Article on the History of the Jehovah's Witnesses

Hello, again. I aplogize for posting this originally on the Meet and Greet page, but it was the only place I was allowed to post at the time. I believe that this is the correct forum for such a post.

There were a couple of errors in the article ‘History of the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ located at catholic.com/library/hist…itnesesses.asp. Well, way more than a couple. I’ll start at the end and hit just a few those last ones. Please note this is just a surface scratch of the errors in that article.

First - ‘They recognize the legitimacy of no governmental authority…’ - this is incorrect. All authority is permitted by God and recognized as such. Obeying laws and paying taxes are the duty of every Christian Witness of Jehovah. No Witness has ever rebelled or revolted against the government under which he lives. The act of neutrality by refraining from serving in the military is a right accorded to every citizen in every democratically run country.

Second - ‘They may be “disfellowshipped” for a variety of reasons, such as attending a Catholic or Protestant church or receiving a blood transfusion…’ - not necessarily. Reasons for disfellowshipping are determined by each body of elders in each congregation based on attitude, repentance and various factors.

Third - ‘…he’s ready for admission to the sect. That involves baptism by immersion and agreeing to work actively as a missionary…Witnesses will typically spend 60-100 hours each month in their evangelizing work…Although not every Witness can put in so many hours…’ - this is a contradictory statement. You say that the ‘prospect’ as you call him must agee to be a missionary, but that not every Witness can put in so many hours. So which is it? The truth is - neither. Very misleading information.

Fourth - ‘…The Bible study is directed along lines mandated by the officials in Brooklyn…’ - the study can be about whatever the ‘prospect’ is interested in. Whatever topic is selected the Bible is used as the primary instruction book. Additionally, Bible reading is strongly encouraged and each ‘prospect’ must decide for themselves the validity of the information they are learning.

Fifth - ‘…First they try to get a copy of one of their magazines into the hands of a prospective convert’ - not necessarily. Some use tracts, brochures or any number of study aids. Others will use only the Bible. The teaching method is as varied as the one witnessing. As always, God’s word the Bible is the basis for all teaching.

Sixth - ‘…remember, it (Armageddon) will be during the lifetime of “millions” of people alive in 1914,…’ - again, this statement contradicts the beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Of course, there are so many errors in this article as to make it impossible to correct with any reasonable writing space on this page.

Note this affirmation and the date:
NIHIL OBSTAT: I have concluded that the materials
presented in this work are free of doctrinal or moral errors.
Bernadeane Carr, STL, Censor Librorum, August 10, 2004

While inaccuracy is not a crime, intentional misrepresentation is a sin. Therefore, I urge you to correct these errors. Truth in reporting is a sign of integrity.

I provide these observations as strictly objective with no insult intentional or accidental. I also urge anyone who is genuinely interested in the beliefs of any religion - please ask the members of the religion in question. For a detailed view of the facts of what Jehovah’s Witnesses believe please visit

watchtower.org

the official site of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Warmest Regards.

Dear Used2truth,

Welcome to the forums. It’s good to have one of Jehovah’s Witnesses on the forums, to give us the straight info about what you believe. For one thing, I won’t have to ask my sister about it so often.

Please don’t be insulted if you are called “a JW.” In most cases, it’s just “shorthand.” One of the forum rules is to be charitable. That’s one of the words we Catholics use the old meaning for: unselfish love, as used in 1 Cor 13.

There may be minor errors in the text of “History of the Jehovah’s Witnesses”, such as “magazines” instead of “literature.” But I don’t think you have read it very well. For example, you said,

Sixth - ‘…remember, it (Armageddon) will be during the lifetime of “millions” of people alive in 1914,…’ - again, this statement contradicts the beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

In a later paragraph, the article says,
In 1995 the Watchtower quietly changed one of its major prophetic doctrines. Now that this [1914] generation has almost entirely died out—and Armageddon has not occurred and does not seem like it will happen immediately—they had to change their doctrine. Now, the Watchtower says that Armageddon will simply occur “soon,” and it is no longer tied to a particular, literal generation of people.

So the statement you referred to related to the former beliefs, not the current beliefs.

My sister told me about it when it happened. (She has been one of Jehovah’s Witnesses since around 1972.) I had earlier pointed out that making predictions about the Second Coming is against Mt 24:36.

The Nihil Obstat is a Catholic thing, and means that the person has found that the article doesn’t contain any mistakes about *Catholic *doctrine or *Catholic *moral teachings. It doesn’t guarantee complete inerrancy!

I also don’t think that “The Bible study is directed along lines mandated by the officials in Brooklyn…” is entirely wrong. Don’t the materials you use to learn how to Pioneer come from the Watchtower Society? And doesn’t some of it say things like, “from this verse, go to this verse, then this verse”?

I’m quite willing to be wrong on that.

By the way, why are you on a Catholic forum? Are you supposed to be reading Catholic materials? I thought you were restricted from reading some types of things. Many of the Pioneers who come to my door will shy away from any Catholic things I’d like to give them as if the paper was poisoned.

Thank you, and God bless you,

Ruthie

Hi, Ruthie. JW is fine with me. As far as I know it’s fine with all JW’s.

Our understanding about Armageddon has changed a couple of times, actually. While Russell thought something might happen in 1914, he wasn’t sure what until afterwards. I’ve heard that 1925 was a prediction also, but I’ve never been able to find it. So that’s another false accusation to discredit us. 1975 was actually pretty heavily talked about in a publication printed in 1969 or 70. No actual prediction was made about Armageddon coming in that year, though. Unfortunately there were some who developed their own opinions over what that publication was suggesting. A few folks sold a lot of their belongings, quit their jobs to become a full-time preacher, etc. Most didn’t, though. That seems to be overlooked every time 1975 is brought up.

The term that was under heavy scrutiny was the way Jesus answered the question at MT 24:3, which actually happens to be 3 questions. As a better understanding of the context was gained the understanding of the time period involved was necessarily changed. However, no actual date was ever given for Armageddon.

The Bible study arrangement is designed to help the student to progress in his knowledge of the Bible, whatever the topic. Quite often a student will have interests in topics that might not be covered in any particular order. While we like the study to flow in a logical progression, as per the study aid entitled “What Does the Bible Really Teach?” we are quite happy to discuss any topic in any order. One problem we find when doing it that way, though, is that a student will jump from one topic to another willy-nilly so to speak, not really getting a clear understanding of it. For instance, the above mention book takes a progression of topics in an order that connects them one to another so as to be most instructive. All successful courses of instruction in colleges and seminaries do the same thing.

Concerning this forum, did you know that you can find many Catholic reference books in the libraries in the headquarters of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. Not just Catholic references, but a huge array of references from various religions. The study articles in our Watchtower magazines contain many of such references. After all, the best sources for any religions viewpoints in straight from their own publications.

The warning that we get is to avoid looking at “ex-JW” material, what we term apostate information. This is almost always from disgruntled former witnesses who have a vendetta for one reason or another. They are responsible for a lot of the slander against JW’s. But isn’t that the case with any religious organizations EX members?

As far as non-JW literature is concerned, such as tracts and brochures, yes we avoid taking them. The reason for this is because these are solely designed to make converts to another religion. Here is our reasoning - we make great efforts to reach our neighbors with the good news of God’s Kingdom. We take valuable time and spend our money on fuel and do a lot of walking and driving to get there. Our purpose is to tell YOU about our beliefs. Now isn’t it only reasonable that if YOU want to tell US about your beliefs and give us your material then you should find US. The average witness isn’t afraid of being bit or stung by any non-JW literature. Although of course there a lot of those who can’t really defend their beliefs, most I think are quite capable of doing so. But it would be a real danger for someone in that less-knowledgable state to take and read other religous material or visit and get involved in studying such websites.

Anyway, I’ve gone on far too long. But I did want to give proper attention to each of your questions. Again, I hope nothing came across as preachy or, especially, insulting. It wasn’t intended at all.

Warmest Regards, Ruthie!

Greg.

PS - Tell your sister ‘Hi’ from her ‘brother’, will you? I was baptized in 1990, so she has a little longer history than I. But I DID serve as a ministerial servant then an elder for a few years.

Not a Catholic Website, but it does have a list of direct quotations from JW publications:

bible.ca/Jw-Prophecy.htm

But in any case Used2Truth, welcome to CAF

Indeed, which is why when anyone misquotes, quotes out of context, or otherwise missrepresents an opposing position, its called a “straw man fallacy”–from the aptly name logical failing, where one presents a false, distorted, or incomplete position, attacks that position, claiming victory over a postion that was never adressed–as if I built a “straw man” dummy, called it “Mike Tyson”, proceeded to destroy it–and then proclaimed I had just defeated the boxer Mike Tyson

To which the Watchtower Society’s vs the “Trinity”:

staycatholic.com/were_the_early_church_fathers_trinitarian.htm

That www.bible.ca site attacks every religion except Church of Christ. From what I’ve read nobody gives credence to anything on it. The owner of the site is a Church of Christ clergy. You should see all the stuff about Catholics on it.

A few genuine questions

First - ‘They recognize the legitimacy of no governmental authority…’ - this is incorrect. All authority is permitted by God and recognized as such. Obeying laws and paying taxes are the duty of every Christian Witness of Jehovah. No Witness has ever rebelled or revolted against the government under which he lives. The act of neutrality by refraining from serving in the military is a right accorded to every citizen in every democratically run country

So if Uncle Sam reinstates the draft (I’m assuming you’re American, if not just apply this to your country), then what would you do? Do you recognize that God has given the authority to do such a thing to the government?

‘They may be “disfellowshipped” for a variety of reasons, such as attending a Catholic or Protestant church or receiving a blood transfusion…’ - not necessarily. Reasons for disfellowshipping are determined by each body of elders in each congregation based on attitude, repentance and various factors.

So you’re saying that stating a JW can be disfellowshipped for a variety of reasons, such as attending Mass, is incorrect, but then state that it would be up to the governing body of elders as to whether or not someone could be disfellowshipped for this, so the article is correct. A JW could be disfellowshipped for those things, as well as a variety of other reasons, right?

Third - ‘…he’s ready for admission to the sect. That involves baptism by immersion and agreeing to work actively as a missionary…Witnesses will typically spend 60-100 hours each month in their evangelizing work…Although not every Witness can put in so many hours…’ - this is a contradictory statement. You say that the ‘prospect’ as you call him must agee to be a missionary, but that not every Witness can put in so many hours. So which is it? The truth is - neither. Very misleading information.

Not misleading. “will typically spend…” do you see the difference?

Fourth - ‘…The Bible study is directed along lines mandated by the officials in Brooklyn…’ - the study can be about whatever the ‘prospect’ is interested in. Whatever topic is selected the Bible is used as the primary instruction book. Additionally, Bible reading is strongly encouraged and each ‘prospect’ must decide for themselves the validity of the information they are learning.

But don’t the guides, or lessons, in the Bible Study come from the officials in Brooklyn? Could you use different materials not from the society? Would that be Ok? Could you be disfellowshipped for that?

Fifth - ‘…First they try to get a copy of one of their magazines into the hands of a prospective convert’ - not necessarily. Some use tracts, brochures or any number of study aids. Others will use only the Bible. The teaching method is as varied as the one witnessing. As always, God’s word the Bible is the basis for all teaching

This I think is a misunderstanding of terms. I look at pretty much all material I get from witnesses as a ‘magazine’ because it’s the familiar term for their material for me, I suppose it’s presumed a Bible study would include the Bible.

Sixth - ‘…remember, it (Armageddon) will be during the lifetime of “millions” of people alive in 1914,…’ - again, this statement contradicts the beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The current beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses, yes.

Note this affirmation and the date:
NIHIL OBSTAT: I have concluded that the materials
presented in this work are free of doctrinal or moral errors.
Bernadeane Carr, STL, Censor Librorum, August 10, 2004

This is referencing Catholic Teaching and theology. The Nihil Obstat lets Catholics know that reading these materials, they will not learn anything contrary to the Catholic Faith.


A few genuine questions
So if Uncle Sam reinstates the draft (I’m assuming you’re American, if not just apply this to your country), then what would you do? Do you recognize that God has given the authority to do such a thing to the government?

In the event a governmental decree (joining the military, an arm of the government directly involved in physical conflict) counters a Bible principle (1 John 3:16) then we follow the Bibles directive at Acts 5:29. Jehovah hasn’t sanctified war since the last appointed Isrealite King, Zedekiah. See Ezekiel 21:25-27. Jesus is the one with the legal right as King. We now live by the Kingly law of love. Matthew 5:43-48.


So you’re saying that stating a JW can be disfellowshipped for a variety of reasons, such as attending Mass, is incorrect, but then state that it would be up to the governing body of elders as to whether or not someone could be disfellowshipped for this, so the article is correct. A JW could be disfellowshipped for those things, as well as a variety of other reasons, right?

Governing body of elders? Just body of elders. The point being that a particular action does not automatically merit disfellowshipping. Each case is unique.


Not misleading. “will typically spend…” do you see the difference?

The quote you reference implies that all witness must spend 60-100 hours per month then states that 'not every witnesses can. Misleading, implying that a heavy responsibilty such as that would placed on every new convert.


But don’t the guides, or lessons, in the Bible Study come from the officials in Brooklyn? Could you use different materials not from the society?

Would you teach Catholic doctrine from a Watchtower?


This is referencing Catholic Teaching and theology. The Nihil Obstat lets Catholics know that reading these materials, they will not learn anything contrary to the Catholic Faith.

This is understood by Catholics, but since non-Catholics read this it might imply such an understanding.

Sorry I’m unable to include the proper quote marks

Warmest Regards.
Greg.

Would you teach Catholic doctrine from a Watchtower?

No. I’m not denying that Catholics should use Catholic sources. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t use JW sources either. I’m saying that the article is correct, that the sources do come from the Watchtower and are directed along the lines the watchtower provides. I’m not even saying that is wrong. If someone wants to study a religion, they ought to have definative guides like these, as both our religions do.

In the event a governmental decree (joining the military, an arm of the government directly involved in physical conflict) counters a Bible principle (1 John 3:16) then we follow the Bibles directive at Acts 5:29. Jehovah hasn’t sanctified war since the last appointed Isrealite King, Zedekiah. See Ezekiel 21:25-27. Jesus is the one with the legal right as King. We now live by the Kingly law of love. Matthew 5:43-48.

Makes sense. You believe the Kingship of Christ superceedes the God-given right of the government to govern in case of conflict between the two. We actually apparently agree on this, except in that Catholics do not hold to a strict pacifist stance, and regard voting as a Civic duty. JW do not vote, correct? Why not?

Governing body of elders? Just body of elders. The point being that a particular action does not automatically merit disfellowshipping. Each case is unique.

If the body of elders is governing (overseeing, ensuring the smooth-ness of operations, ensuring proper doctrine is taught) the congregation, then aren’t they the governing body of elders? Anyway, the This Rock article does not state that any one action guarantees disfellowshipping. It says that a variety of reasons may cause a JW to be disfellowshipped, such as (including, for example, up to, ie, possibly) attending Mass or Protestant services.

The quote you reference implies that all witness must spend 60-100 hours per month then states that 'not every witnesses can. Misleading, implying that a heavy responsibilty such as that would placed on every new convert.

It nowhere says that a JW MUST spend that amount evangelizing, and does not, at lesat in my opinion, even imply it. You may believe it does imply this, but that’s just how you’re reading it. We must agree to disagree on this.

This is understood by Catholics, but since non-Catholics read this it might imply such an understanding.

The articles are written for Catholics, or those looking to understand the Catholic Church. If people assume the meaning of the Nihil Obstat or Imprimateur, that is their fault for assuming the answer to something that they apparently have no previous knowledge of. A Catholic Bishop could not grant a Nihil Obstat to non-Catholic doctrine, because that doctrine may be false, and the Nihil Obstat declares that all Catholic Doctrine spoken of in the book/article/pamphlet/whatever, is free from false doctrine.

Sorry I’m unable to include the proper quote marks

To ‘quote’ something, copy and paste it into your ‘reply’ box, highlight it, and then click on the little speech bubble in the commands at the top of the reply box. It’s to the right, between a little square with mountains and a pound symbol.

If This Rock were out to deliberatly mislead readers, Catholics or otherwise, that would be immoral, but I think you’re misunderstanding them and coming to conclusions on assumptions you’re reading into the text that is not there.

JW do not vote, correct? Why not?

That’s right. We view Jesus stand in the matter as our example. He refrained from becoming involved in human politics stating that his authority came from above. 1 John 5:19 says the whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one. One of the temptations of the Christ was that of being given all the kingdoms or governments of the world. Since Jesus didn’t deny satan’s authority to offer those we feel that those political systems are a part of the world lying in satan’s power.

…then aren’t they the governing body of elders?

Each congregations body of elders serve as overseers. They don’t govern, but they do act as both a protection and help. Protection in the way of encouragement, correction, discipline, disfellowshipping.

To ‘quote’ something, copy and paste it into your ‘reply’ box, highlight it, and then click on the little speech bubble in the commands at the top of the reply box. It’s to the right, between a little square with mountains and a pound symbol.

That’s interesting. Thanks. Much easier than what I was attempting.

If This Rock were out to deliberatly mislead readers, Catholics or otherwise, that would be immoral, but I think you’re misunderstanding them and coming to conclusions on assumptions you’re reading into the text that is not there.

No, I didn’t mean deliberately in any way. What I meant to say was that an article may contain errors unkown to the quoting agency. But, by the article not being related to anything Catholic, then necessarily there would be no conflicting Catholic doctrinal errors…if you get my meaning. That may be more along the lines of ‘splitting hairs’, though.

PS - While I like the sound of ‘Warmest Regards’ at the end of each post, I hope you don’t mind if I stop. I’m starting to sound uppity to myself, although I sincerely intend warmest regards to you. Now I’m just being weird. Sorry.

Greg.

So Greg, are you counting your “field service time” by posting on this forum? After the second post are we “Return Visits”?
Aren’t you afraid of finding apostates on here?
Allow me to personally welcome you, since it means you must be doubting and searching for truth in your life, because I know that WTBS does not “encourage” JWs to frequent the internet and especially message boards—so good for you! It is called “independent thinking”!

Dear Greg,
you may find this website interesting:

www.catholicxjw.com

may Our Lord direct you to find what you are looking for!

God Bless!

oh and BTW–voting is now a “conscience matter”–meaning you will no longer get disfellowshipped for it BUT a JW conscience is strictly formed by the WTBS to reject what they want the JW to reject.

I think this teaching changed about the time that the WTBS hypocrisy was recently discovered about them being a member of the United Nations when they have been teaching that the UN is the “wild beast” of Revelation for the last 100 years or so and after many loyal JW members died in African nations for refusing to even carry a political card in the late '60’s and '70’s. Malawi comes to mind. I was just a little girl then, but I remember it.

This too has been changed recently (Oct 9th?)-- the Presiding
Overseer is now called the Coordinator of the Body of Elders. The Governing Body is the spiritual leaders at Headquarters in NY. But yes, they are also elders.

That link was from a Google search and I suspected it might have a lot of anti-Catholic stuff as well–hence my qualifier.

The point being, that particular link has direct quotations from your organization–regarding prophetic statments.

What does the NWT say regarding any “prophet” who proclaims just once a false prophecy?

Greg,

I just read thrrough this thread and think the forum needs to go back and challenge you on your very first posting. I beleive your purported corrections to the article do not reflect the truth as it regards the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

For example, your first correction is actually quite incorrect. Although Russell recognized the legitimacy of secular governments, Rutherford did not. If you will actually read the writing of Rutherford this will be very clear. He wrote, on several occassions, that the only legitimate authority was Jehovah, and in fact, redefined the WT’s understanding of Romans 13:1,2 so that the verse meant Jehovah and Jesus, not the secu;lar governments. This was not changed back until the late 1950’s.

I think you need to come to a better understanding of the JW history, for example, while the WT was attacking the clergy for their supposed adapting of paganism, it was also touting the Great Pyramid as proof of its 1914 date setting for Armageddon.

I have the series of books by Russell, the Divine Plan of the Ages, wherein he actually spends as much or more time arguing the pyramid as he does plagaizing the Seventh Day Adventist (who set the date first.)

John

I think the purpose of this thread was a hit-n-run. The arrogance of the OP’s tone offends me. IF there were any “corrections” to be made it should have been submitted in writing to the author of the article and not publically posted. Greg obviously was only here to stir the pot and count his time. Not only were his corrections wrong and misleading, as has been pointed out by other posters, but his answers to them were out-of-date, so I doubt he is even an active JW. He underestimated the intelligence of the posters he would get.

Now if he is sincere in his desire to learn about Catholicism or engage in respectful debate, more power to him! JWs are FORBIDDEN to have ANY contact what-so-ever with ones who they consider apostates–like me–and they take a chance on public forums like this. This is why they are told to stay off the internet! (That and the fact that they may actually learn something about their own religion that will open their eyes and challenge their faith! --like it did mine!)

I pray he comes back and reads the answers posted and Holy Spirit guides him out of the WTBS. Like He did me!

Ravyn

[quote=Used2Truth]PS - Tell your sister ‘Hi’ from her ‘brother’, will you? I was baptized in 1990, so she has a little longer history than I. But I DID serve as a ministerial servant then an elder for a few years.
[/quote]

Does this mean you are no longer serving as an Elder? What happened that you are no longer in that capacity, if you don’t mind telling us?

Hi. Sorry it took so long to get back. I’m not a fan of public debate. If you would like to discuss any of the points privately, though, you can email me at used2truth@ymail.com.

The purpose of my original post was as stated. I don’t and will never play games with a public forum. All readers should be held in the highest esteem, and I hope to do so. Again, no insult was intended and I give my deepest apologies if any was taken.

Sincerely,
Greg.

Dear Greg,
you made it public when you started this thread–if you did not have an agenda that you wanted the public exposed to, you would have just written to the article’s author or the staff here at Catholic Answers. And now that you have started it publically you are backing out of answering the objections–why? That is a cop out and you know it.
I am not answering your PM because I am not going to be accused of privately trying to entrap a JW in a ‘forbidden’ conversation with an ‘apostate’. But what you wrote me claiming you do not understand what I meant by “counting your time” is bogus! If you don’t know what ‘counting your time’ is–you are not really a JW!
Now come on! You started it! Engage! :wink:

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