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Andere aanpak in de organisatie van de diensten # 2

De eindigende tijd van de heidenen

Nadat de Duitsers België waren binnengevallen bleven de gelovige Bijbel studenten hun prediking voort zetten. Zelfs wanneer ze 99 kilometer langs de spoorlijn moesten lopen van Luik naar Charleroi, waren deze Waalse nederige mijnwerkers ijverig om vergaderingen bij te wonen.

De families Tilmant en Verdière bleven het Goede Nieuws van het Koninkrijk verspreiden.

Na de dood van Charles Taze Russell, op 31 oktober 1916, werd een zevende-volume getiteld “The Finished Mystery” gepubliceerd in 1917 en aangeprezen als zijn ‘postume werk “. Dit zevende volume was een gedetailleerde interpretatie van het boek Openbaring van Johannes, maar ook interpretaties van Ezechiël en het Hooglied van Salomon. Een reclame voor het boek in Zion’s Watch Tower noemde het “de ware interpretatie”, en promote het als “van de Heer – voorbereid onder zijn leiding.” Onmiddellijke controverse omgaven zowel haar bekendmaking en inhoud. Het werd al snel vastgesteld dat het grotendeels geschreven en samengesteld was door twee van Russell’s vennoten, Clayton J. Woodworth en George H. Fisher, en bewerkt werd door Russell’s opvolger, Joseph Franklin Rutherford.

De positie en de houding die Rutherford aannam werd door velen niet gewaardeerd. De Russellieten beschuldigde hem voor het verraden van Russell. In België als in andere landen waar de tegenwoordige waarheid werd opgericht, kwamen een paar problemen aan het licht, sommige mensen hadden de intentie om te verdelen.

In de loop van de gebeurtenissen, voor wat betreft Jumet en de wijk van Charleroi, sloten de familie Tilmant en andere mensen zich aan bij de groepering van Rutherford, die werd verkozen tot president van het Wachttorengenootschap. De sterke persoonlijkheid van Rutherford zoals die van Robert Roberts maakte dat mensen kozen voor andere, minder dictatoriale figuren. Een aantal essentiële leerstellingen van de millenniumgeneratie restauratieve christelijke beweging die zijn voortgekomen uit de leringen en de ministeries van Dr. John Thomas en Charles Taze Russell, ook wel bekend als Pastor Russell, werden veranderd. Over de hele wereld vertrokken duizenden leden congregaties van Bible Students of Bijbelonderzoekers in verband met de Watch Tower Society gedurende de jaren 1920 mede ingegeven door Rutherford‘s mislukte voorspellingen voor het jaar 1925, het verhogen van ontgoocheling met zijn voortdurende doctrinaire en organisatorische veranderingen, en zijn campagne voor gecentraliseerde controle van de beweging.

Volgers in België

Prolific writer and bible Student Paul Samuel Leo Johnson

Prolific writer and bible Student Paul Samuel Leo Johnson

De VS immigrant uit Polen en een prominente Hebreeuwse geleerde, Paul Samuel Leo (voorheen Levitsky) Johnson trok vele volgelingen aan in België en andere plaatsen. In 1903 had hij gemeenschap begonnen met de Columbus Ecclesia van de Watch Tower Society en werd benoemd door Russell als een pelgrim van de Bijbelstudenten (of Bijbelonderzoekers) in 1904. Hij diende uiteindelijk als persoonlijke secretaris en in de tijd werd hij de meest vertrouwde vriend en adviseur van Russell. Maar voor hem werd het heel moeilijk om om te gaan met die Bijbel studenten die de leer van Pastor C.T. Russell uitdaagden en bevroegen, vooral rond zijn begrip van het nieuwe verbond en de losprijs voor allen.

De illegale introductie van nieuwe statuten voor de Watch Tower Society gaf de president Rutherford volledige controle over de zaken van de Gemeenschap. Dit was echter niet Pastor Russell‘s wens. In zijn testament had hij een zevenman’s raad van bestuur voorzien om hem op te volgen. Vier leden van de Raad van Bestuur van de Vereniging van Bestuur, een meerderheid van de raad, nam sterk bezwaar tegen wat zij beschouwden als Rutherford‘s verwerpelijk eigenhandig gedrag en verzetten zich tegen hem. Uiteindelijk bracht die groeiende spanning tussen Rutherford en de bestuurders er toe dat op 17 juli 1917, Rutherford gewoon tijdens de maaltijd, deBethel familie’ in Brooklyn, New York, aankondigde dat hij de vier bestuurders had vervangen met zijn eigen aangestelden. Dit deed hij met behulp van het juridische jargon dat de bestuurders die tegen hem waren, wettelijk hun posities niet konden houden onder de wet van Pennsylvania.
Rutherford
beweerde ten onrechte dat de vier directeuren en anderen met hen, weigerden samen te werken met de Society. Zelfs vandaag wordt er door de Jehovah’s Getuigen verteld dat de vier bestuurders die werden verdreven uit het Watch Tower hoofdkwartier  boos waren en zich zelf dienden.

Missionarissen

IBSA's "Missions Investigation Committee&...

IBSA’s “Missions Investigation Committee” in 1912 Gen. Hall is omcirkeld, Charles Taze Russell is gezeten (Foto credit: Wikipedia)

Veel ernstige Bijbelonderzoekers, zoals de Thomasiten, Russellieten en verschillende geassocieerde leden van de Bijbelonderzoekers verzette zich tegen de manier waarop Rutherford de Bijbel Studenten wilde bewegen. De vier directeuren vormden een instituut om het werk van Pastor Russell onafhankelijk van de Society voort te blijven zetten. Anderen gingen op hun beurt ook over om kleine eigen gemeenschappen te vormen of om andere corporaties op hun eigen op te richten. Sommige Bijbel studenten volgden het voorbeeld van hun favoriete ouderling of leraar. Weer anderen, enige organisatie en samenlevingen wantrouwend, bleven onafhankelijk van alle anderen.

Broeder Paul Johnson gaf zijn beweging de naam “Interior Missionary Laity Movement”, duidelijk verwijzend naar het niet clerus gebonden kader van de vereniging waar leken de dienst uit maakten en niet onder zulk een gradatie vielen als bij de clerus. De gekozen naam voor de beweging was één van de niet opgenomen namen die werden gebruikt door Pastor Russell en de vroege Internationale Bijbel Studentent Associatie (IBSA) of de International Bible Students Association (IBSA) (Niet te verwarren met de latere organisatie uit Engeland met dezelfde naam, maar die wel de Jehovah’s Getuigen groepeert.). Uit die Russell ISBA groep ontstond de Heraut van het Koninkrijk van Christus Bijbel Studenten of the Herald of Christ’s Kingdom Bible Students welke hun ideeën aan een aantal Belgen gaven.
Sommigen traden Alexander F.L. Freitag tegemoet, ook wel bekend als Freytag, die aan het eind van 1917 nog verantwoordelijk manager was van de Wachttoren. Werkzaam in het Frans in Zwitserland richtte Freitag de groep Engel van de Heer  op (geïnspireerd door een vers van de Apocalyps), Engel van Jehovah Bijbel en Tract Society, dan Kerk van het Koninkrijk van God of de Filantropische Vergadering van de Vrienden van de Mens” of “les Amis de l’homme”. Een kleine groep leefde in het gebied van Charleroi. Sommigen van hen hebben de 3 bewegingen niet gevolgd  en hebben een “Association of Bible Students”, “Association des Etudiants de la Bible” of “Vereniging van Bijbelonderzoekers” gevormd. The Young Men’s Mutual Bible Study Associations of de “les associations Mutuels Bible Étude de la Jeune homme” of de “Onderlinge Vereniging voor Bijbelstudie voor jonge mannenvan broeder Robert Ashcroft kon anderen aan te trekken. De gesprekken van Frank George Jannaway en zijn beschermings werk voor degenen die niet wilden gaan vechten in de Eerste Wereldoorlog kreeg waarschijnlijk ook enige aandacht, maar de verschillende groepen waren erg klein en als zodanig kwam de hele Bijbelstudentenvereniging in België in de gevarenzone van de vergetelheid.

Niet opgemerkte parels

In 1915 werden wereldwijd door de bijbelstudenten  50 millioen Tractaten verspreid.

België kreeg een periode waar de Parels niet werden gezien. Men zag dat het koninkrijk België in de steek gelaten werd, maar toch bleven er Bijbelgetrouwen in hun kleine hoekje naarstig verder werken om Gods Woord beter te begrijpen.

“47 Het is met het koninkrijk van de hemel ook als met een sleepnet dat in een meer werd geworpen en waarmee allerlei soorten vis werden gevangen. 48 Toen het net vol was, trok men het op de oever en ging men zitten om de goede vis in kuipen te doen; de slechte vis werd weggegooid. 49 Zo zal het gaan bij de voltooiing van deze wereld: de engelen zullen erop uittrekken en de kwaadwilligen van de rechtvaardigen scheiden,” (Mattheüs 13:47-49 NBV)

Tijdens de Eerste Wereldoorlog waren er twee kleine groepen Bijbel Onderzoekers in Nederland actief, namelijk in Rotterdam en Amsterdam. Zij probeerden ook Nederlandstalige publicaties op de markt te brengen. In 1918 werden drie proef nummers van The Watchtower  of “De Wachttoren” uitgegeven. Erg genoeg bleek er onvoldoende animo voor zulk een lectuur, om over te schakelen naar een normale regelmatige editie.

20 ° eeuw kreten

Leden van de Christadelphian Bijbel Mission (CBM) kwamen later regelmatig naar de Lage Landen (Nederland, België en Noord-Frankrijk) of de Nederlanden en een aantal van hen vond zelfs een basis voor een verblijf in Nederland waar ze begonnen om opnieuw een aantal kleine groepen van Bijbel studenten bijeen te krijgen of te stimuleren om regelmatig samen te komen.

Albert O. Hudson

Albert O. Hudson, founder of the Bible Fellowship Union – Stichter van de Bible Fellowship Union

Bible Fellowship Union Web site in 2014 November - Bible Fellowship Union Web site in november 2014

Bible Fellowship Union Web site in november 2014 – De Bijbel Fellowship Unie heeft sinds 1945 de ‘Bible Monthly’ en andere literatuur gepubliceerd in voortzetting van een tijdschrift opgericht in 1924, met als doel de Bijbel kennis te bevorderen.

Ook uit GrootBrittannië, waar de Bible Fellowship Union of Bijbel Broederschapsunie werd opgericht, begonnen ze in 1924 met het publiceren van The Bible Students Monthly een maandelijks Bijbel Studentenblad dat later omgedoopt werd tot The Bible Study om zo niet te verwarren met de nieuwe Watch Tower die eerder ook een paper publiceerde met die naam. Albert O. Hudson werd de algemeen directeur en diende in die hoedanigheid tot aan zijn dood op de leeftijd van 101 jaar in 2000. Vandaag de dag wordt het gerund door een redactiecommissie van de Bible Fellowship Union.

Maar ook zij moesten een splitsing onder ogen zien, met William Crawford, een origineel lid van de Britse Raad van Bestuur, die over ging op de oprichting van de Old Paths Publications (Oude Paden Publicaties) en de maandelijkse tijdschrift Old Paths (Oude Paden) produceerde . Talloze boekjes, boeken en traktaten werden geproduceerd.

Op het moment van de splitsing in 1917, was de Forest Gate Kerk de tweede grootste Bijbel Studenten groep in Engeland. F.G. Guard, schoonvader van William Crawford, leidde de klasse op om zich te scheiden van de Society. In 1939 begonnen ze The Forest Gate Church Bible Monthly te publiceren samen met boekjes en traktaten. Deze groep werd ontbonden in 1979.

Geconfronteerd met een andere oorlog

De Thomasites of Thomasiten vonden dat veel van de Bible Students veel te ver afgeweken waren van de originele leer van Dr. John Thomas en zijn eerste medestudenten hun ideeën. Zij en de Australische Bijbelstudenten die ook vonden dat de Birmingham Christadelphians en CBM niet meer echte volgelingen waren van John Thomas kregen contact met enkele Belgische Bijbelstudenten die zo dicht mogelijk bij de Bijbelse waarheid wilden blijven.

Freitag, voormalig Branch manager van de Zwitserse Watch Tower Society sinds 1898, beweerde dat hij de rechtmatige opvolger van Charles Taze Russell was, verzond naar de Bijbel Studenten De boodschap van Laodicea (Le Message de Laodicée) en publiceerde twee tijdschriften, de maandelijkse Le Moniteur du Règne de Justice (De Monitor van het Rijk van Justitie) en de wekelijkse krant voor iedereen: Le Journal pour tous.

Freitag‘s beweging werd later voortgezet onder leiding van Édouard Rufener, dan Marie Roulin, toen de heer Kohli en kreeg haar hoofdkwartier gevestigd in Cartigny, Zwitserland.

Toen Freitag overleed in 1947, beweerde een van zijn volgelingen, Bernard Sayerce (1912-1963), een rooms-katholieke schoolmeester, dat hij zijn opvolger was. Bijna alle van de 900 Franse en Belgische assemblees traden toe tot deze nieuwe groep, die een piek van 9.700 leden had tussen 1958 en 1962. In 1963 kreeg men Lydie Sartre (1898-1972), die werd uitgeroepen tot de Beste moeder“, dan Joseph Neyrand (1927 -1981) in 1971, die Sayerce vervingen als leiders van de beweging, genaamd Amis sans frontières(Vrienden zonder grenzen) in 1984, die vandaag nog steeds actief is.

De Association of Bible Students of Vereniging van Bijbelstudenten en de Association of Bible Researchers of Vereniging van Bijbel Onderzoekers (Associatie of Vereniging van Bijbelonderzoekers) kreeg allerlei soorten mensen, uit allerlei denominaties, die serieus wilden onderzoeken wat in de Heilige Schrift staat geschreven en hoe we deze moeten interpreteren.

Over de hele wereld zijn er vele kleine onafhankelijke groepjes die de Bijbel trachten te bestuderen. Zij kregen te zien hoe doorheen de jaren de verschillende groepen die voorafgaandelijk Rutherford volgenden ook ontevreden werden over de manier waarop de dingen verder gingen. Naarmate de jaren vorderden, werden wijzigingen aangebracht die sommigen tegen de borst stootten of waarbij nieuwe leerstellingen werden opgenomen en diegenen die anders dachten werden verstoten. Eveneens brachten sommigen ideeën aan waar het Wachttoren Genootschap niet mee akkoord gingen en daarom die persoon uitsloten terwijl enkele jaren zij zelf die leerstelling als een nieuw licht presenteerden, maar de vroeger uitgeslotene niet terug in de rangen namen. Meer en meer van de broeders, die eerst Rutherford en zijn Getuigen van Jehovah gevolgd waren, zagen een verandering van richting en houding binnen de Society, waardoor zij snel besloten te vertrekken en dus begon “de grote uittocht”. In 1930 had de meerderheid van de broeders die nauw samenwerkte met Pastor Russell de Vereniging verlaten velen werden gedwongen om er uit te treden. Tegen die tijd werden al Pastor Russell‘s geschriften in het voordeel van de geschriften van Rutherford veranderd en geschriften die elkaar tegengespraken weggegooid. In 1929 waren meer dan honderd veranderingen in leerstellingen gemaakt; de samenleving leek niet meer op diegene die werd opgericht door Pastor Russell en zijn vroege metgezellen. De Vereniging had een nieuwe look en een nieuwe houding. Niet langer was het gewoon een uitgeverij voor de verspreiding van de Bijbelse literatuur. Nu was het Gods theocratische organisatie.” Om het niet eens met haar was gelijk aan verraad tegen God zelf.

Kort na de oprichting van de Goshen Fellowshipnadat hij werd uitgesloten door NH Knorr in 1951 overleed Jesse Hemery. Jesse Hemery werd door Russell in 1901 benoemd tot opzichter van de Watch Tower Society’s British Isles branch office, het Wachttoren filiaal voor de Britse Eilanden, en beheerde die post tot 1946. In België werd deze groep  bekend onder deze naam, maar van de 1960-70ies ook onder de naam Zion’s Heraldna hun publicatie (die begon in 1965), die jarenlang werd gepubliceerd onder leiding van Frank Lewis Brown.

Dr. John Thomas (1805–1871) founder of the Christadelphian movement, a Restorationist religion with doctrines similar in part to some 16th-century Antitrinitarian Rationalist Socinians and the 16th-century Swiss-German pacifist Anabaptists. - Dr. John Thomas (1805-1871) grondlegger van de Christadelphian beweging, een herstellers van religie groepering met doctrines vergelijkbaar voor een deel met een aantal 16e-eeuwse Antitrinitarische Rationalistische Socinianen en de 16e-eeuwse Duits-Zwitserse pacifistische wederdopers of Anabaptisten.

Dr. John Thomas (1805-1871) grondlegger van de Christadelphian beweging, een herstellers van religie groepering met doctrines vergelijkbaar voor een deel met een aantal 16e-eeuwse Antitrinitarische Rationalistische Socinianen en de 16e-eeuwse Duits-Zwitserse pacifistische wederdopers of Anabaptisten.

Hoewel veel van de oorspronkelijke 19° eeuwse Bijbel Studenten zijn gestorven, kan men nu nog volgelingen aantreffen die voortgaan in de gedachtegang van de vorsers van het ‘eerste uur’.  Hun kleinkinderen en trouwe volgelingen van hen die de eerste groepjes oprichtten gaan nog steeds door. Hoewel zelfs vandaag de dag kunnen er geschillen blijven bestaan tussen bepaalde groepen door te beweren dat zij en niet de andere vasthouden aan de oorspronkelijke leer van Dr. Thomas of Pastor Russell. De Christadelphians werden de mindere groep in de Bijbelonderzoekers, terwijl de International Bible Student Association (IBSA) het erg moeilijk kan vinden om mensen te laten inzien dat zij de ware volgelingen van Charles Taze Russell zijn en niet de Jehovah Getuigen die ongerechtvaardigd beweren dat Russell hun organisatie zou hebben opgericht.

The Watchtower and Tract Society from Brooklyn of het Wachttoren en Traktaatgenootschap uit Brooklyn gaat zelfs zo ver om te stellen dat de Bijbel Studenten niet meer bestaan, dat ze zijn uitgestorven en niemand overblijft of ze zeggen dat ze de enige bijbel studenten zijn

Hopelijk kunnen wij u er van overtuigen dat dit niet zo is en dat er over de gehele wereld nog verscheidene Bijbelstudenten of Bible Students zijn die niets met de Getuigen van Jehovah te maken hebben.

The American Association of followers of Charles Taze Russell his teachings: the International Bible Students Association (IBSA), not to be confused with the English IBSA of the Jehovah's Witnesses - De Amerikaanse Vereniging van de volgelingen van Charles Taze Russell zijn leer: de International Bible Students Association (IBSA), niet te verwarren met het Engelse IBSA van de Jehovah's Getuigen

The American Association of followers of Charles Taze Russell his teachings: the International Bible Students Association (IBSA), not to be confused with the English IBSA of the Jehovah’s Witnesses – De Amerikaanse Vereniging van de volgelingen van Charles Taze Russell zijn leer: de International Bible Students Association (IBSA), niet te verwarren met het Engelse IBSA van de Jehovah’s Getuigen

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Vorige aflevering: Andere aanpak in de organisatie van de diensten # 1

Volgende: Andere aanpak in de organisatie van de diensten # 3

Engelse versie / English version: Different approach in organisation of services #2

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Please do find out more about the Christadelphians:

  1. Not all christians are followers of a Greco-Roman culture
  2. Two new encyclopaedic articles
  3. Who are the Christadelphians
  4. What are Brothers in Christ
  5. Discipleship way of life on the narrow way to everlasting life
  6. Christadelphian people
  7. Christadelphians or Messianic Christians or Messianic Jews
  8. About the Belgian Free Christadelphians
  9. What Christadelphians teach
  10. Small churches of the few Christadelphians
  11. Priority to form a loving brotherhood
  12. 19° Century London Christadelphians
  13. Breathing and growing with no heir
  14. Commitment to Christian unity
  15.  Parts of the body of Christ
  16. What part of the Body am I?
  17. The Church, Body of Christ and remnant Israel synonymous
  18. United people under Christ
  19. Fellowship
  20. The Ecclesia
  21. The Ecclesia in the churchsystem
  22. The ecclesia or Christadelphian church
  23. Our relationship with God, Jesus and each other
  24. Our ecclesia or Christadelphian-church
  25. Intentions of an Ecclesia
  26. An ecclesia in your neighbourhood
  27. Communion and day of worship
  28. Christadelphians today
  29. Small churches of the few Christadelphians
  30. Who Celebrates Easter as Religious Holiday
  31. Eostre, Easter, White god, chocolate eggs, Easter bunnies and metaphorical resurrection
  32. Harvest in Belgium

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  • Rose Guide To End-Times Prophecy – Timothy Paul Jones (2011) (baldreformer.wordpress.com)
    Rose-Guide to End-Times Prophecy by Timothy Paul Jones is a terrific overview of eschatology designed for beginning Bible students.  The author provides a fairly comprehensive look at the four major eschatological views – Amillennialism, Postmillennialism, Dispensational Premillennialism, and Historical Premillennialism.
  • Bible Students Are Getting Threatened with Deportation. So How Fair Is Obama’s Immigration Policy? (ijreview.com)
    Ohio’s Marietta Bible College doesn’t get much press. Their website is modest, and their goals are straightforward: they prepare international students from third world countries for work in churches or Christian schools in their homelands. The school is a ministry of Marietta Bible Center Church.
  • High-school Students Told They Could No Longer Pray During School Free Time (lightfromtheright.com)
    Windebank enlisted the help of the ADF which wrote a letter to the school’s administration, including the assistant principal and his boss, stating that such a policy was on its face and invalid and needed to be changed to allow Windebank and his friends to continue doing what they had been doing without trouble for the last three years.Instead of acquiescing and mending their ways and changing the policy, the school instead pushed back. They stated, through the school’s attorney “that because of the separation of church and state and because they regarded the Seminar period as instructional time, they were banning students’ discussion of issues of the day from a religious perspective during the open time of Seminar period.”

    So Seminar time wasn’t open time after all but fell under the aegis and control of the administration to determine what constituted proper activities and behavior. A spokesman for the school district, Nanette Anderson, confirmed,

    Students were told that, according to state law and district policy, they could meet [only] during non-instructional time [now defined as] before or after school.

  • Atonement and the race been bought (bijbelvorser.wordpress.com)
    In the previous articles we have seen how important it is to belong to a community which is under Christ, who was “raised again for our justification” (Romans 4: 25).
  • Confessions of a Jehovah’s Witness (heraldsun.com.au)
    As someone who spent too long inside this stifling, doom-obsessed religion, I can tell you the answer lies in two powerful forces that control the lives of each of the world’s eight million Jehovah’s Witnesses: a conviction that God will soon destroy “wicked mankind” on a global and bloody scale, (sparing, naturally, just them) and also the unquestioning acceptance of the religion’s New York leadership.

    Those leaders require that all Witnesses, from children to the frail aged, devote their lives to proselytising in the hope of gathering millions more into their fold before the divine hammer blow of Armageddon.

  • Confessions of a Jehovah’s Witness (adelaidenow.com.au)
    But the command is not only to “preach” (usually a forlorn offer of a magazine or leaflet); they must also hand in monthly reports detailing the hours they spent “in the field” and how many calls they made.

    The message at their meetings is relentless and laden with guilt and fear: keep on preaching or you, too, will die at Armageddon.

    Since the 1920s — when hard-headed Watch Tower Society president Joseph F. Rutherford whipped a once quaint Adventist religion into a regimented, tightly disciplined publishing and recruiting organisation — the church’s belief has always been that the best way to keep members from straying is to keep them busy.

Male domination and tyranny giving opportunities to defile the Name of God

All human beings can and shall make faults in their life; Nobody can escape. The only one who did nearly escape was Jeshua, the Nazarene Jew who did everything to please his heavenly Father. But by doing so he more than once probably frustrated his earthly parents; For sure he made them twice in his lifetime very worried and sad. Once when he was 12 years old and did not follow up the wishes to stay close to his family in the big city Jerusalem. there he had not thought of the worries his parents might get when he would not be in the caravan back home. An other time he worried his mother very much was when he was taken prisoner and later brought up to the hill for execution nearby the walls of that same city. An other time he got out of the normal behaviour a human being should stay, was when he saw all those sellers in the temple, the house of God. He really lost his temper and threw the tables over and shouted to those vendors in what Jesus considered a house of prayer and not a sales market. Jesus like any other human being could sin, but did not. What he did was righteous in the eyes of God.

To be all the time righteous for any person is ‘very difficult’. When you look around you, you shall be able to see people you like very much and others you like less, but also some you do not like at all. From those you know you also shall be able to tell good things but probably also bad things. Also about yourself you shall have to admit there are good and bad things.

Secrets of Pedophilia in an American ReligionThere does not exist any organisation which can escape to undergo things in its ranks which would better not have occurred at any time. It is worse or gets really bad when organisations do not want to see what goes wrong in their organisation or worse even try to hide the things which went wrong in their organisation. In the last instance we do have to ask questions and we do have to be more aware of the danger of such activities.

When people in charge of parishes or communities to something wrong to people where they should take care off their wrongdoings are even worse than those who do not know better. We should always take into account the people who are poor in mind or who do have a brain which is not working like it should do. but by those who get a position to take care over a flock or some people who give their trust in his or her arms, than it becomes abominable.

When elders, priests, pastors, ministers commit acts which are an abomination in the eyes of God it becomes worse, because those people are considered ‘workers for God’ and should be defending the Faith. they should be an example for the community and for those who have to be brought to God. They should not be persons who give others the opportunity to blame the Church or to spit on religion or to defile the Name of God.

We can not deny that also by groups who call themselves Bible Students there can be found people unworthy of such name. We also can not deny that in such groups there can be found people who should know better, and who really study the Word of God, but could not resist doing things which are against the Laws of God.

No denomination in Christendom nor in Christianity seems to escape the evil of some men or women in own ranks. When there can be found such evildoers in a group which bears the name of the Most High it becomes even worse. But that should not get such organisations try to hide such things for others, because then they do even more damage to their own organisation and worse to the Name of God.

Rape Infographic

Rape Infographic (Photo credit: Snipergirl)

Former elder Mark Sewell is the last mentioned case of such an example which no Christian organisation would like to find in their midst. According to the accusations he used his “position of power” to “exploit and abuse” women and children over a ten-year period.

Officials at head office of the Jehovah Witnesses appointed a seven-man committee to investigate what had happened.

As a result Tom Brown was stripped of his post as presiding overseer but remained as an elder, while Anthony Sewell was removed as an elder because of events he concealed and tried to conceal.

A four-man committee then investigated the claims of assault and rape against Sewell, resulting in him being ‘disfellowshipped’, which meant being removed from the church and “shunned” by other Witnesses.

What is important that people look for the intentions of some one. Those of a person claiming to belong to Jehovah His organisation when he does fornication or rape does something which not only brings blame on that worldly organisation but also on the organisation of God and on His Name.

In 2012 the Watch Tower Society had already issued a letter to all Bodies of Elders instructing them on how to handle cases of child abuse in the wake of the Candace Conti verdict, but some years on now, we wonder how those elders in the different countries do the right thing and follow the rules of the countries in which they are working and living.

It was already chocking in 2012 that the Governing Body did not use the lessons learned from the Conti case to bring the Society’s child protection policy into conformity with the law, not to mention the basic principles of community responsibility.

Despite the jury’s multi-million dollar award of punitive damages against the Society in the Conti case, little was being done to ensure that similar cases would not arise in the future. And the world could hear of many many different cases of child abuse and of sexual harassment by elders and the female Witnesses.

For us we can not understand why parents in the 21st century still react like the parents in the 1950ies and 60ies did in the Catholic families. It can be that the Witnesses are only in that stadium and are 50 or 60 years behind the time, which would mean that over such time we are going to see empty Kingdom Halls or having only Kingdoms Halls in 2060 with just 5 or 6 attendants.

The organisation and the people leading a congregation should know that not one religion can make a psychological/criminal evaluation in case they themselves did not receive a higher education in that field. They also should know they have to take the responsibility to protect the weaker people in their community and should always investigate every sign of wrong going.

We agree that a person accused of being a paedophile should always be considered innocent until proven. But to say he is innocent unless two people witnessed the abuse (the victim and someone else) is ridiculous, because any sex offender shall probably take care there would be no witnesses or nobody who would come to stand up against him or her.

To have an organisation ruling out paedophilia because there would be no witnesses to confirm it would make that there nearly never would be a case in instances of child molestation to confirm the allegation. Certainly in very confined communities with very strict rules, like the  Jehovah Witnesses or any small  or big fundamentalist religious organisation, child molesters who are smart enough to carry out their despicable crimes without someone else watching, shall always feel the protective hand above them because nobody lower than them would go against them.

Saying that those accused of child abuse have not to be judged by “worldly” standards, but through God’s standards as determined through a mistaken application of the Mosaic law is taking the law in their own hands and not giving the Caesar what belongs to the Caesar (like Jesus said), but denying jurisdiction to do her work .

It was hoped that the Conti case might have resulted in the Society revisiting the “two witness rule”, but until now there is not such a thing.

Demanding a confession is not always to bring such a confession when somebody did really something he or she should know is really not allowable in our worldly nor in our spiritual society.

The rule the JW organisation asks to be followed goes in against any lawful acceptable position. when a child and her parents do not find others who have seen something which went wrong between the child and the sex offender, the parents may feel guilty to bring a complaint because they have no witnesses of the events their child is talking of.

“Do not admit an accusation against an older man, except only on the evidence of two or three witnesses. Reprove before all onlookers persons who practice sin, that the rest also may have fear…. The sins of some men are publicly manifest, leading directly to judgment, but as for other men [their sins] also become manifest later. In the same way also the fine works are publicly manifest and those that are otherwise cannot be kept hid.” (1 Timothy 5:19,24,25 – New World Translation)

However, in evaluating the evidence for internal congregational purposes, they must bear in mind the Bible’s clear direction: ‘No single witness should rise up against a man respecting any error or any sin . . . At the mouth of two witnesses or at the mouth of three witnesses the matter should stand good.’ (Deut. 19:15) {Shepherding textbook, chapter 12, paragraphs 18-21}

When a girl, woman, boy or man is on his own, not finding somebody who has seen that she or he is molested, this would mean she or he does not make any change in the congregation to be heard, and worse could become seen as somebody bringing the unity in the congregation in danger, so becoming herself or himself an object of exclusion.

To say

“the elders are not authorized by the Scriptures to take congregational action unless there is a confession or there are two credible witnesses.” {2012 letter to all Bodies of Elders paragraph 11}

shall not give any opportunity to righteous and honest elders to act lawfully and honestly.

Barbara Anderson, who once worked at the Brooklyn headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses from 1982 to 1992 and was a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses from 1954 to 1997, became a long-time campaigner for the Society to drop its negligent approach towards child protection. She did research as well as wrote a number of articles for their Awake! magazine and has done extensive research on issues related to child sexual abuse in the religion leading to interviews on major TV and radio programs as an outspoken critic of Jehovah’s Witnesses sexual abuse policies. The first time she heard about child sexual abuse within the organization was around 1984, which may be considered quite late, when we do know that lots of sexual offences in the other denominational churches had most of their offences in the 1950ies and 1960ies.

It can well be that by the wishes to stay truthful to Bible teaching there could be lesser cases, but as long as not more JW will come out of the dark to bring such accusations and developments after such knowledge into the open, we would not know for sure and could only guess. this guessing by the public can do more damage to the organisation which by many already now is considered to be a sect and not a proper church organisation.

Barbara Anderson writes on her website:

At the time I thought this behavior was an aberration, but later I found out just how wrong I was. The evidence that there were more than just the case related above where children of Jehovah’s Witnesses were molested and kept silent about the abuse, was the authorizing of a series of articles in the January 22, 1985 Awake! the cover title being, “Child Molesting, Every Mother’s Nightmare.” From my past experience with the Writing Department I knew that it was doubtful that the Society would have had a cover series of articles dedicated to the problem unless the child sexual abuse revelations were on the increase within the Witness organization and Witness leaders knew parents needed instruction how to protect their children from being molested and how to recognize signs of molestation. Sadly, though, there was little information in the articles provided to help caregivers and victims deal with the impact of abuse; neither was there a directive to immediately report abuse to the authorities. In fact, in the upstate New York case, it was school officials who notified the authorities about the sexual abuse of one of the children. {Awake! Articles Discuss Molestation; The Life and Discoveries of Barbara Anderson}

World headquarters of the Watch Tower Bible & ...

World headquarters of the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society of Pennsylvania, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From 1992 on she was so worried about the Watchtower Society’s problematic procedures in the matter of child sexual abuse that she missed seeing the obvious—Witness leaders were treating accusations of child sexual abuse no differently than from the sin of fornication or drunkenness. In case they are still doing this so, as it looks like, it  is clear that the organisation world wide but even more important, the local organisations, would treat such accusations to serious to treat them on their own. Elders should understand that at first they may have to investigate it first, but as soon as they have any idea or hear of a possible child sexual abuse allegation, they should also inform the authorities, because child sexual abuse is a crime — a form of rape – a point the Society still does not seem to fully comprehend. Police handle crime, elders deal with sin!

Any crime is also a sin, but the handling should always happen on two sides. The first direction has to go to the police forces and juridical departments of the authorities. Next the juridical department of a church can take additional matters.

If elders need procedural directions for disfellowshipping someone for child abuse, it should be made clear that the instructions are only for that. Elders are not magistrates. If two witnesses are required to determine guilt to disfellowship the accused, so be it, but only so long as the authorities are notified of the accusation by those involved. {Finally Disillusioned; The Life and Discoveries of Barbara Anderson}

Putting the victims to the side where they have no voice or right of speaking made many leave the organisation but made also that many lost faith in the God which they had hoped would have protected them in “His Organisation”. What most of them forget to see is that William H. Conley, the first president of the Watch Tower Association formed in 1881 (not Charles Taze Russell) and Joseph Lytel Russell took care that people where willing to come to believe that what they, as human beings had formed, was not theirs but Jehovah His Organisation. They misused the Name of God to create an organisation which would take the right away to any other witness of Jehovah to call himself publicly a witness, because than everybody in the world would consider them to be a Jehovah Witness, being part of the organisation with that name.

Many Bible Students felt dishonoured by that organisation by which many people thought they would be part of, which they were not and are not. Lots of people take the Bible Students to be the same as the Watch Tower Society’s Organisation of Jehovah Witnesses.

Well-known Witness attorney, Hayden C. Covington with Lloyd Barry, Jack Barr, Arthur Worsley and Karl Klein did not take the necessary efforts to bring justice to those who did offences which should have been brought to justice. It were those persons who did not bring out the truth about Rutherford who choose only those around him who were willing to follow him and who would not oppose any idea of him. Rutherford endeavoured to mollify the authorities in every possible way. The organisation of today does not seem to respect the authorities yet.

Like we can see in other communities, like the Amish who are struggling with the changes in technology and society, there may be abusive domination and tyranny of women and children by rigid, domineering patriarchal men in the faith who used Bible teachings as a whip.

Gordon Leighton

Gordon Leighton, 53, was found guilty on two counts of indecency with a child, and six of indecent assault after a six-day trial.

In the JW society many elders are aware of such facts but do not handle it properly. Still today there may be found too many unhappy Witness wives complaining of their husbands’ misuse of their authority as head of the house. For children having to face such patriarchal dictatorship it is very difficult to come up to their father or to their mother to tell them when they are misused. Probably a lot of abuses are not coming into the open in the family itself. Befroe it comes into the open outside the family circle it must be already a very severe case.

We can read on Barbara’s site:

One angry woman told me about a Witness who claimed she was raped by a man, who also was a Witness, when she was cleaning the man’s house. When questioned, the man admitted to the elders they had sex, but he said it was consensual and he expressed repentance. She denied it was consensual and said she was raped. She was disfellowshipped for lying; he was not disfellowshipped because he admitted and regretted his sin. Witness women who knew the accused were outraged because the man did not have a good reputation and they believed he was not trustworthy. (Incidentally, no one reported the rape to the authorities.) {Respect for Women; The Life and Discoveries of Barbara Anderson}

It can not be that only after a victim, when she has become an adult, breaks her silence by making a complaint to the police that the authorities could come to hear about such a case and can come to investigate. It is even worse to know that still today many elders refuse to cooperate with the police investigation.

We can only hope the JW organisation shall be uncovered one day and shall have to confess like the present pope of the Catholic Church did recently and too late.

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Please do find additional reading:

  1. Religions and Mainliners
  2. People Seeking for God 2 Human interpretations
  3. A visible organisation on earth
  4. A Society pleading poverty
  5. Belonging to or being judged by
  6. Sharing thoughts and philosophical writings
  7. Parish, local church community – Parochie, plaatselijke kerkgemeenschap
  8. Do we have to be an anarchist to react
  9. Good or bad preacher
  10. Catholicism, Anabaptism and Crisis of Christianity
  11. Many churches
  12. What’s church for, anyway?
  13. Looking to the East and the West for Truth
  14. Surprising figures about Jehovah Witnesses
  15. Around C.T.Russell
  16. Biblestudents & T.C.Russell
  17. Russell and his beliefs
  18. Russell himself never claimed to be a prophet.
  19. Bijbelonderzoekers en RusselismBibleresearchers and Russelism
  20. Manifests for believers #1 Sex abuse setting fire to the powder
  21. Manifests for believers #2 Changing celibacy requirement
  22. Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger steps down as Pope Benedict XVI
  23. Being Religious and Spiritual 8 Spiritual, Mystic and not or well religious
  24. Responsibility for children who were molested by clergy
  25. Catholic church asking for forgiveness and promising to take action against child-abusers
  26. An Ex-Muslim’s Open Letter
  27. Why Think There Is a God? (3): Why Is It Wrong?

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The Secet Lives of Women

About sex abuse by Jehovah Witnesses:

  1. The Watchtower Punished: Society loses legal battle over child abuse case
  2. “We will decide who is a predator!” – New Watchtower Instructions to Elders on Child Abuse
  3. Barbara Anderson’s Anecdotes
  4. Why Watchtower shut down JWsurvey.org for over 24 hours
  5. The Girl Who Took On The Watchtower – Candace Conti Speaks Out
  6. Watchtower files appeal after JNOV motion is denied
  7. Bo Juel Jensen: Could he be Watchtower’s worst nightmare?
  8. Ex-Elder to appear in court after admitting to pedophilia on Facebook
  9. Elders frustrate UK authorities in child abuse cover-up
  10. In their own words: Candace Conti and Rick Simons speak out in their 2013 interview videos
  11. License to harm: Predator Gonzalo Campos was allowed by elders to prey on children
  12. Disfellowshipped but Not reported: UK pedophile subjected boys to “truly wicked” acts
  13. Under Siege: Watchtower hit with fresh child abuse lawsuit
  14. Zalkin files third JW lawsuit as New Mexico child abuse victim steps forward
  15. Watchtower files reply brief as Conti appeal continues
  16. Kathleen Conti supports new bill for victims of child abuse
  17. The Lawsuit Landslide: Irwin Zalkin representing Eleven child abuse victims against Watchtower
  18. Candace Conti speaks out at RNA 2013 conference
  19. Governor Brown’s SB 131 veto leaves Watchtower child abuse victims frustrated
  20. Oklahoma police investigating whether elders failed to report serial pedophile
  21. Jonathan Rose – the pedophile elder who won the support of a congregation
  22. Governing Body stands accused by District Attorney in Oklahoma child abuse case
  23. Kathleen Conti breaks down during emotional SNAP presentation
  24. Off the hook: Charges against Lawrence dropped as lawsuit is thrown out by judge
  25. A Life Lost and a Life Found
  26. Prevention order for jailed Jehovah’s Witness who fled to the Caribbean to molest kids
  27. Piling on the torment – New Moston elders allow pedophile Rose to quiz victims
  28. Elders labelled “spiritually corrupt and morally bankrupt” in Mark Sewell trial
  29. Jehovah’s witnesses pedophile policy
  30. This is the way Jehovah’s Witnesses treat victims of child sexual abuse
  31. Jehovah’s Witnesses Child Molestation Victims seek justice
  32. Pedophilia amongst the Jehovah’s Witnesses
  33. Abused lambs speak out (Silent Lambs)
  34. Battered lambs
  35. Video’s: Jehovah’s Witnesses ordered to pay $21 million in child sex abuse case
  36. Victim advocacy group for survivors of the Church of Jehovah’s Witnesses within Australia
  37. Submission to Child Abuse Inquiry by Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Australia (April 9, 2013) – pdf

    Submission to Child Abuse Inquiry by Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Australia Annexure 1 – (Policy Letter to all Jehovah’s Witness elders) – pdf

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Of interest – Related:

  1. Cult or True Religion
  2. Who are Child Sexual Abuse Predators?
  3. Is Pedophilia a Sexual Orientation?
  4. Dr. Benjamin Carson: Same-Sex Marriage and the correlation between Homosexuality, Pedophilia, and Bestiality
  5. Domestic and Sexual Violence in the Church: A Sisterhood Reality Show Review
  6. Five Frequently Asked Questions About Religious Spiritual Abuse and Child Sexual Abuse
  7. Why do People Sexually Abuse Children? By Minister Marlene
  8. What is Child Sexual Abuse Grooming?
  9. Child Sexual Abuse: Submerge to Emerge
  10. Child Sexual Abuse Grooming: Confusion and Manipulation
  11. Sharp rise in paedophile sexual abuse calls
  12. Probe into twenty schools over Sexual abuse
  13. Women and Child Sexual Abuse
  14. Homeless Teens: How to Protect your Child from Sexual abuse
  15. You Are A Survivor Of Child Sexual Abuse
  16. Silence is Violence: End Child Sexual Abuse
  17. Ten Ways to Safeguard your Child from Sexual Abuse
  18. Ten Ways to Safeguard your Child from Sexual Abuse #10
  19. Why Child Sexual Abuse Grooming Must Become A Felony: The Story of Jason Kidd and His Daughter
  20. How Can You Define Premeditated Child Sexual Abuse?
  21. Overcoming Incest and The Effects of Child Sexual Abuse Grooming
  22. Will the Church Help Child Sexual Abuse Survivors with Mental Illness?
  23. How Should a Pastor Respond to Allegations of Child Sexual Abuse?
  24. Sex Education: Is it grooming children for child sexual abuse?
  25. [Media Release] Heal Me With Words™ Photo Exhibit during National Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Month 2013 +
  26. Heal Me With Words ™ A National Campaign where Healed People, Heal People for Child Abuse Awareness Month
  27. Marko Hamlin: One Man’s Story Of Overcoming Child Sexual Abuse and Depression
  28. Is Child Sexual Abuse apart of a Government-Funded, Satanist-Organized Plan?
  29. When Sisters Die: A Look At Child Sexual Abuse And Sisterhood
  30. Five Myths About Lil’ Wayne and his Child Sexual Abuse
  31. Sugar Ray Leonard at Penn State Child Sexual Abuse Conference
  32. Why Ressurrection Graves Introduces Child Sexual Abuse Grooming As A Crime
  33. [Exclusive Interview]: Domonique Scott of the Sisterhood Reality Show on Overcoming Child Sexual Abuse, Foster Care and Prostitution
  34. Thandie Newton Speaks Out About Sexual Abuse
  35. Pedophiles are Watching Coy Mathis, and Lil Poopy: What these Children have to do with Legalizing Sexual Abuse
  36. Quote of the Day: National Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Month
  37. Dr. John E. B. Myers at Penn State Child Sexual Abuse Conference on Family Court
  38. The Jennie Withers Story: How An All-Star Became A Survivor Of Spiritual And Child Sexual Abuse
  39. Jerry Sandusky: Guilty Of 45 Counts Of Sexual Abuse and What We Can Do To Prevent This From Happening In Our Own Lives
  40. Survivor on Boy Scouts of America release of Internal Child Sexual Abuse ‘Perversion Files’
  41. US border officials abuse unaccompanied migrant children: Rights groups
  42. US Military is riddled with Sexual abuse
  43. Female German Soldiers sexually abused
  44. Paedophile gay couple sexually abused a Russian boy for years
  45. Woman sues Jehovah’s Witnesses for alleged abuse
  46. Child Sexual Abuse within the Dutch Catholic Church
  47. Child Sexual Abuse : Spread the Word!!!
  48. Sex, Celibacy, and Priesthood: A Bishop’s Provocative Inquisition
  49. Catholic Clergy Sexual Abuse? They are Unsaved! By Minister Marlene
  50. Acquitted Priest resumes Ministry after sexual abuse charges
  51. Diary of a Seducing Spirit: Part 2 Creepy Church Abuse 1
  52. Diary of a Seducing Spirit: Part 2 Creepy Church Abuse 2
  53. New lawsuit accuses Philadelphia church of sexual abuse
  54. 1 in 3 sexually abused in Westminster
  55. Over 800 complaints to Austrian Catholic Church sexual abuse commission and Abuse confession
  56. Belgium launches legal action against the Vatican for sexual abuse by paedophile priests
  57. Clergy sexual abuse victims ask Redemptorists to drop defense of defrocked priest AND
  58. No change in abuse policy: US Bishops’ head and Retiring Bishop proud of his strong stance on sexual abuse
  59. Papal Commission demands accountability for abuse in Catholic Church
  60. Vatican named in lawsuit alleging sexual abuse
  61. Vatican to set up clergy sexual abuse help centre
  62. Victims of sexual abuse by priests barred from meeting pope
  63. I’m anti-Catholic says Byrne after sexual abuse by priest
  64. Top Catholic pins sexual abuse on married men
  65. Senator names and shames priest accused of sexual abuse
  66. German priest admits 280 counts of sexual abuse
  67. Dutch Bishops Apologize for Sexual Abuse
  68. Vatican protesters evicted by police and Catholic Diocese spends $1M on priest sexual abuse cases
  69. Priest faces court over child sexual abuse allegations
  70. Vatican sex crimes prosecutor warns bishops and Sexual abuse silence “deadly” for Church: Vatican official
  71. “Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence In The House of God” Documentary Blames Vatican For Poor Handling Of Catholic Sexual Abuse Case
  72. Bura na Mano Holi Hai?
  73. Say No to Eve-teasing!
  74. Will the Church Help Child Sexual Abuse Survivors with Mental Illness?
  75. Zhang Muyi a 24-year-old pop star in China is Child Sexual Abuse Grooming a Child from Canada with millions of approving followers
  76. R&B Divas LA Reunion’s Reveal on Domestic and Sexual Violence
  77. The Bible and Child Sexual Abuse
  78. The Bible and Child Sexual Abuse II
  79. UN denounces Vatican over child abuse and demands immediate actionphedopile-1-300x199
  80. United Nations wants the Vatican to hand over details of child sexual abuse cases
  81. No privileges for bishops on abuse: Pope
  82. The Anti-Pope to meet with sex abuse victims at the Vatican
  83. Francis: I ask forgiveness for damage caused by abusers
  84. The abuse survivor who reminds me that we are suppopsed to be a light to the world
  85. More than 150 allegations of sexual abuse have been made against BBC employees
  86. Sexual Abuse Scandal at Horace Mann Schoolsauditerrorists
  87. Saudis sexually exploit teenage Syrian girls: Report

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  • Little Tidbit #3: My Excuses (rebeccafellrath.com)
    Our excuses are endless.“I got drunk, because there was alcohol at the restaurant.” “I lusted because that woman’s shirt was too revealing.” “I gossiped because I was on Facebook.” “I said those things, because of the bad music they play at work.”
  • Watching Porn At Church (leadingfamilydevotions.com)
    our bodies are now the temple of God. Inside of them resides the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit desires for them to be set apart from defilement. Can you imagine bringing your iPad into the Jerusalem temple (assuming they had wifi) and pulling up a pornographic video to watch during the worship service? Of course you can not. That would be wrong wouldn’t it. But it is the same way with our bodies now. Our bodies are the temple of God’s Spirit. If we bring such garbage into the temple of our body, we are polluting and defiling God’s sanctuary. What a horrible effect this sin has caused in our society. Flee such perversion!
  • Season of Rape: Why we defile small girls – Pastor, others (vanguardngr.com)
    Child defilement is becoming a source of concern in Benin-City, Edo State capital. It is even more worrisome when the act is carried out by supposedly men of God.In the last few weeks, no fewer than five children have, allegedly, been defiled in Benin-City by men old enough to be their fathers. On Thursday,  Edo State Police Command paraded 32 suspected criminals, amongst them, three accused of defiling children. The suspects include  a pastor with the Deeper Life Bible Church, Abudu, Edo State, Eze Fidelis, who was said to have had carnal knowledge of two girls: Joy, 9, and Anthonia,11.
  • Teacher arrested in Ibadan for defiling pupils (whatsupibadan.com)
    A teacher at the Calvary Heritage Kiddies Castle, Oluyole Estate, Ibadan, Olayinka Oluwadare Folarin has been arrested by the Oyo State Police Command for defiling three pupils under his care. Folarin is a teacher at the Heritage Home, a non-governmental organization where orphans and vulnerable children are catered for. His victims, who have been subjected to sexual trauma on a weekly basis since 2013 are said to be between 10 and 11 years old and they are primary five pupils. Two of the victims are orphans in the home where they have been living since they were two years old. Folarin allegedly began the escapade last year on a weekly basis inside the school toilet with a threat to kill the pupils should they tell anyone. For easy access, the father of four was alleged to have been applying lubricant gel on the girls. He was said to have been sacked from his previous school on account of the same behaviour. The secret act of the teacher came to the open when a group of male pupils found one of the teenage girls crying after being sexually abused by the teacher.
  • Islam’s Halal Sexual Practices (banislamofficial.com)
    it is utmost important to study what sexual practices were carried out by him in his life so that all Muslims can practice those sunnas and follow his footsteps.
    +
    A Muslim man can have sexual pleasure with a little girl as young as a baby. But he should not penetrate her vaginally, however he can sodomize her.
  • Islamic Dogs of War – The Use Of Gang-Rape to Subjugate Infidels and Those that Resist (trevorloudon.com)
    As a young child, standing by my father, watching the nightly news, I innocently asked what the word ‘rape’ meant. I never received an answer and rightly so. It was not something that you discussed – it was too evil, too horrific. Today, rape is a commonplace epidemic growing across Europe and the world — the perpetrators are primarily radical Islamists. Committed by power freaks and evil incarnate who are not spoken of because it is politically incorrect to do so. So, we tell our women to be quiet… to obey… to cover themselves and hide, rather than fight the depraved animals who degrade, torture, abuse and murder them in the name of Allah.
  • Abu Ghraib prison eulogy – Satire (younglbadult.wordpress.com)
    Ah Abu Graib, the suspended garden of democrazy ! A great work of art, where photographing beautiful atrocities were so much fun.Remember the smile of Mrs England pointing her finger to a male sexual organ ? ( couldn’t remember what species ).
  • The Wedding Night in Islam With Hadith Explanation (ohack.in)
    Our Beloved Prophet muhammad(pbuh) has clearly explain the sahaba about how to make an wedding night in islam,As Follower of islam we need to do same as what prophet muhammad(pbuh) has did, Many of them think’s that it is usual way as what other’s did(By watching Tv,hearing From Friend’s,Learning through Book’s).
    +

    Ramadan, Hadith Regarding Fasting
    In ramadan Who ever fast should abstain from sexual activity from dawn to duck and also immoral behaviour like Anger,Abuse.

  • Muslims Allowed to Rape Captive Women (paulmarcelrene.wordpress.com)
    Also (prohibited are) women already married, except those whom your right hands possess: Thus hath God ordained (Prohibitions) against you: Except for these, all others are lawful, provided ye seek (them in marriage) with gifts from your property, – desiring chastity, not lust, seeing that ye derive benefit from them, give them their dowers (at least) as prescribed; but if, after a dower is prescribed, agree Mutually (to vary it), there is no blame on you, and God is All-knowing, All-wise. S. 4:24 Y. Ali The above passage emphatically allows for the raping of women that are taken captive, even if these captives happened to be married!
  • The Paths of Deceptions-The Infiltrated Paths! (ministry786.wordpress.com)
    Over 1400 years ago when the Quran was revealed; it was mentioned in Chapter 4 verse 119 that Satan will order people to change their looks that Allah (God Almighty) has created. Today you can notice that on a daily basis either on the roads or in TV! May Allah SWT guide those who are following the footsteps of Satan & may He guide us & increase our faith
    Quran Chapter 4, verses 117 They call upon instead of Him none but female [deities], and they [actually] call upon none but a rebellious Satan.
    +
    The adultery of the eye is the lustful look and the adultery of the ears is listening to voluptuous (song or talk) and the adultery of the tongue is licentious speech and the adultery of the hand is the lustful grip (embrace) and the adultery of the feet is to walk (to the place) where he intends to commit adultery and the heart yearns and desires which he may or may not put into effect.

Belonging to or being judged by

What to be and where to belong

Many Christians may have lots of questions about why we are created so and so, what we do have to do, how we have to behave and form our selves.  Jehovah’s Witnesses also can become confronted with such questions which can bring them into many doubts. They also can become frustrated.

Jehovah's witnesses from door to door

Jehovah’s witnesses from door to door (Photo credit: ideacreamanuelaPps)

Strangely in our world today we may find people who are excluded by the community of Jehovah’s Witnesses (JW), but who are still feeling 100% pro-Jehovah’s Witnesses. This despite the fact that the organisation has removed them from the congregation, and despite the believer his or her belief that the organisation happens to be in error for doing so!

What we do find strange by many ex-Jehovah Witnesses is that they either go totally against the Faith in One God or that they go totally against the non-trinitarian idea and go to an other organisational church. Many of them keep thinking you need A Organisation, others came to come to see clear and do find it is not as such the church of men but the church of God they have to look for.

Witnesses for Jehovah

A few believe that there is no other religious organization on earth today that is so completely committed to doing the work Jesus asked of his followers, and following in his footsteps, worshipping the God of the Bible, in the way that he prescribes, doing their utmost to be continually teaching and living by the truth of his word, and not simply the often-vacillating moral and secular opinions of men. They stay blinded that there are no other serious Bible Students who try to do the task Jesus had ordered his followers to do. This mainly because they limit their idea about preaching to having to go on the streets and to knock at the door or ringing the bell.

We do agree that the Jehovah Witnesses organisation is a powerful organisation, very well structured, and because having enough money and interested people, able to bring the tasks together, organise editions and meetings, much better than many others. They have very beautiful good publications to help people willing to learn about the Word and Work of Jehovah God. Though sometimes they seem to forget that it is “God’s word is alive, and exerts power,” (Hebrews 4:12) and that it is God’s Hand which hovers over the world bringing all sorts of people active in the Word of God. The Jehovah Witnesses  and the excluded ones who still hope to be part of the Jehovah Witnesses (JW) overlook that there are also other witnesses for Jehovah active in the whole world. We consider ourselves some of them.

When all in union or being united

The congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses mistakenly consider them as the only people who are truly united by their religion “in the same mind and in the same line of thought” as Jesus Christ, not just locally, but everywhere around the globe. The JW rightly consider that if all people on earth were Jehovah’s Witnesses, there would be no wars, no violent conflicts. But we also could say in case all Christians would follow the teachings of the one they say they take as their master, than also there would be already less fighting and less problems in the world. In case all people would be real Christians, and not just name Christians, really following the commandments of God, than also there would be no wars, no violent conflicts. The same simply cannot be said of the myriad of other religions on earth today, because there are so many divisions and many having non-Scriptural teachings. Taryn Viv having been a JW, and still feeling like one, seems to know one of the problems of the people in the organisation. She writes:

To their credit, Jehovah’s Witnesses are sincerely diligent when it comes to applying Bible counsel to themselves, and to the congregation. Faithfully doing so has proven to have tremendously positive results, which only makes sense. If the Bible really is, as it claims, the word of our creator, his wisdom certainly must surpass ours, and as it is summed up at Isaiah 48:17, “I, Jehovah, am your God, the One teaching you to benefit yourself.”

Fallible or infallible organisation

Diagram Representing Organisational Structure ...

Diagram Representing Organisational Structure of Jehovah’s Witnesses (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to us some Witnesses give the impression their organisation is infallible and only brings the Words of God. They have given the Watchtower and tract Society (Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania + Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York + Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses) with their so called ‘Faithful Slave’ the same position as many Christians do give the Pope of the Vatican. It is that Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses based in Brooklyn, New York which is the ruling council of Jehovah’s Witnesses. They may formulate the policy and doctrines everybody has to follow. Strangely enough the members of the Governing Body say they are followers of Christ rather than religious leaders, but take the position of dictatorial leaders, whose rules and ideas everybody has to follow.
When the Society’s second president, J.F. Rutherford, encountered opposition from directors in 1917, he dismissed them; in 1925 he overruled the Watch Tower Society’s editorial committee — selected by Charles Taze Russell to have editorial control of The Watch Tower after his death—when it opposed publication of an article that altered doctrines on Bible chronology related to 1914. In 1931, the editorial committee was dissolved and until January 1976, the president of the Governing Body exercised complete control of doctrines, publications and activity of the Watch Tower Society and the religious denominations with which it was connected — some of the Bible Students Movment and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The ones to tell what is right or wrong

Though not one man is infallible and knows everything. Even Jesus did not know when he would return to the earth. But the organisation claims that they can tell all people what is right and wrong, and that they are the only ones who can bring people to God. For sure they will help a lot of people to find the Only One God and to come to see the difference between the man made gods and the Only One God, the Elohim Hashem Jehovah. We should know that we as human beings have all our limitations and cannot expect perfection of one another in this system of things, nor can we expect it of the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses, nor those appointed to positions of responsibility, in spite of the tremendous good that Jehovah clearly is using the JW, Bible Students, Christadelphians and other non-trinitarian Christians who freely  and sincerely, contribute to the work of God.

Transgender – Being and feeling in a body

As a transgender woman for many, many years, the writer was quite frankly a bit shocked that, within weeks of her first surfacing the truth of her situation openly with a brother whom she considered a long-time friend, the congregation elders had decided this was a “judicial matter,” and scheduled a meeting to essentially determine whether she would be “repentant,” or would need to be removed from the congregation. Strangely enough you could wonder how it did happen they did not know earlier.
Such people with a gender problem, which we encounter much more today (also have a look at the articles on Stepping toes) are not only in trouble with their own situation, having to suffer from major depressive illness for some years and as a result having very little contact with their own family, do not have it always easy  to mix with others and to enjoy friendly contacts and group meetings in Christian groups.

Exclusion because of gender choice

Dr. Camille Cabral, a transgender activist at a demonstration for transgender people in Paris, October 1, 2005

Because Taryn Viv cannot, and will not dress and present herself as the “man” she had come to realize she never truly was in the first place, she has been removed from the congregation. This is somewhat shocking which we often have to hear about the JW, who exclude followers and have their family members and friends of the faith-group charged not to meet the excluded person any more.

When we do know that everybody is created in the likeness of God, and that we do bear the image of God, you may wonder if those who do not feel at ease in their body are really doing something against the Will of God ,when they let science help them to become the person they, in first instance feel to be?

For sure, those who would knowingly and wilfully practice such things that Jehovah condemns as seriously harmful, unloving and wrong, could not rightly still be considered a follower of Christ. Those who practice fornication, theft, murder, and do not regret what they have wrong, even when baptised, can not be any more be considered a person being part of the Body of Christ. We do agree that in many Christian denominations there are a lot of people who believe we do not have to work any more once we are ‘reborn’. They think once baptised that they would enter in heaven because they are saved by Christ. But Faith without works is death.

Looks, judging and counselling

In case people of the congregation see that there is something wrong they should bring this into discussion. Faithful brothers and sisters should be counselled then to avoid any association with such a person, even to the point of just sitting down to a meal with them, where others could see the association with that person. But we do not find it right that natural brothers and sisters and parents are not allowed to speak or associate with their brother or sister or child.

According to us they should be the first ones to bring the other to get to see what he or she did wrong, but than there have to have been something wrong. Therefore we as Christians should examine everything very careful and be attentive before we judge some one else. We also should be aware that by the ages many traditions came into our life as well as ideas how we should be or what would be accepted as normal or acceptable in our community.
For example the JW always like to go around in business suits and do not find it appropriate to wear casual clothing in service. Their way of dress is also not always conform the dress in the country they preach. As such, in West Europe everybody straight ahead recognises the JW because of their Americanised out of date dressing. But that has nothing to do with commandments of God, where no where in Scriptures is written that a dress for a girl has to have a length of so many centimetres beneath the knees or up to the ankles.

Exclusions of persons

Christians should be very careful with exclusions of persons from their community and should also try to do every effort to get the person back on the right track. They never may forget that the rules of exclusion are about someone who has not shown any repentance, remorse or regret for such serious wrongs, and that the purpose of such “disfellowshipping,” as Jehovah’s Witnesses call the practice is twofold.

  • First, it may move the person to reconsider the seriousness of what they have been doing and to turn around, thereby restoring a good relationship, first and foremost, with Jehovah God, but also with their spiritual family, who are urged to “kindly forgive and comfort” them. (2 Corinthians 2:7)

  • A second key reason is that, in the event they should remain unrepentant, “a little leaven ferments the whole lump.” (1 Corinthians 5:6)

Wisdom of scriptural admonition evident

The writer of the article A Matter of Judgement recognises that the wisdom of the scriptural admonition is evident, and can be clearly seen by counterexample. No doubt we’ve all heard of some widely publicized cases of unthinkably horrid offences committed by members of various religions. (Child molestation, for example, comes to mind. Murder is another, such as the bombings of abortion clinics, for example.) When those engaging in such acts, even repeatedly, can yet remain affiliated with others of their “faith,” as though even such gross wrongs are tolerable, or beyond judgement, what does it say to the world at large about that faith?

“Faith without works is dead.” (James 2:26)

More believers should hear the call of those who came onto this world in an other body than there mind tells them.

For now, though, I’ll conclude by saying I am grateful to be attending meetings regularly at the Kingdom hall again, and despite being considered “disfellowshipped” I find them spiritually strengthening and encouraging.
These days I am glad to say I can be more sociable again, and although it saddens me that I cannot now freely associate with many of my friends, brothers and sisters in the congregation, I find I am being given precious opportunities to speak about the good news of God’s Word with others I come into contact with.

Far from letting my circumstances cause me to be negative, many an acquaintance has told me they have come away after a conversation with a better view of both the Bible and Jehovah’s Witnesses than they had before.

It pleases me know that I can still plant seeds of truth. I would encourage anyone in my sort of situation to do the same. Jehovah is a rewarder of those loyal to him, and so although the appointed elders may still expect to see me doing things that I cannot do, I know that Jehovah is pleased to see me doing what I can.

We only can hope that those who found their way to Jehovah the Only One God, by the help of the marvellous work of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, when they leave that organisation will continue in the Faith and in the Truth, loving God and all His creation, the good and the bad people also.

English: Moordown: Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s W...

Moordown: Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses Tucked away in Elmes Road, otherwise a residential back street of Moordown. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Please do find:

  1. Taryn Viv a Wrongful Imprisonment ~ Faithful reflections of a transgender Jehovah’s Witness
  2. A Matter of Judgement
  3. Food for thought, that’s all.
  4. Failing to Answer the Most Vital Question About “Becoming Jehovah’s Friend”
  5. Jehovah’s Witnesses Shun Family Members for Selfish Reasons
  6. Focus on Jehovah’s Witnesses
  7. Jehovah’s Witnesses not only group that preach the good news
  8. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  9. Followers with deepening
  10. The business of this life
  11. Preaching to an unbelieving world
  12. Determine the drive
  13. Does the method of preaching from house to house have its basis in the Scriptures?
  14. Blogging for Jesus…
  15. Creator and Blogger God 4 Expounding voice
  16. Proclaiming shalom, bringing good news of good things, announcing salvation
  17. Bringing Good News into the world
  18. Preaching to an unbelieving world
  19. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #5 Prayer #2 Witnessing
  20. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #5 Prayer #3 Callers upon God
  21. A Voice to be heard
  22. Breathing to teach
  23. Church sent into the world
  24. Church enemy of faith
  25. Breaking up with a cult
  26. Dependence
  27. Feeling-good, search for happiness and the church
  28. Casual Christians
  29. Follower of Jesus part of a cult or a Christian
  30. Uncovering the Foundations of Faith
  31. Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality
  32. Testify of the things heard
  33. How should we preach?
  34. When discouraged facing opposition
  35. Reasons to come to gether
  36. Learn how to go out into the world and proclaim the Good News of the coming Kingdom
  37. Manifests for believers #5 Christian Union
  38. Witnessing at LaGuardia Airport
  39. Bible for you and for life – TheBible4Life Committee explain what is planned for the national preaching effort next year.
  40. Good or bad preacher
  41. Holland Week of billing
  42. Trying to get the youth inspired
  43. Jew refering to be religious or to be a people
  44. Christian fundamentalism as dangerous as Muslim fundamentalism
  45. Faith and works
  46. Repentance and conversion are not milestones which we pass on the way of life and never see again
  47. God receives us on the basis of our faith
  48. God loving people justified
  49. Creation and the Bible

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  • Jehovah’s Way: At the First Sign of Their Religious Doubt, Freeze Out Your Own Flesh and Blood (patheos.com)
    The elder Gonzalez is a Jehovah’s Witness. After his son expressed doubts about the movement, its Watchtower Governing Body promptly ordered the father to shun Rick and Lucas.
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses Hateful practice of unbiblical shunning (christiansparlock.wordpress.com)

    “The result of ‘shunning’ is extreme anxiety, depression, self hatred, increased blood pressure, loss of appetite, self injury and suicidal thoughts and attempts. This is not only painful but excruciating.” – Allan N. Schwartz, PhD

  • The Redemption (and Apostasy) of a Devout Jehovah’s Witness (patheos.com)
    James Zimmerman grew up as the kind of Jehovah’s Witness who might have knocked on your door. Devout and fervent, he knew what the consequences were for apostates. And yet he found a way to break free.

    His new memoir detailing his upbringing — and how his questioning of the faith eventually led him away from it — is called Deliverance at Hand!: The Redemption of a Devout Jehovah’s Witness (Freethought House, 2013):

  • Jail for Jehovah’s Witness elder who molested girls (manchestereveningnews.co.uk)
    A Jehovah’s Witness elder who was exposed as a paedophile on Facebook has been jailed.

    Jonathan Rose was branded a hypocrite as he was locked up for molesting two little girls he met through the church.
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    The family of Rose’s first accuser say they were encouraged to cover up their allegation. He was cleared of groping the then teenage girl in 1995 trial, but she would go on to be a witness in the latest court case. Her family say they were hounded out of the Jehovah’s Witnesses when they expressed concerns.

  • What Does The Bible Really Teach? – Chapter 18 Review (watchtowerinvestigated.co.uk)
    You are not baptised in the name of the father, son and holy spirit you are baptised into the organisation. In fact the last question they is “Do you understand that your dedication and baptism identify you as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in association with God’s spirit-directed organization?”
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    Gods law are not burdensome, but let me list some things that the watchtower burden with when you are baptised:-• Fill out a report card every month detailing how much ministry you have done (or not as the case may be).
    • You Must go to all the meetings.
    • You Must go on the field service.
    • You Must not have a blood transfusion even if your life depended on it.
    • You Must not get involved in any holidays, Christmas, Birthday, Mothers Day, Fathers Day…the list goes on.
    • You Must cut off love ones if they reject the religion…
    • The list goes on…
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses call on Christians to safeguard their consciences (modernghana.com)
    Jehovah’s Witnesses at the weekend held a special assembly day programme with a call on Christians to safeguard their consciences to aid them walk with God and follow Jesus’ footsteps.

    The aim of the programme was to help the delegates to work towards acquiring a bible-trained and holy spirit-led conscience, which together with the bible, could serve as a reliable guide in deepening their relationship with God.

Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger steps down as Pope Benedict XVI

We can not avoid talking about the news of the day. Yesterday the television-programs had their mouthful of the resignation of 85-year-old Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger alias Pope Benedict XVI.

English: Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter's Squa...

Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter’s Square, Rome (2007).(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Roman Catholic church has always claimed to be the rightful bearer of the Church of Christ and having the right to have the follower of the apostle Peter, whom they consider to have been the first Pope. though if they would read the Holy Scriptures more carefully they would notice that there was not such an hierarchy in the first faith-group which tried to follow the teachings of Christ.

when Jesus was alive he also did not place one pupil in front of the other and taught them that they should be humble, respecting each other and trying to use all the gifts they received from the Father above to do their duties as good as possible. In the united body to honour God and to be followers of Christ, there is no such order that one person would be above or under the other. All have to be united as brothers and sisters in Christ. All having Christ Jesus as the cornerstone and the example to follow.

“for any other foundation can no one lay than the [one] being laid, who is jesus christ.” (1 Corinthians 3:11 MKJV)

The last few months we could notice that more than one person in that Catholic Church tried to cover up the crimes of their priests. Also Benedict, when he still was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, and led the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, this cardinal not only covered paedophile crimes, when he had become Pope, he and the Vatican office did first as if they did not know about such things. Only when letters proofed that they should have been aware of those crimes and did not the right thing, they agreed to the letters, but said they did what they could do, but forgot to warn the juridical powers.

In archdiocese documents released under a court order earlier this month, Mahony is revealed to have taken actions deliberately contrived to avoid legal prosecution of priests who had sexually abused — and even raped — children. The documents were so damaging that Mahony, now retired and once thought to be a contender for the papacy, was publicly rebuked by current Archbishop of Los Angeles Jose Gomez, and stripped of any public duties, an unprecedented censure of a cardinal archbishop by his successor.

Amid the cache of church records, released as part of a settlement between the archdiocese and 500 sex-abuse victims, are several letters to Ratzinger from Mahoney, in which the California prelate reports to the Vatican his reasons for various actions (such as defrocking) taken against the offending priests. The records amount to some 30,000 pages, so their full contents have yet to be pored through by investigators and journalists.

What is clear, though, is that Mahony repeatedly failed to act on concerns about the sexual abuse of children by priests that brought to him by pastors and church officials throughout the diocese, and that when he did, his actions were designed to avoid criminal prosecutions of the predator priests. And it is also clear that in his Vatican office, Ratzinger was the recipient of letters from Mahony informing the Holy See of what actions he had taken.

Back in 1045, the irredeemably outrageous Benedict IX – the only man to be pope more than once, and the only one ever to sell the papacy – also stepped down, essentially for the cash. Accused by St Peter Damian of “feasting on immorality”, by Bishop Benno of Piacenza of committing “many vile adulteries and murders” and by Pope Victor III of being a pope “so vile, so foul, so execrable, that I shudder to think of it,” Benedict ostensibly resigned to get married – but not before he had sold the office to his godfather, who became Gregory VI (and had to resign himself the following year because, even by the standards of the 11th century, buying the papacy wasn’t really on).

In 1415 we also find an other resignation.  Bishop of Castello from 1380 and titular Patriarch of Constantinople in 1390 and pope on 30 Nov., 1406, forsaken by most of his cardinals, Gregory XII resigned. At that time there was also a rival pope in Avignon, Benedict XIII. The schism erupted in 1378 one year after Gregory XI was named the Pope in Rome, ending the sixty-seven year reign of the ‘Avignon Papacy’ during which time seven pontiffs ruled from that city in southern France. (Gregory XI was actually named Pope in 1370, as the last of the seven ‘Avignon popes,’ but he did not move to Rome until seven year later).

Following the death of Gregory XI in March 1378, under pressure from Romans to elect a Roman leader of the church, the cardinals named Pope Urban VI who was from Naples. Urban VI quickly fell out of favor, leading to the election of a ‘rival pope,’ Pope Clement VII, in September of that year, who re-established the papacy in Avignon – meaning the Catholic Church now had a pope and an ‘anti-pope,’ thereby dividing the European continent.

After Clement VII and Urban VI died, the schism continued through their respective successors, Pope Boniface IX (who became the ‘Roman’ pope in 1389) and Benedict XIII (the Avignon antipope who was crowned in 1394).

H.H. Pope Innocent VII

H.H. Pope Innocent VII (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Upon the death of Boniface in 1404, some hopes for a resolution to the schism emerged when the cardinals in Rome offered not to name a new pope immediately if Benedict would resign and give up the Avignon faction’s claims on the papacy. When Benedict and his representatives refused, the Roman Cardinals named Pope Innocent VII as the new pope in Rome. Upon Innocent VII’s death in 1406, Gregory XII was named his successor (while Benedict XIII still ruled in Avignon).

The dispute deteriorated into further complications in 1409 when a church council in Pisa elected yet another anti-pope, Alexander V, who lasted about a year, until he was succeeded by John XXIII.

The issue was not resolved until 1414 when the Council of Constance pressured anti-pope John XXIII to resign and excommunicated the Avignon Pope, Benedict XIII.

File:Gregory XII.jpg

Gregorius XII

Due to his great piety and his earnest desire for the end of the schism after the death of Innocent VII the cardinals at Rome unanimously had elected Angelo Corporrario pope on 30 Nov., 1406. The split that divided the Catholic church for nearly 40 years and had, by the stage Gregory did the decent thing, reached the point where there were three different claimants to the papal throne: Roman Pope Gregory XII, Avignon Antipope Benedict XIII, and Pisan Antipope John XXIII.

However, Gregory XII’s resignation was not, strictly speaking, voluntary since it involved various behind-the-scenes machinations and intrigues, complicated by the Avignon and Pisa claimants.

Thus, perhaps the last truly voluntary resignation by a Pope occurred decades earlier, in 1294, when Pope Celestine V quit after serving only five months.

Succeeding Pope Nicholas IV in July 1294, perhaps Celestine V’s most notable achievement was issuing a decree which granted the right of a pope to abdicate (a step he himself took in December of that year).

Explaining his wish to resign, Celestine V said he was motivated by “the desire for humility, for a purer life, for a stainless conscience, the deficiencies of his own physical strength, his ignorance, the perverseness of the people, [and] his longing for the tranquility of his former life”.

Pope Benedict XVI who stunned the world by becoming the first Pope after World War II to step down earlier. Since no pope has retired in almost 600 years, there is no formal retirement plan for popes. However, as a bishop (and possibly a cardinal), Benedict will continue to have access to the Vatican’s lavish healthcare plan and probably also to the private doctors who currently manage his medical treatment. The pope does not officially receive a salary, though his needs are seen to by the Holy See. Canon law requires each diocese to provide support and housing for its priests after they retire, though the details of priests’ and bishops’ pension plans vary from country to country.

Dr. Donald Prudlo of the Vatican says about the significance of this decision of Ratzinger to resign:

“The important thing is that the Catholic Church is such an historically rooted church that we do have things to look to in order to deal with an event of this type. As unusual as it is, we can look back at other examples and know that the laws which govern these things have been long established in Catholic canon law (canon 332 of the Code of Canon Law). And so, for instance, the rules regarding the conclave that is to come up have been rehearsed for nearly a millennium. And the Pope, Blessed John Paul II in his Constitution Universi Dominici gregis, once again re-affirmed these things that have been thought about and discussed for an exceptionally long time. So while we have, what is to us, a very, very shocking, and something that makes us certainly have concern for Pope Benedict himself, we know that the church has the resources and has the things from her history to be able to meet these challenging situations.”

This occasion calls for looking into the reality of figures allowed or chosen by God to rule his church. The Roman Catholics do have their Pope, the Jehovah Witnesses do have their Watch Tower Society which receives the same infallibility as the Catholic Pope.

Jesus himself did not know when he would return, and for many things he said the people around him it was a matter of his Father. How on earth would other people receive more knowledge or power than Jesus? He himself also did not appoint anybody or wanted to have one person in a higher position than the other. The opposite, Jesus wanted all his followers to be humble brethren and sisters willing to be the slave of others, working as servants for God.

The apostles and prophets mazy be used for the foundation of a working community in Christ but that community at to be build up by the teachings of Christ Jesus making every person fit to be part of the building stones, fitting each in brick by brick. Stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that should hold all the parts together. As the apostles could see it taking shape day after day — a holy temple built by God, we too, today can still find people gathered together, willing to be under Christ, as one body of faithful believers.

The church or Christian community does not need a sorry bunch — pseudo-apostles, lying preachers, crooked workers — posing as Christ’s agents but sham to the core. The church of God should be made up by people who really love God and accept His son for what he really was and is. It should be people who call others also to be welcome to the living Stone, the source of life. People who know that it is God who knows the heart and God who chooses His people, His workmen. And those who may feel to be called should be humble workers for God and not for themselves or worldly organisations. God should be the priority, and the telling of the Good News of the coming Kingdom of God.

It is  God who sets in the place of honour. Every believer has to present him or herself as building stone for the construction of a sanctuary vibrant with life, in which they’ll serve as holy priests offering Christ-approved lives up to God. The Scriptures provide precedent:

“4  As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by

God and precious to him— 5 you also, like living stones, are being

built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual

sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For in Scripture

it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone,

and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”” (1 Peter

2:4-6 NIV)

“20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.” (Ephesians 2:20-21 NIV)

“But I do not think I am in the least inferior to those “super-apostles”.” (2 Corinthians 11:5 NIV)

“For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:13 NIV)

The apostle Peter knew that Christ was the ultimate rock.

“8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! 9 If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, 10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11 He is “‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.’” (Acts 4:8-11 NIV)

Also the apostle Paul was aware that he was not the most important apostle, nor peter whom he even rebuked at a certain point. (Galatians 2:11)

“23 Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; 24 but because Jesus lives for ever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” (Hebrews 7:23-25 NIV)

“For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.” (Romans 6:9 NIV)

“For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Saviour.” (Ephesians 5:23 NIV)

“22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fulness of him who fills everything in every way.” (Ephesians 1:22-23 NIV)

When we look at 1 Corinthians 3:11 where we are called to remember that there is only one foundation, the one already laid: Jesus Christ, how can it than be that there should be special throned people who can be Pope and call themselves the main Leader of the Church?

“For no-one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 3:11 NIV)

When the Catholic Church or the Jehovah Witnesses claim that only the faithful slave, either the Pope for the Roman Catholic church, or the Watchtower Society, can be the one spokesperson and the one bringing infallible teaching to the flock, than you could wonder why Jesus is called the one mediator between god and man. Jesus, the son of God is namely sitting at the right hand of Jehovah God, and has taken the role of mediator, so that he can speak for the earthly beings, whom he also shall have to judge at the end-times.

“For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,” (1 Timothy 2:5 NIV)

God does not want an other mediator and Christ Jesus should be for us the most respectable and most perfect spokesman. We do not need a Pope when we trust that Christ Jesus also would lead his church here on earth and will follow it up from above in heaven. As Jesus trusted his Father we should trust God, giving to those who he thinks necessary to give guidance in the ecclesia and God providing people with the necessary gifts to proclaim the Good News and the Kingdom of God.

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Read also:

Pope Benedict XVI resigns
Yesterday the Vatican has confirmed that Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger’s papacy began in 2005 will come to an end at the end of the month, because Pope Benedict XVI is to resign. This is reportedly only the second time a head of the Catholic church has stepped down. The last time was nearly 600 years ago.

The Pope Resigns
The Roman Catholics claim that Jesus Christ appointed Peter, one of his disciples, the first Pope, and since then there has been a handing on, or a succession, to this office, right down to Pope Benedict himself.
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They claim that here Jesus pronounces that Peter is to be the leader of the church. But a careful reading of what he is saying reveals that Jesus is actually saying that the rock on which the church is built is his confession and understanding of who Jesus is.

Virtually unprecedented: papal resignation throughout history

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A Society pleading poverty

It is incredible how many people can get enthusiast to do the work Jesus had asked from them. All those who call themselves Christian should go out in the world and preach the Gospel of the Good News of the coming Kingdom of God. Though we are afraid we can not find many Christians bringing that Good News worldwide. But it is also wrong of the Jehovah Witnesses to think they are the only ones who bear witness. We do agree the other groups, like Mormons, Abrahamic Faith, Church of God people and Biblestudents and Christadelphians are minority groups. But they also try to bring the Word of God to as many places as they can. Those groups are by a lot of people considered to be sects or cults, because they do not adhere to the mainstream believe.

Politics and acceptance

In the world it can go very strange with ideas about those preaching groups. As soon as one of the groups becomes more powerful or has something to offer politicly it can be changed. For example the Baptists in Belgium are a sect or cult according to the State committee about sects, while in the United States they are one of the mainstream churches. The Mormon Church in Belgium and the United States are also mentioned under the list of sects. But recently the Billy Graham group threw his support behind Mitt Romney due to his clear support of biblical values of marriage and opposition to abortion and lots of Americans suddenly do not consider the Mormons a cult but the best Christian value. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association seems to find Mormons being Christians like they are, and a group they do not need to evangelize, while the others are non-trinitarian and therefore not Christian and in high need to get to know Christ. The only thing is that they forget that they themselves are not following Christ Jesus as it should and that they believe other values than thought in the Holy Scriptures, the Book of books which Bible Sudents,  Jehovah Witnesses, Christadelphians, Church of Abrahamic Faith and others like Messianic Jews take as the Book to follow.

Jehovah's Witnesses House Bratislava

Jehovah’s Witnesses House Bratislava (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today we can not only see hiding the light of the Gospel under a bushel in the name of politics, some groups do not mind bringing cover-up policy, like the Roman Catholic Church and the Jehovah Witnesses about the paedophilia acts of their preachers. The ongoing ‘accidents’ and ‘files being lost’ in the court case of the archbishopric Mechelen and the diocese Bruges show clearly how politics and Roman Catholic Church are still interwoven in the jurisdiction system of Belgium, though the last few years the Roman Catholic Church had to give the power over the country to the Banks. The Witnesses kept all the time quiet about the matters that went wrong between youngsters and people in charge of certain Kingdomhalls.

Sanctity of life and love

The sanctity of life is extremely imperative to our foundation of love and creation and the last few years many so called Christian organisations are making a joke out of it. The main motivating factor to do missions or to proclaim the Word of God needs to be love. This love in-comprehends the respect to others, also other believers. But those who want to proclaim the Word of God do also have to live according this Word of God. They should be an example for all people, believers and non-believers. They also should be honest to all people, believers and non-believers. It can not be that they would fool their own believers and do wrong to their own congregation. But this is what we have seen happening the last few years with the Roman Catholic Church and by the Jehovah Witnesses.

Energy, time and money spend

The apostle Paul may perhaps have written that he suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, but that does not mean that the church or organisation should take as much as they can from their followers because they should count it as of no value and have to consider any worldly material as rubbish.

Photos by Patrick Dove/Standard-TimesSan Angelo members of the Jehovah's Witnesses faith walk into a new Kingdom Hall built on Pullium Street across from the Shannon Health System's St. John's Campus. The new building can hold both English- and Spanish-speaking services at the same time.

San Angelo members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses faith walk into a new Kingdom Hall built on Pullium Street across from the Shannon Health System’s St. John’s Campus. The new building can hold both English- and Spanish-speaking services at the same time. – Photo by Patrick Dove/Standard-Times

For years the people who followed the Watchtower Society gave all of their best to the Society with the idea they where giving everything for the Work of God. And yes it is good that we can give to the work of God, and we should do that. But when we give our time and money to an organisation to do the work of God, they have to value it and make good use of it. Lots of Jehovah Witnesses have been motivated by love, when they did their preaching work. From door to door they went and offered leaflets and Watchtower brochures to the people to whom they could talk to. Several did it for many years without regretting the work they do or did. Others you can see at their faces  or at their customary uniform clothing that they are not so interested any more and that it has become a burden. With other organisations mostly the people quit if things get tough, but we must say that those Jehovah Witnesses, no matter what happens, continue in their ardent task of telling others about the end times.

A heart for work

The church is the tool God uses to push his good news into every hidden corner of the planet to shine his glorious light and God uses many people all over the world to do His job on earth. those who can do such work in love of the Almighty should be pleased to do it. Organisations who can have enough people willing to join the work should be glad and thank God for them.

“Do You Have ‘a Heart for Working’?” has been asked worldwide at the three-day conventions of the Jehovah Witnesses.

Nehemiah made many sacrifices to see that the walls in Jerusalem were rebuilt and the gates remade so as to give God’s restored people a secure future. There is an article regularly featured in the Watchtower magazine entitled “Learn from God’s Word.” It helps others and the faithful to deepen their knowledge of God, His Will and purpose.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, (Colossians 3:23) is written in the Holy Scriptures, so many Christians do their work for their church heartily as though they were doing it for the Lord and not merely for people. So the work should be done not by mere force and necessity, grudgingly, and with murmurings, but from the heart, and with good will, having a true, real, and hearty affection for their masters, having their good and interest at heart, and a delight in their service; like the Hebrew servant, that loved his master, as also his wife and children, and therefore would not depart from him, see Exodus 21:5.

Christian empires

As such many people also devote their time for their organisation to build up a congregation. Over the years the Watch Tower Society could build up, like the Roman Catholic Church did in previous centuries, a great empire. They managed to buy lots of grounds and buildings. All over the world the organisation did find enthusiast hands who could construct in a few days time a new Kingdom Hall. Often they are able to build a Kingdom Hall in less than three weeks, thanks to hundreds of volunteers who descended on the work site as part of the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Regional Building Committee. People come from all parts of the country, working with members of the local congregations. It is great to see them at work and to see them so organised. People that have registered with the Regional Building Committee are put into a database according to what department they would work in. Like roofing, concrete, trimming, painting, the kitchen, electrical, plumbing, bricklaying, welding, everything is notated, registered and taken care off by volunteers. to clear such huge projects in such a short time it would cost a lot of money.  Here for those projects it are all the people of the congregation and others who voluntary give money and time to the organisation so that it may grow. and it has grown enormously.

Assets

Strangely enough, the organisation pretends now that it has not enough assets to help out on those in affliction because certain things went wrong at certain of their congregations.

For more than 70 years, the Watch Tower Society has prided itself on its clean legal record, although this has now collapsed in dramatic fashion after a jury at the Alameda County Superior Court found Jehovah’s Witnesses legally responsible for the sexual abuse of Candace Conti, who suffered repeated molestation at the hands of a member of her congregation when only nine years old. Candace Conti, now 26 and living in Stockton, is one of the rare courageous girls who dared to take legal action against the organisation. As in many other cases the congregation and the Watchtower Society concealed the important information from her parents. In showing such shocking negligence, a jury has found that the Fremont elders were acting under the Watch Tower Society’s instructions. The elders failed to report these incidents to the authorities, or warn parents in the congregation.

The Watch Tower Society has therefore been held to account for the abuse suffered by Candace, and has been ordered to pay millions of dollars both in compensation and punitive damages. Compensatory damages of $7 million have been awarded, of which the Society must pay 40%. A further $21 million is due to be paid by the Society in punitive damages. On its official website, the Society has announced it will appeal this decision. It is feared that such an appeal will potentially drag the case out over a considerable period.

Attitude taken

Worse is also the attitude the organisation further takes.

Like in the Roman Catholic Church the than still Cardinal Ratzinger in 2001 issued a secret Vatican edict to Catholic bishops all over the world, instructing them to put the Church’s interests ahead of child safety the Watchtower Society have seem to have like to do the same way, not loving God’s people but loving more the organisation structure and income.

In a remarkable twist, on June 20th Judge Robert D. McGuinnes ruled that the real estate assets of the Watch Tower Society were to be effectively frozen pending the outcome of the Society’s appeal against the judgement. This would mean that, for a considerable period, the Watch Tower Society would be powerless to buy, sell or exchange property without first seeking the permission of the court in Alameda. It is estimated that the total value of the Watch Tower Society’s remaining Brooklyn property portfolio alone is a staggering 1 Billion dollars.

The Watch Tower Society has been ordered to pay millions in damages for their part in the abuse suffered by Candace Conti (pictured) – Photo jwsurvey.org

Now the Society appears to be pleading poverty, indicating that it cannot afford to produce the required $17.3 million dollars by way of surety without using property instead of cash. Amazingly, the Society is prepared to put their Patterson complex (The Watchtower Educational Center) on the line over this judgement, offering it as surety rather than starting the payments. However, this remarkable proposal has been blocked by Candace’s legal team. They understandably want cash to be paid as surety, not shaky property assets during times of economic uncertainty.

The Society has described the payment of $17.3 million in damages along with the premium as something that would cause them “immediate irreparable harm and hardship”.

It is normal that such a huge sum is going to do a certain damage, but trying to get rid of the fine is not an attitude which we would like to see from an organisation who, at first got all the money from its members, and secondly has done grave mistakes. Weekly lots of magazines and other publications or distributed worldwide. For the printed work they receive cash money which is partly also transferred to the headquarters. They should bear the consequences of their acts, like they so often tell others to do, and should bear the fine.

Meltdown

We totally agree with the Jehovah Witness Cedars who writes on his blog Jehovah’s Witnesses Survey:  “Many Witnesses will no doubt be shocked to hear that the organization, said to be enjoying Jehovah’s blessing, is in such a perilous predicament that it is seemingly only $17.3 million dollars away from meltdown! They will be just as amazed to learn that the Society is seeking to effectively put Patterson on the gambling table, to be given to Candace Conti if Watchtower loses its appeal.”

The whole problem is that even ordinary members of the “anointed class” do not have a voice on decisions involving ways to go or legal and doctrinal matters, despite the Governing Body’s claim that it serves as a “representative” and “mouthpiece” to the “Faithful and Discreet Slave” anointed remnant and lots of money is involved in the structure of this worldwide organisation which has become very powerful at the cost of ‘poor’ believers.

We can wonder if it are really Jehovah Witnesses who dare to come out of one’s shell to take care that Jehovah’s name shall not be dragged through the mud by an all-powerful organisation which has become blinded by its worldly and economic power. In case those whistle-blowers are really Jehovah Witnesses, than we wish them lots of courage and appreciate it that they are trying to save all the good work that many Jehovah people have done by the years gone by. In such instance they probably shall have to play a more important  role to safeguard the name of the people who really love God and are spending so much time on the streets to get Jehovah been known all over the world.

The Watchtower Society shall have to show her real face and show the world if it would like to to save face over their doctrinal stance on child abuse, or for their very survival as a global organisation willing to keep the power over many persons worldwide!

Good reason to have cleansed the name of many preachers

In several countries elders have done things which are humanly and legally not right. Not to recognise such faults of those humans or even worse, to punish victims by humiliating them or by putting them out of the organisation is not respectful to those who have given their love and time to Jehovah and to the organisation they sincerely believe to be Jehovah’s Organisation. Many more people should have to see in the handling of these matters that it clearly shows that it is an organisation which may have the luck to receive a lot of God’s blessing, but that it is a human organisation like all the churches here on earth, and as such have humans ruling it who can do also faults like any other human being.

It can happen that people do something wrong. Not one person is without sin. So people should recognise that also in the organisation of the Jehovah Witnesses there can be people who do serious sins. what surprises us is that the people in charge of the organisation prefer covering up certain sins of elders, while the ordinary people are easier expelled and punished in a way that they even cannot have contact with family members any more.

The value and sincerity of the preaching is also pulled down. The action of the Board of Directors makes that outsiders who hear the news in the media are going to shit on the Jehovah people even more. The preaching wich is necessary shall be done a lot of damage, because the faithfulness or fidelity of the followers of the Watchtower and Tract Society shall not be appreciated by the general public.

The world needs a lot of preachers to proclaim the Word of God. The Jehovah Witnesses may have been the most known preachers who dare to tell others the Name of the God of gods. Hopefully those who leave the organisation on matters of the above mistrust shall stay convinced that Jehovah is the Only One God they should go for, and that we have to let the world to get to know His son Jesus and have to look for his return. That they shall stay clear and eager to tell the world the Truth.

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Please do read:

  1. A discussion of theology among friends What’s up with this???
  2. Jehovah’s Witnesses convention kicks off on high note
  3. It takes a village to build a kingdom
    Several years ago, the four congregations of the Jehovah’s Witnesses cq in San Angelo had a dream of building a new Kingdom Hall.
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    The spacious, 8,900-square-foot brick building has matching auditoriums with plenty of room for worshippers. There’s also a library, conference room, literature room, restrooms and other support rooms.
  4. The Girl Who Took On The Watchtower – Candace Conti Speaks Out
  5. The Watchtower Punished: Society loses legal battle over child abuse case
  6. Patterson on the line: Watchtower claims that paying cash bond would cause “immediate irreparable harm and hardship”
  7. “We will decide who is a predator!” – New Watchtower Instructions to Elders on Child Abuse
  8. Manifests for believers #1 Sex abuse setting fire to the powder
    In the 50s and 60s of the previous century many acolytes and young boys became confronted with not such a nice site of human nature and his urge to have physical contact. Growing older and not having been able to cope with the old trauma some got up from their quit seat and started to tell tales out of school.
  9. Manifests for believers #2 Changing celibacy requirement
    For decades, the problem of paedophilia has been badly managed within the church and now that everything comes out of the cesspool this brought the church in discredit and got even more people leaving their church and their faith. Some wonder if you can you blame Catholics for leaving the faith when these types of attitudes run rampant in the church?  The problem becomes bigger when they do take it that “the Church” is bad and that they should not go to any church or return to the Catholic Church because they get the impression that nothing is being done to prevent abuse from happening.  It certainly doesn’t seem that the Catholic church has a screening process that will eliminate paedophiles and child molesters.
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    With all the tribulations and sex scandals many have lost their faith. Many do claim God for what happens in the world, but then they forget that at the beginning of the world-existence God had given men liberty to go his own way.
  10. Manifests for believers #3 Catholic versus Protestant
    The sex-scandals in the Roman Catholic Church did already too much damage. The clergy as well as the believers needed the commotion like they needed a hole in the head. They want to adhere to the Catholic teachings but would prefer to go back to the first century church. They do think they have enough teachings provided in the Holy Bible so that men do not need to bind others to man made teachings or to restrict others by their own teachings.  They just wanted to go back to the teachings which were already part of the church life in early centuries. They also found that the church had to put away certain teachings which where brought into existence for all sorts of reasons, of which some were financial (as protecting the church property).
  11. Roman Catholic Church at war
  12. Breathing to teach
  13. Representatives of the “Slave Class” or the Real “faithful and discreet slave”
  14. Breathing and growing with no heir
    Some may think we aren’t called to just preach. Jesus has given the major task to his followers to go out in the world and to let the Good News be known wherever they go. We also as followers of Christ Jesus should let others know that marvellous Good News.We have marvellous tools which brings us very easily much further than the doorstep.
    Jehovah Witnesses for a long time took it for granted it was the best way to reach people by bothering them at any moment of the day, ringing the bell and talking to them at the doorstep. But it seems that they today, also have found the modern means of the computer and internet. On the internet they now seem to have opened up and present more literature to the general public. Which is nice, because they also have very good literature, which can bring many more people to God.

    But, we should not let them do all the work, and let them get people in their Kingdom hall, while we have other thoughts of which we are sure they are also valuable for the people and leaving them more free. We should get others to know that there are other places of worship where honest God loving people can come together as a congregation.They may offer over there Theocratic Ministry School with a common global curriculum and nest to the weekly services with Watchtower-study they also may offer Pioneer Service School for full-time preachers, and the Kingdom Ministry School for elders and ministerial servants. The Kingdom Hall of the Jehovah Witnesses should be known as the only sort of kingdom hall the world offers good Bible teaching and worship to the One and Only God.

    We should be more conscious that we also have a lot to offer to the unbelievers and those looking for the Truth. We Can offer the Truth, but than we may not stay in our little cocoon of our armchair at home. We should get off our ass and do something.

    It is more than high time that more people would come out of their house and take up the task Jesus has given them.

  15. Which back voters in the US wants to see
  16. Mormons, just an other faith

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  • Cult or True Religion (wordsonsergebenhayon.wordpress.com)
    “…if you believe in it, it is a religion or perhaps ‘the’ religion; and if you do not care one way or another about it, it is a sect; but if you fear and hate it, it is a cult.” Leo Pfeffer.
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    Call someone a name and you don’t have to refute their argument – it makes it easy to toss it aside as the workings of a potentially crazed mind rather than something that may be of value, truth and substance.Why are there two separate words in the English language – cult and religion – that are understood by most to refer to two separate things. Calling new religions ‘cults’ is a very clever scare tactic used by the older religions in order to protect their market share. Christianity sees other religions that do not follow its version of doctrine as cults… so that makes all Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, followers of Islam plus all other religions, and thus a very large proportion of the population, cult members on those grounds.
  • Billy Graham: Mormonism No Cult (orthodoxyandheterodoxy.org)
    it seems that Mormonism is no longer a “cult”
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    now even the walking-Evangelical-saint Billy Graham has sacrificed doctrine for politics, that his desire for a Republican in the White House has transcended his commitment to the distinctives of his Southern Baptist religious faith.
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    The Graham definition above—”any group which teaches doctrines or beliefs that deviate from the biblical message of the Christian faith”—is similarly problematic. How would this definition include Jehovah’s Witnesses but not Roman Catholics? How would it include Unitarian Universalists but not Mormons? Isn’t it true that all of these groups (and many more) would deviate from most Evangelicals’ understanding of “the biblical message of the Christian faith”?
  • Defining Christianity (reneland.wordpress.com)
    I recently had a very good friend of mine who is Catholic and went to a Catholic school until the 9th grade say to me that she wasn’t a Christian, she was a Catholic. She said that the nuns told her she wasn’t Christian.
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses (calltoprayerministries.wordpress.com) {the writer of this article does not seem to see what it really means to be a ‘Christian’ and wants to take hold only on a sort-sighted vision.}
    Jehovah’s Witnesses come up in conversation more times than one might think. I guess that it’s because there are many people who know JW’s and there don’t seem to be many obvious differences between their faith and ours. Many JW’s are nice people, talk about Jesus, share their faith, and care about their families… just like Christians. So what are the differences? Are they just a different kind of Christian?
  • ‘Mormonism’ Taken off Site’s Cult List (abcnews.go.com)
    The prominent Christian evangelist Billy Graham has taken public steps to embrace Mitt Romney for president this week, removing Romney’s Mormon religion from a list of cults on his website and taking out an advertisement that appears to urge people to vote for Romney.
  • Billy Graham Offers To Help Mormon Mitt Romney And Then Removes Section From Website Calling Mormonism A Cult! (soulrefuge.org)
    The scriptures make it very clear that true believers in Jesus Christ should not be “yoked” together with unbelievers. Why would any true Christian want to help and support a Mormon who teaches that Jesus Christ is the spirit brother of Lucifer?
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  • Billy Graham Risks His “Legacy” By Scrubbing His Website Of Mormonism Cult Reference, But He Also Changed His Views About The Cult Of Rome Over 50 Years Ago (soulrefuge.org)
  • Grahams tighten Romney ties (newsobserver.com)
  • Mormons off Graham’s ‘cult’ list (upi.com)

The blot not to be seen

In a discussion, which was not to be intended to bring the name up of an ex member of the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses from 20 October 1971 until 22 May 1980, we notice that the Organisation of the Jehovah Witnesses likes to do if nothing happened way back in the seventies.

For Raymond Victor Franz (May 8, 1922 – June 2, 2010) the seventies became exuberant very promising but also very disappointing. Being the son of a Bible Student he found an other way and joined the group in 1938 which was to become known as the Jehovah Witnesses. , He became a baptized member in 1939 after which he took more time to study the Bible and to grow in to the believes of the Jehovah Witnesses. To get more insight he went to the missionary school of Jehovah’s Witnesses, typically referred to simply as Gilead or Gilead School, founded in 1942by Nathan H. Knorr. After five months he graduated in 1944. Temporarily he served the organization as a traveling representative in the continental U.S. until receiving a missionary assignment to Puerto Rico in 1946. In 1959 he married his wife with whom he continued his missionary work in the Caribbean, traveling to the Virgin Islands and the Dominican Republic, to evangelize for four more years before taking up work at Watch Tower headquarters inBrooklyn,the most populous of New York City‘s five boroughs.

Encouraged by his uncle Frederick W. Franz he put all his efforts to spread the news of the coming Kingdom and to help his brothers and sisters grow in the faith. Both Frederick and Ray joined forces to make a think-tank. Franz was encouraged to put his ideas in writing and got the opportunity to work in the organization’s writing department. He was assigned to collaboratively write Aid to Bible Understanding, the first religious encyclopedia published by Jehovah’s Witnesses in which he put a lot of energy.

English: crop of older photo ca 1981 of previo...

Ray Franz, early 1980s – English: crop of older photo ca 1981 of previous Jehovah’s Witnesses Governing Body members (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For him the climax of his career, if you may call it that, came on 20 October 1971 when he was appointed as a member of the Governing Body. But those 9 final years became a crucial period for the Bible Student. He had had so many dreams and wanted to do so much for the faith, but bit by bit his dreams felt into pieces. Illusions there met up with reality. He always had looked, like his father, for the truth. He thought he had found it in a very well structured organisation, while other members of his family had studied the Bible as individuals and not with such tight connections as he had. The freedom other family members had not being so organised, made him see that the organisation he was with used its structure to tighten rules and regulations and to be more a chain to the Bible Students.  He could see more and more limitations to brethren in the congregation. His eyes were surprised to find that at the top they were not afraid to be quite about certain things are to have no objections for a “little lie for the good”. He found deliberate, contrived and dishonest sayings and actions of which he could not agree with. Looking at all the going ons he began to realize how large a measure of what he had based his entire adult life. To him it came as a certain shock and first he wanted to disbelief.  Though there was no way around, he had to face the trap in which he was fallen and saw the myth — persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.

At first in unbelief, then doubts, he contacted more brothers and sisters to talk about his findings. This got him in the first problems, having people who he thought were his friends, taking distance or ignoring him. Other reacted strongly at him, trying to get him back on track at all costs. It became more difficult to talk about differences of opinion  with the Governing Body or with others in the community. More and more Ray and Cynthia seemed to become isolated and became very frustrated on their isolated island. The Governing Body’s dogmatism and overemphasis on traditional views rather than reliance on the Bible in reaching doctrinal decisions was a thorn in his flesh. He knew life is not a bed of roses, but the way of thinking and the direction the Watchtower Society took could not be liked any more by Ray and his wife. Ray Franz started also going back to the sources of his father and got back into contact with several Bible Students, not associated with the Jehovah Witnesses.  As such the association of Free Christians (Vrije Christenen) in Belgium also got in contact with his family. Out of those contacts Ray his writings and letters to the Board of Governors where also published, in English and Dutch, in Belgium. But all the letters he wrote to other members of the Governing Body seemed to no avail. He also understood now why previously there had been some very good forces gone away from the organisation. But he also understood the organisation had wrongly put out some very sincere Bible Students.

Utterly disappointed and frustrated he decided, late 1979, to leave the international headquarters. Being depressed, health reasons seemed logic and acceptable to give leave of absence. They moved to Alabama, where he took up laboring work on a property owned by a fellow Witness.

Diagram Representing Organisational Structure ...

Diagram Representing Organisational Structure of Jehovah’s Witnesses (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A committee of the Governing Body raised concerns over the spreading of “wrong teachings” emanating from headquarters staff and began questioning headquarters staff on their beliefs. The previous discussions and correspondence between brethren about faith-matters, beliefs and worship, came under fire. Because they could find that Ray Franz had contradicted certain Watch Tower doctrines they considered it necessary to tell Ray that he had been implicated as an apostate. His claims that he was not the only one who questioned certain teachings of the Watch Tower Society that may have constituted apostasy, was taken ill.

After a questioning for three hours about his Bible viewpoints and commitment to Watch Tower doctrines, Franz agreed to a request to resign from the Governing Body and headquarters staff, on 21 May 1980. The Governing Body investigation resulted in the disfellowshipping of several other headquarters staff.

When Franz continued to socialize and eat with his employer in Alabama, he was summoned to a judicial hearing on 25 November and disfellowshipped for disobeying the edict.

Treated very badly by the Watchtower power structure, he took on writing about the case, after a number of Watchtower articles criticised the motives, character and conduct of former Witnesses who conscientiously disagreed with the organization. Ray claimed that many Jehovah’s Witnesses who choose to leave because they cannot “honestly agree with all the organization’s teachings or policies” are subsequently disfellowshipped, or formally expelled, and shunned as “apostates”. He wrote that he hoped his book might prompt Witnesses to consider the conscientious stand of defectors with a more open mind. He hoped that a discussion of deliberations and decisions of the Governing Body during his term would illustrate fundamental problems and serious issues within the organization: “They demonstrate the extremes to which ‘loyalty to an organization’ can lead, how it is that basically kind, well-intentioned persons can be led to make decisions and take actions that are both unkind and unjust, even cruel.” {Franz, Raymond (2004). Crisis of Conscience. Atlanta, Georgia: Commentary Press. pp. 37–40. ISBN 0-914675-23-0.}

File:Franzcrisis.jpg

Illustration of book cover Crisis of Conscience (1983) American edition

His Crisis of Conscience (1983) got a sequel by In Search of Christian Freedom (1991).

Former Witness James Penton, who included the book in the bibliography of his 1985 history of the Witness movement, described the book as “remarkably informative” and “thoroughly documented” and noted it was “written more in a tone of sadness than of anger”. {Penton, M. James (1985). Apocalypse Delayed: The Story of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. pp. 149, 401. ISBN 0-8020-7973-3.}

Frederick W. Franz was in 1992 found a fine example of faithfulness (Watchtower 1/1/92, Love for Jehovah Stimulates True Worship), “He served faithfully as a member of the Governing Body down till his death, on December 22, 1992, at the age of 99.” (Jehovah’s Witnesses, Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom; Jehovah’s Word Keeps Moving Speedily)

Upon the death of then president Nathan H. Knorr in 1977, he became the president of the Watch Tower Society. He served in that capacity until his death. In his lifetime, Brother Franz saw the number of Witnesses of Jehovah increase from a few thousand to some four and a half million. He enjoyed many privileges of service, including speaking at international conventions and visiting branches and missionary homes in many parts of the world. His life story appeared in the May 1, 1987, issue of The Watchtower. (Watchtower 3/15/93, Rewarded With “the Crown of Life)

When research was being done under the supervision of the Governing Body in preparation of the reference work Aid to Bible Understanding, attention was once more directed to the way in which the first-century Christian congregation was organized. A careful study was made of such Biblical terms as “older man,” “overseer,” and “minister.” Could the modern-day organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses conform more fully to the pattern that had been preserved in the Scriptures as a guide? (Jehovah’s Witnesses, Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom; Development of the Organization Structure)

Insight on the Scriptures includes much of what was formerly in the book Aid to Bible Understanding and a great deal more. In what respects is it different? Scores of sections have been revised and updated. There are also many new articles as well as added features in Insight on the Scriptures. (Watchtower 3/15/89, “Insight on the Scriptures”—A New Bible Encyclopedia)

Material from Aid to Bible Understanding seems to have found its way into Insight on the Scriptures, but no where anything is mentioned about one of the main inspiration persons behind the book: Ray Franz or Raymond Victor Franz. When we do mention the family Franz to Jehovah Witnesses they do not want to hear any bad word about the family Franz.

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  • Ten Years Behind A Bible, My Life in the Jehovah’s Witnesses (personal) (everything2.com)
    Many people over the years have asked me whether I truly was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and some have even asked that I write about my adventures. First of all, yes, it is true. I was once a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I was “in the Truth” for about ten years. There’s a long story behind my joining, some of which I wrote about in Drop Kick Me Jesus, Through The Goalposts Of Life. If you want just the adventures, the fun stuff, skip to the Anecdotes section.
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    I had to show that my life was “in harmony with Jehovah God’s requirements”. This included being free from drugs and immorality and other sundry deviant practices. I was expected to participate in the “field ministry” – the door-to-door work for which Jevohah’s Witnesses are renowned the world over. I duly began my apprenticeship, and quickly learned that many of those tutoring me were not very bright, and lacked a really good foundation of Total Bible Knowledge. I persevered, and began to become quite adept in my doorstep presentation and discussion style.
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    I was also expected to meet the exacting standards of dress and grooming laid down by the Society.
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Representatives of the “Slave Class” or the Real “faithful and discreet slave”

In the past when we spoke with Jehovah Witnesses they often had a double tongue on the “faithful and discreet slave” (FDS). To us it did not always seemed clear who they considered to be the “faithful and discreet slave”.

We understood that the Governing Body (GB) would be mostly presented as the humble “representatives” of the “Slave Class”, which comprised the 12,000 or more anointed remnant of Christians with a heavenly calling still on earth.

Despite claiming to be “representatives” of this group of people, suspicions were raised in the minds of many thinking Witnesses after reading articles such as the Questions From Readers of the August 15th 2011 Watchtower, where it was admitted that the Governing Body has no actual communication with memorial partakers (the “anointed”) and even feels that some of these ones may be mentally imbalanced. (see w11 8/15 p. 22) ???!!???

According to the New Light of the Witnesses “The Faithful and Discreet Slave” would be a small group of anointed brothers during Jesus’ presence serving at Watchtower Headquarters. Under Jesus guidance they would be directly involved in the preparing and dispensing of spiritual food. The individual members of the Governing Body would not be the Faithful and Discreet Slave but only acting as the Faithful and Discreet Slave when they are working as a collective body in making decisions regarding the dispensing of spiritual food.

At memorial services it were only the chosen members of the 144 000 who could be partakers of the symbols. Strangely enough those people who thought to be one of those 144 000 became considered as possible not so good by their head, not to say ‘insane’. Looking at the Questions From Readers article of the August 15th, 2011 Watchtower they had already suffered the indignity of being labelled as potentially “mentally or emotionally imbalanced”.

This “new light” stops short of expressly naming “the Governing Body” as the Faithful Slave – rather a “group” of anointed brothers serving at Watchtower headquarters, which can only be applied to the Governing Body in our present day. According to Cedars this distinction is significant, because it acknowledges that there was no Governing Body as we know it prior to 1971 – only the Watch Tower Society Board of Directors who, as I have explained in a previous article, were informally described as a “governing body” (lower case) only from 1944 onwards.

Since the death of Freddy Franz the Governing Body (and previous Presidents) have acted independently of the supposed FDS class and never acted as their representatives. Don Cameron in his book Captives of a Concept blows the supposed 1919 choosing by Christ myth apart.

Having told for so many years that  Russell and Rutherford have been the founders of their association, but finding that more people are noticing the big differences in their teaching and the present organisation their teaching, makes it understandable that they now would like to distance themselves from certain teachings of the 19° and early 20° century.

For the present board it is high time to distance themselves from the WTS eyebrow raising beginings and Russell’s quirky and for them embarrassing ideas and relegate him to place they keep people like George Storrs, Tyndale et al-people who were searching for the truth but had not yet been chosen by Jesus who according to them, came invisibly in 1918.

In case they have now the true anointed Faithful slave, it is strange that they still have connection with worldly organisations, NGO’s like the OSCE, which is also connected to the United Nations, while they ask their members not to have any connection with UN related organisations because they would be from the devil and be the coming eighth king.

In the Bible we do find that Jesus is the only one mediator between God and men, though the WTS always presented their FDS as a mediator for the thoughts and new light to be given to Gods People. Luckily there were more JW who saw how the WTS has presumptuously placed itself as mediator between Christ and his followers, uninvited by Christ to replace him as the mediator.

Several serious Bible students warned already for several years that the FDS had taken in the same position as the pope has in the Catholic Church. the organisation has be willing to have control over all those associated with them. Those who could not come to agreement with their ideas had to go. Often they were cast out with the consequence that families were asundered. The way to follow or way to go brought division they always repudiated. Several people who had given their full life felt used and found their life was waisted with this “mess of a religion”. Several people who where cast out found a few years later their ideas bck into the teachings under the new light, but they were never asked to return back to the community or where never restored.

John Fatty writes: “For the last few years, there has been MUCH discussion and debate on the sites regarding this subject. Many XJW’s have made the claim the GB has already taken this position by their ‘subtle’ comments. (Perhaps to soften up the field of understanding for the coming change) Only to be villified by debating JW’s for being so wrong. “They would NEVER take that position!.” Well, there are quite a few certain argueing JW’s that must feel abit humiliated right now. I wonder if this will cause them to awaken?”

It is also strange that nobody questioned that if Rutherford and his anointed associates were selected in 1919 on what scriptural basis it could be automatically assumed that their roles as the Faithful and Discreet Slave were transferable, or could be “inherited”, by successive generations of the Board of Directors of the Watch Tower Society – which, after all, is merely a legal entity?

We always would appreciate it when people could show us where the bible provides an example of how those appointed by God to be his representatives may pass their duties on to someone else in the event of their death without God’s clear and unambiguous approval. (Numbers 27:18-20) The idea of someone inheriting someone else’s position because they have died is clearly a fleshly concept rather than a spiritual one.

We do agree that in the Roman Catholic faith they consider that the power of a certain apostle goes over to other living people when they die. According to us the twelve apostles appointed by Christ, once these died off they were not replaced by successors. Matthias, who had shown great interest in Jesus and had followed him, was the only apostle “of the twelve” who wasn’t appointed directly by Jesus, but he was only appointed as a replacement of unfaithful Judas by the casting of lots.

“23 So they proposed two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. 24 Then they prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen 25 to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.” 26 Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.” (Acts 1:23-26 NIV)

When the faithful apostle James died (as with the rest of the apostles) there is no record of any concern over whether a replacement should be appointed.

The JW Insightbook also lets the JW  know:

“Sometime during the ten days between Jesus’ ascension and the day of Pentecost it was viewed as necessary that another be selected to fill the vacancy left by Judas, not simply on the basis of his death but, rather, on the basis of his wicked defection, as the Scriptures quoted by Peter indicate. (Ac 1:15-22; Ps 69:25; 109:8; compare Re 3:11.) Thus, by contrast, when the faithful apostle James was put to death, there is no record of any concern to appoint anyone to succeed him in his position of apostle.—Ac 12:2.” – Insight On The Scriptures, Volume 1, Page 129

The Governing Body has long pointed to Christ’s apostles as a divinely approved model for their collective authority, but they have never once explained how Christ has any involvement in their individual appointment. They ask their members to believe that Christ directly chose Joseph Rutherford and his anointed associates as his modern-day “apostles”, or Faithful and Discreet Slave, in 1919 – but do not give any satisfactorily explanation, once Rutherford and his associates died, how the divinely appointed authority of these ones was conferred to successive generations of Watchtower leaders.

Now, the Society has effectively scrapped the idea of the Faithful and Discreet Slave as a “class”, and now insists that the office of the Faithful Slave was bestowed by Christ on the shoulders of Rutherford and his associates in 1919, and this office was somehow passed down to successive members of the Watch Tower Society Board of Directors until the Governing Body arrangement was introduced in 1971. Thereafter, they insist that this “succession” continued as Governing Body members died and were replaced until we arrive today at a situation where eight individuals, none of whom had even been born in 1919, are now Christ’s “Faithful and Discreet Slave”. Not only does this sound incredibly implausible – most significantly there is absolutely no scriptural precedent for things to be done by God in this manner whatsoever.

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Please do read:

Governing Body says: “We are the Faithful and Discreet Slave!”

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Find also:

Watchtowers’s new face

Slave for people and God

Servant of his Father

The Ecclesia in the churchsystem

Getuigen van Jehovah, Data en Waarheid

Getuige of Broeder

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  • Attorney claims sexually abused children ignored by Jehovah’s Witness church (lampandherald.wordpress.com)
    In a recent Facebook post, attorney Steven Unthank acknowledged the courage and sacrifices made by children of a congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Victoria, Australia where Unthank said that the children suffered sexual abuse at the hands of fellow church members.
  • Signal Communities…Invite People to Christ (heraldmagazine.wordpress.com)
    Every fiber of who we are in Christ exudes a living presence of who it is we say that we follow. Our lives tell the truth about what we believe.
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    It is Christ’s mission statement. As members of the body of Christ it is ours, as well. Not just the twelve, not just the seventy, but the whole of God’s people—anointed and Spirit-filled.
    {We would like to remind readers the Herald mentioned in this blog has nothing to do the Bible Students magazine The Herald or with the Christadelphian  magazine The Herald of the Kingdom of God.}
  • My Willing Spirit (peaceandbeauty.wordpress.com)
    Like Bruno, profiled in the July 15 Watchtower as one of those who offered themselves willingly in Ecuador, I want my service to Jehovah to be not dull, but filled with a variety of activities in service to him.
  • According To Your Faith Be It Unto You (bummyla.wordpress.com)
    {We do have to be careful not to be blinded by organisations, and should follow Jesus in the first place not human institutions.}
    The blind men and the people who heard them crying understood that Jesus was anointed, that He had God’s power on Him. They also understood that He was the Son of God. Yet, Jesus did not lay hands on them and say, “I know you’re healed, because I touched you and I’m anointed.”
  • I learned a lot yesterday! (cwrede.wordpress.com)
    Never try to claim something as your own, because only by his grace can we accomplish anything. He gives us just enough for our purpose
  • ‘Unworthy slaves’: Listen to Jesus and do what he says (markkelly.wordpress.com)
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    Listen to Jesus and do what he says.And here’s a great place to start.

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