Jan 092005
 

I had noticed for a while that someone had the following in his signature on talk.religion.misc:

Bethel: a symbol of rank apostacy from true worship Insight, Vol I

That, along with an article in the March 1995 Our Kingdom Ministry entitled “Bethel Service – More Volunteers Needed” that was covered in the weekly Service Meeting got me to doing some research. In this first article I will quote from the article in the Kingdom Ministry, and then I will share some of the research from the Insight book and from the Bible regarding the historical background of the place called Bethel. After relating the story of Jacob’s ladder, and explaining how Bethel means “house of God”, the KM said:

March 1995 Kingdom Ministry “Bethel Service – More Volunteers Needed” Thus, the name Bethel has a rich historical background and is appropriate for the world headquarters of Jehovah’s people. Today God’s servants do not have divinely inspired dreams. Angels are not seen ascending and descending on a ladder from Bethel to heaven. Brothers are not receiving visions or hearing God’s voice directly. Yet, when you consider all that has happened at Bethel these past 85 years, from the time of Brother Russell till now, there is no doubt that Jehovah’s hand has been with his anointed servants, part of the spiritual seed of Abraham, at Bethel. So many outstanding events in the history of Jehovah’s modern-day Witnesses are closely associated with Bethel!

Consider some highlights:

On October 2, 1914, as he entered the Bethel dining room, Brother Russell accurately announced: “The Gentile Times have ended; their kings have had their day.”

In the early morning hours one day in 1931, shortly before the convention in Columbus, Ohio, the president of the Society, Brother Rutherford, discerned that the name Jehovah’s Witnesses truly described God’s people and the work they were already doing and that they should be identified as His witnesses. – yb 75 p. 151

In the early 1920’s, during the morning worship, a member of the Society’s editorial staff used the expression “God’s organization.” This so stimulated their thinking that by 1925 the brothers had come to see that there are to distinct and opposing organizations, Jehovah’s and Satan’s – w85 3/15 p. 10.

Early in 1935, questions were raised about who are the “great crowd,” or “great multitude.” (Rev. 7:9; KJ) some among those who expressed themselves at that time suggested that they were an earthly class. On May 31, 1935, at the Washington, D.C., convention, a satisfying explanation was given.

These few examples illustrate how Jehovah through his holy spirit, has given guidance and support to his faithful anointed servants at Bethel. And what about the angels? When you consider all the bitter opposition from our enemies and the difficult years when resources were scarce, there is no doubt that without angelic protection and assistance, Bethel could not have operated so remarkably all these years.1

Now that we’ve looked at what the March 1995 Our Kingdom Ministry said about Bethel, lets look at what the Insight from the Scriptures says about it:

Following the defilement of Dinah at Shechem and the act of vengeance executed by Jacob’s sons against the Shechemites, Jacob received God’s instruction to return to Bethel. After eliminating false religious articles from his household and servants, he traveled to Bethel under divine protection, built an altar there, and restated the name he had given the place earlier, calling it El-bethel, meaning “The God of Bethel.” Here Rebekah’s nursing woman Deborah died and was buried. Here, too, Jehovah confirmed the change of Jacob’s name to Israel, restating the Abrahamic promise. – Ge 35:1-16.2

and

Bethel was on the circuit visited by Samuel as he judged the people annually at that city as well as at Gilgal and Mizpah, and it was still viewed as a place favored for worship. (1Sa 7:16; 10:3) However, from then till the division of the kingdom (997 B.C.E.), Bethel is mentioned only in connection with King Saul’s stationing of troops in preparation for combat with the Philistines. – 1Sa 13:23

So far, so good. Bethel seems to fit the description in the KM of having a “rich historical background and is appropriate for the world headquarters of Jehovah’s people today.” Let’s go on to our next paragraph:

As a major city of the northern kingdom under Jeroboam, Bethel, once prominent as a place of revelation by the true God, now became renowned as a center of false worship. At Bethel, in the extreme S of the newly formed kingdom of Israel, and at Dan, in the extreme N thereof, Jeroboam set up the golden calves in his effort to dissuade the people of his realm from going to the temple at Jerusalem. (1Ki 12:27-29) With its own religious house and altar, a specially invented festival time, and priests selected from among the non-Levitical tribes, Bethel became a symbol of rank apostasy from true worship. (1Ki 12:31-33) Jehovah God did not delay in expressing his disapproval through a “man of the true God” sent to Bethel to pronounce judgment against the altar used in connection with calf worship. The ripping apart of this altar served as a portent, confirming the sure fulfillment of the prophet’s words. After leaving Bethel, however, this “man of the true God” allowed himself to be induced by an old prophet of Bethel to accept and act on a supposed message from an angel in violation of the direct orders from God, with disastrous consequences to himself. Slain by a lion, he was buried at Bethel in the personal burial place of the old prophet who saw in all these events the certainty of the fulfillment of Jehovah’s word and thus requested that his own body be buried at death in the same burial site.-1Ki 13:1-32.4

Hmmmm, the plot thickens! We could read all sorts of prophetic significance into this little incident. Let’s take a page from the WT and view an individual as prophically pointing forward to a class of people and pose a few obviously loaded, as well as only slightly sarcastic questions:

  1. Is there a figurative golden calf and altar today at a place called Bethel that was conveniently placed to dissuade people from worshipping God at his true temple?
  2. Is there a “man of the true God” class today that is being used by Jehovah to express his disapproval of this false worship at Bethel and is courageously pronoucing God’s impending judgement against the altar used in connection with this idolatry?
  3. Is there a danger that this “man of the true God” class could be mislead by an old false prophet of Bethel by means of a supposed “angelic” message and with disastrous consequences?

Are you beginning to get the picture? Let’s continue

Despite the prevalence of false worship there, the record shows Bethel as the location of a group of prophets in the time of Elijah and Elisha. Bethel was also the home of the group of jeering boys who mocked Elisha, this costing many of them their lives as a result of divine execution.-2Ki 2:1-3, 23, 24.5

Are there boys from Bethel today who mock the “man of the true God” class, possibly endangering their own lives?

The prophets Amos and Hosea, in the late ninth and mid-eighth centuries B.C.E., proclaimed God’s condemnation of the religious corruption centered at Bethel. Although Hosea makes direct mention of Bethel (meaning “House of God”) only when recalling God’s revelation of himself to faithful Jacob there (Ho 12:4), he evidently employs the name “Beth-aven,” meaning “House of Hurtfulness (Something Hurtful),” as applying to that city and the effect of its false religious practices. (Ho 4:15; 5:8) He warns that its calf idol served by foreign-god priests will come to be a cause for mourning to idolatrous Israel, its high places will be annihilated, and thorns and thistles will cover its altars; while the people, faced with exile in Assyria, cry out to the mountains, “Cover us!” and to the hills, “Fall over us!” (Ho 10:5-8; compare Lu 23:30; Re 6:16.)6

Could Bethel today be viewed at Beth-aven (House of Hurtfulness) due to its religious corruption and its false religious practices? Could it become a cause for mouring to its people when it is annihilated?

The prophet Amos spoke in similar vein, showing that, no matter how frequent the sacrifices offered by the people at Bethel’s altars, their pious pilgrimages to that place only constituted the commission of transgression, and warning that Jehovah’s burning anger would blaze against them inextinguishably. (Am 3:14; 4:4; 5:5, 6) Angered at this prophesying done by Amos right in Bethel, the apostate priest Amaziah accused Amos of seditious talk and ordered him to ‘go back to Judah where he came from’ and there do his prophesying: “But at Bethel you must no longer do any further prophesying, for it is the sanctuary of a king and it is the house of a kingdom.”-Am 7:10-13.7

  1. Is there an “Amos class” today that is courageously warning those worshipping at Bethel’s altars that no matter what sacrifices they offer at Bethel that it only constitutes the commission of transgression and that Jehovah’s anger will blaze against them (inextinguishably ?)
  2. Is there an “Amaziah class” of apostate priests at Bethel today who accuse the Amos class of seditous talk, kick them out of Bethel, order them not to prophesy there any longer and order them “back to Judah” (presumably Christendom) where they came from?

Finally, here are two scriptures I though appropriate to the discussion:

(Amos 4:4) “‘Come, YOU people, to Beth’el and commit transgression. At Gil’gal be frequent in committing transgression, and bring YOUR sacrifices in the morning; on the third day, YOUR tenth parts.

(Amos 5:5-6) And do not search for Beth’el, and to Gil’gal YOU must not come, and to Be’er-she’ba YOU must not pass over; because Gil’gal itself will without fail go into exile; and as regards Beth’el, it will become something uncanny. 6 Search for Jehovah, and keep living, that he may not become operative just like fire, O house of Joseph, and it may not actually devour, and Beth’el may not be with no one to extinguish [it],


  1. Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Divine Purpose, p. 166 []
  2. Insight on the Scriptures, vol. 1, p. 295 []
  3. Ibid, p. 296 []
  4. Ibid, p. 296 []
  5. Ibid, p. 296 []
  6. Ibid, p. 296-7 []
  7. Ibid, p. 296-7 []
Dec 292004
 

The evolution of Jehovah’s Witnesses baptism questions

These are the two questions that are asked of Jehovah’s Witness ‘baptismal candidates’ as a group just before they they are baptized. The questions have evololved over the years. Only the most recent set of questions mentions the organization.

Baptismal questions from the August 1, 1966 Watchtower, p. 465:

(1) Have you recognized yourself before Jehovah God as a sinner who needs salvation, and have you acknowledged to him that this salvation proceeds from him, the Father, through his Son Jesus Christ?

(2) On the basis of this faith in God and in his provision for salvation, have you dedicated yourself unreservedly to God to do his will henceforth as he reveals it to you through Jesus Christ and through the Bible under the enlightening power of the holy spirit?

Baptismal questions from the May 15, 1970 Watchtower, p. 309:

(1) Have you recognized yourself as a sinner and needing salvation from Jehovah God? And have you acknowledged that this salvation proceeds from him and through his ransomer, Christ Jesus?

(2) On the basis of this faith in God and in his provision for redemption have you dedicated yourself unreservedly to Jehovah God, to do his will henceforth as that will is revealed to you through Christ Jesus and through God’s Word as his holy spirit makes it plain?

Baptismal questions from the May 1, 1973 Watchtower, p. 280:

(1) Have you repented of your sins and turned around, recognizing yourself before Jehovah God as a condemned sinner who needs salvation, and have you acknowledged to him that this salvation proceeds from him, the Father, through his Son Jesus Christ?

(2) On the basis of this faith in God and in his provision for salvation, have you dedicated yourself unreservedly to God to do his will henceforth as he reveals it to you through Jesus Christ and through the Bible under the enlightening power of the holy spirit?

The newest baptismal questions, from the June 1, 1985 Watchtower:

(1) On the basis of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, have you repented of your sins and dedicated yourself to Jehovah to do his will?

(2) Do you understand that your dedication and baptism identify you as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in association with God’s spirit-directed organization?


Dec 262004
 

A JW posted on AOL> Maybe because they didnt kill each other in the war of hatred ( ww1 ) millions of Gods trinity believing young men on both sides slaughtering one another on the orders of men in hatred. While the trinity believing clergymen blessed the guns and bombs for the quick destruction of their own brothers in Christ on the other side. Listen to Jesus rev 3:12 My reply> The Witnesses were not as neutral during those years as you might think. When there was some criticism leveled against them in Brooklyn regarding war bonds, an article was published in the May 15, 1918 Watchtower that said the following on page 152 (page 6257 in the reprints):

“The International Bible Students’ Association is composed of Christians. Every Christian gladly obeys the law. The United States has always stood for religious liberty and freedom of speech. Every Christian appreciates the privilege of living in such a country and gladly meets his obligations in the payment of taxes. When the Government asks to borrow his money and gives its promise to pay in the nature of a bond, if he can do so he should buy the bond.  “The Association has no power to direct members thereof with reference to buying Liberty Bonds. It certainly will not and has not advised any one to refuse to buy bonds. That is an individual matter which each person must determine for himself according to his ability. The Association believes in supporting the Government in every way it can and each one should do so according to his ability and his conscience.’

The Watchtower also encouraged participation in the National Day of Humiliation, Prayer and Fasting that was held on May 30, 1918. The June 1, 1918 Watchtower contained an announcement that read:

“In accordance with the resolution of Congress of April 2nd, and with the proclamation of the President of the United States of May 11, it is suggested that the Lord’s people everywhere make May 30th a day of prayer and supplication.”

The end of that announcement is as follows:

“Let there be praise and thankgiving to God for the promised glorious outcome of the war, the breaking of the shackles of autocracy, the freeing of the captives (Isaiah 61:1) and the making of the world save for the common people – blessing all assured by the Word of God to the people of this country and of the whole world of mankind.”

There was also a group that broke away from the Watchtower during those years called the Standfasters. The issue over which they parted company with the Watchtower? It was the WTS LACK of neutrality. You can read more about them at Loyalty & the WTS  Their lack of neutrality was one of the reasons that the WTS says it was in “Babylonish captivity” during those years. Their book “Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Divine Purpose” made the following statement on page 91: “With considerable misunderstanding they had accepted earthly political governments as the ‘superior authorities’ that God had ordained at Romans 13:1; and as a result the Witnesses had been held in fear of man, particularly the civil rulers.” Of course, since then they have re-adopted the view that the superior authorities of Romans 13:1 are the earthly governments.  As usual, the WTS was not as squeaky clean in their past as they would have us believe these days.

Dec 262004
 

Jehovah”s Witnesses – a religion or a cultural organization?

From 1943 until 1989, the Watchtower Society (La Torre del Vigia) presented itself in Mexico as cultural rather than a religious organization. Why?

In the 1/1/90 WT, they state the following: “A highlight of 1989 was a change in the status of Jehovah”s Witnesses in Mexico. As a result, the Bible could be used in the house-to-house preaching work for the first time, and meetings could be opened with prayer.” What they don”t state is the reason that the house-to-house preaching could not be done or that the meetings could not be opened with prayer. It was, not because the it prohibited by the government, but because the WTS prevented its own people from doing these things.

The reason for all this goes back to 1917 when the new constitution of  Mexico nationalized all church property.  Most religious organizations in Mexico learned to live with this. The government held title to the building and the religious organizations continued to use them for religious purposes. But the Watchtower Society evidently didn”t like that arrangement, so they reinvented themselves. Starting in 1943, the Watchtower (called ”La Torre del Vigia” in Mexico) no longer presented itself as a religious organization, but a cultural organization.

According the the 1995 Yearbook of Jehovah”s Witnesses, the following changes were made:

  1. No audible prayers at meetings
  2. No singing at meetings
  3. Door-to-door work continued, but without direct use of the Bible
  4. Kingdom Halls were renamed “Halls for Cultural Studies”
  5. Bible studies were renamed “Cultural Studies

So basically, the WTS compromised on a number of things so they could continue to hold title to property.

Can you imagine the apostles in the 1st century refraining from singing or praying aloud at their meetings in order to hold title to property? I cannot. This is compromise of the rankest kind.

BTW during the time the WTS was passing itself off as a cultural organization in Mexico, it was arguing in US courts that it was a ”solely religious” organization in order to take advantage of tax advantages of being a religious organization.
=============================================================

WT References:

*** w90 1/1 7 “Aglow With the Spirit” in Mexico ***
A highlight of 1989 was a change in the status of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Mexico. As a result, the Bible could be used in the house-to-house preaching work for the first time, and meetings could be opened with prayer. This had an immediate effect. In two months, the number of publishers jumped by over 17,000.

The joy of the brothers at this development is seen in their comments. One wrote: “When the letter was read in the congregation, it was interrupted twice by spontaneous applause. It was thrilling!” Another said: “We could not hold back the tears of joy. The results have been manifest in better punctuality. Everyone wants to be present for the opening prayer.”

*** yb95 211-3 Mexico ***

La Torre del Vigía de México—A Cultural Society

You will recall that back in 1932 La Torre del Vigía de México had been authorized by the government. However, there were obstacles because of the restrictions that the law imposed on all religions. Objections were raised to the house-to-house activity of the Witnesses, since the law stipulated that ‘every religious act of public worship must be held inside the temples.’ For the same reason, objections were raised to our conventions in public places. This was a problem, because these conventions were constantly getting larger. Owning property also presented problems, because the law required that every building used for religious purposes had to become federal property.

For these and other reasons, the Society decided that it would be wise to reorganize, with a view to giving greater emphasis to the educational nature of our work. Therefore, on June 10, 1943, application was made to the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs to register La Torre del Vigía as a civil society, and this was approved on June 15, 1943.

With this rearrangement, singing at our meetings was discontinued, and the meeting places became known as Halls for Cultural Studies. No audible prayers were said at meetings, though nothing could prevent a person from saying an earnest prayer silently in his heart. Every appearance of a religious service was avoided, and truly our meetings are designed for education. When Witnesses in other lands began to call their local groups “congregations,” the Witnesses in Mexico kept on using the term “companies.” House-to-house visits by the Witnesses continued, and with even more zeal; but direct use of the Bible at doors was avoided. Instead, publishers learned the texts by heart so that they could quote them. They also made good use of the book “Make Sure of All Things,” which is a compilation of Scripture quotations on many subjects. Only on return visits and on studies (which were termed “cultural” instead of “Bible”) was the Bible itself used.
The principal work of Jehovah’s Witnesses remained the same, namely, preaching the good news of God’s Kingdom.

*** yb95 236-7 Mexico ***
How has our holding of conventions and assemblies been affected by the fact that our organization is now recognized not merely as a cultural society but as the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses? In 1988 when this situation was first presented to the authorities, they simply directed us to the law that makes no provision for religions to have public meetings outside their normal meeting places. At that time they suggested that, instead of using public places, we have our own large facilities for conventions and assemblies. We persisted and asked if we could obtain special permission to hold our large gatherings in public places. They said that we could turn in our applications, and these would be considered. They did not prohibit our having large meetings, because we have always had them and other religions have also carried out public religious functions. One of the Society’s responsible brothers remembers how that meeting concluded: “When we took our leave, I said, ‘Well, then, it is understood that we are going to continue as we have been doing until there is some other arrangement.’ They agreed, and we exchanged our good-byes in a cordial atmosphere.”

Dec 262004
 

This page is still under construction, but I figured I’d put it up here while I’m working on it. There’s a bunch of notes and a timeline. If you have any information that you think would add to this or any comments, please feel free to contact me.

Time Line

September 1, 1931 – The Watchtower reaffirms its long held position that Zionism and the return of the Jews to Palestine is in fulfillment of Bible prophecy.

“God promised to restore Palestine to the Jews. The rebuilding of Palestine is now beginning and is well under way. This is being done clearly in fulfillment of prophecy uttered as promises from Jehovah. this alone should command not only the respectful attention but the profoundest interest of every one who believes that Jehovah is God. It was the great Jehovah, speaking through men who had faith in him, that foretold what we now see transpiring concerning Palestine. The privilege of living on earth at the time of the fulfillment of these prophecies cannot be overestimated. At once the Jew comes into prominence, and the history of the Jewish people becomes more thrilling than any fiction every written.” – The Watchtower, 9/1/1931, 270-271

May 15, 1932 – The Watchtower reverses its position on Zionism

Restoration of genuine worship of the living God in 1919 did not mean gathering together throngs of native or natural “orthodox” Jews in a so-called “Holy Land” (Palestine) under the slogan of “Zionism.” (John 4:21-23) Indeed, such a long-expected and popularly heralded event the earnest students of the Bible came to understand by 1932 as being not Jehovah’s way but only the way of self-serving men subtly stirred into action for creatures’ purposes and benefits. By the publication of Volume 2 of the book Vindication that year, Jehovah’s witnesses came to see that such a “back to Palestine” movement was by the spirit of Jehovah’s archfoe, Satan, who has deceived the entire inhabited earth. From the Scriptural viewpoint Jehovah’s anointed praisers, his singing watchmen “out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues,” were spiritual Jews, Israelites indeed, and were the ones restored to the holy place of Jehovah’s favor.” – The Watchtower, 5/15/55, p 296

January 30, 1933 – Hitler becomes Chancellor of Germany

April 4, 1933 – WTS offices in Magdeburg seized. – Awake!, 8/22/95, pp. 6-7

April 28, 1933 – Seizure order rescinded, property returned – Awake!, 8/22/95, pp. 6-7

June 25, 1933 – Convention in Berlin, Declaration of Facts adopted.

November 1, 1933, issue of The Watchtower “Fear Them Not.” – “It was prepared especially for the German Witnesses, exhorting them to take courage in the face of mounting pressure.” – Awake!, 8/22/95, pp 7-8

February 9, 1934 – J. F. Rutherford, president of the Watch Tower Society, sent a letter of protest to Hitler stating: “You may successfully resist any and all men, but you cannot successfully resist Jehovah God. . . . In the name of Jehovah God and His anointed King, Christ Jesus, I demand that you give order to all officials and servants of your government that Jehovah’s witnesses in Germany be permitted to peaceably assemble and without hindrance worship God.”

Rutherford set March 24, 1934, as the deadline. He said that if by that time relief did not come to the German Witnesses, the facts about the persecution would be published throughout Germany and the rest of the world. The Nazis answered Rutherford’s demand with stepped-up abuses, sending many of Jehovah’s Witnesses to the concentration camps that had recently been set up. Thus, they were among the first inmates of these camps. – Awake!, 8/22/95, pp 7-8

October 7, 1934 – all congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany assembled to hear a letter read that was being sent to the officials of the Hitler government. It said: “There is a direct conflict between your law and God’s law . . . Therefore this is to advise you that at any cost we will obey God’s commandments, will meet together for the study of His Word, and will worship and serve Him as He has commanded.”

On the same day, Jehovah’s Witnesses in 49 other countries met in special assembly and sent the following telegram to Hitler: “Your ill-treatment of Jehovah’s witnesses shocks all good people of earth and dishonors God’s name. Refrain from further persecuting Jehovah’s witnesses; otherwise God will destroy you and your national party.” – Awake! 8/22/95, pp 8

Nov 9, 1938 – Krystallnact

========================================

Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Divine Purpose, page 130 – After mentioning the June 1933 convention in Berlin, it says “There a prepared Declaration of Facts was presented to the 7,000 in attendance in protest against the Hitler government for their highhanded interference with the witness work of the Society, as was unanimously adopted.”

Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Divine Purpose pp 130-1 – “Seizing the Society’s property at Magdeburg was a flagrant violation of international property rights, because title was held by our American corporation. In a effort to regain control of the property, an appeal was made to the United States Department of State urging a protest against this highhanded action of the German government. As a result of the negotiations that ensued between the State Department of the United States and Germany, the German government entered an order for the release of all the Society’s property and turned it back into the possession of the brothers there.”

========================================

An Appeal for Understanding

Hitler became prime minister of Germany on January 30, 1933, and a couple of months later, on April 4, 1933, the Magdeburg branch office of Jehovah’s Witnesses was seized. However, the order was rescinded on April 28, 1933, and the property was returned. What would happen next?

In spite of the evident hostility of the Hitler regime, Jehovah’s Witnesses organized a convention in Berlin, Germany, on June 25, 1933. Some 7,000 persons assembled. The Witnesses publicly made their intentions clear: “Our organization is not political in any sense. We only insist on teaching the Word of Jehovah God to the people, and that without hindrance.

Thus Jehovah’s Witnesses made a good-faith effort to state their case. What were the consequences? – Awake! 8/22/1995, pp. 6-7

========================================

Not Anti-Semitic

Thank you for not hiding things that you regret having said. Although I would like to have read an apology for this statement, your this-was-the-context explanation was adequate. Please carry on with your fine work, knowing that your readers appreciate the depth and honesty of Awake! W. H., United States

The reader refers to statements in the “Declaration of Facts,” a resolution adopted in 1933 at a convention in Berlin, Germany. (See “Jehovah’s Witnesses – Courageous in the Face of Nazi Peril,” in the July 8, 1998, issue of “Awake!”) As the article noted, nothing said in the 1933 declaration was intended to express or condone hostility toward Jews, and we regret it if some statements give that impression today. If anyone back in the 1930’s interpreted the “Declaration of Facts” to mean that Jehovah’s Witnesses were anti-Semitic, this misimpression could easily have been corrected by observing the courageous and compassionate acts of individual Witnesses in behalf of Jews. Moreover, Watch Tower Society publications were among the first to expose and express outrage at the treatment of Jews in Europe. – ED
. – Awake!, 9/8/1999, p. 30 “From Our Readers”

====================================================

*** g95 8/22 7-8 The Evils of Nazism Exposed ***

Witnesses’ Resolute Stand

Despite these initial attacks, Jehovah’s Witnesses stood their ground and publicly denounced the oppression and injustice. The November 1, 1933, issue of The Watchtower featured the article “Fear Them Not.” It was prepared especially for the German Witnesses, exhorting them to take courage in the face of mounting pressure.

On February 9, 1934, J. F. Rutherford, the president of the Watch Tower Society, sent a letter of protest to Hitler stating: “You may successfully resist any and all men, but you cannot successfully resist Jehovah God. . . . In the name of Jehovah God and His anointed King, Christ Jesus, I demand that you give order to all officials and servants of your government that Jehovah’s witnesses in Germany be permitted to peaceably assemble and without hindrance worship God.”

Rutherford set March 24, 1934, as the deadline. He said that if by that time relief did not come to the German Witnesses, the facts about the persecution would be published throughout Germany and the rest of the world. The Nazis answered Rutherford’s demand with stepped-up abuses, sending many of Jehovah’s Witnesses to the concentration camps that had recently been set up. Thus, they were among the first inmates of these camps.

*** g95 8/22 8-9 The Evils of Nazism Exposed ***

Witnesses Expose Nazi Atrocities

As Jehovah’s Witnesses had promised, they began exposing the atrocities occurring in Germany. Witnesses around the globe repeatedly registered protests with the Hitler government.

On October 7, 1934, all congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany assembled to hear a letter read that was being sent to the officials of the Hitler government. It said: “There is a direct conflict between your law and God’s law . . . Therefore this is to advise you that at any cost we will obey God’s commandments, will meet together for the study of His Word, and will worship and serve Him as He has commanded.”

On the same day, Jehovah’s Witnesses in 49 other countries met in special assembly and sent the following telegram to Hitler: “Your ill-treatment of Jehovah’s witnesses shocks all good people of earth and dishonors God’s name. Refrain from further persecuting Jehovah’s witnesses; otherwise God will destroy you and your national party.”

The Nazis responded almost immediately by stepping up their persecution. Hitler himself screamed: “This brood will be exterminated in Germany!” But as opposition intensified, the determination of the Witnesses stiffened correspondingly.

*** yb74 pp. 138-139 Part 2 – Germany ***

The effect that the letters, and especially the telegrams, had upon Hitler can be seen by a report written by Karl R. Wittig, attested by a notary public in Frankfurt (Main) on November 13, 1947:

“DECLARATION—On October 7, 1934, having been previously summoned, I visited Dr. Wilhelm Frick, at that time Minister of the Interior of the Reich and Prussia, in his home office of the Reich, located in Berlin, 6 am Köenigsplatz, since I was a plenipotentiary of General Ludendorff. I was to accept communications, contents of which were an attempt to persuade General Ludendorff to discontinuance of his objection to the Nazi regime. During my discussion with Dr. Frick, Hitler suddenly appeared and began taking part in the conversation. When our discussion obligatorily dealt with the action against the International Bible Students Association [Jehovah’s witnesses] in Germany up until now, Dr. Frick showed Hitler a number of telegrams protesting against the Third Reich’s persecution of the Bible Students, saying: ‘If the Bible Students do not immediately get in line we will act against them using the strongest means.’ After which Hitler jumped to his feet and with clenched fists hysterically screamed: ‘This brood will be exterminated in Germany!’ Four years after this discussion I was able, by my own observations, to convince myself, during my seven years in protective custody in the hell of the Nazis’ concentration camps at Sachsenhausen, Flossenbürg and Mauthausen—I was in prison until released by the Allies—that Hitler’s outburst of anger was not just an idle threat. No other group of prisoners of the named concentration camps was exposed to the sadism of the SS soldiery in such a fashion as the Bible Students were. It was a sadism marked by an unending chain of physical and mental tortures, the likes of which no language in the world can express.”

Dec 262004
 

1933 Letter from the Watchtower Society to Adolph Hitler

WATCH TOWER
BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY
PUBLISHERS OF THE BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION GENERAL OFFICES: 117 ADAMS STREET BROOKLYN NEW YORK, U.S.A. GERMAN BRANCH:
WACHTTURMSTR.1 – 19
MAGDEBURG
POSTSCH.-K.: MAGDEBURG 4042 TELEPHONE, MAGDEBURG 405 56,405 57, 405 58
RADIO AND CABLE ADDRESS: WATCHTOWER MAGDEBURG

Most Honored Mr. Chancellor:

On June 25, 1933, a 5,000-delegate convention of German Bible Students (Jehovah’s Witnesses), representing several million Germans who have been friends and followers of this movement for many years, was held in the Sporthalle Wilmersdorf in Berlin. The purpose of this meeting was to find ways and means of making known to you, Mr. Chancellor, and to other high government officials of the German Reich, as well as Lander [state] governments, the following:

In some parts of the country measures are being taken against an association of earnest Christian men and women which has positive Christianity as its foundation. Because of their origin, these measures can be regarded as nothing less than the persecution of one group of Christians by another, since the accusations which trigger them [the measures] are levelled from clerical, especially Catholic, quarters and are untrue.

Absolutely convinced of the full objectivity of the government departments and officials dealing with these matters, we nevertheless recognize that because of the volume of our literature on one hand and because of the heavy workload of the relevant case workers on the other, the content of our literature and the purpose of our movement are judged in large part incorrectly, specifically in accord with the views-which cause prejudice-that our religious opponents bring against us.

For this reason the matters discussed at the convention have been set down in the attached declaration of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society in order to convey to you, Mr. Chancellor, and to the senior departments of the governments of the German Reich and the Lander as documentation of the fact that German Bible Students intend only, as the sole objective of their work, to lead mankind back to God and to witness to and give honor to the name of Jehovah, the Almighty, the Father of our Lord and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, here on the earth. We are secure in the knowledge that you, Mr. Chancellor, will not let such activity be disturbed.

German Bible Student congregations are generally known as havens of true reverence for the Almighty and as ardent custodians of careful biblical research. Local police authorities must always affirm that Bible Students definitely have to be counted as among those elements of the country and people that love and support order. Their only mission is the recruitment of human hearts that love God. The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society is the Bible Students’ organizational mission center (for Germany: with head offices in Magdeburg).

The Brooklyn administration of the Watch Tower Society is and in the past has been outstandingly friendly to Germany. For this reason, the president of the Society and seven members of its Board of Directors in the United States were sentenced to 80 years imprisonment because the president refused to use two magazines published by him in the United States for war propaganda against Germany. These two magazines, “The Watch Tower” and “Bible Student” [The Bible Students Monthly] were the only magazines in the United States which refused [to publish] war propaganda against Germany and were, for this reason, outlawed and suppressed in the United States during the war.

In a similar manner, the administration of our Society not only refused to participate in the horror propaganda against Germany, but it took a position against it. This is emphasized by the attached Declaration which refers to the fact that the circles which led [in promoting] horror propaganda in the United States (commercialistic Jews and Catholics) are also the most eager persecutors of our Society’s work and its administration. These and other statements in our Declaration are meant to serve as a rejection of the slanderous claim that the Bible Students are supported by Jews.

The representative convention of these five thousand delegates took notice with great satisfaction of the statement by the governing president of Magdeburg that the connection between Bible Students and Communists or Marxists, claimed by our clerical opponents, cannot be substantiated (and thus is slanderous as well). A relevant press report in the Magdeburg Daily News No. 104 of May 5, 1933 says:

A government declaration regarding the occupation of Bible Student House.-The government press center announces: “Police occupation of property owned by the Earnest Bible Students Association has been ended since no incriminating material regarding a claimed Communist activity was found.”

Further: the Magdeburg Daily News No. 102 of May 3, 1933 [states]:

From
The representative convention of these five thousand delegate stressed that, following these circumstances, it would find it beneath its dignity to defend itself in future against the contemptible accusation of Marxist or Communist activity. The delegates refuted the accusations of our religious opponents, which are clearly a sign of religious competition.

They [the religious opponents] would prefer to throttle truthful herald of warning with slander rather than [use] the Word c God. Further, it was stated at the five-thousand-delegate convention-a expressed in the Declaration-that Bible Students are fighting for the same high, ethical goals and ideals that the National Government a the German Reich proclaimed regarding the relationship of man t God, namely: honesty of the created towards the Creator!

At the convention, it was stated that there are no opposing views in the relationship between German Bible Students and the National Government of the German Reich, but that, to the contrary, respecting the purely religious and apolitical goals and objectives of the Bible Students, it can be said that these are in complete harmony with the similar goals of the National Government of the German Reich.

Because of the supposedly harsh language of our literature, some of our books were banned. The five-thousand-delegate convention pointed out in this connection that the contents of our books that were objected to referred only to circumstances in the Anglo-American World Empire and that it-especially England-is to be held responsible for the League of Nations and the unjustified treaties and burdens placed on Germany. The things said in the above-mentioned spirit are therefore directed-whether in a financial, political, or Roman Catholic (ultramontane) sense-against the oppressors of the German people and country, not against the Germany struggling against these burdens. Thus the bans [on Bible Student literature] are made absolutely incomprehensible.

To those various German Lander in which there occurred bans on Bible Student religious services, prohibitions of prayer meetings, etc., those [Bible Students], who have waited for weeks for a just resolution of the situation which is stifling to their religious life, expressed the following:

We will continue to conform to the regulations of prohibition issued [against us] because we are confident that you, Mr. Chancellor, or the governments of the Lander, will lift these measures-by which tens of thousands of Christian men and women would fall victim to a martyrdom reminiscent of that of the original Christians-once the true state of affairs is known.

Finally, this five-thousand-delegate convention stated that the Bible Student-Watch Tower organization stands for the maintenance of order and the security of the state as well as for the enhancement of the above mentioned, religiously related high ideals of the National Government. In order to make this known above all to you, Mr. Chancellor, as the Leader of the German people, and to other high government officials of the Reich and the Lander, the sentiments expressed briefly above were set down in detail in the attached Declaration.

The attached Declaration was read [publicly] by the secretary of the five-thousand-delegate, Bible Student Convention, was approved unanimously [by Convention delegates], and was adopted with the instruction that a single copy of it and of the Convention Report be conveyed to the Chancellor of the Reich and to other high officials of the Reich and the Lander.

This is done with the most respectful plea that the request expressed in the Declaration be granted in a most positive manner: namely, to give a commission [drawn] from within our midst the opportunity of making a responsible exposition regarding the facts to you, Mr. Chancellor, or the Minister of the Interior, personally. Failing that, [we request] that a commission of men be appointed by you, Mr. Chancellor, who are not religiously prejudiced against us-that is of men who are themselves not by profession interested in religious matters but who would alone truly examine our concerns without prejudice and according to the just principles enunciated by the Chancellor of the Reich him self. By these principles we mean the statements in Section 24 of Platform of the National Socialist German Workers Party:

“We demand the freedom of all religious confessions in the state so long they do not endanger its existence or conflict with the ethical and moral beliefs of the German race. The Party, as such, represents the viewpoint of positive Christianity without associating itself with a specific confession. It opposes the Jewish-materialist spirit domestically and abroad and is convinced that a lasting recuperation our people can only happen from the inside out….”

We are firmly convinced that the National Government of German will find no reason to hinder our services or missionary activities if are judged, first, without religious prejudice and, second, according the Platform points quoted above.

With anticipation of an early, positive assent [to our requests] a with the assurance of our highest esteem, most honored Mr. Chancellor, we remain,

Most respectfully,

Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society Magdeburg


Dec 262004
 

The Watchtower’s declaration regarding it’s relationship with the Hitler regime.

Declaration of Facts

This company of German people, who are peaceable and law-abiding citizens representing many others from every part of Germany, all of whom are earnestly laboring for the highest welfare of the people of this land, being now duly assembled at Berlin this 25th day of June, AD.. 1933, do joyfully declare our complete devotion to Jehovah, the Almighty God, and to his kingdom under Christ Jesus, whose shed blood bought the human race. We declare that the holy Scriptures set forth in the Bible constitute the Word of Jehovah God given to men for their guidance in righteousness, and that the Word of God is the truth, and that it is of greatest importance that man have a knowledge of his relationship to God. We ask to be judged by the standard of the Word of God.

Christ Jesus is Jehovah God’s great Witness to the truth, and as his faithful and devoted followers we are, by His grace, witnesses to the truth. The purpose of this Declaration is that we may present a true and faithful witness before rulers and the people as to the name and purpose of Jehovah God and our relation thereto.

We are wrongfully charged before the ruling powers of this government and before the people of this nation; and in order that the name of Jehovah God may be exalted in the minds of the people, and that his benevolent purposes be better understood and our position fairly placed before the government, we do respectfully ask the rulers of the nation and the people to give a fair and impartial consideration to the statement of facts here made.

The Scriptures plainly state that the chief opposer of Jehovah God and the greatest enemy of mankind is Satan the Devil whose name is also that of Serpent and Dragon. It is written in the Scriptures that Satan, who has long been the invisible ruler of this world, deceives and blinds the people to the truth in order that the light of and concerning Jehovah God and Christ Jesus may not shine into the minds of men. (2 Corinthians 4: 3,4)

Frequently by fraud, subtility [sic]] and deception Satan has induced honest persons to war with each other, in order that he might turn them all away from God and destroy them. Above all things, the people need to know Jehovah God and his gracious provision for their general welfare.

By the term ‘clergy’, as used in our literature, reference is made to the class of professed religious teachers, priests and Jesuits who employ improper political means to accomplish their ends and pin forces even with those who deny God and the Lord Jesus Christ. That is the same class to whom Jesus referred as his persecutors. We have no criticism of any honest religious teacher.

When Jesus went to the Jews to tell them of the truth, it was the Jewish clergy, that is to say, the Pharisees and priests, that violently opposed him and persecuted him and caused him to be charged with all manner of crimes and offenses. They refused to hear the truth, and addressing them Jesus said: “Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.’ (John 8: 43-45) Although the Pharisees and priests then claimed to represent Jehovah God Jesus told them that they were in fact the representatives of Satan the Devil.

“We have no fight with any persons or religious teachers, but we must call attention to the fact that it is generally those who claim to represent God and Christ Jesus who are in fact our persecutors and who misrepresent us before the governments and nations. As true followers of Christ Jesus we are to expect such opposition, and we mention it here in explanation of why we have been misrepresented before the rulers of this nation. To his faithful followers Jesus said: ‘Remember the word I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they [the false religious teachers] have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.’ (John 15: 20) Furthermore, Jesus said that this same class of men would cause his true followers to be wrongfully charged before the ruling powers, his language being: ‘But take heed to yourselves: for they [false religious teachers] shall deliver you up to councils [police power]; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten; and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them.’ (Mark 13: 9) This explains why Jehovah God now permits his faithful witnesses to be misrepresented and persecuted, namely, that those of a wrong spirit may identify themselves as opponents of God and thus bear witness against themselves. The same materialistic spirit that caused the persecution of Jesus Christ now exists and is back of the persecution of us his faithful followers.

It is falsely charged by our enemies that we have received financial support for our work from the Jews. Nothing is farther from the truth. Up to this hour there never has been the slightest bit of money contributed to our work by Jews. We are the faithful followers of Christ Jesus and believe upon Him as the Savior of the world, whereas the Jews entirely reject Jesus Christ and emphatically deny that he is the Savior of the world sent of God for man’s good. This of itself should be sufficient proof to show that we receive no support from Jews and that therefore the charges against us are maliciously false and could proceed only from Satan, our great enemy.

The greatest and most oppressive empire on earth is the Anglo-American empire. By that is meant the British Empire, of which the United States of America forms a part. It has been the commercial Jews of the British-American empire that have built up and carried on Big Business as a means of exploiting and oppressing the peoples of many nations. This fact particularly applies to the cities of London and New York, the stronghold of Big Business. This fact is so manifest in America that there is a proverb concerning the city of New York which says: ‘The Jews own it, the Irish Catholics rule it, and the Americans pay the bills.’ We have no fight with any of these persons mentioned, but, as the witnesses for Jehovah and in obedience to his commandment set forth in the Scriptures, we are compelled to call attention to the truth concerning the same in order that the people may be enlightened concerning God and his purpose.

Our Literature

It is said that our books and like literature, when circulated amongst the people, constitute a danger to the peace and safety of the nation. We are certain that this conclusion is due to the fact that our books and other literature have not been carefully examined by the rulers and hence are not properly understood. We respectfully call attention to the fact that these books and other literature were written originally in America and the language therein used has been adapted to the American style of plainness of speech and, when translated into German, the same appears to be harsh. We admit that the same truths might be stated in a less blunt and more pleasing phrase, and yet the language of these books follows closely the language of the Bible.

It should be borne in mind that in the British Empire and in America the common people have suffered and are now suffering greatly because of the misrule of Big Business and conscienceless politicians, which misrule has been and is supported by political religionists, and hence the writers of our books or literature have endeavored to employ plain language to convey to the people the proper thought or understanding. The language used, however, is not as strong or emphatic as that used by Jesus Christ in denouncing the oppressors and false teachers of his time. “The present government of Germany has declared emphatically against Big Business oppressors and in opposition to the wrongful religious influence in the political affairs of the nation. Such is exactly our position; and we further state in our literature the reason for the existence of oppressive Big Business and the wrongful political religious influence, because the Holy Scriptures plainly declare that these oppressive instruments proceed from the Devil, and that the complete relief therefrom is God’s kingdom under Christ. It is therefore impossible for our literature or our work to in any wise be a danger or a menace to the peace and safety of the state.

Our organization is not political in any sense. We only insist on teaching the Word of Jehovah God to the people, and that without hindrance. We do not object or try to hinder anyone’s teaching or believing what he desires, but we only ask the freedom to believe and teach what we conceive the bible to teach, and then let the people decide which they wish to believe. “To know Jehovah God and his gracious provision for mankind is of most vital importance to all persons, because God has declared in His Word that where there is no vision or understanding of his Word the people perish. (Proverbs 29: 18) We have devoted our lives and our material substance to the work of enabling the people to gain a vision or understanding of God’s Word, and therefore it is impossible for our literature and our work to be a menace to the peace and safety of the nation. Instead of being against the principles advocated by the government of Germany, we stand squarely for such principles, and point out that Jehovah God through Christ Jesus will bring about the full realization of these principles and will give to the people peace and prosperity and the greatest desire of every honest heart.

Our organization seeks neither money nor members, but we are a company or organized body of Christian people engaged solely in the benevolent work of teaching the Word of God to the people at the least possible cost to them. Our organization was originally incorporated in the United States of America in 1884 under the name of the WATCH TOWER BIBLE TRACT SOCIETY, and in 1914 incorporated under the laws of Great Britain by the name of the INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION. These are merely the corporate names of our organization for legally carrying forward its work. The Scriptural name by which we are known is ‘Jehovah’s witnesses’. We are engaged solely in a benevolent work. The purpose of our organization is to aid the people to understand the Bible, which discloses the only possible way for the complete relief and blessing for mankind. Our organization has extended its work throughout the earth. The education, culture and upbuilding of the people must and will come through the agency of God’s kingdom concerning which we teach as set forth in the Bible. The salvation of the people depends upon the true knowledge of and obedience to Jehovah God and his righteous ways.

The people are in great distress and in need of help to understand the reason for their unhappy condition and what is the means of relief. The Scriptures, when understood, make this matter clear. Instead of collecting money from the people and using the same to erect great buildings and to support men in luxury, we print the gospel message of God’s kingdom and carry it to the homes of the people that they may, at the least inconvenience to themselves, gain a knowledge of God’s purposes concerning them.

A careful examination of our books and literature will disclose the fact that the very high ideals held and promulgated by the present national government are set forth in and endorsed and strongly emphasized in our publications, and show that Jehovah God will see to it that these high ideals in due time will be attained by all persons who love righteousness and who obey the Most High. Instead, therefore, of our literature and our work’s being a menace to the principles of the present government we are the strongest supporters of such high ideals. For this reason Satan, the enemy of all men who desire righteousness, has sought to misrepresent our work and prevent us from carrying it on in this land.

For many years our organization has put forth an unselfish and persistent effort to do good to the people. Our American brethren have greatly assisted in the work in Germany, and with money freely contributed, and that at a time when all Germany was in dire distress. Now because it appears that Germany may soon be free from oppression and that the people may be lifted up, Satan, the great enemy, puts forth his endeavours to destroy that benevolent work in this land.

League of Nations

The language in our books or literature concerning the League of Nations has been seized upon as a reason for prohibiting our work and the distribution of our books. Let us remind the government and the people of Germany that it was the League of Nations compact that laid upon the shoulders of the German people the great unjust and unbearable burdens. That League of Nations compact was not brought forth by the friends of Germany. In America at one time the public press announced that 140,000 clergymen had set aside a certain period of time in which a concerted movement was to be made, and which was made, to induce the American people to fully endorse the League of Nations. It was the Federation of Churches in America that issued a manifesto stating that the ‘League of Nations is the political expression of God’s kingdom on earth’, and which by them was substituted in the place and stead of God’s kingdom under Christ. It was in America that our organization under the visible leadership of its president pointed out emphatically that the League of Nations is not an institution of Jehovah God, because it is oppressive and unfair. It was that condition, existing at the time, which called forth language that appears in our books concerning the League of Nations and also calling attention to the fact that such League of Nations compact can never bring about the relief and blessing of the people, because such relief and blessing can come by adhering strictly to the principles laid down in God’s Word and in the manner which Jehovah has pointed out.

For almost half a century our strictly Christian organization has carried on its work in various parts of the earth. Its books are published in more than 50 languages, and upward of 140 million of these books are in the hands of the people. For more than thirty years our books and literature have been distributed throughout Germany, and millions of these are now in the hands of the German people and are read by the people, all of whom will bear testimony to the fact that these books, based strictly on the Bible, are of great help to them and upbuild them and give them hope for a realization of the blessings which Jehovah God long ago promised. In all these years of our work, and in the wide distribution of our books and literature, not one instance can be truthfully cited wherein our work or literature has been a menace to the government or has in any wise endangered the peace and safety of the nations.

The endeavors of our organization being exclusively confined to bearing testimony to the name and Word of Jehovah God, it would be entirely inconsistent for us to attempt to exert any political influence in the governments of this world or to do anything that would endanger the peace and safety of the nation. We have no desire nor inclination to do anything except to carry out our divinely given commission to proclaim the Word of Jehovah God.

In America, Canada and other parts of the British Empire the political clergy, priests and Jesuits have persistently persecuted and continue to persecute those of our organization, and without just cause or excuse; and we have every reason to believe that a like influence has been subtilly [sic] employed by the great enemy Satan to misrepresent us and our work in Germany. We remind you that in the years past the political clergymen have brought more sorrow upon the German people than probably any other class of men. We have no desire to fight with the clergymen, but we do ask that the ruling powers of the nation judge us not by the misrepresentation of such men, but that we be judged according to the Word of God and the work we are doing consistent therewith. Jehovah God persecutes no one, but permits each one to choose his own course, holding him responsible for his acts according to knowledge. Jehovah God has emphatically expressed his anger against those who do persecute others who are trying to serve him; and this proves that those who persecute us do not represent God, but that they are incited so to do by the enemy of God and man.-Psalm 72:4

Great Truths

The Holy Scriptures, viewed in the light of present-day events which are in fulfilment of divine prophecy, disclose that: The time has arrived when Jehovah will make his name known to all creation and vindicate his name and clear it from the defamation which Satan has placed against that holy name. (Psalm 83: 18) When Jesus Christ, the Vindicator, ascended into heaven Jehovah commanded him to wait until his due time to put the enemy down. That period of waiting has now come to an end and God has sent forth his beloved Son to oust the enemy and rule in righteousness. (Psalm 110: 14; Hebrews 10: 12,13) The world, or uninterrupted rule, of Satan has ended, and this began to be evidenced by the World War in 1914, and since then until now is the time when the gospel of the Kingdom must be told to the people. (Matthew 24: 3,14) Satan has now been cast out of heaven and down to the earth and now confines his operations to the earth in an endeavor to blind the people to the truth and destroy them, and that is the reason for the present-day sufferings of humanity. The prophetic words of Jesus now apply: ‘Woe to the inhabiters [the rulers] of the earth, and of the sea [the people in general]! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.’-Revelation 12: 12.

The people of Germany have suffered great misery since 1914 and have been the victims of much injustice practiced upon them by others. The nationalists have declared themselves against all such unrighteousness and announced that ‘Our relationship to God is high and holy’. Since our organization fully endorses these righteous principles and is engaged solely in carrying forth the work of enlightening the people concerning the Word of Jehovah God, Satan by subtilty [sic] endeavors to set the government against our work and destroy it because we magnify the importance of knowing and serving God. Instead of our organization’s being a menace to the peace and safety of the government, it is the one organization standing for the peace and safety of this land. We beg to remind all that the great crisis is upon the world because the transition period from bad to good is at hand, and the hope of the world is God’s kingdom under Christ, for which Jesus taught his followers to constantly pray: ‘Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is done in heaven.’

The power of Jehovah God is supreme and there is no power that can successfully resist him. His time to exercise his power in the interest of humanity and to the vindication of his great name is here. In this connection we respectfully call attention to the admonition and warning of Jehovah God, both to the rulers and to the people, which applies to this very hour, wherein he says: “Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion…. Be wise now, therefor, O ye kings; be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.’-Psalm 2: 6, 10-12.

The present government having declared adherence to the aforementioned high ideals, we are persuaded that the rulers do not desire to knowingly resist the progressive witness work to the name of Jehovah God and his kingdom which we are now carrying forward. If our work is merely that of men, it will fall of its own weight. If it is of Jehovah God and being carried forward in obedience to his commandment, then to resist it means to fight against God.-Acts 5: 39.

We therefore appeal to the high sense of justice of the government and nation and respectfully ask that the order of prohibition against our work and our literature be set aside, and the opportunity be given us to have a fair hearing before we are judged. We respectfully ask that the government appoint a committee of impartial men to hold conference with a committee of our organization and that a fair and impartial examination of our literature and our work be made, to the end that all misunderstanding may be removed and that we may without hindrance obey Jehovah God’s commandment now applying to us, to wit: ‘Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people.’-Isaiah 62: 10.

The peoples of Germany are a God-fearing people and should not be deprived of an opportunity to learn of Jehovah God and of his gracious provision to bring lasting peace, prosperity, liberty and everlasting life on earth to all those who know and obey him. Let all who love God work together to the honor and vindication of his name. All who take a contrary course must take responsibility before God; but as for us we will serve Jehovah forever.

“RESOLVED, That copies of this Declaration be respectfully delivered to high officials of the government and that the same be given wide publication to the people, that the name of Jehovah may be further known.”



Dec 262004
 


Few people realize that Jehovah’s Witness funerals are done from an outline that is supplied by the Watchtower Society. Here is a copy of that outline:

FUNERAL DISCOURSE

REMARKS REGARDING THE DECEASED (Use any that apply and are appropriate.)

Details regarding age, birth, when married, and so forth
By whom the deceased is survived
Dedication record, including privileges of service
Exemplary qualities displayed by the deceased (Eccl. 7:1)

THE HOPE THE DECEASED ENTERTAINED

Worshiped Jehovah, the God of wisdom, justice, love, power
Had faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12)
Appreciated God’s purpdse regarding earth (Gen. 1:28)
Sure to be realized (Isa. 11:9; 55:10, 11; Rev. 21:4) Why good people die
Disobedience of Adam (-Gen. 3:19; contrast with Genesis 2:7.) Offspring inherited deat6 (Rom. 5:12) Condition of the dead
Soul is mortal (Ezek 18:4, 20)
Dead are unconscious (Ps. 146:4; Eccl. 3:19; 9:5, 10)
The resurredion hope
Made possible by sacrifice of Jesus Christ (Matt. 20:28)
Christ’s resurrection a guarantee (1 Cor. 15:22, 23)
God uses Jesus to raise the dead (John 5:28, 29)
For the anointed, resurrection is to heavenly life (1 Cor. 15:51-54; Rev. 20:4, 6)
Other sheep” resurrected to life in earthly Paradise (Luke 23:43; John 10:16)
Armageddon survivors can hope to see the deceased one again soon
Others too are in line for resurrection (Ads 24:15)

WHY IT IS GOOD TO GO TO HOUSE OF MOURNING

Can comfort the bereaved; loss is mutual
Take to heart uncertainty of life (Ps. 90:12; Eccl. 7:2)
Makes us think about how we are using our life

HOW WE CAN BENEFIT FROM BEING HERE

While living, make good name with Jehovah God (Eccl. 7:1)
Lay up treasures in heaven (Matt. 6:19-21)
One way is to take zealous part in witness work, if qualified (Matt. 24:14; 28:19, 20)
In this way and by godly conduct, we contribute to sanctification of Jehovah’s name
(Prov. 27:11)
Resurrection hope an incentive to learn and do divine will(l Cor. 15:58)

(Note: Instead of eulogizing the deceased, use the material in this outline to give a fine witness concerning the truth. Good balance should be observed in this regard. Doctrinal points can be presented as beliefs of the deceased, which served as motivation for him. Purpose of talk is to uphold Jehovah God as a God of love and mercy and at the same time bring comfort to the bereaved. Use of a song such as No. 102 (53) or 187 (93) is optional. A brief prayer at the close is fitting When arrangement is made to go to the grave, it is well to consider quite briefly the hope through the Kingdom, reading one or two scriptures, such as Job 14:14, 15 and 1 Corinthians 15:5413-57. This service may also be closed with prayer, thanking Jehovah for the resurrection hope, which is of great comfort. The talk need not exceed 30 minutes.)

Printed in U.S.A.
S-3 11/90


Dec 262004
 

This is a copy of the material that the Watchtower Society sent to the bodies of elders of congregations in the United States announcing the “complete donation arrangement”. Prior to this arrangement, Jehovah’s Witnesses placed Watchtower literature with householders for a fixed price.

February 9, 1990

TO ALL CONGREGATIONS IN THE UNITED STATES AND ITS TERRITORIES

Dear Brothers:

Our reigning King, Jesus, completed a remarkable ministry during the final three-and-a-half years of his earthly life. As the apostle John wrote, “the world itself could not contain the scrolls written” if all of what Jesus accomplished while on earth were recorded. (John 21:25) He was able to do so much because he gave theocratic interests the primary importance they deserved. As he said to his followers, “My food is for me to do the will of him that sent me and to finish his work.”-John 4:34.

Putting theocratic interests first meant that Jesus had to set priorities. While visiting in the house of Mary and Martha, he counseled Martha because she gave undue attention to matters other than the spiritual food Jesus was dispensing. He told her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and disturbed about many things. A few things, though, are needed, or just one.” – Luke 10:41, 42.

First century Christians followed Jesus’ lead in this matter. The apostle Paul wrote, ”And this is what I continue praying, that your love may abound yet more and more with accurate knowledge and full discernment; that you may make sure of the more important things,… and may be filled with righteous fruit, which is through Jesus Christ, to God’s glory and praise.”–Philippians 1:9-11.

In our day the ‘faithful slave’ is equally concerned with giving theocratic interests their rightful primary importance. So that This may be accomplished, the “slave” class has directed the implementation of many programs aimed at simplification For example, in 1978 the Society standardized and simplified the district convention arrangements. This simplification did away with many job assignments and significantly reduced many of those that remained. As a result, all are now able to give primary attention to the rich spiritual food provided each year.

The August 1986 issue of Our Kingdom Ministry announced a simplification regarding the field service report of our regular pioneers. In September of 1987 further simplification led to adjustments for the circuit assembly programs, and special assembly days were inaugurated.

Jehovah has richly blessed these efforts to simplify. The work is continuing to grow worldwide at a rapid pace. (Isaiah 60:22) Additionally, many have noted that secular authorities are increasingly viewing certain religious activities as commercial. As in the past, the Society continues to see the need to highlight the spiritual nature of our theocratic organization and to clearly distinguish our activities from those of Babylon the Great. To this end, the Society is pleased to announce that starting March 1, 1990, literature distribution procedures in the United States will be adjusted. From that date, all the Society’s literature will be made available to publishers and to the interested public on a complete donation basis. This will emphasize our reliance on Jehovah’s spirit while also simplifying certain operations both for the Society and for the congregations. Some may have questions regarding this new arrangement which we would now like to consider.

What is meant by complete donation basis?

This means that magazines and literature will be provided to publishers and to the interested public without asking or even suggesting that a specific contribution be made as a precondition to receiving an item. Voluntary contributions or donations will be accepted from publishers and such interested ones to continue the worldwide work of publishing the good news. It is important that all of you and the public understand that making a contribution or donation is not a precondition to receiving a publication. Naturally, this does not mean that literature should be given to those who do not appreciate it and who would not read it. –Compare Matthew 7:6.

How does the complete donation arrangement affect the distribution of literature at the Kingdom Hall?

When a publisher or interested person wishes to pick up literature or magazines at the Kingdom Hall, he may do so without having to ‘pay for’ the items requested. The Society will simply give the individual the literature requested. No money will be expected, requested, or collected at the magazine or literature counter. Those motivated to contribute to the publishing and distribution of the literature should put their donations in the boxes marked “Contributions for the Society’s Worldwide Work.–Matthew 24:14.”

How will literature be offered in the field?

When offering literature in our public ministry, we will give our witness as usual and offer the publications to interested persons to provide them further knowledge on the subject. The recipient should agree that he will read the literature, but we will not suggest a specific donation for it. However, after the person has agreed to read the publication, we may explain how the work is done voluntarily worldwide to help people learn the way to everlasting life. It is all supported by voluntary donations. Then you may ask the person if he would like to help the Society accomplish its work worldwide by making a small donation. If he wishes to make such a donation it will be appreciated.

Any who wish to make a donation to defray the expenses of our educational work may do so, but they may receive the literature whether or not a donation is made. At the next Service Meeting, special information will be presented to demonstrate this method of literature distribution. If you note any publishers not present today, please contact them and let them know of this special Service Meeting. This new field service arrangement will go into effect immediately following that meeting.

What about subscriptions to The Watchtower, Awake!, and cassettes?

Adjustments will take place in this area as well. Subscription service to The Watchtower, Awake!, and cassettes will be discontinued as such. All publishers should immediately turn over to the brother handling subscriptions any one-year or six-month subscriptions that have already been obtained and these should be mailed to the Society this week. As of the reading of this letter, no one should prepare requests for additional new or renewal subscriptions.

The Society will continue for now, however, to honor the subscriptions currently on file. Once your personal subscription expires you should obtain magazines and cassettes for your own personal use, as well as for use in the held ministry, from the local congregation.

For many years- congregation publishers have been encouraged to have a magazine route. A magazine route will care for persons desiring to receive the magazines on a regular basis. These return visits will give publishers the opportunity to further cultivate interest shown by individuals and be a stimulus to starting new home Bible studies. The service overseer will assist publishers in developing such routes.

How will the Society’s worldwide work including the printing and distribution of its literature be financed”

Boxes labeled “Contributions for the Society’s Worldwide Work.–Matthew 24:14″ will be made available near the magazine and literature counters. The amounts received in these boxes will be sent monthly to the Society. These funds will be used to defray the cost of the Society’s overall operations, as well as providing for needed worldwide expansion.

With what spirit should each one view the new arrangement’!

Jehovah is progressively guiding his people through these critical times, giving them the wisdom from above, necessary to keep the preaching work moving speedily in the face of many snares laid by Satan. (Psalm 32:8; Isaiah 30:21) Under the leadership of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we have been conducted into the spiritual paradise in which we now carry on the holy work of the good news. We have tasted the joy of being part of Jehovah’s spirit-filled organization. – Psalm 34:8.

To meet changing conditions, Jehovah’s spirit guides his theocratic organization. While contributions have always been voluntary, the complete donation arrangement allows for individual initiative and conscientious attention to meet the expenses of Jehovah’s spirit-directed organization. Now each of us has an increased moral responsibility and privilege to honor Jehovah with our valuable things. (Proverbs 3:9) How we ‘respond to the leadings of Jehovah’s spirit as we make our contributions will reflect our heightened awareness that Jehovah considers us trustworthy.-l Corinthians 4:1, 2.

The Society sincerely appreciates the financial support and cooperation it has received from the worldwide brotherhood. All donations will continue to be used wisely to support Kingdom interests. We ale confident that those who appreciate the priceless truth of God’s Word and the value of all the Society’s provisions, including the production of Bible-based publications, will continue to be motivated from the heart to contribute generously toward this work right up to the end of this old system. (2 Corinthians 9:6-14) We can place full trust in Jehovah knowing that he can “do more than superabundantly beyond all the things we ask or conceive.”-Ephesians 3:20.

Your fellow proclaimers of the Good News,

Watchtower B & T Society of New York, Inc.

THE FOLLOWING WAS ON A SEPARATE SHEET

ANNOUNCEMENT

(To be read at the Service Meeting and Book Studies held during the week of February 19, 1990. If this is received too late to be read before the Watchtower Study held for the week of February 19, 1990, you should let the publishers know informally that a special letter will be considered after the Watchtower Study.)

There will be a special letter read to all congregations in the United States and its territories following the Watchtower Study during the week of February 19, 1990. All publishers should make every effort to be present when this letter is considered.

CUT ALONG THIS LINE —————————————————————————–

Week Starting February 26

Song 172

5 min: Local announcements Encourage all to obtain an adequate supply of God’s Word book and have a full share in offering it in held service this weekend. Introduce next portion of program which will consider February 9, 1990, letter to all congregations.

20 min: Presiding overseer gives two-minute summary of the first six paragraphs of the February 9, 1990, letter to all congregations. Afterwards the congregation secretary asks the presiding overseer each question appearing in the Society’s February 9, 1990, letter to all congregations. Presiding overseer reads each answer directly from the letter. They can briefly discuss the meaning of each answer. Stress the fact that the cost of producing literature and magazines remains the same and will no doubt continue to rise as inflation escalates. (Two-minute consideration of essence of material in December 1980 Our Kingdom Service insert, pages 5 and 6, from the subheading “Inflation – Economic Plague on the World.”) People who are righteously inclined will voluntarily contribute out of appreciation for the spiritual treasures found in the literature. Presiding overseer concludes with two-minute summary of the concluding paragraphs from the February 9, 1990, letter. How the literature is to be presented in the field will be handled in the following part.

20 min: “Presenting the Good News–With the God’s Word Book.” Use qualified elder who has read and studied thoroughly the February 9, 1990, letter to all congregations.

(3 min.) CHAIRMAN: Read paragraphs 4 and 5 of February 1990 Our Kingdom Ministry article “Presenting the Good News–With the God’s Word Book.” Encourage all to use these presentations during the month of March. Emphasize that the presentations to follow will obviously have Jehovah’s blessing but will require serious thought and preparation on the part of all. Ask audience to take note of how the offer is made on a donation basis.

(7 min.) Demonstration. Have an experienced pioneer or publisher demonstrate suggested presentation in paragraph 4. After showing the book, the publisher could say: “If you would enjoy reading this fine publication, I would be happy to leave it with you.” (Publisher should then hand the book to the householder who will take it and begin looking through it. ) Then the householder will ask: “How much does it cost?” The publisher replies: “We are not engaged in a commercial work. What we are doing in your neighborhood today is being done voluntarily in over 212 nations and lands around the world to help people learn the way to everlasting life. If you would care to make a donation toward this work, I would be glad to accept it. The householder says: “I would like to donate $2.00.” Publisher concludes by saying: “Thank you. Many have wondered ‘Does the Bible contradict itself?’ If you would like to discuss some interesting facts on this point, I would be happy to stop back when it is convenient for you.” The householder responds: “Good. Could you come back next Wednesday?”

CHAIRMAN: Comment on other appropriate questions that can be raised to pave the way for a successful return visit. Then ask rhetorical question: “What if the householder said: ‘I don’t think I would read the book’?” Reply that the publisher could take the book back from the householder and say: “I will pass the book on to someone else who will enjoy using it. For the present, perhaps you will find this tract interesting.”

(3 min.) Demonstration. Have elder or ministerial servant offer magazine presentation to a man. After raising questions regarding the subject in a special article in The Watchtower, the brother could say: “I would like you to note the details in this article. If you would like to read these two magazines I would be happy to leave them with you.” Householder says: “Yes, thank you. That is a subject that is of interest to me.” Brother says-. “I am glad to be able to make this information available to you. I think you will find the subject truly informative. In fact, I would like to come back next week and get your viewpoint. You will note that The Watchtower is published in 107 languages and distributed in nearly 14,000,000 copies around the world. This work is all supported by voluntary donations. If you also care to make a small donation toward this educational work, we would be happy to accept it.” Householder says: “Well I don’t have any change today, but maybe next time. Thanks for the magazines.” Brother says: “You are welcome. The next issue of The Watchtower raises the question: ‘What does Jesus’ death mean to you?’ I will stop by on Saturday with that issue. I know you will appreciate it.”

(7 min.) CHAIRMAN: Comment on the fact that the groundwork for a fine magazine route has just been laid. The same presentation could be used in the street work. Entertain comments from audience on how the publishers offered literature without asking for a specific sum. Emphasize that a donation is not a precondition that must be met before people can obtain literature. Point out that the magazines were placed with a person who was willing to read them although he was not able to donate on this occasion. On other occasions individuals who accept literature, like the householder in the first demonstration, may make a willing donation for the Kingdom work. In both instances we can be very gracious. However, literature should not be offered indiscriminately with those not manifesting interest. Those who are generous may be, provided additional literature on the initial call or a return visit. Our purpose is to teach the good news of God’s Kingdom and make disciples. All Kingdom publishers will become accustomed to the adjusted presentation and make improvements as time goes by. Stress that “we are not peddlers of the word of God.” (2 Cor. 2:17) We look for Jehovah’s backing on this arrangement.

Conclude by reminding all that while we are pleased to leave literature with interested persons who, for one reason or another, cannot donate, we still have the moral responsibility to assist the Society with our donations.

Song 14 and concluding prayer.


Dec 252004
 

To whom do Jehovah’s Witnesses owe their primary loyalty?

The Watchtower Society encourages Jehovah’s Witnesses to go out to knock on people’s doors and also to talk to them informally to bring them “the good news of the Kingdom.” Part of their efforts in this regard involve trying to get people to question, to critically analyze their own religious beliefs and organizations. When I first started studying with Jehovah’s Witnesses, it was in the book “The Truth That Lead to Eternal Life.” On page 13, that book says: “We need to examine, not only what we personally believe, but also what is taught by any religious organization with which we may be associated.”In later years, the book “You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth” replaced the “The Truth That Leads to Eternal Life” as the main study book for new Witnesses. In this book, on pages 32-33, the Watchtower wrote the following:

“How should you feel if proof is given that what you believe is wrong? For example, say that you were in a car, traveling for the first time to a certain place. You have a road map, but you have not taken time to check it carefully. Someone has told you the road to take. You trust him, sincerely believing that the way he has directed you is correct. But suppose it is not. What if someone points out the error? What if he, by referring to your own map, shows that you are on the wrong road? Would pride or stubbornness prevent you from admitting that you are on the wrong road? Well, then, if you learn from an examination of your Bible that you are traveling a wrong religious road, be willing to change. Avoid the broad road to destruction; get on the narrow road to life!”

So then, the Watchtower is asking people to look at their own religion and its teachings with a critical eye. Do they invite their own members to scrutinize their religion?I think that the article “Meeting the Challenge of Christian Loyalty” provides a good answer. It appeared in the March 15, 1996 issue of The Watchtower. Paragraph 9 of that article, which appears on pages 16 and 17 says the following:

We now come to the matter of being loyal to Jehovah’s visible organization. Certainly, we owe loyalty to it, including “the faithful and discreet slave,” through which the Christian congregation is fed spiritually (Matthew 24:45-47) Suppose that something appears in Watch Tower publications that we do not understand or agree with at the moment. What will we do? Take offense and leave the organization? That is what some did when The Watch Tower, many years ago, applied the new covenant to the Millennium. Others took offense at what The Watchtower once said on the issue of neutrality. If those who stumbled over these matters had been loyal to the organization and to their brothers, they would have waited on Jehovah to clarify these matters, which he did in his due time. Thus, loyalty includes waiting patiently until further understanding is published by the faithful and discreet slave.

The part about “Others took offense at what The Watchtower once said about neutrality” refers to the Standfasters who broke away because the Watch Tower said that it was okay to buy war bonds and encouraged the Bible Students to support the National Day of Prayer for the victory of the allies in WWI. The 3/15/96 Watchtower is basically saying that the Standfasters should have loyally stayed with the organization until Jehovah clarified the matter. Governing body member Karl Klein, in his life story which was published in the October 1, 1984 Watchtower (page 22), put it this way:

Shortly after my baptism in 1918, my loyalty to fellow Bible Students was put to the test. World War I was raging, and even though the most prominent brothers had been unjustly imprisoned over the war issue, the need for Christian neutrality was not fully appreciated by those then taking the lead. A few who saw the issue clearly took offense and separated themselves from the Bible Students, calling themselves Standfasters. They warned me that if I stayed with the Bible Students I would lose out on being of the “little flock” of Jesus’ anointed followers. (Luke 12:32) Mother, though not yet dedicated, helped me to make the right decision. I could not see myself leaving those from whom I had learned so much, and I therefore decided to take my chances with my Bible Student brothers. It really was a test of loyalty. Since then, I have observed many similar tests of loyalty. When mistakes are made, those not wholly loyal at heart seem to pounce upon them as an excuse for quitting. – Compare Psalm 119:165

I noticed that nowhere in his discussion of this situation did Klein mention loyalty to Jehovah, loyalty to what what right or loyalty to one’s own conscience. The only issue he addressed was loyalty to the Bible Students (as Jehovah’s Witnesses were then known). Klein admits that it was the Standfasters who saw the issue clearly. The WTS has taught for years that the remnant shared bloodguilt for WWI because of their not remaining strictly neutral and that their lack of neutrality resulted in their being allowed to go into captivity to Babylon the Great. As an example, notice this from the “Man’s Salvation” book, page 114:

In similar fashion, the modern-day remnant of spiritual Israel had to do some reforming as to their way and thoughts as World War I ended on November 11, 1918, and they entered still alive on earth into the postwar period. Their exile from God’s full favor in Babylon the Great’s realm was about to end, and it became the proper time for they to think about their failings and shortcomings with regard to God’s worship and service. They had come under a community responsibility because of the bloodshed and violence of World War I. They needed to search for Jehovah and to call upon His name in prayer …

Later, on page 187-8, the same book says:

During World War I of 1914-1918 B.C.E., some of the remnant of spiritual Israel accepted non-combatant service in the fighting armies, and thus they came under bloodguilt because of their sharing in community responsibility for the blood spilled in war. However, in 1939, the year in which World War II erupted, all the remnant of spiritual Israel and also those of the ‘great crowd’ of sheeplike companions declared themselves in favor of absolute neutrality toward all worldly conflicts, regardless of nationality. The publication of the article ‘Neutrality’ in the issue of November 1, 1939, of The Watchtower set forth their position.

In the book “God’s Kingdom of a Thousand Years Has Approached,” the WTS establishes another aspect of bloodguilt and community responsibility. This is from pages 380-1. After linking the clergy of Christendom with the “man of lawlessness,” paragraph 18 says:

Of course, what one prominent member of this clerical “man” does attaches blame to all the other members of the clergy class for their agreeing with what is done or not protesting against it or for acquiescing in it and remaining with the clergy organization. They all share a community responsibility and culpability for what a member of the clergy class does in a representative way as when speaking or acting for the whole group.

Here and elsewhere in WT publications, the Society establishes the teaching that when one is a member of any group, he is communally responsible for whatever is done by that group. While both the “Salvation” and “Thousand Years” books are more than 20 years old, I do not think that the teachings have changed on these matters. In the September 8, 1987 Awake!, (pages 10,11) the Watchtower makes the following appeal to members of other churches under the subheading: “If Your Church Fails to Act, Will You?

If, after making an honest investigation, you are less than pleased with what you see, do more than just complain. A journalist, while commenting on Karl Barth’s statement that a church is its members, logically concluded: ‘Church members … are responsible for what the church says and does.’ So ask yourself: Am I willing to share responsibility for everything my church says and does? Can I really be proud of having all its members as spiritual brothers?

So, on the one hand, the Standfasters are being condemned as disloyal and at the same time, members of other churches are being urged to remember that they are communally responsible for what their church did and does. Putting all of this together, it seems that the March 15, 1996 The Watchtower is saying that the Standfasters should have remained loyal to the Watchtower Society and stayed with it even while it, by its own admission, incurred bloodguilt and divine disfavor because of not being neutral. Put more simply, the WT is asking its members to put loyalty to the organization over loyalty to God, loyalty to what is right and loyalty to their own consciences.