What Bible do you read?

Feb 9, 2013 by

bibleI think the question should be what Bible DON’T I read!

I use the New International Version for most of my reading. However when I want to get the full sense of a particularly hard to understand passage I will use a parallel Bible to see how most of the versions and translations render it. This is especially useful when dealing with a New World Translation rendering which, if you’ve read this blog, you know to be severely biased.

Here an excellent online tool that I use in my research:

http://www.biblegateway.com/

The link above has over 100 versions of the bible available at your fingertips. You can look up any scripture and see how over a hundred different translators rendered it. This is especially useful when you are dealing with an obvious twisting of a particular passage by the Watchtower Bible And Tract Society.

Doug Shields is an activist against religious oppression, control and manipulation. He has many years of experience dealing with this issue because he was an active Jehovah’s Witness himself for over twenty-three years. Doug has been privileged to help elders, ministerial servants, full time pioneers and even a circuit overseer to find the strength and determination to finally face the real truth and leave the organization.

 

read more

Related Posts

Tags

Share This

How Can I Convert A Shunned Jehovah’s Witness To Christianity?

Feb 8, 2013 by

shunned Jehovah's WitnessThere is no “easy” way. Even when someone is being shunned they are just as likely to cling to the errant beliefs of Jehovahs Witnesses as a dyed in the wool regular attendee.

The programming is just that…programming. It doesn’t matter what has happened to her at the hands of these people. It doesn’t matter how much pain and anguish she has gone through as a result of her involvement with the organization. All that matters is that there is still a deeply held belief that they have the truth and nobody else does.

I would expose her to this blog and ask her questions based upon the arguments posed here. If she turns her back on you and refuses to discuss it then I strongly suggest that you rescue your son from “the fire” as quickly as possible. Have your son read this blog as well.

Once your son allows the Jehovahs Witnesses and their belief system access to his mind then he’s going to be lost to you unless of course you choose to “drink the Kool-Aid” too.

I’m praying for you Anonymous.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doug Shields is an activist against religious oppression, control and manipulation. He has many years of experience dealing with this issue because he was an active Jehovah’s Witness himself for over twenty-three years. Doug has been privileged to help elders, ministerial servants, full time pioneers and even a circuit overseer to find the strength and determination to finally face the real truth and leave the organization.
read more

Related Posts

Tags

Share This

If it is the Holy Spirit who teaches us all things, why are you teaching? Why don’t we all come to the same conclusion without human help?

Feb 2, 2013 by

teacher classroomThe key truth is that Christ lived, died, and was raised up. Those having faith in Him are saved.

Asserting that we need someone to interpret the scriptures for us, as the Jehovahs Witnesses do, is giving someone outside of ourselves a license to steal.

Giving away your power to determine truth to some unnamed, mysterious group of men and depending on them to tell you what to do, think and be is pretty silly. That was what the Jewish people of Christ’s day were doing. They had given every bit of their power to the Pharisees and were depending on them to teach them.

Christ accused them of shutting up the gates of heaven not only for themselves but for all those listening to them. (Matthew 23:13)

Can I learn something from someone else? Sure I can. Can I teach someone else? Sure I can. However I’m not dependent upon some group, individual or leader to teach me what the Bible says. I’m also not going to condemn someone else for failing to listen to my teaching. There were teachers in the early church just as there are now. Truth is where you find it Anonymous and you may find it in the most unexpected of places if you bother to look.

Jehovahs Witnesses are really good at picking out scriptures that seem to fit a particular idea or teaching of theirs. Yet when you open up the book and read the scripture in context you’ll soon find that most of their teachings are not based in truth.

This is a prime example:

1 John 2:18-27

Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.

But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist—he denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.

See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is what he promised us—even eternal life.

I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.

Notice that John was speaking of Antichrists spreading a teaching that was contrary to the teachings of the Bible.

You immediately seized upon an article that I had written regarding that scripture but you failed to see the entire context. Instead you expounded upon this specific wording and brought it to the level of “ridiculousness”.

You made it sound like I said that we should all automatically soak up divine knowledge by osmosis. I meant nothing of the sort.

John was speaking about those who were teaching that Jesus was not “the Christ”. Did he mean that there wasn’t a need for teachers? Of course not otherwise he wouldn’t have written the letter he wrote. Paul also wrote about the need for teachers in the congregation. We all have something to learn and something to teach.

Let’s get to the root of your question.

The reason you asked it is because, like the rest of the Jehovahs Witnesses, you believe that you have to have some central leadership to tell you what to believe. You think that anyone who thinks they can read the Bible and understand it for themselves is a peon or an apostate. You believe that the only way to truly understand the scriptures is to use the Watchtower “helps”.

Doesn’t that pretty much sum it up?

The last thing the Watchtower Bible And Tract Society wants you or I to do is to read our Bible and figure out what it means.

Anyone who is honest and reads the scriptures without a preconceived notion of what they mean will draw the very same conclusions as that of the primary doctrines of Christianity.

Note what was said by the Watchtower Bible And Tract Society leaders of those who read the Bible for themselves:

“They say that it is sufficient to read the Bible exclusively, either alone or in small groups at home.  But, strangely, through such ‘Bible reading,’ they have reverted right back to the apostate doctrines that commentaries by Christendom’s clergy were teaching 100 years ago…” (The Watchtower, August 15, 1981, pages 28-29)

Interesting isn’t it? Now if what John had to say about the Holy Spirit teaching us all we need to know was in fact true, then wouldn’t it make perfect sense that He would teach everyone who reads the bible the truth or would He instead teach them falsehood? Wouldn’t that make God complicit in deceit?

Something to think about isn’t it?

I love that Peter complimented the Bereans because they didn’t accept Paul’s words blindly but instead checked their scriptures to make sure that he was teaching the truth.

Well if Peter, an apostle of Christ, and the equivalent of a Watchtower Bible And Tract Society president (at least in the eyes of Jehovah’s Witnesses) complimented the Bereans for deciding on their own what was truth and what was falsehood apart from Paul’s teachings then how can the Watchtower Bible And Tract Society leaders condemn anyone for holding them to task for their teaching?

Note what Peter said of the Bereans:

Acts 17:11

Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

What does this scripture teach us?

Simply this:

That the Christians of Paul and Peter’s day were self empowered. They were able to determine truth from their own scriptures just as we are today. They weren’t “beholding” to Paul or any of the other apostles as the “final authority”. They were autonomous Christians i.e. they didn’t have to check with “elder so and so” before they made a personal decision.

Did Paul teach? Sure he did. However his teachings were held to a final authority and it wasn’t his word or opinion or that of the other apostles.

It was the scriptures!

Boom!

Do you see the difference? Yet when anyone in the Jehovahs Witnesses starts to ask questions or disputes a teaching that the great Watchtower Bible And Tract Society passes down to us peons they end up getting disfellowshipped for apostasy.

Really? So that is how you deal with peons who think they can teach you anything?

Was that a characteristic of another infamous group? Yes it was!

I’m including the entire chapter of John 9 because it really details the nature of the relationship between the religious leaders of Christ’s day and their followers:

John 9:

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

Having said this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means Sent). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.

His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?” Some claimed that he was.

Others said, “No, he only looks like him.”

But he himself insisted, “I am the man.”

“How then were your eyes opened?” they demanded.

He replied, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.”

“Where is this man?” they asked him.

“I don’t know,” he said.

They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath. Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. “He put mud on my eyes,” the man replied, “and I washed, and now I see.”

Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.”

But others asked, “How can a sinner do such miraculous signs?” So they were divided.

Finally they turned again to the blind man, “What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened.”

The man replied, “He is a prophet.”

The Jews still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man’s parents. “Is this your son?” they asked. “Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?”

“We know he is our son,” the parents answered, “and we know he was born blind. But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don’t know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself.” His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews, for already the Jews had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Christwould be put out of the synagogue. That was why his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”

A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God,” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.”

He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”

Then they asked him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?”

He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?”

Then they hurled insults at him and said, “You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.”

The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly man who does his will. Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”

To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.

Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”

“Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.”

Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.”

Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.

Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”

Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?”

Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.

Did you notice what happened here?

The parents of this man that was healed from blindness were scared to even speak up because they knew they could be “removed from the synagogue”. This was the very same thing as the modern day Jehovahs Witness practice of disfellowshipping.

Since when does speaking the truth carry with it such a great punishment? Since man has been around to dominate and subjugate other men.

Notice again what the Pharisees said to the healed man:

“You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!”

Remind you of anybody? It should. That is how the Watchtower Bible And Tract Society leaders react to anyone who questions their authority. They condemn them and throw them “out of the synagogue”!

Why was Jesus killed? Because He brought the true knowledge of God down to the common man and gave him the keys to his own salvation! The Pharisees simply couldn’t handle it. He was actively usurping their authority much like the “apostates” do with the Watchtower Bible And Tract Society!

How did they react to this threat to their authority?

They actively accused Him of being in league with the devil. They sought to stone Him. They constantly tried to make Him look stupid in front of people. They hated Him and so they eventually appealed to the reigning government, the Romans, and had Him put to death.

The Catholic church also had similar reactions to those who presumed to read the Bible for themselves. During the Inquisition they actively sought out anyone trying to translate the Bible into the common language of the day. These poor honest souls who only wanted to know what God’s will was for them were often tortured and burned at the stake with their Bible’s slung around their necks for their impudence. How DARE they challenge the authority of the Catholic church.

How have things changed today?

The Jehovahs Witness leadership has formed a modern day Pharisee class that is in control of the lives, minds, and actions of millions. They foist a litany of rules and regulations on their adherents just as the Pharisees did. While they can’t burn their detractors at the stake, they do have the ultimate power of removal from the organization (and the severing of relationships with friends and family of the offending Jehovahs Witness) just as the Pharisees did. They split up marriages and parents and grandparents from their own children. They cling to many aspects of the old Mosaic Law just as the Pharisees did. Basically the modern Watchtower Bible And Tract Society is the modern day equivalent of the Pharisees of Christ’s day.

Bottom line?

We are ultimately responsible for what we believe, think, do, and say. We can’t shirk that responsibility by giving our power and our minds over to any man or group of men. No membership in any group will give us a “free pass” with God.

If we really believe that the Bible is the word of God then it is our responsibility to read it, study it, and live by it. If we are afraid to examine our fragile beliefs in the light of any challenge regardless of its source then we’re  merely deluding ourselves and falling into the same exact trap as the Pharisees did when confronted by the real truth of Jesus Christ.

Doug Shields is an activist against religious oppression, control and manipulation. He has many years of experience dealing with this issue because he was an active Jehovah’s Witness himself for over twenty-three years. Doug has been privileged to help elders, ministerial servants, full time pioneers and even a circuit overseer to find the strength and determination to finally face the real truth and leave the organization.

 

read more

Related Posts

Tags

Share This

I recently lost my Mother. Several months later our family put an obituary in the newspaper. Within a few days I received a letter from a Jehovah’s witness I have never met, who lives in my city saying she’s sorry for the loss, Quoting scripture & inviting me. Is this seriously a recruitment process from them? Is this practiced to read obituaries & then send out letters like this? I am so offended by this & want to know more about this. Weird. Melissa

Jan 29, 2013 by

Sadly (and morbidly) that is the case.

Many of the Jehovahs Witnesses read the obituaries religiously (excuse the pun) and then do a Google search to get the addresses of extended family. They will then write individual letters to each person. This is usually done ostensibly to comfort them in their recent loss but the hidden agenda is that they are recruiting.

They know that at times of extreme loss, people are more susceptible to their message than at other times of their lives. I’m reminded of movies like “Wedding Crashers” and “Cadillac Man” where the actors attended a funeral to pick up women or sell a used car. Both carry pretty much the same motive: Targeting emotionally vulnerable people in order to manipulate them.

I witnessed this tactic on many occasions while growing up in the cult.

The reason they write these letters is that they get to “count their time” while composing and writing them. This activity is extremely popular with Jehovahs Witness shut-ins and those who can’t get around very well. It is also employed by those who are full time pioneers (those who put in 80+ hours per month in the preaching work) and are having trouble getting all of their “time in”.

Counting time is what Jehovahs Witnesses do. They do this because they have to report (honestly and on the honor system) the amount of time that they spend each month in preaching to others. This time report is of tremendous importance to individual Jehovahs Witnesses as well as their leaders. It is one of the most important factors in the “pecking order” i.e. how much influence and popularity they have with the group and whether or not they or their children or other family members can “qualify” for “privileges” like being appointed as an elder or ministerial servant in the congregation.

I hope this explanation has helped you to understand the Jehovahs Witness mentality and why they engage in this questionable activity.

Yours in Christ,

Doug Shields
www.thewatchtowerfiles.com

read more

Related Posts

Tags

Share This

The Jehovahs Witness Silver Bullet

Jan 29, 2013 by

“If only I knew the words to say to help Jehovahs Witnesses see what has been done to them!”

If I had a dollar for each time I heard this or said it myself.

The fact is that there is no magic bullet when it comes to cult programming. It simply doesn’t exist.

In order for any cult member to come to terms with their programming they have to be painfully and brutally honest with themselves. How many people do you know that can pull that off?

My answer? Maybe a handful.

You see Jehovahs Witnesses aren’t about listening to your ideas, challenges or “points” as they call them. The only thing they are there to do is convert you. Oh they may give “lip service” to open dialogue and considering your arguments but that is merely their cost of admission in order to start their indoctrination process on you.

Are they consciously deceptive? Most of them aren’t. However they have been programmed, trained and conditioned to do what they do by an organization that is deceptive.

It isn’t their fault. They really believe that what they teach is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. To them the end justifies the means. The one prime directive that all Jehovahs Witnesses carry with them is the overwhelming need to convert you to their way of thinking.

So no. There isn’t any “magic bullet” that you or I can use to melt away decades of mental programming. It just doesn’t work that way.

I hear from a lot of people who really mean well. They will argue and “fence” with the Jehovahs Witnesses over and over again, sometimes for years, but to no avail. They may bring irrefutable proof and present it in the best possible way to show that many of the beliefs the Jehovah’s Witnesses cling to simply aren’t based in truth. I’ve done the same thing with this blog. Does it help? For most it simply doesn’t.

The best analogy that I can give is someone bailing water out of a sinking boat with a spoon. The water is rushing in far too fast for the spoon to do any good. The water is the constant programming the Jehovahs Witnesses receive via their Watchtower Bible And Tract Society sponsored meetings and publications as well as the constant contact with their peers in the cult. That is why those who are irregular in meeting attendance can fall “victim” to doubt and apostate ideas. Amazing how that is such a fear for most Jehovahs Witnesses and yet it is about the only way for them to finally achieve clarity long enough to realize what has been done to them.

The only time my blog or any “conversation” about the scriptures helps a Jehovahs Witness is when they are already beginning to question things themselves. That is when a blog or a book or a loving conversation can make the most difference.

Until then it is so much wasted breath.

I hate to sound so jaded but believe me, after all of these years I’ve come to terms with this bitter truth. It is virtually impossible to bring a Jehovahs Witness into any honest dialogue or debate about their beliefs until they’ve already begun that conversation in their own minds.

“A Jehovahs Witness convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.”

Yours in Christ,

Doug Shields
www.thewatchtowerfiles.com

read more

Related Posts

Tags

Share This

Meetup Groups for Former Jehovah’s Witnesses

Jan 26, 2013 by

I’ve recently had several people asking for information regarding support groups in their area.

A really good resource tool is:

Meetup.com

Just type in your search term and it will pull up every meetup group matching that keyword in your area within the mile radius you specify.

A word about specifics:

Your first inclination might be to find an Ex Jehovah’s Witness meetup group. However you may have better success and happiness with a support group that deals with controlling cults in general. There are many cult survivor groups out there that deal with a wide range of religious addiction. The added benefit is that you will come to terms with the fact that all controlling cults are very much alike in their methods. The words and beliefs may change but the programming never does.

Most meetup groups meet monthly at a public place like a Denny’s restaurant for example.

This offers lots of people a safe and easy way to listen to, and meet others who have had similar experiences.

A few things I’ll suggest:

  • Keep a professional distance at first. Just because these folks were Jehovah’s Witnesses at one time doesn’t necessarily mean that they are “family”. A lot of mentally unbalanced and needy people go to these meetups and lets face it: There are a lot of unbalanced and needy people in the Jehovah’s Witnesses to begin with. Unless you’re looking for a “new best friend” that you wish you’d never made, don’t give out your phone number or personal address until you are absolutely sure about them. Also never ever reveal deeply personal things about yourself that could be used to hurt you or your family or business later.
  • Some meetups have a particular “orientation”. For example there are meetups for gay ex Jehovah’s Witnesses. There are meetups for Christian ex Jehovah’s Witnesses and there are some that focus on atheism or even Wicca / New Age. The possibilities are endless. Be sure to read the entire description of the meetup group and also any member profiles to get a good feel for what to expect and if it will be your “cup of tea”.
  • Be prepared to leave immediately if it doesn’t feel right. However don’t be too hasty, as getting another person’s viewpoint, even if you disagree, can be therapeutic.
  • Don’t stay for a “bitch session”. If all the group does is sit around and whine and complain about what “Brother so and so” did to them then it probably isn’t healthy to attend it. Wallowing in negativity never helps anyone. There needs to be a focused agenda for progression to a happier, healthier life and state of mind. That is what support groups should be about. Let’s face it: You’re going to this group to find help to improve your life right? If all they are doing is dragging you down with their negativity then find somewhere else to go.
  • Be wary of “recruiters”. Just because someone has left the Jehovah’s Witnesses doesn’t necessarily mean that they have gotten past their mind control programming. A lot of the same habits, manners of dress, and even speech patterns are still with them. Some of them may even have a need to control and recruit you into their particular belief system that they feel is an improved version of being a Jehovah’s Witness. This is Jehovah’s Witness programming at its worst. No they no longer are Jehovah’s Witnesses but the maniacal need to condemn or convert is still within them. I’ve seen it and it wasn’t at all healthy for me to be around those people. We all have our own road and our own path to personal and spiritual growth. Don’t allow someone to influence you to believe a certain way or you’ll fall victim to the same techniques that you fell for when you became a Jehovah’s Witness.
  • There needs to be a moderator that keeps the group on task for whatever subject is on the agenda. Many of the more unbalanced attendees will try to use the meeting as a forum for “their sob story” which can last for hours if the moderator allows it. Keep it short, sweet, and on task. Having time limits for speaking is the perfect way to make sure the meeting starts and ends on time and that nobody takes more time than is acceptable to the group.
  • The best way to gauge the success of a group is by how you feel when you get home after the meeting. Are you happier? Are you at peace? Do you feel good about you? These are the criteria I use for any interaction whether with a group or an individual.
  • If you can’t find a group in your area then start one! You can advertise on Craigslist for free. Some of the radio stations in town will even give you a free plug on their community spots. Of course you can always start your own meetup.com site (there is a cost involved) and start inviting people that match your location and profile settings.

I hope this helps many of you that are seeking more than just a blog to read.

I welcome your feedback and any success stories you wish to post here.

Yours in Christ,

Doug Shields
www.thewatchtowerfiles.com

read more

Related Posts

Tags

Share This