Another Blog from UK Partnerships for Christ (www.upfc.org.uk)

Apostates and Mental Illness.

This is an article done by a friend of mine looking at the issue of a recent watchtower magazine branding those who apostasize, or leave the church as having mental illness.

Jehovah’s Witnesses brand ‘Apostates’ as Mentally Diseased

Will You Heed Jehovah’s Clear Warnings? Do Not Follow “False Teachers”

“4. To elders of the Ephesus congregation, Paul said: “From among you yourselves men
will rise and speak twisted things.” Addressing fellow Christians, Peter wrote “There
will also be false teachers among you.” So from where do false teachers come? They
may arise from within the congregation. Such ones are apostates. (Footnote: “Apostasy”
is a standing away from true worship, a falling away, defection, rebellion, abandonment.)
What do they want? They are not content just to leave the organization that they
perhaps once loved. Their aim, Paul explained, is “to draw away the disciples after
themselves.” Note the definite article in the expression “the disciples.” Rather than
going out and making their own disciples, apostates seek to take Christ’s disciples with
them. Like “ravenous wolves,” false teachers are out to devour trusting members of the
congregation, destroying their faith and leading them away from the truth.”

“6. How can we protect ourselves against false teachers? The Bible’s counsel regarding
how to deal with them is clear. (Read Romans 16:17; 2 John 9-11) “Avoid them,” says
God’s Word. Other translations render that phrase “turn away from them,” “keep away
from them,” and “stay away from them!” There is nothing ambiguous about that inspired
counsel. Suppose that a doctor told you to avoid contact with someone who is infected
with a contagious, deadly disease. You would know what the doctor means, and you
would strictly heed his warning. Well, apostates are “mentally diseased,” and they
seek to infect others with their disloyal teachings. (1 Timothy 6:3-4) Jehovah, the
Great Physician, tells us to avoid contact with them. We know what he means, but are
we determined to heed his warning in all respects?”

“7. What is involved in avoiding false teachers? We do not receive them into our homes
or greet them. We also refuse to read their literature, watch TV programs that feature
them, examine their Web sites, or add our comments to their blogs. Why do we take such
a firm stand? Because of love. We love “the God of truth,” so we are not interested in
twisted teachings that contradict his Word of truth. We also love Jehovah’s organisation,
through which we have been taught thrilling truths… Why, then, allow yourself to be
soured by anyone who would denigrate the organization through which you learned these
truths?”

“8. No matter what false teachers may say, we will not follow them! Why go to such
dried-up wells only to be deceived and disappointed? Instead, let us be determined to
remain loyal to Jehovah and to the organization that has a long record of quenching
our thirst…” (pages 15 and 16)

To access this article: http://download.jw.org/files/media_magaz…

JW official link to download Watchtower magazines – specify month and year:
http://www.jw.org/index.html?option=QrYQCsVrGZNT

Link to 27 September 2011 The Independent news article by Jerome Taylor,
Religious Affairs Correspondent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/hom…

JW Apostates 15 July 2011 Watchtower

According to Jehovah’s Witnesses, any person who leaves their organisation because
they disagree with their teachings and speaks out against them, is an “apostate”
and must be shunned. The article goes on to say that such “apostates” are mentally
diseased. Jehovah’s Witnesses are being encouraged to label anyone who leaves on the
basis of theological disagreement as mentally diseased in some sort of contagious way.
Mental illness is not contagious! Furthermore, any person who is able to exercise their
mental faculties to the extent where they realise they have been deceived and who can
make a stand against such false teachings is clearly firing on all four cylinders, mentally
and spiritually speaking.

But if the Governing Body tells you to shun a person because they have been branded by
them as an “apostate,” then you had better do as you are told – otherwise you too will find
yourself on the receiving end of their shunning control techniques. Whatever happened
to the teachings of Christ Jesus about showing love, not just to your brothers or sisters but
to those whom you consider to be your enemy? Didn’t Jesus tell you to pray for them?
But no, the Governing Body knows better. The Governing Body knows that it must
protect itself from anyone who would dare to challenge, or disagree with them. That’s
why they brand anyone who speaks out against them as an “apostate,” completely failing
to grasp that a real apostate is a person who has rejected Christ Jesus and denounced what
Jesus did at Calvary to save sinful humanity.
Here is a quote from The Independent news article from a man who is still a Jehovah’s
Witness: “Many like me remain associated with the Witnesses out of fear of being
uncovered as an ‘apostate’ and ousted, not just from the organisation, but from their own
friends and families,” said the man, who would only give the name John. “I find I am
now branded as ‘mentally diseased’ – giving any who discover my true beliefs free licence
to treat me with disdain.”
The article in The Independent news article makes the following accurate
observation: “As a faith with a centralised leadership, many forms of discipline are used
to counter criticism of doctrine, with punishments ranging from restriction of official
duties to excommunication. Those who have been thrown out of the church often find
themselves ostracised by fellow believers.”

A growing number of former and current Witnesses have begun to argue that the church’s
use of the word “mentally diseased” to describe defectors could be in breach of Britain’s
religious hatred laws. A group of former Witnesses in Portsmouth have now made
an official complaint to Hampshire Police about the article and police are currently
investigating. Angus Robertson, a former Witness “elder” from Hampshire, who was
present at the meeting with police officers, said: “The way scripture is being used to bully
people must be challenged. If a religion was preaching that blacks or gays were mentally
diseased there would understandable outrage.” Critics are also considering whether
to complain to the Charity Commission. The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of
Britain, which prints church doctrine in the UK, is a registered charity.”
“Rick Fenton, a spokesperson for the Watchtower Society, insisted last night that
ostracisation was “a personal matter for each individual to decide for himself”. “Any
one of Jehovah’s Witnesses is free to express their feelings and to ask questions,” he
said. “If a person changes their mind about Bible-based teachings they once held dear, we
recognise their right to leave.” [end of quote from The Independent newspaper.]
Here are some quotes from various Watchtower articles on how they view “apostates:”

“You have seen the benefit of godly love, but do you know how to hate? These very
strong words are an expression of godly hate, and you too must have this quality to be

JW Apostates 15 July 2011 Watchtower

pleasing to God.” (The Watchtower, July 15, 1974, page 442)
“Apostasy is, in reality, a rebellion against Jehovah. …….then a Christian must hate
in the Biblical sense of the word those who have inseparable attached themselves to the
badness.” (The Watchtower, October 1, 1993, page 19)
“A Christian must hate the person with whom the badness is inseparably linked.. Jesus
did not mean for us to love the hardened enemies of Jehovah.” (The Watchtower, July 15,
1961, page 420)

The 15 July 2011 Watchtower article uses 1 Timothy 6:3-4 to support their interpretation
that “apostates” are mentally diseased. This is how the New World translation renders
it: “3 If any man teaches other doctrine and does not assent to healthful words, those
of our Lord Jesus Christ, nor to the teaching that accords with godly devotion, 4 he is
puffed up [with pride], not understanding anything, but being mentally diseased over
questionings and debates about words.”
The NIV translates “mentally diseased” as “an unhealthy interest in…”
The King James Version translates those words as ” doting about questions…”
The New Living Translation says “an unhealthy desire to quibble…”
The RSV and ESV say “people who are depraved in mind…”

The Greek Interlinear for the NIV, the two Greek words translated as “unhealthy interest”
mean “to be sick – to have a diseased appetite or craving for a thing, have an excessive or
vicious fondness for a thing.” The Watchtower article says that “apostates” are mentally
diseased. To them, an “apostate” is a former JW who now speaks out against their
teachings. But that is a twisted and warped interpretation because an apostate is a person
who has rejected Christ Jesus and God’s provision for salvation!

When you read 1 Timothy 6:2-21 you realise Paul is warning Timothy about the danger
of people within the early Christian church who were causing trouble because they were
motivated by greed and the love of money. To them, a show of godliness was just a way
to become wealthy. In Paul’s letter to the Christians in Colosse, written around A.D. 60,
he addresses certain early Gnostic heresies that were perverting the true gospel. The
seeds of what later became the full-blown Gnosticism of the second century were present
in the first century and had already made inroads into the various churches. Some of
the issues Paul dealt with were ceremonialism, asceticism, angel worship, deprecation
of Christ, secret knowledge and reliance on human wisdom and tradition. Paul’s first
letter to Timothy deals with a heresy that combined Gnosticism, decadent Judaism and
false asceticism. It has nothing to do with mental disease. The first letter of John deals
specifically with an early form of Gnosticism, the teaching of the Cerinthian variety.
This was a libertine heresy that threw off all moral restraints. John also established the
incarnation of Christ. Jehovah’s Witnesses deny the incarnation of Christ and have
demoted Jesus to being a created angel. They are the ones preaching a false gospel and
their organisation is a multi-billion dollar publishing empire. They must protect their
revenues and ensure nobody defects or attempts to speak out against the leadership. That
is why they have branded “apostates” as “mentally diseased.”

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