Sunday, April 13, 2014

Answering Questions

There has been some confusion as of late over the letter and the secret meetings. This is my attempt to clarify everything so nobody will need to ask the same questions over again.

The letter campaign was written with the purpose of possibly reaching a few current jws and trying to get them to think beyond what the Watchtower Society teaches them. A few topics were chosen in order to accomplish this. The result was surprising as sixty eight people left their ranks. I received several emails, and a few letters. Some were encouraging, some were rude, a couple of them were funny. But the impact was made.

I was visited by the local elders during this time, and according to them, the Watchtower Society was being flooded with calls asking about the letter. I met with them for about a year. During that time, they would attempt to answer my questions, and would not be able to. I kept supplying information, which they attempted to dismiss as apostate literature. But I told them that if they really had the truth, then why be afraid to examine things from different perspectives. They proceeded with caution. But to make a long story short, I was able to get the lead guy to begin delving into the information. And after doing his research, he left them as well.

The Watchtower Society took action. Included in their list of apostate warnings was the dividing of congregations by use of letters to loyal witnesses.

Now, I'm sure there were other people responsible for this as well. But I would like to think that my letter had played a role here.

After the one elder had left, they sent different guys to see me. But these new guys weren't interested in discussing anything. They kept trying to place literature with me, and invite me to the meetings. So I put a stop to that. Things died down afterwards.

One day, a few young people came into my shop. I thought they were customers. It turns out they were jws that had found my letter, and they wanted to ask me some questions. So we set up a meeting. They asked if they could bring some friends along, and I said that would be fine. When thirty two people showed up, I was surprised. I talked to them about jw doctrines, answered their questions, talk about mind control tactics, teach them jw history, and asked them whether or not they wanted some information to research.

Since then, there have been a few more meetings. We keep everything quiet to avoid them getting caught. Some have been small, and some have been big. I told them that in order to keep things secretive, we needed to keep the attendance down. How this will play out is anyone's guess. But I will do what I can to give them the opportunity to learn the real truth.

Now to address the questions that were asked.

1. What letter?

2. Did you put your contact details on there in case anyone wanted to talk more?

Yes I did. I put my email address and my home address at the time. 

3.  Was your letter inviting them to the meeting that you had organised...a date, time, etc. How was it worded?

 No. The letter was sent to kingdom halls throughout the country. Having meetings was never thought of until much later.

4.  I can't understand why the letter was not instantly disposed of considering your apostate status. Are you a former member (disfellowshipped for apostasy)...or do you pose as an interested person turned opposer?

 I worded the letter to make it appear as someone studying world religions, with the intent on learning more about theirs. If they had suspected that I was a former member, the letter would have been disposed of....and in some cases, it was anyways.

5.  Have any of the people that left as a direct result of your letter writing campaign and your 'assemblies' ever joined us here on this group?

 Not sure about the letter writing campaign people. But a few from the meetings have been reading the threads in the xjw 3 recovery group. Hopefully, more will join.

6.  Aren't they worried about reporting each other to the elders? Or are they a mostly unbaptised audience?

 A bit of both I think. But I do know that a lot of the young people know each other. The congregations are close together. 

7. I'm curious as to why you don't identify yourself as a BAPTIZED member of the JW organization--which, you explain in this thread, that you presently are?

 Why would a BAPTIZED member of the jw organization be writing a letter to ask for clarification about doctrines? 

8.  If you're identifying yourself by your legal name registered w/ the JWs--and supposedly causing this level of impact thus far, it'd likely follow that your local elders would be contacted to meet with you regarding your campaign. How do you believe you've evaded this?

 The local elders DID meet with me for about one year. Nothing was evaded.

9.  I notice in your letter that you don't make mention of their blood policy which has caused immense loss of life, and would seem to be much more of a pressing matter than "the generation view." Also, no mention of the dangerous "2 Witness rule." If the JWs answered to your satisfaction--the dates, numbers, theology "added up" for you---would you then be OK with these policies? Would you be OK with the policies if they 'added up' in the Bible or could intellectually pacify you?

 The goal of the letter was to attract interest and get someone to think outside of what the Watchtower Society teaches you. Thinking outside the box, so to speak. If the letter was successful, I was fully prepared to ask them about other issues, including the ones mentioned in the question. And there was never any chance of them answering my questions. 

10.  For those of us who have, for our own reasons dismissed the Bible as an authoritative text, we're more interested in exposing dangerous policies that are affecting lives each and every day and causing literal loss of lives. I have yet to see someone who challenges their claims to exclusivity and supreme authority NOT be swiftly kicked to the curb. Why do you think you're an exception?

We all have our interests. We have our strengths and weaknesses. If exposing dangerous policies works better for some, than have at it. And getting kicked to the curb is exactly the reason why these meetings are secret. These people came to me, not the other way around. And this happened even after they were told to stay away from me. This doesn't make me an exception to anything. 

11.  I guess it's hard to imagine 2 large congregations meeting secretly to discuss matters with only one verbal report! It would be kind of nice to see or hear some others verify this. It's very hard not to be skeptical about something of this magnitude. No offense

 None taken. That has only happened twice. And it won't happen again.  The crowd was way too large and attracted too much attention.  Gonna try and keep them much smaller. As of right now, there is really no way around it. So I understand the skepticism.

12. In eight years, you would expect maybe some photos, videos, other XJWs that were in attendance and maybe even to see some of Tracy's converts join us here... I don't mean to be unkind. It's just a lot to swallow and I think some raised eyebrows are to be expected.

 This hasn't been an eight year process. These meetings have been going on for a little less than a year. And we haven't met on a regular basis, only randomly. Videos and photos are not gonna happen at this time. And whether or not people decide to join facebook is not for me to say, that is their choice.

13. Why haven't you made an audio or video recording? 

  In trying to keep things quiet, and considering that making a video would put those in attendance at risk, we decided against making a video. Keep in mind the high level of paranoia that a current jw would have by attending a meeting that would probably get them into trouble, any type of recordings made them very nervous. We did attempt an audio recording on a couple of occasions. Unfortunately, my shop is probably the worst place to try this. There is way too much surrounding noise. Air compressors, power tools, loud music from surrounding shops, lots of traffic from busy streets nearby. The recordings were terrible.

Should anymore questions arise, I will post them here. 

The sad part about skepticism, or criticism, or any other doubting tactics,  is that it makes other people that want to share the success they are having with their own projects suddenly not want to share anymore. As one of my internet friends stated, why try to be negative about someone else's accomplishments? It's a waste of your energy.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Meeting Three

The theme, "Are they really who they claim they are?"
 I  began by focusing in on the faithful and discreet slave. The claim is that they were appointed in 1919. But if you look at it's history, the JWs kept changing who that slave was. They have taught that C.T. Russell, Jesus and the 144,000, only the 144,000, and now currently--the Governing Body were the FD Slave. I would think that if the slave was APPOINTED, there would be no confusion as to whom that slave was. Yet that explanation has ping-ponged around until it landed where it is today. 
 Being guided by the holy spirit, which included the angels as messengers, so that a jw can feel confident that what they are learning is true. This claim has been made throughout their entire history. I once pointed out to a circuit overseer that Jesus told his disciples that the future was not for them to know. (Acts 1:6,7)  He responded by telling me that if I continued reading in Acts, eventually, God used His holy spirit on those disciples, and they knew exactly what God wanted them to teach to the people. And my response was then, how do you explain all of the mistakes, scrapped teachings, changed teachings, flip-flops, false dates, etc. ???   He told me that human imperfection was the reason. That even though the message was given, imperfect brothers misunderstood the true meaning, and correct their thinking later on. Can anyone see the obvious mistake in this explanation? How can one possibly "misunderstand" a message given by God, given the example that the c.o. had stated about the disciples knowing EXACTLY what God wanted them to teach the people?  After driving that point home, I moved on to the next. 
 Do not question what they are teaching you. Since Jehovah is guiding them, and using the fd slave as the channel of communication, you cannot question their teachings at all. Doing so would show that you are rebellious, and you would be looked at as having an Apostate-like attitude. I read a few quotes...
 " "So, if doubts, complaints, or apostasy threaten to contaminate you spiritually, cut them away quickly! (Compare Matthew 5:29, 30.) Get help from the congregation elders." Watchtower 1989 Oct 1 p.18    

"We also remember that one feature of 'the wisdom from above' is being 'ready to obey.' Due to background and upbringing, some may be more given to independent thinking and self-will than others. Perhaps this is an area where we need to discipline ourselves and 'make our mind over' so that we can perceive more clearly what the 'will of God' is." Watchtower 1987 Feb 1 p.19
"Beware of those who try to put forward their own contrary opinions." Watchtower 1986 Mar 15 p.17
"Avoid questioning the counsel that is provided by God's visible organization. some who point out that the organization has had to make some adjustments before, and so they argue: "This shows that we have to make up our own mind on what to believe." This is independent thinking. Why is it so dangerous?" Watchtower 1983 Jan 15 p.22
"The point is that Christians have implicit trust in their heavenly Father; they do not question what he tells them through his written Word and organization." Watchtower 1974 Jul 15 p.441
"If we have love for Jehovah and for the organization of his people we shall not be suspicious, but shall, as the Bible says, 'Believe all things,' all the things that the Watchtower brings out" Qualified to be Ministers (1955) p.156

Finally, you are to separate yourselves from others in every way possible. Think about it. They tell you whom you can associate with, what you can and can't read, what movies or tv programs are acceptable, what music is acceptable, keeping your education limited, adjust your employment to fit their schedule, even what type of sexual conduct is acceptable between married couples. It is a black/white mentality. Do it our way, or you will be punished and isolated.

Then I finished with a summary.

See the pattern? They promoted their own authority over the jw community and said that God chose which there is no proof. They claim that God is guiding them despite multiple errors to which they attempt to pass off as human imperfection. You are not to question what they teach. And if you disobey them in any way, you get punished.

The reality is that if you do challenge their teachings, you are going to find a plethora of errors. When you ask them for proof, they won't provide any. I would think that if God wanted me to teach people the truth, that truth would be pure and untainted. There would be no falsehoods, no changes. I wouldn't need to control people that really wanted to learn truth and live by it. And I wouldn't back away from any challenges to that truth, especially if I KNEW for a fact that God was on my side.

In a nutshell, that is how the meeting went. I used more scriptures and quotes than what was posted here, and I elaborated each point more in depth.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Story

It began with a simple idea. Write a letter filled with questions about doctrines of the Jehovah's Witnesses. And then, send that letter out to see what type of responses would be given. I was going to select random congregations to send the letter to. I also asked some friends if they wanted to copy the letter and send a few out. Forty people volunteered, and soon the letter began making its way throughout the country.

Usually what happens when sending mail out to places at random is that you get your mail returned due to a change of address, or the last known address could not be located. Some of the congregations did not receive incoming mail. So early on, I had many letters returned to me. It was a little discouraging, but I was going to ride out the storm, hoping that someone, anyone, would respond. I had posted my home and email address since most people don't bother sending letters these days. I finally began getting a few responses. The early ones were not surprising. They said to contact some local jws and have them help me. There were a few rude responses too. I was called an Apostate, a meddler, an angry person looking to corrupt the congregation. One response had a copy of my facebook page with a note attached saying, "Nice Try" on it. But then it happened. I received the following response:

"Your letter was read during an elder's meeting, dismissed as apostasy, crumpled up and tossed in the garbage can. I lingered awhile afterward, waiting for the others to leave, before plucking the letter from the garbage and stuffing it into my brief case. I was the only one in the elder body that wished to discuss your points. But I was warned not to let the seed of doubt creep in and ruin my fait...
h. This letter was obviously written by a disgruntled, bitter former member. Once I was at home, I reviewed the letter once more, going through it carefully, reading the scriptures you listed.

Then it suddenly hit me. You were asking the same questions that had been on my mind, especially with regarding the generation. The overlap explanation was the beginning of my disdain, and it appears that you have brought to the forefront several main points, or should we say, 'central teachings', that these highly qualified men are afraid to openly discuss. After reviewing each point in great detail, I came to the realization that I could not defend this belief.
I could redirect the discussion, but what good is in that? To think that all of this time (he mentioned earlier that he is in his 60s) we were taught that this generation from 1914 to the current day would see the signs, and for many of us longtime members, we have suffered for all of these years, hoping this would soon end, and we would celebrate eternal life in a paradise only to have them change the meaning not once, but several times, which cast the first doubt that I have ever had with the organization. Why change now? And what about all of the current members that joined because they believed the former meaning of this generation.

My stubborn attitude made me attempt to answer your questions. But the more I read into each point, the more my confidence slipped away. I even brought up your last point in a discussion during field service.

(First, if the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), and people are brought back from the dead, why are they to be judged? (Rev. 20:12)
Second, according to Rev. 20:5, the dead return after the 1000 years. But Satan returns as well. So what possible chance do these ones have, especially the unrighteous ones that Satan tricked already? Won't they be returning to the exact same scenario as the one they left at death?)

Nobody knew the meaning of how these verses read. They retreated back to the let Jehovah handle it stance. (From here he wrote some personal info that I cannot share with you)

I intend to discuss some of these issues with the elder body. If they push it aside like before, I will more than likely become a former member too."

This was soon followed by another, and another. People had questions that were not being answered. There were doubts that were not being addressed. Many of them said that they already had some issues and had prayed about them. For those individuals, it was time to make a decision of staying or leaving the religion that did not seem at all interested in clarifying those issues. People were finding the letter in the trash during a kingdom hall cleaning session. Others told me that it was sent to them from someone in their own congregation. I was getting phone calls telling me that my letter created quite the stir in their hall.

It wasn't that long before the jws showed up at my door. They told me that the Watchtower Society had sent them to see me and answer my questions that were in the letter. They told me that apparently, my letter had been the cause of many phone calls from elders to the WTS, asking for clarification on how to answer these questions. I even spoke to a WTS representative on the phone, and he told me that my questions were excellent, and that the gentlemen that were sent to see me would address all of my questions. So they began to meet with me at my shop once a week, and we proceeded to review the topics in the letter. Almost one year later, forty one people, including the gentleman that was sent to meet with me, have since left the jws.
People want answers. They want clarification. They want the truth. For me personally, there are far too many question marks about the Jehovah's Witnesses to consider them as God's one true chosen religion. But hey, don't take my word for it. Read the questions in my letter and then try to answer them.
This is the letter that I had written and was sent out to many congregations.

Dear Sirs,

I have been doing extensive research on many of the world religions, and the doctrine of Jehovah's Witnesses is my current study. I have read much of your literature as well as had many conversations with current members of your religion, and in doing so, there are some questions that came to mind. I have decided to send this letter to several churches around the country in order to gain the common perspective on a few issues that I have found while reviewing your religion. This is not an interrogation, nor is it an attempt to belittle your religion. This is merely an attempt on my part to gain a better understanding of the Witness teachings. And with that, let us move on to the points in question.

1. The Faithful and Discreet Slave--this is based on the verses Matthew 24:45-47. The claim made in several articles is that Jehovah and Jesus completely trust, approve of, and reveal the truth to the Slave. The Slave is to include all of the anointed witnesses today. Are all members of this Faithful Slave involved in the decisions that are made, or is it only a few that are chosen to serve at your head office?

After taking a long look at Matthew 24, verses 36-51, it appears that Jesus is simply instructing his disciples to stay alert. He gives a few examples of this. The days of Noah, 2 men in the field, 2 women at the mill, the home owner and the thief, and finally the slave. In each example, the ones that follow his advice to stay alert are rewarded, and those that ignore his advice are left behind. So my question is this: Is your explanation of this slave not a misinterpretation of the text? If not, can you qualify your understanding of it by showing me where else in the bible the slave class is mentioned, as this seems to be a very important issue on which to base the entire structure of your religion?

2. The Generation View-- In recent literature, a change has been made regarding the interpretation of "This Generation" stating that there will be an overlapping of generations between the old and new anointed ones, which basically means that "this generation" can now extend further, even if the older ones die. The Generation view appears to have changed several times.

Matthew 24:34 specifically states that "this generation" will by no means pass away until all these things occur. So, I have a question here: What verses make you believe that Jesus meant that this Generation is meant to be the overlapping of the old and new anointed ones?

3. 144,000---A core doctrine of the Witnesses. These are the chosen ones that go to heaven to rule as kings and priests. The number is said to be literal. Since the bible often uses numbers in a symbolic manner, it is important to recognize whether a number is being applied in a literal or symbolic way. So, my question is this: Since the number 144,000 is being applied in a symbolic passage, why would you believe that the number is literal?

4. New Light---Based on Proverbs 4:18. I can see the reasoning behind this concept. It is commendable to want to admit your mistakes and teach the true and correct message. I have seen this phrase in some of your literature, and have heard this from some Witnesses that came preaching at my door. However, there are two problems with the "New Light" concept. First, the application of the verse is incorrect. The entire context of Proverbs chapter 4 is a comparison of behaviour between good and bad people, not a gradual revelation of doctrinal truth through an organization. And second, the claim has been made repeatedly that Jehovah is directly involved in guiding the slave class. So, my question is this: Why would Jehovah purposefully guide His people into teaching incorrect views, and then decide to correct their understanding many years later? Can you give any examples of this happening from the scriptures with the Prophets or the Apostles?

5. Disfellowshipping---I understand the need for discipline. Without it, trying to maintain an organized structure would be impossible. However, your method of discipline seems to go far beyond biblical instruction and comes over to others as ...
extremely harsh. Jesus said not to judge, but to love all, even our enemies. (Luke 6:27-37) He also gave us the standard on how wrongdoers should be treated. (Matt. 18:15-17) In 2 Thessalonians chapter 3, Paul says not to associate with certain ones that were not obedient. However, included among that division of people would be anyone not glorifying Jesus, and those refusing to work for a living. Do you disfellowship anyone for those reasons? What about those who no longer want to be a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses? Paul specifically says to quit mixing in company with "anyone called a brother". (1 Cor. 5:11) Is it true then, that when you disfellowship someone, you publicly state that they are no longer one of Jehovah's Witnesses, and therefore would no longer be considered a brother? A current Witness told me that this is announced in front of the congregation.

The biblical reasons for shunning someone are the following: Fornication, greed, idolatry, revilers, practicing drunkeness, extortion, and one who does not remain in the teaching of the Christ. The Jehovah's Witness list of reasons for shunning is a lot longer. I'm not going to speculate what is on that list. I have seen a list online, but anyone can distort a simple truth on the internet, therefore, I do not trust the source. The dangerous thing here is disfellowshipping members for unscriptual reasons. In 3 John 9,10, Diotrephes was reprimanded for attempting to hinder and throw people out of the congregation unecessarily.

One other area of concern that I happen to come across was found within your literature. The following statement reads:
"No one should be forced to worship in a way that he finds unacceptable or be made to choose between his beliefs and family" - Awake! July 2009.

How does this apply to your religion, particularly with those that choose to leave? Does the punishment continue even after a person has left the religion? And finally, what if one family member decides to stay, and another family member leaves? I apologize for the barrage of questions here, but this is a confusing subject.

6. My final question is not aimed at the Witnesses. But since you believe in the resurrection, perhaps you can field this one. This is actually a two-part question.

First, if the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), and people are brought back from the dead, why are they to be judged? (Rev. 20:12)
Second, according to Rev. 20:5, the dead return after the 1000 years. But Satan returns as well. So what possible chance do these ones have, especially the unrighteous ones that Satan tricked already? Won't they be returning to the exact same scenario as the one they left at death?

In conclusion, I would like to add that these questions are based on my review of the Jehovah's Witnesses by way of literature and from what I was told by current members, and what I have learned from an extensive research of the Bible. I realize that your intentions are good. There are some positives that I see, such as the organized preaching effort, the developing of good study habits, the application of having good morals. There are also some negatives, such as the misapplication of Bible verses in some of your core doctrines, and shunning beyond what is advised in the bible. I have discussed these questions with some of the local members of the Jehovah's Witnesses, and from those discussions, they encouraged me to write this letter. My research depends on the responses I receive, and I am hoping that some of you can shed some light on my questions. Hopefully, you will not take offense to my comments or questions. Thank you for taking the time to read my letter. I will be looking forward to a response, whether it come by letter or email.


Tracy Metcalfe