The July 15, 2011, Watchtower has caused quite a stir throughout the community of former Jehovah’s Witnesses. This magazine contained a study article which talked about apostates, or those that have left the organization, in very unflattering terms. The magazine says:
Suppose that a doctor told you to avoid contact with someone who is infected with a contagious, deadly disease. You would know what the doctor means, and you would strictly heed his warning. Well, apostates are “mentally diseased,” and they seek to infect others with their disloyal teachings.
Apostate Versus False Teachers
First understand that an apostate, by definition, is someone who has simply left a religion or political party. It’s inaccurate to use the term “apostate” as they do in this article; note what the magazine goes on to say:
To elders of the Ephesus congregation, Paul said: “From among you yourselves men will rise and speak twisted things.” Addressing fellow Christians, Peter wrote: “There will also be false teachers among you.” … Such ones are apostates. What do they want? They are not content just to leave the organization that they perhaps once loved. Their aim, Paul explained, is “to draw away the disciples after themselves.”
Notice how the bible says “false teachers” but then the magazine says “apostates”? There is a difference between simply leaving an organization and “draw[ing] away the disciples after themselves.” The scriptures say that false teachers have an agenda, of getting disciples to follow them, but an apostate by definition is just someone who has left. Personally, I have left the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses but don’t want any disciples for myself and have no plans to start my own religion (although if I did, it would be a totally awesome religion with snacks and secret handshakes and stuff).
This Didn’t Happen In My House
That word aside, the term “mentally diseased” is what has gotten the attention of many. My problem is with an organization calling me “mentally diseased” when these things didn’t happen in my house. These horrific abuses and behaviors that are far too common with Jehovah’s Witnesses, which I’ve dissected pointedly in this blog, didn’t happen in my house.
No one has ever raped a child in my house. Not in my house.
No one has ever beat up on their wife and then blamed her for it in my house. No one has ever hit another grownup adult person in my house, and certainly didn’t then go on to blame the victim for such a horrific act. Not in my house.
No one kicks a rape victim to the curb because she didn’t scream and fight and resist enough to make me happy, not in my house. No one has told women that they “share the blame” for raising rapists because they failed to teach respect for womankind, using the same mouth that also encourages women to stay in abusive and violent homes and to be “more submissive” and “more loving” to their abusers. Not in my house.
No one has ever beat their child under the guise of “discipline” in my house. No one screams at or berates or humiliates a child in my house. Not in my house.
Jehovah cannot say these things. Jehovah cannot say that these things have not happened in his house, not the Jehovah represented by Jehovah’s Witnesses anyway.
In Jehovah’s house, domestic violence is far too common, with women being beaten and otherwise abused and elders blaming her and condoning the behavior. Pedophilia is being revealed in congregation after congregation, with elders found to cover up these acts or be guilty of it themselves. Rape victims are put through an embarrassing grilling of their ordeal after the fact, and may be shunned by others in order to keep the congregation “clean” from “fornication.” Children are regularly beaten and viciously spanked for even the slightest misstep, and are often screamed at and berated as a means of “discipline.”
In Jehovah’s house, families are torn apart by arbitrary rules on shunning, using misapplied scriptures and man-made, overextended interpretations. Members are emotionally blackmailed into staying in the organization for fear of losing their families, not because they love the religion itself. In Jehovah’s house, prophecies about the time of the end and Armageddon and the destruction of the world are constantly used to terrorize its members, despite these prophecies failing time and again. The governing body of Jehovah’s house have committed near blasphemy by elevating themselves to the position of overseers of, not just the organization itself on earth, but also the heavenly kingdom, making themselves virtually equal to Jesus.
Members of Jehovah’s house regularly look down on other members if they assume these ones are not doing enough and even teach their children to ostracize faithful, active Witnesses. There is no charity in Jehovah’s house; the poor instead work to set aside something to contribute to the governing body, rather than the other way around.
Failed prophecy, power-hungry leaders, child abuse, shunning of faithful followers, shunning of rape victims, rape of children, domestic violence, blaming victims of violence and abuse; none of these things happen in my house. Not in my house.
They are, however, found every day in Jehovah’s house. Every day.
Think about what you have made Jehovah’s house into, and then you tell me which of us is really “mentally diseased.”
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