It appears that the Watchtower Society has turned reading God’s Word into reading the Awake! and The Watchtower and we believe that most Jehovah’s Witnesses do not realise what has happened.

Of course,noneof us can teach as well as Jesus did. However, we do not need to be eloquent speakers to be effective teachers… An effective teacher of Scriptural truths must be a student of God’s Word. (Romans 2:21) Jesus Christ set an extraordinary example in this regard… His familiarity with God’s Word was evident at age 12, when he was found “sitting in the midst of the teachers and listening to them and questioning them.” (Luke 2:46) As an adult, it was Jesus’ custom to go to the synagogue, where God’s Word was read. -Luke 4:16. Are you an avid reader of God’s Word? Digging into it is the means by which “you will understand the fear of Jehovah, and you will find the very knowledge of God.” (Proverbs 2:4, 5) So develop good study habits. Try reading a portion of God’s Word every day. (Psalm 1:2) Make it a habit to read each issue of The Watchtower and Awake! as soon as it is received. Pay close attention at congregation meetings. Learn to do careful research. By learning to `trace all things with accuracy,’ you can avoid exaggerations and inaccuracies when you teach. – The Watchtower, 15 March 1999, p.12.

Do as the Bible says!

As, is often the case with the Watchtower Society, you do not have to look far for another aspect of the matter under discussion and if Jehovah’s Witnesses believed and acted upon the following quotation, as they should, because it comes from the Governing Body, their outlook would be very different.

The Bible encourages us to test out what people say rather than just blindly accept everything we hear.” The ear itself makes a test of words, just as a palate tastes when eating,” it says. (Job 34:3) Isn’t that true? Don’t we usually taste food before we swallow it? We should also make a test of people’s words and actions before we swallow them. No one who is genuine will take offense if we check his credentials. That we should check to see if something is genuine is supported by the Scottish proverb that says: “He deceives me once, shame fall him; if he deceives me twice, shame falls on me.” The apostle Paul advised: “Put all things to the test.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21, Today’s English Version) The word used by the apostle Paul for “test” was also used in connection with testing precious metals to see if they were genuine. A prudent person always tested to see if what he was buying was genuine. Otherwise he might have ended up with what was called fool’s gold – something that looked like gold but that was, in fact, worthless. – Awake! 8 February 1996,p.6.

Get the complete picture

This openness to checking things out expressed in many Watchtower articles is quite remarkable. However, it just shows how ‘governed’ the mind of a Witness is that they do not take the Governing Body at their word. Each Witness would add sentences such as – “only from the Watchtower Society” and “yet that is not what is really being said”. Bring some of these articles to the attention of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and ask them what they feel they should do to be obedient to the teaching.

It is common for individuals to look at matters from just one angle, or point of view, thereby limiting their perception and understanding of such matters. Often this is due to such factors as education, experience in life, and background. Wiser decisions can be reached when one endeavors to get the complete picture. For instance, if you were crossing a busy intersection where there are no stoplights, would it be wise just to look straight ahead? Certainly not! Similarly, broadening your thinking to get the entire view can be very helpful in making decisions and acting in a responsible manner. It can even be lifesaving… It is so easy to concentrate on a few facts and jump to a hasty, one-sided conclusion. This gives the impression that we are narrow-minded, if not closed-minded, like the religious leaders of Jesus’ day, who tended to burden others with their endless regulations.” The Watchtower, 15 June 999, pp.11 & 13.

See also the following taken from the 1984 Awake! article on 22 November

An open mind is free from the fetters of prejudice, which by one dictionary is defined as follows: “A judgment or opinion, favorable or unfavorable, formed beforehand or without due examination; a mental decision based on other grounds than reason or justice; especially, a premature or adversely biased opinion… A necessary part of life is that we make decisions and reach judgments. But decisions made “without due examination” or judgments reached “on other grounds than reason or justice” are evidences of a closed mind… Having an open mind, on the other hand, means to be receptive to new information and ideas. It means being willing to examine and to evaluate information without a biased attitude… A closed mind may indicate lack of knowledge. We may know so little about a subject, or have information so distorted or incomplete, that the facts necessary to reach proper conclusions are missing… A closed mind may betray a lack of interest in the subject or a reluctance to look into the matter. In fact, it could even be a sign of uncertainty or doubt. For example, if we are unable to defend our religious views, we may find ourselves lashing out against those who challenge our beliefs, not with logical arguments, but with slurs and innuendoes. This smacks of prejudice and of a closed mind. – pp.3/4.

This of course must be contrasted with the famous quote from The Watchtower 15 January 1983, p.27, under the sub heading Fight Against Independent Thinking.

As we study the Bible we learn that Jehovah has always guided his servants in an organized way. And just as in the first century there was only one true Christian organization, so today Jehovah is using only one organization. (Ephesians 4:4,5; Matthew 24:45-47) Yet there are some who point out that the organization has had to make adjustments before, and so they argue: “This shows that we have to make up our own mind on what to believe.” This is independent thinking. Why is it so dangerous? Such thinking is an evidence of pride. And the Bible says: “Pride is before a crash, and a haughty spirit before stumbling.” (Proverbs 16:18) If we get to thinking that we know better than the organization, we should ask ourselves: “Where did we learn Bible truth in the first place? Would we know the way of the truth if it had not been for guidance from the organization? Really, can we get along without the direction of God’s organization?