This form was submitted: Apr 08 2005 / 09:20:44
My husband and I have been having a “Bible Study” with a JW couple for the past 4 weeks, in order that we could ask probing questions and perhaps plant some seeds. We have found out that the gentleman is an ordained minister in the JWs. Could you suggest topics that might be helpful, in order to plant seeds of Truth? We have stumped them a couple of times, but then they come back with all the more zeal the next time. We would like to touch on subjects they may never have thought of, or that they will have a hard time answering.
We do not wish to insult them in any way, only make them THINK!
I’m not sure from what perspective you would prefer to plant seeds, but no matter where you are coming from the best way to proceed is first to set a good example, to model your own understanding in your words and actions. Oh! All baptised JWs are considered “ministers” but perhaps you have an elder on your hands, or a “ministerial servant – sort of an elder-to-be.
Oh, so many topics! Keep always in mind that all you can probably do is to create a mild form of cognitive dissonance. They are well-defended against argument. But sometimes if you establish their ostensible motivations and then ask them questions about how their practices relate to that, you can create momentary confusion that may come back later.
Start with very very basic stuff. I always recommend a focus on the fruits of the spirit – compassion, forgiveness, loving-kindness, and so on, as a way to highlight what is wrong. It’s a form of reframing – always take the position of the person who does not see their actions and rules as terribly kind or compassionate or forgiving.
Get him to establish what the fruits of the spirit are – then ask about how the JWs show the fruits more than other religions. They will want to talk about foreign work – although their work benefits only JWs. They only minister to other JWs – no outreach in the form of charity, schools, humane work, food drives, etc – only conversion attempts.
Then you could turn it to the home front. Ask what resources someone has when they have made a mistake (only intimidation, shunning, ostracizing – no mentoring or spiritual guidance). Ask them who will survive the end of the world (only JWs, what kind of a god is that?). Ask what kind of spiritual retreats they have (none – only “assemblies” collections of talks). Ask about their practice of prayer and by what means they establish a relationship with the mediator, Jesus (none – all the focus is on pleasing a disciplinarian god Jehovah – the only time they mention the role of Jesus is at the end of a prayer – a rote “in the name of Christ Jesus, Amen”). Ask how they nurture their children (not at all) and how they feel about physical punishment for children (spare the rod, spoil the child). Ask how they protect children against predators (not at all, they reshuffle known molesters and pedophiles – it requires two witnesses to the abuse even to get a reprimand, although someone who has regular sex will be kicked out if not married). Ask them how they feel about sexuality in general (very repressed, only a gift when married – when I was a member, wives and husbands would turn each other in for requesting oral sex). Ask them what role women have (although in the majority, women are VERY much second-class citizens, contrary to the women in leadership roles even in the patriarchal biblical accounts). Ask them who are the “discreet slave class” (the 144,000 who will rule as kings with Christ in heaven) and who takes “communion” (at the memorial service – the last supper – only those of the 144,000 partake – the others are of the “great slave class” the “sheep” who do not share the spirit).
I could go on and on and on. Is this a good start?
The fact is, that you will probably not be able to do anything more than “plant a seed” – the increased zeal you notice will continue. So, I would break off the study as soon as you feel that it is right to do so. After all, it’s a bit of a pretense, isn’t it?