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

Review of talk at “Remain loyal to Jehovah” 2016 convention of Jehovahs Witnesses

2016-Regional-Convention-Program

Those who were baptized as Jehovah’s Witnesses but no longer preach to others, perhaps even drifting away from association with fellow believers, are not shunned. In fact, we reach out to them and try to rekindle their spiritual interest

(FAQ on JW Org).

A lot of the time the organisation of Jehovahs Witnesses will twist bible verses to fit their in beliefs, sometimes though they blatantly just lie about things. Certainly this quote from JW.org caused a stir with the EX JW community when it was submitted on the website as we know this statement on JW.org is just not true. But the latest talk at the “Remain loyal to Jehovah” convention has caused even more of stir in the community due to its content as well it being completely contradictory to the statement on jw.org . This talk will be given in the UK over the coming months but it has already been given in certain states in America.

This is the talk that has got everyone in the EX JW community angry as the Jehovahs Witness leaders not only re-affirm their stance on shunning former members, but now take it to another level.

Let’s take it one point at a time.

The introduction by the man on the platform starts with “Doesn’t seem like we have a rule for everything?”…I guarantee that 80% of people sitting in the audience was nodding!! But cleverly he links in to Moses and the fact that he gave a law to all the Israelite’s, now all of a sudden what this man says now sounds like it is from the bible. But from sentence number 4 you can instantly see that it is so far away from scripture

“The laws that where given to the Israelite’s where to protect them and also tested their loyalty”

But this just isn’t true – Some of the laws were to reveal to the Israelite’s how to obey and please God (the Ten Commandments, for example). Some of the laws were to show the Israelite’s how to worship God and atone for sin (the sacrificial system). Some of the laws were intended to make the Israelites distinct from other nations (the food and clothing rules). None of the Old Testament law is binding on Christians today. When Jesus died on the cross, He put an end to the Old Testament law (Romans 10:4Galatians 3:23–25Ephesians 2:15 (directly off gotquestions.org).

So how you can use the Old Testament law to say we still need extra laws today when even Jehovahs Witnesses admit that we don’t live under it? Somehow though this talk has now captured the audience and now everything you hear you will think is biblical.

They then quote 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 as they are now going to convince the audience that is right to shun ex- Jehovahs Witnesses. This is what the verses say

. I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister[c] but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.

12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”

Is it right though that if someone is committing serious sin that you should disfellowship them and then shun them?   Lets go back to the start of the chapter of 1 Corinth 5…

It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father’s wife. And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have gone into mourning and have put out of your fellowship the man who has been doing this.

So Paul is actually dealing with the issue of incest! And the fact was is that people where actually proud of it. However I just want to list a few things that you can be disfellowshipped of if you are a Jehovahs Witness, remember it maybe that you have only done this once for it to be an disfellowshipping offense:-

  • Being drunk.
  • Having a brazen attitude.
  • Having a blood transfusion.
  • Celebrating your birthday.
  • Celebrating Christmas.
  • Sleeping with your girlfriend.

These are just a few of MANY different reasons you can be disfellowshipped. Although some of these things we certainly wouldn’t want to do is Christians, the fact of the matter is we all have, because we all sin. But the issue was in Corinth that people where proud of their sin, they were not ashamed of it. These people certainly should be put out of the congregation and encouraged to repent. To apply this verse though to what Jehovahs Witness do though is completely irresponsible. This is a total miss-representation of scripture.

But where is shunning mentioned in this passage? NOWHERE!! It speaks about not eating with such a person, what is the significance with this?

Jewish tradition recognizes a meal as a time for intimacy, fellowship, and significant conversation. Kindness is the basic mood of the Jewish meal. People are fed and nourished, and in this intimate setting people talk with each other about what matters. That is why the Rabbis say that if people eat together and Torah talk is not exchanged then the meal is a vain enterprise. If eating does not create the opportunity to teach and to learn then it becomes biological feeding.

People sit down around a table or some other shared space. They face each other. Someone has prepared the food, someone serves the food, and people pass food to each other.

Sharing a meal with someone was something considered sacred.

The talk continues…

“Disfellowshipping helps keep the congregation clean, helps not bring a bad name on Jehovah and stops apostates spreading wrong ideas”

Again I have to object.

1) Most of the time people who are disfellowshipped it simply rips their family apart and cause mental problems which actually what causes the bad name upon Jehovah.
2) The congregation isn’t clean, every weekend congregations of young Jehovahs Witnesses up and down the country are going out clubbing, getting drunk and sleeping with other members. How can I say this? Because for 20 years of my life I saw it with my own eyes. I even witnessed people getting drunk in Bethel (JW headquarters in the UK). The ones who got dis-felowshipped where the ones that actually confessed what they did – the rest would just hide it and turn up as normal on Sunday morning.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.- Matthew 23:27 

3) Apostates that are spreading wrong ideas, actually is code for “we don’t want people asking questions about the false prophesies, the issues with child abuse etc etc. If you are a Jehovahs Witness you can not ask questions about the theology and if you do you are indeed considered an apostate.

They then give the example of someone who was in-active, which now just changed the doctrine of the current policy concerning shunning. The example was of someone who was an in-active Jehovahs Witness. An in-active Witness is someone who is a Jehovahs Witness but hasn’t recorded any time in the preaching work or gone to a meeting for a while. It talks about someone who had limited association with their Mother during this time claiming that his “relationship with Jehovah was more important than anything”. As a dis-fellowshipped Jehovahs Witness I know this is something that my family have also said. But I have to tell you this has nothing to do with their love for Jehovah, but rather their love for a religion that they have never questioned.

This is the first time I have ever heard them teaching that you should actually limit association with someone who hasn’t actually “sinned” but just someone who hasn’t actively being showing their status as one of Jehovahs Witnesses.

“We must not allow our family ties to affect our loyalty to Jehovah” .So what the talk is going to do is convince that shunning comes from Jehovah and by dis-obeying the rules of the organisation you are dis-obeying him.

This is really easy if you are a Jehovahs Witness with family who are disfellowshipped. Do you feel burdened by this law that stops you seeing your children, parents, brothers, sisters etc? I guarantee you do feel burdened. What does the bible say?

“This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3)

This law then that is a burden to you, cannot be one of God.

There then comes an extremely disturbing drama of a young girl who gets disfelowshipped and how her Dad kicked her out un-less she changed her way as this was becoming a bad influence on her younger brother. This was breaking the heart of her Jehovahs Witness family. You see Jehovahs Witnesses will only consider the affect disfellowhshipping has on family not on the one that has been disfellowshipped. They don’t consider the heart ache that comes with leaving the organisation and they have to leave 20-30 years of friends and family behind. It’s only their own that they will try to care for. In the drama it keeps talking about how this disfellowshipped person let all of her family down and it was such a difficult situation for them all.

There is little mention of this person’s relationship with God.

The disfellowshipped person said how it was such a good thing that her Mother and Father even used to reject her calls as this is what helped her come back to Jehovah.

This therefore will encourage ones across the world that the best thing you can do with your disfelowshipped family is keep shunning them as they will come back to Jehovah.

The false hope is then that this act will help you “remain loyal to Jehovah” and will help your disfelowshipped family come back.

A number of things to consider here:-

  • It is only a very small number of people who return to the organisation once being disfelowshipped.
  • If they do it is generally because of the family inside, not because of the “loyalty to Jehovah”
  • For me and I know others to the shunning issue was actually something that pushed me away from the organistion not help me re-join it!!

The fact that now Jehovahs Witnesses are now told they have to shun people who in-active not just disfellowshipped is proof that they are continuing to get tighter as a group and they are trying harder than ever to stop anything “questionable” coming in.

This will do 1 of 2 things to those inside who have disfellowshipped family. 1) They will get further and further away from their family and closer to the organisation. 2)  They will see through the lies of the organisation and come to Christ for invites us.

Matthew 28:18 – “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Amen!!

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Categorised in: Apostates, Apostates have mental illness, Convention, Disfellowship, JW.org, Shunning

13 Responses »

  1. If members of the Watchtower Society want to be loyal to Jehovah then they would leave the Watchtower behind . Jehovah does not look favorably upon those who continue to follow false prophets . The Watchtower is a false prophet led organization , and dressing well , acting polite, and counting hours in “service” cannot make up for that fact .

  2. Jason, can you please clarify something with regard to that talk given at the 2016 regional assembly “Remain Loyal to Jehovah”?

    In the video clip the speaker says to “stop keeping company with unrepentant wrongdoers” and that “messages from apostates can spread wrong ideas.” He also says that shunning can help a disfellowshipped sinner to return to Jehovah.But it’s the bit from 3 minutes 10 seconds that needs clarification:

    “Loyal Christians would not associate with any brother practicing serious sin, even if congregation action has not been taken, say in the case of a long standing inactive one.”

    My understanding is that all faithful, loyal and obedient Witnesses are now being told that they must shun any inactive Witness who is practicing serious sin, without that brother or sister having been disfellowshipped or without that brother or sister coming before a judicial committee.

    Is that what is being said? I know Witnesses must shun disfellowshipped Witnesses, but they must now shun inactive Witnesses who are deemed to be practicing “serious sin”?

    So if an inactive Witness is critical of the Governing Body or is known to have rejected some of the organization’s teachings, does that mean they are deemed to be worthy of shunning?

    P.S. After the video clip link, in the paragraph beginning “But this just isn’t true” it ends with 3 Bible verses and, in brackets, “directly off gotquestions.org. You might want to change that to “directly off biblia.com

    • Hi Lesley you are absolutely correct in your conclusion shunning is no longer just for disfellowshipped ones but to ones who inactive practising sin.. In terms of the quote I did get that info from got questions website and wanted to make sure they take credit forbit

      • For it* that should say! Sorry

      • So, are you saying that we would/could still associate with a person that is a Christian but is living an immoral life? Aren’t there verses that say that we shouldn’t? I seem to recall 1Cor. chapter 5 mentioning a few things. Also u mention that the verse refers to incest. I believe that the given is that one wouldn’t sleep with a biological parent and brag or be proud of it. I feel it may be more in relation to verse found at Genesis 35:22; there are others. Otherwise way wouldn’t it simply read that a person slept with their mother?

        And as for those responsible for keeping the congregation clean I suppose can be figuratively like being a policemen. They don’t know a crime as been commited if there’s no reporting of it, no confession, and little or no evidence. If they started locking us up because they think we may have or thought about doing something we’d all be in jail.

  3. Thanks, Jason. It’s just that the link does not credit Got Questions, and Jehovah’s Witnesses wouldn’t read anything from that Christian website anyway.

  4. Interesting progression in the tightening up of control over members. The message is basically a threat. Do as we tell you otherwise your out! Fear and guilt is the driving force.

    Looking back, early Watchtower magazines were quite diverse with many contributors. However over time questioning brethren were removed and only Russell’s views submitted for publication. This dogmatic approach is the classic sign of a cult and in today’s organisation part and parcel of the landscape. No questions or your out! Although we should expect nothing less. This methodology operates as a self preservation mechanism.

    What really grieves me is the way God – the God of the Bible – is linked to the Watchtower “organisation”. Clever semantics, and endless repetition create the illusion that God – has his special “organisation” (i.e. the Watchtower). Hence the bottom line is the conference theme “Remain loyal to Jehovah” is a red herring. How does a witness remain loyal to Jehovah? Not by coming to know God through his son, or learning how to exegete scripture, or theology to “remain loyal” is all but about absolute, abject obedience to a man made, man orientated organisation. The video screams out obedience at any cost. Forget everyone you love, don’t let your heart rule your head – obey Jehovah – which is cryptic for obey US – the faceless organisation. I am reminded of the words of Titus 1:16:

    “They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.”

    How heartbreaking to see the rows upon rows of people mindlessly accepting all they are taught and why? Because they have come to worship the organisation as God. A form of idolotry. Without the organisation they would be lost. Spoon fed from Brooklyn is all they know. Pray for the LORD to move amongst Jehovah’s witnesses and set people free in Christ.

    I also noticed the dualistic language employed – Satan’s World – (that phrase still gives me the creeps!) as opposed to Jehovah’s organisation. How sad that JW’s think the world around them is controlled and owned by Satan! Clearly members are taught to view the outside world as “evil” this clever doctrine drives members to cling to the organisation. However they really should read the scriptures!

    1 Chronicles 16:31
    “Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; And let them say among the nations, “The LORD reigns.”

    1 Chronicles 29:11
    “Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O LORD, and You exalt Yourself as head over all.

    Psalm 47:2
    For the LORD Most High is to be feared, A great King over all the earth.

    Satan is but an Angel on a leash, operating within the boundaries God has given. The LORD is sovereign and rules earth – Amen! – Satan was defeated at the cross! No more organisations to lead us to our LORD for we can all “know him” – how? Through Jesus! Paul’s words to the Philippians are fitting;

    Php 3:8-11 “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

    Thanks again for your contribution
    God bless
    Jason W

    • Well said Jason W .
      You mentioned the Watchtower leaders resorted to a ” red herring ” . I think that is good term to describe what W.t. leaders have resorted to on many occasions . The way they cleverly present their message in books/ talks to the public gives a person the thought that in order to be loyal to God and gain His approval for salvation the only way is to join the Watchtower organization . Thus sincere people have detoured by W.t. leaders into joining a false prophet led organization .

      Once in the organization members must submit to whatever the prophet/ slave teaches , and to not accept these doctrines as ” Bible based ” is to show signs of not being loyal to Jehovah . Thus W.t. members have taken door to door many, many , doctrines that have turned out later to be rank false teachings . This behavior has been a pattern with W.t. members for a long , long , time so a prudent person simply can not afford to accept whatever Watchtower members bring to the door . Sadly , W.t. members keep up this behavior because they fear God will be against them if they refuse to accept and peddle the Watchtower’s teachings .

      Those sincere people trapped behind Watchtower walls deserve our prayers . Freedom from the Watchtower false prophet is possible for those who are loyal to Jehovah by dismissing the Watchtower and understanding His arrangement to be accepted by Him —
      Matt 11:28 ; Jn 5:39-40 .

  5. This is in response to PRB who left a comment for Jason. Don’t know why I didn’t see the comments till now (November 20 2016). Anyway, I’m not speaking for Jason but for myself, a former Jehovah’s Witness whose parents became Witnesses in the late 1930’s.

    No Christian should condones immoral behaviour and the Bible says that unrepentant sinners should be removed from the congregation of believers. What the Bible does NOT say, however, is that you should SHUN someone from your own family, your own flesh and blood, who has been removed from the congregation. And another thing the Bible does NOT say is that a person should be removed from the congregation because they disagree with the leaders. Neither does the Bible tell Christians that they must give unquestioning, unthinking loyalty and obedience to men.

    The “serious sins” for which a baptized Witness can be disfellowshipped (which automatically results in being shunned) include smoking, disagreeing with any of the teachings or challenging the Governing Body. And, what’s worse, an inactive baptized Witness can be disfelolwshipped without even so much as a judicial enquiry – it can all be done quietly, behind his or her back. Nobody in the congregation is told WHY so and so has been disfellowshipped – only that they must treat them like an apostate and shun them.

    What Christians find offensive is the way the Governing Body uses shunning (and the threat of being shunned if you are disfellowshipped) to beat people into submission, to prevent them from disobeying or even questioning their orders.

    That is the hallmark of a cult. That is not how Christians should be treated.

    • Thanks for the comment. I agree that we as Christians should not condone serious wrong practices. But as you mentioned that the Bible says that ones that practice such things should be removed from the congregation. What is your understanding of this? Does it change the relationship/association outside of the congregation? Or can we carry on association as Before? And if it does change the relation where is the verses that exempt family members that are adults and decide to live a different life course that isn’t in harmony with the scriptures?

      As for ones being disfelloeshipped duento simple disagreeing with other me members I haven’t heard of but will have a look into that as I too would not think it was correct unless they were promoting others to follow suit. Ie a Korah v Moses situation I think.

      Read about ones being disfellowshipped in their absence before. They were ones that refused to meet with the committee after repeated invites to meet. But I think even this has changed in recent years and the process is to just leave it until they decide they would like to return to the congregation.

      As for the rest of the congregation knowing why a person was disfellowshipped I think it’s loving that it’s not shared with everyone what I may grave done. Would find it difficult to walk back into the building knowing that it had been announced in some details why I was.

      Kind regards

      PRB

      • Thanks for your comments, PRB. With regard to shunning, especially ones own flesh and blood, I would refer you to Isaiah 58:7. Here God tells his people “not to turn away from your own flesh and blood.” And then there is a warning in Isaiah 65:5 against adopting that holier-than-thou attitude, the ones who say “Keep away; don’t come near me, for I am too sacred for you!” Such people are a burning stench in God’s nostrils. It’s one thing not to associate with an adulterer, a fornicator, a thief or a pedophile, but it’s the shunning of ones own flesh and blood that is wrong.

        I wrote an article about shunning and will leave you the link so you can check it for yourself: https://gotquestions.org/Bible-shunning.html

        A couple of years ago I met a Jehovah’s Witness lady from Wales who wanted to leave the organisation. She was not living an immoral life, she did not smoke and she certainly wasn’t running around bad-mouthing the Witnesses. She simply wanted to resign because she no longer believed in their teachings and could not, in good conscience, continue to call herself a Witness. She met with the Elders and said she would hand in her letter of resignation. However, before her letter arrived, an announcement was made from the platform to say she had been disfellowshipped. That meant every single Witness she knew had to shun her.

        All she wanted to do was to resign. She was not going to join another church, she was not speaking out against the organisation, she was not an “apostate.” But she had to be disfellowshipped. Why? So that nobody else in that congregation would find out that she no longer agreed with the Society teachings.

        My brother-in-law discovered he had been disfellowshipped, years after he stopped being active. No Elder contacted him – not even his own brother (who is an Elder). There was no invitation to meet with the Elders. They just went behind his back, disfellowshipped him and then he realised his own brother would have nothing to do with him. He was not an “apostate” either – he had just become inactive. How can that be right?

        Yes, I can understand why it would be wrong to announce from the platform that so-and-so had been disfellowshipped because of sexual misconduct. But by not giving any reason, the congregation are left to assume what the serious sin was. According to Society literature, most Witnesses are disfellowshipped because of sexual misconduct. They refuse to admit that a huge number of Witnesses simply want to leave because they can no longer agree with the Society and the Governing Body. But by saying nothing, the congregation might simply think they were guilty of sexual misconduct – when no such charge was ever made. That’s wrong.

        Ask yourself WHY the Governing Body are so afraid of people disagreeing with them that they have to be disfellowshipped and shunned. And then read this article: https://gotquestions.org/spiritual-manipulation.html

        With respect, Grey Tower.

  6. Hi Jason, first I want to thank you for your work. I have been disfellowshipped for over fifteen years now, and have lost my relationship with one of my sisters and her two boys as a result. The rest of my family has left the “truth” (haha) in the intervening years but my dear sister still holds on to it. I know when my family first set me adrift all those years ago I could have used a community like this one, so again, thank you.

    My own thoughts on the words, “do not even eat with such people” is that they are a reference to communion, not mere association at the dinner table. But of course the JWs already bar their people from communion with their obscene mockery, “the lord’s evening meal”, so why not use this scripture to deepen the control that their members already allow them in their lives?

    The threat of losing one’s flesh and blood if one does not toe the line was enough for me to feign repentance (though in my mind then and today, I did no wrong) during my meeting with the elders, but they still decided I had to be punished for living a fairly normal young man’s life, some partying, having a monogamous sexual relationship with my girlfriend, etc…

    This leads me to a question about a shift in the organization, “new light” maybe. I watched a video produced by the society/organization/brothers, (not sure what they use as an informal name for their masters in the governing body these days) and one line struck me. To paraphrase it stated basically, “we’ve changed our message from good news to judgement”. I tried finding information about this shift and how it’s been presented to their congregants. It sounds as though they have gone even more Apocalyptic than they were before, which is really Apocalyptic. Is it that they now focus on death and destruction as opposed to everlasting life, switching from empty promises to empty threats as the focus of their ministry? Any thoughts or knowledge you have about this would be much appreciated…

    Thank you,
    JJO

    • JJO, the article about changing from a message of good news to one of judgment and condemnation is in the Watchtower 15 July 2015 article “Your Deliverance Is Getting Near”
       
      “9 This will not be the time to preach the “good news of the Kingdom.” That time will have passed. The time for “the end” will have come! (Matt. 24:14) No doubt God’s people will proclaim a hard-hitting judgment message. This may well involve a declaration announcing that Satan’s wicked world is about to come to its complete end.”
       
      This will apparently result in the nations turning on “Jehovah’s anointed ones as well as their associates.” 
       
      “14 What will happen after Gog of Magog starts the attack on God’s people? It is the time when the remaining ones of the 144,000 will receive their heavenly reward…  15 Does this mean that there will be a “rapture” of the anointed ones?  Therefore, while we do not use the term “rapture” here because of its wrong connotation, the remaining faithful anointed will be gathered together in an instant of time.
       
      16 Once all the 144,000 are in heaven… Gog will attack God’s people…  Together with his 144,000 corulers in heaven, Jesus will come to the rescue of God’s people here on earth.”
       
      So the “anointed remnant” will be taken up to heaven leaving 8 million “associates” behind to face the Great Tribulation. That’s when they will take to their bunkers to hide.  The 2016 conventions were full of it – propaganda videos designed to spur the faithful on to renewed loyalty and obedience to the Governing Body. The “good news” will shortly be replaced with an overt attack on “Babylon the Great” and condemnation of “false religion.”  I pray the Lord will rescue those deceived people from spiritual darkness and bondage to this cult.
      This link comes with a spiritual health warning:  http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2015523?q=deliverance&p=par
       
      This reply is from Greytower

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