HOW TO GET Jehovah's Witnesses TO LISTEN

by ex-JW David A. Reed

No visible progress?

"Why do Jehovah's Witnesses
-- even when it seems they ought to get it?"

FRUSTRATED? Does it seem you are getting nowhere in conversations with JWs? Why is this so often the case?

Although good, your argument may be lacking something.

The most common situation involves the Christian who wants to teach true Christian doctrine to the JW and who therefore starts out trying to do that, using the Bible. Sooner or later he notices that he is just spinning his wheels, getting nowhere.

Why? Because he has left out some necessary steps.

His efforts are comparable to trying to teach calculus without first teaching algebra and arithmetic. You can't learn calculus without knowing algebra, and you can't learn algebra without knowing arithmetic. The JW can't learn Christian doctrine until he first sees that Watchtower doctrine is wrong. And he can't learn that Watchtower doctrine is wrong until he first sees through the organization's claim to divine authority as God's spokesman.

If you don't first prove the organization unreliable (documenting its false prophecies and back-and-forth changes) and then second reason verse-by-verse through the arguments the JW previously learned to support Watchtower doctrine, you can't expect much success with the third step of teaching Christian doctrine from Scripture.

Still, even when a Christian starts off correctly, a JW may just shrug off the evidence.

Why? Many people have trouble admitting they are wrong. JWs, even more so -- because they have so much at stake.

How so? Well, if you have introduced a few doubts into the JWs mind, but he has not yet rejected the Watchtower organization, he doesn't dare admit those doubts. He still feels an obligation to bring you into "God's organization" -- and does not want to undermine his efforts by admitting uncertainty on his part.

Or, if what you said has actually gotten him to question seriously whether he is in the true church, he will still be afraid to express those thoughts before he has completely resolved the issue in his own mind.

He knows that, if he confesses his doubts to you, there is a possibility that this information about him may become public, and then he could be put on the spot by congregation elders -- forced to declare himself either for or against the organization, before he has a chance to fully explore the facts privately at his own speed.

So, don't give up. As long as a JW is willing to listen, there is reason to hope that what you are saying is having a good effect.

Moreover, even if you have completely convinced the JW that the Watchtower Society is a false prophet, and he now wants to stop following it and to become a follower of Jesus, he may still be unwilling to admit this to you.

Why? Because he or she may be faced with the problem of helping a marriage mate or close friends or relatives to reach the same conclusions.

Any premature announcement could result in disfellowshipping, cutting off communication with these loved ones and blocking efforts to help them.

In this situation a JW might be willing to confide in you, but only if absolutely convinced of your reliability in keeping the matter private -- i.e., that you would cooperate with his or her becoming a secret disciple like Nicodemus or Joseph of Arimathea, maintaining this secrecy for months or even years.

The problem is not always with the Christian's presentation or with the JW's fear of admitting error. Sometimes the JW simply does not want to hear the truth, or, hearing it, does not want to receive it.

But isn't the Gospel message, properly presented, powerful enough to overcome any obstacle? Yes. Still, people can make choices. Of the thousands in Galilee, Judea, and Samaria who heard Jesus preach in person, how many became His disciples? How many ignored the message, or even became angry and hated Him?

So, can we expect to have better results than Jesus did? The fault may not lie with our message, but rather with hearers who have closed their ears and their hearts.

If you have been skipping essential steps in reasoning with JWs, re-read this booklet to see how to undermine the sect's authority (step #1), and our book Jehovah's Witnesses Answered Verse by Verse which will help you untangle twisted reasonings (step #2).

Then, when you are sure you are using the best strategy and techniques, it becomes a matter of patience and perseverance. Don't be discouraged by apparent lack of progress.

Breaking through to a JW is like tunneling through a mountain. There is no visible indication that the tunnel has almost broken through -- just the same pitch black darkness until suddenly you break through into the light of day.

The Lord knows who will eventually respond and who will not. We continue His work of sowing seed on all sorts of soil, cultivating it to the best of our ability. And, especially as regards witnessing to Jehovah's Witnesses, the words of Ecclesiastes 11:6 apply:

"In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good."
The JW who begins questioning and thirsting for truth may be forced to keep quiet about it for a while, and may not be able to encourage you with signs of progress. But when the time is ripe you will hear him praise the Lord!

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