HOW TO GET Jehovah's Witnesses TO LISTEN

by ex-JW David A. Reed

Back-and-forth flip-flops

To have the greatest effect, however, it becomes necessary, to show a JW instances where the 'light gets brighter' excuse could not possibly apply, because the Watchtower Society taught a certain doctrine, reversed itself and rejected that doctrine, only to reverse itself again some years later and resume teaching the old rejected viewpoint.

Prior to 1975 it taught that each Jehovah's Witness is a minister. Then, in 1975, it reversed this and began teaching that most members are not ministers, even changing the monthly Kingdom Ministry's name to Our Kingdom Service; then in 1981 it returned to the old teaching and again renamed the publication Our Kingdom Ministry.

The 1972 Organization book instructed that "none in the congregation should greet" disfellowshipped persons. (p. 172) Then the August 1, 1974, Watchtower reversed this by teaching that "Jesus' own example protects us against adopting the extreme view" of refusing to speak to them. (pp. 464-465) Then the September 15, 1981, Watchtower returned to the previous point of view. (pp. 24-26)

Originally the Watchtower Society taught that the "superior authorities" or "higher powers" of Romans 13:1 are the secular governments, but in 1929 this was rejected as a 'false doctrine.' (Jehovah's Witnesses in the Divine Purpose, p. 91) The new teaching was that the "higher powers" are God and Christ. But decades later the old teaching was adopted again, so that J.W.'s now say Romans 13:1 refers to the secular governments. (The Watchtower, May 15, 1980, p. 4)

Will the men of Sodom be resurrected? The Society has answered 'yes' (Wt. July 1879, p. 8), 'no' (Wt. June 1, 1952, p. 338), 'yes' (Wt. Aug. 1, 1965, p. 479), 'no' (Wt. June 1, 1988, p. 31), 'yes' (1988 book Insight on the Scriptures, p. 985), 'no' (1988 book Revelation: Its Grand Climax At Hand!, p. 273). In fact, as pointed out in Our Kingdom Ministry (December, 1989, p. 7) early printings of the book You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth say 'yes' but later printings of the same book say 'no.' (pp. 178-179)

Aware of the devastating effect such information can have on its followers' faith in the organization, the Watchtower Society either tries to cover up the facts or to deny that the changes constitute a return to a previous point of view:

At times explanations given by Jehovah's visible organization have shown adjustments, seemingly to previous points of view. But this has not actually been the case. This might be compared to what is known in navigational circles as "tacking." By maneuvering the sails the sailors can cause a ship to go from right to left, back and forth, but all the time making progress toward their destination... -- The Watchtower December 1, 1981, page 27

Yet, close examination reveals many of the flip-flops to be total reversals, not any sort of forward-moving tacking process. Why this uncertain vacillation on doctrine, affirming "truths" today, denying them as "errors" tomorrow, and returning to the discarded teachings the next day for recycling as "new truths" once again?

When the organization was under one-man rule in earlier days, J.F. Rutherford apparently waited to consolidate power before casting aside many of the teachings of his predecessor -- and even then, some of his moves were clearly strategic, isolating his followers from contrary opinions and thus giving Rutherford firmer control. His death in 1942 put the team of Nathan Knorr and Fred Franz in charge, and they proceeded to change teachings and procedures to suit themselves.

Former Governing Body member Raymond Franz in his book Crisis of Conscience reveals how a virtual coup against third president Nathan Knorr resulted in a new process for determining doctrine, a two-thirds majority vote of the Governing Body now being required for any doctrinal change to take place. Since then, conservatives have prevailed most of the time, with liberals asserting themselves during the mid-1970s, only to be shut down in a purge.

When confronted with the resulting back-and-forth doctrinal changes, some JWs begin to realize the political nature of Watchtower leadership -- far from the "theocratic" rule by God that the organization claims for itself.

This zigzag course means Jehovah's Witnesses are "carried hither and thither by every wind of teaching" or "forever changing our minds about what we believe because someone has told us something different, or has cleverly lied to us and made the lie sound like the truth." -- Ephesians 4:14 New World Translation and Living Bible

"TO SUCCEED IN THE RACE FOR LIFE" "not on a zigzag course" -- The Watchtower, August 1, 1992, p. 17 The organization says:
Seeing the strenuous efforts needed to succeed in the race for life, Paul went on to say: "Therefore, the way I am running is not uncertainlyÉ" (1 Corinthians 9:26) ...Hence, to run "not uncertainly" means that to every observer it should be very evident where the runner is heading. The Anchor Bible renders it "not on a zigzag course." If you saw a set of footprints that meanders up and down the beach, circles around now and then, and even goes backward at times, you would hardly think the person was running at all, let alone that he had any idea where he was heading. But if you saw a set of footprints that form a long, straight line, each footprint ahead of the previous one and all evenly spaced, you would conclude that the footprints belong to one who knows exactly where he is going. -- The Watchtower, August 1, 1992, p. 17

Yet, when we look at the Watchtower organization's own footprints, what do we see? The very thing the Bible condemns: a zigzag course. (Compare December 1, 1981 Watchtower, p. 27, illustration of "Tacking into the Wind" showing a zigzag course.)

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