This is part two of a three-part series. Please read part one first, if you haven’t already.
In Part One we saw how the Watchtower has repeatedly stated that people must examine both sides of an issue in order to arrive at the truth. We saw how people need to do this in spite of one side being labelled “liars, spawn of Satan, etc.” Finally, we saw how the Watchtower has confirmed that this method for finding the truth will never change.
The Big Surprise
Imagine our surprise then, if we should ever walk into an assembly of Jehovah’s people and hear the following statements being made by a Watchtower spokesman in a public talk:
Like Satan, our critics are unruly men who cook up wicked reasonings and season their brew with poisonous lies that deceive minds. Their preference is to partake of falsehood at the table of demons. Our critics are part of the seed of the serpent spoken of at Genesis 3 verse 15. If we wish to please Jehovah, we cannot be feeding at his table and at the same time be nibbling at the table of demons, eating from the hands of Satan’s helpers – our critics.
If Satan and his demons are chefs in his evil kitchen, then our critics are his helpers.
Our critics are mentally diseased and they try to infect others with their disloyal teachings.
Avoiding critics means that we will not allow them into our homes by reading their literature; watching TV programs that feature them; examining their websites; or adding our comments to their blogs.
— Excerpts from the symposium “Beware Apostates!” given at the 2013 District Convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses [The word “apostate” has been changed to “our critics” for reasons explained below.]
Now wait just a minute! Is this “new truth”? After decades of preaching about how we need to be open to both sides of an issue, has the Governing Body discovered that their stance has been wrong all this time, and now we are told not to examine both sides? But how could that possibly be when the Governing Body has told us that the truth does not change with time?
It seems that the members of the Governing Body are the ones who have become “disloyal” — turning their backs on their own fundamental teaching on the method for ascertaining the truth.
What to do? Well, let’s remain loyal to the truth and its methods. Methods we learned from the Watchtower: let’s examine the evidence.
The Watchtower talk was referring to what they call “apostates.” This is loaded language, so I purposely substituted the phrase “our critics” because that more accurately describes the people to whom they are referring: specifically, critics who were once Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Apostates are not a homogenous group with one set of beliefs or world-view such as the Witnesses have. They are diverse individuals. Some of them may be unruly, but not all of them are. Some may be mentally diseased, but most are not. Some no longer believe in Christ, but some of them still do. Few retain a belief in Satan, and fewer still believe they are his helpers. So, it is wrong to lump them all together and say that apostates are:
- The seed of Satan
- Satan’s Helpers
It’s not only wrong of the Governing Body to do this, it’s a lie. More than that: it is prejudice: impugning the character of every individual based solely on their membership in a group. It is a stereotype: just as bad (and stupid) as calling all Mexicans lazy or Jewish people avaricious.
This is not good: we have caught our “authority figure” (the Governing Body) in an obvious lie. Now, when a liar accuses someone else of lying, should we suddenly imagine that they are telling the truth? No, though liars sometimes do tell the truth, we would be stupid not to examine the evidence even more carefully than usual under such circumstances.
What is the evidence the Governing Body supplies to prove their accusation that their critics are liars? Here is another excerpt from the same talk:
Our critics have used the media to accuse Jehovah’s Witnesses of refusing to give medical treatment to their children and of deliberately condoning serious sins committed by fellow believers.
Our critics falsely stated that Jehovah’s Witnesses supported Hitler’s regime during World War II.
The evidence they have provided consists of three statements attributed to “apostates.” Let’s examine them one at a time to see if the statements really are lies.
1. Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse to give medical treatment to their children
In what alternate reality could this be considered to be a lie? Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse blood transfusions for themselves and for their children. That is a medical treatment. There is no dispute about this. They even published an issue of their Awake! magazine featuring the children who died as a result of this policy.
Score another truth for apostates, and another lie for the Governing Body.
2. Jehovah’s Witnesses deliberately condone serious sins committed by fellow believers
The Watchtower has a policy of not informing the police of child molestation which has been reported to the elders of their congregations (unless there are two or more witnesses to the crime: a condition rarely if ever fulfilled.) Courts of law have found them guilty on this count and they have been ordered to pay millions of dollars to the victims.
This policy results in the condoning of serious sins committed by fellow believers.
Score another truth for the apostates, and another lie for the Governing Body.
3. Jehovah’s Witnesses supported Hitler’s regime during World War II
At worst, this could be described as an exaggeration. I, for one, have never stated it this way, though again: apostates are a diverse lot and some are apt to overstate the case in some instances. You can’t blame all apostates for what some might say; we are individuals.
The truth of the matter is this: Rutherford, then president of the Watchtower Society, sent a cloying letter to Hitler in which he basically stated that the Witnesses felt the same way towards the Jews as he did, and that they too would like to see all the nations on Earth conquered, and businesses destroyed:
The Brooklyn headquarter of the Watchtower Society is pro German in an exemplary way and has been so for many years…
The conference of five thousand delegates also noted – as is expressed in the declaration – that the Bible Researchers of Germany are fighting for the very same high ethical goals and ideals which also the national government of the German Reich proclaimed respecting the relationship of humans to God, namely: honesty of the created being towards its creator.
The conference came to the conclusion that there are no contradictions when it comes to the relationship between the Bible Researchers of Germany to the national government of the German Reich. To the contrary, referring to the purely religious and unpolitical goals and efforts of the Bible Researchers, it can be said that these are in full agreement with the identical goals of the national government of the German Reich.
We are looking forward to your kind approval, which we hope to receive soon, and want to assure our highest respect to you, honorable Mr. Chancellor.
Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society Magdeburg
Nor was this limited to a secret letter: Witnesses were very aware of this stance, as shown in the “Declaration of Facts” they adopted, and later published in their 1934 Yearbook:
It has been the commercial Jews of the British-American empire that have built up and carried on Big Business as a means of exploiting and oppressing the peoples of many nations. This fact particularly applies to the cities of London and New York, the stronghold of Big Business. This fact is so manifest in America that there is a proverb concerning the city of New York which says: ‘The Jews own it, the Irish Catholics rule it, and the Americans pay the bills.’
A careful examination of our books and literature will disclose the fact that the very high ideals held and promulgated by the present national government are set forth in and endorsed and strongly emphasized in our publications, and show that Jehovah God will see to it that these high ideals in due time will be attained by all persons who love righteousness and who obey the Most High. Instead, therefore, of our literature and our work’s being a menace to the principles of the present government we are the strongest supporters of such high ideals. For this reason Satan, the enemy of all men who desire righteousness, has sought to misrepresent our work and prevent us from carrying it on in this land.
–From the Declaration of Principles (WBTS)
That’s not the whole picture, of course. Although we cringe today at the racism and antisemitism displayed in the above quotes, we could take a positive spin on the above and say that the Watchtower leaders were attempting to placate a maniac, and used whatever half-truths they could in order to avoid persecution: a persecution that did come, and which many Witnesses bravely withstood. See the original documents, and translations.
So, it’s not as simple as stating that “Witnesses supported Hitler.” That sentence doesn’t do justice to the complexities of the situation. But it’s something that bears examination, and everyone concerned about this issue has a right to know the above facts and make up their own minds as to whether the actions were justified. That’s all that this particular apostate is asking, in accordance with the Watchtower method of truth seeking.
I’ll be generous and score half a point on each side.
So, Who’s lying?
Well, the final truth score in our examination is (with 3 being a perfect score):
- Governing Body: 1/2
- Apostates: 2-1/2
Sorry, Governing Body; you have been shown to be liars once again. Those of us who remain loyal to the truth will continue to speak the truth about you, whether you denigrate us as wicked helpers of Satan or not. Our motivation is not evil: it is love for our former brothers and sisters still enslaved to your lies.
In Part Three, the final part of this series, you will get to interactively discover for yourself, beyond any doubt, exactly who the liar is.
Many thanks to my fellow apostate blogger Stephanie for making me aware of the convention talk. Be sure to click on her name to view her excellent, heartfelt video on this subject. Also, be sure to check out Cedar’s blog on this subject.