Trusting a Deceitful Organization

How much trust can you put in an organization? For many Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Watchtower Society is believed to be Jehovah’s organization in which they are to put their blind loyalty for divine guidance:

In the preceding article, we learned that our trust in Jehovah is manifested when we turn to him in prayer, when we seek direction from his Word, and when we look to his organization for guidance” (The Watchtower, September 1, 2003, 13)

In 2012, the Watchtower announced its adjustment in its doctrine of the ‘faithful and discreet slave’ declaring that:

“The evidence points to the following conclusion: “The faithful and discreet slave” was appointed over Jesus’ domestics in 1919. That slave is the small, composite group of anointed brothers serving at world headquarters during Christ’s presence who are directly involved in preparing and dispensing spiritual food. When this group work together as the Governing Body, they act as “the faithful and discreet slave.” (Annual Meeting Report 20102).

This unscriptural designation of a “class” of men as making up the faithful and discreet slave is primarily aimed at upholding the concept of a centralized authority vested by power from above. This is the means by which the governing body wields control over JWs by demanding their allegiance and submission.

This belief is aimed at diminishing individual discernment, faith, responsibility and discretion and elevating the Governing Body to a divine plane as The Watchtower bluntly puts it: “the faithful and discreet slave is directly under the control of Jesus Christ.” (March 15, 2002, p. 14)

But there are three major historical incidents that shatter these hallowed claims appropriated by Watchtower leadership into bits.

  1. The Society’s support of the Nazis

The Watchtower loves to attack Christendom for colluding with Hitler while mining a huge moral capital for itself by citing the resilience of many JWs who were imprisoned and killed for refusing to compromise their neutrality. But they are silent about how Joseph Rutherford had initially praised Hitler for his antagonism against the Jews and the Anglo-American empire.

Rutherford not only hated Christendom, he also promoted anti-Semitism and denounced Anglo-American empire as “the most oppressive empire on earth.” This is one of the areas where he dissented from his predecessor, Charles Russell, who was a Zionist.

Due to the refusal of many Jehovah’s Witnesses to offer their allegiance to the government or serve in the armed forces, in 1933, the Watchtower office in Berlin was closed and JWs were banned in several German states.

To appease Hitler into lifting the ban, Rutherford drafted a Declaration of Facts and sent a letter to Hitler, stating the Watchtower support for the Nazi regime. A part of the letter translated into English reads:

The Brooklyn headquarter of the Watchtower Society is pro-German in an exemplary way and has been so for many years. For that reason, in 1918, the president of the Society and seven members of the board of directors were sentenced to 80 years in prison, because the president refused to use two of the magazines published in America under his direction for war propaganda against Germany. These two magazines, “The Watchtower” and “Bible Student” were the only magazines in America which refused to engage in anti-German propaganda

“The enclosed declaration underlines this fact and emphasizes that the people leading in such propaganda (Jewish businessmen and Catholics) also are the most rigorous persecutors of the work of our Society and its board of directors…

“The conference of five thousand delegates also noted – as is expressed in the declaration – that the Bible Researchers in Germany are fighting for the very same high ethical goals and ideals which also the national government of the German Reich proclaimed respecting the relationship of humans to God, namely: honesty of the created being towards its creator.”

The Declaration of Facts was reprinted in their 1934 Yearbook where they stated that: “Instead of being against the principles advocated by the government of Germany, we stand squarely for such principles” (pp. 134-138, English edition).

The above letter in support of Hitler was also mentioned in the Watchtower Yearbook of 1974 (p. 111), yet in a gross display of hypocrisy and revisionism, the Watchtower chided church officials for not writing letters of protests against the Nazis as Jehovah’s Witnesses did in Germany! (The WT., October 1, 2011, p. 14).

  1. The betrayal of the Malawians

In 1964 (as well as 1970s and 1980s), Jehovah’s Witnesses in Malawi were heavily persecuted and harassed for their political neutrality. According to the Watchtower:

“It is because Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse to buy the Malawi Congress Party Card. This card declares the holder to be a member of the ruling political party of Malawi. But for Jehovah’s Witnesses to buy a political card and thus join a political party would be an open denial of what they believe and stand for.” (Awake! August 8, 1976, p. 5)

Thousands of Malawian JWs were brutally tortured and killed for their adherence to this Watchtower doctrine. In each wave of violence, beatings, torture and even murder went virtually unchecked by the authorities. Raymond Franz wrote:

“In the first attack, 1,091 Malawi families saw their little homes burned or otherwise demolished with 588 fields of crops destroyed. In the 1967 attacks, Witnesses reported the raping of more than one thousand of their women, one mother being sexually violated by six different men, her 13 year old daughter by three men” (Crisis of Conscience, 1983 p. 112).

Yet, the Governing Body took an opposite position when a similar situation occurred at about the same time in Mexico.

At the time, men of draft age were required to undergo a specified period of military training for one year. On completion of service, young men would receive a certificate or “Cartilla” noting down their attendance at weekly military instruction classes.

Like the card used in Malawi, the “Cartilla” was required for transactions such as obtaining a passport or driver’s license and it was illegal for officials to fill in the attendance record if the registrant has not attended military classes, but officials could be bribed to do so. This was what many JWs did.

The Governing Body of the Watchtower Society ruled that:

If members of the military establishment are willing to accept such an arrangement upon the payment of a fee then that is the responsibility of these representatives of the national organization. In such a case the money paid does not go to the military establishment, but is appropriated by the individual who undertakes the arrangement. If the conscience of certain brothers allow them to enter into such an arrangement for their continued freedom, we have no objection” (Letter to Mexico Branch Committee, June 2, 1960, reproduced by Raymond Franz in Crisis of Conscience p. 121).

In other words, Malawian Witnesses were hypocritically forced to uphold a higher standard than was expected of those in Mexico. No thanks to the Governing Body with its surprising detours and contradictory stances. The Watchtower used their (apparently inferior) African followers as bullocks to be sacrificed to uphold their image.

  1. The secret league with the United Nations

For decades, the Watchtower Society has launched its missiles against the United Nations, identifying it as an anti-Christ organization, the image of the wild beast and Satan organization set up against Jehovah and his witnesses.

“No, the UN is not a blessing, even though the religious clergy of Christendom and the rabbis of Jewry pray heaven’s blessings upon that organization. It is reallythe image of the wild beast,” the visible political and commercial organization of “the god of the system of things,” Satan the Devil. So the UN will soon be destroyed along with that beastly organization” (The WT 1984, Sep. 15, p. 15)

“The United Nations is actually a worldly confederacy against Jehovah God and his dedicated Witnesses on earth.” (The WT, 1987, Sep. 1, p. 20).

But, in October 2001, a stunning revelation emerged that the Watchtower Society had been an associate NGO with the United Nations since 1992! In 1991, the Watchtower Society applied to be a NGO associate of the UN and their application was being renewed annually. Few days after it became public knowledge that they were working with the UN, the Society pulled out of the alliance.

Stephen Bates, a correspondent with The Guardian (UK), was the first to expose this astonishing hypocrisy on October 8, 2001:

“The United Nations is being asked to investigate why it has granted associate status to the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the fundamentalist US-based Christian sect, which regards it as the scarlet beast predicted in the Book of Revelation. Disaffected members of the 6 million-strong group, which has 130,000 followers in the UK, have accused the Witnesses’ elderly governing body of hypocrisy in secretly accepting links with an organization that they continue to denounce in apocalyptic terms. The UN itself admitted yesterday that it was surprised that the sect whose formal name is the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, had been accepted on its list of non-governmental organizations for the last 10 years.”

Again, we are confronted with the unjust double standards which the Watchtower holds for itself and those under its control. No JW is allowed to work even as a janitor for any political or worldly organization such as the UN. To do so would be a violation of their theocratic “neutrality” and will result in one being disfellowshipped.

Yet, this same Watchtower Society was for decades in partnership with the very organization which they declare to be an anti-Christ organization – and they even went ahead to mislead their followers when their affiliation with the UN became public knowledge.

These are simply inexcusable stances showing an organization under the control of the father of lies and hence cannot provide any divine guidance. The lives and overall well-being of many JWs all around the world are being sacrificed on the altar of the Watchtower leadership which lives above its own austere diktats.

Jesus described them perfect: “For they say but do not practice what they say. They bind up heavy loads and put them on the shoulders of men but they themselves are not willing to budge them with their finger … Blind guides, who strain out the gnat but gulp down the camel!” (Matthew 23: 3-4, 24 NWT)

A Case Study of Watchtower Falsehood

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In 2009, a Witness gave me an anti-Trinitarian magazine titled “Should You Believe in the Trinity?” (published in 1989). She assumed it would shatter my belief in the Trinity and perhaps make me a Jehovah’s Witness. It actually backfired, as it gingered me to study more on this topic.

When she showed up again, she was disappointed. Her hope of converting me finally fizzled out like a damp squib.

They usually give this booklet to “strong Trinitarians,” and the reason is obvious, the rhetoric employed in this work is slippery.

The reader is bombarded with numerous quotes from various “Christian” scholars and historians all stating that the Trinity doctrine is confusing, a-historical, false, pagan and unbiblical. A Christian who is not well versed in Scripture, church history or theology can be easily misled by this 32 page brochure.

Reading this booklet, the first snag you will quickly run into (if you are observant) is that the sources quoted are not completely cited. They gave the names of the publications, but not the volume or page numbers. This makes it quite difficult for people to double-check the sources they quoted from. This is because, most of the quotes presented in favour of their thesis were a-contextual and spurious.

I will provide several examples of the dishonest quotations, convoluted and slippery -slope arguments that fill up this magazine. Of course, it won’t be necessary for me to refute every line in this work. Some dedicated Christian scholars have done that already.

Once the consistent errors and flawed methodology employed by the Watchtower Society in this booklet is noted, their entire thesis collapses along with their credibility. This should suffice to prevent Christians from being swayed by their arguments. It wi also show JWs that they have trusted in a deceitful organization.

Page 4: “Many sincere believers have found it [the Trinity doctrine] to be confusing, contrary to normal reason, unlike anything in their experience. How, they ask, could the Father be God, Jesus be God, and the holy spirit be God, yet there be not three Gods but only one God?”

Apart from the fact that this is an appeal to prejudice, here, the JW writers are trying to define the nature of God with human reason and experience. What happened to the transcendence, greatness and majesty of God?

God ceases to be God is all He is or able to do are only what the human mind can reason out or explain.

Can JWs explain to us by their “normal reason” or “experience” how God couldn’t have a beginning, or how He created the world out of nothing?

The next paragraph says:

This confusion is widespread. The Encyclopedia Americana notes that the doctrine of the Trinity is considered to be ‘beyond the grasp of human reason.’ Many who accept the Trinity view it that way.”

JWs are trying to say is that the Trinity doctrine should be rejected because it is beyond human comprehension. This is a double standard because in another publication, they say:

“Our minds cannot fully comprehend it. But that is not a sound reason for rejecting it … Should we really expect to understand everything about a Person who is so great that he could bring into existence the universe…?” (Reasoning From the Scriptures, 1985, pp. 148-9).

The full quote from the Encyclopedia Americana used (27:116) says:

It is held that although the doctrine is beyond the grasp of human reason, it is like many of the formulations of physical science, not contrary to reason, and may be apprehended (though it may not be comprehended) by the human mind.”

You can see that this work is saying the Trinity can be apprehended but the Watchtower magazine selectively quoted it.

The full quote on the same page from A Dictionary of Religious Knowledge (Lyman Abbot, 1875, 944) says:

“Precisely what the doctrine is, or rather precisely how it is to be explained, Trinitarians are not agreed among themselves … Sabellians … Others … Arianism … Tritheists … Swedenborgianism … the view of modern Trinitarians most current may be stated thus. It is not possible for the human intellect to comprehend fully the divine nature. The Bible represents God to us as Father, Son and Holy Ghost. It represents them as equally entitled to our highest reference, affection and allegiance.”

The parts omitted by the magazine appear in bold. The author was saying the opposite of what JWs wanted people to believe, so they selectively quoted him.

On pg. 5 we are told “that since the Trinity is such a confusing mystery” it couldn’t have come from divine revelation because “God is not a God of confusion” (1 Corinthians 14:33).

This is a fallacy of wrong conclusion based on false premises. The Bible text used here is speaking of order in a church service not the nature of God which the Scripture calls “the mystery of godliness” (1Tim. 3:16).

By juggling the word “mystery” with “confusion,” the Watchtower craftily presents its faulty conclusion.

In the same page under the heading “‘Trinity’ in the Bible?” the full quote from the Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Hodder and Stroughton, 1959, 3:1597) says:

It must be remembered that the OT was written before the revelation of the doctrine of the Trinity was clearly given. The word Trinity is not found in the Bible…It did not find a place formally in the theology of the church till the 4th century … Although Scripture does not give us a formulated doctrine of the Trinity, it contains all the elements out of which theology has constructed the doctrine.

Again, the source says the opposite of what the booklet is saying. Another full citation from the Catholic Encyclopedia (1912, 15:47) quoted in the same page reads:

“In Scripture there is as yet no single term by which the Three Divine Persons are denoted together. The word [trias] (of which the Latin trinitas is a translation) is first found in Theophilus of Antioch about A. D. 180. He speaks of the Trinity of God [the Father], His Word and His Wisdom (Ad. Auto, 11, 15. P.G VI1078). The term may, of course, have been in use before his time. Shortly afterwards it appears in its Latin form of trinitas in Tertullian.”

When you are quoting from a work, the meaning of the original quotes should be apparent, even when you use ellipses (…). But in this magazine, the Watchtower Society omits any aspect of their source that opposes their agenda.

Here, they deliberately left out the part in the work stating that  Theophilus taught the Trinity doctrine at least two generations before Tertullian.

Another example is Bernhard Lohse’s A Short History of Christian Doctrine (1966, 38) quoted on p. 6:

“As far as the New Testament is concerned, one does not find in it an actual doctrine of the Trinity … At the same time, however, there are in the New Testament the rudiments of a concept of God that was susceptible of further development and clarification, along doctrinal lines.”

You can see again that their source admits that the Trinity doctrine came from the Bible, a fact that the Watchtower didn’t want their readers to know. This is the same methodology employed throughout this booklet. Let me give one more example.

On page 6, under the heading ‘Testimony of the Hebrew Scriptures’ they quoted from the New Catholic Encyclopedia (1965, 306):

“The doctrine of the Holy Trinity is not taught in the O[ld] T[estament].”

But the very next sentence after this says: “In the N[ew] T[estament], the oldest evidence is in the Pauline epistles, especially 2Cor 13:13, and 1Cor 12:4-6. In the Gospels, evidence of Trinity is found explicitly only in the baptismal formula of Mt 28:19.”

That JWs would even use a Catholic reference work to repudiate the Trinity is enough to call their intellectual dignity into question, because everyone knows that Catholics believe in the Trinity.

Interestingly, this source also says: “The doctrine of the Lord’s Supper is not taught in the O.T

Will JWs on this basis stop celebrating the Lord’s Evening Meal yearly? The only way the Watchtower Society could deny the Trinity is by misrepresenting people’s views. This is wicked and ungodly.

Read part two here.