The Divinity of Christ, part 2—The Jehovah’s Witnesses and other cults
In the previous post, I mentioned how as a teenager in the Roman Catholic seminary, I had read a very disturbing book by Dr. Hugh Schonfield called The Passover Plot. I also mentioned that it was republished a few years ago for the 40th anniversary of the initial release of the book, thus it is still available from Amazon and other sources. That being the case, by the authority vested in me by God Almighty, I hereby forbid any followers of my teachings to read The Passover Plot!
Now before you quit reading and click off this page, I want you to know that the previous sentence is totally out of character for me. Those of you who know me personally would recognize that; others might not. I do not forbid those who follow my teachings to read anything.
But I said it to make a point: namely, that if you are the type of person who is inclined to obey me simply because I claimed I have that authority, then beware, you are susceptible to becoming a member of a cult—whether that cult is as small as Vernon Howell’s (aka David Koresh) and his “Branch Davidians,” or as large as the organization we are about to discuss in this essay, an organization which has millions of members.
I do believe, however, that most of you regular followers of my teachings are not that gullible or susceptible because if you were, you would not be reading or listening to my material in the first place. With the foregoing as an illustration of cultic behavior, let us return to the subject of the divinity of Jesus Christ.
There is a whole denomination—which certainly claims to follow Jesus Christ—but which vigorously denies that Jesus is God. I am referring to the Jehovah’s Witnesses, of course. Have you had the knock on the door from the JW missionaries? Have you actually let them in and had discussions with them? I have—many years ago, and then again fairly recently. More on that in a minute.
Did you know they have their own version of the Bible? I have a copy. It is called the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures. My copy is copyrighted 1961 and published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc. and the International Bible Students Association, Brooklyn, NY. My opinion of it is…well, I can sum it up by telling you that I keep it in my library with the other works of fiction.
In the gospel of John, chapter 1, verse 1, the New World Translation (NWT) reads “In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.” (Emphasis mine.) The KJV renders that last part: “and the Word was God.”
I have a vast assortment of various English versions of the Bible, both printed and in Bible software. Did you know that the NWT is the only English translation I have ever seen that translates that verse by referring to Jesus, the Word, as a little “g” god? That tiny difference alone is enough to plant the idea in the minds of any reader of the NWT that Jesus is not God.
Many years ago (c. 1980-81), not too many years after I had “got saved,” “given my life to the Lord,” “converted to Christ,” however you may wish to say it—we were living in Palm Beach County, Florida. One day a pair of Jehovah’s Witnesses came to the door. I invited them in. We spent an hour discussing some fairly basic biblical issues—nothing very different from the mainstream beliefs of Protestant Christianity at that point.
They asked if they could come back in a week for more “Bible study.” I would welcome that, I told them. They did return and this went on for a total of six weeks. Each week the pair would leave me with a Watchtower publication of one sort or another. On the fifth meeting, they gave me a booklet of about 32 pages which they pointedly asked me if I would read and then “we can discuss it with you next week, okay?”
I asked them to wait there a minute as I left the room. I went into my bedroom and retrieved a Bible-teaching booklet of about the same size by one of my favorite Bible teachers, Pastor Sheldon Emry, of America’s Promise Ministries, then in Phoenix, Arizona. This was 1980-81.
Back in 1978, I had driven my family across the country (from Ohio at the time) to meet Pastor Emry at his Bible camp in Prescott, Arizona. It also turned out that I met his then-assistant pastor, Stephen—now Dr. Stephen E. Jones (presently of God’s Kingdom Ministries) there also.
I told my JW acquaintances that I would be happy to read their booklet cover-to-cover and be ready to discuss it the following week, if they would agree to read Pastor Emry’s booklet and be ready to discuss that as well. They took the booklet and agreed to do so. But the next week only one of the pair showed up (I will refer to him as the rookie or newbie), the other having been replaced by a “higher-up.”
I invited them in and had their booklet in my hand. They asked me if I had read it and was prepared to discuss it. I assured them I had read it and was prepared to discuss it, and without pausing, I asked the newbie if he had read the Emry booklet and was prepared to discuss it.
The higher-up jumped in to answer for the rookie and said that the newbie had not read it. I addressed the rookie, pointing out that he had given me his word that he would read it. Again, the ranking member jumped in and explained that Jehovah’s Witnesses did not need to read other denominations’ material because the Witnesses had all the truth that was necessary!
I was actually prepared for this contingency because all along—even as I did read their material—I was reading discerningly and in no way was I ever a prospect for this very cultish organization. But just as they, for six weeks, were eyeing me as a prospect, I myself was determined to see how far I could get with sharing some of “my” truth with them.
The answer was now clear: I would get nowhere. So, I expressed my amazement in so many words, that they were really that credulous and gullible that they would not even read something along the lines of Christian doctrine from any other group.
“That’s right,” the ranking member admitted proudly. “We have the truth, so why waste time reading other stuff?”
“Well, I am glad we have that cleared up,” I announced as I walked in front of them to my front door. I opened it and said, “You are no longer welcome here.” They left without another word.
In the past year, I came across an old book entitled, My Thirty Years as a Watch Tower Slave (herein abbreviated to simply Watchtower Slave). Indeed, the author had quite a story to tell of the inside workings of the organization because he had been on staff for many years and rubbed shoulders with the highest-ranking leaders, including Judge Rutherford, who took over as head of the Watch Tower (WT) Society after the death of its founder. From Watchtower Slave:
“No one can read the history and literature of the Watch Tower Society without thinking of Peter’s words: ‘Through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you’ (2 Peter 2:3). Time and again they cited words of Scripture, tore them out of their setting, and misapplied them to suit their own purpose. And they did this with the eventual goal of selling books, to obtain contributions of money to build up a world-wide Watch Tower Organization. This strategy proved so successful that it has been constantly used to this day. …
“From the beginning this trick was used to get the people to buy and read Watch Tower published books and booklets. These writings always contained a kernel of truth, particularly at the beginning, as bait. But the whole was weighted down and intertwined with organizational jargon as to set the befuddled reader’s head in a whirl. Before the unwary victim realized it, he had surrendered all individualism, abandoned all personal thinking, and given up all private initiative.
“All this was designed to put the one who listened to these words into a position where he would read only the Society’s books, booklets, and magazines. After he had acquired a taste for that kind of fare, the one so brain washed was not only led into believing the Watch Tower literature, but in his new position as ‘Kingdom Publisher’ he was compelled to peddle this literature from door to door as the truth of the Gospel.
“He observed Watch Tower-set and observed hours, and worked submissively to attain a book placement quota. He could be compelled against his wishes and inclinations to go into certain territories, place certain books, and report the time spent in doing so. Can you think of a clearer example of men being made merchandise through the use of feigned words?” (pp. 22-23, My Thirty Years as a Watch Tower Slave by William J. Schnell, Baker Book House, 1956)
William Schnell could write about such practices which were enforced upon the lives of the JWs because he himself had done all of the above; hence, he described himself as a Watch Tower slave. But Mr. Schnell had apparently no idea of the even-more-secret side of the Watch Tower Society.
Fritz Springmeier’s encyclopedic book, Bloodlines of the Illuminati, has chapters on the 13 families which his research led him to identify as at the apex of the Illuminati, who rule the world; i.e., what the Bible calls Mystery, Babylon the Great. I do not necessarily endorse or agree with everything in Springmeier’s book.
One chapter is on the Russell family. Charles Taze Russell was the founder of International Bible Students (now known as Jehovah’s Witnesses). In Russell’s third book in his Millennial Dawn series, entitled Thy Kingdom Come (1891), Russell teaches that God lives on Alcyone in the Pleiades constellation.
This idea was repeated and elaborated upon in subsequent books and WT Society magazines, up to at least the late 1920s. “Rank and file International Bible Students looked forward to living on Alcyone after they died.” (p. 341, Bloodlines of the Illuminati, Ambassador House, Westminster, CO, 1999.)
“Of all the star constellations it is interesting the Pleiades was picked by Charles T. Russell and his co-workers as the residence of God, and that according to Russell and his Society God sends messages to earth [via angels] which take 10 days to reach the earth.” (pp. 341-2)
“Russell’s WT Society was financed by some heavyweights. The history of the WT Society gives evidence that the power to bring in a one-world-government financed Russell. The WT Society has been a proxy for the One-World-Order to accomplish certain goals. Unfortunately, the JWs ‘in the trenches,’ have not known how they have been used.” (p. 345)
From time to time over the years, there have been many more pairs of JW’s knocking on my door. I have either simply said I am not interested, or I have stood at my door and, while they remained on the porch, I have shared the above story with them in a very condensed version.
At the conclusion, I would ask them if they are open to reading any material from any source other than the Watchtower Society. The answer is always the same: No, they would not read anything else.
Then, last summer, after I had finished My Thirty Years as a Watchtower Slave, the bell rang at the door of my offices—two elderly ladies—one appearing considerably more frail than the other. I did not invite them in, but after a few pleasantries, I told them I was a believer in Jesus Christ also, with perhaps a difference or two.
“Oh,” one asked, “what would that be?”
“Well, I actually believe that Jesus Christ is God,” I replied.
“Well, so do we!” they both responded, almost in unison.
“Are you sure we believe the same about Jesus Christ?” I asked. “Because I do have the New World Translation on my bookshelf and I am quite certain that it states in John 1:1 that Jesus, the Word, was a god, not THE God; now isn’t that so?” I asked again.
Caught, they admitted we might have some difference there. Knowing at that point that they were just as close-minded as all other active JW’s, I asked them if they had ever heard of a book called My Thirty Years as a Watch Tower Slave.
Oh, of course, we have, they admitted, smiling, but we know that it is full of lies and not true.
Not about to let them off the hook, I said, “I would be curious to know what parts are not true.”
They started to hem and haw, at which point, I said, “Have either of you actually read the book?”
Neither of them had, but they assured me that their higher-ups had read it and had told them it was not good for them to read it. This again is one of the telltale marks of a cult: Do not permit the people read or think for themselves on religious matters (which necessary flows over into all of life).
The conversations shifted to our eternal destiny. “My understanding of the Bible is that in the end all people will be saved,” I stated. “I call it Universal Reconciliation.”
“Oh, you’re lost, honey!” one of them interrupted.
“I am?” I asked. “So you’re telling me that if I don’t believe what you believe and become a Jehovah’s Witness, that after I die, then…well, you tell me. If I am lost because I’m not a Jehovah’s Witness, what will happen to me after I die? And I know you don’t believe in the eternal hell fire doctrine.”
“Well, you will simply not exist ever again,” one replied (with a big smile, which I felt seemed rather perverse).
“So I would be sorta like a stray dog or cat that gets run over on the highway, presumably never to have consciousness or life again?” I queried.
“Yep, just like that,” she answered, still with that perverse grin on her face.
As I wondered later how someone could believe and tell another human being their fate with a big smile on their face, it occurred to me that it really was no different from the millions of evangelical Christians who tell a prospective convert that they are going to be tormented in fiery flames for all eternity—and no doubt, some say that with a “loving” smile on their face.
Perhaps the JW higher-ups teach their missionaries to continually smile as part of their “sales technique,” I don’t know. But it just seems to me that it indicates some kind of mental disconnect between what they are believing and how that manifests on their countenance.
In any event, I have one or two relatives who became JW’s. I have relatives who are still Roman Catholic. I have relatives who are evangelical (non-denominational, but close to Baptist beliefs). I love them all. And I truly felt compassion for the two elderly ladies at my door. As they left, I asked them if it would be alright if I prayed God to bless us all with a greater measure of His Truth. They agreed to that, and I said an extra prayer, silently, to protect the more frail one as I was concerned she could easily stumble going down my front porch steps.
I spent time on the JWs in this essay because they are modern Arians, in a sense, (more on the Arians next time), but more so, the members are blinded to the extent that they become willing, obedient and subservient slaves to just another arm of Religious Mystery Babylon, with backing by Financial Mystery Babylon. What a tragedy!
But the JWs are really not that much different from many other organizations which proclaim to be Christian, now are they? As I close this installment on the deity of Christ, fill in the blanks with other organizations/denominations which would fit the bill as cult-like, and/or part of Religious Mystery Babylon: _________, __________, _________,…_________,…oops, ran out of space (You do get the point, don’t you?)
(This series on The Divinity of Christ to be continued.)
Click here for part 1 of this series.