Once upon a time, when I was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses I was at a return visit (a JW term referring to a follow up visit after the initial contact) and during the course of the conversation, the householder preceded to read off a bunch of negative things about the Witnesses she had printed off the internet. It attacked the New World Translation and the secrecy behind it, including actual quotes from members of the Governing Body from decades ago when they were on some sort of trial and under oath. I don’t remember to many details about it though. What I do remember is exactly how me and my service partner that day handled it. Instead of trying to ascertain whether or not the information was true and accurate, we stopped her from reading more and dismissed the whole thing. I even remember saying, “When it comes to things of this nature, you have to consider the source.”
Years later, I was ‘witnessing’ to a co-worker and the topic of other churches came up. He asked me if I had ever gone to any other church to see and hear what they taught for myself. It wasn’t a loaded question, he was just genuinely curious about my religious background, why I was a JW, and why I was so convinced everybody else was wrong. I told him with absolute conviction that, “I don’t need to ever see for myself, I already know what they believe and know that it is wrong. So I don’t need to ever go to any other church.”
Finally, just one year ago, I was emailing back and forth with a pastor I had come into contact with and that I admired for his speaking and teaching abilities. During the exchanges he brought up a lot of what a JW would say is ‘apostate material’ from research he had done online and books he owned. When I responded to his email I completely dismissed what he brought up. I told him that these were ‘tired old arguments’, that ‘false predictions from imperfect men 100 years ago doesn’t matter’, and to ‘not listen to people who clearly are biased in their opinion of JWs because they just are bitter people who used to be one of us and now have a personal vendetta against us’. I even told him that ‘he would never win a debate against a JW over issues about the organization and to instead debate theology and the Bible’. I still have all those emails and reading my responses sicken me. That one was dated 6/1/18, just over a year ago. My how times have changed.
The commonality in all these experiences of mine show is that when confronted with any contrary views, be they other religious or apostate, a JW will have no interest in ‘fact-finding’. It doesn’t matter what is said or how its presented. The only thing that matters to them is WHO said it? Does it come from an apostate (or from any who have bad feeling for the Witnesses)? Then that’s the end of the conversation. Since when, I would ask myself from a year ago, does the source of information trump the accuracy of the information?
I get it though. Like I told my preacher-friend in the email, ‘why would you consider information that comes from someone that hates you, or about something that he hates’? Sure biases exist out there, especially when there is passion about a topic. A good many of ex-JWs have earned the stereotype that the WT magazine gives of the ‘angry bitter apostate’. Some go overboard in criticizing EVERY LITTLE THING about the organization, as if the Governing Body of JWs sit around laughing maniacally and stroking fluffy white cats like Dr. Evil. But the fact that SOME apostates are biased doesn’t mean that the information is wrong, especially (and this is hugely important!) if it is verified by multiple people, documented,and/or in some other way backed up by evidence. Plus if your going to play the ‘apostates are biased so none of their info is accurate’ card, then you have to at least acknowledge that an international religious organization that controls the beliefs of 20 million people has a very good opportunity and reason to be biased themselves. They are imperfect too, right? So why take one’s word for Gospel, and the others word as biased propaganda? (What I love about that last sentence, is that you can use it against JWs AND apostates, and that just makes me laugh)
The reason I’m writing today is because of the latest warning the WT has sounded about those dangerous apostates. In the newest WT magazine (Nov 2019) there is a whole paragraph dedicated to it in the article, ‘Are you maintaining your Large Shield of Faith?’:
This coupled with the picture that goes with the paragraph about turning off the television when negative things about the organization come on, tells us all we need to know about those apostate lies – absolutely nothing. That is because the WT doesn’t want you to even be curious about them. It tells us that ‘apostates publish lies and distort facts’ yet refuses to give a single shred of evidence of that assertion in this or any other publication. I would dare any JW to show actual evidence that apostates are lying (and even if they could find one example, to prove how that discounts everything else). But I don’t have to worry about that because a good JW will never even look to find out. The WT has spoken and they obey. To give more reason to their warning they tell us to reject apostates, ‘’because we have faith in Jehovah and we trust our brothers”. First off, my faith in God has nothing to do with YOUR lies and distorted facts. Yet, this is what they always do. They hide behind the name of Jehovah and claim that anything said against them is an attack on God. How convenient for them. Its my very faith in God that has lead me to leave that organization and to speak out against them. Second, ‘trust in our brothers’ is not a reason to deliberately hide your head in the sand. If someone came to you and said that he had real evidence that your spouse was cheating on you, or that an employee was stealing from you, or that your child was taking drugs, you would hear him out at the very least. You wouldn’t let your trust in a imperfect and flawed human blind you to real failings on their part. That’s the logic of WT however. Their argument is ‘You can trust us! They are liars, and if you even listen to them you are showing lack of faith in God, you know, because we and God are on the same level.’ That may seem like I’m just being sarcastic here, but that is literally their argument. Re-read the paragraph again. Even if I had a neighbor that hated my guts and always slandered me around town but one day came and said to me that my house was on fire, I would at least check to see if he was telling the truth and not just reject him outright because he is a jerk. The WT doesn’t want you to check though. Nevermind the smoke and the flames, your house is fine. They would have no reason to be a bit biased here, right?
I write all this on this week of August 14th 2019. Today is in a way doomsday for Watchtower. Today marks the beginning of a new law in New York that allows child abuse victims to file suit even if their case previously was beyond the statute of limitations. Dozens and dozens of cases are being filed against WT as I write this (as WT is headquartered in New York). Is it any wonder that WT is literally telling people to turn of their televisions? I haven’t written about the child abuse issue among JWs previously because I am not qualified to. There are many many others that are better suited than me to do so. But today I want to speak about it briefly. Today needs to be a day that honest JWs need to take an real good look at their organization and what its doing. Today needs to be a day that some realize that perhaps the religious organization they belong to is actually more dangerous than is the enemy it claims to protect them from. An honest JW needs to question:
-Why the Australian Royal Commission (not apostates, the government of Australia) just a couple of years ago found over 1,000 child abusers in the organization just in that country and that ZERO had been reported to the authorities.
-Why governments and courts have documented cases of JW elders destroying evidence of child abuse before the authorities can get to it.
-Why the authorities in the Netherlands kicked down the doors of the Bethel there to gather evidence of child abuse that they were hiding.
-Why the governments of Belgium, The Netherlands, and the UK, have followed the example of Australia and opened up official investigations into the organizations child abuse cover ups.
-Why court case after court case here in the US (New Jersey, California, Montana, Nevada, Arkansas off the top of my head) show and prove that JWs consistently do not protect children from abusers and actively cover up allegations, and that WT is paying millions and millions for.
-Why JWs are currently arguing before the Supreme Court to keep their massive list of child abusers from being released to the proper authorities, claiming its their religious right (and why they even have a list to begin with).
-Why reputable news organizations and magazines that would get sued into the ground for lying have covered all these issues repeatedly recently (The Atlantic, Rolling Stones, Newsweek come to mind).
-Why WT, who will sue anyone at the drop of the hat (ask exJW activists) has never sued any of these publications for slander if it were all made up apostate lies.
WT can claim all day long that they “abhor child abuse” but the facts paint a very different and heartbreaking story. And the floodgates are now about to open on them. Why in the world they have chosen this particular hill to die on is mind-boggling. It’s not the preaching work or their meetings they are fighting to the death to protect. No, its protecting child abusers within their ranks.
None of that seems to matter to most JWs however. Mainly its because they have no idea the magnitude of the problem and Watchtower’s response to it. None of these court cases will ever appear on the ‘News’ section on their official website. They just studied a WT article in the congregation that basically said they were doing everything right and not to worry. (I wonder why they had to write that article???) Any whispers of child abuse allegations are simply dismissed as apostate lies. After all, the WT said it was lies, so why look into it further? Just remember that the next time you drop money into the contribution box you are directly helping them pay for child abuse court settlements that will only increase in the future. And that this is the same organization that tells my family not to speak to me and calls it love. My God make it stop!
***Note*** I am coming to the end of my posts directed solely against the Watchtower and Jehovah’s Witnesses. I plan on changing the focus of my posts in the future. One that is far more positive and encouraging. I have one more post in me about them though, so stay tuned for my closing arguments….