Dear Watchtower: Why the insults and name-calling?

I THOUGHT I KNEW YOU

An open letter from Barbara Anderson to the
Watch Tower’s Writing Department

In 1517, Martin Luther wrote in a letter to Archbishop Albert of Mainz: “You must graciously forgive that I, that scum of the earth, am so bold as to dare to address a letter to you.”

Yes, I know, you think of me as scum, just like Mainz believed of Luther, wondering how I dare write you a letter, someone Jehovah’s Witnesses disfellowshipped back in 2002. I was accused of being an unrepentant sinner and condemned for “causing divisions,” then labeled “apostate” because I spoke out publicly on NBC’s Dateline TV program about the child sexual abuse policies that protected pedophiles— policies that you helped formulate.  Now do you remember me? I bet you do!

For acting out of conscience, it’s certainly uncalled for to be shunned as an apostate and viewed as dead by family and friends. But according to the July 15, 2011 Watchtower, I’m also “mentally diseased” because it states that all apostates are mentally diseased.

Injuries from a physical attack can heal but experts say insults and name-calling can cause emotional pain that last a lifetime. That’s why there is a saying: “The pen is mightier than the sword.” You know that words can cut like knives, and it appears that’s why you use words in Watch Tower literature that can damage those who differ with the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

It’s been nearly twenty years since I walked your hallowed carpets. I loved every minute of it except for the two times I crossed swords with two of your staff members at different occasions over their unethical and dishonest practices. (One of those staff members is still in your midst.)

Back then I believed in the integrity of your staff writers. I thought they were loyal to God and never underhanded with respect to religious truth. But much investigation proved to me that some Writing Department writers are incompetent and some are just plain dishonest.

If I said the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses is as bona fide as snake oil, that it is poppycock and bunkum, many in our politically correct society would consider my words offensive and hurtful. Yet Watch Tower staff writers believe they can get away with twisting the scriptures, using them against those who question doctrines and policy, and do it with impunity, such as recently claiming, “Well, apostates are ‘mentally diseased,’ and they seek to infect others with their disloyal teachings (1 Tim. 6:3, 4).”

First of all, that’s ridiculous. Paul didn’t say anything about “apostates”—the Watchtower did. And he didn’t say in verse 4, “he” [any man that teaches other doctrines] is mentally diseased! The words “mental disease” describes a bodily condition. Paul said “he” … “but being mentally diseased over questionings and debates about words.” These men literally “doted,” “craved” questioning and disputes “over” Jesus words to such an extent that the craving for controversy was like a sickness. Since there was no reasoning with such “corrupt” men, Paul urged that Timothy not waste his time with them.

I don’t have an argument with you about your translation of the Greek word noseō as “mentally diseased” or any comparable words used in other translations. My argument is not with the Apostle Paul’s negative description of the mind-set of his primary opposers who were pseudo, or “false brothers,” or “false teachers” questioning and debating a particular matter. However, I do take issue with your interpretive application of his words.

The first followers of the Jew, Jesus Christ, were Jewish and they continued to follow the Law of Moses. (Romans 15:7). Early Hellenized Jewish Christian believers referred to as “Judaizers” obsessively argued over the words of Christ, insisting that Gentile Christians get circumcised and observe the Mosaic Law. Acts 15:5 said some former believers were Pharisees. Paul mentions his struggles with this group in at least five of his letters. Clarke’s Commentary rightly said these Judaizers “… were not apostles, nor apostolic men; but they were undoubtedly members of the Church at Ephesus.”

The issue was between Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians and Paul’s advice was well-timed and specific, certainly not suitable more than 2000 years later. Yes, I know about Romans 15:4 where Paul said that “… all the things that were written aforetime were written for our instruction—.” Contextually, he was pointing to his time, not ours. For Watch Tower writers to take an actual historical event when Jewish Christians taught Gentile Christians a completely “different doctrine” (1 Tim. 1:3)—the observance of the Mosaic Law—and then dedicate a phrase found in 1 Tim. 6:4, one that referred to these men who did not consent to Christ’s words, to former Jehovah’s Witnesses is ludicrous and wrong.

In the July 15, 2011 Simplified Version of the Watchtower, published for children and others who have only very basic reading skills, the author placed a box on page 11, where mentally diseased “apostates” and “false teachers” are defined as “people who rebel against true worship and abandon it.” In this way, you harmfully labeled those who left the religion. Thus, you planted fear in the minds of the readers, most of whom are naïve and innocent and easy prey for charlatans to influence.

Our twelve-year old grandson, Luke, aware that his grandparents left the Witness religion in 2002 and are now shunned, has in his mind the frightening thought that we are mentally diseased. And imagine, if you will, how a child will react to a former Jehovah’s Witness parent after reading that those who leave the religion are mentally diseased. You should be ashamed of saying “apostates are ‘mentally diseased,’ ” hateful words that vilify and denigrate people whom you perceive as sinners because they can’t accept some of the Watch Tower’s teachings and policies that they view as harmful.

May I remind you of what you wrote in the February 15, 2000 Watchtower:

“The ruling ecclesiastical class … violently silenced a voice [Cyril Lucaris – in 1638] that pointed to some of the errors of their non-Biblical beliefs. They proved to be among the worst enemies of religious freedom and truth. Sadly, this is a stance that in various ways survives even to our day. It is a sobering reminder of what happens when clergy-instigated intrigues stand in the way of freedom of thought and expression.”

For over forty years I thought you were different than those in the clergy who sought to suppress God-given “freedom of thought and expression.” But by your words I have come to know that I was wrong!

Yours truly,

Barbara J. Anderson


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A Craigslist Cry for Help

Editor’s Note: This was an actual ad posted on Craigslist.org in mid-September in New Mexico. I first learned of this ad while browsing the Jehovah’s Witness Recovery Forum. I went to the Albuquerque Craigslist and verified the existence of the ad in the “Talent Gigs” subsection. The ad has since been flagged and removed – probably because of complaints by some JWs who don’t have a sense of humor. Thanks to a forum member [So past a dub] the ad was copied in its entirety and posted for others to enjoy. I’m sure that you will agree that this is a classic bit of humor and will enjoy it as much as I did. Sorry to say, I was unable to identify the original author before the ad was deleted.


Actor Wanted to Cheer up Depressed Jehovah’s Witness

As strange as it may sound, even the people who always tell you at your doorstep to “have a nice day” sometimes get depressed, especially from the many arrogant and rude people they end up talking to. I’m in a serious funk because I’ve been knocking on doors now for over 30 years and the end of the world hasn’t come and I just can’t push myself any longer to knock on doors. Depressed writer Truman Capote [public domain]For other religions this wouldn’t be a problem but with Jehovah’s Witnesses, you get kicked out, shunned by your relatives and friends, along with getting a death sentence from God. So, I have no choice but to get over this and this is why I want to hire an actor to help me out.

I’m looking to hire an actor for a one day contract gig. I would prefer a male actor, who is short and pudgy but if you have a chin like Jay Leno that would be a big plus. I do not want to meet you prior to the role you will play at my doorstep. It is very important that your role be played realistically. The entire scenes will be recorded by cameras both in the hallway and in my apartment. Here are the details of the 3 acting scenes. Please read this carefully and give me a bid for your services that includes the props (I will send the magazines to you in advance):

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The Truth shall set you free!

This website has a single purpose – to let the light shine on the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society and its followers known as Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Ex-JW.com will publish the truth about the history and the teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses since their late 19th Century beginnings. We will expose the facts about their changing doctrines and teachings. We will also provide a history of Watchtower leaders and and organization.

Please go to our information page at About Ex-JW.com to read the rest of this introduction.

One thing we want to make clear: This site is not being published to attack Jehovah’s Witnesses as individuals or their families, past or present, but rather to expose a religious belief that has not only lied to its own followers, but in many ways has also damaged or destroyed their lives.

We realize that not every ex-JW has a painful story to tell. There are many current and former members who will say that they lived very happily growing up in JW families. Some will even admit that they enjoyed many of their years as Witnesses. We want provide a truly balanced and well documented description of what it is really like to be a Witness and share happy stories along with the sad.

One thing we also want to make clear: We do not hold ourselves up as the ultimate experts in every aspect of the Watchtower organization.  At the same time, we do know this religious movement even better than a majority of current and active JWs do.

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Welcome to Ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses Online

Thanks for dropping by and checking us out. At the moment, we are completely revamping this website, but it should be up and running well by April 1, 2009.

Ex-JW.com will be your online resource for just about everything you would ever want to know about the Watchtower Society, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and former Jehovah’s Witnesses.

If you are, or have ever been associated with the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ organization, then you will want to visit here often. Here are just a few of the features that we plan to provide to our readers:

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