Using the Bible and an exegetical approach to research, we first examine the teachings of Jehovah's Witnesses. However, our goal is to help Christians to draw closer to our Lord and our Father and to develop the qualities of love, faith, and hope.
Why I Left the Watchtower Organization After 61 Years of Devoted Service
By Sheryl Bogolin Email firstname.lastname@example.org
The first congregational meeting of Jehovah's Witnesses that I attended with my family was held in the basement of a home filled with many, many chairs. Although I was only 10 years old, I found it to be rather intriguing. The young woman I sat next to raised her hand and answered a question from the Watchtower magazine. I whispered to her, “Do it again.” She did. Thus began my complete immersion into the religion known as Jehovah's Witnesses.
My father was the first one in our family to pursue an interest in the religion, probably because his older brother was already one of Jehovah's Witnesses. My mother agreed to a home Bible study only to prove the Witnesses wrong. We four kids were dragged in from our playtime outside and reluctantly sat in on the weekly study, although the discussions were often beyond our understanding and sometimes we nodded off.
But I must have gotten something out of those studies. Because I began talking with my friends about Bible topics on a regular basis. In fact, I wrote a term paper in 8th grade entitled: “Are You Afraid of Hell?” That caused quite a stir among my classmates.
It was also when I was about 13 years old that I got into a debate with a householder, who obviously knew more about the Bible than I did. Finally, in frustration, I said: “Well, we might not get everything right, but at least we're out here preaching!”
All six of us in the family were baptized within a couple years of each other. My baptism date was April 26, 1958. I was not quite 13 years of age. As my whole family was quite outgoing and gregarious, it was almost easy for us to knock on doors and start up conversations with people about the Bible.
My sister and I both started regular pioneering as soon as we graduated from High School in the early '60s. In view of the fact that I would have made the eighth regular pioneer in our home congregation, we decided to go where the “need was greater”. The Circuit Servant recommended that we assist a congregation in Illinois about 30 miles away from our childhood home.
We initially lived with a dear Witness family of five, which soon became six. So we found an apartment and invited two sisters from our original congregation to live and pioneer with us. And help us with expenses! We jokingly called ourselves 'Jephthah's Daughters'. (Because we figured we might all remain single.) We had good times together. Though it was necessary to count our pennies, I never felt like we were poor.
Back in the early '60's, I think about 75% of the householders in our territory actually were at home and would answer their door. Most were religious and willing to talk to us. Many were anxious to defend their own religious beliefs. As were we! We took our ministry very seriously. We each had a few regular Bible studies. We used either the “Good News” booklet or the “Let God Be True” book. In addition, I tried to include a 5-10 minute segment at the end of each study which was nicknamed “DITTO”.--.Direct Interest To The Organization.
Within the congregation, we were also busy. Since our new congregation was small with a limited number of qualified brothers, both my sister and I were assigned to fill positions of “servants”, such as the “Territory Servant”. We even had to conduct the Congregation Book Study sometimes although a baptized brother was present. That was a little uncomfortable.
In 1966, my sister and I applied for the special pioneer work and were assigned to a small congregation in Wisconsin. About that same time my parents sold their house and bakery and moved to Minnesota as pioneers. Later they entered the Circuit work. With the last name of Sovereign. they fit right in.
Our congregation in Wisconsin was also small, about 35 publishers. As special pioneers,
When is Nisan 14 in 2020?
When is Nisan 14 in 2020 (Jewish Calendar Year 5780)?
New Moon in the Western Sky begins the lunar month.
The Jewish Calendar consists of 12 lunar months of 29.5 days each, bringing the “return of the year” in 354 days, falling short by 11 and one-quarter days of the solar year length. So the first problem in determining the date is to choose which new moon will mark the first month of the sacred year (as opposed to the start of the agricultural year which is 6 months latter).
In the 4th century of our common era the rabbi Hillel II established an official Jewish Calendar that has been in use since then. A 13th lunar month is added 7 times in 19 years to make up the shortfall. The long years (13 months) occur at the end of years 3, 6, 8, 11, 14, 17 and 19 in the cycle, which is named for the Greek astronomer, Meton, who first devised it in the fifth century before our common era.
This cycle pattern is similar to the black keys on the piano, representing the grouping of long years.
Piano Key pattern of 13-month years in 19 year Metonic Cycle
This means that by simply observing the calendar, we can determine which years correspond to this pattern of long years. Since the 20th century the first year on the Jewish calendar in the 19-year groups began in 1902, and again in 1921, 1940, 1959, 1978, 1997, and 2016. The first 13-month year of the current cycle occurred in 2019, corresponding with C# on the piano scales as year 3.
Jehovah’s Witnesses have followed this same pattern since the first World War. However, their first year in the cycle occurs 14 years after the Jewish system, or 5 years earlier in the over-lapping scale of time. So in 2020, the Jewish calendar is at year 5 (12 months), while the Witnesses are at year 10 (also 12 months.) The mis-matches between the two parallel systems occur in years 1, 9 and 12 of the Jewish system, when those years are short, whereas the Witnesses are observing long years 6, 14, and 17 at the same corresponding time. Likewise, while the Jews are observing adar-adar, their 13th month in their years 3 and 14, Witnesses are starting Nisan a month earlier. This means that although Witnesses claim to follow the Jewish passover for Nisan 14, in 5 out of 19 years, there is a month difference in setting the date for Nisan 14.
According to this for 2020 (5780) both systems have a short year, with Nisan starting with the new moon just after the spring equinox. That astronomical conjunction of the moon and the sun will occur at 11:29 am on March 24th (28th day of the Jewish month Adar) Jerusalem time, with the sun setting just before 6 pm. In order for a star or a dark face moon to be visible, the sun must be at least 8 degrees below the horizon, and the body observed must be 3 degrees above the horizon. Therefore, the new moon will not be visible in Jerusalem that evening, even with the best weather, and the next day will be the 29th of Adar.
The moon moves to the left of the sun when the sun is high in the sky in its daily arc, or it appears to rise above it at sunset at the rate of one diameter per hour or 0.508 degrees of arc out of 360. Therefore to separate from the sun by the required 11 degrees, at least 22 hours of time must elapse after the time of conjunction or point of passing in the observed sky.
Sunset the next evening in Jerusalem on March 25th will occur at 5:54 pm local time (GMT+2), when the sun will descend below the horizon. Thirty-two minutes later the sun will be 8 degrees below the horizon, but the lunar month’s astronomical age will be 30.5 hours old, placing the moon about 7 degrees above the horizon, allowing for a visual sighting. Therefore, Witnesses will start their month of Nisan at sunset on Wednesday March 25th. This means that Nisan 14 will begin at sunset on Tuesday, April 7th,
Does God Exist?
This series of videos is devoted specifically to Jehovah’s Witnesses who have or are waking up to the true nature of JW.org. When your life is all planned out for you and your salvation is assured based on membership in and obedience to an organization, it is extremely distressing to be suddenly “out on the street” as it were.
For some, the motivation to leave the organization comes from a love of truth.[i] Sitting in a meeting listening to falsehoods being expounded from the platform grates on the soul to the point that you can no longer stand it and have to get out.
Others are driven out by revelations of gross hypocrisy coming from men whom they have trusted with their very salvation. Disfellowshipping someone, for example, for getting a membership in the YMCA or for voting is unconscionable when it comes from men who have authorized a voluntary 10-year affiliation with the United Nations, the image of the Wild Beast.[ii]
But perhaps for the majority, ‘the straw that broke the camel’s back’ was the worldwide mishandling of child sexual abuse revealed most prominently when the Government of Australia investigated Jehovah’s Witnesses. They seized their records from the branch and saw that over a thousand cases were handled, and yet not one was reported to the authorities, revealing a decades-long policy of silence.[iii]
Whatever the cause, the benefit for many has been the freedom that comes from knowing the truth. Just as Jesus promised, the truth has set us free. So, it seems such a tragedy that having gained freedom, some again succumb to enslavement to men. Scanning the internet leads to the inevitable conclusion that the majority of those leaving the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses turn to agnosticism and atheism. Then there are others who fall prey to the many conspiracy theorists out there spouting all manner of zany ideas.
The question that must be asked is, ‘Have the majority of people lost the power of critical thought?’ We’re not just talking with regard to religion, but rather there seems to be a willingness in all walks of life—politics, economics, science, you name it—to simply surrender one’s thinking ability up to others whom we may consider more knowledgeable or more intelligent or more powerful than ourselves. This is understandable, though not excusable, because we are kept so busy just making ends meet that we feel we lack the time and inclination to properly examine whether what someone is preaching and teaching is fact or fiction.
But can we really afford to do this? The apostle John tells us that “the whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one”. (1 John 5:19) Jesus calls Satan the father of the lie and the original manslayer. (John 8:42-44 NTW Reference Bible) It follows that lies and deception would be the standard modus operandi of today’s world.
Paul told the Galatians: “For such freedom Christ set us free. Therefore stand fast, and do not let yourselves be confined again in a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1 NWT) And again to the Colossians he said, “Look out that no one takes you captive by means of the philosophy and empty deception according to human tradition, according to the elementary things of the world and not according to Christ;” (Col 2:8 NWT)
It appears that for many, having been set free from enslavement to the men governing the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses, they then fall prey to modern “philosophies and empty deceptions” and again become “captives of a concept”.
Your only protection is your own ability to think critically. You can still trust people, but only after you have verified that they are trustworthy, and even then, your trust must have limits. “Trust but verify” must be our mantra. You may trust me to a degree—and I’ll do what I can to earn that
Trust in Jehovah and Live
“Trust in Jehovah with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding.” – Proverbs 3:5
[From ws 11/18 p.13 January 14 – 20, 2019]
This article is a rare type of article. One with very little of any consequence to highlight as scripturally incorrect, or scripturally unsupported.
There are, however, a few items to draw our attention.
Paragraph 1 is interesting as it says the following.
“True, we are convinced that these “critical times hard to deal with” are evidence that we are living “in the last days” and that each passing day brings us one step closer to the new world. (2 Timothy 3:1)”
This statement is interesting in several ways. The writer is presuming to speak for all Jehovah's Witnesses. Yet, he makes no attempt to prove we are living “in the last days”, but rather appeals to emotion saying that because times are difficult for many, they must be the last days. Indeed, what is noticeable by its absence is any reference to 1914 as the beginning of the last days.
Of course, this statement ignores the fact that 2 Timothy 3:1 was fulfilled in the first century, and that the Scriptures give no indication that it should have a second fulfillment.
The statement that “each passing day brings us one step closer to the new world” is hardly headline news. It is true whether the new world is a year away or 100 years away. Yet, it is designed to reinforce the JW trademark idea that the end is "imminent".
Paragraph 12 also should be considered. Here it says, “Second, we need to listen to what Jehovah tells us through his Word and organization”. Notice how “Organization” is tacked on to something we know to be true. It assumes an equivalency which is not there. How exactly does Jehovah tell us to do something through the Organization? They state they are not inspired, so to say "we need to listen to what Jehovah tells us through his organization" is nonsensical.
What did Jesus say that has a bearing on this question? Luke 11:13 records Jesus as saying “Therefore, if YOU, although being wicked, know how to give good gifts to YOUR children, how much more so will the Father in heaven give holy spirit to those asking him!” According to this scripture, obtaining Holy Spirit is dependent on asking God in prayer, not whether you are a member of a self-appointed elite. Furthermore, there is no monopoly on receiving Holy Spirit, unlike what the Organization would have us believe.
Paragraph 17 has an interesting statement when it says: “Jehovah extends his promise of life to any righteous person who displays faith and trust in Him.” Note the phrase “any righteous person”. Is this also a softening in the previous stance that only Witnesses will survive Armageddon? Is more emphasis being put on the actions of the individual rather than if they are a Witness and fulfilling the desires of the Organization? Time will tell.
Our final point is from paragraph 19. There point 2 on how we can maintain trust in Jehovah states: by “paying careful attention to Jehovah’s Word and any direction we receive through his organization”. We will definitely do well to pay careful attention to Jehovah’s Word. However, it is a different matter for those claiming to be his Organization. Given how untrustworthy the predictions of the Organization have been, it would likely reduce our trust in Jehovah were we to pay “careful attention” to all directions from the Organization. Rather than “any direction”, we would need to be highly selective, otherwise we could become another casualty of the Organization with our faith and trust in Jehovah shattered.
“I will walk in your Truth”
“Instruct me, O Jehovah, about your way. I will walk in your truth.” – Psalm 86:11
[From ws 11/18 p.8 January 7 – 13, 2019]
The opening paragraph alerts us to the facts that in many places people return up to nearly 10% of what they buy from shops and nearly 30% of online purchases.
“Perhaps the buyers found that the item did not meet their expectations, was defective, or was just not to their liking. So they decided to exchange the item or to ask for a refund.”
While many countries have legislation that gives consumers a legal right to return defective goods, only larger businesses tend to offer exchange for items not to a person’s liking. Recognizing that distance purchasing is more difficult as the consumer cannot see the product physically only virtually, there is often greater return/refund rights for such purchases.
Many if not all salesmen exaggerate the description, benefits, versatility, etc. of goods they sell. As buyers we have to be wary and discerning and question dubious claims, so that we are not duped. The same applies for Bible truth.
When they find out they have been duped, consumers can get very upset. But what if you've been duped into wasting or misusing years of your life?
It is true 'we would never want to return, or 'sell' the accurate knowledge of Bible truth that we have bought.' (Par. 2) To that end, as we awaken to the real truth about teachings we have learnt from the Organization, we need to be careful not 'to throw the baby out with the bath water' as the saying goes. We need to be able to carefully discard the untruth we were taught and believed while keeping hold of the accurate knowledge we gained from the Bible. That this is difficult to do—sorting the wheat from the chaff as it were—has to be acknowledged, but it is necessary if we are to please our Father and his designated King, Christ Jesus.
Paragraph 3 tries to convince us that, “Sadly, though, some of God’s people have lost sight of the value of the truth they obtained—and have even sold it.” This is grudging acknowledgement that many are currently leaving the Organization. The real problem is the continued sale and teaching of counterfeit “truth” rather than real “truth”.
Why and How some sell the truth (Par.4-6)
This section gives some reasons why many no longer remain Jehovah’s Witnesses. Let us list them and examine what is behind them.
* “Some were stumbled by an adjusted understanding of a Bible passage”. The presumption here is that the "adjusted understanding" is true. But if the adjusted understanding is a lie, then surely it would be wrong to "buy" it. Take, for example, the lie of the “overlapping generations” doctrine which is promoted without any scriptural basis and which stretches the English language to a ludicrous degree.
* “or by what a prominent brother said or did.” Could they be referring to the negative effect produced by Geoffrey Jackson's misleading testimony before the Australian Royal Commission on Child Sexual Abuse.
* “Others were offended by Scriptural counsel they received” In my experience, the vast majority of elders rarely give true scriptural advice, it is usually their own opinion backed up with a few cherry-picked scriptures taken out of context. It is therefore not surprising if the recipients get offended.
* “or they let go of the truth because of a personality clash with a fellow Christian.” This raises the question, was the one who remained a Witness displaying a true Christian spirit? If so, then they would have a true Christian personality and it would be difficult to dislike or have a clash with such a person. If they were not displaying a true Christian spirit, then they have potentially stumbled the one leaving.
* “Still others took sides with apostates and other opposers who misrepres
Awakening: “Religion Is a Snare and a Racket”
Here’s the scenario. Let’s say you have a Bible study with, say, a Catholic. You show him from Scripture that the Trinity, hellfire, and the immortality of the human soul are false teachings. (Yes, I believe the Trinity, hellfire, and the immortal soul are all false teachings. Some of you will disagree with me on that, but bear with me. We’ll get into those topics on another occasion. ) So you ask your Catholic student if it makes sense to remain in a religion that teaches false doctrine, and he answers, “Maybe the Church is wrong about some Bible teachings, but it’s not for me to interpret Scripture. Christ appointed the Pope as his Faithful and Discreet Slave, so if he’s wrong, it’s up to Jesus to correct him.”
Later in your study, you come to the question of neutrality—that Christians are to be no part of the world. Maybe you even discuss the United Nations Organization as the wicked wild beast of Revelation, pointing out that the Catholic Church is a member of the organization.
Your Bible student agrees, but states that it is important to wait on God, to give him time to fix the Church.
In a final effort, you talk about the scandal of child sexual abuse within the church, and how the the leadership of the Church covered up these crimes and did not report them to the authorities.
That should do it, you think. Yet, he remains unmoved. He dismisses these claims as exaggerations and attacks on the Church by haters and opposers. Pedophiles are everywhere he counters, but the church’s mishandling is not due to wickedness, but just the imperfection of men.
When you push him a bit more to reason on these things, he says, “Remember, God has chosen the Catholic Church as his earthly organization. It is the oldest Church. The first Church. If the Church hadn’t been preaching the good news around the world, we would not now have a third of the world declaring itself as Christian. Surely this could not have been accomplished without God’s blessing!”
Do you think the false teachings of the Church of Rome are merely a question of good-hearted men who, through imperfection, have made some mistakes? When a true lover of Christ makes a mistake that results in teaching some falsehood, or in conduct that is unbecoming of a follower of Christ, how does he react when another Christian points out his error? Does he correct his teaching, and/or apologize for his misconduct? Does he takes steps to correct himself and undo the damage caused? Or does he lash out against the one who lovingly corrected him, calling him names to discredit him? Does he persecute that one trying to set him straight?
If the latter, then it is not imperfection at work, but wickedness.
Witnesses condemn all other religions as forming part of Babylon the Great, because they teach false doctrines, engage in sinful conduct, and persecute true worshippers. (Jeremiah 51:45; Revelation 18:4)
But what happens when we put the shoe on the other foot? What response do we get when we apply the exact same reasoning—every last point of it—to the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses?
I got an email recently from a reader detailing his discussion—it went on for 45 pages—with a long-time friend who is an elder. When confronted with Scriptural reasoning and hard evidence that the Organization teaches false doctrine , has violated Christian neutrality by a 10-year affiliation in the UN, and has failed to report thousands of suspected and confirmed pedophiles to the authorities, this elder’s response was almost verbatim to what I’ve heard personally in my discussions with friends.
Here are a few excerpts.
“Why are you not with Jehovah's spirit-led organized people for his name anymore.”
“I will continue to feed from the Faithful Slave.”
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My family and I studied with Jehovah Witnesses after buying a house from a couple, who are also our neighbors, that are witnesses and have been for a long time, even went the the Hall for awhile, because we have the true love of Jesus in our hearts we were able to distinguish from the misinformation and know that this is not the truth, but it certainly shook things up in the meantime and this is great to listen to from a Christian perspective to continue our efforts to seek THE TRUTH and stand up for ourselves and Jesus when things are brought up and witness to them.