An open letter to the Governing Body
By “Brother Siam”
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published as a post on the JWN forum. With the kind permission of its author, we are republishing it here in a slightly edited format. [Here is a link to the original version.] “Brother Siam” is an active Jehovah’s Witness living on the West Coast of the United States. A Witness his whole life, he served as a pioneer for several years, and as an elder for seven years. He hopes that other elders in his position will read this and reconsider their responsibilities to their assigned flock. He invites your comments…
The Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses
Watchtower Society, Inc.
New York, USA
I served for seven years as an Elder in the Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I recently relinquished this privilege for the following reasons:
1. My whole life I was taught that Armageddon is going to be here any moment and is “imminent.” The direction from the Holy Spirit said that the end was going to come in 1914, 1925, 1975, and before the end of the 20th Century. Your followers would “never grow old” or “fulfill any career.” That didn’t happen. “Imminent” and “soon” stretched on for over 100 years. These interpretations of Bible prophecy have proven to be false, and yet you continue to pretend that they were “directed by Jehovah.”
2. I was taught that there would be very few “anointed” left when the end came and that the number will decrease as the end drew near. The number of “anointed” is actually increasing.
3. I was told that field service is a “life saving work” that must be performed with a “sense of urgency.” So far not one person’s life has been saved. And even though the work is “urgent,” the antiquated method of calling on empty houses is still used as the primary way of trying to reach people. Television, the Internet, email, postal services, and social networking are not being used – even though the effectiveness of these methods has been proven. I doubt that you feel that this is a “life saving work” yourself.
4. We are taught as an organization that “the light gets brighter” as Jehovah blesses his servants with Holy Spirit and increased understanding. Is Jehovah responsible for flip-flopping doctrines such as the “generation” of Matthew 24:34? Organ transplants? Blood transfusions? The identity of the “superior authorities”? Or is it the men who claim to be “inspired”? Despite these changes, each time the credit (or blame) is given to Jehovah. If the members of the Faithful and Discreet Slave class were actually “inspired,” “faithful,” or “discreet,” these teachings would have never changed.
5. We are taught that we live in a “spiritual paradise” and associate with the “safest group of people on earth.” As elders we were given instructions that in some cases involving criminal behavior by members of the congregation, that we were not to tell the authorities or to warn the congregation. In the past, the organization has tried to sweep this problem under the rug, and continues to do so in a misguided effort to try to protect its reputation.
6. “Disfellowshipping,” as practiced within the organization, cannot be found in the scriptures. Would Jesus have treated sinners the way that we as Witnesses treat sinners?
7. I was taught that the United Nations organization is the “wild beast” described in Revelation, and is one of the organizations “controlled by Satan.” Despite this teaching, the Watchtower Society was partners of the UN for a number of years as an “NGO,” a Non-Governmental Organization. This is the very height of hypocrisy.
8. Even though the “truth” changes, if you believe something other than what is published as the “latest light” (right or wrong), you can be disfellowshipped. I personally have seen this happen. I choose to remain anonymous because of my fear that this will happen to me.
9. 1914 cannot be proven by scripture to be “the end of the Gentile Times.” No one, other than the Witnesses, believes that Jerusalem was destroyed in 607 BCE. Brother Russell used the Great Pyramid of Giza’s measurements to corroborate 1914 as the end of the Gentile Times. His calculation arbitrarily uses a lunar year of 360 days to come to a date based on a solar year of 365.25 days.
10. Even though I have been told repeatedly that world conditions are deteriorating in fulfillment of Matthew 24, earthquakes are not “increasing in frequency” according to the USGS. Crime rates have “dropped dramatically” according to the US Department of Justice. The lifespan of mankind has “risen significantly” since 1914 as pestilence has been treated, controlled, or eradicated according to the US Department of Health. Food shortages are decreasing. Wars are not increasing.
11. Even though I pray through Jesus to Jehovah, I am taught, and expected to teach, that Jesus is not our mediator. This is despite what the Bible says at 1 Timothy 2:5,6.
Brothers, these are some of the reasons that caused me to resign serving as an Elder. I cannot with a good conscience support an organization that pretends to be something that it is not – just as I cannot pretend to be something, or someone, that I am not.
I ask that you consider that the large number of appointed men resigning as being a symptom of a larger problem within the organization. The problem is the Governing Body assumes an arrogant and authoritarian position, in that it acts as God’s sole channel here on earth today. I can see it. Many others have seen it – and are quitting because of it. The vast majority that resign are not doing so because they want to live an immoral life without Godly principles. They resign because they are men of principle.
You cannot control people’s thoughts and intentions, even as much as you would like to. Jehovah created each of us with a sense of fairness and honesty – and most importantly with a free will.
Members of the Governing Body: I ask you to act as men of principle yourselves. Allow people to have the freedom to choose for themselves whether they want to be a part of your organization – or not, and if they choose to leave, allow them to do so without sanctions. Be honest and admit it if you are not sure of a scriptural interpretation; do not force people to believe something that you are not convinced of yourself. Do not allow past mistakes in policy or doctrine to continue to morph into future mistakes that may cost people their families – or even their lives. Lastly, protect the people who are under your spiritual care – not through secrecy, but through transparency – with the foremost quality of love in mind.