“A simple man believes every word he hears; a clever man understands the need for proof.” - Proverbs 14:15
This discussion is based off of a brief article appearing in the August 22nd 1978 Awake titled "Do Others Do Your Thinking?" Recently the “Governing Body” produced a video warning members of their organization about taking in any information that they have not authorized. The warning was specific about any website, video, or application not registered by them. Oddly enough this video is not presently available on the official JW website, but if you can handle comments from the self proclaimed nonbeliever Lloyd Evans, here is a copy that he shares along with his personal remarks. (video)
The “Governing Body” believes that without them no one can discern truth or acquire any accurate knowledge of God. They have proclaimed themselves to be the one and only channel Jehovah has authorized to represent him and his son. Even his own Word the Bible is said to be of no benefit to the would be follower of his only begotten son Jesus Christ without the “Governing Body's” official registered trademark. As they express it in their own words: “Unless we are in touch with this channel of communication that God is using, we will not progress along the road to life, no matter how much Bible reading we do.” (Watchtower December 1st 1981 page 27 paragraph #4)
Indoctrination is defined as: “the process of repeating an idea or belief to someone until they accept it without criticism or question.” All of “Jehovah's Witnesses” have been indoctrinated (to one degree or another) with the teaching that – the “Governing Body” is “The Faithful and Discreet Slave” - the one and only “channel of communication” with Jehovah that is actively in use today. We are strictly admonished not to criticize or question these men. However, if we embrace this teaching are we attributing our salvation as being dependent upon obedience to the “Governing Body” and their religious organization? Is that wrong?
The November 1st 1990 Watchtower answers that question on page 26 in paragraph number 16 - “We cannot take part in any modern version of idolatry —be it worshipful gestures toward an image or symbol or the imputing of salvation to a person or an organization. (1 Corinthians 10:14; 1 John 5:21)" [*bold, underline, and italics added] As they simply put it - this is a “modern version of idolatry.”
The Awake article, cited at the introduction, identifies shocking parallels between the “Governing Body” and “Propagandists.” The article states: “Propagandists have little respect for people’s thinking abilities.” Likewise the “Governing Body” has little confidence in us. They know that if we were to take in information from an outside source, we might begin to question the doctrines put forth in Watchtower publications. Why? Why will secular information cause us to question their official doctrines? Is it because as worshipers of the Almighty God we have a weak and unstable faith?
No, to the contrary it is exactly because of that faith in our God, founded upon the Scriptures, that we would question anything that opposes the truth clearly presented within the Scriptures. Satan has set before himself the impossible task of wrecking the integrity and faith of God's servants. In his efforts he has previously attempted to sift us out “by mockings and scourgings, indeed, more than that, by chains and prisons. They were stoned, they were tried, they were sawn in two, they were slaughtered by the sword, they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, while they were in need, in tribulation, mistreated.” (Hebrews 11:36, 37) Do you really think that your faith could be shattered by considering information from an unauthorized website?
If so rest assured your faith is weak and of absolutely no value. If after taking to heart all the various trials endured by God's servants, as Paul just referenced, and you feel you are worthy of standing in their company but you lack the ability to view a website you have truly deceived yourself. Just take a moment to actually think about it. Can you imagine our brother that was “sawn in two” standing in our midst saying: "thankfully I didn't view an unauthorized website or I would have lost my faith for sure.” Such ridiculous reasoning is truly laughable.
What kind of horrible faith shattering things are going to be presented on unofficial websites? Simply put, we are going to read opposing arguments on doctrinal issues. As Lloyd said in his comments, considering these arguments is going to be a “win/win scenario". If we are clearly able to prove the counterarguments false this will only stabilize and fortify our convictions and faith. If however there is overwhelming evidence that a doctrine presented by the “Governing Body” is false would we prefer not to have that knowledge? It basically comes down to being educated about the facts and truth presented in the Scriptures, then being able to competently discuss it like spiritually mature people. As the Awake article begins “Education teaches you how to think. Propagandists tell you what to think. True educators present all sides of an issue and encourage discussion. Propagandists hammer hard on their view and discourage discussion.”
What it boils down to is love. While describing love Paul said it “believes all thing.” This does not mean that because of our love we are naive. Rather because we love our brothers we believe that their faith in our God and love for our Lord Jesus Christ are not weak and useless. We believe that not only will our brothers be able to withstand being “sawn in two,” but that their faith will also withstand someone questioning the Scriptural basis for their accepted interpretation of certain prophecies. Indeed what could anyone ever say that would persuade us to diminish the love we have for our Father and his son Jesus Christ?
In continuing to describe Propagandists the Awake article says; “They prove neither their assertions nor their smears, but by the tyranny of authority they pontificate their opinions, squelch objections and intimidate opposers.” Is that what the “Governing Body” is doing? Personally I have sent two letters directly to the “Governing Body” concerning the truths presented from the Scriptures that are available on this website. Their response has been to remind me of their exalted position as God's only channel being used today and that if Jehovah wants anything adjusted pertaining to doctrines taught within the congregation he will reveal it directly to the “Governing Body.”
It is unimaginable to them that our Father would try to communicate to them through us. In their minds they are at the top and we are at the bottom and God only communicates from the top down. Where they got that idea from is unclear, but it is certainly not Scriptural. The Bible clearly shows our Father choosing young men that were working in the field, or as carpenters and fisherman, to serve as his messengers. There is an established pattern in the Scriptures of men in prominent positions refusing to listen to those whom our Father sent to them.
If the Lord were to arrive tomorrow they would undoubtedly cry out “Lord why didn't you help us understand all these important things?” Jesus could certainly responsd: 'For decades I have had my servants, your own brothers, writing to you and pleading with you to pay attention to these important Scriptures and their meaning, but you constantly silenced them and threatened them for speaking up in my name because you loved the glory of men even more than the glory of God.' In the end it will be interesting to see how the Lord decides to reply to them. Nevertheless, I am not the first person that has attempted to reach them and I am confident I will not be the last.
Back in the year 1918 many were moved by their consciences to withdraw from their association with the Watchtower because of the absolute nonsense published in the book “The Finished Mystery.” (Free PDF ) Before saying those who withdrew from the organization were faithless apostates, take the time to actually read the book for yourself. After doing so ask yourself if you could commit your spiritual life and the spirituality of your family to the authors of that publication. Many in the congregation jump to conclusions before they actually read the publication in question. From the very beginning of the Watchtower's religious organization there have always been members that have conscientiously objected to doctrines and teachings that were presented by the leadership that were not in harmony with the truth contained in the Scriptures.
For a breakdown of these many ever-changing beliefs see the article “Development of Jehovah's Witnesses doctrine” on Wikipedia. It should be noted that The Truth as presented to us by our Father through his inspired Word is not some new religion that needs to be adjusted and clarified every few years. However anyone who has been with the Watchtower organization for more than a decade knows that the religion as it is today is not the same one we began to associate with.
In the concluding comments of the Awake article we are admonished; “whatever you read or watch or listen to, test whether it is propaganda or whether it is the truth.” That is some absolutely rock solid advise. Our brother John told us; “beloved ones, do not believe every inspired statement, but test the inspired statements to see whether they originate with God.” (1 John 4:1) He didn't tell us to stick our fingers in our ears so we never hear any unauthorized statements. No he truly loved us, just as he addresses us “beloved ones.” He believed that with our power of reason and the Lord's assistance we would be able to test the things we hear and discern the truth, and indeed we all will.