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Please, J.K. Rowling, More Stories

Please, J.K. Rowling, More Stories

The current Harry Potter moviefest that I’m enjoying with my son has inspired me to make a request of J.K. Rowling. I love these stores – we’ve read all the books multiple times – because they give me hope. It’s just that simple. They give me hope.

So, I navigated over to her website at http://www.jkrowling.com and – sure, why not? – clicked on the contact link.

The Blair Partnership represents J.K. Rowling internationally and across all media. Please direct any queries to info@theblairpartnership.com and a member of the team will be in touch directly. J.K. Rowling very rarely does interviews or public speaking, and when she does they are usually around a new project or charitable commitment. Please note that she does not undertake fee-paying public speaking engagements. Because of the huge volume of requests coming in, J.K. Rowling also regrets she is unable to…

Yada yada yada. Well, ok, fair enough. I sent the following email, but just in case there isn’t any analysis or reporting of the communications, I’m also posting it here. You never know, maybe they do some version of web analytics, social media harvest, or even a Net Promoter Score (put me in the “I would definitively recommend” bucket).

To Whom it May Concern:

I am aware that the illustrious J.K. Rowling could not possibly respond to the billions of her readers, but I am hoping that you maintain some sort of thematic statistics for her.

If so, may I add to the numbers of those who pray that she considers creating more stories that work at multiple levels for children and adults alike? I pray for very few things.

There are so very few such nourishing narratives that do (or can) burst into our mainstream cultures as they exist today. In the Potter books (and films – one must include the films) human complexity is better grasped in these contexts that show how important existential choices are (whether or not someone has quite enough information, whether or not situations are fair, whether or not you think anything you do will make a difference to yourself or anyone else). The stories allow us to feel (with the very deepest of empathy and intuition) compassion and pity and courage and friendship and trust and even alienation. That they do so with a marvelous reinvention of all the long-standing traditions of literature, fairy tale, and even institutional satire gives incredible depth to the world she crafted and creates the speculative but nuanced expansion of imagination that used to be the basis of all liberal education.

In short, the Potter stories give me hope during what I consider to be rather dark times.

My son Ben (now 12) has grown up with the Potter story. It has given us so many opportunities to discuss life’s issues and mysteries in a common language. I can tell you – definitively – that navigating the terrain of the characters and story have made a significant difference to his own evolving character and intellectual/creative/spiritual development. He understands being true to himself, and the meaning of friendship, and the gifts of love, awareness, grace, support. He has internal reference points for things that are difficult to articulate, but can be recognized. And he doesn’t simplify into simple dualities and sound bites. He learns to ask better questions. Thank you for this gift to my son, and to me, and to all the others, everywhere.

I love the woman of her personal history and of her effects in the world, but please – more stories. The world so desperately needs them.

The Changing View of God’s Will – or Witches and Doctors and Priests, Oh My

The Changing View of God’s Will – or Witches and Doctors and Priests, Oh My

“You have no power here! Begone! – before someone drops a house on you too!”

Long, long ago there were healing women, women wise with the knowledge of herbs, of sound and smell and taste, of birthing and guidance and support. Their various mindsets are probably not ones that we can fully understand or inhabit today, although an undeniable hunger for their possible stories is evident in our fictions. History may be written by the winners, but speculative imagination is open to all.

Such women had an important role in small communities, until their role was re-interpreted. A strong patriarchal movement, armed with the authority of a monotheistic God, saw women with any sort of power as a threat. Their own stories cast women as inferior and sinful and subordinate to men. Women were no longer allowed to own their own land, and their bodies were to be thought of – and treated accordingly – as property. Powerful women, women with any sort of unapproved education, were to be disempowered: by making them seem subhuman (and/or superhuman), by cutting off ties to their kinship networks, and by casting doubts on their existential right to exist, such that communities would feel that it was wrong to “consort” with them. Women, and especially intelligent women, became the enemy (All our “wars” do the same thing – “othering” the human as less-than-human).

The outcast has power, too, of a sort, but after such events as the Inquisition and the infamous Witch Hunts, the burnings at the stake (how much worse than a crucifixion), the drownings of “water tests” and the like, much of the understanding and knowledge that might have been accessed later – through whatever methods of succession they might have had – was probably lost. Women seeking to reclaim the figure of the goddess, latter-day herbalists, Wiccans and witches, and all the overlapping seekers who blend them and other perspectives in their own attempts to balance the spirit, all have in common a yearning for the denied and nearly exterminated appreciation of the female principle, whatever that might look like. Because of this yearning, and the inherent oppositional and defensive position, there is sometimes a reversion to awkward and unfair gender binaries, but how can there be spiritual balance and integration and movement of all, even now, when male and female have been out of touch for so long and in such alienating ways?

I start with the ancient healing woman who became cast in the role of the witch because I don’t think we’ve come to terms with gender, knowledge, and healing. Our cures are poisons, our poisons are cures. It’s all in the amount, it’s all in discernment, it’s all in complexity. It’s hard to convey, and our stories are inadequate. Our mythos doesn’t function. Our logos is a weapon. And so, the vision of the ancient woman is a comfort to me. It carries things that cannot be conveyed otherwise, like music does. Like art.

Spiritual traditions, despite their wings of the horrible, all have a heart, no matter how it might be eclipsed, in the love and compassion that is the wellspring of all insight and communion. Every sacred book has its wisdom in this deep truth, no matter how its other pages may incite cruelty. It is the choice of each community and of each person to decide whether to take the paragraphs of the ancient libraries as an excuse for their dark side to oppress and to kill, or to read them as stories that illustrate the truth of the dangers of the human soul, in order to propel consciousness into a different space – the space of empathy, and discernment. Perhaps there’s more than one reason that you never hear the story from the point of view of the Canaanite.

Science and medicine have had moments of confrontation with religious communities – even when they have been members themselves. I think of Galileo, Mendel and Darwin – all of whom proposed understandings that seemed to undermine established teachings and were seen as a threat. On the other hand, the churches have had times of amazing institutional support – founding universities, building and supporting hospitals. The religious world is not monolithic of course, but eventually it seems that scientific discoveries are incorporated into religious understandings in some way – and the hanging sense that religious views don’t change is an illusion. The very existence of all the subgroups and diverse views among just the American protestant wing of the christian religion exemplify that, but even the more ancient religions include a spectrum of views, ranging across flavors militant, orthodox, literal, evangelist, conservative, scholarly, social-activist, meditative, welcoming. To me, the religious brand is less important than this kind of sub-grouping. From what I can tell, the fanatical haters are much the same across all religions, as are the compassionate lovers.

If God’s will is understood as something that is so fragile as to be easily undermined by human knowledge, things get dark. “The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are full of passionate intensity” as the poet W.B. Yeats succinctly put it. Those who believe they are representing God’s will seek to impose it as though it required their assistance. In this view, there is suspicion towards the cosmos, and paranoia about non-members.

If God’s will is understood more as “how it’s going to be” regardless of human decision, free will and action, then that is not threatened by much of anything, much less by better understanding our universe and our own niche within it. In this view, there is trust in the cosmos, and acceptance of both our sufferings and our various beings – whether in the form of women, of doctors – whether in extending the life of the aged, or by treating addiction or depression or a heart condition, or using birth control to better plan for thriving families. How do we know God’s will isn’t for humans to learn to make better decisions? Jesus was a healer. There is no reason in this perspective not to try, and no reason to throw away the gifts that we have been given.

If people believe both these at once, or in a syncopated rhythm, then odd things start to happen. They sometimes take on the role of God for others. Preachers and politicians believe that they speak for God. Doctors become arrogant, scientists mistake the model for the reality, communities project both good and evil onto the “what is” such that they cannot accept either the strengths or the weaknesses of science and medicine and religion and politics. Science becomes another “faith” and scientific method is considered discardable – or science becomes a perfect totality rather than a self-correcting and evolving set of theories (narratives that attempt to explain replicable experimental results). Religion inserts itself as scientific description and loses the deeper truths of its narratives. Some people become fearful and defensive, others violent. Lies become more acceptable. Truths lose the “scene” in which they have meaning, and are used as weapons.

H.L. Mencken describes the “inferior man” as one who (among other things) lives in fear: “The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear – fear of the unknown, the complex, and the inexplicable.” Such a man – or woman – will always fear anyone that that is perceived as different. He/she feels others must be dominated, controlled, and forced to be predictable, to follow commands, so that his/her own inferiority remains concealed, even from himself or herself. I was careful here to include both genders, but…

It’s especially disheartening to me that many women can’t see the various attempts to put women back in the box for what they are, but I have hope and confidence because of the many women (and men!) who observe injustice and who work, each in their own way, to be themselves and to encourage others. I think that despite our regressions here, we will continue to move ahead – onwards and upwards. We could have been much more. Maybe we still will be.

In some ways, it all goes back to how comfortable a community is with the idea that humans are allowed to explore knowledge, to ask questions, and to act on their current understandings. Some seem complacent about having knowledge of good and evil – or at least their internal definitions of such are rarely questioned – but the return of the repressed haunts them. Who do they have to control to maintain their community? Are women who use birth control witches? Sluts? Good way to rein them in, but go big! Shouldn’t insurance companies control them? Shouldn’t employers tightly define coverage?

But why should an employer define coverage for a person on “moral grounds”? What a nasty mess. First of all – the implicit ideology that it implies – that the worker has taken the previous role of the woman-as-property – is about the best evidence for the reality of the class war (and the rise of the dominionist theocrats) that I’ve seen. Beyond that, if you know anything about the extremes of non-intervention against a fixed idea of “God’s will,” you are aware of the many deaths resulting from refusing blood transfusions, and from childbirth, and from replacing medical treatment with prayer, and – in extreme cases – all of the injuries and deaths resulting from various pathologies centered on delusions about what God might want someone to do or not do (assuming for a moment that all claims about God are not delusional or at least inadequate). All armies claim that God is on their side, after all, don’t they? As George Carlin noted, someone has got to be wrong. Could it be – ALL of them?

Suppose your insurance company or business is owned by someone who thinks that your health issue is a punishment from God, and that in his/her/their judgment you don’t deserve treatment? Do you honestly believe this wouldn’t happen? We can vote with our feet by not working for such employers – if we’re in a position to do so – not everyone is. Over half this country is currently living in poverty, or very close to it. The “job creators” are still much more likely to skim the profits off the top and take them off to the Caymans, or Dubai, or to invest in global pursuits outside the American economy. In America, consumer rights across the board is the only fair position. If a religious community doesn’t want members of their flock to use science – however the subset of “wrong” medicine and science is currently defined, let them convince each to their own conscience. Sure, some will be condemned to an early and perhaps unjustified death, but at least then it was their own choice.

The roles of doctor and priest and priestess and healer and witch are intertwined. Each uses psychology. There are placebo effects. There is authority, and there is scapegoating. Sometimes overblown claims about power take hold, and abuses are legion. But each also draws on the will of the wounded, the will to live, the will to heal.

Perhaps each could help the other because of this, if they ever would. If healing has physical and spiritual aspects, and if psychology helps, and if there are different constellations of knowledge with overlapping themes and recurring narratives, maybe science can learn to tell better stories, maybe religious groups can embrace the totality of the human to a better spirit, maybe there can be better integration, better education, better cooperation, to promote the general welfare for the betterment of all.

But the power corruption is deep, deep, deep. I don’t forget the witches burning, the lynchings and the attempted genocides, especially when I read the comments of our contemporary brownshirts, fascists, and inquisitors, our bigots, our smug self-righteous, our haters.

I stand against the haters, in the way of the statue crying. It is almost impossibly sad. The utter, utter waste of it. The ignorance and greed and insecurity that it represents is such a huge loss to us all.

We’ve all come a long way, baby. Women and men, of all religions and races and kinds. But the backlash is severe.

In politics, the framing is always about our choice – but the choice is deeper than who we think might be best at representing our country’s values or our interests. The choice is really much more about who we choose to be – given our scientific knowledge, our spiritual path, our understanding of the human, our hopes for the future. Do we bother to seek a deeper understanding? Are we more comfortable with being told who we are and what God expects us to do, or not do, or do we see the acts of questioning about our meaning and constructing our character as life’s continuing project? Are we arrogant and oppressive and destructive, or are we working alone and together to try to make our communities, our nation, and our world a better place for thriving? For…all…the people.

When the healers and the knowers and the questioners become the enemy, it’s a dark dark place to live. That’s why I light a candle, and write, and smell the flowers, and commune with the trees – in hopes that a slight echo might come back across the ethereal plane to give me strength. Perhaps in turn my little spark might help to jump the gap in our country’s synapses, and echo forward to our daughters and sons of the future.

Think deeply, and just as hard as you can. Appreciate. Pay attention. Ask questions. Love.

One Saturday Night Some Lyrics

One Saturday Night Some Lyrics

Once in a while, I let it go. I have to, or my thoughts would consume me. Instead, I unhitch a million threads, and float… and drift.

Before too long, a path waves toward me, but I prefer to explore. For that you need a dose of the random. Open possibility is too vertiginous, but play is a vector of freedom. Only a judicious, homeopathic dose of the random…such is the contemporary life.

Why not play in a field of the familiar, rearranging my prejudices and laughing through the cut and paste method? A little homage, a little pattern recognition, and a little selection by will or inclination.

Spin the dial on the ipod; it’s as good as a tarot deck or a casting of the lots. Better, because there’s a context of every song, a layering of experience, the roads of habitual thought – all put into abeyance and at the same time summoned. A combinatorial sequencing, a dna-imaged lyrical selection – inherently the stuff of thought.

The focus then – would it be on the subtexts as they are woven? Or does the focus go to the rhythms of genre and mood? Will it be a ungainly monster, or will something be de-monstrated?

There is no predicting the outcome, and yet it all unfolds within a specific space. The space of multiple association, but in this you’ll miss the sound. Will you know any of these?

What meaning is made? What is accomplished with such cherry-picked flotsam ? Nothing. And this is good, because as with so much else, what matters is the journey.

Let’s see, then, what resonates now. Random song, chosen lyric… Three, two one…

rolling the ball rolling the ball
rolling the ball to me

I’m locked in tight I’m out of range
I used to care, but things have changed

all we do crumbles to the ground
though we refuse to see

temples are greying
and teeth are decaying
and creditors weighing your purse

broccoli feed your head
their ideas are fried in fat

come dance with the west wind
and touch all the mountaintops

check my vital signs and
no I’m still alive

and the world spins madly on

cellophane flowers of yellow and green
towering over your head

raining in my head like a tragedy
tearing me apart like a new emotion

blossoms that fall from the trees so tall
that falling is floating in heaven for hours

the winds of night so softly are sighing
soon they will fly your troubles to sea

it don’t make no difference to me
everybody has to fight to be free

is that you, mo-dean
is that you, mo-dean

be well you children of the land
of all the dying beauties

shall crime bring crime forever
strength aiding still the strong

I’m waiting for the night to fall
when everything is bearable

blue for the tears
black for the night spheres

now they know how many holes
it takes to fill the Albert Hall

all the crocodiles – ohh-ayy-ohh –
they snap their teeth on your cigarette

for millions this life
is a sad vale of tears

preserve your memories
they’re all that’s left you

I am just simply an old tired poet
waiting for the apple to drop tonight

I thought I heard somebody calling
in the dark I thought I heard somebody call

listening to my breath
falling from the edge

there’s no way of turning more than this

and the storm keeps blowing the angel backwards
into the future

and then she said both those words are dead
that’s the story of my life

had it been another day
I might have looked the other way
and I’d have never been aware

leave the shadows dancing
dancing on their own
let the moment free you

our breath comes out white clouds
mingles and hangs in the air

how I’m moved how you move me
with your beauty’s potency

’cause every time it rains
you’re here in my head
like the sun coming out

while the wide arc of the globe is turning
we feel it moving through the dark

whispering lingering
’till the sting of dawn

recurring dreams of minor chords
metered time muted chimes find the beat

and from the dark secluded valleys
I heard the ancient sighs of sadness

winds are whipping waves up
like sky scrapers
and the harder they hit me
the less I seem to bruise

so I got me some horses
to ride on to ride on

take my hand as the sun descends
they can’t hurt you now

speak softly love
so no one hears us but the sky

can I meet you in between
will you be there
let me hold you sight unseen
still in the air

your enchanting light is leaving
silver haze is leaving

windswept lady
moves the night the waves the sand

I am falling down the stairs
I am skipping on the sidewalk
I am thrown against the sky

prends moi
je suis a toi
mea culpa

limitless undying love
which shines around me like a million suns
and calls me on and on
across the universe

dry your wings in the sun
you have only begun to understand

Interesting Developments in the ex-Jehovah’s Witness Community

Interesting Developments in the ex-Jehovah’s Witness Community

I’m in regular contact with a number of other former Jehovah’s Witnesses around the world. Now that an entire community has built up, there is a lot of support at peer level. If you’re looking for feedback and stories from others there are a lot more resources now than the ones on my original list. Facebook has some good, smart, creative people who moderate discussions in the various groups – do a search. A good place to start is Jehovah’s Witness Recovery. At the very least, it’s extremely comforting to know that you are not alone.

One danger of just talking with other former JWs is that we are *all* still navigating – sometimes that’s really helpful, but sometimes you might find it frustrating. A therapist or therapist-guided group is very important for your psychological thriving, especially since JWs are trained to use a particular kind of logic and often have some significant blind spots with regard to self-awareness.

There are also some faintly predatory (to me, they seem that way) “cult-deprogrammers” out there. I’m not going to name names on this, but I will say that your spiritual path is your own. It’s one of the primary benefits of getting out of a controlling group – don’t give it up! You are much better off exploring your own questions across a variety of communities than submitting to another authority.

With that warning in mind, there are some wonderful things that you can accomplish with a therapist who understands religious trauma, and there are support groups – formal and informal – with whom you will discover issues and solutions and a sense of camaraderie. I can recommend the group associated with JourneyFree.org, and if you’re in the San Francisco area you might be interested in a recovery retreat coming up July 29th to August 1st. I very much like what I see in Dr. Marlene Winell’s Leaving the Fold: A Guide for Former Fundamentalists and Others Leaving Their Religion. There is also an ongoing online support/therapy group with regular conference calls, as well as other support services. Check it out.

If you’re looking for a therapist in your own area, some good signs are a focus on religious trauma, some methodology that includes both cognitive and emotional therapy – and that “click” you might feel around a smart and compassionate person. You should be able to get quite a lot out of therapy right away, and you should collect any exercises that help you for when you might need to be reminded again of your choices.

I am also a big fan of reading other people’s stories. I think we learn best from stories. In addition to developing empathy and compassion, it allows you to set certain kinds of thoughts at one remove, and to start recognizing that certain patterns of thinking and writing are very familiar. The same sorts of issues emerge time and time again – family issues, self-esteem issues, doctrinal issues, and what I would call basic themes of unfairness, injustice, and lack of kindness.

I recently read companion pieces that touched me very deeply. The first is published letter of disassociation, written in response to a news article in 2008. It’s long, but worth the read.

The second was an essay meant as a response to the *response* that the published letter received. This was someone who examined his own beliefs, trusted in his own observations, and communicated them in a way that is often very difficult to do. While much of his concern had to do with doctrinal matters, you can see the way that his heart and mind opened up to what he had already always known about the basics of human caring, even as the essay itself will ring a familiar tone and pattern to the knowledgeable. Thank you, Vinny (Hawaiian Photos) for giving me permission to publish this on the blog. It illustrates the effects of being in the organization – any former JW knows exactly why you would write in this style and structure. It also illuminates some of the pivot-points at which one might find the deep courage to leave (even at great loss), rather than continue to participate. You’re not done! Keep going on your path, dear! <3

Are Jehovah’s Witnesses The True Religion? Are they Truly Directed By God?

I was continuously taught at meeting after meeting, and fully believed — as has every Jehovah’s Witness that I have ever met and known — that the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses (also known as the Faithful and Discreet slave and Watchtower Society) are God’s Specifically Chosen Channel on the earth today, and that he uses them exclusively to direct his will on the earth and to direct his specially chosen people, the Jehovah’s Witness Religious Institution and its members.

The Watchtower Magazine and other Witness literature is believed by Jehovah’s Witnesses to be just how God communicates his will on earth today through that Governing Body, God’s supposed Instrument of communication. This harmonizes with what the Watchtower Magazine itself has said throughout the years about itself.

1919 “Is not the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society the one and only channel which the Lord has used in dispensing his truth continually since the beginning of the harvest period?” {WT Apr 1 1919 6414}

1933 “To feed or teach his people the Lord has used the Watch Tower publications.. No man is given any credit for the wonderful truths which the Lord has revealed to his people through the Watch Tower publications.” {WT Dec 1 1933 263}

1939 “It should be expected that the Lord would have a means of communicating to his people on the earth, and he has clearly shown that the magazine called The Watchtower is used for that purpose.” {YEAR 1939 85}

1942 “The Watchtower does not consist of men’s opinions” {WT Jan 1 1942 5}

1957 “Jehovah has established a very definite channel of communication through which he deals with his people .. It is vital that we appreciate this fact and respond to the directions of the ‘slave’ as we would to the voice of God.” {WT Jun 15 1957 370}

1969 “Jehovah’s organization as directed by his ‘faithful and discreet slave’ class should influence our every decision also. {WT March 15, 1969 172}

1973 “Only this organization functions for Jehovah’s purpose and to his praise. To it alone God’s Sacred Word, the Bible, is not a sealed book.” (Watchtower; July 1, 1973, pp. 402.)

1979 [Of those living at the time of Armageddon, only Jehovah’s Witnesses will be saved] {WT Feb 15 1979 30}

1993 “But if we were to draw away from Jehovah’s organization, there would be NO PLACE ELSE TO GO FOR SALVATION”… Watchtower 9/15/93 page 22 :

SEPTEMBER 1996 Kingdom Ministry (Page 1 paragraph 3) Article titled, Walk by Faith: “We must also be firmly persuaded that Jehovah is leading us by means of his visible organization under the direction of ‘the faithful and discreet slave.”

SEPTEMBER 2002 Kingdom Ministry (Page 8 paragraph 5)
Article Titled, Avoid the Pursuit of Valueless Things: “Bear in mind that our heavenly Father has an appointed channel of communication,’the faithful and discreet slave.’ That “slave’ has the responsibility to determine what information is made available to the household of faith, as well as ‘the proper time’ for it to be dispensed. This spiritual food is available only through the theocratic organization. We should always look to God’s appointed channel for reliable information’ Matt. 24:45.”

Clearly then, anybody can see that Jehovah’s Witnesses teach the belief that God has chosen only the Watchtower leaders as his “Channel of Communication”, and that Jehovah’s Witnesses themselves are admonished to follow all of these specific teachings that are published in their literature as if it was coming from God Himself. And as already mentioned, as a 15 year member and elder, this is exactly what I believed as do all Jehovah’s Witnesses that I have ever known.

So then, the question remains, are these claim TRUE? Has God chosen The Watchtower as his specific and only religion on the earth?

For me, after a thorough examination of the full range of facts as they truly and honestly are, the answer has become a very clear and resounding NO. If I had known back then in 1990, when I was baptized as a Witness, what I know now today in Nov 2010, I would have never been baptized as a Jehovah’s Witness. But back then, when I was studying the bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses there was no internet to use to gain valuable information and to examine the Witness faith as well as its history like there is today. I basically took their word for it when it came to information they presented to me, as well as what they present to all potential Jehovah’s Witness Bible studies, namely –their version and their side–.

So then what caused this change in my position and belief that God chose the Watchtower and Jehovah’s Witnesses as his channel and people?

For me it was a combination of learning about Mistake after mistake having been made (throughout the entire 100-plus year existence of the Watchtower Society); A back and forth Flip-flopping again and again on numerous doctrinal positions; Several well publicized end of the world predictions that Never Came True; Terrible Watchtower Society positions against often LIFE-SAVING medical procedures such as vaccinations, organ transplants and blood transfusions that have literally caused thousands of people to die unnecessarily; the arrogant belief that only Jehovah’s Witnesses are true Christians while all others religions and people of those religions will be destroyed unless becoming a Jehovah’s Witness;… all this along with a host other strange, inconsistent and even embarrassing teachings and beliefs for over a century now. I have concluded that God would never be behind an organization (that claims he has chosen only them), that has gotten so many things wrong for so long and made so many mistakes, all in verifiable writing, throughout its entire existence on this earth.

This is a link showing just how many mistakes there have been over the years: http://home.tiscali.nl/t661020/wtcitaten/part1.htm

If God were to literally choose just one faith on the earth to represent him and his interests, along with using this same one group to publish his own thoughts, on a variety of subjects and issues, wouldn’t it be reasonable to conclude that God would do better than what the Watchtower has done with all of these mistakes posted above?

And while some of these policies have been dropped, reversed, adjusted, never came true etc etc; while they were in effect, Jehovah’s Witnesses simply had no choice but to adhere to them, had no choice but to teach them to other people even if they themselves disagreed with them or if they were later proven to be wrong or bad policies. If any Jehovah’s Witness did not support whatever policy was in place at that time they would have to face organizational counsel and discipline, which if not properly accepted, would then lead to being disfellowshipped (ex-communicated) followed by extreme shunning and the losing everybody you know including your very own family members. One cannot disagree with any JW current teachings without facing the severest of punishment in times past as well as today.

Which is exactly what happened to me. One simply cannot disagree with any current WT policies without facing the severest of penalties through extreme shunning by all Jehovah’s Witnesses. For any Jehovah’s Witness that does not comply with these shunning policies, they in turn will face discipline and if not accepting the counsel, they too will then be disfellowshipped and shunned.

I have lost my step son and our first grandchild (now four years old), my brother in law, several business partners, my good name and reputation, I am judged and labeled as some wicked apostate godless man and am shunned by all Jehovah’s Witnesses today.

Why so much severe punishment as this? What is my crime to face such consequences? I simply disagreed with the JW blood policy. I did not take blood. I did not tell others to take blood. I simply DISAGREED with this JW policy and now I am shunned, labeled and judged for the rest of my life along with losing some of the very family I raised. Is this loving, fair or Christian? I have done nothing wrong. After concluding, through enormous efforts, that the Watchtower Blood policy is wrong (just like their no vaccinations and no organ transplants policies were wrong before, I simply could no longer with a clear conscience make other people in my territory accept this policy, which is a mandatory requirement if one wishes to become a Jehovah’s Witness. And because of this I was going to be disfellowshipped. So instead I disassociated at that very same time.

JW’s would like for people to chalk up all those numerous mistakes from the Watchtower Society throughout their entire existence to mere human imperfection. They then often try to compare such Watchtower failures to the mistakes of biblical figures such as King David and the Apostles of the first century. What JWs fails to recognize is that people, as individuals, have always and will always make personal mistakes throughout their lives as imperfect humans. David, Moses, Peter, Paul and many others made mistakes. All Christians today do as well. Even the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses themselves make mistakes as imperfect men.

But as clearly posted above, the Watchtower’s Governing Body is said to be “anointed and directed by God Himself.” It’s in clear print for anybody to read.

But here is the problem: These men of the Governing Body get together as a collective group, they pray for holy spirit to guide them as a collective group, they then make decisions based on being directed by God’s spirit as a collective group, they then publish those decisions in their Watchtower magazines made as a collective group and then force those decisions on all Jehovah’s Witnesses and expect them to live by those decisions at risk of losing God’s favor and threat of disfellowshipping and extreme shunning.

But then when we find out that those decisions had to be dropped altogether, reversed, adjusted, changed and even apologized for, we can clearly see that God was never behind them to begin with. They were wrong the first minute they came off of the presses. God was definitely never behind these many erroneous Watchtower policies despite claims to the contrary.

What JWs fail to differentiate is that Human beings, individually, are allowed to and do make mistakes on a daily basis; including Moses and Jesus own hand-picked apostles. The very Writings (which are claimed to be from God –2Tim 3:16,17 and 2Peter 1:20,21 and Acts 3:21), of these same bible writers however are without mistakes anywhere. When the apostles mistakenly thought the Kingdom was being established at that time, they asked Jesus for clarification. (Matthew 24:1-3). They did not PUBLISH those erroneous thoughts. That’s why the bible is what it is today. Many truly believe it is inspired. Otherwise, if the bible writers had the same kind of track record of mistakes as does the Watchtower Society, the bible would be considered as nothing more than some “good book” and that is it. But to most people it is viewed as the infallible word of God. To most people it gets everything correct.

On the other hand, the very writings of the Watchtower Society (which also claims to be “food from God”, his “mouthpiece” today, “God’s Channel” etc), are filled with mistake after mistake and numerous inconsistencies and eventual embarrasments. Yet JW’s usually want to conveniently just chalk it up to “human imperfection”.

That simply does not work for most thinking people. The Watchtower cannot get a free pass here on all those past and current mistakes and bad policies while claiming God has anointed them and is directing them and them only. Many JW’s try to minimize the mistakes made by the Watchtower Society, as did I for many years. At least the ones I did know about. But you just can’t get away with this that easy. How many people DIED solely due to those bad medical policies which eventually had to be dropped altogether? That’s how bad they were, most had to be dropped, discarded, dumped because they were just that bad. Was God behind them?

Did Jehovah say No Vaccinations for 23 years and then change his mind and say vaccinations are now okay to have? All the while vaccinations were stomping out polio, smallpox and so much more. Did (((GOD))) get it wrong?

Did Jehovah say Organ Transplants are the same as “Cannibalism” and forbid them for 13 years, only to then change his mind and eventually say Organ Transplants are now okay to have? Did God Himself direct those bad policies only to have to drop them later on? And what about the Jehovah’s Witnesses that died by following these policies? Only to have them reversed later. I have read some of these accounts. It breaks your heart to read them.

How many people listened to all of the false end of the world specific dates, published in writing, missed predictions? 1914, 1925, 1975, before the end of the 20th century, before the generation of 1914 dies out and several more than this. Predictions which proved what? Every single one proved False. No hyperbole, all of them. Lives were ruined following the WT leadership with those as well. People gave up families, plans to have children, enjoyable careers… all for what ? For a message that proved untrue over and over again. How “faithful and discreet” is this? What does this say about the WT Society Organization to most people then? What does that say about ANY an organization? And wouldn’t it be reasonable for thinking persons to expect more from a religion that makes the claims of God’s Only True Channel Today?

Is it a lack of faith on the part of intelligent people that reject the Watchtower Society based on so many bad policies and mistakes over the years along with numerous current bad policies? Or would it be irresponsible to just look the other way? Truth can stand up to any challenge. It can hold up to vigorous cross-examination. Yet the average JW knows very little of this past, and just goes along with whatever they are told. So did I. Do people such as myself and many others leave the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses because we have now been blinded and have a wicked heart? Or did we leave because they WERE blinded and NOW have all of the important information to make a better, more educated and complete decision?

How does anybody just go from all these mistakes for the past 100 years made by the Watchtower Society, to the Watchtower Society is the “One True Faith”? The reason is simple; most Witnesses have no idea about these many things I have posted here, just like I never knew about them for 15 years as an active Witness.

And when mistakes are eventually realized by Jehovah’s Witnesses, and new information or a new direction has to replace the old mistaken information or direction by the Watchtower Society, then the Watchtower likes to conveniently call it, “New Light”. As if God has somehow revealed something miraculous again. This works and even gets people excited for most Witnesses readily accept this information since they already believe God has chosen them alone to begin with. But one clear look at the reality would show most thinking people that “new light” has not been revealed at all; but rather, more bad information, mistaken policies, false predictions and wrong beliefs simply need to be replaced due to the realization that these old policies and beliefs are simply proven to not be true.

The generation of 1914 never dying off for example. They had no choice BUT to drop that and find something to replace it with. And then changed it again. The recent change that the 144,000 has not been sealed but is still open. (After all the number of those partaking has only been going up.) Organ Transplants not ever being the same as cannibalism and allowing tens of thousands of people today the added opportunity to live life. On and on we could go filling pages worth of examples that prove new light never happened.

The fact is that new light could more accurately be called blinking light. New light is usually the realization that the Governing Body was simply wrong to begin with.

There are good people from all religions today. This is truly a fact. All religious organizations do make mistakes as well. The WT Society is actually worse than most however. So how can people say this is the one true religion today? How can anybody back such lofty claims as those up, with such a poor track record? I have yet to see that happen anywhere.

If the bible is true Moses parted the Red Sea, manna fell from the sky, prophecies came true. Jesus walked on water, healed the sick, fed thousands, raised the dead and so much more. But the Watchtower Society has an entire history of mistaken policies that have been and still are forced on all Witnesses at the very real threat of disfellowshipping and being shunned for non-compliance. They also boastfully claim “one true faith’, while condemning all other religions and people of those religions to destruction if not becoming JW’s.

For me today and most people that see all the facts there is nothing there to support such lofty and inflated claims as the Watchtower being chosen by God for anything at all. The WT Society certainly is not dispensing food from God from what the record clearly shows. Because it is quite obvious that God would never be behind all those mistakes again and again along with numerous current unscriptural policies.

Otherwise I would have never left the religion and have to suffer such steep consequences.

All the best,
Vinny

Love Letter

Love Letter

Darling Sweetheart,

You are my avid fellow feeling. My affection curiously clings to your passionate wish.
My liking yearns to your heart. You are my wistful sympathy: my tender liking.
Yours beautifully,
M.U.C.*

Even with such a designer as Turing, it takes more than imitation-games of consciousness to write a love letter.

Still, isn’t there something about this letter that suggests our own, often inarticulate, longings?

*In this instance, MADAM preferred to call herself M.U.C. (Manchester University Computer). I know how she feels.

(Thanks to John for calling my attention to this bit of sweetness).

And They All Look Just the Same

And They All Look Just the Same

This one’s for Debbie, and you know why:

Little Boxes, by Malvina Reynolds

Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky tacky,
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes all the same.
There’s a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one,

And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

And the people in the houses
All went to the university,
Where they were put in boxes
And they came out all the same,
And there’s doctors and lawyers,
And business executives,

And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

And they all play on the golf course
And drink their martinis dry,
And they all have pretty children
And the children go to school,
And the children go to summer camp
And then to the university,

Where they all are put in boxes
And they come out all the same.

And the boys go into business
And marry and raise a family
In boxes made of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.
There’s a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one,

And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

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