Jehovah Witnesses as Scapegoats

Try and name any group so consistently persecuted in modern times
(other than Jews, perhaps)

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Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence
watchtower - wtbs
Watchtower Bible and Tract Society ~ Charles Taze Russell

Jehovah Witnesses as Scapegoats
Robert Shepherd

Someone says, "Today, the Watchtower Society is run with the same basic hierarchy structure as the Catholic Church. The chief difference being the tradition behind the theology has changed almost daily at the whim of the Governing leaders."

Actually, I was raised in a rather gospel (bible-thumping) church, variously labelled fundy or evangelical, (or by the scoffers, "Holy Roller") type of populist religion. If I have complaints, they would be along the lines of the proverbial gospel tendency to closed mindedness at times, the tendency to moralistic judgmentalism much of the time. Also their suspicion of outsiders, basically prejudices against whoever -- Muslims, Catholics, Mormons, and Jehovah's witnesses. There were other attitudes, against smoking drinking, dancing, night life, gambling, and probably some mild prejudices racially.

Nowadays, I appreciate very strongly the wisdom of our founding fathers setting up religious freedom (Amendmnt 1). They were the most religious nation, the Europeans mocked, calling them "Enthusiastic" (It was NOT a compliment). Yet they set up the first secular Republic in history -- separation of church and state -- at the federal level. Not the state level. We today need to consider how important that is. Truly (as John Noonan says) freedom of conscience is the lustre of our country. See article.

Religion, once it gets POWER, uses that power to try to force everyone to think alike.

What a horrible idea that is. Religion is wonderful therapy -- for those who are suited to such therapy. Even the Christ declared -- they that are sick need a Physician.

But to force religion down someone's throat is pure totalitarianism -- worse that the exertion of control typically exercised by Parents, by Teachers, and all such AUTHORITY figures (slash Bullies).

Lately I have been discovering some uplifting encouragement in the classics of Catholic mysticism. Me, an old born-again type (American populist or "gospel" religion). Protestants ought to try to lower their prejudices enough to see some of these jewels of classic mysticism and Catholic spirituality.

Bernard Lonergan writes: Every authentic spiritual experience is an experience of unrestricted, unconditional being in love.

Wow. I love that. (Even if I don't fully grasp it mentally.) Somehow it just 'resonates' -- somewhere inside.

Theology can be a trap. It can be a hedge of thorns. But love is the gem. Love is the healer. Love is where the divine passion lies, the balm that transforms. Knowledge puffeth up, but what will save the world is beauty (as Dostoevsky said). What will save the world is human solidarity, or CARITAS, as the mystics called it.

I realize many religions hint at this truth. Perhaps our tribal ancestors intuitively sensed it -- but without a written record, they saw through a glass darkly.

The teachings of Jesus spell out this impossible ideal of love. Jesus comes across to us (see the Sermon on the Mount) as a pure pacifist, as absolutely and categorically non-violent. Daniel L. Smith-Christopher notes how the Euro-Christians ultimately watered down Jesus' original doctrine of pure love (agape). "From Paul onward, the normative position of the Christians (or Judeao-Christians) in the first three centuries of Christianity was to affirm the nonviolence of Jesus (Hornus 1960; Hunter 1992)."

But Constantine changed it all. "What John Howard Yoder has called "The Constantinian Shift" changed everything. Suddenly, excuses were found for violence and warfare and lethal force. Theology was carefully redesigned to condone military options. The brightest minds of Christendom were harnessed in the service not of the lowly, but of the most powerful. Imperial demands dictacted the new interpretation of Christian creed. It was Saint Augustine who crafted the Just War theory, justifying bloodshed for "righteous" causes.

For all the good of the Protestant Reformation (getting back to Jesus, simplifying doctrines, boosting democracy, encouraging literacy) Leonard Shlain points out that Luther and Calvin and their colleagues produced a very harsh patriarchy -- essentially a religion of fear and trembling. "What was sorely lacking in the Protestant Reformation was joy, love, mercy, laughter, and beauty." In attacking Cathiolic Christendom, the Reformers erected a harsh Christendom of their own, overthrowing such softening influences as Mary-veneration, and even aspects of chivalry and the Rennaissance. (Shlain, The Alphabet Versus The Goddess, p 339).

Right now, lots of denominations are in sort of a witch-hunt mode, scouring and searching out all the heresies and flaws of other sects and cults. They dredge up the failings or theological "errors" as if to start their own INQUISITION. Witch hunting in history.

What a travesty on the teachings of the gentle Jesus, who if anything seems to have taught (however impractical, some say) the ideal of nonviolence.

Christine Elizabeth King did a scholarly study on the Nazi persecution of marginal or different religions. She studied five "new" religions with non-conforming attributes. She found that no religion suffered as much as the Jehovah's witnesses, and that, in fact, they seemed to grow stronger even under persecution. Of course their losses were no where as severe as the Jews, who were not really included in Dr King's study. There was an interesting item she discovered, that a prophecy circulated (and later published) from Jehovah's Witness sources accurately predicting the collapse and utter defeat of Hitler several years before it actually happened. The prophecy had an uncanny tinge to it, though it was phrased and apparently discerned entirely from the Bible writings of scripture. It is otherwise quite inexplicable.

Jehovah's Witnesses have dared to speak out. They have dared to take a stand, to speak the truth, and to declare what the Bible actually says, and what the original language states. And for this they have been misunderstood, ostracized, persecuted.

Elie Wiesel Elie Wiesel writes:

"We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must - at that moment - become the center of the universe."

Terrence Howard
Lori Mccomas
Terrence Howard & Lori Mccomas

pax optima rerum

Peace is the Best Blessing

See The American Moses : Martin Luther King, Jr Let my people go!

See WTBS hastens progress ; ending old prejudice on race shining its light

See Agape : love that confronts evil with the power of Christ prophetic courage

See Peace witness - "anti-war" song from the sixties (you-tube) Bob Dylan: 'With God on our side'

See The only Jehovah's Witness President : Dwight Eisenhower his mother's JW influence on him before West Point

Is there a message for us?

People who are disposed to reject, or to fear, or to pre-judge, have by and larged already closed their ears and minds to new awareness. In fact, if someone is already inclined to dislike you, they can easily find excuses to justify their prejudice. A good example of this is racism. (Do you hate him cause he's pieces of you?) In the case of Bible Students, many outsiders rely more on hearsay than on first-hand acquaintance or focused Bible study. Indeed, there have been mistaken hopes (before). When earlier Bible students computed the date of 1844 as apparently the scriptural (date) of Christ's return, and were labelled Advent-ists, it became a cause for ridicule to those who did not understand. Later, a recomputing (like the Jewish gematria) pointed to the date of 1873-74. Pastor Russell seemed persuaded that (since nothing transpired in 1874), that it must be 1878. It is wisdom to try to correct our computations, when they turn out wrong. Often, being human, we either add wrong, or misinterpret information. Russell realized that missed data pointed (apparently) to 1881 as the harvest of believers. When proven wrong, he went back to the scripture. The "red letter" date which emerged from counting (based on Daniel, etc) was 1914.

We must not only refrain from "judging" our fellow man, we must also strive not to judge our own self. To err is human. Be gentle, little erring one (especially on yourself).

The Bible says that the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
(James 3:17 King James Version)

Surely there's a moral somewhere here. Spiritual values and pursuits seem to endure despite the abuses, counterfeits, and perversions. In my case, though hardly a Jehovah's Witness by any means, I still keep coming back to some kind of (at times almost "tribal" or primordial) mysticism. It is as if God [whoever or whatever he is, she is, they are) was calling to me. "Why can't I free your doubtful mind, and melt your cold, cold heart?" [with thanks to Hank Williams]

Baptizing a faithful & discreet slave

If you wish to learn more about Jehovah's witnesses, you may contact them at
Watchtower, 25 Columbia Heights, Brooklyn NY 11201

See wtbs - What would our forefathers have thought of the present age?

"The churches, and chief among them the Roman Catholic Church, [have] resisted almost every step on the road of progress and liberation, a fact starkly and unavoidably clear in the record." Lord Acton was convinced that without liberty there can be no moral choice. God does not force the conscience. Acton opposed the infallibility doctrine of Pope Pius IX, who declared he was opposed to "progress, liberalism and modern civilisation" -- and A.C. Grayling adds that the pope was "merely echoing the great majority of his predecessors, to say nothing of Protestant evangelicals who in Acton's time were contesting the discoveries of Charles Darwin and their implications -- as they still do to this day." [Grayling. Toward the Light of Liberty. p233-234]

The "NAME" - ha Shem

Gazing at the Letters - Remember God and God's love constantly. Let your thought not be separated from God. I declare, both to individuals and to the masses: If you want to know the secret pf binding your soul above and joining your thought to God -- so that by means of continuous contemplation you attain incessantly the world that is coming, and so that God be with you always, in this life and the next -- then place in front of the eyes of the mind the letters of God's name, as if they were written in a book of Hebrew script. Visualize every letter extending to infinity. What I mean is : when you visualize the letters, focus on them with your mind's eye as you contemplate infinity. Both together: gazing and meditating.

Daniel C. Matt :: The Heart of Jewish Mysticism - Kabbalah

"The Name"
revered by the Jews


Jewish notes
Some rabbis suggest that the four letters of THE NAME correspond to the various tenses of the verb "to be": the infinitive, present, past, and future. In other words, the Eternal One, beyond all time and space. [Jill Suzanne Jacobs]


Traditionally, from the time of Moses, the holy NAME (yod-he-waw-he) is never pronounced, never uttered. The reason, of course, is that this four-letter NAME, the tetragrammaton, is so sacred, it is regarded INEFFABLE. Instead, a substitute (such as adonai or ha-shem) is used.

One of the seven names of God

Words such as Elohim (gods, or authority), El (mighty one), El Shaddai (almighty), Adonai (master), Elyon (most high), Avinu (our father), Malkenu (our king), are not names but titles, highlighting different aspects of [yod he vav he] and the various roles of God.

The Name [yod he vav he] is an archaic third person singular imperfect of the verb "to be"

Peace and justice are two
sides of the same coin.
[Dwight D. Eisenhower]

Another solider from WWII

Never a JW, General Omar N. Bradley

The economist Kenneth Boulding wrote:

"Know this, though love is weak and hate is strong, Yet hate is short, and love is very long."

About Me

      Bob Shepherd
      Bob Shepherd with some pizza pals, 2008

Élie Halévy asks: 'Why was it that of all the countries of Europe, England has been the most free from revolutions, violent crises and sudden changes?'

To think about
            To live and let live, without clamor for distinction or recognition; to wait on divine Love; to write truth first on
            the tablet of one's own heart -- this is the sanity and perfection of living, and my human ideal. [Mary Baker Eddy]

            Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.
            Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
            [Martin Luther King Jr. Read more at Lift Every Voice and Sing]

Erasmus | Christian Bigotry | Learned Hand | Noah Feldman | America's lustre | Crusader Zeal | God's poor are rich | Spinoza


I know that my Redeemer lives
I know that my Redeemer lives;
What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, he lives, who once was dead;
He lives, my ever-living head.
He lives to bless me with his love,
He lives to plead for me above.
He lives my hungry soul to feed,
He lives to help in time of need.
He lives to grant me rich supply,
He lives to guide me with his eye,
He lives to comfort me when faint,
He lives to hear my soul's complaint.
He lives to silence all my fears,
He lives to wipe away my tears
He lives to calm my troubled heart,
He lives all blessings to impart.

Samuel Medley
Ezra Marler, ed

Quoting shyysmom:
cafe mom From shyysmom:

OK let me just say this. I am a Jehovah's witness and there is a reason why we come to your home and are diligent about talking to you if we see you have shown interest.

To keep it simple, Jesus Christ preached and taught others about Jehovah God when he was on earth and commanded all his followers to do the same. So as Christ's followers we imitate him to the best of our ability.

We believe the work that we do is very important because it saves lives. The Bible says if we do not teach others we will be blood guilty when Armageddon comes and the wicked are destroyed.

So we are going to do what Jesus and Jehovah God commanded us to do whether you listen or not.

And one more thing, there are people out there who are interested in what the Bible has to say and study with us regularly and love it. Hence there are almost 7 million Jehovah's witnesses worldwide today!

Robert Shepherd
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