Over the past few articles we have been looking at questions to ask a Jehovah’s Witness and certain techniques that can help make your evangelism more effective. These are all very necessary strategies in the fight to bring these people to Christ, but many of you would have come up against the Jehovah’s Witness’s insistence they are being fed by the Faithful and Discreet Slave, so are ‘sure’ what they believe is correct. This can be immensely frustrating as it seems to be the fallback mode when they have no answer to your discussion.
They might see that what you are saying is right, but they know you are wrong because you are disagreeing with their trusted source. However, this ‘blindness’ to the facts is a classic symptom of a cult, but in fact can infect us all at some time. When asked why they trust their Faithful and Discreet Slave so much, despite the fact that they probably don’t even know the names of the Governing Body members, those that claim to be the Faithful and Discreet Slave, you are likely to hear that it is because they have taught them Bible truths. The same ‘truths’ you have just proven to be wrong from your exposition of scripture.
A Misguided Loyalty, A Circular Argument
Their trust relies on a circular argument; “we tell you we are right and because we are right then we must have been right in telling you we are right in the first place”! There is an article on the Reachout Trust website that covers much of the Faithful and Discreet Slave’s failings,(1) but in the next few articles we are going to cover in more detail how the Faithful and Discreet Slave has shown itself not to be so faithful and wise through its Hypocrisy, Lies and Deceptions. These points may be what is needed to break the complete trust that the Jehovah’s Witness has in the Faithful and Discreet Slave and so pave the way for them to see the truth of what you are telling them.
Many ex-JWs say that once they stopped trusting the Governing Body everything suddenly started to make sense; the Bible became an open book to them and they saw, for the first time, the incredibly simple truths laid out in it for salvation. Often it has been the realisation that they have been hoodwinked that has suddenly opened their eyes, even without the intervention of anyone else showing them the truth – that is the power of the Holy Spirit!
The Watchtower Society claims to go to extraordinary lengths to ensure the accuracy and reliability of its literature. For example; in the 2011 yearbook (2) there is an article entitled ‘Tracing Things with Accuracy’ which covers this claim. They highlight the fact that ‘many hours of research and meticulous calculations…confirmed that a spider’s web enlarged to the size of a football field could stop a jumbo jet!’
If such effort goes into confirming such incredibly trivial facts then how much more so should they ensure all their statements about faith are consistent and accurate? There can be no excuse for ‘mistakes’ and everything that is said must be taken as having been meant to be said.
The Jehovah’s Witness may well defend their ‘slave’ by saying they are only men, and all men make mistakes – this is of course true, but by sowing a few seeds of doubt this blind faith can slowly be eroded to the point where it collapses. Honest men make mistakes, but they own up to them, apologise for them, make corrections, and acknowledging their failings – the Faithful and Discreet Slave does not do this. You may not know what doubts the Jehovah’s Witness is already having and the smallest thing could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, now or sometime in the future. The Jehovah’s Witness’s faith system has been likened to a tree you are trying to kill off; by attacking individual theological points is like stripping away the leaves, but attacking their trust in the Faithful and Discreet Slave is like cutting the tree down from the trunk or killing off the roots.
You would expect an organisation that represents itself as God’s sole channel to mankind, His personal ambassador, to act in an exemplary manner. Jesus was extremely critical of the Pharisees in Matthew 23, calling them ‘hypocrites’ no less than five times in that one passage (six if you include verse 14!) In this article ‘hypocrisy’ and the perhaps lesser charge of having ‘double–standards’ are taken together as equally demonstrative of an unfaithful slave.
A definition of hypocrisy is “The practice of claiming to have higher standards or more noble beliefs than is the case” (3) and the word has its origins in meaning to play a part or to pretend. The Faithful and Discreet Slave may indeed believe that what it is saying is true and yet do the opposite, or instead be playing a part and believing the opposite, but both situations are equally evidence of a source not of God.
Wait for “New Light”
The Watchtower Society is very keen that if no answer is forthcoming to a JW’s questioning then they should be patient and wait, for the Faithful and Discreet Slave may one day publish something that is relevant and possibly ‘new light’. This is encapsulated in a 2006 Watchtower(4) (WT) which states:
“What if we are tempted to murmur because of having doubts about certain teachings that Jehovah’s people hold in common? Then let us not be impatient. The ‘faithful slave’ may eventually publish something that answers our questions and clears up our doubts.”
However, when someone else says the same thing then this is highlighted as a failing. In a 2006 WT (5) they quote this from an ex-Mormon;
“I dug deeper into the teachings of my faith and also consulted with responsible Mormon Church leaders. I was told that the answers to my questions involved mysteries that one day would be solved as the light became brighter. Disappointed at their explanation…”
Should we wait or should we not? If it’s wrong for someone else why isn’t wrong for the WTS?
Changing Doctrine – New Light
The Watchtower Society is famous for its misuse of Proverbs 4:18 (6) which they quote to give them carte blanche to change any doctrine they see fit, claiming that they have ‘new light’ from Jehovah. They even boast of this ‘humility’ as a sign that they are hearing from Jehovah. The number of changes the Watchtower Society has made in its statements since its inauguration in the late 19th century must number in the high hundreds yet when someone else changes their doctrine the Watchtower Society uses it as an example of how untrustworthy those leaders are.
A good example is in a 1970 Awake magazine (7) where the Catholic church is pilloried for saying that meat can now be eaten on a Friday despite centuries of saying it couldn’t. The article makes an amazing quote from an unnamed Catholic about this change:
“Tell me…How can I have confidence in anything? How can I believe in the Bible or God or have faith? Just ten years ago we Catholics had the absolute truth, we put all our faith in this. Now the Pope and our priests are telling us this is not the way to believe any more. But we are to believe ‘new things.’ How do I know the ‘new things’ will be the truth in five years?” (Emphases mine)
Many would agree with this statement when applied to the Watchtower Society, but it demonstrates an almost unbelievable level of hypocrisy on the part of the Governing Body. The Awake magazine is aimed at the general public who would have little knowledge of the inner workings of the Society.
Thinking for Yourself – Independent Thinking
The Watchtower Society often exhorts their members to carefully examine everything and use their reasoning such as in a 1980 WT (8) where it states:
“”…Make sure of all things; hold fast to what is fine” (1 Thess 5:21). That implies careful examination. sifting, the exercising of your “power of reason” and then holding on to what is found to be true”
The Society’s Awake magazine is basically a public relations tool, targeted primarily at non-JWs and might be said to act as ‘bait’ to entice the unwary by presenting the Watchtower Society as a highly moral and upright organisation. The Aug 1978 Awake magazine contains a whole article on thinking for one’s self with the headline, “Propaganda has power. Does it overpower you? Or do you have a mind of your own?” (9) The article heavily criticises those who do not ‘exercise the mind’ and makes a statement startlingly reminiscent of Watchtower material (10):
“They sift the facts, tell the favorable ones and conceal the others. They distort and twist facts, specialize in lies and half-truths. Your emotions, not your logical thinking abilities, are their target. Many fall easy prey because it takes no effort to feel, whereas thinking is hard labor. And the propagandist sees to it that his message is made to seem wise, the right and moral one, and gives you a sense of importance and belonging if you follow it. You are one of the smart ones, you are not alone, you are comfortable and secure—so they say.”
And yet of others who clearly followed this advice the Society says (11):
“Hence, our understanding of the Scriptures is bound to be refined from time to time. The vast majority of Jehovah’s people rejoice over such refinements. A few become “righteous overmuch” and resent the changes. (Ecclesiastes 7:16) Pride may play a role, and some fall into the trap of independent thinking.”
Also from a January 1983 Watchtower (12):
“From the very outset of his rebellion Satan called into question God’s way of doing things. He promoted independent thinking.”
It is hypocrisy to command someone to do something then to chastise them for doing just that.
Political Involvement – OSCE, Lobbying of Russian Government
The Watchtower Society is always adamant that neither they nor their followers are allowed to have any political involvement and must remain neutral at all costs. Their information packet ‘Political Neutrality’ makes the following statement (13):
“Jehovah’s Witnesses do not involve themselves in political issues or governmental affairs. They have no interest in attempting to influence governmental authorities.”
On their website, under an article entitled “Why Do Jehovah’s Witnesses Maintain Political Neutrality” (14) they state the following:
“We do not lobby, vote for political parties or candidates, run for government office, or participate in any action to change governments. We believe that the Bible gives solid reasons for following this course.”
To become a member of a political party would result in immediate disassociation without the option to appeal (15) (disassociation is where a Jehovah’s Witness takes an action themselves to cease being a Jehovah’s Witness).
Lobbying of Russian Government
Despite this claim to be ‘neutral’ and to never ‘lobby’ governments, on 21 March 2017 the Governing Body asked its members to write to the Russian government in an attempt to stop them banning the Society’s activities there, a clear call to ‘lobby’ (16). You’re either part of the world or you’re not, you can’t pick and choose to suit your own needs!
Involvement in Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)
The OSCE describes itself as having, “…a comprehensive approach to security that encompasses politico-military, economic and environmental, and human aspects” (17) and is clearly a very political organisation. Despite this clear statement the Watchtower Society has regularly sent representatives to attend OSCE meetings (18) (19). They have also made formal statements to the OSCE as recently as 2017 (20), which have quoted the United Nations in support. Going to the OSCE website (21) and searching under ‘Jehovah’ shows how much participation the WTS is having in this very political organisation. I would imagine few Jehovah’s Witnesses are aware of the amount of political activity their ‘neutral’ Governing Body is undertaking in their name!
United Nations (UN)
The connection of the Watchtower Society with the UN is becoming better known and is actually causing some Jehovah’s Witnesses to question the validity of the Faithful and Discreet Slave and so leave the organisation, it often being the final straw. The Society has always been highly critical of the UN (and its predecessor the League of Nations) as being directly opposed to Jehovah’s Kingdom because it tried to bring peace on earth without His help. Much has been made by them of the involvement of ‘Christendom’ in this ‘evil’ organisation; identified by them as the Scarlet beast of Revelation 17 with the woman who rides it being identified as the churches of Christendom. As recently as 1984 the Watchtower Society stated the following (22):
“No, the UN is not a blessing, even though the religious clergy of Christendom and the rabbis of Jewry pray heaven’s blessing upon that organization. It is really “the image of the wild beast,” the visible political, commercial organization of “the god of this system of things,” Satan the Devil. So the UN will soon be destroyed along with that beastly organization”
Similarly a 1963 WT stated this (23):
“Such dwellers on earth wondered admiringly at the revived scarlet wild beast [UN]. Much reliance was placed in its ability to be a power for world peace and security. Great expectations were held out for it, and it was given designations that were really blasphemous from the standpoint of the Holy Bible. How so? In that to this wild beast powers were ascribed and tasks were assigned that really belong to Gods kingdom and its Messiah or its Christ”
So it is hypocrisy of the highest order that the Society joined itself to the UN’s Department for Public Information (DPI) (The only department a non nation can associate itself with) as a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) in 1992. They quickly left the UN in 2001 after being exposed by an article in the UK Guardian newspaper. While never actually denying the fact that it joined in 1992 the Watchtower Society has tried to excuse the action by saying they only joined to be able to use the UN’s library – hardly a valid reason to join oneself with the ‘Scarlet Beast’!
What adds to this hypocrisy is the change in tone of the articles about the UN during this time. One of the requirements of being a member of the DPI is to provide information about the UN to the NGO’s members. A sample of these articles must be sent to the UN as proof of meeting this requirement. Obviously the Watchtower Society could not continue to produce derogatory articles so it started to make more complimentary statements, though for some there is still a hidden agenda. The 1991 Awake magazines have many references to the UN’s work. The Sep 8th issue has a whole eight pages dedicated to the UN including an article entitled ‘The United Nations A BETTER WAY?’ (24) which commences with this statement;
“THE preamble to the United Nations Charter expresses these noble aims: We the peoples of the United Nations determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind…and [desiring] to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security…have resolved to combine our efforts to accomplish these aims…Jehovah’s Witnesses firmly believe that the United Nations is going to play a major role in world events in the very near future. No doubt these developments will be very exciting”
The last sentences are interesting in that the Watchtower Society teaches the UN will be instrumental in attacking ‘false religions’ (Christendom) before the end comes (25). Further details of the Society’s involvement in the UN can be found in a separate article on the Reachout Trust website (26) and on the excellent jwfacts.com (27) site. The official JW website makes no mention of their joining the UN (not surprisingly!) but there is a spirited defence website (28), presumably by a Jehovah’s Witness, which is a seminal article on how the Watchtower Society uses poor logic and reasoning in their defences. On the surface it appears to ‘justify’ the action, but studying it more closely shows it is full of red herrings and twisted logic. There has been a rebuttal of the defence article on the internet until recently, but a copy can be forwarded to anyone who wishes it by contacting this article’s author.(29) In summary, the Watchtower Society DID join the DPI department of the UN and there can be no defence for such a horrendously hypocritical act.
Exacerbating the hypocrisy of the United Nations debacle is the way the Watchtower Society treated their members in Malawi in the 1960s. There, JWs suffered violent persecution because the Society would not allow them to hold a party card, despite the fact that there was only one political party in Malawi at the time. The card would declare them as a member of the ruling congress party, though no actual political involvement was required. The Society criticised other religions for ‘yielding to pressure’ to join whilst the Jehovah’s Witnesses adhered to the ‘word of God’ (30).
Did the Watchtower Society adhere to the ‘word of God’ when they joined the UN a few decades later? Around the same time as this violent persecution was going on in Malawi a comparable situation occurred in Mexico. There it was necessary to undergo military service in order to obtain a ‘Cartilla Card’ which was akin to a political card, allowing persons to obtain such things as a passport or a driving licence. The Society decided it was alright for brothers to ‘pay’ (euphemism for ‘bribe’) military officials to issue the card without doing the service. They justified this by saying it was a ‘common practice’ amongst Latin American countries (31).
At the time, carrying out any military service or even any non-military service in lieu was forbidden by the Watchtower Society. However, in 1996 the WTS changed its view on this (32) and basically passed the buck on to its members to decide for themselves, an option the JWs in Mexico and many other places around the world who were imprisoned for refusing such service would have appreciated!
In the second part of this series we will look at a few more hypocritical actions of the WTS and a few of the lies they have told throughout their short history.
- WTS 2011 yearbook p 13
- WT 15 July 2006 page 22
- WT 1 Feb 2013 page 9
- “But the path of the righteous is like the bright morning light That grows brighter and brighter until full day light” NWT Proverbs 4 v 18
- Awake April 22 1970 Awake page 8
- WT 1 Oct 1980 page 4
- Awake 22 Aug 1978 page 3
- WT 15 July 2006 page 22
- WT 15 Jan 1983 page 22
- jw.org Political Neutrality Information Package – Legal Resources.
- Jw.org “Why Do Jehovah’s Witnesses Maintain Political Neutrality”
- WT ‘Shepherd the Flock of God’ 2012 Elder’s handbook page 112
- jw.org “Jehovah’s Witnesses Display Global Unity During Russian Letter-Writing Campaign” Global news 28 March 2018.
- OSCE website https://www.osce.org/whatistheosce
- Ibid http://www.bibliaexaminer.org.uk/Cordoba_NGOs.pdf,
- Ibid https://www.osce.org/odihr/21850
- Ibid https://www.osce.org/odihr/340991
- Ibid www.osce.org
- WT 15 Sep 1984 page 15
- WT 15 Nov 1963 page 697
- Awake 8 Sep 1991 page 8
- WT 15 Sep 2012 pages 4-5
- Reachout Trust website https://reachouttrust.wpengine.com/faithful-discreet-slave-mt-24/
- Jwfacts.com https://www.jwfacts.com/watchtower/united-nations-association.php
- WT 1 Feb 1968 page 71
- jwfacts.com https://www.jwfacts.com/watchtower/malawi-mexico-oath-allegiance.php
- WTS 1983 “United in Worship of the Only True God” page 167
- WT 1 May 1996 page 20
The author can be contacted at [email protected]