Tag Archives: 144000

I Attended the Jehovah’s Witness Virtual Memorial

CommunionPhoto

From David Weber on Unsplash

In my previous post, I lamented and gave a pep talk to myself (and you, I hope) about God being at work even when we’re being ghosted by Jehovah’s Witnesses. At the time, it seemed like I was waiting for something to happen.

Well, something happened.

The Covid virus happened.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses’ annual memorial this year was done on Zoom video chat. Out of the blue I received an invitation from a JW acquaintance who attends the kingdom hall that my long-time friend Mark attends. This acquaintance (whom I’ll call Gary) offered to help me download the Zoom app, and provided the meeting access code on the day of the event.

So here’s what happened.

I thought I would be able to observe people passing the elements, whether where the speaker was located (Florida), or with the people and families I saw on screen. But no. While I could see people on screen before and after the talk, they were all blanked out during the talk. All I could see was the talking head. And he gave people hardly any time to pass the elements among themselves. In fact, it was unclear when they were supposed to pass the bread. Passing the elements seemed like almost an afterthought.

The talk was the same that I have heard every dang time I have been to the memorial. Same four questions. If I remember them correctly: (1) How is the ransom provided, (2) Who benefits from the ransom, (3) Who should partake of the bread and wine, and (4) What more can we do to show our appreciation for the ransom. Point number 3 is always a thinly veiled warning against anybody but the anointed 144,000 taking the elements. Point 4 is an appeal to attend meetings, participate in ministry, and take in Bible knowledge.

After the meeting, attendees were allowed to greet each other, which was actually a really nice, casual affair, everyone saying hello to each other. They’re obviously lonely and bored, and this was a much-needed connection time for their members. At least the control-freaks allowed it. Thank God. I actually heard a couple of hellos directed toward me; I don’t know who it was, but several members of the congregation know me. I was pleasantly surprised.

I have yet to talk with Mark and Gary about the meeting. That will be the big payoff—the talking points that came from the experience. I’ve already asked Gary what they do with the bread and wine that serve as props for the meeting. He said they eat and drink it later. That’s so bizarre. But at least the bread and wine are not wasted. (I read somewhere that those who believe in transubstantiation, like the Roman Catholics, have to pour out unused wine onto the ground, because it has actually become the literal blood of Christ. That’s bizarre too.)

My planned talking points include: The opening song, “A Special Posession,” (song #25) which is the perfect example of so much that is wrong with the Watchtower doctrine. The whole song applies exclusively to the 144,000. That means that my friends are actually singing about a group they’re not a part of. The song goes on and on about the anointed being a new creation, spirit-anointed sons, a holy nation, God’s people, etc. The whole thing borders on idolatry, praising the anointed class of believers. Ugh, it’s so annoying. What’s also annoying is that visiting evangelical Christians would have no clue about the song’s true meaning, thinking it’s just a nice song about all believers. Again, Ugh. BTW, a fun thing to do if you’re at a meeting and they sing this song: Substitute in the word “we” for every place the song says “they.” Instant evangelical hymn! Watch for reactions of those around you.

Another talking point might be that the speaker specifically said that the Bible talks about “two hopes,” a heavenly hope and an earthly hope. Nowhere does the Bible say “two hopes.” In fact, it says that there’s “one hope” at Ephesians 4:4. Only. One. Hope.

The speaker also talked about the anointed being “in contract” with Jehovah, as Jesus expressed during the Lord’s supper, when he said “this cup is the New Covenant in my blood.” He did not say the rest of the sentence, where Jesus adds “for many for the remission of sins.” If the Great Crowd believers are not in the New Covenant, what covenant, if any, are they in? What is their “contract” with Jehovah?

Finally, the speaker mentioned Romans 8 to answer how the anointed know that they’re destined for heaven. Paul says that “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” (Verse 16) Watchtower applies this blessing exclusively to the 144,000. I hope to read all of Romans 8 with Mark and Gary and express to them my sadness, anger, and offense at how the governing bully denies all the blessings from virtually all their disciples. They are, however, expected to live up to all the exhortations in the Bible. Harumph.

I look forward to talking with Mark and Gary. Please pray that their hearts and minds will be open to the truth and the presence of God’s Holy Spirit.

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Types of Questions to Ask Jehovah’s Witnesses: Questions that Strengthen Their Commitment to Their Doctrine

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From Pixabay

I know, you’re re-reading that headline, trying to make sense of it. I know it’s counter-intuitive, maybe even crazy. Why would we want to strengthen a Jehovah’s Witness’s commitment to their own doctrine? Don’t we want them to be set free from their doctrines? Well, yes, of course we do. But I have a theory that sometimes we, as humans, have to become more strongly bonded to a delusion before we can be set free from it. This is probably not an original theory, and there’s probably a name for the process. If any of my tens of readers know of some psychological or sociological category that fits this concept, let us know.

To help understand what I’m talking about, think about a giant. You know what “they” say: “The bigger they are, the harder they fall.” But maybe what we mean is: “The stronger they are, the harder they fall.”

Ooh! I just thought of the Death Star. Once the rebels were able to find a weak spot, it only took a small charge to destroy the whole thing. (I’m not as much a Star Wars geek as you think. Honest. I’m more of a Lord of the Rings guy. Maybe we need to find the one ring that binds them . . . oh, never mind.)

Back to the giant. If you can make him stiffen up, he’s easier to topple, right? That could be done physically (liquor him up), or even better, by talking him up. Tell the giant how impressive he is. He will straighten up with pride, then you can zing him between the eyes with a sling and a stone. (Yes, I went to David and Goliath. I have a soft spot for Bible stories. Deal with it.) Or you could trip the giant with a comparatively small rope.

So how do we do that with our JW friends? Here’s an example.

Me: Do you know about the Watchtower’s two-class system of believers?

JW: I think so. What do you mean?

Me: You know, that a small group of believers go to heaven, and the larger group goes to paradise on earth? They call them the “anointed class of 144,000” and the “great crowd.”

JW: Oh yes. I look forward to living forever on earth. We’re designed for an earthly existence, so it’s going to be great.

Me: Yeah, but do you know about all the rest of it? About how there are so many blessings, or benefits, that are available in this life now, that are not to be enjoyed by the great crowd?

JW: Like what? We enjoy many benefits.

Me: Yes, they do teach that you get the indirect benefit of having Jesus as your ransom, but that’s about all. There’s also being adopted as sons and daughters of Jehovah, being declared righteous, the assurance of eternal life, being Abraham’s seed, part of the body of Christ, being citizens of the Kingdom, having Jesus as your mediator, being sealed with the Holy Spirit, being in the New Covenant, . . .

JW: Wait, back up. We have Jesus as our mediator.

Me: No, Watchtower teaches that Jesus is the mediator for only the anointed class. You can research that in their “online library,” in the Insight book, under M for Mediator. But right now, tell me, do you really believe that all those benefits are not available to you? You can’t be adopted as Jehovah’s son, and you’re not in the New Covenant? That the 144,000 get all those things, and you don’t? Do all Jehovah’s Witnesses really believe that? Do you believe that?

JW: Why, yes I do. I don’t have a problem with it. It sounds like you have a problem with it.

Me: Yes, I do! I have a big problem with it. Have you looked at the descriptions in the Bible of the New Covenant? Can we look at that together? Here in Jeremiah 31 . . .

You can go many directions from here, talking about your shock that the great crowd believers are being denied these benefits, being forbidden so many blessings. You can describe the two class system as having a first class and a second class group. Or you can focus on just one topic, whether it’s mediator or New Covenant or citizenship in the kingdom, or whatever. The important thing is to get them to commit to their own belief system. They may never have fully done so, specifically. Even if they have been baptized and are the most active of members, they may not be fully committed to the scandalous doctrines, keeping them on a back burner of the mind. By bringing them to a front burner, you’re helping them to recognize how absurd they are. Their response doesn’t matter. Notice in the dialogue above, it seems like the JW is unaffected. But they will be effected. On the outside, they’re putting on a confident show for you. But on the inside they’re asking themselves, “Do I really believe that?” You’re “stiffening the giant,” preparing it for a toppling fall. Their doctrinal giant might not even need a rock to the forehead or a tripwire to the foot–it might come crashing down under its own weight.

Ooh, I’m reminded (as I’m writing this) of the coast redwood trees where I attended college, how their far-reaching but shallow roots required only a small amount of under-erosion for the whole, massive tree to thunderously collapse without any warning. Just one more metaphor making my point. Get your JW friend to fully commit to their absurd doctrine, and it might just help them to see how crazy it really is.

 

 

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Types of Questions to Ask Jehovah’s Witnesses: Introduction

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When I began talking with Jehovah’s Witnesses about 10 years ago, I quickly learned (from advice of others found online, and from my own experience) that the best way to talk with JW’s is to ask them questions. It does little good to simply confront them, even if what we’re confronting them with is the truth. Telling them “The 144,000 are Jewish males who have never been with a woman” will only make them ignore you. Shouting it at them will only make them run away or claim that you’re persecuting them. Asking questions is the way to engage them in dialogue if we hope to engage them for more than 3 minutes.

But even with asking questions, 3 minutes is usually all you get with them before they shut down. I longed to talk with them for longer. How could I keep them engaged in conversation for 5 minutes, or even 10 or 20, or (gasp) an hour? Is it possible?

Well, an hour may be asking for too much. A rare “old school” JW will enjoy debating with you for hours, but most JW’s, like most modern people (including you and me?) are good for about a half hour before we feel like our brain is full.

Anyway, in my years of talking with JW’s, I have learned that certain types of questions are most effective in reaching them; that is, connecting with their hearts and minds (and imaginations) so that they actually want to talk for longer. At least for about half an hour.

My posts to follow this one will discuss four types of questions that I have found to be most helpful. It’s not so much about finding the definitive, mind-blowing question that will cause the collapse of your friend’s whole JW system. It’s about asking something outside of their JW box, something they have never thought about before, which can then be the first thread in the unraveling of the JW sweater. Or the first chink in the JW’s Hoover Dam of doctrine, leading to its collapse. Or the first spark that ignites the Hindenberg . . . okay, you get the idea.

[#metaphorgeek]

So, for the next four posts, I will share with you not so much specific questions to ask your JW friends, but rather the types of questions to ask. (I will be giving examples of each, so I guess I will be sharing specific questions after all. But that’s not the point.) My aim will be to begin with the most obvious type of question, and work toward the least obvious (counter-intuitive) type of question. I have four types of questions in mind, but along the way I may come up with more. Or you may come up with more (please share your thoughts with the rest of us in the comments). Your idea may become my additional post. Don’t worry–I’ll credit you for the idea.

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Top Ten Topics to Discuss With Jehovah’s Witnesses #7: The Two-Class System

 

MindTheGap

Here is yet another good talking point that I use with Jehovah’s Witnesses, either at their carts, or wherever I may meet them: their infamous, notorious, and scandalous two-class system of believers. This is a helpful topic, especially when I don’t want to use the strategy of pretending that I’m a potential candidate with innocent Bible questions. Lately they’re seeing through that strategy anyway, and they end up questioning my motives for asking questions. They’re being trained to spot “opposers” and their strategies, and to cut off dialogue with them immediately. For a more direct approach, then, I give no indication that I’m interested in learning from them, instead expressing how shocked I am about their two-class system. It’s a completely honest and transparent approach, and I’m getting some good traction with it, depending on how comfortable they are with the subject.

Many JW’s at first don’t know to what I’m referring. But it takes only a few sentences for them to get it. Here’s how the conversation typically goes:

Me: Hello, good to meet you.

JW: Hello, you are welcome to take any of our literature.

Me: Thank you, but I’ve studied with a JW friend, and I read a lot at JW.org, and quite honestly I have a problem with your two-class system.

JW: Our what?

Me: You know, how the Watchtower teaches about two classes of believers, the anointed 144,000 and the great crowd. Like there’s a first class, and a second class.

JW: No, you don’t understand. There’s no second class. I’m looking forward to living forever in paradise on earth. I don’t have a problem with it.

Me: That part is not my biggest concern. Regardless of where we end up in the future, I’m thinking about right now. There are a bunch of kingdom privileges, or blessings, that are enjoyed by the anointed class, that are being denied to the other class.

JW: Well, we experience many blessings indirectly.

Me: Do you? I know that you can have Jesus as your ransom, but that’s about it. According to Watchtower, you don’t get to be adopted by Jehovah as his son, or be in the New Covenant, or be part of Abraham’s seed, or citizens of the Kingdom, or anointed with Holy Spirit, or being born again, or having Jesus as your mediator, or . . .

JW: Wait! You mentioned Jesus as our mediator. Of course he’s our mediator.

Me: Yes, I find that many JW’s don’t realize that Watchtower teaches that Jesus is NOT your mediator, but that he’s the mediator for ONLY the 144,000.

JW: No, you have wrong information. Maybe you saw that on an apostate website.

Me: I got it right from the Insight book, on jw.org. You know about the Insight book, right?

JW: Yes, but that can’t be right. Maybe you read it wrong.

Me: No, they very clearly teach that Jesus is the mediator for only the 144,000. You should research that. Look in the Insight book, under “M” for mediator. Anyway, I find it shocking that you and my JW friends are being denied all these blessings. You’re all being forbidden to enjoy any of these kingdom privileges, while you’re expected to take on all the responsibilities. Don’t you want to be in the New Covenant, and have Jesus as your mediator?

JW: I need to research that some more.

Me: Yes, please do. I should go, but thanks for talking with me today!

JW: Okay, goodbye.

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Top Ten Topics to Discuss With Jehovah’s Witnesses #5: Adoption

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From Pixabay

Here’s another of my favorite topics to discuss with Jehovah’s Witnesses: Adoption.

Specifically, I like to bring up the subject of adoption as sons (and daughters) of Jehovah, as the Bible teaches in Romans 8:14-16 and Galatians 4:1-6. Here’s how the conversation typically goes:

Me: I’m excited about what I’ve been learning from the Bible.

JW: That’s good!

Me: Yes, lately I’ve been learning about being adopted as sons and daughters of Jehovah. Do you know about that from Romans 8?

JW: [Thinking] Um, yes, I think so.

Me: Oh, it’s really great. Paul says that “you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” Isn’t that great? It says that we can be adopted as Jehovah’s sons, and we can call him “Dad!” I have been adopted as Jehovah’s son! Have you?

JW: Yes, I think so.

Me: Well, here’s something that I find disturbing. My JW friend told me that this passage applies only to the anointed 144,000, and not to the rest of the believers. Is that true?

JW: Oh, actually, yes, that passage is about the anointed class of believers, but we can benefit indirectly from it.

Me: What do you mean, “benefit indirectly?” Do you mean you’re like a foster child, or a stepchild? Where does the Bible teach that?

JW: No, that’s not right.

Me: So are you adopted by Jehovah as his son? Because I believe I am, and it’s fantastic! It’s the best thing that has ever happened to me! And I can pray to him, and call him “Dad!” Have you been adopted by Jehovah?

JW: Well, all believers will eventually be adopted as sons, after the final testing.

Me: That can’t be right, can it? I mean, this passage talks about it like it has already happened, doesn’t it? You see, this is what I find to be very disturbing to me. I’m really concerned about my JW friends, that they’re being denied so many of the blessings that scripture says that all believers have. I really have a hard time with this two-class system, don’t you?

JW: I don’t have a problem with it.

Me: Well, I do. I have a big problem with it, because I think that system has been imposed on the Bible, and that the Bible doesn’t teach that. It’s very disturbing to me.

JW: I have to go now. I’m meeting someone.

Me: Okay, but it’s worth thinking about, and researching, right?

JW: Yeah, I’ll research it some more.

Me: I hope you’re not just saying that, and that you will look into it. Romans 8 is a great place to start. Just read it by itself, without any publications telling you what to think about it.

JW: Yeah, okay.

Me: Thanks for talking with me. Have a good week!

JW: You too.

That’s the end of our conversation, but it’s really just the beginning. I pray that they would not be able to forget the scripture that I shared, and that it would continue to bother them. It works! I have had JW friends tell me later that they could not get a verse that I shared out of their mind, weeks later! God says that his word does not return to him empty, but accomplishes what He sends it to do (Isaiah 55:11). I also pray that you, my reader, will come to realize the depth of God’s love for you, as you discover His adoption of YOU. Have you been adopted by Jehovah?

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Anointed Class Sighting at the Jehovah’s Witness Memorial!

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Pic Sourced From Someone’s Instagram

We interrupt my list of Top 10 Topics to Discuss With Jehovah’s Witnesses to bring you a special report from Steve Irwin, the crocodile hunter (imagine his voice narrating): “We’ve got a rare one here! It’s the very rare member of the anointed class! As you know, there are only 144,000 of these beauties in existence, and most of them have already died! That makes them an endangered species, and here’s one right in front of us! Just look at that one eating the bread and drinking the wine! Crikey!”

That’s right, I attended the recent Memorial at a Jehovah’s Witnesses kingdom hall not far from me, and for the first time observed someone actually eating the bread and drinking the wine! For those who are unaware of what takes place at the JW memorial, read the next paragraph. If you already know, then skip ahead.

Jehovah’s Witness only observe what Christian churches call communion, eucharist, or the Lord’s Supper once a year, and they call it the Memorial or the Lord’s Evening Meal. They also believe and teach that only the 144,000 anointed believers are part of the New Covenant, and so they are the only ones expected to eat and drink. The rest of the “great crowd” believers are expected to respectfully observe the ceremony. Weird, right? It gets weirder. The practical result is a room full of people passing the plates and the cups up and down the rows, with almost no one eating or drinking! It is truly bizarre. Occasionally you hear about one, usually an elderly member, who believes they are of the anointed heaven-bound class, and they alone eat and drink.

So, I have attended perhaps 6 memorial services over the years that I have been interacting with JW’s, and I wondered if I would ever see one of the “anointed” eat and drink the elements. Well, this last Friday, I saw one! An older lady nibbled and sipped, just across the aisle and a couple seats over. After the service, I recognized her as one with whom I had talked with in the past; she seems (then and now) most interested in talking about her medical conditions.

What’s so sad is that one of my favorite passages of scripture, Romans 8:16, which says “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children,” was quoted by the speaker, who then explained how that verse applies ONLY to the anointed 144,000. It makes me seethe inside! The great majority of Jehovah’s Witnesses are being denied all the blessings of being in the New Covenant:  Being born again, being adopted as Jehovah’s sons and daughters, being kings and priests, having Jesus as their mediator, the heavenly hope, and more.

One of the songs sung at that night’s memorial was their song #25, A Special Possession:

  1. God has a new creation,

His spirit-anointed sons.

He has bought them from mankind;

His approval they’ve won.

(CHORUS)

A special possession,

They’re a people for your name.

They love you. They praise you.

As one they declare abroad your fame.

  1. They are a holy nation,

Who handle the truth aright.

God has called them from darkness

To his wonderful light.

  1. Faithful to their commission,

They gather the other sheep.

To the Lamb they are loyal.

His commandments they keep.

 

This is the only JW song that I sing with them. But I change one thing. Every place the song says “they,” I sing “we.” This changes the application of the song’s words from the anointed class only, to all believers. Those standing around me hear me do that. I hope they think about the significance of what I’m singing. I can’t bring myself to do anything disruptive in the service; that’s just not me. But I imagine my little word-changing to be my subtle protest. Ooh, I’m such a rebel. Watch out! But I have to be subtle. Making a scene would shut them down, and they wouldn’t hear anything I had to say. I’m trying to make an impact, softly. It’s like beating on a concrete dam with one of those inflatable squeaky hammers. God, put your miraculous power in my stupid little hammer.

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Top Ten Topics to Discuss With Jehovah’s Witnesses: #2

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My second top topic to discuss with Jehovah’s Witnesses is the New Covenant. The Watchtower teaches that only the anointed 144,000 are in the New Covenant. So here’s my approach, this time in dialogue form. This is typical of the conversations I have had regarding this topic:

Me: I have a question. If only the 144,000 are in the New Covenant, as Watchtower teaches, what covenant are the Great Crowd, that is, the rest of the believers in?

JW: Oh, they must be in a different covenant.

Me: What covenant is that?

JW: I don’t know; maybe the covenant with Noah, or one of the other covenants. But they benefit indirectly from the anointed being in the New Covenant.

Me: I read an article in the Watchtower, that listed all the covenants, including the Noahic covenant and the Abrahamic covenant, and all the rest, and it said that the great crowd believers are in none of those. It seems to me, in the Bible, that there are only three possibilities. Either they are (1) in the New Covenant, (2) still in the Old Covenant, or (3) they’re in no covenant at all. What do you think?

JW: Um, I don’t know. But it doesn’t matter. They benefit from those being in the new covenant.

Me: That’s not how the Bible presents it. Do you know what a covenant is? It’s God’s arrangement with his people. What is Jehovah’s arrangement with you? Have you seen the description of the New Covenant in Jeremiah 31?

JW: I think so.

Me: In Jeremiah 31, Jehovah says he would put his laws on our minds and hearts, and that he would be our God and we would be his people, and that they would all know him, from the least of them to the greatest, and that he would forgive our iniquities and remember our sins no more! Doesn’t that sound great? It’s fantastic! Don’t you want to be in on that? I have experienced this, have you?

JW: Um–

Me: Have you seen the alternative, if you’re not in the New Covenant, in Ephesians two?

JW: Um–

Me: It says that if you’re not in the New Covenant, you’re “without hope and without God in the world.” That sounds pretty serious, right?

JW: Um, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

Okay, they don’t say “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.” But at that point they almost always use some kind of conversation stopper, whether it’s polite (“I just remembered somewhere I need to be”) or rude (“I think you’re an apostate”). In either case, I give them an “out,” to help them save face. Something like, “It’s worth thinking about,” or “Thanks for talking with me,” or “Look at the bluebird!” They’re usually relieved when I change the subject, and will chat with me a little longer.

Have you used the topic of the New Covenant in talking with Jehovah’s Witnesses? What was their response? Let us know in the comments.

Or, share with us one (or more) of your top ten topics!

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Top Ten Topics to Discuss With Jehovah’s Witnesses: #1

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Whether you’re at their cart, in their kingdom hall, or at your door, what are your top subjects to discuss with Jehovah’s Witnesses, hoping to help them “wake up”?  Please submit your favorite(s) in the comments, and yours might appear in an upcoming blog post!

Please nothing caustic, abrasive, insulting, belittling, etc., you get the idea. We’re looking for topics that will actually be helpful in getting them to think. Oh, and if you’re able, please include a scripture (or two) to go along with your topic.

Let’s try to bump their carts out of their Watchtower ruts!

So here’s my first: Jesus as our Mediator. Watchtower teaches that Jesus is the mediator for ONLY the 144,000 anointed believers, and not for the rest of the “great crowd” believers. (For proof of this, because many JW’s don’t know, and will question you about it, use the entry under “mediator” in the Insight On the Scriptures publication, available in the “online library” section of their official website.) The Bible teaches that Jesus is the mediator for all believers, as seen in First Timothy 2:5. I love talking about this with Jehovah’s Witnesses! It’s my favorite topic, so it has earned the #1 spot on my list. They long to have Jesus as their mediator–you can see it in their eyes.

 

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Public Prayer Strategy at Jehovah’s Witnesses Carts

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From Pixabay.com

I have a new strategy I’m wanting to try when interacting with the Jehovah’s Witnesses at their literature carts. I’ve been thinking and praying about this because of my recent frustration with trying to hold a conversation of any length before they shut down on me. If you’ve tried to talk with JW’s recently, you’ve likely noticed that they shut down on you faster than ever before. In the past, they used to be willing to interact, dialogue, debate, and discuss. No longer. They have been receiving an increased amount of rhetoric in their kingdom hall talks and convention talks about not engaging in ANY discussions with apostates and opposers. They are being instructed to NOT talk with you. At all. None. Zero. Zip. Once they label you as an opposer, they clam up and avoid eye contact. You’ve seen it. You know what I mean. They suddenly say, “I’m not going to argue with you.” Then you get the silent treatment. Frustrating.

There are usually symptoms leading up to the shutdown. If they say one or more of the following, you know it’s coming:

“You can find all the answers you need at our website, jw dot borg.”

“Why are you asking that question?”

“Are you honestly seeking answers, or are you just wanting to start an argument?”

“I’m not sure you’re being sincere in your questioning.”

“Where is this question coming from?”

“Have you been reading apostate books/websites/sources?”

“Would you like to have someone pay you a personal visit to answer your questions?”

There may be a few more telling statements or questions that I’m not thinking of right now. And there are more variations of these. At their heart is a questioning of your motives, and a judging of your heart attitudes. Yes, it’s wrong, but it’s what they’re being trained to do. We can’t get around that. So what can we do? How can we keep the dialogue alive, without them shutting down?

My hope is that the other posts on this blog will provide you with some good tools to do just that. But I have a new idea. Tell me what you think of this.

What if I were to talk with the cart people just long enough to learn their names and begin to share truth with them; then when I sense they’re about to shut down, I could go to my knees and begin to pray out loud to Jehovah. I would tell Jehovah about my burden for my new friends, and how my heart is grieved for them. I would talk with God about all the blessings and kingdom privileges that are being denied the JW’s, as they teach that they are only for the anointed class (the 144,000). I would mention many of the promises in prayer, including being anointed by the holy spirit, being adopted as sons of Jehovah, being kings and priests, being in the new covenant, being citizens of the kingdom, and having Jesus as their mediator.

I would pray about their lack of assurance of eternal life, and Jehovah’s promise of assurance at First John 5:1.

Essentially I would be talking with Jehovah about all the things I want to say to my JW friends. What could they do? How could they object? I would be exercising my right to my religious practice of prayer in a public place, just like they are exercising their right to publicly stand beside their literature cart. I think the worst case would be that they would pack up and leave, but I could follow them, still praying out loud. I would be persistent, without crossing over into harassment.

What do you think of this possible approach? I’m thinking of trying this out soon. I’m wondering if it would be an effective way to plant seeds. It would also give them an “out,” since they would be listening to my words, while being obedient to the governing bully by not engaging me in conversation.

Give me your opinions, please, and if anyone has done this or something similar, please let us know in the comments. Thank you!

UPDATE: I visited the city (San Francisco) since writing the above, and talked with four JW parties at their literature carts, but did not get the opportunity to try the pbulic prayer strategy. The good news is, the opportunity did not present itself, because none of them shut down on me! See my more recent post for an account of my experience.

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Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Promises Remind Me of Politicians

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From Pixabay

When any given politician is making their campaign promises, or reporting on how they performed over the last year, how much of what they’re saying do you believe? How much eye-rolling do you do? Or would you rather watch To Tell the Truth, because that show contains less lying?

You know the saying: How do you know when a politician is lying? Answer: His lips are moving.

As I attend Jehovah’s Witnesses meetings, assemblies, and conventions; and as I read Watchtower literature; I try to give the speakers and writers the benefit of the doubt. I try to assume that they’re being honest and up front with their hearers/readers, especially with outsiders, aka potential converts.

I’m having an increasingly hard time doing so.

I’m beginning to liken the JW speakers and writers to politicians.

What styles of discourse do politicians and JW’s have in common? Let me list a few.

Doublespeak: Affirming two contradictory statements without acknowledging the contradiction. Example: “Isn’t it wonderful about how blessed the anointed 144,000 are, with their heavenly hope? How great it will be for them to rule with Christ for all eternity!” Contrast that statement with things like, “Humans are designed for an earthly existence, not a heavenly one.” When talking about the anointed, heaven is sold as the best thing ever. But when talking about the “great crowd” believers, earth is where it’s at. “Heaven? Yuck! Who would want that?”

Omissions: At the recent convention I attended (July 2018), one of the speakers quoted John 6:44 like this: “No man can come unless the Father who sent me draws him.” This is one of my favorite verses of scripture, so I noticed immediately that the speaker omitted the phrase “to me.” The verse should read: “No man can come to me unless the Father, who sent me, draws him.” I wondered whether the omission was intentional, purposefully downplaying our need to come to Jesus. Perhaps it was subconscious on the part of the speaker, due to the relentless indoctrination he has been through over the years. There I go again, giving them the benefit of the doubt.

I find myself even giving the governing bully the benefit of the doubt. Some describe them as wolves. I wonder whether they are just as deceived as the common members. Honestly I don’t know. I can just as easily imagine them as oblivious puppets, or as deliberately manipulative shysters. The more I learn, though, the more difficult it is to give them the benefit of the doubt. And I don’t mean that I’m learning about them from inflammatory websites published by disgruntled apostates with an ax to grind. (There are plenty of those.) I’m talking about what I learn from what I hear and read directly from the JW “horse’s mouth.”

Outright Lies: Here’s where it’s really becoming difficult to cut the governing bully and its minions any slack. One recent example I experienced was during the midweek ministry training at the local kingdom hall. The nice ladies acted out a JW inviting a “householder” to attend a kingdom hall meeting. The JW, in pitching her invitation, said that there would be audience participation, and that children are not separated from the meeting, but that they too could participate in the interaction.

That is a flat-out lie.

Yes, children can participate in the question-and-answer ritual, but that would only be children of families in good standing, and who have been prepared for such participation. No visitor, adult or child, is allowed to ask or answer a question. As a visitor, I have tried. I held my hand up for about 10 minutes one evening. If the fictional skit was representing what JW’s actually promise householders, they are being misleading at best, or insidiously deceptive at worst. They’re putting a positive spin on children attending meetings where they’re bored out of their gourds, instead of being offered educational programs tailored to their developmental level.

All of this is very vexing to me, especially when these flat-out lies are being presented by such nice ladies, whom I have actually been befriending at the kingdom hall. I don’t know whether to be angry or heartbroken for these people. I guess I will continue to feel both.

 

 

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