Jehovah’s Witnesses: A Burger & A Bible?

Mar 10, 2018 by

I observed something interesting the other day.

I stopped by my favorite burger restaurant for lunch and sat down at a table. I didn’t realize it but a full-blown Watchtower “home Bible study” was going on in the booth right behind me.

The “student” was a special needs man and the “conductor” looked like he had just gotten out of a halfway house. He was dressed in a tee shirt and sweat-pants and sported a three-day stubble.

Apparently, the standards of decorum have radically changed since I was attending. Where are the dress shirt, tie, and coat?

I saw the telltale publications and heard the all too frequent use of “Jehovah” in the conversation. The special needs man was barely literate and was having a very difficult time reading the publication out loud. However, the conductor was quite patient and even exhorted the young man about how “heartwarming” it was to hear his answers, even though he read them straight off the page. That really brought me back when I heard the study conductor’s well-rehearsed tonality and the use of the special phrases that were taught to me when I was in the Kingdom Ministry School.

Since I’ve gotten some “distance” between myself and the organization over the past several decades, I look at this bunch of charlatans, not as a threat to me, nor a point of exasperation but sad. Just plain sad.

They target and victimize the weak, the uneducated, the disenfranchised and for what? So they can “sell” their precious Watchtowers and inflict a bunch of man-made rules and guilt-trips on an unknowing public.

I thought about saying something and then I thought “Perhaps this is the young man’s only shot at a sense of self-worth and community. Maybe this is his one chance to actually learn to read, write and speak without stuttering or tripping over his words.” Who was I to take that away from him? I shrugged off the thought as I topped off my Diet Dr. Pepper.

As I crawled into my pickup to leave, my cell phone rang. The call was a recorded message claiming to be the IRS and it told me that they were going to send the cops to my house if I didn’t call them back and straighten out some ridiculous amount of money that I owed. That call was quite a good metaphor for what is being done to millions of unsuspecting followers of the Watchtower leadership. They’re listening to people who don’t know what they’re talking about but are very good at instilling fear and guilt in their audience. Enough fear and guilt to force their listeners into a lifetime of slavery and obedience to a litany of rules and regulations that limit their happiness and their ability to think for themselves.

I guess there are always going to be “wolves in sheep’s clothing” and I guess there are always going to be “sheep”.

I think it was P.T. Barnum who said it best: “There’s a sucker born every minute.” He was absolutely right.

Doug Shields

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Another Letter From A Jehovah’s Witness

Oct 14, 2017 by

I received the following note recently, regarding a post I made several years ago. It was on reading into the scriptures. I thought the reasoning of this Jehovah’s Witness was quite telling. I’m including his response in its entirety.

“Excuse me, but Doug, the bible speaks of false godly people, and in 2 Timothy 3 : 5 that men would be having “an appearance of godliness but proving false to it’s power.” I think you bring an example of this. Also we Jehovah Witnesses believe that we are the only true religion because in John 13 : 35 it said, “By this all will know that you are my disciples – if you have love among yourselves.” Have you ever seen a more unified loving organization? Plus we don’t always do things because we aren’t sure of it, which means we don’t want to take our chances such as oral sex. What happens if it is a sin? Also in Matthew it mentions how his disciples would preach the word through out the whole word, and what have we done? Just that! Showing we have the true religion, no matter what anybody says.”

This was my response:

Okay so let’s just take your line of reasoning out a little further.

The Bible says that God will bring to ruin those ruining the earth right? (Rev 11:18) So since automobiles belch greenhouse gases as well as pollution, anyone driving a car out in field service would be destroyed at Armageddon.

Let’s make a new rule: Anyone caught driving an automobile is to be disfellowshipped.

Since Styrofoam products aren’t biodegradable then let’s disfellowship anyone using those products.

But let’s not stop there…since cattle are a large part of the greenhouse emissions, and since the beef industry is largely responsible, let’s make a rule that anyone eating a hamburger be disfellowshipped.

Do you see how messed up your line of reasoning is? Reading things into the scriptures because you want to be “absolutely sure” (when all you’re really doing is misusing scripture as a license to legislate behavior), leaves a LOT of room for interpretation and is, in my view, going way “beyond the things written” (1 Cor 4:6). I also find it quite laughable that anything “new” that the Governing Body comes up with is called “New Light” as if it emanated from Jehovah Himself.

I remember one of our District Overseers had a real problem with men wearing any sort of jewelry like necklaces or bracelets. This was his line of reasoning:

“Homosexuality is condemned in the scriptures. Homosexuals are known to wear jewelry, therefore jewelry worn by men is tantamount to a homosexual act and alerts other gay men that you’re open to experimentation.”

You simply can’t make this stuff up! We had an elder who wore a medical alert bracelet that was gold and attractive and this District Overseer had the unmitigated gall to criticize him for it.

How pompous would one have to be to reason: “Well this is what Jehovah really meant when He said this and He forgot to include this and that and the other thing…”

To assume the role of “God” in the lives of your followers is one of the hallmarks of cult leaders. I can’t think of anything more presumptuous than to read into scripture, as if you know better than God.

With regard to your assertion that your organization is filled with love:

I’ve been in your organization. I spent half my life in it. “Love” isn’t a word that I would use to characterize the way most JW’s treat each other and I’ve got a long list of former JW’s (30,000 plus on this blog alone) who would strongly agree with that last statement. I would add that most of those in positions of responsibility that I’ve come into contact with, have a terrible record of abusing their privilege. The elders and overseers that are the most loving and kind, usually encounter the most difficulty in this organization and I’ve seen that from the District level on down to the local congregations.

I’ve seen the “love” that this organization metes out to those it deems “weak and mentally diseased”. I’ve seen the families torn apart because of their Machiavellian methods and I’ve seen plenty of JW and ex JW suicides in my lifetime.

With regard to your assertion that your religion is the only “truth” because you knock on doors:

The fact that you proselytize doesn’t confirm your organization as teaching “the truth” anymore than standing in a parking space makes you a car.

I’m reminded of Christ’s admonition to the Pharisees in Matthew 23:15:

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.”

No, I think I’ll get along just fine without the “Faithful and Discreet Slave” telling me what to think, what to do, and what I can and can’t say and to whom.

Doug Shields

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A Letter From A Jehovah’s Witness

Apr 30, 2017 by

I received the following comment from a Jehovah’s Witness. My response is shown following that:

Hi Doug Shields. The one thing that I find is a common thread with Apostate JWs who now believe in Jesus as God is that you all totally throw out all of the things you learned about the Trinity and other God-dishonoring doctrines. I will be the first to admit the JWs were wrong on all of their predictions but can you honestly say that the biblical prophets did not do the same thing? I have shown Born Again Christians examples in the Bible when a prophet made some erroneous sayings and was not condemned by Jehovah and Jesus. When Jonah said 40 more days he did not say “maybe” Niveah will be destroyed he said Niveah was to be destroyed. Born Again Christians have tried to wriggle out of this by saying there was a “clause” in his prediction for repentence. This cannot be because why did Jonah get angry at Jehovah for not destroying the Niveahites? If he thought there was a clause? Jesus told his disciples they would see him come into kingdom glory before they died but yet they all died. Was Jesus a false prophet? John said in Revelation “in this last hour” Jesus was coming but that was over 2000 years ago. Again was John a false prophet? Apostates and Born Agains always are condemning others but when they cannot answer they always scream “stop attacking us”. This is a joke for them to say they are being attacked. I have many more examples of these but you will probably close your eyes to the truth.

Here was my response:

The account of Jonah’s prophecy is widely misinterpreted. As you well know, the people of Nineveh (Not Niveah! Where did you learn to spell? The Kingdom Ministry School?) repented within the allotted period of time and were spared because of their repentance. The Hebrew word used for your “destroyed” assertion has been used in a wide range as “transformed”, “turned away”, etc. I can cite chapter and verse but hey, so can you.

Using this as an excuse for the abject failure of the founders and leaders of the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ numerous date related false prophesies is totally pathetic.

The Watchtower leadership have claimed “special knowledge” since their beginning, and made specific dates the cornerstone of their teachings. Yet the scriptures all point to Christ and not special dates or knowledge as the Cornerstone of the Christian faith.

Christ even foretold of those who would make such false claims in Matthew 24:24-36.

The Watchtower leadership demands complete and total acceptance of their teachings by their members and anyone openly disagreeing with them can be disfellowshipped for apostasy. Yet when the Watchtower leaders prophesy falsely, and get caught doing it, they claim “we are just imperfect men.”

Anyone pointing to these huge, gaping holes in their history and stating openly that they were failed prophesies can be (and have been!) disfellowshipped for apostasy.

The Watchtower leadership engages in character assassination whenever someone questions them on any point.

Just how evil does an organization have to be, at its core, to forcibly split up families and friends merely because a dissenting member chooses to believe differently? Freedom of religion is a core constitutional right in the United States of America and yet, when a Jehovah’s Witness chooses to attend a different church or decides he or she disagrees with the Watchtower, they are maligned, publicly shamed, humiliated, and ostracized by an organization supposedly motivated by love.

You implied that Jesus was somehow a false prophet because He said that His disciples would not taste death until they saw the Kingdom of God.

Are you so blind that you can’t read the very next verse in Luke 9?

Here, let me cite that for you since you brought it up:

Luke 9:27 “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.”

Now read the rest of it:

About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. 29 As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. 30 Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. 31 They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. 32 Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. 33 As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what he was saying.)”

You see, His disciples did see the Kingdom of God before they died. Can you honestly disagree with the context of Luke 9?

2 Peter 1:16 confirms Luke 9 completely:

“For we did not follow cleverly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.”

This was a direct reference to the Transfiguration of Christ of which Peter was an eyewitness as you can see from the scriptures already quoted.

Your vain and foolish attempt to infer mistakes made by Jonah and even Christ Himself in some misguided attempt to justify, as you openly admitted, false prophesies that your leaders have made is standard fare of the Watchtower organization and its followers.

When caught in an outright lie, first deny. When that doesn’t work, blame someone else. If that doesn’t work, attack the accuser. If that doesn’t work, end the conversation. It seems to me that the Watchtower leadership has far more in common with the politics of men than they do with God.

Shame on you and them.

Doug Shields

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Jehovah’s Witnesses: Getting A Taste of Their Own Medicine?

Apr 22, 2017 by

Those of us who have left the Jehovah’s Witnesses for matters of conscience have one key complaint:

Their despicable and harmful practice of shunning and damaging the reputation of any dissenting Jehovah’s Witness.

Anyone who disagrees with the Watchtower on any point is considered, and labeled, an “apostate” by their leadership and they are summarily and publicly disfellowshipped from the organization.

This goes far beyond merely revoking their membership. The Watchtower requires and demands that families and friends affiliated with the organization completely cut that person off from their lives.

This has resulted in broken families, separation from parents, separation from children, divorce, suicide, and untold psychological damage to all involved.

This Machiavellian practice of labeling and cutting off all contact with dissenting members, and requiring the same from their family and friends in the organization, is a clear violation of the right to freedom of speech and freedom of religion as guaranteed to all citizens by the United States Constitution.

So when Russia’s Supreme Court, earlier this week, banned the activity of Jehovah’s Witnesses from their country and labeled them an “extremist group”, well, I had to smile just a little.

Do I believe that Russia is justified in their characterization of Jehovah’s Witnesses as an “extremist group”?

No I don’t.

Do I find it wonderfully ironic that Russia is giving the Jehovah’s Witnesses and their parent organization, the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society, a full dose of the treatment they’ve been dishing out for years to those who openly disagree with them on any point?

Absolutely!

I welcome your comments and observations as this unfolds.

I’m still smiling.

Doug Shields

 

 

 

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Jehovah’s Witnesses: Using This Blog

Jun 27, 2015 by

hqPerhaps this is your first time to view this blog and if so, welcome!

Perhaps you’ve been visiting the blog for years. If so, welcome back!

I want you all to know that I’ve slowed down a bit in my writing because of my work as well as the fact that I think I may have written about as much as I can write about the subject of Jehovah’s Witnesses without repeating myself. I used to write almost weekly, then monthly, but as the years have passed I’ve noticed that the “Aha!” moments have become fewer and farther between. Rest assured as I get new thoughts I will write them down and share them with you.

If you haven’t yet done so, please join the blog so that you can get every single post without missing any. There is no cost, no salesperson will call (that’s a joke) and your information will never be sold. We currently have over 17,000 people in our little community and the numbers are continuing to grow.

Let’s get some things out of the way up front so that we are all on the same page:

1. This isn’t a recruitment website to get errant Jehovah’s Witnesses to join any other religion or church. I’m not even interested in getting you to follow me or anyone else. (Except maybe following the blog!)

2. This isn’t a means to bash Jehovah’s Witnesses or to spread hatred or intolerance toward them. I believe they are, for the most part, good people who are simply misled.

3. This is a chronicle of my life and my observations in and out of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. It is a “marker”, if you will, of my own experience and a shared collection of knowledge and wisdom that I have gained as a result of having been in the group and having left it of my own free will.

4. I’m not here to convince you of anything other than your own God given right to determine what it is that you believe apart from anyone else’s influence including mine.

5. I really don’t care what you think of me. I’m not here to validate myself or my own experience. I’m here to help you work on yours by sharing mine.

6. This blog forces you think, question, and reexamine your stance on all things to do with being a Jehovah’s Witness. If you choose to join, leave, or stay in the organization that is your business. My goal is that you make any one of those decisions with both eyes open and all the facts in front of you.

7. I am a Christian and believe that the Bible is, for the most part, the inerrant word of God. I’m a skeptic when it comes to intolerant thinking, circular thinking, magical thinking, and all things hurtful and hateful. When I see people mistreated in the name of religion I don’t see the love of Christ. Instead I see men misusing religion, the scriptures, and matters of faith to achieve their own desire for power, money and control over others. In this, the Jehovah’s Witnesses are just one of many offenders.

8. I know that there are a lot of terribly unhappy current and former Jehovah’s Witnesses out there. I know that many of them are experiencing doubt, pain, sadness, and suffering as a direct result of what they’ve been taught as well as how they’ve been mistreated by those in the organization. My aim in this blog is to educate current and former JW’s as to what the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society teaches and has taught in the past. I compare that to what the scriptures really teach and I allow my readers to draw their own conclusions.

9. This blog is also for those considering studying with or becoming one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Life in the Jehovah’s Witnesses can look really attractive to the uninitiated. My posts and articles provide a stark, unflinching, and realistic look at what life inside the Jehovah’s Witnesses is like versus the elaborate facade that is presented at the door and during the weekly home Bible studies they conduct.

10. This blog is also for those who may have married or become emotionally involved with someone who is either in the Jehovah’s Witnesses now or has been in the past. This can be extremely challenging and there are many articles and posts on this blog dealing with that in detail.

11. There is no cost for joining or reading this blog. I will never ask you for money. I don’t need it or want it. I’m not starting a church or a movement. I’ll never sell your email or information. I’m merely telling my story, the story that I was never allowed to tell when I was in the organization. If my experience can help you to avoid or mitigate the impact of your involvement in or with Jehovah’s Witnesses then I will have accomplished my purpose.

12. There is no real order of posting other than chronologically. When I think of something that can possibly help visitors to this blog, I start writing and don’t stop until I’m finished. I then post it for the world to see. There are almost 1,000 posts and articles that I’ve written over the past several years. They deal with all aspects of life in the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

13. There is a search box at the top right. If you want to research a particular topic it will search every single post and find what you’re looking for. It will only pull so many posts and then at the bottom you’ll see a >> to the right of the page. That means that there are more posts to see.

14. I no longer do telephone consults or answer emails. I only work with posts to the blog. That way, the entire world gets to see what the issues are and they can learn from your experience. You can post anonymously. I find this to be helpful when readers are sharing a particularly difficult experience or situation.

I sincerely hope that you find this blog to be helpful, challenging, insightful, maddening at times, and a “kick to the side of the head” for many of you.

I want you to use it to challenge your own preconceptions and to help you to understand that you, and not some nebulous hierarchy of religious old men, are in charge of your life.

I want you to post questions, observations and even challenges to what has been written here. I welcome your criticism as well as the occasional “attaboy”.

Finally, I wish you peace and joy on your journey of self discovery.

Doug Shields

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