Glenster's Guide to GTJ Brooklyn
An examination of the Jehovah's Witnesses' Governing Body's claims
- that they're picked by Jesus from a literal 144,000 to lead God's sole
spirit-led organization on Earth
- the credibility of their claims that their distinctive rules hold up on
secular evidential terms,
- notably, rules that have led to anyone being regarded or treated unfairly,
hurt or killed, such as the claim that the Bible bans the transfusion of blood
and major blood components
This article is also available at:
by Glen T. Winstein
glenster (who's at) rediffmail.com
copyright 2007 through 2016 by Glen T. Winstein
This web site isn't affiliated with or endorsed by, or associated in any way
with, The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, New York, or any
other Watch Tower Society affiliate, division, corporation, or entity.
The links to web sites found in this article are intended to help research the
aspects of it I refer to--not necessarily to endorse all the views found at
those web sites.
All other trademarks and copyrights contained in this document are owned by
their respective trademark and copyright holders.
(The title is a goof on Grand Theft Auto game titles, sometimes called GTAs, as
in Grand Theft Jehovah: Brooklyn. The JWs leaders--Governing Body--and their
Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, were headquartered in Brooklyn, NY, but over
some years in the early 2000's they switched their headquarters location to
Warwick, NY. Some of their printing operations take place in Wallkill, Ulster
Conformity to exclusiveness is required by the JWs leaders
How I analyze the JWs leaders' claims of exclusiveness
Prophecy claims intended to reinforce distinctive claims
The ability of the JWs leaders to guarantee meanings of scripture
beyond what context indicates
Providing evidence of a liar that causes harm isn't editorial intolerance
for sincere belief in being good
To any JWs who may read this: your leaders tell you not to read things that
are critical of JWs rules or leaders. This isn't a rant against the followers--
in fact, I'd feel like a real creep if some of them I met thought I hated them.
But it is critical of the JWs leaders' claim to be the 12 or so guys out of a
literal "144,000" most righteous Christians, which they intend to establish with
a dozen or so exclusive rules they require for salvation, which include ones
banning the medical use of blood and expanded ideas about worldliness that have
led to harm of JWs in Germany, Malawi, and hospitals, and the teaching methods
the JWs leaders use to make them look like guarantees about the Bible.
The rules are so exclusive that they have to create phony presentations to
make them look like they're guaranteed. I think this is especially bad if any
relationships are broken up, let alone any JWs get hurt or killed, so I've made
evidential presentations about it. If you're a JWs follower, relax, this isn't
aimed at you--in fact, I'd ask you to see it my way as a good thing. That's my
focus throughout--I'm supposed to be fairly bright, but I never learned how to
be critical without being critical.
The point of "Glenster's Guide to GTJ Brooklyn" isn't to propagandize with a
cranky editorial rant that you need to believe or disbelieve like me or you
stink. You shouldn't want another of those anymore than I do. It's to show
evidence of someone cooking up exclusiveness to sell literature or tickets or
get more money for the church collection, notably if anyone is hurt or killed
over it. Whether you accept or reject faith in God understood as such, both
should reject lying that causes anyone to be hurt or killed.
For such an expose, you don't pick on the followers or someone choosing dif-
ferently than you about having or not having a faith in God understood as such.
The focus is the evidence of the JWs leaders' misrepresentation of research ma-
terial and of opposing views, etc., to make a case for the distinctive appeal of
the literature they sell.
The JWs leaders claim the best evidence and reasoning proves the Bible re-
quires followers of it to abide by a dozen or so of their distinctive rules.
They're the only religious leaders who claim it bans the medical use of blood/
major blood products, use certain predictions of the end days, sell a JWs lead-
ers-approved translation of the Bible substituting dozens of "Jehovah"s for
"Lord"s and such to compliment their rules, etc. They also require abidance to
their distinctive methods used to teach relatively distinctive ideas: that the
Bible identifies Jesus as archangel Micheal, etc.
The JWs leaders also require distinctively harsh disfellowshipping of members
who persist in rejecting any of the leaders' distinctive rules and teaching
methods. The advantage for the JWs leaders as literature sellers is that any
followers that get wise to the leaders' dubious teaching methods on these things
isn't around to tell the other customers that much for that long.
A common harmful result is that relationships with friends and family have
been broken up. The JWs leaders have even pursued their efforts at distinction
though it led followers to unnecessary deaths:
The JWs leaders' May 22, 1994 edition of "Awake" had little kids on the cover.
The related article inside was about their ban on the medical use of blood/major
blood products and included "In former times thousands of youths died for put-
ting God first. They are still doing it, only today the drama is played out in
hospitals and courtrooms, with blood transfusions the issue." Thousands of JWs
have also died following their leaders' advice on how to deal with intolerant
political leaders in Nazi Germany, Malawi in the 1960's, and other places.
Anyone can be successful in coming up with the evidence for that expose as
long as they keep this focus--whenever the JWs leaders teach that their distinc-
tive rules are required by the Bible according the best related evidence and
reasoning, look up their research sources, see what the opposing views actually
are, do related research, etc. My article presents a lot of evidence to sub-
stantiate my claim of an expose. Whatever your choice is about having faith un-
derstood as such about God, feel welcome to this expose if you don't like lying
that causes anyone to be hurt or killed.
This analysis doesn't require the reader to be of any particular religious or
non-religious view about God or the Bible. Millions of JWs go to millions of
homes in the world and ask them to make some big judgments about material that's
pretty obscure to most people. The people in those homes, and JWs' friends and
relatives, including JWs' young children JWs can decide medical treatment for,
may be of any religious or non-religious view and want to analyze the same
thing. I hope they can get past whatever of those differences to find enough of
what they need to go on in this report.
I've had friends of different belief and non-belief outlooks. If one wanted
to persuade another to their view, I'd hope it was friendly, and whether the
other was persuaded or not, that they were still friends afterwards. I don't
like someone seeming cranky and intolerant, centric and bashing, that the oth-
er's whole group has to be damned all the way to the ground as stupid and no
good and causing all the trouble in the world, about a harmless sincere differ-
ence of belief--it's not friendly.
An evidential expose of a liar in the midst causing harm is different. I'd
just ask people of all the different groups to come together in one big brother-
hood of not liking lying that hurts or even makes people and their little kids
The analysis looks at the JWs Governing Body's guarantee that a conservative
view of the Bible, as claimed to be taught by the JWs leaders and writers, bans
the medical use of blood and red and white blood cells, platelets, and plasma.
It sees if the guarantee can be found in either a conservative view of the Bi-
ble, with no other reasonable interpretation, or, if not, if support for the JWs
leaders' doctrine can be found in the JWs leaders' claim of being fallible men,
chosen from a literal 144,000 (Rev.14:1-5) elect of history's primo Christians,
who get special guidance from infallible God that makes the 12 or so JWs leaders
God's sole religious leader on Earth.
One focus I ask the reader to have through this whole article is to decide
whether or not a book can be guaranteed to intend certain meanings claimed for
it--to have no other reasonable interpretation.
Whether you believe in the Bible or not, you could say some things are easily
guaranteed as meanings intended by it: that Jesus taught that going against
God's word is bad, Paul was an apostle, etc. You could guarantee that some of
the lyrics of "Turn, Turn, Turn" are found at the start of the third chapter of
Ecclesiastes--things like that.
In other words, is the JWs leaders' claim a guarantee on its own terms? The
JWs leaders claim to use a conservative interpretation of the Bible--that God
exists as described in it, it's God's word, the miracles in it happened, an in-
terpreter should use a conciliatory interpretation for what another might think
of as a conflict of meanings, and the interpreter's view of a verse should make
sense in context.
The JWs leaders claim to do that while achieving exclusiveness with a number
of exceptions to fundamentalism and mainstream, historical Christianity--denial
of Jesus' deity, therefore the related atonement explanation, denial of the per-
sonality of the holy spirit, denial that Jesus' body was resurrected--JWs lead-
ers' teach that just his spirit was resurrected, ideas of what worldliness means
expanded to encompass that human governments are all guided by the Devil which
precludes most government involvement, also meaning that certain things the
leaders pick have pagan connotations so should be avoided, and a ban of the
transfusion of blood and major blood fractions, etc.
If you don't believe in the Bible in a conservative way, or even any way, just
think of it as trying to imagine what an author meant by something in a novel.
Certain things, like that lying that causes unnecessary deaths is bad, should be
common ground to everyone invited to this classroom.
The Bible doesn't come with its own dictionary and encyclopedia. So where
the historical context that someone wrote something in can help figure out what
they meant, or other research material is relevant, that will be looked at, too.
I'll also look at some JWs leaders' presentations of the related historical evi-
dence and research material commonly used to help decide some Bible matters
with, too. The general guide to anyone choosing to research the JWs leaders'
use of it in making distinctive outlooks appear to be the only reasonable ones:
if the JWs leaders quote from a source, check the source; if the JWs leaders
claim to show what others say on the issue, look for what the others actually
The other focus I ask the reader to have through this article is to decide if
the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses claim of leading God's sole organiza-
tion on Earth, chosen by Jesus from a literal 144,000 (Rev.7:2-4;14:1-5), must
be conceded to if one has a conservative Bible belief. I present evidences and
reasons for trying to decide if the claim is proven right with no other reason-
able interpretation, arbitrary, or shown to be wrong. (If it makes it easier,
those familiar enough with it to see how that comes out coming a mile down Main
Street might skip those parts.)
"The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, identifies itself as God's 'sole col-
lective channel for the flow of Biblical truth to men on earth' in these last
days." "The facts show that during this time and up to the present hour the
'slave' class has served as God's sole collective channel for the flow of Bibli-
cal truth to men on earth. Just as the early Christians congregation collec-
tively served as the channel of communication from heaven to earth, so in our
time. (Eph. 3:10) Abundant spiritual food and amazing details as to the doing
of God's will have been flowing through this unique channel actually as a mirac-
ulous evidence of the operation of holy spirit." ("The Watchtower," July 15,
The JWs leaders claim that the faithful servant or slave of Matt.24:45-47,
thought to symbolize faithful Christians generally by non-JWs, is a literal
144,000 (Rev.14:1-5) that includes the JWs leaders:
"He is the Mediator between his heavenly Father, Jehovah God, and the nation
of spiritual Israel, which is limited to only 144,000 members." ("Worldwide Se-
curity Under the 'Prince of Peace,'" 1986, pp.10,11)
"As Head of his congregation, not only did Jesus keep a watchful eye on his
anointed footstep followers on earth but, since the outpouring of the holy spir-
it at Pentecost 33 C.E., he has also used them as a channel of truth, as a
'faithful and discreet slave.' (Matthew 24:45-47; Acts 2:1-36)." (""Watchtower,"
Aug.1, 2000, p.6)
The "faithful and discreet slave has also been called God’s channel of commun-
ication...." ("The Watchtower," Sept.1, 1991, p.19)
The rest of the good JWs (and similar early Christians), ones who agree with
everything the leaders' require of them, are the only ones expected to live in
Paradise on Earth (p.1a).
"Who, then, are the ones who form the body of true worshipers today? We do
not hesitate to say that they are Jehovah's Witnesses." ("You Can Live Forever
in Paradise on Earth," 1989, p.190)
"For survival into the Millennium under the Greater Noah, Jesus Christ, they
have to remain organized with the anointed remnant, 'the chosen ones' on account
of whom the days of the 'great tribulation' will be cut short." ("The Watchtow-
er," Sept.1, 1989, p.19)
References to others being saved refer to the JWs types alleged to have lived
in the 1st century and those yet to be converted to agree with the rules of the
leaders of the JWs.
Basically, if someone is going to claim to get exclusive guidance from God,
and their pronouncements lead not just to beliefs but practices that cause any-
one to be hurt or treated unfairly by general ethics, they might make a case of
being guided by God, who has God's prerogative (p.43).
If it comes to that, the books of the major religions, including the one con-
sidered here--the Bible, let alone general ethics, would have us look for a
sign of God or "not God" for them. Did God do anything only that God could do
(create something from nothing, consistently predict extremely unlikely and
specific things about the future) through the claimant to indicate to us they're
carrying special messages from God, or did God leave it to us to not find such
a thing--even find signs of "not God" (getting things wrong or even falsifying
their record afterward) about the claimant causing harm?
JWs leaders' literature directly teaches distinctive/relatively distinctive
JWs doctrines, partly meant to establish the exclusiveness of the 144,000, as
being required by the Bible. However, the indirect claim of a guarantee of them
is made elsewhere in JWs leaders' literature by teaching that the JWs leader-
ship, the Governing Body, presides over the creation of literature that defines
the religion that's the sole voice of God on Earth--all other religions are con-
demned as "Babylon"--a city used as a Biblical reference to false religion
In other words, the distinctive doctrines are meant to establish the 144,000
exclusiveness, and the 144,000 exclusiveness is meant to justify the ability to
guarantee distinctive doctrines. Will the circular logic be unbroken by and by,
Lord, by and by? It will to anyone who wants to do a little research.
Conformity to exclusiveness is required by the JWs leaders
JWs followers also follow the Governing Body rules to shun those, and the lit-
erature of those, who persistently disagree with any JWs leaders' rules as being
enemies of God (p.3).
This is no doubt another reason why the JWs writers and followers go to the
lengths they do to make a case for the more debatable and distinctive rules as
though guaranteed instead of just giving them as different personal interpreta-
tions or uncertain possibilities. Among non-JWs Bible believers (and I think
some JWs would privately agree), the JWs leaders' blood doctrine interpretation,
like some other JWs leaders' specialties, would normally just be a debatable
minority interpretation most people wouldn't have, let alone die, or have their
kids die, over.
Although one of the main targets of JWs has long been Catholicism, the Roman
Catholic church isn't as strict as the JWs Governing Body about salvation for
Christians outside their group. See 817, 818, and 819 at the next link:
Here's a quote from a Wikipedia article about non-trinitarianism, such as JWs
believe in a variety of, at some Protestant churches:
"Although some denominations require their members to profess faith in the
trinity, most mainline denominations have taken a "hands-off" policy on the
subject of the trinity, realizing that since personal study and free thought
have been encouraged for years, it is not surprising that some of the conclu-
sions reached would be nontrinitarian. The recognition here is that the trini-
ty is tool for pointing to a greater truth. In other words, Christianity has
historically sought to look beyond its doctrines (see Apophasis) to the greater
truth they are intended to address, IE God. It is not uncommon for a Method-
ist, Presbyterian, or Anglican to profess non-Trinitarian views, even among the
clergy. The response from the governing bodies of those denominations is usu-
ally neutral, so long as the disagreement is voiced in respect."
An overview of Christian inter-faith concerns is provided by this Wikipedia
article on Ecumenism:
I've seen people fuss at each other on the GTA message boards over silly
things, let alone on the Internet over the stuff I cover in this article. But
it seems to me, for all the slander sent between some Christians for being
wrong-headed and unchristian over debatable interpretation, the unchristian in-
tolerance shoes can not only be predicted as belonging on the JW leaders' feet
but required by them to belong to the exclusive club.
However important it may be to someone to decide if the conservative interpre-
tation of the Bible intends an eternal or created Jesus, the basic created Jesus
idea isn't exclusive to JWs. The JWs leaders' ban on transfusions of blood and
the major blood fractions is not only exclusive to them but can be fatal, es-
pecially in places without the better alternative treatments, and the JWs lead-
ers' literature is spread door to door in many places around the world. So that
takes precedence in this article.
The JWs leaders aren't the only ones who teach the best established basics of
the Bible--that you need to believe in the God of the Bible and that you
shouldn't lie, steal, or murder, etc. They're not even the only non-trinitar-
ians, ones who use the name "Jehovah," are conscientious objectors about fight-
ing in the military, or have some ideas about historicism (connecting topical
events with predictions about a millennium and the 2nd coming and such).
The "144,000" exclusiveness is meant to be created by a combination of some
distinctive things which include:
- non-trinitarianism that features Jesus as archangel Michael aka a "god" who
was called "Lord" too much and shouldn't be worshipped, and an impersonal holy
- the specific JWs leaders' ideas about historicism regarding 1914 (Jesus in-
visibly returned) and 1919 (Jesus chose the JWs leaders as his sole religious
leaders on Earth), various Armageddon predictions,
- JWs leaders' ban of the transfusion of blood and major blood fractions,
- that the reason for being a conscientious objector isn't pacifism but an ex-
panded idea of "worldliness" that prevents most involvement with human govern-
ment, even non-military government jobs, as Satanic despite Rom.13:1-8,
- a ban of celebrating most holidays (except the Lords Supper ceremony, if you
could include that on such a list, and wedding anniversaries), and a ban on us-
ing the cross symbol, as having pagan connotations,
- being among those with the most strict disfellowshipping rules and regard of
And, importantly (and, as you go through this, predictably), the exclusiveness
of the leaders is meant to be established by being the only ones who've used re-
lated research material in the way you might imagine you'd have to in order to
make those things seem just as certainly required by the Bible as that it
teaches that you shouldn't lie, steal, or murder. This isn't a great help for
the credibility of the claim about being from the 144,000 or for credibility
They're things which are the weaker stances on various things or just personal
opinion for others (Jesus taking invisible charge of Earth in 1914, etc., al-
though see 1993, p.1a). They'd usually be minority personal opinions, except
they're combined and required for fellowship and be included in the JWs leaders'
promise to go to heaven or paradise on Earth. In lieu of stronger cases, let
alone a voice talking from a burning bush, in support of it, I think it's major-
ing in minors for a pretentious exclusiveness and a case of playing prophet,
though the leaders may deny it to ward off criticism, to require the batch.
At the least it can create unnecessary divisions between Christians, not just
JWs and ex-JWs friends and family members, at the worst thousands of JWs have
died due to the JWs leaders' expanded rules about worldliness (p.6) and medical
uses of blood (pp.12-42), and the distinction these create is a distinct cyni-
cism to maintain the pretension of being God's sole channel of information while
aware of the unfortunate interpersonal break-ups to tragic consequences it's had
and may still have.
How I analyze the JWs leaders' claims of exclusiveness
The Governing Body's written/approved teachings will be analyzed to see if
this claim of exclusive guidance from God is substantiated or not. Beyond de-
termining if the more distinctive JWs leaders' rules are genuinely scripturally
required, the JWs leaders' literature about required rules can be searched for
- a sign of God (something only the God of the Bible could do or know explain-
able no other reasonable way),
- the arbitrary possibility of it (coming to a correct conclusion normal re-
search could lead to or giving a possible idea as such),
- or even a sign of "not God" (failed predictions or other mistakes or false-
hoods about them, forced points--especially if made when one knows better,
quotes from research books used misrepresentatively, omission of pertinent evi-
dence--especially if omitted when one knows better and omitting it leads to a
different conclusion, misrepresenting the most reasonable disagreements with
the JWs leaders, and such things and methods the God of the Bible wouldn't em-
1. Apostle: saw the risen Christ (Acts 1:22; 1 Cor.9:1); gave witness and
spread the word about it (Acts 1:8; 1 Cor. 1:17): twelve plus Paul, Barnabas
(1 Cor. 9:5), James (Gal. 1:19), Andronicus, and Junius (Rom.16:7); showed signs
of it (2 Cor. 12:12); and would found and care for churches (1 Cor.11:28).
2. Evangelist: some picked by Christ to be recognized as especially gifted as
teachers (Eph.4:7-14). Others were stronger at helping in other ways.
3. Followers generally are to personally attest to it and spread the good news
4. False prophet: claims to perform something miraculous in the name of the
God of the Bible to attract people to false ideas about what it teaches and/or
deny the God of the Bible. Clear examples are people who claim that personal
predictions or clearly personal opinions must be agreed to for salvation by that
God, especially if the predictions fail and the opinions are clearly not re-
quired by the Bible. Mosaic law--death by stoning; to be disbelieved (Deut.13:
1-5;18:22). Christianity--sinner; to be disbelieved (Matt.7:15-23; 24:10-13,23,
24; 2 Peter 2:1-3).
5. Prophet. According to the Wikipedia article at the next link: "some Chris-
tians believe the minimum requirements of a true prophet can be summarized as
follows: (1) Clear (not vague) prophecies (2) 100% accuracy in prophesying (i.e.
one false prophecy is all it takes to disqualify them as a prophet), and (3)
Must not contradict the Bible."
This is the official JWs leaders' line on their claim to be prophets:
"Jehovah's Witnesses do not consider any single person in their modern-day or-
ganization to be a prophet. Their literature has referred to their organization
collectively as God's 'prophet' on earth; this is understood however in the
sense of declaring their interpretation of God's judgments from the Bible along
with God's guidance of His Holy Spirit. One issue of The Watchtower their mag-
azine, said: 'Ever since "The Watchtower" began to be published in July of 1879
it has looked ahead into the future...
"No, "The Watchtower" is no inspired prophet, but it follows and explains a
Book of prophecy the predictions in which have proved to be unerring and unfail-
ing till now. "The Watchtower" is therefore under safe guidance. It may be
read with confidence, for its statements may be checked against that prophetic
Book.' They also claim that they are God's one and only true channel to mankind
on earth, and used by God for this purpose. They have made many eschatological
predictions and as a result have acknowledged they 'have made mistakes in their
understanding of what would occur'."
This is a "have your cake and eat it, too" position. For the JWs leaders to
claim the Bible requires agreement with their specialties for membership in the
JWs and salvation is to play prophet as sure as it would be to require agreement
that Noah wore argyle socks. The fact that it comes with a very unscriptural
way of overlooking or falsifying the record about their own prediction mistakes,
and deceptions used to bolster the case for their specialties, doesn't leave
much credibility for the "144,000" claim made by all Watchtower leaders since
president Russell. Yet the JWs leaders only want to be held to the terms of a
claim to be evangelists. I guess being fired is preferable to dodging rocks.
Whether or not someone wants to believe in and hope for what's possible and
good about the God of the Bible, determining these two things (if the interpre-
tation of a book is guaranteed or if the human group that claims it can be
proven to be led by divine revelation as they claim) shouldn't hamper their
ability to do it but just help them decide on what's possible to pick. If the
Governing Body's claim for itself is less than sincere and shows:
- forced points (a rectangle has to be a square, etc.) used when you'd know
better from common sense or research material, used to force arbitrary interpre-
tation or even "Noah wore argyle"-type rules (some things you could study the
Bible for years and never know you needed to worry about), requiring disfellow-
shipping for persistent dissent--examples of playing prophet badly,
- bad predictions and getting things wrong, even calling previous JWs leaders
who got them wrong God's sole messengers on Earth and falsifying the record to
cover for them--also examples of playing prophet badly,
- quotes used out of context misrepresentatively to make a pretense of schol-
arly support in teaching required JWs leaders' doctrines (see the sections of
"Complaints about the JWs leaders' use of reference material" on pp.1d, 4, 6, 9,
- misrepresenting or omitting what critics of JWs leaders' rules say to leave
a false impression that the rules stand the test of criticism,
indicating the JW leaders have been insincere and have pretended to be God's
sole channel of information, so just cooked up predictions and distinctive out-
looks to help create the pretension,
then a believer's or non-believer's criticism of it isn't intolerance for
another's sincere belief. There's even an ethical motive to point it out con-
sidering, at the least, the risks possible with the Governing Body's blood doc-
trine limiting the range of medical treatment to pick from for one's self or
I better be evidential and not just editoral, but I'm not worried about that.
I could have used a newspaper staff to help me write this--the JWs leaders have
had over a century to come up with this stuff.
"Inherit the Wind" ironically changed aspects of what the lead characters were
like, so I don't mean to carry this too far. But a couple of scenes from it
Brady gives a mistaken variation of Bishop Ussher's calculation for the time
of day for creation: "...the 23rd of October, 4004 B.C. at, uh, 9:00 A.M." Dar-
row asks: "That Eastern Standard Time?" Some JWs leaders' doctrines, like tak-
ing Rev.7:3-8; 14:1,3 as referring to 144,000 literal JWs (p.1a), seem about as
forced and extra-scriptural, yet are outlooks required of the followers by the
That's not just being a prophet in the way I've heard some interpret Rev.19:10
to mean testifying about Jesus is to be a part of prophetic activity. They're
playing prophet badly even if they say they aren't playing prophet.
Darrow to Brady: "Suppose a Cates or a Darwin had the audacity to think that
God might whisper to him--that an unBrady thought might still be holy? Must a
man go to prison because he differs with a self-appointed prophet? Extend the
testaments, let us have a book of Brady. We shall hex the Pentateuch, and slip
you in neatly between Numbers and Deuteronomy."
But instead of jail, the question here is if people should be disfellowshipped
for disagreeing with the JWs leaders' requirement to restrict the range of medi-
cal treatment, and range of risks to pick from, for themselves and their chil-
Prophecy claims intended to reinforce distinctive claims about the Bible and
The JWs leaders have been criticized with scriptures about false prophets
(Deut.18:21-22). But the JWs leaders' literature has both indicated that the
JWs leaders are playing prophet (either by predictions of Armageddon, etc., or
as by requiring views of historicism, 144,000, etc.--p.1a) and has also at times
denied that the Governing Body is made of prophets.
Some examples of both claiming and denying it:
1891 "And, with the end of A.D. 1914, what God calls Babylon, and what men
call Christendom, will have passed away, as is already shown from prophecy."
("Studies in the Scriptures III--Thy Kingdom Come," C.T. Russell, 1891, 1895,
1898, 1901-20, 1923-7; 1914, p.153)
1917 prediction about 1918:
"Also, in the year 1918, when God destroys the churches wholesale and the
church members by millions, it shall be that any that escape shall come to the
works of Pastor Russell to learn the meaning of the downfall of Christianity."
("The Finished Mystery," 1917 edition, p.485)
1926 damage control about the prediction--"destroy" changed to "begins to des-
"Also, in the year 1918, when God begins to destroy the churches and the
church members by millions, it shall be that any that escape shall come to the
works of Pastor Russell to learn the meaning of the downfall of "Christianity."
("The Finished Mystery," 1926 edition, p.485)
1923 "Our thought is, that 1925 is definitely settled by the scriptures. As
to Noah, the Christian now has much more upon which to base his faith than Noah
had upon which to base his faith in a coming deluge." ("Watchtower," April 1,
1941 "John, dear, don't you think we should have The Watchtower and study it
regularly, that we might be informed of the unfolding of Jehovah's prophecies?"
("Children," J.F. Rutherford, 1941, p.214)
1941 "We're in the remaining months before Armageddon." ("Watchtower," Sept.
15, 1941, p.288)
LAWYER: At any rate, Jehovah God is now the editor of the paper, is that
F.FRANZ: He is today the editor of the paper.
LAWYER: How long has he been editor of the paper?
F.FRANZ: Since its inception he has been guiding it.
LAWYER: Even before 1931?
F.FRANZ: Yes, sir.
LAWYER: But you don't make any mention in the fore part of your Watch Tower
that "We are not infallible and subject to correction and may make mistakes"?
N.H.KNORR: We have never claimed infallibility.
LAWYER: But you don't make any such statement, that you are subject to cor-
rection, in your Watch Tower papers do you?
N.H.KNORR: Not that I recall.
LAWYER: In fact, it is set forth directly as God's Word, isn't it?
N.H.KNORR: Yes, as His Word.
LAWYER: Without any qualification whatsoever?
N.H.KNORR: That is right."
(Action for Libel: Olin R. Moyle v. F.W.Franz, et al, May 10 - May 27 1943,
New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, sections 2596-7, 4420-1)
The Watchtower leaders claim the JWs leaders are fallible men who don't print
errors because their editor has been infallible God, and the printed words have
been his without qualification, since the inception of the paper. This was a
missed opportunity for the lawyer.
1955 "That remaining one right religion is that of Jehovah’s witnesses. It
is not conceited for us to say that." ("The Watchtower," Feb.15, 1955, p.124)
1957 "Jehovah has established a very definite channel of communication
through which he deals with his people.... It is vital that we appreciate this
fact and respond to the directions of the 'slave' as we would to the voice of
God." ("The Watchtower," June 15, 1957, p.370)
1968 "During World War I God's people expected it to lead directly into Arma-
geddon, but Jehovah prevented such a climax at that time. We didn't succumb to
such an expectation during World War II." ("Kingdom Ministry," Jan.,1968, p.5)
Compare that with the quotes from JWs leaders' literature for every year of
WWII in the "Timeline of JWs leaders in regard to human government, war, propa-
ganda, and persecution" on p.6. Rutherford even told followers to not have kids
because Armageddon was imminent and the little time left should be spent selling
1968 "Just think, brothers, there are only about ninety months left before
6,000 years of man's existence on earth is completed." ("Kingdom Ministry,"
March, 1968, p.4--one of various statements indicating the end of this system of
things would occur in 1975)
1968 "Bible prophecy reveals unmistakably that we are living now during 'the
conclusion of the system of things.'" ("The Truth That Leads To Eternal Life,"
1968, p.185; the 1981 edition omits the 1975 references)
1972 "Does this admission of making mistakes stamp them as false prophets?
Not at all, for false prophets do not admit to making mistakes." ("The Watch-
tower," Nov.1, 1972, p.644)
Correction: a Bible prophet or apostle could make a mistake as any fallible
human could. But when requiring a view to be understood as the word of God,
they either get it right or, as due to a false prediction or a "Noah wore ar-
gyle"-type rule requirement, are a false prophet (or false sole channel of God,
led by something other than God's spirit, etc). Besides, what else are false
prophets going to do when the world didn't end last year like they said it
would--say it did? Of course they can admit making mistakes.
If all it took to be real prophet was just to admit it when predictions didn't
come true, most any of us could be one. (And even false prophets could be more
forthright false prophets than the kind indicated by the 1989 JW literature
examples quoted above, unless they intended to continue with their pretension.)
1974 "Bible prophecy and the physical facts in fulfillment thereof prove that
since 1914 C.E. the generation now living is in the 'time of the end.'" ("The
Watchtower," 1974, p.123)
1976 "They do not claim infallibility or perfection. Neither are they in-
spired prophets." ("The Watchtower," May 15, 1976, p.297--after the prediction
of Armageddon for 1975 didn't work out. But see the next example.)
1986 "Would That All Were Prophets! You will be interested to learn that God
has on earth a people, all of whom are prophets, or witnesses for God. In fact,
they are known throughout the world as Jehovah's Witnesses." ("Awake!" June 8,
Prediction about the end of the millennium:
1989 "The apostle Paul was spearheading the Christian missionary activity.
He was also laying a foundation for a work that would be completed in our 20th
century." ("The Watchtower," January 1, 1989, p.12)
But later that year:
1989 "We have ample reasons to expect that this preaching will be completed
in our time. Does that mean before the turn of a new month, a new year, a new
decade, a new century? No human knows.." ("The Watchtower," October 1, 1989)
"20th century" of the Jan.1, 1989 tract, the second example above, was re-
written as "day," without an editor's correction note, for the JWs bound collec-
tion of tracts:
1989 "The apostle Paul was spearheading the Christian missionary activity.
He was also laying a foundation for a work that would be completed in our day."
("The Hand of Jehovah Was With Them," "The Watchtower," Jan. 1, 1989, p.12)
1993 "Jehovah's Witnesses, in their eagerness for Jesus' second coming, have
suggested dates that turned out to be incorrect.... Never did they say, 'These
are the words of Jehovah.'" ("Awake!" March 22, 1993, p.4)
1993 "We have not the gift of prophecy." "The Watchtower does not claim to
be inspired in it's utterances, nor is it dogmatic." ("Awake!" March 22, 1993,
The skill of eating "have you cake and eat it, too" cuisine begins with prac-
ticing by talking out of both sides of your mouth.
The JWs are not "inspired" but "spirit-led." ("Jehovah's Witnesses--Pro-
claimers of God's Kingdom," 1993 Watchtower book, p.708) (A lot of you pagan
filth out there probably don't understand the distinction because you're not in
the light.) "Proclaimers," pp.134-136, adds some of Charles Russell's predic-
tions made for 1914 to the ones made for 1925 and 1975 as predictions that the
latest JWs leaders admit were failures.
Unfortunately, it offers them in the same way--just something many of the fol-
lowers had uncertain hopes about as possibilities, not specific predictions of
Russell and the JWs leaders they abided by. "The Bible Students were not com-
pletely sure" about the meaning of "the end of the Gentile Times" but "they did
not hold back from stating what they expected to occur" though "With varying de-
grees of success, they endeavored to avoid being dogmatic about details not di-
rectly stated in the Scriptures."
In this case, that method avoids admitting the first Watch Tower leader's
(Russell's) irresponsibility for making predictions about miraculous things for
his flock in the manner of a "God's sole channel" claimant and that none of the
miracles happened (see p.1a).
1994 "All who want to understand the Bible should appreciate that the 'great-
ly diversified wisdom of God' can become known only through Jehovah's channel of
communication, the faithful and discreet slave." ("The Watchtower," Oct.1,
The "slave" refers to a longstanding JWs leaders' rule that "144,000" refers
to a literal 144,000 JWs who go to heaven and from whom JWs leaders, "the faith-
ful and discreet slave" (Matt.24:45), have been chosen. Claiming such exclusive-
ness, as with requiring agreement with the JWs leaders' blood transfusion ban,
is a case of the JWs leaders playing prophet, whether they call it that or not.
2000 "In the latter part of the 19th century, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,
U.S.A., a group of sincere Bible students was organized and became the nucleus
of God's modern-day witness class. These Christians drew attention to the
Scriptural evidence that the conclusion of the present world system was at hand.
True to Bible prophecy, this world's "conclusion" began in 1914 and was marked
by the outbreak of the first world war." ("The Watchtower," Jan.1, 2000)
Compare that with parts one and two of "You shouldn't be superstitious about
a war, earthquake, etc., being a sign of the end unless there's a war" and the
listings for 1914 on p.1a. Russell taught that followers shouldn't consider a
war a sign of the end till after WWI broke out, then he pretended it showed he
was onto something.
Therefore, the Governing Body has wanted JWs to both
- consider them as the fallible exclusive religious leaders who receive guid-
ance from infallible God, as able to guarantee things no one else can about the
- but not abandon them by finding it appropriate to apply scriptures that con-
demn false prophets to them and their literature (p.11).
Whichever way (or, apparently, ways) you want to phrase it, it's enough for
the purpose of this article to show there's no reason to have to concede that
the JWs Governing Body or their literature shows any exclusive extra-human help
in interpreting or adding to the Bible. Their claim of being fallible men led
by an infallible God to make infallible literature is only backed by fallible
literature by regularly fallible men.
The quotes from the "Watchtower," March 15, 1998, shown at the next links, em-
phasize that the JWs followers joined the group of their own free will and fol-
low God first, not men.
"Actually the members of any religious group who strongly adhere to human
leaders and their ideas are in danger of becoming slaves of men. Some may have
been told that Jehovah's Witnesses belong to a religious organization that en-
slaves its members, exercises authoritarian control over them, unduly restricts
their freedom... Jehovah's Witnesses know that these concerns are unwarranted.
Therefore they invite you to check for yourself."
"In order to avoid misunderstandings, Jehovah’s Witnesses try to be careful
about how they express themselves. Instead of saying, 'the Society teaches,'
many Witnesses prefer to use such expressions as, 'the Bible says' or, 'I under-
stand the Bible to teach.' In this way they emphasize the personal decision
that each Witness has made in accepting Bible teachings and also avoid giving
the false impression that Witnesses are somehow bound to the dictates of some
The quotes indicate the JWs leaders prefer not to be considered to be cult
leaders who require abidance to all their special rules, such as to the unique
JWs leaders' blood doctrine, for approved membership. (Some have wondered if
this may be due to recent lawsuits, or threats of possible ones, by the be-
It seems like lawyers have coached the JW leaders on how to claim to write
prophet-like literature yet not have to take responsibility if someone wants to
get litigious or angry about disfellowshipping screwing up their personal life,
let alone something going tragically wrong in the hospital. The leader claims
the follower believed the Bible alone required them to refuse the medical treat-
ment. It's a civil liberties case of freedom of speech and religion for insin-
cere prophets--not the MO of the real deal. The Watchtower leaders claim God is
the guide/editor or such for JWs leaders' literature, but there's no sign of God
yet plenty of signs of "not God" for it (p.1a). This writes God out of the
equation and leaves the writers as culpable as anyone would be for misleading
There's no board that approves what someone wants to publish as the truth be-
fore they can publish it or you wouldn't see some of the tabloids that you see
for sale at the supermarket checkout line.
The statements in that article don't really change how JWs leaders want the
JWs leaders' organization to be understood. They just reaffirm the stance of
other JWs literature that JWs followers follow God, not men...in following the
guidance of the Governing Body who are the only religious leaders God guides on
Earth. The quotes emphasize the free choice of the followers to do it (JWs
leaders' disfellowshipping rules for disagreeing with them notwithstanding), but
the Governing Body doesn't intend them to deny their claim to being the only re-
ligious leaders "spirit led" by God.
(The statements don't mean they don't play prophet. Some followers of Islam
may say similar things about how they regard Muhammad as a prophet, otherwise a
fallible man, but follow Allah first and only worship Allah, for example, not
that I intend to carry the comparison too far. There are basic similarities:
a man claims to be a prophet, to restore the original Bible ideas from a corrup-
tion, has some unfriendly ideas about outsiders--I've read that disfellowship-
ping in Saudi Arabia can be harsher, and adds food rules. In the JWs leaders'
case, that would be the food and medical rules about blood, but, for creating
similarly ethically unnecessary ritual divisions between people after the NT got
rid of them, you could add the JWs leaders' holiday bans, etc.)
The JWs leaders' claim of being God's sole voice on Earth reminds me of the
Monty Python sketch where Michael Palin went to John Cleese for a job as a lion
tamer. Cleese asked him for his qualifications, and Palin said, "I have a hat"
and showed him a hat with "Lion tamer" on it. Anybody can be some kind of be-
liever or non-believer. But if you're going to call yourself God's only voice
and proclaim a debatable interpretation of scripture is a rule that any true be-
lieving people must die over, I think the teachings of the Bible itself require
more than a dubious claim--you've got to put something on the table. It doesn't
give Abraham as initiating a sacrifice of his son because Abraham read something
that might be interpreted to indicate it would be a good idea.
Millions of people that have committed to the JWs Governing Body as God's only
chosen religious leaders on Earth also go along with the Governing Body's pro-
gram to not hold the Governing Body to the full responsibility of the deal, when
they get things wrong, as laid out in the Bible. It's more like the approach of
a regular buyer of lottery tickets that hasn't had a winner yet unless you want
to count invisible (Jesus returned, or whatever he did, in 1914--see 1993 on
p.1a) money. For this article and the blood issues, that's not putting some-
thing on the table.
This article provides evidences of the JWs Governing Body's literature and
methods used to create their impressions. The understanding about them this re-
search leads to can then be applied to cover whatever percentage of the prophecy
deal the Governing Body appropriates.
The ability of the JWs leaders to guarantee meanings of scripture
beyond what context indicates
I'll offer this way to consider the possibility of JW's Governing Body as
being like the apostles in Jerusalem, as JW literature has likened them, at
least in having roles as the authoritative leading teachers, all other religions
condemned, should anyone wonder if the God of the Bible speaks through them as
His prophets to make guarantees beyond those that can be taken as scriptural.
The JWs leaders have occasionally denied that they claim to be prophets on one
hand yet, on the other, have always made doctrinal guarantees beyond what others
would take from the same evidence (the JWs leaders' view that Jesus invisibly
returned in 1914 and judged the Watchtower leaders as his sole channel of infor-
mation on Earth in 1919, that you can't have a birthday party or use a cross
symbol or use blood medically and other extraneous ritual rules, to add to the
meaning of "worldliness" to rule out even non-military government jobs despite
Rom.13:1-8, to take 144,000 literally and apply it to themselves--the Governing
Body having to be made up of people from the "anointed class," aka "the Faithful
and Discrete Slave," of 144,000, to apply disfellowshipping and salvation impor-
tance to such things, etc.). The historical mainstream Bible view is that one
would need to be a prophet to guarantee such things as required for salvation.
The Bible gives certain qualities and abilities as things only God has, so
showing an irrefutable sign of one through a person would indicate to us God
wants us to consider them a prophet. Having miraculous knowledge of something,
like someone else's unique idea, explainable no other reasonable way but as re-
cieved from God, would be an example. I don't think JWs familiar with their own
leaders' past would disagree that the JW leaders have stunk as fortune tellers,
as decades of attempts to predict the last days have shown. (Some JWs are prob-
ably sick of hearing this, but it's probably new to some of my readers):
This worldly system of things was predicted by JWs leaders to come to an end
in 1914, Oct. of 1915 or 1914, 1914, 1915, begin to end in 1914, and end in
1918, 1920, 1925, sometime around WWII and the Korean war, 1975, 2000, and soon.
Jesus was said to have returned invisibly in 1874 until 1933, when JW literature
began teaching 1914 as the year Jesus returned invisibly. In 1918 it began
teaching that the generation alive since 1914 ("this generation" of Luke 12:13
taken to mean some of the followers alive in 1914) would see the end of this
system of things.
Due to the JWs leaders' view of the Governing Body as having to be made up of
people from the "anointed class," aka "the Faithful and Discrete Slave," the
idea that the last of them were among those alive since 1914 has had to change
as well (p.1a).
In 1995, the 1914 generation idea was changed to take "generation" so broadly
that it's taken to refer to JWs generally, even ones born after 1914, so all the
JWs alive in 1914 may pass away before Jesus returns. The invisible Jesus idea
about it endures in the JWs leaders' teachings, and the distinctions about 1914
claimed by the JWs leaders (see below and p.1a) have been given a treatment like
their history of the Ante-Nicene fathers (pp.8,9).
Another reason Charles Taze Russell, the original Watch Tower leader, claimed
the year 1914 was special was due to the popularity of some of the claims of
Charles Piazzi Smyth about the Great Pyramid of Egypt (p.1a). (Some of you may
have been entertained by Dr. Gene Scott's talks about the possibility of some
things about it on TV.) Use "Edit" "Find" to find "Charles Taze Russell," and,
more importantly, an early example of JWs leaders' mischief in re-writing later
literature, most of the way into the article at the next link.
For a view critical of those JWs leaders' claims, see "The Gentile Times Re-
considered" and "The Sign of the Last Days-- When?" by Carl Olof Jonsson. Just
one example: the JWs leaders have taught that earthquake activity has increased
since 1914. But seismology is a fairly recent science, with such activity re-
corded by it since the early 1900's. The Richter scale to determine increases
or decreases in earthquake activity wasn't invented till 1935, and the more ac-
curate moment magnitude scale wasn't developed till 1979. Worldwide mass media
is a recent thing of the last nearly 2,000 years, too.
It would be speculative to say that earthquake activity since 1914 is the
worst since Jesus' time. The Governing Body has recently backpedaled on the
Also see Matt.24, which goes over the part about earthquakes, etc.. Jesus
could be interpreted as telling his followers not to be superstitious about such
things being signs or omens as some other people would see them. They're all
things that would happen now and then, and there would always be somebody who'd
be reading meanings into them. He compares them to "The beginnings of birth
pangs" (Matt.24:8) which are sometimes false alarms that a pregnant women is
about to give birth. (Jesus comes off smarter that way, too.) (1 Pet.1:20)
If the numerology of Daniel and Revelation has been played with for centuries
to arrive at various years of the end of this worldly system, Jesus is supposed
to have invisibly returned in 1914, you can't figure very accurately about wor-
sening of earthquakes since Matt.24, and the JWs of 1914 can have all passed
away before big changes are made by God, what's left of the idea--what's it for?
Jesus could return at any time?--we already had that. The JWs leaders just seem
to have an unsubtantiated fondness for condemning all other religions. That's
friendly.... The JWs leaders not only play prophet claiming to be of an exclu-
sive 144,000 who have gone or are going to heaven, but require followers to fol-
low them unto pain of death (the transfusion ban and extra-scriptural inflexible
views of worldliness encountering intolerant politial leaders).
Those interested in pursuing the myriad other predictions made by the JWs
Watchtower Society can find a great deal of them at the next link.
So if you're going to look beyond an analysis of the scriptural certainty of
the JWs leaders' doctrine on blood transfusions and look for it in the possibil-
ity that the JWs leaders are prophets, I'll make it real simple. Use the terms
of the source material, the Bible itself, to determine who's a prophet. Accord-
ing to it, getting that wrong could lead to idolatry. which it would give as a
sin if it had to give a short list.
It's meant as an internal corrective. The false prophet can lead people to
unnecessary divisions, and even lead to people getting hurt or killed. The JWs
leaders bungling prophet act, with predictions or otherwise, has caused those
things to some of their own followers. That's why those people were supposed to
be dodging rocks. You're not supposed to make heros out of them.
There's much that's good in the JWs, but I think many JWs would agree that
where it goes awry is with the leaders claiming to be extra-special with Satanic
birthday parties and invisible Jesus returns then phonying things up to make it
look true. There needs to be some kind of Woody Guthrie "This Brooklyn is your
Brooklyn, this Brooklyn is my Brooklyn" deal go on. Six million against 12--I
don't know why not. With enough teamwork, the leaders could change if only out
of literature sales PR concerns.
Tell a JWs leader to "Guess the number I'm thinking of between one and a bil-
lion ten times in a row, which shouldn't be any problem for God, and which He'd
tell you if He really wants me to go for your word, especially if people could
die over it." If you need some evidence of a Governing Body member to be a pro-
phet to decide in favor of their doctrine on blood and transfusions, and the
risks carried with it compared to a balanced overview of the risks, don't go for
it a moment before you get an audience with a Governing Body member and they
succeed at that.
Providing evidence of a liar that causes harm isn't editorial intolerance
for sincere belief in being good
Some people get too 'centric, bigoted, about all sorts of things--nationali-
ty, race, religious or non-religious view, income level, age, political party,
preferred kinds of music, how often they mow the lawn and how short, etc.
But I'm looking for common ground here among sincere believers or non-believ-
ers in religious views--for anyone who doesn't like lying that can cause people
to get hurt or even killed.
For better or worse, you can believe anything you want to believe. But this
view is never sanctioned in the Bible for conservative followers in the sense of
"all imaginable beliefs are as good as any others." Such an amoral view and in-
difference about belief in the God of the Bible could never fit into a Bible
that requires belief in some things as good (believing in God and going by his
word as with love thy neighbor, etc.) as others as bad (not believing in God and
going against his word as by idolatry, lying, stealing, murder, etc.).
In a secular U.S., there is supposed to be tolerance for difference of reli-
gious and non-religious views and practices within ethical reason.
A religious leader can promote themself as special by playing prophet, in this
case a Bible prophet, whether they make a prediction or admit to playing prophet
or not, by claiming to guarantee things as intended by the Bible beyond what the
evidence would normally allow anyone to guarantee.
Peter Popoff is a fake healer who got radio transmissions to his earpiece from
his wife, who was reading from prayer cards the flock assembled to be healed by
him had filled out before the show. He pretended that he was getting messages
about their names and illnesses, and that their illnesses were healed, from Je-
sus, endangering those who took it seriously and obeyed his advice to forgo med-
ical treatment. James Randi exposed his scam in 1987.
In a world of sincere non-believers and believers in the possible who are nice
and helpful, and Peter Popoff types unconcerned that making false claims to make
money from the believers could cause some to be hurt or killed, a person should
be able to make the distinction and substantiate their claim. If they can sub-
stantiate it beyond reasonable doubt before they accuse someone of being liar
who causes harm, they aren't being intolerant about sincere belief in the possi-
ble or about practice within ethical reason.
This is an important distinction for a person to consider in going over an
analysis of this issue--are the Governing Body's distinctive doctrines, such as
on the medical use of blood, sincere and responsible valid guarantees, to the
best of their ability, about the intended meanings of the Bible? Does the evi-
dence indicate they sincerely believe those rules or that they're God's sole
channel of information on Earth?
The JWs leaders' literature indicates the JWs leaders/writers are more famil-
iar with the more common Biblical literature, with non-JWs reasons for not hav-
ing the distinctive/relatively distinctive JWs leaders' doctrines, and with
whether or not their own track record indicates they're God's sole channel on
Earth, than the average person (who probably isn't a regular at a seminary
school library or using such a library to double-check on the JWs leaders' lit-
erature) or their average follower (who probably doesn't have the older JWs
leaders' literature; Kingdom Hall libraries are only supposed to stock the re-
cent stuff that doesn't go back much farther than the recent rules).
I'll include some of those evidences and reasons the JWs leaders ought to have
run into but which they left out of their literature, and I'll give examples of
the older JWs leaders' literature, which is sometimes a contemporary concern in
that current JWs leaders may refer back to it favorably.
"Can there be false religion? It is not a form of religious persecution for
anyone to say and to show that another religion is false. It is not religious
persecution for an informed person to expose publicly a certain religion as be-
ing false, thus allowing persons to see the difference between false religion
and true religion." ("The Watchtower," Nov. 15, 1963, p.688)
In a group as big as the JWs, some people disagree with some of the rules of
the leaders. But about all one of the JWs can do with persistent dissent is get
thrown out of the group.
A dissenting view on the JWs leaders' blood doctrine is given at the next
link by Raymond Franz, who became a writer at Bethel headquarters in 1965, a
Governing Body member from 1971 till he was pressured to resign in 1980, then
was disfellowshipped from attending service at Kingdom Halls about a year later.
His uncle Fredrick became Vice President of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Soci-
ety in 1945, was a Governing Body member, and was the Watchtower president from
1978 till 1992--he helped shape some of the JWs leaders' doctrines and the New
Another dissenting view is by "Lee Elder" of the Jehovah's Witnesses for Re-
form on Blo od:
People of any belief/non-belief choice need to determine if it's most reason-
able to figure the JWs leaders/writers, whose literature indicates they're fa-
miliar with the more common Bible literature, create the balanced presentation
of the relevant facts and reasons that they claim they do--if they do or don't
create a genuine scriptural guarantee for their claim of being God's sole chan-
nel of information on Earth or their more distinctive doctrines.
I'm notably concerned about the JWs leaders' doctrines that have led to harm
or death, such as their harsher disfellowshipping rules (abidance to all the
more distinctive JWs leaders' rules are required for fellowship in the JWs,
therefore can become grounds for division between people), their expanded rules
about what worldliness means (which has led to harm and death in Germany, Mala-
wi, etc.), and their blood doctrine (notably when it has led to the deaths of
people who refused the treatment that would have given them the better chance to
General objective reporting should not be critical of the JWs leaders in the
way of intolerance of sincere belief in the possible, within ethical reason.
But there should be common ground among believers and non-believers that there's
merit in being critical if what's indicated is the action of cynical businessmen
that could cause harm. If the evidence indicates the JWs Governing Body knows
better than to believe their own stuff, this would be especially unethical if it
led anyone to make a misguided choice that ended in death and any bereaving JWs
and non-JWs friends and relatives. Then pointing it out isn't selfish intoler-
ance--the evidence indicates there's an ethical motive to do it.
My focus is:
- the nine or so (it varies) Jehovah's Witnesses leaders allege that they're
part of a literal 144,000 (Rev.7:1-8; 14:1-5) most righteous Christians, all
JWs, the only ones who will go to heaven--all others of the afterlife are JWs
who will live on Earth.
- the JWs leaders allege that they're the only ones of the 144,000 qualified
to make the rules for and lead Jehovah's Witnesses, God's sole God-guided reli-
gious organization on Earth--all others religions are condemned as Babylon.
- the JWs leaders have a batch of 12 or so (it varies) distinctive rules meant
to establish their exclusiveness (a ban of the medical use of blood and major
blood fractions, that Jesus invisibly turned his attention toward the Earth in
1914, a ban of most holidays as having worldly pagan or idolatrous connotations,
a ban of most government involvement as being too worldly, that Jesus is archan-
gel Michael and not to be worshipped and the holy spirit is impersonal, their
own rendition of the Bible which features the exchange of a lot of "Lord"s with
"Jehovah"s in the NT, notably in verses where the difference favors their iden-
tification of Jesus, etc.), all of which must be agreed to for membership in the
JWs and salvation.
- the JWs leaders allege that their distinctive rules are guaranteed by the
Bible and best related evidence and reasoning.
- But the distinctive rules are too distinctive to allow that honestly or they
wouldn't be so distinctive.
So my focus is the methods they use to try to make them seem guaranteed
(quotes used misrepresentatively from research books to make sources seem sup-
portive that aren't, creating a false impression of the most reasonable alter-
natives, omission of pertinent evidence, forced points, etc.),
especially if anyone is regarded or treated unfairly (the JWs leaders require
disfellowshipping, or that pressure be used to cause resignation, for persistent
disagreement with any of the JWs leaders' distinctive rules, which can cause
division between friends and family),
hurt or killed (by a follower refusing to be treated, or let their child be
treated, by the medical use of blood or major blood fractions when it would give
them the better chance to survive, or when the JWs leaders' inflexible expanded
rules about neutrality, worldliness, and idolatry run up against an intolerant
political leader and put followers in harms' way unnecessarily, for no better
reason than the leaders' elitism, as in Nazi Germany and Malawi).
For a group who even today only preside over a large town's worth of people,
they've come up with thousands of deaths and even more divisions between friends
Raymond Franz taught that there was no basis for the JWs leaders' stance on the
medical use of blood but didn't cover the scriptures in Acts and Paul's writings
about it and contest their interpretations. He contested their stance, which
they give as Christian law, on the basis that the Christian law of love of an
actual life supersedes all other law or concern for a symbol (blood) of life.
(For example, Jesus taught that a Jewish law follower can rescue a sheep from a
ditch on the Sabbath when they weren't supposed to work. Matthew 12:1-14. The
supreme law is to love thy neighbor as thyself--see James 2:8; Rom.13:8-10.)
JWs are taught to get around that outlook by seeing their devotion to Jehovah
and the sanctity of blood as more important. The JWs leaders apply that to any
related verse on the subject. So please see my coverage of those verses.
For something likewise quick and simple you could say that there's no proof God
is or isn't--it's a possibility you may or may not hope for. Therefore ethics
dictate there should be no harm over it. It would be arbitrary and arbitrary harm
which would be prejudice, sadism, and murder. Letting a child die at a hospital
JWs are taught intelligent design proves there's a God. It doesn't. See my
article called "Basics" for more coverage of that.
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