Going to JW Meeting: Their Religion Is Almost All New!

I was never baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses but I did grow up in the religion. I recently had contact with them and decided to visit among them after some 30 years of being away from a Kingdom Hall. What I learned from this weekend’s Watchtower study and comments from current Witnesses has helped me to see that the Jehovah’s Witnesses no longer practice or believe in the same things they did prior to the year 2000. And it appears greater changes are on their way. Here are two points of change that shocked me off my feet:

**Point No. 1: **Soliciting Begins, Even Though Governing Body Claims Their Requests Do Not Count as “Soliciting”

Quote from Watchtower books about their official doctrine before this month of May…

“Jehovah’s people will never beg for money.”—God’s Kingdom Rules!, page 194.

“Although the costs of supporting our evangelizing work are high, we do not solicit money…we believe we have Jehovah as our backer and that we ‘will never beg nor petition men for support.’”—Who Are Doing Jehovah’s Will Today, Lesson 24.

This month a member of their Governing Body changed all that when on their televangelist Roku he spent a significant amount of time asking Witnesses to dig deeper into their pockets due to a significant need for financial support.

This fundraising appeal is new for the Witnesses because all other similar appeals by other churches were ridiculed and judged as evil by the JW religion for over a century. While many are happy to do what they can (one person actually said that they would buy less groceries for their family in order to give their organization everything it asks), there were just as many I heard from who were shocked by the whole thing.

**Point No. 2: **Watchtower Ends Reading Prophecies Into Old Testament Narratives

Each Sunday they review and discuss an article from their indoctrination journal (or magazine), The Watchtower, which usually publishes their unique take on the Bible, rotating subject matter to discuss their doctrines and keep these fresh in the minds of adherents. It is like sitting in a Sunday school meeting where everyone is discussing the answers to a test they took the night before because all you have is someone standing in front of the audience directing the “class,” another man reading each paragraph, and people answering the pre-printed question for each paragraph of the article to review what was just read. It is a very efficient system.

This weekend they reviewed an article which looked into a matter announced at a special meeting held by the Governing Body not too long ago. The JW religion, which reads most every narrative in the Old Testament as a prophetic type for the “last days,” has now officially abandoned its most fundamental hermeneutic approach to their eschatology. In other words, the building blocks for claiming end-time dates and events as they have for the past 100+ years had been discarded like trash.

While the article discussed did not mention it, many had the same question afterwards as they discussed the ramifications of this change in their religion: the validity of their famous 1914 date. Their belief that they were chosen as the one true religion relies heavily on reading not only Old Testament narratives as types to be fulfilled in the last days, but they also read many parables of Jesus as prophetic types too. The article showed how even reading Jesus’ illustrations this way was no longer to be done.

Jehovah’s Witnesses have taught that a narrative in Daniel chapter 4 regarding Nebuchadnezzar was a prophetic message providing hidden numerical data to enable them to calculate that the end of days and Christ’s Parousia would begin in 1914. Add to this a parable by Jesus at Matthew 24.45-51 has been viewed as foretelling that Jehovah would use their current Governing Body as the sole channel of truth after 1914 onward. Now that the rules have changed and the Governing Body has directed that no narrative or parable will be considered prophetic unless the Bible specifically says so, many are now expecting the Governing Body to ditch the 1914 doctrine very soon as well.

Many changes have occurred that would never have been allowed before the year 2000, many of which changing the view on time prophecies the Witnesses have used to claim that they were the sole channel of truth. Now that the formula for these is gone people are wondering what is coming next.

Also: JWs to Begin a Greater Emphasis on Jesus Than Before

The current tide of information suggests that this summer the Governing Body is preparing to do two things: center their people on being Witnesses of Jesus more than ever have in their past history and taking an active interest in seeking out and engaging in active outreach programs to those that have either left their religion or been excommunicated in the religion’s past. This latter effort would include a major change to their doctrine which up till now has excluded such outreach and viewed expelled ones as marked for death at the outbreak of Armageddon.

While these changes are actually something I welcome, I notice that a lot of long-time Witnesses are confused. These changes are making their religion more and more identical with mainstream Protestantism by adopting views, practices, and doctrines that were considered anathema just 15 years ago. I guess they are taking a page out of the LDS handbook and realized it is time to make themselves appear like they are just as Christian as anyone else, except in this case the JWs are actually adopting more traditional Christian beliefs than the LDS has.

I think they, like the Mormons, see the handwriting on the wall. The internet has made it possible to verify the heretical beliefs and unsavory history of these two religions, and they are losing members because of it. If they are to retain members, they have to get right with Our Lord and history, and they know it. We are seeing the beginning of JW’s and Mormons starting to ‘come clean.’

Quite the opposite has happened in the Catholic Church. The internet has made it possible to verify the claims of the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church and it is drawing people out of the cults, protestants included, and into the Mother Church. Thanks be to God.

Yeah I’d not associate with them they’re heretics spreading heresy they’re a plague here in Mexico burn any pamphlets and don’t go to the meetings! Satan has his hoof prints all over the jw sorry but I’m being honest they claim to follow scripture so close and so on yet deny Christ is the second person of the Trinity

AMEN, God Bless, Memaw

Yes, I have to agree.

Because I may be giving the wrong impression by how I’ve written this please understand that I am NOT advocating that people necessarily go to their meetings. I was raised in a JW family and had been encoraged to go this past weekend because of the two major changes I mentioned.

Though not directly related to the JW religion, there was a “sister” denomination known as the Worldwide Church of God (WCG). It had an almost identical theology: they were also anti-Trinitarian, teaching that we were in the last days, believing that the dead did not exist after death, that all our religions were false but their own, even that the world would end in 1975. But when their leader died, new leadership looked over the teachings and did away with them all in the same fashion and speed the JWs are doing it. The results are turning out the same, and right now I would say about 50% are bewildered.

The WCG now accepts mainstream Christian doctrines like the Trinity even though for most part of a century they preached adamantly against it. While I am NOT saying the JWs are adopting the Trinity at this moment, the pattern of change is almost exactly a repeat of what happened with the WCG.

You probably will not catch me returning to a Kingdom Hall, but I did have to see for myself that this major change was happening. If you’ve never been associated with them and did not know that they taught us that the true religion never asks for money and that their basis for understanding how close we are to the end (a 100-year-old theology based on types and anti-types) was now being called unnecessary is shocking. It is like saying that all we Catholics learned in Vatican II is wrong and we are throwing it all away and accepting Protestantism, it is that weird.

I do welcome the upcoming summer conventions the JWs are beginning this month around the world. It is at these special assemblies that their Governing Body will introduce a more focused shift to imitating Jesus than ever before in the Watchtower religion. A new outreach to expelled members will then be introduced that is also a change from their current shunning practices.

So what the JWs have been preaching up till now is changing and very quickly. The tract they distributed yesterday may no longer be reflective of what they are told to preach tomorrow. How much of mainstream Christianity they will continue to adopt remains to be seen.

They certainly aren’t losing members - (despite expelling ones that un-repentantly do things wrong.)
They reached 1 million in the 1970’s, 3 million about 1990, now they are over 8 million. (and that is evangelizers - not pew-sitters) :wink:

We want to get it right regardless - not just to keep members. That is why we are not shy on adjusting details in our beliefs if we realise they are not in line with what the Bible teaches. :slight_smile:

Well, just one contradicting example: in the 1920’s J.W’s stopped celebrating Christmas. They pointed out Dec 25 was not the date of Jesus Birth, the date and most of the related customs were pagan. :eek:
At the time the other churches denied all this and continued celebrating Christmas.

Now - any encyclopedia will tell you Christmas has pagan origins (as the JW’s have been saying for nearly a century) - and the churches all say: “yes, yes, we know. But we aren’t going to change it now!” :shrug:

Again and again new research justifies the J.Ws beliefs and prove them true. :thumbsup:

Harsh criticism. But fair if it is true. :wink:

But can you show me a single scripture that says Jesus is part of a Trinity? :shrug: The word “Trinity” is not in the Bible. The doctrine developed gradually and wasn’t widely believed until hundreds of years after Jesus death. (partly because the Catholic Church hunted down anyone who questioned it as "heretics"after they merged with the Roman Empire who had been the ones persecuting Christians before that)

The Bible teaches something quite different to the Trinity. (1 Corinthians 15:24-28 contradicts it a dozen times- Paul sure didn’t believe Jesus was part of a Trinity)
That is part of the reason why hundreds of thousands in Mexico have quit the Catholic Church and become JW’s. They are seeing things in their own Bibles and realising it is contrary to what their Church teaches.
What are they supposed to do when that happens? :shrug:

If the JW’s are teaching falsehoods - yes, “a plague.” :frowning:
But if they are teaching the truth … Then perhaps they are the world wide preaching work Jesus prophesied would happen before the end in Matthew 24:14. :slight_smile:

And I bet they can’t do the preaching work anymore.

The Catholic Church, from at least the second century, has claimed that Christ was born on December 25. However, it is commonly alleged that our Lord Jesus Christ was not born on December 25. For the sake of simplicity, let us set out the usual objections to the date of December 25 and counter each of them.
Objection 1: December 25 was chosen in order to replace the pagan Roman festival of Saturnalia. Saturnalia was a popular winter festival and so the Catholic Church prudently substituted Christmas in its place.
Reply to Objection 1: Saturnalia commemorated the winter solstice. Yet the winter solstice falls on December 22. It is true that Saturnalia celebrations began as early as December 17 and extended till December 23. Still, the dates don’t match up.
Objection 2: December 25 was chosen to replace the pagan Roman holiday Natalis Solis Invicti which means “Birthday of the Unconquered Sun.”
Reply to Objection 2: Let us examine first the cult of the Unconquered Sun. The Emperor Aurelian introduced the cult of the Sol Invictus or Unconquered Sunto Rome in A.D. 274. Aurelian found political traction with this cult, because his own name Aurelianderives from the Latin word aurora denoting “sunrise.” Coins reveal that Emperor Aurelian called himself the Pontifex Solis or Pontiff of the Sun. Thus, Aurelian simply accommodated a generic solar cult and identified his name with it at the end of the third century.
Most importantly, there is no historical record for a celebration Natalis Sol Invictus on December 25 prior to A.D. 354. Within an illuminated manuscript for the year A.D. 354, there is an entry for December 25 reading “N INVICTI CM XXX.” Here N means “nativity.” INVICTI means “of the Unconquered.” CM signifies “circenses missus” or “games ordered.” The Roman numeral XXX equals thirty. Thus, the inscription means that thirty games were order for the nativity of the Unconquered for December 25th. Note that the word “sun” is not present. Moreover, the very same codex also lists “natus Christus in Betleem Iudeae” for the day of December 25. The phrase is translated as “birth of Christ in Bethlehem of Judea.”*
Continued . LINK*

Well, if the JW’s decide to start believing the Trinity, it will logically be the same day they stop using the Bible as their authority.
That will be a big change. :rolleyes:

That is interesting. Thanks for the reply. :slight_smile: (“claimed” is an appropriate word)

Tha Catholic encyclopedia (under “Christmas” newadvent.org/cathen/03724b.htm ) says:

Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church. Irenaeus and Tertullian omit it from their lists of feasts; Origen, glancing perhaps at the discreditable imperial Natalitia, asserts (in Lev. Hom. viii in Migne, P.G., XII, 495) that in the Scriptures sinners alone, not saints, celebrate their birthday; Arnobius

It then goes on to list many dates that were put forward as Jesus birthday in the centuries that followed. (The Bible is very specific about the date of Jesus death- but does not give us a date of his birth)

So the Catholic Church acknowledges that not only Christmas, but also Birthdays in general were not celebrated by the early Christians! (JW’s don’t celebrate either of course)

Why do the churches all celebrate them so religiously now? :confused:

Read the following words of Theophilus (A.D. 115-181), Catholic bishop of Caesarea in Palestine: “We ought to celebrate the birthday of Our Lord on what day soever the 25th of December shall happen.
Shortly thereafter in the second century, Saint Hippolytus (A.D. 170-240) wrote in passing that the birth of Christ occurred on December 25.

For someone who has not associated with JW’s for 30 years and just went to *one *meeting last Sunday : You seem to have a great insight on the deepest thoughts of the majority of their members.
How many people did you talk to at the meeting? :confused:
Did they all come up and confide their doubts and confusion in you immediately - or did you have to ask them?

Sorry to use Logic here, but the story doesn’t add up.

Whose interpretation of the Bible?

I think what is happening to the JWs is wonderful. I am sorry that some on here are using language that comes across as an attack on you.

As for me and my family, all this started last summer when we decided to look back at our religious background when two different pairs of local LDS missionaries stopped by and helped us move into our new home. They visited us for a few weeks afterwards and we learned how this religion from our past changed in a dramatic manner by opening up to critical thinking regarding the BoM. Analytical study of our religion was generally never done, so to see Mormons doing this was shocking and even welcome.

I decided to look back to the JWs since I grew up around them. After visiting on this site I got very interested in accepting an invitation to look into the religion again from others who told me that many positive changes were being made. So for the past several months I have been talking with Witnesses and reading their new literature. It’s very different from what I had from the 1970s and earlier and decided to investigate.

I have a lot of old contacts that have made an effort to reconnect with me after this. When you grow up playing with other Witness kids you make a lot of friends. I have used Facebook and email to reconnect. I have even had long phone conversations and other types of contact. My reports are based on what I am hearing from baptized Witnesses. Not a few of these have even told me they and others and just going through the motions because they don’t believe anymore but don’t know how to live outside the JW world. These are people who have confided in me, but others were speaking openly among a gathering of Witnesses after the meeting Sunday. This is where I got the info.

The JW religion is about to go through another dramatic change with this upcoming convention and a change to the shunning policies, and eventually over the next 10 years the religion is going to change more or so I am being told by one of my family’s closest JW friends from Houston which consists of several elders. They even told me about a new brochure coming out at this convention that is designed to be used to call back expelled or others who have left.

Sorry if you are suspicious about this. I am actually applauding what you people are doing in admitting your mistakes and changing for the better. It is an example which should all follow. You are very brave for being such a people,

By the way. I am going on vacation so I won’t be able to follow the progress of this thread. But I hope that people will be respectful of the Witnesses.

Change is not easy and people who go through it can respond in various ways such as anger, bewilderment, denial, they might lash out at others, some can become depressed. Others are immediately good with it and go on as if nothing significant is happening. Expect any and all these responses from people affected by what is happening. Instead of criticism we should offer support.

My family and I are following the Catholic Church and making preparations for the upcoming Year of Mercy by being evangelists of mercy. While part of me originally wanted to point to JWs and the LDS church and mock them for changing things they said they would never change, I quickly realized these things are bringing us closer together, giving us more in common. That’s a good thing and should be welcomed.

Don’t go to any JW meetings.

They are not christians, they are a cult. I wouldn’t even classify them as Protestants. At least most Protestants are christian in the basic sense in that they are baptised with water in the name of the Father, the Son and Holy Ghost.

JW’s believe Jesus was/is the Archangel Michael.

They don’t believe in the Holy Trinity, they are Unitarians, we are Trinitarians.

They do not believe Jesus is divine, nor that he is God, only that he was a man.

Just as, or more importantly, we now have the ability to investigate and debunk the Anti-Catholic propaganda of the JWs, Jack Chick, and the like…

Great movie on the JW’s youtube.com/watch?v=uFExZQyNbf0

There is no denying that Jesus was in fact born. So what difference does it make what day his birth is celebrated? For me a bunch of hoopla for nothing.

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