Is it the Governing Body of the Jehovah’s Witnesses (as claimed in this hierarchy chart from the Watchtower, 12/15/71)?
[Notice that there was no room in the hierarchy for you lowly “publishers” much less the rest of the world!]
In a previous blog we explained why this group cannot rightly be called a “slave”.
Today we’re going to see why they can’t rightly be called “faithful” or “discreet”.
Faithful? Maybe, sort of… but not where it counts
In at least one sense they are faithful: full of a simple-minded faith in their own abilities to pontificate on things they know little or nothing about. They have perhaps also been faithful to what they imagine their god wants them to do.
One area in which they have not been faithful is in regard to the Bible. When they translated the Bible they did not remain faithful to the extant manuscripts. Instead, they admit that they inserted the name “Jehovah” in the “Christian Greek Scriptures” (aka “the New Testament) where it did not exist1. This was “adding to God’s Word” which the Bible clearly forbids2.
So, what does “discreet” mean, anyway?
Shakespeare famously quipped that “discretion is the better part of valor.”3 Giving humorous prestige to the coward’s “discreet retreat”.
But, thinking of the way the GB uses it, I tend to picture in my mind a shady business deal or tryst in which one party says to the other: “I rely on your discretion,” meaning “Don’t rat me out because I’ve got the goods on you as well.”
At its most basic, being “discreet” means not blurting out what you’re not absolutely certain about, especially when giving voice to your thought could result in harm to another. Take the age-old example of yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater, which is likely to cause injuries in the resultant panic. “Discretion” in this example means making damn well sure that what you saw was an out-of-control fire before you shout out your warning.
Now, in the case of the GB, what is it that they are supposed to be discreet about? They claim to be God’s spokesmen on Earth: placed in charge of his world-wide organization and its dissemination of God’s messages. In short, they are to “care for the flock” of Jehovah’s people, ensuring that they are fed the “proper spiritual food” at the proper time.
Have they done this? Have they proven to be discreet in carrying out this weighty responsibility? Or have they in effect cried “Fire!” when none was burning?
In 1967 the GB announced that organ transplants were “cannibalism” and hence against God’s law4. Any Jehovah’s Witness who accepted an organ transplant would be disfellowshiped: removed from the “ark of salvation” which is the Society:cut off from their “brothers and sisters”; losing their sole chance at eternal life.
In 1980 the GB reversed itself on organ transplants, declaring that they were not cannibalism and were “a matter of personal conscience”5.
In the interim Jehovah’s Witnesses, obediently following the Watchtower’s lead (as they vowed to do at baptism) refused organ transplants (just as they refuse blood transfusions today). Those who needed an organ transplant died.
One of these victims was Delores Busselman, who died in 1971 after obediently refusing a bone-marrow transplant. You can read her husband Gary’s account of this at: Losing My Wife To The Watchtower.
Was the 1967 announcement discreet?
This raises the question: was the 1967 announcement discreet? If there had been any question in the GB’s minds regarding organ transplants the discreet thing to do would have been to keep their mouths shut.
If we say Yes…
If we are to believe that they are truly discreet, then it follows that when they announced their new-found law of God’s–knowing that it could result in death to members of their flock–they must’ve felt certain that God had communicated this message to them. But, based on the 1980 reversal they must’ve been wrong.
This means that if the GB is truly discreet then they must not know when God is communicating with them and when he is not.
If they are led by God’s Spirit…
On the other hand, if they insist that they are God’s spokesmen on Earth, communicating God’s message to his people [as insist they do], then they had better know when God has a message for them to convey. They’d better understand what if feels like to be “led by Jehovah’s Spirit”. If that’s the case, then they must’ve known in 1967 that they were not being led by Jehovah’s Spirit in the organ-transplant announcement. (Because if they didn’t know, then they don’t know what it feels like to be led by God’s Spirit, which means that they have never felt led by God’s Spirit!)
So, if we want to maintain that they are led by God’s Spirit [at least sometimes], then we must acknowledge that their blurting out the 1967 announcement was the epitome of indiscretion.
Here’s the dilemma in a nutshell: Is the GB led by God’s Spirit, or are they discreet? Their actions have proven that they cannot possibly be both.
But they can certainly be neither. Because, if they don’t know when God’s Spirit is leading them the discreet thing to do would be to shut up!
Is it all just “Human Imperfection”?
Well, yes, of course it’s human imperfection. There was no god involved in any of this fiasco. Men had developed a new way to save lives. Other men decided that this new way to save lives was against their god’s law. Later these men retracted that decision when they realized that they were wrong. It had nothing to do with their god whom they claim “does not change.”
The Watchtower likes to use the “human imperfections” excuse to try to retain their self-appointed status as being faithful and discreet. But the excuse just proves that they are merely human beings like everyone else: not “God’s spokesmen on Earth”.
The ban on organ transplants was Watchtower Society policy for 13 years! Meanwhile, people “in the world” and people in nearly all other religions were not forbidden this life-saving medical treatment. It was only those following the orders of the “faithful and discreet slave” who suffered. Real people died during those 13 years as a direct result of the GB’s announcement. Tell their loved ones, like Gary Busselman, to shrug it off as “human imperfection” of the GB which “Jehovah corrects in his due time”. You might as well slap them in the face; that’s what the GB has done with their pathetic excuse.
The organ transplant issue is just one example. We could’ve just as easily have used the example of vaccinations or blood transfusions with the same result. The GB has repeatedly made deadly proclamations which they have later admitted were wrong — though it doesn’t stop them from continuing to make them. How discreet is that?
Who, then, is the faithful and discreet slave?
When we point out how the GB of Jehovah’s Witnesses cannot possibly be honestly regarded as a “faithful and discreet slave” we always hear the same response from Jehovah’s Witnesses: “Who then is the faithful and discreet slave? Who else does yadda yadda yadda…” It’s as if they’ve been plugging their ears, just waiting to yank this canned argument from their sleeve and throw it down on the table as the ultimate trump card.
Okay, there is a parable in the Bible where Jesus supposedly related a story of a steward [“slave” in the Watchtower’s translation] who takes care of things while the master of the house is gone, and watches for his return (Luke 12:35-48). In Mark’s account Jesus says “What I say to you, I say to everyone” (Mark 13:37), so it is not meant to be one lone group of people that the parable applies to.
Asking “who is the steward?” makes as much sense as asking “who is the good Samaritan?” It isn’t a person or a class of people.
- In the case of the good Samaritan it is anyone who helps another in need (even when it’s a person from a despised group).
- In the case of the “faithful and wise steward” it is anyone who takes their responsibilities seriously and performs their duties with diligence.
Now you know. Go forth and free yourself!
— Footnotes —
1The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures richly enhances accurate Bible knowledge… the foremost feature of this translation is the restoration of the divine name to its rightful place in the English text. It has been done, using the commonly accepted English form “Jehovah” 6,973 times in the Hebrews Scriptures and 237 times in the Christian Greek Scriptures.
– New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures with References, Revised 1984, p. 6
2For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book
– Revelation 22:18
3The better part of valor is discretion, in the which better part I have sav’d my life.
–(Falstaff) Henry The Fourth, Part 1 Act 5, scene 4, 115–121
4…removing the organ and replacing it directly with an organ from another human… Those who submit to such operations are thus living off the flesh of another human. That is cannibalistic. However, in allowing man to eat animal flesh Jehovah God did not grant permission for humans to try to perpetuate their lives by cannibalistically taking into their bodies human flesh, whether chewed or in the form of whole organs or body parts taken from others.
– Watchtower, 11/15/1967, p.702 return
5Regarding the transplantation of human tissue or bone from one human to another, this is a matter for conscientious decision by each one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Some Christians might feel that taking into their bodies any tissue or body part from another human is cannibalistic. . . . Other sincere Christians today may feel that the Bible does not definitely rule out medical transplants of human organs. . . . It may be argued, too, that organ transplants are different from cannibalism since the “donor” is not killed to supply food.”
–Watchtower, March 15, 1980, p. 31 return
One thought on “Who’s a faithful, discreet slave, then?”
What I find fascinating is that the 1980 Watchtower doesn’t even make a retraction of the cannibalism argument. It’s final conclusion is that it is a conscience matter and no judicial action would be taken. That is all.
However its use of the term “some Christians” is at least better than its often weighted use of the term “most Christians” which has the insidious effect of throwing a curve ball along with its argument that certain decisions are a matter for each individual’s conscience.
Have another look at the 6/15, 2004, article Be Guided by the Living God for a classic example of this overwhelming confusion.
First of all, it’s an article that does that thing of referring unapologetically to the first century mish-mash of apostles and older men that met in Jerusalem as the “governing body”. That skews the argument to begin with.
Then, in paragraph 16, it pre-empts the use of synthetic blood and goes on to say, “Moreover, some products derived from one of the four primary components may be so similar to the function of the whole component and carry on such a life-sustaining role in the body that most Christians would find them objectionable.”
“Most” Christians? How is that supposed to make the “some” Christians feel?
It’s made even worse by paragraph 17 which does a hatchet job on the function of the “conscience”. It’s one of those paragraphs which manages to undo everything that is said before with regard to decisions being “conscience” matters.
In practice, they haven’t a clue how to implement this clap-trap. Put two JWs in hospital beds side-by-side, one whose conscience will allow synthetic blood (or an organ transplant), and another whose conscience might be affected/stumbled by it…what then?
One day…one day, they just might give in to the notion that everything is a conscience matter, and just shut-the–up.
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