-time ministry while performing the required service?—Hebrews 6:11, 12.

    21. Whatever his decision, how should the congregation view a brother who is handling the matter of nonmilitary national civilian service?

    21 What if the Christian’s honest answers to such questions lead him to conclude that the national civilian service is a “good work” that he can perform in obedience to the authorities? That is his decision before Jehovah. Appointed elders and others should fully respect the conscience of the brother and continue to regard him as a Christian in good standing. If, however, a Christian feels that he cannot perform this civilian service, his position should also be respected. He too remains in good standing and should receive loving support.—1 Corinthians 10:29; 2 Corinthians 1:24; 1 Peter 3:16.

  • Crazyguy2

    Thanks Earnest and Blondie.

  • zeb

    Yes at the end they have no opinion but to say it is the individual bros decision.

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