The Watchtower May 1, 1957 pg. 284
“The Watchtower invites careful and critical examination …”
If this statement is true, then a Jehovah’s Witness should be free to read this blog.
This is not an attack on the Jehovah’s Witnesses, its followers or the Watchtower Society. It is a reasoned and careful critical examination of the organization. I have family who has been Jehovah’s Witnesses the entire lives, so my aim is not to offend or upset. As I defend my Christianity against all comers without offense, my hope is that those of other beliefs can do the same. My experience is that anger, is a weapon of the poorly defended.
Charles Russell claimed that the New Testament had become corrupted over the century’s. In his time, there were very few manuscripts, in fact, the King James bible had been translated using only 7 manuscripts. Today historians have over 5,800 and all of the early papyrus manuscripts were found only in the last 150 years.
3. Isolation & Censorship
I have spoken with many Jehovah’s Witnesses and I have tried to engage in direct examination of alleged inaccuracies and contradictions that are publicly knowledge. Simply getting them to participate in critical thoughtful examination of what and why they believe. Something a Christian does on a routine basis. I was surprised to find out they will engage, listen to, or even look at a potential facts that may be contrary to their teachings. I have been told time and time again that there is no need to consider anything that is contrary to their belief because it is all from the devil.
I found this interesting considering they were more than happy to show me what was wrong with my beliefs.
The Watchtower, Feb.1, 1952, p. 80. “After being nourished to our present spiritual strength and maturity, do we suddenly become smarter than our former provider and forsake the enlightening guidance of the organization that mothers us .” An answer to those who have found the error of Watchtower theology.
1981 The Watchtower, Aug. 15. “From time to time, there have arisen from among the ranks of Jehovah’s people those, who, like the original Satan, have adopted an independent, faultfinding attitude…They say that it is sufficient to read the Bible exclusively, either alone or in small groups at home. But, strangely, through such ‘Bible reading,’ they have reverted right back to the apostate doctrines that commentaries by Christendom’s clergy were teaching 100 years ago…”
1984 The Watchtower May 15 page 17 “So important is it never to raise the voice in bitter criticism of the Lord’s organization or its appointed representatives. Jehovah is the omniscient Judge before whom accounting must be made for these and other unprofitable sayings. – Matthew 12:36, 37; Leviticus 19:16; Jude 8. Those who despise Jehovah’s teaching include individuals who criticize and complain about Jehovah’s clean organization and its rules for maintaining peace and good order. There is only a fine line of demarcation between such and those who are outright rebels.”
Those who question the authority of the Watchtower are labeled rebels, and compared to Satan. Statements like these are very effective at censoring independent thought.
1960 The Watchtower July 15, page 444 “At times there are heard from immature ones slighting remarks, careless talk or outright criticism of the Society’s operations. Such is outright lack of respect for the means Jehovah is remarkably using to perform his will in this pre-Armageddon time. Truly the Society as directed by God’s Holy Spirit merits our deepest respect and wholehearted obedience.”
1983 The Watchtower January 15 page 22 “Avoid Independent Thinking”
1986 The Watchtower March 15 page 17 “Beware of those who try to put forward their own contrary opinions.”
1989 The Watchtower September 1 page 3 “root out individuals who dared to hold different views.”
Critical thinking and examination does not seem to be encouraged, it is suppressed by comparing those who indulge in such activity with “immature ones”, Satan, faultfinders, despisers of God’s teaching, having “lack of respect” and complainers to name just a few. The follower is then accused of being critical of God himself and threatened with hell fire. This threat is interesting since the Watchtower doctrine does not believe there is a hell fire.
1984 The Watchtower March 1 page 31 ” Yet the Bible shows that such apostates are “not of our sort,” have God’s disapproval and should be shunned by loyal Christians. Any who apostatize and do not repent by the end of this system of things will experience the same fate as the “weeds,” being “burned with fire” or destroyed completely.”
If the follower is truly religious, he or she will accept WT teaching without question and do what they are told.
1952 The Watchtower, February 1 pp. 79-80“We should eat and digest and assimilate what is set before us, without shying away from parts of the food because it may not suit the fancy of our mental taste…We should meekly go along with the Lord’s theocratic organization and wait for further clarification, rather than balk at the first mention of a thought unpalatable to us and proceed to quibble and mouth our criticisms and opinions as though they were worth more than the slave’s provision of spiritual food. Theocratic ones will appreciate the Lord’s visible organization and not be so foolish as to put against Jehovah’s channel their own human reasoning and sentiment and personal feelings.”
The bible teaches all who accept Jesus as Lord and Savior are priests. They are a light to the world and streams of living water will poor out from them (all of them) as the Spirit of God, who lives in them teaches them all things. The Holy Spirit bears witness to their spirits that they are saved through Christ alone. If anyone, anyone needs wisdom, they need only to ask GOD and he will provide it. God makes his wisdom available to every believer.
James 1:5; “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
1 Peter 2:9; Jesus – “for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests”
John 7:38,39; “Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” (“living water,” wisdom and truth that flows from the Spirit of God within each believer that attracts the lost.)”
1 John 2:26,27; “I am writing these things to warn you about those who want to lead you astray. But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true—it is not a lie. So just as he has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ.” (Christ alone, not Christ and his theocratic organization)
Romans 8:16; “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.”
4. Error and Contradiction
The Watchtower founder Charles Russell, claimed to have corrected the “gross error” that had destroyed the truth of God. It is difficult to reconcile doctrinal reversals while maintaining the claim of being God’s voice.
“You must worship and bow down to Jehovah’s Chief One namely Jesus Christ.” 1945 WT Oct.15 p.313
“It is unscriptural for worshipers of the living and true God to render worship to the Son of God, Jesus Christ.” 1964 to present, WT, Nov.1 pg.671
Jesus is Man or (god)
gOD – 1898, “Yes we believe our Lord Jesus while on earth was really worshiped and properly so. While he was not the God, Jehovah, He was a god.” WT July 15, 1898, pg.2337
MAN – 1956, “So for Jesus to provide the ransom, he must be a perfect man, no more and no less.” WT Apr.15,1956 pg. 239
Critical Examination Encouraged
“The Watchtower invites careful and critical examination of it’s contents in the light of scripture.” WT Aug 15, 1950
“Do not criticize the organization. If Jehovah permits it, who are we to insist it should be different?” WT May 1, 1957
Error and Mistakes
“Sometimes a member of a class will refuse to engage in the canvassing for the books because there are some mistakes in the books, and says his conscience I’m not permit him to put books in which there are mistakes into the hands of the people. Of course this is another method that the enemy adopts to confuse the minds and furnish an excuse for not being faithful to the Lord. As every one knows, there are mistakes in the Bible and there never has been a book written yet that is perfect that has been written by any human hand.” Wt. 4/15/1928 pg.126
“There are no scriptures in God’s word that are contradictory. All are in exact harmony.” Wt. 12/1/1933 pg.364
“We acknowledge that … the Holy Spirit proceeds from both, (Father and Son) and is manifested in all who receive the begetting of the Holy Spirit and thereby become sons of god.” Studies. Vol.7 pg.57
“He does not impart his Holy Spirit and an understanding and appreciation of his word apart from his visible organization.” Wt.7/1/1965 pg.391
- 1879 – “Christ came in the character of a Bridegroom in 1874…. at the beginning of the Gospel harvest.” Watchtower, Oct 1879, p. 4
- 1899 ” . . . the ‘battle of the great day of God Almighty’ (Armageddon), which will end in A.D. 1914 with the complete overthrow of earth’s present rulership, is already commenced,” (The Time Is at Hand, 1908 edition, p. 101)
- 1914 – (1899 – Armageddon did not occur) “Within the coming 26 years all present governments will be overthrown and dissolved…the full establishment of the kingdom of God, will be accomplished by the end of AD 1914.” Studies in Scripture vol.2 pp.98-99
- 1918 – “Therefore we may confidently expect that 1925 will mark the return of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the faithful prophets of old, particularly those named by the Apostle in Hebrews 11, to the condition of human perfection,” (Millions Now Living Will Never Die, p. 89)
- 1920 – “Therefore we may confidently expect that 1925 will mark the return of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the faithful prophets of old” ¹
- 1922 “The date 1925 is even more distinctly indicated by the Scriptures than 1914,” (Watchtower, Sept. 1, 1922, p. 262)
- 1925 – “it is apparent that there are many peoples now on earth who may confidently hope to see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the other prophets back on earth within a few years”²
- 1925 – “The year 1925 is here. With great expectation Christians have looked forward to this year. Many have confidently expected that all members of the body of Christ will be changed to heavenly glory during this year. This may be accomplished. It may not be. In his own due time God will accomplish his purposes concerning his people. Christians should not be so deeply concerned about what may transpire this year,” (Watchtower, Jan. 1, 1925, p. 3)
- 1931 – “There was a measure of disappointment on the part of Jehovah’s faithful ones on earth concerning the years 1917, 1918, and 1925, which disappointment lasted for a time . . . and they also learned to quit fixing dates,” (Vindication, p. 338)
- 1941 – (Armageddon prediction again) “Receiving the gift, the marching children clasped it to them, not a toy or plaything for idle pleasure, but the Lord’s provided instrument for most effective work in the remaining months before Armageddon,” (Watchtower, Sept. 15, 1941, p. 288)
- 1984 – “If Jesus uses generation in that sense and we apply it to 1914, then the babies of that generation are now 70 years old or older…some of them will by no means pass away until all things occur.” Wt. May 1. p.5
- 1985 – “Before the 1914 generation completely dies out God’s judgment must be executed.” Wt. May 1. p.4
This is just a sample of contradictions and prophecies that did not come to pass. The prophecies were made by non other than the President of the Watchtower, Franklin Rutherford and the controlling anointed body of the Watchtower. Every follower is taught not to question those dispensing light and the light is growing dim.
JEHOVAH’S WITNESS DILEMMA
After many failed prophecies, followers began to leave the church and rightly so. Here is the dilemma of every follower and potential follower;
- I am told to accept WT teaching without question
- I am told that the WT is the only source of true light
- With so many visible mistakes made by those who I am trusting are in the light guiding me, how can I be certain they are right about the invisible truths I cannot verify until I am standing before God, when its too late?
1968 – “True, there have been those in times past who predicted an ‘end to the world’, even announcing a specific date… Yet, nothing happened. The ‘end’ did not come. They were guilty of false prophesying. Why? What was missing? . . . Missing from such people were God’s truths and evidence that he was using and guiding them,” (Awake, Oct. 8, 1968 P.23)
The above is not something that you want to hear on judgment day. Below is what Jesus said to his disciples about the claimants of spiritual enlightenment in his day. The Sadducee’s and Pharisees were the teachers of Israel.
“…so ignore them. They are blind guides leading the blind, and if one blind person guides another, they will both fall into a ditch.” – Jesus
God interacts with each of us individually. He seeks a relationship with each of us. Study and teaching is good, but like the Bereans, make sure you test everything by the truth of bible that has stood the test of time.
New World Translation Bible
I am not going to say much on this as it is easily to verify with a short online study. The NWT was translated by an anonymous committee. They asked the WT society not to publish their names or their credentials. The names eventually were leaked and it as discovered that no one on the committee has any training in translation except for the chair Franz, who had little.
When confronted with the lack of credentials, the WT said that education was not important, only the finished product that testified to the committees expertise. If that sounds to you as a reasoned argument for authenticity, read it again.
“The New World Bible translation committee had no known translators with recognized degrees in Greek or Hebrew exegesis or translation… None of these men had any university education except Franz, who left school after two years, never completing even an undergraduate degree.”³
In my many years experience with talking with people of different faiths and views, I have found that evidence is of no real importance to most. People tend to believe what they like or agree with. Orthodox Christianity has by far the most in terms of supportive material for the believer to consider.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses have the benefit of most of what historical Christianity has to offer but with major doctrinal changes. The Watchtower has assumed sole authority for doctrinal teaching. The bible was and is used only to support the teachings.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses have the allusion of the history of Christianity but their foundation rests on one mans wisdom who said, the bible has become corrupted and he alone holds the truth. After his death, the Watchtower assumed the role of truth holder.
When Jehovah’s Witnesses are confronted with blatant mistakes or contradictions, the defense is that it is propaganda spread by unbelievers or disgruntled former believers. The objections themselves are rarely addressed, even when confronted with the WT own quotes and teachings.
I will finish off with what I called, every Jehovah’s Witness dilemma
I am told to humbly accept WT teaching without question
I am told that the WT is my only source of truth
With so many visible errors and contradictions made by those who I am trusting to guide me into truth, how can I be certain they are right about the invisible truths that cannot be verified until I am standing before God, when its too late?
- Joseph F. Rutherford, Millions Now Living Will Never Die (Brooklyn: International Bible Students Association, 1920), 89-90
- New Heavens and New Earth — What Are They?” The Golden Age, 12 August 1925, 731.
- Walter Martin, Kingdom of the Cults—Expanded Anniversary Edition, October 1997, Bethany House Publishers, p. 123-124