I believe you’ve won me over to your view…you are Logically’s odd responses.
Things were a bit different from my perspective some 20 years ago in the Watchtower, but it was a different time then. And those I associated with were pioneers and elders and ministerial servants and people who are now in up at headquarters, etc. I guess this was me basing my comments on my own limited experience.
Looking at the religion today–“simplified” Watchtower articles and publications with reading levels that have dropped so substantially since my days…and Logically’s example: not getting figures right and even joining and participating in a forum unapproved and discouraged by the Governing Body, I guess I have to accept that my attempt to see the best in these people is wasted.
I also find it odd that Logically doesn’t respond to our posts. It is easy to see when he logs in and where he is when he does. Everyone’s profile statistics shows when you were last here–so I know he comes in and must read what we say.
I am very disappointed in his example as a Witness, but I guess his is now the norm from what I am hearing.
What is the current teaching on Armageddon? Is there a new deadline? I seem to recall that when the last deadline passed, the teaching became that Jesus has returned to Earth and is reigning invisibly. Am I correct? And if so, what is the belief about what will happen next (ie. when will non-believers be annihilated)?
This is exactly what I am trying to say. All JW’s I have interacted with without exception display not only a stunning ignorance of their own faith, to the point where I have had to show them copies of watch tower literature because they simply have not believed that the governing body taught a peculiar doctrine, but also have had nearly no knowledge at all of other faith traditions and although they are capable of reeling off so called proof texts which they mistakenly believe back up their doctrines in my experience they show an appalling ignorance of the bible, its original languages and context within the faith traditions that use it as a canonical text.
Most I have interacted with are even less familiar with the gospels and are completely obsessed with phantasmagorical Adventist conjecture that has absolutely no basis in scripture and is the product of fantasy based on the thinnest of scriptural proofs.
On top of this if one dares to question this nonsense one is arrogantly and pompously written off as a puppet of Satan??? The mind boggles.
All of this would not be to bad if they didn’t go around with the audacity to cry out that they are the only true Christians??? And represent the restoration of original apostolic Christianity, we don’t compromise on the Bible etc etc. If the original Christians were as ignorant and down right offensive as the JW’s I have interacted with there is no way they could have converted the empire in 300 years let alone 3,000,000 years.
Thank you for your prayers and encouragement. I shall call on St. Monica, as you and others have suggested. I too have accepted that at this point, I won’t be the instrument for conversion by my words, because there is too much water under the bridge. Like you, I have just prayed that somebody or some event will lead them to conversion. My feeling of hopelessness is from not seeing any results from my prayers. But I do trust in prayer.
You are correct. When the Jehovah’s Witness movement began in the late 1800s (and they were then known only as “Bible Students” until they adopted their current name in 1931), all of them professed to be of the “remnant” of the 144,000. From the beginning the Witnesses have maintained that this number of professing members among them must only decrease and that the decrease is a “proof” that we are living in the “last days” before Armageddon.
By 1935 almost 100,000 of them were professing to be of the remnant. The number decreased to about 8800 in the 1980s and early 1990s. Since then 5000 have been added to number over 13,000.
With the average age of those professing to be of the remnant at age 40 in 1914 (the year the Witnesses claim Jesus returned), that would put the average age of current partakers at 140 today. With the oldest person of the modern era being a 123-year-old Bolivian man, it is accurate to say that none of the original members of their “remnant” exist today.
With average life spans and death rates calculated, those who claimed to be of this number in 1935 all died off between 1957 and 1972, with a few living past that final year. None are alive today.
Their claim that 8800 still existed among them by the 1980s is therefore impossible. The added claim that some proved unfaithful and that the numbers after 1960 included relatively new ones to fill spots left empty is problematic. This would mean that some 23,000 to 25,000 of genuine anointed ones failed, proving unfaithful to the death.
That large number of unfaithful Witnesses with the heavenly hope does not exist on record as all funerals of “remnant” members on record claim they lived faithfully until the end.
Finally, if the number is correct, that 13,204 now comprise the full number of the “remnant,” this would make the number 144,000 impossible. Using their own records, death rates, and average age limits of humans alive today, that would mean over 150,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses have claimed to be of this number from 1879 to the present.
These numbers can be more accurate as they are based on several very basic formulas. These are rough totals and may represent underestimates.
What I mean by “underestimates” is that the number of those who have claimed to be of the anointed among the Jehovah’s Witnesses and have died “faithfully” in the eyes of their religion is likely to be a little higher than 150,000. If I had to guess, counting from 1879 (the year the first Watchtower magazine was published), the number is more than a half a million.
I have a hard time comprehending how this could go on. How did people think they could get away with it? I’ve always thought Witnesses were quick to point out inappropriate actions of their fellow members and bring it to the attention of elders.
A lot of things go on in secret. And when the ones doing these inappropriate deeds are related to elders, which is a high percent of the time, they can get away with murder if they say all the right things, such as true repentance. I knew of a daughter of an elder that was married to a ministerial servant and already had a child that was sleeping around with another married ministerial servant, that when was finally exposed didn’t even get reproved. I heard that she claimed to be drunk and out of her senses or something. These kind of things can go on for quite a long period of time before someone feels the need to go to the elders. And if there is one person they can pin the whole thing on, they will do it and let the others off with little or no discipline. These ones go on to repeat similar actions at a later time.
Originally their religion kept an annual count of members by how many showed up to their annual observance of the Lord’s Evening Meal (a communion service they observe only once a year). Like Catholicism, it is a communion only open to those who are active members.
An active count of those who partook of the bread and wine “emblems” (as they call them) at the service was therefore the annual membership count. From the 1870s to 1935 the numbers steadily grew to about 100,000 (and of course many had passed since those days before the 20th century began). In 1935, then president of the Watchtower Society, J.F. Rutherford introduced a “prophetic fulfillment” in which he declared that additional members to the group would not be those who have a heavenly hope.
Since then the Witnesses have kept a close eye on the number of emblem partakers at this annual observance because the official doctrine was that the dwindling number was an indicator of how close they were to the outbreak of Armageddon. According to Rutherford, the Holy Spirit had indicated that 1935 was the “closing” of the door to any others with a heavenly hope., so the number of partakers at each annual communion service was very, very important. The number is published yearly as part of their “Annual Service Report.”
The official policy when I left (and as I understand still is) actually counseled members to not be too quick in bringing an accusation against any man in an office of oversight.
Also, unless a crime or otherwise inappropriate action was witnessed by two or more people AND the victim(s) were willing to relive their victimization before a closed jury of church elders before their accuser (along with the two or more witnesses to the crime), no accusation could ever be considered as valid.
Those who claim to be victims of sexual abuse, for example, have thus been excommunicated because they raised accusations but did not have the “two or more” witnesses to the crime or were too horrified to relive their abuse before their attacker in a closed judgment session. Without the two witnesses or refusing to face one’s attacker, the church elders will charge the victim with lying–an offense worthy of disfellowshipping and shunning in their religion.