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Jehovah’s Witnesses Claiming to Follow the Christ

Jehovah’s Witnesses Claiming to Follow the Christ

According to an article in the Cherry Hill N.J. Courier-Post, Jehovah’s Witnesses aim to “debunk myths” about their faith by adopting the topic “Follow the Christ!” at the District Conventions. The article mentions only the one convention being held in Reading, Pa., but of course the program is an identical thing everywhere, and it’s not as though it’s an actual “conference” type of convention at which one might expect discussions, debates, new scholarship, pastoral support, and the like. It’s reinforcement and rah-rah. The JW assemblies were fun because it was a chance to meet other JWS, and it had a celebratory air for that reason. Now it seems they are using it as a preaching tool. They must have gleaned some tips from Falwell, et al. Too bad for the young ones seeking a mate – they’ll have to sort through all the non-JWs that attend.

Jehovah’s Witnesses in South Jersey are knocking on doors and inviting their neighbors to attend the convention, which will explain how following Bible principles that Christ promoted can help people improve their family life, draw closer to God and gain everlasting life, said Mark Weaver, a spokesman for the Reading conventions.

Here’s a funny bit: “There also will be a public talk debating the question: Who are the real followers of Christ?” Debating? Hee-hee. Not likely. Any guesses on who they will claim as the “real” followers?

Last year, the district convention was all about the “Deliverance at Hand” – meaning that the loving God is about to kill off most of the people on the planet. So this year, it’s a PR move. They want to fight the perception that “their denomination isn’t a Christian religion.”

Why fight a perception? That’s like saying that you should undermine an insight. They should at least say they are fighting an “inaccurate impression.”

I think that people have the perception that Jehovah’s Witnesses (I call them Watchtowerites) aren’t Christian because of different and larger issues than simply their non-celebration of Christmas and Easter, which is the only reason given in the article (Even mainstream Christians are somewhat aware of the history of the development of these two holidays). No, there is a much larger set of issues. Grace, forgiveness, compassion… for starters.

They miss Jesus’ whole point (and in this they are not alone, of course), and so this topic is very pertinent to their problem. Unfortunately, they won’t address it at all. It takes a very narrow focus to try to claim that JWs follow Christ, and many things must be unspoken in order for them to attempt to do so.

Since comments on the article were allowed, here is the one I posted:

In some ways, JWs follow Jesus. They preach, like the disciples. They accept persecution, as did the early Christians. They will die for their beliefs – even as the beliefs change. They believe that the Christ has a mediating function in prayer, although they do not think it through but merely invoke the name.

However, I don’t think that anyone who looks more closely would believe that they are Christians. They are more like Watchtowerites.

They believe that Jesus, as Archangel Michael, very shortly will act as God’s hand to destroy “this satanic system of things,” including most of the people. They do not have a communion, only a yearly memorial of the last supper, during which only those who feel that they are of the 144,000 (destined to rule as kings over the earth) may partake of the bread and wine. The “emblems” are actually passed over every person present. In the years that I was a JW, I never witnessed any of them eat or drink in remembrance of Jesus. The ceremony is a reminder that they are not part of the communion. But hey, most of them would rather live on paradise earth anyway (once all the pesky bones have been cleaned up).

It seems to me that they have become more rule-bound and less able to make Christian decisions in my lifetime – but I am surely biased on that since I receive letters and questions from people who have been hurt by their myriad and often senseless cruelties. In judging comments from other former JWs, remember that they have cause for anger.

In their most destructive aspects, JWs not only divide families and cause paranoia and isolationism, but also protect predators – not only through their infamous “two-witness” requirement, but also by discouraging their members to deal with worldly (satanic) powers such as the police. Although they have furthered civil rights legislation in the US, they do not offer such democratic structures within their system. There is no discussion or debate, only endless repetitions of the “guidance” of the governing body in Brooklyn.

What they produce is a free sales force, driven by self-righteousness and fear, not compassion. And it is exploitative, too, since members often end up paying for the publications themselves. For a population that has been discouraged from higher education, and whose primary investment might be a few of those (strategic blending-in camouflage) three-piece suits, this is a hardship. They are kept busy and isolated – if members have questions of faith, they are labeled rather than mentored.

The rank and file JW is a good “sheep” – submissive, obedient. At least you can say that they are doing what they believe God wants of them – sometimes at great sacrifice. But the leadership, for all they call themselves “slaves,” are all-powerful to members. Some would even say that they have put themselves in the God-position. And they hide it under anonymity; you will look in vain for writer’s credits in any of their publications.

Local elders, who hold power over each JW’s life, have no training in languages, biblical interpretation, or even basic pastoral counseling. But there is a huge investment in their legal team. Recently, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Corporations succeeded in settling multiple cases about child abuse and pedophilia out of court – with a gag order.

If this is a Christian group, then the Christian message of reconciliation between God and humanity has been warped beyond all recognition. They have no concept of grace whatsoever. They are neither forgiving nor kind. Their only concept of service to others is to offer them the “good news” of how people might be able to survive the approaching destruction from their loving God. That’s it. The only community they are concerned about is their own.

Like some other fringe groups that have risen in influence, they are of the sort that would be more than happy to throw the first stone. They have completely missed the message.

I still don’t salute the flag – I think it’s a very creepy nationalistic ritual, but in most other ways, I have found that there are higher spiritual standards than the ones they can offer.

The recovering JWs that do best are those who have curiosity, like to read, and can locate their sense of humor. And, if you leave in freedom, you do have another advantage. You have learned to recognize the methods of control, and you have one step ahead in resisting them from other directions.

For those who are being shunned by their families and the people they thought were their life-long friends – know that you are not alone! Hang in there – it gets better.

Yes, I’m Saying Happy Holidays

Yes, I’m Saying Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays

Warmth, light, comfort
laughter, love and joy
to you and yours
to all of us

May your spirits be energized, brightened, and filled with caring for others.

An important note on the so-called “war on Christmas”:

Should there be some reminder that Christmas is a celebration of the birth of the Prince of Peace? How does turning Christmas into a time of strife set a Christian example?

My greeting to you includes the holidays that I personally celebrate, and also it extends to include the holiday or holidays that you celebrate. (Jehovah’s Witnesses are the only ones I know who have reason to flinch at a simple season’s greeting).

We celebrate different things, we celebrate the traditions and beliefs of our families, of our communities, of our nations, and so on. Some are more traditional, some are more constructive and playful. If you think about all the people you know, you will quickly realize that there are some people to whom you can (maybe even should) say “Merry Christmas.” That’s fine, that’s great – but would you hate-mongers just give it a rest? It’s the holidays! Where’s all that comfort and joy?

Happy HolidaysThe spirit of the season is not about competition or hate. If you can’t be spiritually aware, at least be civil.

Be gracious, be kind. Beware those who speak to the darkness within you.

Replace hate and fear and war – with love and courage and peace.

Scriptural to trim nose hair?

Scriptural to trim nose hair?

Here is another parody of JW reasoning written by Subir Kaunds and published here with his permission. Thank you so much!


Is it scriptural to trim nose hair?

A Christian is governed by conscience. And some Christians may feel, in the absence of any specific prohibition in the Bible, that trimming nose hair does not go against their conscience. But is that the correct view?

Since we hold the scripture as our unfailing guide, we want to be “full grown in our powers of understanding” (1 Corinthians 14:20), and understand “the deep things of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:10).

To understand the issue under discussion, three things have to be taken into consideration. The meaning of ‘nose’ in the scriptures; the figurative use of ‘hair’; and scriptural principles that have a bearing on the matter.

First the nose or nostrils.

When God created Adam, he proceeded to “blow into his nostrils the breath [form of nesha·mah’ in Hebrew] of life, and the man came to be a living soul.” (Genesis 2:7) This “breath of life” not only filled the lungs with air but also imparted to the body the life-force that is sustained by breathing. The breath being drawn into the body through the nostrils is essential to life; it sustains the life-force. At the Flood, “everything in which the breath of the force of life was active in its nostrils, namely, all that were on the dry ground, died.” (Genesis 7:22).

The Hebrew word for nose or nostrils (´aph) is frequently used to refer to the entire face. Adam was sentenced to earn his livelihood from the ground ‘in the sweat of his face [literally, “nose” or “nostrils”].’ (Gensis 3:19) Lot bowed down with his face (nose) to the ground before the visiting angels.(Genesis) 19:1.1

So it is clear from the above that when the Bible speaks of the nose it actually refers to the entire face and that the nose is the fundamental organ that keep us alive since it is the genesis of the life-force. Keeping this point in mind we now have to see what the word ‘hair’ means in scripture.

One may be forgiven for thinking that all hair in the human body is the same. It is the same as saying that the toes are the same as the fingers (both being digits) or that the elbow is the same as the knee (both being joints) or that the scalp is the same as the soles of the feet (both being skin).

The hairs of the head, facial hair and pubic hair though fundamentally the same in substance, have different textures and uses. This dissimilarity becomes more pronounced when we consider the other hairs on the body like those which are found in our ear or inside the nostrils. About the hair in our ears consider the following information that appear in The Awake magazine issue of January 22, 1990 (published by the Watchtower Society).

“[In one of the walls in the inner ear known as] the basilar membrane, is the highly sensitive organ of Corti, named after Alfonso Corti, who in 1851 discovered this true center of hearing. Its key part consists of rows of sensory hair cells, some 15,000 or more. From these hair cells, thousands of nerve fibers carry information about the frequency, intensity, and timbre of the sound to the brain, where the sensation of hearing occurs… thus sound of a specific frequency produces waves that flex the basilar membrane at a specific spot, causing the hair cells there to react and send signals to the brain. The location of hair cells would correspond to the frequency, and the number of hair cells triggered would correspond to the intensity.”

In the light of this scientific fact can we conclude that the hairs inside the ear are the same as those on the head?2 A ear specialist would laugh at the suggestion. The same is the case with hair inside the nose. Consider the following facts:

“The olfactory area is located in the upper part of the nasal cavity, where the olfactory nerves terminate in hairlike endings; also fine endings of the trigeminal nerve are found in this area. The sense of smell in humans is very acute. According to an article in the Scientific American (February 1964, p. 42): “The sense of smell obviously is a chemical sense, and its sensitivity is proverbial; to a chemist the ability of the nose to sort out and characterize substances is almost beyond belief. It deals with complex compounds that might take a chemist months to analyze in the laboratory; the nose identifies them instantly, even in an amount so small (as little as a ten-millionth of a gram) that the most sensitive modern laboratory instruments often cannot detect the substance, let alone analyze and label it.” The nose also plays a large part in taste. There are four primary tastes: sweet, salt, sour, and bitter. These the taste buds in the mouth recognize. But much of the flavor in food is enjoyed because of the sense of smell. For example, a person whose nostrils are stopped up finds difficulty in distinguishing between two kinds of food, as most things then taste more or less flat. 1

These facts prove that the hairs in the ears and in the nose are actually nerves and not hairs at all. Can you imagine pubic hair helping us to smell and taste? But nasal hair does. We smell and taste due to the “hairlike endings” which are actually nerves.

This is also proved by the fact that some of us may even find that bright sunlight is enough to cause sneezing. This is because the eye nerves are closely connected with the nerve endings in the nose. (Awake 90 6/8)

In fact nasal hair may also have a part to play in digestion. Awake of February 8, 1987 (page 30) had this to say: “According to Dr. Volker Schusdziarra from the University of Munich, peptides (chemical compounds) that control digestion and arouse feelings of hunger and satiety and that are normally found in the stomach and intestine have recently been detected not only in the brain but also in the nerve cells of the retina. The German medical magazine Zeitschrift für Allgemeinmedizin reports that new variations of these substances are discovered continually. It appears that they carry messages between the sensory organs (eyes, nose, tongue, and so forth), the brain, and the digestive system.”

To sum up, we see that the nose often refers to the face and nasal hair is not hair at all but nerves. Hence, trimming nasal hair is actually like cutting the nerves of ones face. In the light of this let us turn to the Bible to understand the scriptural principles.

Christians are aware of scriptures like 1 Corinthians 11:14: “Does not nature itself teach YOU that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him.” And Leviticus 19:27: “YOU must not cut YOUR sidelocks short around, and you must not destroy the extremity of your beard.” However these commands cannot be applied to nasal hair since we have seen that nasal hair is actually nerve.

However two scriptures have a bearing on the matter under discussion. God’s law to the Israelites stated: “YOU must not make cuts in your flesh.” (Leviticus 19:28). As we have seen trimming nasal hair is tantamount to cutting the nerves of one face.

Moreover wise King Solomon observed: “For the churning of milk is what brings forth butter, and the squeezing of the nose is what brings forth blood, and the squeezing out of anger is what brings forth quarreling.” (Proverbs 30: 33). Here tampering with the nose is equated with provocative wrath. Remember that the Bible repeatedly warns against wrath and anger (Colossians 3:6).

In view of the foregoing, mature Christians may take a dim view of trimming nasal hair. In fact trimming of such hair could only be allowed as part of an emergency surgical procedure. Cosmetic trimming of such hair may not be proper. The principle found at 1Timothy 2:9 would apply: “Not with styles of hair braiding.” Here it is the principle of avoiding cosmetic procedures that is important, rather than the type of hair. Also as Matthew 10:30 assures us: “The very hairs of your head are all numbered.” Obviously the hair here is used figuratively and includes all hair not just on the head.

An important point to keep in mind is that God’s law prohibited certain ones from the assembly. We read at Leviticus 21:18, “In case there is any man in whom there is a defect, he may not come near: a man blind or lame or with his nose slit or with one member too long.” Since the scriptures show that trimming nose hair is like maiming the face one who indulges in such practices cannot be appointed to privileges in the congregation.


1 Insight on the Scriptures, vol ll, pg 509-510, (published by the Watchtower Society).

2 Hair on the head is also a marvelous product of intelligent design. Awake of August 22, 1989 (pg 31) reported: “Drugs such as cocaine and heroin, for example, will not be found in the urine even a few days after use. Yet these drugs will show up in a hair analysis months later. This is because drug residues remain embedded in the hair as it grows. Bernard Gropper of the National Institute of Justice observes: “Hair has the advantage of long-term memory. It’s a permanent record, like tree rings.” A three-inch [8 cm] strand of hair will give a six-month history, since head hair grows at a rate of about a half inch [1 cm] a month.”

And this passage from Awake of November 22, 1972: “Your hair actually can indicate the condition of your health. This is due to the fact that hair is one of the fastest growing tissues in the body, and any abnormalities in the chemistry of your body will show up in the growth structure of your hair. Some doctors are even beginning to think that it is possible to diagnose a person’s illnesses by examining a strand of hair.”

More JW humor

Christian Paradox, or, Hypocrisy Incarnated

Christian Paradox, or, Hypocrisy Incarnated

The Christian Paradox (

Check out this excellent excerpt from Bill McKibben’s article in the August 2005 edition of Harper’s Magazine.

The basic point is that although the overwhelming majority of Americans profess to be Christian, the USA is the least Christian in its behavior (compared to other “developed” nations).

A few nuggets:

“In 2004, as a share of our economy, we ranked second to last, after Italy, among developed countries in government foreign aid. Per capita we each provide fifteen cents a day in official development assistance to poor countries.”

“nearly 18 percent of American children lived in poverty (compared with, say, 8 percent in Sweden). In fact, by pretty much any measure of caring for the least among us you want to propose—childhood nutrition, infant mortality, access to preschool—we come in nearly last among the rich nations, and often by a wide margin.”

“Despite the Sixth Commandment, we are, of course, the most violent rich nation on earth, with a murder rate four or five times that of our European peers.”

“We have prison populations greater by a factor of six or seven than other rich nations (which at least should give us plenty of opportunity for visiting the prisoners).”

“Having been told to turn the other cheek, we’re the only Western democracy left that executes its citizens, mostly in those states where Christianity is theoretically strongest.”

Usery? Adultery? Deceit? Greed? Envy? Gluttony? Hey, take your pick.

“After all, in the days before his crucifixion, when Jesus summed up his message for his disciples, he said the way you could tell the righteous from the damned was by whether they’d fed the hungry, slaked the thirsty, clothed the naked, welcomed the stranger, and visited the prisoner.”

Think about it. The Christian message is NOT to steal from the poor, or to take water and other natural resources from others, or to abandon the needy, or to hate those who are unlike you or to rally for death. Those things are not Christian, and no manipulation by any false prophet will make it Christian.

God’s spirit and will – at least as it might have been expressed through Jesus, and I can think of some others – is a spirit of compassion, love and forgiveness. None of us are particularly good at living those values that Jesus modelled – but if you base your politics on a Christian viewpoint, you’re not really allowed to claim that the opposite of those values is a Christian moral ground.

I grew up as a hard-core fundamentalist, and later taught religion at the university level. Most students who think they are Christian don’t understand the texts and doctrines of their own religion. They have beliefs that are not a part of the understanding of their own denomination’s teaching, and sometimes not even mentioned in the Bible at all – supposedly the source of their authority. Of course, the bible is a highly selective and edited collection of diverse texts, with a political history of its own – and the idea of its being “inspired” came kind of late in that history.

Still – if you are a Christian, don’t you have to take into some consideration the actual teachings of your messiah? By your teaching, you must believe that you will be judged as you have judged, that you will be forgiven as you have been forgiving, that Jesus will consider all you have done toward the poor, toward the hurting, toward the powerless – as you having done it toward him.

Alas alas for you – hypocrites and Pharisees… making a big show of righteousness and it signifies nothing real at all.

The word repent means turn around. If you have not love (caritas – charity, compassion, caring), you have nothing at all.