Do you remember when I said at the end of my last post how that meeting was the most difficult discussion we had to date? Well, today was another day. This one topped that one by far. My Jehovah’s Witness friend was so upset, I almost lost him twice. We’re talking gather up his stuff, pack his book bag, place it on his lap and saying. “I don’t see any point to meeting anymore.” Yeah, that close. This false prophecy issue has him sweating bullets.
There was no informal talk or catching up on what has been happening in our personal lives like there is normally. Today was all business. Almost as soon as I sat down, my Witness friend pulls some print outs of Watchtower literature from his book bag.
JW: (Sliding the paper across the table) That famous Kingdom Ministry.
KW: Oh, you found it.
My friend started to giggle as I began reading. The first article he gave me was the May 1974 Kingdom Ministry p.3 He had already ordered and was finishing up his breakfast so I decided to read the whole article and highlighted portions I wanted to discuss. I wanted him to see me reading and thinking about the whole article. It is important for him to know that the conclusions I draw are based off of real study and not knee-jerk reactions because I don’t like something. As I was reading, my friend exclaimed;
JW: I don’t believe this!
He was rummaging through his book bag and said;
JW: I brought my song book instead of our study book.
KW: That’s okay. It looks like we have a lot to discuss here.
I thought this was interesting. I had forgotten my book too, but remembered it before I have backed out of our garage. I literally had to run back into the house and get my book, but when I meet with my friend, I find that he didn’t bring his book at all. I took that as God making sure we stayed on the topic of false prophecy. My friend had no study material other than the handouts he gave me. I continued reading the Kingdom Ministry. When I finished, I asked;
KW: How am I supposed to take this? If I was a new Jehovah’s Witness and I read this, what should I be thinking?
JW: (Handing me another paper) Well, read this too. This talked about Brother Franz who was in a convention in 1966.
The paper he gave me was from, Jehovah’s Witnesses – Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom p.104 which gives a sugar coated version of what really happened regarding 1975. An interesting part that I highlighted said, “However, other statements were published on this subject, and some were likely more definite than advisable.”
This statement is about as close as the Watchtower will ever get to an apology. It admits that the Watchtower was responsible for statements that should not have been made concerning 1975. So in other words, there were no pockets of Witnesses around the world coming up with 1975. What they believed was because of information they read in the Watchtower’s publications. As soon as I finished reading this page, he handed me another one.
JW: Here is another one which was printed in 1974.
KW: (Referring to what I just read) This answers a question. (I read the above quote aloud) This tells me that the reason why Jehovah’s Witnesses were looking at 1975 was because the Watchtower told them about it. They didn’t come up with it on their own.
JW: Well, read this here.
He was trying to inundate me with information. I don’t know if he was trying to confuse me with a bunch of quotes or what, but what he does not understand about me is that I’ve had this information stored in my head for decades. I am very familiar with it and can recall isolated statements from different articles. In preparation for this meeting I read the whole page on JWfacts.com referring to 1975.
Re-reading these articles in front of him was nothing more than reinforcing what I had already read. He handed me the June 15, 1974 Watchtower pages 378-379 which discusses serving God and not just because of a predicted date. After reading it, I pointed out to him that the Watchtower article was only one month after the Kingdom Ministry which encouraged Witnesses to sell their homes and property. I wanted him to understand the historical context in which these statements were made.
KW: This is only one month after the Watchtower encouraged people to sell their homes and property.
JW: No, no, no. They didn’t do that.
KW: Sure they did. “Certainly this is a fine way to spend the short time remaining before the wicked world’s end.”
As I was reading the quote, he was trying to talk over me in denial, but I kept reading and asked the question;
KW: How is that not encouraging Witnesses to sell their homes?
KW: But this is a good idea, right? Witnesses would be doing a fine thing in selling off their property.
JW: It is a good idea to put off all the weight that keeps you from putting Kingdom interests first.
KW: Which would include your home a business.
JW: No, no.
KW: Then why did they say it?
JW: The example is Jesus Christ.
My Witness then told the story in Mark 10: 17-31 about the Rich man coming to Jesus and asking what he needed to do to inherit eternal life. Jesus told him to sell everything and follow Him. My friend insisted that this passage was about putting Kingdom interests first and then letting God provide for you. He tried to say that we really don’t need to sell our homes, but to just keep our lives simple.
I rebutted his claim by referring to the May 1969 Awake magazine on page 15 that I had read in his presence last week that told young people not to go to pursue higher education because they would never grow old.
KW: Imagine that you are a teenager in 1969 and you are told that you do not need to go to college because you will never grow old. How old are you now?
JW: I am in my 50’s.
KW: Do you think that 16 year olds think that people in their 50’s are old?
KW: Probably so. If I was encouraged not to go to college because I will never grow old, yet I get into my 50’s, an age that teens think is old, then something is wrong because I just got old.
JW: The idea is that we need to look at things with a sense of urgency because God’s day will come.
KW: Evidently it isn’t that urgent because I can certainly finish a degree in 44 years.
My Witness friend then began using Noah as an example of how long it took him to build his ark. The people mocked him, but the day of judgment still came. I pointed out that Noah was never given a certain date by God, nor do we have any record of him preaching a date to the people. I then started quoting the different things I had read from the article he gave me.
KW: Sell your homes and property, the race is almost over, the end of human history is coming in 1975 and don’t go to college because you will never grow old. That was 44 years ago.
JW: Read this. This is the daily text from Monday.
He handed me his phone which showed the daily text from the Watchtower web site. It stated, “Monday, November 18
Let those . . . making use of the world [be] as those not using it to the full.—1 Cor. 7:29, 31.
Vigilant Christians refrain from using the world to the full with regard to higher education. Many people in this world consider higher education an indispensable stepping-stone to prestige and an affluent life. But we Christians live as temporary residents and pursue different goals. We avoid ‘minding lofty things.’ (Rom. 12:16; Jer. 45:5) Since we are Jesus’ followers, we heed his warning: ‘Keep your eyes open and guard against every sort of covetousness, because even when a person has an abundance his life does not result from the things he possesses.’ (Luke 12:15) Consequently, young Christians are encouraged to pursue spiritual goals, getting only as much education as is required to meet their basic needs while focusing on preparing themselves to serve Jehovah ‘with their whole heart, soul, strength, and mind.’ (Luke 10:27) Thus, they can become ‘rich toward God.’”
I wasn’t thinking when I let my feeling fall out of my mouth.
KW: I think this is ridiculous.
JW: I don’t think it is ridiculous at all.
KW: Do you know what it is to make a false dichotomy?
KW: A false dichotomy is when you set two things against each other claiming that those are your only two options. I don’t think it is a contradiction to say that you can either serve God or go to college. Sometimes you can serve God better by going to college.
JW: Getting a bachelors or masters degree is a waste of time.
My Witness friend was getting angry now. He made reference to the story in Luke 9:59-62 where people came to Christ, but asked permission to do other things first like bury a relative or go home to say goodbye to family. He gave examples of people with graduate degrees with tons of debt, yet they aren’t even working in their field of study. He is very much against continuing education in light of living in the “time of the end.”
KW: That is the part that bothers me. If I am 16 years old in 1969 and I am told to not go to college…
JW: (interrupting) In the grand scheme of things, 50 years is nothing to Jehovah.
KW: We aren’t talking about God’s timetable. We are talking about mine. I was told that I would never get old.
JW: This is what Jesus says in Mark 13:32-37, “Concerning that day or the hour nobody knows, neither the angels in heaven nor the Son, but the Father. 33 Keep looking, keep awake, for you do not know when the appointed time is. 34 It is like a man traveling abroad who left his house and gave the authority to his slaves, to each one his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to keep on the watch. 35 Keep on the watch, therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming, whether late in the day or at midnight or at dawn or early in the morning, 36 in order that when he comes suddenly, he does not find you sleeping. 37 But what I say to you, I say to all: Keep on the watch.”
KW: (Pointing) Why didn’t someone quote that to the Watchtower when they started talking about 1975?
JW: That’s true, that’s true.
KW: How would I be viewed if I did that though?
JW: You’re right. They never said though about 1975. There were expectations raised and they are saying they are sorry about it…
KW: (Interrupting) Where did they say they were sorry?
JW: Well, I just said that.
KW: So the Watchtower never apologized?
JW: No, but that doesn’t change the fact that the day of God is coming. Let’s say they were concentrating on 1975. The date passes, but that does not mean it is not coming?
I was tired of messing around. I decided to go for it.
KW: How is the not a false prophecy?
JW: It is not a false prophecy.
KW: But how is it not a false prophecy?
He was getting more defensive now.
JW: I don’t know. You tell me. The idea is, keep on the watch no matter what. They were concentrating on a date, which was wrong, but it doesn’t mean they should stop watching.
KW: So they were disobedient to Jesus by predicting dates, yet I am still supposed to give my loyalty to the Watchtower because the end is going to happen some other time. Are you telling me that if I was a Witness in 1966 and I read the book about 1975 (Life Everlasting-in Freedom of the Sons of God), that the end was coming in nine years, are you saying that I should not have believed the Watchtower because I believe what Jesus said in Mark 13?
JW: As the brother said, they never said 1975. There were expectations.
KW: Who raised those expectations?
JW: The brothers.
KW: Which brothers?
JW: I don’t know.
KW: This is what they said in the sheet you just gave me (The Proclaimers book referred to above). “Other statements were published on this subject, and some were likely more definite than advisable.” Who does the publishing? The Watchtower.
KW: That is what really bothers me about this whole issue. I am supposed to accept what comes from the Watchtower as if it comes from God. The Watchtower sets itself up as a prophet.
JW: No, the prophecies come from the Bible. We just relate what the Bible already says.
KW: Where did the Bible say anything about 1975?
JW: It didn’t. It points to the end, but nothing about 1975.
KW: Exactly, so it wasn’t a prophecy that they got form the Bible. It was something they came up with on their own.
KW: That is a false prophet.
JW: No, it is like if you are on a trip and you have a destination. Sometimes there needs to be a course correction.
KW: Are you talking about this “New Light” thing?
This next question I asked was a question from one of the commenters on this blog, Jo Smith. I liked it so much I was waiting for the opportunity to use it. This was the perfect time.
Because of the detail of this conversation, it is going to be extremely long. This will be my first three or even four part blog post. That is why this post is titled 4.1 and not just 4. I will try to post one part a day until the whole conversation is up. It gets intense and the end of the conversation is very meticulous. I am actually looking forward to that part because it is something I have wanted to have online for a very long time.
Please pray for my Jehovah’s Witness friend. I believe he is at a point where he will either begin to be freed mentally or just entrench himself further into the deception of the Watchtower.