Living just south of Kennebunk Maine as I do, I often heard the story of how a mob, irrate over Jehovah’s Witnesses’ refusal to salute the flag, attacked and burned the Kingdom Hall there on June 9, 1940. As is the case with so many things, there is more to the story.
After recounting incidents of persecution in Ethiopia, the 1/1/95
issue of The Watchtower, page 6, para 8, said:
“Satan has failed to crack the integrity of such loyal brothers and sisters by direct frontal attack. So, what other crafty devices does he employ? Revelation 12:12 says of these last days: “Woe for the earth and for the sea, because the Devil has come down to you, having great anger, knowing he has a short period of time.” Having failed to annihilate God’s loyal people by persecutions, in his anger he attempts to massacre entire populations, no doubt with a view to destroying Jehovah’s people along with the rest. Thus so-called ethnic cleansing has been carried out in parts of the former Yugoslavia, and genocides have been attempted in Liberia, Burundi, and Rwanda.”
According to the 1995 Yearbook: “Among the possible half million Rwandans who lost their lives were hundreds of Jehovah’s Witnesses.”
So what they’re saying is that in order to put a few hundred (about 300 is what I read in a branch report several years ago) witnesses out of the picture, Satan took out about 500,000 Rwandans. I always thought that Satan had better aim than that. If he’s that inept, maybe we don’t have as much to worry about from him as we thought. 🙂
But seriously, folks …
This paragraph shows a great deal of arrogance. The Watchtower Society would have us believe that all world events revolve around it. Every significant world event is tied the “the outworking of Jehovahs purpose.” (Is “outworking” a word that anyone other than the Watchtower uses?) And because the Watchtower is the visible part of Jehovah’s universal organization that he uses to accomplish His will here on the earth, it is the focus of these world events. If you try to say anything to the effect that perhaps these things happened due to causes that may have nothing to do with the Watchtower, you get funny looks from the “faithful.” (Been there, Done that)
Some of the rank and file take this type of statement and apply it individually. When this occurs, they begin to believe that every bad thing that happens to every JW in the organization is as a result of supernatural Satanic forces trying to keep them from spreading the “good news.” Nothing ever happens by chance, no JW is ever just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Every automotive difficulty, every illness, every financial upset is a result of persecution from Satan, especially if it happens the mo nth you sign up to auxillary pioneer. In some extreme cases, witnesses have blamed marital problems on satanic persecution. When I was and elder, I heard the following line of reasoning from some brothers and sisters whose mates had left them. “My husband (or wife) left me. It must be Satan trying to get me to slow down in my preaching.” (Hmmm, it couldn’t have anything to do with the fact that you spend so much time preaching that you never spend any time with your mate, and when you do spend time with them you treat them like dirt, could it?)
This becomes a very convenient device for shifting responsibility.
Joe Publisher can reason: “The flat tire I had on the way to the Kingdom Hall was persecution from Satan. It couldn’t be because I’ve been running these bald tires for the last couple of months. That cold that I got last time I tried to pioneer was persec ution too. I couldn’t be due to the fact that a good portion of the general population had a cold at the same time. My having too little (or too much) employment and consequently too little (or too much) money is Satan trying to divert me from the preachi ng work, not a result of the same economic forces that everybody else has to deal with.”
The governing body can reason: “All of this trouble we have with people leaving the organization and becoming apostates is as a result of Satan trying to destroy Jehovah’s earthly organization. It couldn’t be because we have changed doctrine so often that everyone’s totally confused. All this persecution we get is instigated by the clergy of Christendom which we know is controlled by Satan. It couldn’t be because we have publically labled that clergy as the ‘Man of Lawlessness.’ It couldn’t be because we say that they have been responsible for every war that has every occured. It couldn’t be because we try to imply that every minister and priest is in it only for the money and that after they get your money they’ll probably molest your sons and daughters. It couldn’t be because we show churches and temples and synagogues being blow to bits at Armageddon in our publications, just like we know they will be.”
Just for contrast:
Galatians 6: 3-5 (NWT): “For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he is deceiving his own mind. But let each one prove what his own work is, and then he will have cause for exultation in regard to himself alone, and not in comparison with the other person. For each one will carry his own load.”
If the WT is what is purports to be, it should stand out from other religions by its own merits, not as a result of tearing everyone else down.
Romans 14:4 (NWT): “Who are you to judge the house servant of another? To his own master he stand for falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for Jehovah can make him stand.”
“Can there be false religion? It is not a form of religious persecution for anyone to say and to show that another religion is false. It is not religious persecution for an informed person to expose publicly a certain religion as being false, thus allowing persons to see the difference between false religion and true religion. But in order to make the exposure and show the wrong religions to be false, the true worshiper will have to use an authoritative means of judgment, a rule of measurement that cannot be proved faulty. To make a public exposure of false religion is certainly of more value than exposing a news report as being untrue; it is a public service instead of a religious persecution and it has to do with the eternal life and happiness of the public. Still it leaves the public free to choose. – The Watchtower, 11/15/63, page 688
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.
In the “Declaration of Facts”, which was dated June 25, 1933, the Watchtower Society tried to distance themselves from the Jews and to curry favor and establish common cause with Hitler.
The Watchtower Society’s application for funds from Swiss Bank Litigation.