Thank you for your comment on my post "`What Does the Bible Really Teach?' pp.7-14." As I commented in reply, I am answering
[Above (click to enlarge): "Australian Jehovah's Witness Growth Statistics," Jehovah.net.au, 11 June 2009):
"The following statistics are extrapolated from the yearly Service Year Reports of Jehovah's Witnesses. The number of publishers have remained almost the same since 1995, which represents a significant fall in growth since 1995. The decrease coincides with the commencement of the Internet information age, which has given ready access to details about Watchtower history, doctrine and current practice."]
your points here in a separate post, split into multiple parts because of size. Your words are bold to distinguish them from mine.
----- Original Message -----
To: Stephen E. Jones
Sent: Tuesday, November 02, 2010 7:36 AM
Subject: [Jesus is Jehovah!] New comment on "What Does the Bible Really Teach?" pp.7-14.
>I am a young Jehovah Witness who by chance came across your site.
Given that there are at least "29.7 billion pages on the World Wide Web":
"Web pages in the world, February 2007: multiplying our estimate of the number of web pages per website by Netcraft's February 2007 count of websites, we arrive at 29.7 billion pages on the World Wide Web as of February 2007." ("WWW FAQs: How many websites are there?," Boutell.Com, 6 October 2010).
including at least "133,000,000" blogs:
"How many blogs are there? At least 133,000,000. As of January 2009, there have been a total of about 133 million blogs indexed by the blog search engine Technorati dating back to 2002. Since the term weblog was coined in 1997, blogs have risen in popularity and use. The introduction of blog hosting sites like Live Journal in 1999 propelled the widespread use of blogs for various purposes." ("Number of Blogs," NumberOf.net, February 27, 2010).
the probability of you "by chance" coming across this my blog Jesus is Jehovah!, is somewhere between 29 billion to 1 and 133 million to 1, depending on what you mean by "site."
I therefore assume that you are not telling the truth, i.e. that you are engaging in the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society's approved practice of "theocratic warfare," where for JWs "it is proper to hide the truth from God's enemies" (i.e. anyone who is not a JW):
"From time to time letters are received asking whether a certain circumstance would justify making an exception to the Christian's obligation to tell the truth. ... There is one exception, however, that the Christian must ever bear in mind. As a soldier of Christ he is in theocratic warfare and he must exercise added caution when dealing with God's foes. Thus the Scriptures show that for the purpose of protecting the interests of God's cause, it is proper to hide the truth from God's enemies." ("Questions From Readers," The Watchtower, June 1, 1960, pp.351-352, p.352).
"This teaching concludes that it is appropriate for Witnesses to withhold information from those they feel could use it to harm the Watchtower Society ... that it is not necessary to reveal the truth to those who have no right to know it":
"THEOCRATIC WARFARE Theocratic warfare is another controversial doctrine. This teaching concludes that it is appropriate for Witnesses to withhold information from those they feel could use it to harm the Watchtower Society. This doctrine specifically teaches that it is not necessary to reveal the truth to those who have no right to know it, such as where Witness activities are circumscribed. Therefore, `in time of spiritual warfare it is proper to misdirect the enemy by hiding the truth.' (WT 5-1-57, p. 286) `She was not a liar. Rather, she was using theocratic war strategy, hiding the truth by action and word for the sake of the ministry.' (WT 5-1-57, p. 285; see also AW 2-8-2000, p. 21) While ostensibly condemning lying, the doctrine approves behavior which is legally lying, i.e., the court requirement that one tell `the whole truth and nothing but the truth.' They thus not uncommonly openly `lie' in court, inferring or directly stating that practices which the Watchtower Society condemns are permissible, such as blood transfusions or intimate association with outsiders. The doctrine is a major teaching which has often been elucidated in their publications. One booklet prepared for Witnesses involved in child custody cases even openly advises Witnesses to deceive the court relative to their faith and practice. ..." (Wilson, D., 2002, "Awakening of a Jehovah's Witness: Escape from the Watchtower Society," Prometheus: Amherst NY, p.301. Emphasis original).
"Theocratic War Strategy' simply means that JW's can be deceitful and lie to you in order to protect the Watchtower Society from criticism":
"In this book we shall also deal with the JW's use of so-called `Theocratic War Strategy.' This is a coined Watchtower expression which denotes that lying is sometimes justified. In plain words `Theocratic War Strategy' simply means that JW's can be deceitful and lie to you in order to protect the Watchtower Society from criticism ... Jehovah's Witnesses do not love the truth. They are only interested in that which might benefit the cause of the Watchtower Society." (Thomas, F.W., 1972, "Masters of Deception: A Christian Analysis of the Anti-Biblical Teaching of the Jehovah's Witnesses," Baker: Grand Rapids MI, Third printing, 1973, p.xii. Emphasis original).
>Speaking strictly from a personal standpoint, the Kingdom Hall that I attend is growing tremendously.
Since you don't mention what Kingdom Hall that is, there is no way of checking your assertion. And given that I have already caught you out not telling the truth about you just happening to come across my blog "by chance," I will leave it to my readers to make up their own minds whether to believe you.
However, whatever is the truth regarding your particular Kingdom Hall, the overall trend is one of decline for JWs, i.e. "percentage growth rates ... show a significant drop over the last ten years" despite the Watchtower Society having "artificially increased numbers by allowing publishers to report when only doing 15 minutes preaching in one month":
"Percentage increase of average publishers The most important statistics are percentage growth rates; these show a significant drop over the last ten years. In the 5 years prior to 1975 the number of publishers was increasing at an average of 15% per year. During the 1980's and early 1990's growth continued at over 5% per year. This has fallen to between 1 - 2%, hardly more than the world's population growth of 1.2%. A large number of new publishers are teenagers that were raised as Jehovah's Witnesses. This indicates that over 1 billion hours of preaching a year only brings enough new people to the Watchtower Society to replace the children that leave. ... The Watchtower Society has also artificially increased numbers by allowing publishers to report when only doing 15 minutes preaching in one month." ("Jehovah's Witness Statistics," JWfacts: Facts About Jehovah's Witnesses, 2 November 2010).
This is particularly noticeable in Australia (see above graph), where I live. I have been a Christian over 40 years and when I was first converted to Christ in 1967, the JWs were a perceived threat, with us being warned by Christian preachers that JWs were "the fastest growing religion in the world" and on their then current growth trends they would eventually overtake us evangelical Christians, at least in Australia.
Yet today in my experience, no one bothers mentioning JWs from the pulpit, as they are no longer considered a significant threat. A major reason that I bother having a blog directed towards JWs is that I believe the Watchtower may be on the verge of collapse (see "Could Watchtower Collapse Be Sooner Than You Think?") and I feel I am called to do my bit to accelerate that happening and to help save some JWs as they jump from the sinking ship.
>We have members that were raised JW and new members. I was raised Baptist, not JW.
If you are telling the truth, then you may yet come to your senses and realise that you are eating pig's food and return to the Father's house:
Lk 15:15-18. So he [the Lost Son] went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. "When he came to his senses, he said, `How many of my father's hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.'"
>I am happy with my choice despite being the only person in my immediate family to become one.
I don't doubt that there are individual happy JWs. But again overall most JWs cannot be happy, because in the USA at least, "two-thirds of the people who ... were raised Jehovah's Witnesses no longer are":
"An even more extreme example of what might be called `masked churn' is the relatively tiny Jehovah's Witnesses, with a turnover rate of about two-thirds. That means that two-thirds of the people who told Pew they were raised Jehovah's Witnesses no longer are - yet the group attracts roughly the same number of converts. Notes Lugo, `No wonder they have to keep on knocking on doors." (Van Biema, D., "America's Unfaithful Faithful," TIME, February 25, 2008).
In fact, "Jehovah's Witnesses have the lowest retention rate of any religious tradition. Only 37% of all those ... raised as Jehovah's Witnesses still identify themselves as Jehovah's Witnesses":
"Summary of Key Findings An extensive new survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life details statistics on religion in America and explores the shifts taking place in the U.S. religious landscape. Based on interviews with more than 35,000 Americans age 18 and older, the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey finds that religious affiliation in the U.S. is both very diverse and extremely fluid. ... Other highlights in the report include ... Jehovah's Witnesses have the lowest retention rate of any religious tradition. Only 37% of all those who say they were raised as Jehovah's Witnesses still identify themselves as Jehovah's Witnesses." ("Statistics on Religion in America Report," Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, 2008).
>I have found a love for the Bible and the information contained in it.
If you really loved the Bible and followed its teachings, you would become a Christian. The Watchtower itself has admitted that if JWs "read the Bible exclusively" then they will come to believe what Christianity teaches:
"From time to time, there have arisen from among the ranks of Jehovah's people those who ... 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 ..." ("Serving Jehovah `Shoulder to Shoulder'," Watchtower, Aug 15, 1981, pp.28-29, p.29).
>When it comes to the scripture in Eccl. The scripture speaks of the "dead being conscious of nothing" not because they are completely destroyed but simply to say that unlike popular belief the dead's souls aren't floating around haunting people, watching over people, things like that. As Jehovah said to Adam in the garden of Eden "For dust you are and to dust you will return." Gen. 3:16.
Either you are ignorant of Watchtower teaching or you are practicing "theocratic warfare." The Watchtower's teaching is that "a person dies, he ceases to exist" (Watchtower's emphasis):
"What happens at death is no mystery to Jehovah, the Creator of the brain. He knows the truth, and in his Word, the Bible, he explains the condition of the dead. Its clear teaching is this: When a person dies, he ceases to exist. Death is the opposite of life. The dead do not see or hear or think. Not even one part of us survives the death of the body. ... After Solomon observed that the living know that they will die, he wrote: `As for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all.' He then enlarged on that basic truth by saying that the dead can neither love nor hate and that `there is no work nor devising nor knowledge nor wisdom in [the grave].' (Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6, 10) Similarly Psalm 146:4 says that when a man dies, `his thoughts do perish.' We are mortal and do not survive the death of our body. The life we enjoy is like the flame of a candle. When the flame is put out, it does not go anywhere. It is simply gone." (WB&TS, 2005, "What Does the Bible Really Teach?," Watchtower Bible & Tract Society of New York: Brooklyn NY, p.58. Emphasis original).
But "the Bible abounds with references showing that persons who die continue to exist in a conscious state a apart from their bodies" For example, "God commanded the Jews not to call up the dead ... Saul ... had Samuel called up ... Isaiah ... taunt[ed] the king of Babylon with ... `The grave below is all astir to meet you ... it rouses the spirits of the departed to greet you ... In his parable of the rich man and Lazarus, Jesus tells us, `the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died ... And in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments":
"Elsewhere the Bible abounds with references showing that persons who die continue to exist in a conscious state a apart from their bodies. God commanded the Jews not to call up the dead. (Deuteronomy 18:11) Saul violated this command and had Samuel called up: `Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had lamented him, and buried him ... And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? ... the LORD will also deliver Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines: and to morrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me.' (1 Samuel 28:3, 15,19) God commanded Isaiah to taunt the king of Babylon with words such as these: `The grave below is all astir to meet you at your coming; it rouses the spirits of the departed to greet you ... they will say to you, 'You also have become weak, as we are; you have become like us.' (Isaiah 14:9-10 NIV) Jesus said not to fear `them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul.' (Matthew 10:28) Rather, he said to `Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell.' (Luke 12:5) If a person's conscious existence ended at death, these statements by Christ would make no sense. In his parable of the rich man and Lazarus, Jesus tells us, `the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments.' (Luke 16:22-23)" (Reed, D.A., 1996, "Answering Jehovah's Witnesses: Subject by Subject," Baker: Grand Rapids MI, Second printing, 1998, pp.94-95).
And John "saw underneath the altar the souls of those slaughtered because of the word of God ... And they cried out with a loud voice"; Paul wrote "My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better":
"Ecclesiastes 9:5 ... This verse is frequently used by Jehovah's Witnesses in arguing that death brings annihilation-total nonexistence. ... What is God's viewpoint? Obviously, God knows whether or not the dead are conscious. And he has put into Scripture a number of references indicating the answer. Read those verses with the Jehovah's Witness, asking him what each one reveals about the condition of the dead: `And when he opened the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those slaughtered because of the word of God and because of the witness work that they used to have. And they cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Until when, Sovereign Lord holy and true, are you refraining from judging and avenging our blood upon those who dwell on the earth?" And a white robe was given to each of them; and they were told to rest a little while longer, until the number was filled also of their fellow slaves and their brothers who were about to be killed as they also had been (Rev. 6:9-11, NWT).' `I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account (Phil. 1:23-24, RSV).'" (Luke 16:22-23, RSV).' (Reed, D.A., 1986, "Jehovah's Witnesses Answered Verse by Verse," Baker: Grand Rapids MI, Thirty-first printing, 2006, pp.40-41).
>I personally pray with the people that I study with at the opening and closing of the study. I pray because I am holding the study with that person and I pray that Jehovah gives both of us incite and knowledge.
The issue is not whether a JW is allowed by the Watchtower to pray in the presence of a non-JW, but whether a JW is allowed to pray along with the prayer of a non-JW. As former JW Anthony Mathenia points out, "the Watchtower instructs Jehovah's Witnesses to offer their own silent prayers when in the presence of non-members who pray" and "are given instruction how to avoid praying with people they contact":
"It may be strange, even shocking, to one who is outside of the religion but the Watchtower teaches that God really only hears the prayers of Jehovah's Witnesses. For example, the Watchtower instructs Jehovah's Witnesses to offer their own silent prayers when in the presence of non-members who pray. (w62 9/15 p.576) This directive extends to wives and children if the husband is not a member of the religion. (w81 9/15 p.26) In their door to door ministry, Jehovah's Witnesses are given instruction how to avoid praying with people they contact. (Reasoning From the Scriptures, p.295)" (Mathenia, A., "Forbidden to Pray? Jehovah's Witnesses and Prayer," Outside the Camp, March 21, 2010).
The Watchtower's standing instruction to JWs is "Jehovah's servants could not join in prayer with one who does not serve Jehovah God, since prayer is a form of worship" and "if a householder who is not a worshiper of Jehovah were to say the blessing when a witness of Jehovah was his guest, the Witness could not join in the prayer, though he could silently offer his own prayer of thanks to God":
"What should a dedicated servant of Jehovah God do if he is present when a prayer is being offered aloud by one who does not recognize Jehovah nor is dedicated to him, as at funerals, weddings and graduation services conducted by clergymen?-H. L., United States. The Scriptures show that at no time did God's servants join in worship with those who served other gods. ... This being so, Jehovah's servants could not join in prayer with one who does not serve Jehovah God, since prayer is a form of worship. What, then, should one of Jehovah's servants do if present when a prayer is being offered by, say, a clergyman at a wedding, a funeral or at the graduation of a son or daughter? If the group stands, it is up to the individual to decide whether he wants to do this or not; in itself this is not the act of worship. The same is true of bowing one's head. Although he would remain quiet, he might prefer not to bow his head with the others, thus letting all know that he is not joining in the prayer being offered and that the one praying is not representing him. Or the servant of Jehovah could bow his head and offer his own silent prayer on such an occasion. Should he choose to do this, however, he certainly would not utter an audible `Amen' at the end of the public prayer as though expressing agreement with it. It is up to the individual Christian to determine which course he considers best to pursue under the circumstances, and no one should be criticized for his choice on such occasions. The same principle would apply in the event one were a guest in the home of someone else at mealtime. If, in respect for the sincerity of his guest, the head of the house were to ask his guest to offer the prayer at mealtime, then the servant of Jehovah could do this, praying in harmony with the instructions found in the Bible. However, if a householder who is not a worshiper of Jehovah were to say the blessing when a witness of Jehovah was his guest, the Witness could not join in the prayer, though he could silently offer his own prayer of thanks to God. In homes where it is the custom for all to hold hands around the table when the prayer is said, sharing in this would indicate participation in the prayer, so the Christian would not share in this if the prayer were being offered by one who was not a worshiper of Jehovah God. For one's prayers to find acceptance with God, they must be offered in the way that he commands." ("Questions From Readers," The Watchtower, September 15, 1962, pp.575-576, p.576).
This confirms what Michelle, a Christian commenter under that same post, "`What Does the Bible Really Teach?' pp.7-14,", was told by JWs conducting a book study in her home, that JWs are not allowed by the Watchtower to join in with a Christian's prayer because we "pray to a different God (i.e., God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit)":
"A friend ... agreed to be with me today as we studied the first chapter of the Bible Teach book with my JW friends. It went about how most of our other meetings have gone ... until the end when I said I'd like to close us in prayer. They wouldn't allow me to pray. I was quite taken back by that .... I have done a lot of research and I guess I hadn't uncovered this. When I asked `why?' they at first were evasive and said that isn't how they do things. I pressed for the reasoning and basically they said they are instructed by the WS (their `organization' is what they kept calling it) not to pray with non-JWs. I .... asked if there was biblical support for such a view. They said it is because I pray to a different God (i.e., God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit). When we began today, I said that we should begin in prayer (my friend and I had prayed together before they came), and I allowed one of the JW women to pray. . Her prayer was fine - EXCEPT the part where she thanked Jehovah for giving them an organization that helps them to interpret and learn the Bible."
As I reply-commented to Michelle, in this the JWs are correct, the JW God is a different God from the Triune God of Christians. But then the Watchtower has admitted (see above) that if JWs "read the Bible exclusively" they will come to believe the doctrines of Christianity, which includes the Trinity: "God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit"! That is, it is the Watchtower's TWO Gods: "Jehovah ... the Almighty God" and "Jesus ... The mighty God":
"Jesus is a god. `God' means a strong one. Christ is called `The mighty God' at Isaiah 9:6, `a god' at John 1:1 (NW), and `the only-begotten god' at John 1:18 (NW). Jehovah is not the only god or strong one. The very fact that he is called the Almighty God indicates that there are other gods not so mighty, not almighty like him." ("Questions From Readers," The Watchtower, September 1, 1955, p.543).
"Jesus ... is `a god.' Because of his unique position in relation to Jehovah, Jesus is a `Mighty God.'-John 1:1; Isaiah 9:6. But does not `Mighty God' with its capital letters indicate that Jesus is in some way equal to Jehovah God? Not at all. Isaiah merely prophesied this to be one of four names that Jesus would be called, and in the English language such names are capitalized. Still, even though Jesus was called `Mighty,' there can be only one who is `Almighty.' To call Jehovah God `Almighty' would have little significance unless there existed others who were also called gods but who occupied a lesser or inferior position." (WB&TS, 1989, "Should You Believe in the Trinity?," Watchtower Bible & Tract Society of New York: Brooklyn NY, Reprinted, 2008, p.28).
who are the false gods, not Christianity's Biblical "ONE God in three persons":
"According to the teaching of the Trinity, there are three persons in one God, that is, there is `one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.'" (WB&TS, 1989, "You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth," p.39).
"How Is the Trinity Explained? ... in the words of the Athanasian Creed: `the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, and yet there are not three Gods but one God.' ... Thus, the Trinity is considered to be `one God in three Persons.' Each is said to be without beginning, having existed for eternity." (WB&TS, 1989, "Should You Believe in the Trinity?," pp.3-4. Emphasis original).
"Now, the trinity doctrine means that there are three persons in one God: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost, all coequal and coeternal." (WB&TS, 1967, "Qualified to be Ministers," pp.197-198).
"According to the Athanasian Creed, there are three divine Persons (the Father, the Son, the Holy Ghost), each said to be eternal, each said to be almighty, none greater or less than another, each said to be God, and yet together being but one God." (WB&TS, 1989, "Reasoning from the Scriptures,"p.405).
>The point of the study is to learn and encourage studying the Bible.
Again, you are either ignorant of Watchtower teaching, or you are engaging in "theocratic warfare," hiding the truth from non-JWs. Apart from the Watchtower's above warning to JWs not to "read the Bible exclusively" because they would come to believe Christianity's doctrines, the Society has consistently stated that the Bible cannot be understood on its own without Watchtower `guidance'.
For example, "God has not arranged for that Word to speak independently or to shine forth life-giving truths by itself. ... It is through his organization [the Watchtower Society] that God provides this light:
"The world is full of Bibles, which Book contains the commandments of God. Why, then, do the people not know which way to go? Because they do not also have the teaching or law of the mother, which is light. Jehovah God has provided his holy written Word for all mankind and it contains all the information that is needed for men in taking a course leading to life. But God has not arranged for that Word to speak independently or to shine forth life-giving truths by itself. His Word says: `Light is sown for the righteous.' (Ps. 97:11) It is through his organization that God provides this light that the proverb says is the teaching or law of the mother. If we are to walk in the light of truth we must recognize not only Jehovah God as our Father but his organization as our mother." ("Show Respect for Jehovah's Organization.," The Watchtower, May 1, 1957, pp.273-279, p.274).
"The Bible itself is an organizational book" and "cannot be properly understood without Jehovah's visible organization":
"The Bible itself is an organizational book. ... As the canon of books of God's Word was expanded and the Christian Greek Scriptures were added to complete the Bible, each book was written directly to the Christian congregation or to a member of the Christian congregation in its behalf. Thus the Bible is an organizational book and belongs to the Christian congregation as an organization, not to individuals, regardless of how sincerely they may believe that they can interpret the Bible. For this reason the Bible cannot be properly understood without Jehovah's visible organization in mind." ("Finding Freedom with Jehovah's Visible Organization," The Watchtower, October 1, 1967, pp.585-591, pp.586-587).
"God has also provided his visible organization ... to help Christians in all nations to understand and apply properly the Bible in their lives. Unless we are in touch with this channel of communication ... we will not progress along the road to life, no matter how much Bible reading we do":
"No matter where we may live on earth, God's Word continues to serve as a light to our path and a lamp to our roadway as to our conduct and beliefs. (Ps. 119:105) But Jehovah God has also provided his visible organization, his `faithful and discreet slave,' made up of spirit-anointed ones, to help Christians in all nations to understand and apply properly the Bible in their lives. Unless we are in touch with this channel of communication that God is using, we will not progress along the road to life, no matter how much Bible reading we do.-Compare Acts 8:30-40." ("The Path of the Righteous Does Keep Getting Brighter," The Watchtower, December 1, 1981, pp.26-31, p.27).
>I also encourage people to go through the book with their own Bible.
The key is "go through the book." The Watchtower's study book both sets the topics to be study and controls the interpretation of those topics. The average person with limited Bible knowledge, and even less knowledge of Watchtower teachings, never stands a chance against a highly trained JW.
The point of a JW "study" is not to study the Bible to find out what it teaches, but rather to try to make the Bible appear to support what the Watchtower teaches. For example, under the heading "Bending Scripture to Fit Organizational History," former Governing Body member Ray Franz cited "the organization's depicting itself as the central figure of various Bible prophecies," namely "the blowing of seven trumpets by God's angels" (Rev 8-9) and the "seven plagues and seven bowls of God's anger due to be poured out upon the earth" (Rev 15-16), the Watchtower claims was fulfilled by "seven resolutions passed at seven conventions of Watch Tower adherents during the years 1922 to 1928"!:
"Bending Scripture to Fit Organizational History The fallacy of provincialism is particularly evident in the organization's depicting itself as the central figure of various Bible prophecies. As but one example, the Watch Tower publications' constant reference to events of 1919 and 1922 (the time when the wrongly-based `Millions campaign' and its focus on 1925 was in full swing) shows how-by carefully developing certain features and incidents while ignoring others- events of a comparatively trivial nature occurring in a certain period of the past can be magnified to appear as of monumental significance, of world-shaking importance. The book of Revelation (chapters 8 and 9) depicts the blowing of seven trumpets by God's angels, accompanied by dramatic destructive effects, and later (chapters 15 and 16) we find a vision of seven plagues and seven bowls of God's anger due to be poured out upon the earth. The striking effects of all these are presented as of earth-shaking consequence. According to the Watch Tower publications, these visions have been virtually fulfilled. How? Most notably by seven resolutions passed at seven conventions of Watch Tower adherents during the years 1922 to 1928. [See Babylon the Great Has Fallen!, pages 530-575; Then Is Finished the Mystery of God, pages 209-247; Revelation-Its Grand Climax At Hand!, pages 129-160] Yet today, none of those organizational pronouncements and events of the 1920s are known by the vast majority of Jehovah's Witnesses, much less by anyone in the rest of the world. I seriously doubt that any member of the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses would even attempt to explain in any detail the interpretation of the pouring out of these bowls and plagues and their supposed individual fulfilments. If questioned about the fulfillment, they could answer only by reading it directly from a Watch Tower publication setting out the claimed interpretation." (Franz, R., 2007, "In Search of Christian Freedom," , Commentary Press: Atlanta GA, Second edition, pp.441-442. Emphasis original).
See this quote from Revelation-Its Grand Climax At Hand! that, "In line with there being a sequence of trumpet blasts [in Revelation 8:1-9:21] special resolutions were featured at seven conventions from 1922 to 1928"!
"Jehovah's Plages on Christendom ... Revelation 8:1-9:21 ... Preparing for the Blasts of the Trumpets John goes on to say: `And the seven angels with the seven trumpets prepared to blow them.' (Revelation 8:6) What does the blowing of those trumpets mean? .... From 1919 to 1922, the revitalized John class was busy in reorganizing the public ministry and building up publishing facilities. In 1919 the magazine The Golden Age, known today as Awake!, had been brought forth ... a trumpetlike instrument that would play a key role in exposing false religion's political involvements. As we shall now see, each of the trumpet blasts heralds a dramatic scene in which terrible plagues affect portions of the earth. ... As we shall see, when the first four trumpets are blown, plagues are inflicted on `a third' of the earth, of the sea, of the rivers and fountains of waters, and of the earth's sources of light. (Revelation 8:7-12) A third is a considerable part of something but not the whole. ... So which `third' would be most deserving of these plagues? ... It is Christendom! In the 1920's, her realm embraced about one third of mankind. Her religion is the fruit of the great apostasy from true Christianity-the apostasy that Jesus and his disciples foretold. (Matthew 13:24-30; Acts 20:29, 30; 2 Thessalonians 2:3; 2 Peter 2:1-3) The clergy of Christendom claim to be in God's temple and have represented themselves as teachers of Christianity. But their doctrines are far removed from Bible truth, and they continually bring God's name into disrepute. Aptly represented by the symbolic third, Christendom receives potent, plaguing messages from Jehovah. That third of mankind merits no divine favor whatsoever! In line with there being a sequence of trumpet blasts, special resolutions were featured at seven conventions from 1922 to 1928." (WB&TS, 1988, "Revelation: Its Grand Climax At Hand!," Watchtower Bible & Tract Society: Brooklyn NY, pp.129,132-133).
There is nothing in the text of Revelation 8:1-9:21 about "special resolutions ... at seven [Watchtower] conventions from 1922 to 1928." Nor is there anything to suggest that "`a third' of the earth, of the sea, of the rivers and fountains of waters, and of the earth's sources of light" is "Christendom." So the Watchtower is forcing its teachings onto the Bible, not getting its teachings from the Bible.
Note also the Watchtower's extreme hatred of "Christendom" (i.e. historic, orthodox, Bible-believing, Christianity-what JWs will come to believe if they "read the Bible exclusively" - see above) revealed in this quote. This shows that the Watchtower and its blind followers (Mt 15:14 NWT) are being used by Satan in his war against Christians who "have the work of bearing witness to Jesus" (not Jehovah):
Rev 12:13-17 NWT. Now when the dragon saw that it was hurled down to the earth, it persecuted the woman that gave birth to the male child. But the two wings of the great eagle were given the woman, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place; there is where she is fed for a time and times and half a time away from the face of the serpent. And the serpent disgorged water like a river from its mouth after the woman, to cause her to be drowned by the river. But the earth came to the woman's help, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the river that the dragon disgorged from its mouth. And the dragon grew wrathful at the woman, and went off to wage war with the remaining ones of her seed, who observe the commandments of God and have the work of bearing witness to Jesus.
>I am not trying to trick someone to believe what I believe.
You may not realise it, but you are being used by the Watchtower to trick non-JWs with inadequate Bible knowledge into believing what the Watchtower wants them to believe. Just as you have been tricked and those who tricked you have been tricked, and so on, all the way back to "Charles Taze Russell ". The Watchtower has trained you (and other JWs) so that you sincerely believe that you are doing God's will. But what you actually are doing is the Watchtower's (and ultimately Satan's) will. Ex-Governing Body member Ray Franz correctly observed that JWs today (including even Governing Body members) are all "victims of victims" in propagating "myths ... as `revealed truth'":
"I felt, and still feel, that there were many good men on the Governing Body. In a long-distance phone call, a former Witness said to me, `We have been followers of followers.' Another said, `We have been victims of victims.' I think both statements are true. Charles Taze Russell followed the views of certain men of his time, was victimized by some of the myths they propagated as `revealed truth.' Each successive part of the organizational leadership has followed along, at times contributing additional myth in support of, or in elaboration of, the original myth. In place of rancor, I feel only compassion for those men I know, for I too was such a `victim of victims,' a `follower of followers.'" (Franz, R., 2002, "Crisis of Conscience," Commentary Press: Atlanta GA, Fourth edition, Third printing, 2007, p.274).
>I am a Christian first above all things.
Sorry, but you are not a Christian. For one, the `Christ' you believe in is Michael the Archangel:
"Who Is Michael the Archangel? THE spirit creature called Michael is not mentioned often in the Bible. However, when he is referred to, he is in action. In the book of Daniel, Michael is battling wicked angels; in the letter of Jude, he is disputing with Satan; and in Revelation, he is waging war with the Devil and his demons. By defending Jehovah's rulership and fighting God's enemies, Michael lives up to the meaning of his name-'Who Is Like God?' But who is Michael? At times, individuals are known by more than one name. For example, the patriarch Jacob is also known as Israel, and the apostle Peter, as Simon. (Genesis 49:1, 2; Matthew 10:2) Likewise, the Bible indicates that Michael is another name for Jesus Christ, before and after his life on earth. Let us consider Scriptural reasons for drawing that conclusion." (WB&TS, 2005, "What Does the Bible Really Teach?," Watchtower Bible & Tract Society of New York: Brooklyn NY, p.218. Emphasis original).
That is, your `Christ' is one of many "false Christs" whom Jesus warned us would come:
"A JW may try to defend the Watchtower Society, saying that those false prophecies were all `mistakes' and that the organization has learned from these mistakes and no longer makes prophetic statements about when the end will come. ... The facts are inescapable: The Watchtower Society spoke as a prophet, in the name of God, and what was prophesied did not come true. What does this mean for the individual Jehovah's Witness? Invite one to read what God's Word says about false prophets-and then ask what God would have him or her do. The Bible contains these warnings from Jesus Christ: `Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.' `For false Christs and false prophets will arise ... ` (Matt. 7:15, and 24:24, RSV). And the strong words quoted above from Deuteronomy 18:20-22, besides expressing God's judgment that the false prophet `must die,' also tell listeners, `You must not get frightened at him.' Rather than remain fearfully obedient to Watchtower leaders, the individual Jehovah's Witness who recognizes the organization as a false prophet should quit following it and start following the true Prophet, Jesus Christ." (Reed, 1986, pp.32-33).
For another, the Watchtower has admitted that JWs are "a people, not for the name of Jesus":
"By means of his written Word upon which the light of fulfilled prophecy was shining Jehovah led the remnant to appreciate more the importance and preciousness of his name. They came to appreciate that they were a people, not for the name of Jesus, but for the name of Jehovah ..." ("Of Which God Are You a Witness?" The Watchtower, February 15, 1964, pp.104-111, p.109).
As confirmation of this, the Society has admitted that in its 1905 songbook there were "twice as many songs praising Jesus as ... songs praising Jehovah" but in the Society's 1984 songbook, "Jehovah is honored by four times as many songs as is Jesus":
"In the songbook produced by Jehovah's people in 1905, there were twice as many songs praising Jesus as there were songs praising Jehovah God. In their 1928 songbook, the number of songs extolling Jesus was about the same as the number extolling Jehovah. But in the latest songbook of 1984 [Sing Praises to Jehovah], Jehovah is honored by four times as many songs as is Jesus." (WB&TS, 1988, p.36).
In fact, having read through that 1984 JW songbook, I discovered that there are no songs in it praising Jesus! But then why would there be in it any songs praising Michael the Archangel?
Continued in part #2.