“Seeds of dissent” against the Governing Body?


Editor’s Note: I just received the following news release announcing an attempt to organize an underground movement of Jehovah’s Witnesses who want a voice in how they are treated by their own religion. Ever since “Brother Siam” wrote and submitted his “Open Letter to the Governing Body” back in January, the level of dissent has grown, led by a small group of Witnesses who are hoping to find a way to get the leaders of the Watchtower Society to take note of their honest concerns and act on them in a positive way. Although it is clear that many ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses and non Witness critics will back this new movement, what has surprised observers is the amount of support apparently coming from many who identify themselves as “active” rank and file JWs. It’s clear from the recent chatter on message boards and forums frequented by both active and former JWs that there is a growing level of honest and intelligent concern about the direction the Governing Body is taking. This applies not only to the Governing Body’s questionable religious teachings, but also a growing rebellion against the way local elders and publishers are being affected by the hard-line policies recently laid down by Watchtower headquarters. Follow the links listed in the news release and you will soon find dozens of threads and comments on this new movement.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 27, 2011

Seeds of Dissent Appear
Within the Jehovah’s Witness Religion

Jehovah’s Witnesses are widely known as Bible carrying door-to-door evangelists with an unusual religious doctrine. They are the kids in your class who refuse to salute the flag or the co-worker who refuses to sing “Happy Birthday” at an office birthday party. This group is also known for their frequently shifting doctrinal stances on a number of important issues, including blood transfusions and Armageddon.

This religious group of over 7 million followers is led by a self-appointed committee of seven older men headquartered in Brooklyn, NY (USA). It is from there that the committee, known simply as the “Governing Body,” issues organizational and doctrinal direction for the entire Watchtower organization. Jehovah’s Witnesses are expected to follow direction coming from Brooklyn without question. Recently though, there has been increasing concern within the rank and file of the organization about the tone and content of the directives and teachings coming from this group of seven men.

Jehovah’s Witnesses are expected to have unity and harmony of thought and understanding of their unique teachings. To accomplish this, a strict regimen of education is used worldwide with 100,000 plus congregations studying the same catechistic material every week.  Individuals who no longer hold fast to every unique doctrine are quickly expelled from the congregations and shunned by their family and friends.  Some Witnesses are expelled because they speak out against practices and policies of the Governing Body.

This practice of enforcing unity through ad hominem attacks and threats of expulsion has resulted in a subculture of dissenters within the ranks. These individuals generally remain anonymous out of fear of excommunication, but include former and active Elders of the Congregation, as well as Circuit and District representatives.  They’ve resorted to making their concerns known though surreptitious methods on Internet message boards, through email, and in conversations with trusted friends.

Recently an Elder resigned as an Overseer and then wrote an “Open Letter to the Governing Body” of Jehovah’s Witnesses. In his letter he lays out the reasons he resigned as an Elder. They include “promotion of false prophecy,” and policies of hiding child molesters within the organization.  This letter was posted online at Ex-JW.com and Jehovahs-Witness.net. The response to his letter has been overwhelming from active Witnesses who agree with the sentiments expressed by this ex-Elder.

Several individuals have taken this letter of dissent and used it to start a campaign to reach as many active Witnesses as possible.  This caught the attention of the Governing Body who, instead of trying to respond publicly to the very real issues posed in the elder’s letter, have instead sent “cease and desist” letters to the email host of the campaigners.  The letter has also struck a chord with some Witnesses who also feel that the Governing Body is acting in an hypocritical and corrupt manner, promoting the interpretations and policies of men as “the sayings of God.”

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Why Judge Rutherford went to prison

By “Alfred”

It’s been over 93 years ago, so we’ll probably never know all the facts, but the Watchtower Society continues to claim that its president, Joseph F. Rutherford, and other officers of the corporation were falsely accused and sent to prison on charges of “sedition”. However, a May 9, 1918 New York Times article that covered these arrests and sedition charges states that the accused were charged with “spreading doctrines calculated to promote unrest and disloyalty among the men of the army and navy.” The article concluded that the indictment was based largely upon printed matter published in the Watch Tower magazine, Kingdom News, and the book The Finished Mystery.

I looked up “sedition” on Wikipedia and found this definition (in part):

“In law, sedition is overt conduct, such as speech and organization, that is deemed by the legal authority to tend toward insurrection against the established order. Sedition often includes subversion of a constitution and incitement of discontent (or resistance) to lawful authority. Sedition may include any commotion, though not aimed at direct and open violence against the laws. Seditious words in writing are seditious libel. A seditionist is one who engages in or promotes the interests of sedition…”

It might interest current and ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses to know that Rutherford ordered the Bible Students to rip out pages 247 through 253 in all copies of The Finished Mystery in his last ditch attempt to avoid jail time. Surprisingly, the Proclaimers book (p. 652) partially admits that this happened (that the pages were removed), but does not explain that it this was done so that Rutherford could avoid jail time.

On March 5, 2011, I posted on Jehovahs-Witness.net some bullet points based on my recent reading of the book The Finished Mystery. (See previous article on Ex-JW.com.) What I forgot to mention at the end of my post were the notes I took from while reading pages 247 through 253, the “seditious pages” that Rutherford later ordered ripped out.

Below are my notes about those pages. I’ll let you decide whether the charges of “sedition” were false – or not…

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Watchtower’s Pecking Order

Adapted from a post by “Mad Sweeney”

Let’s face it: The Watchtower Society is really just a big publishing corporation that happens to print and distribute religious literature. Like any corporation, it has an “organization chart” that outlines its structure, showing the various levels and what they are supposed to do. Each level supervises the level below and reports to the level above. By looking at the organization chart, you can tell “who does what to whom.” The Watchtower Society calls each of its organizational levels “classes.”

Over the history of the Watchtower, the leaders have defined so many levels and rankings that now they’ve given up trying to use the word “classes” to describe them anymore. Let me help you understand how the organization is supposed to work.

Heavenly Headquarters

At the very top you have, of course, JEHOVAH. Being “Almighty God,” He is nominally in charge of everything but doesn’t actually do anything.

Reporting only to Jehovah and in second position, you have “The Now Reigning King,” JESUS CHRIST – who, like Jehovah, is supposedly in charge of everything – but also doesn’t actually do anything.

Next in line are those of the 144,000 ANOINTED who have already died and been resurrected to heaven. They are in place and waiting to rule as “kings and priests” for a thousand years. Like their brother Jesus, and Father Jehovah, these ANOINTED also have nothing to do at present.

Earthly Headquarters

Down here on Earth, the leaders of the organization are the legal CORPORATE OFFICERS and ATTORNEYS for the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. Besides being visible, this group is the first that actually does anything as you head down the Kingdom’s corporate ladder. These are the guys who decide what the “Governing Body” can and will tell the all other Jehovah’s Witnesses what they are supposed to do. Although these guys are human and therefore “visible,” for the most part they try to hide in the background and remain “invisible” as much as possible.

Supposedly “in charge” is the GOVERNING BODY. These seven men sort of do some things. For example, every Wednesday morning they meet for a couple of hours. They talk about the work their committees are doing and then decide to agree that the status quo is treating them all pretty well. If they’re feeling saucy (or mischievous), they may discuss some “new light” to spring on rank and file Jehovah’s Witnesses later in the year. They will then commission someone in the “Service Department” to put this “new light” into a talk outline – or have the “Writing Department” include it in a Watchtower or Awake! magazine article. Otherwise, the members of the Governing Body spend their time rubber-stamping orders from the corporate types above them or suggestions from the Department Heads below.

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