Welcome to where you can get biblical advice and counsel on anything and everything related to Jehovah's Witnesses. [...Continue]

Replies Will Appear on the Front Page
Or email us using the form below on the sidebar. ↘

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

ShunnedUnbaptized: Should I be Shunned Though Unbaptized

ShunnedUnbaptized Wrote [February 23, 2019 at 9:35 PM]:
I agree [with your JWs Understood video] that shunning is not unique to Jehovah's Witnesses and that [it] is rather common and most people have shunned someone in their lives. I also agree that not all shunning need be destructive and can in fact have a pro-social function. Furthermore, I agree that every individual has the right to shun those who make them uncomfortable in any way; in fact, I would go even further than you and say that they have a right to shun for any reason, even if the reason is one that most would consider bigoted or irrational (such as shunning someone because of their race or nationality). 
Just to be clear: I do not meet either your own or the Society's definition of an apostate. I was raised a Jehovah's Witness, but I was never baptized and it is not my intention to convince anyone to disavow their religious beliefs. 
With that out of the way I want to ask about something you didn't seem to address in your video. 
My question is this: what if [] the person being shunned was not a baptized JW when they committed the shun-worthy offense? Should an unbaptized publisher be held up to the same standards as a baptized one and shunned if they fall short? And what if the offense in question was nothing more than openly disagreeing with some of the Watchtower Society's teachings - not embarking on a campaign to persuade others to leave the organization and not disagreeing in a hateful or obnoxious manner - but simply expressing a dissenting opinion? Do JWs have an obligation to shun such a one? Note that I am not asking whether an individual JW can privately choose to shun such a disbeliever; what I want to know is if shunning those who respectfully disagree with some of the Society's teachings - yet who are not actively trying to convince anyone to abandon those beliefs - is mandatory or is it a matter for an individual's conscience? Would a JW be disfellowshipped or even disciplined for continuing to associate with such a one? 
In asking these questions be assured that I am not trying to trap you or spark a debate. I really do just want a straight answer. As I said before, I was raised a JW but I was not disfellowshipped nor did I send in a letter of disassociation. I was an unbaptized publisher who, after much Bible study, decided I disagreed with some of the Watchtower Society's doctrines. Initially, the only ones who were aware of my heretical ideas were my friends and my mother; but then my mother reported me to the elders. I was also accused, by my mother, of trafficking with demons and practicing witchcraft - charges I pleaded innocent to. In any case I did not commit fornication or steal or take recreational drugs; I only expressed disagreement and now I am being shunned by people I've known since childhood - those who are like family to me. I have not rejected them or Jehovah's Witnesses as a whole, but they seem to have rejected me. I need to know if they are shunning me to express personal disapproval or just doing what they must to avoid being shunned themselves? I would like ask them, but since they will not talk to me, I am asking you. 
I realize that you are not a member of the governing body, so I'm not asking for your opinion. But you do seem to be well-informed and, since my situation is not unique, I'm fairly certain the Watchtower Society does have a policy that would apply to a case like mine.

JW Advisor: We appreciate your coming to us. We are glad to be able to address this for you.

First, to “openly disagreeing” to those in the congregation, especially while a meeting is in progress is very serious. We do not do it to those of other religions, and we do not need such dissension being infused into our membership. We believe it to be the very highest responsibility to keep the congregation clean of dissension so that the congregation may not be found divided. (1 Corinthians 1:10) If a person does not agree with us, they are free to worship elsewhere. That said, I would assume that you have not sought to spread your contrary ideas to others, but only expressed them to your personal Bible teacher, which is your mother, correct? That said, we have the freedom to address your post publicly for the very reason that such is not restricted and nothing in your message is overtly objectionable. As long as you do not seek to sow dissent by spreading your ideas in the congregation, then the following applies.

According to our literature, shunning is not required toward an unbaptized person whose beliefs diverge from ours. The only restriction on that person is that they not be allowed to participate in the ministry. As long as they do not state contrary beliefs in the meeting, their comments should not be restricted.

It may be that your mother and perhaps the elders could stand to receive a refresher on this subject. I recommend that you ask them to review the subject in our publications. Do not tell them what the publications say. Just ask them to review the subject of disfellowshipping in the Publications Index in regard to unbaptized publishers. Then give them a couple of weeks to do so. If they still have not, direct them to the November 15, 1988 Watchtower, pp. 18, 19, pars. 16-19. There they will find these statements:

“Occasionally, an unbaptized publisher who is a wrongdoer will not respond to loving assistance. Or an unbaptized publisher may determine that he does not want to continue progressing toward baptism, and he informs the elders that he does not want to be recognized as a publisher. What is to be done? Disfellowshipping action is not taken regarding such ones who actually have not become approved by God. The arrangement of disfellowshipping unrepentant wrongdoers applies to those ‘called brothers,’ to baptized ones. (1 Corinthians 5:11) Does this mean, though, that the wrongdoing is ignored? No.

“The elders are responsible to ‘shepherd the flock of God in their care.’ (1 Peter 5:2) If two elders offering help determine that an unbaptized wrongdoer is unrepentant and unqualified to be a publisher, they will inform the individual.* [* If the individual is dissatisfied with this conclusion, he may request (within seven days) to have the matter reviewed.] Or if some unbaptized one tells the elders that he no longer wishes to be recognized as a publisher, they will accept his decision. In either case, it is appropriate for the Congregation Service Committee to have a simple announcement made at an appropriate time, saying ‘ . . . is no longer a publisher of the good news.’

“How will Witnesses thereafter view the person? Well, at an earlier point he was an ‘unbeliever’ attending meetings. Then he both wanted to be and qualified to be a publisher of the good news. This is no longer the case, so he again is a person of the world. The Bible does not require that Witnesses avoid speaking with him, for he is not disfellowshipped.* [* Previously, unbaptized ones who unrepentantly sinned were completely avoided. While, as adjusted above, this is not required, the counsel at 1 Corinthians 15:33 should still be observed.] Still, Christians will exercise caution with regard to such a person of the world who is not worshiping Jehovah, even as Israelites did regarding uncircumcised alien settlers. This caution helps to protect the congregation from any “little leaven,” or corrupting element. (1 Corinthians 5:6) If at some later time he expresses a genuine desire for a Bible study to be held with him, and this seems in order to the elders, perhaps it will help him come to appreciate again what a privilege it is to worship Jehovah with His people.​—Psalm 100.

“If the elders see that a certain person of this sort is an unusual threat to the flock, they can privately warn those endangered. For example, the former publisher may be a youth who has given in to drunkenness or immorality. Despite the announcement that he is no longer an unbaptized publisher, he might attempt to socialize with youths in the congregation. In that situation, the elders would speak privately to the parents of the endangered ones, and maybe to those youths also. (Hebrews 12:15, 16; Acts 20:28-30)”

This information is also treated in brief in the book Organized to Do Jehovah’s Will, pp. 144, 145.

As you can see (and so will they), members are only being asked to exercise caution. But it is also necessary for you yourself to remember that each person will exercise this counsel according to their own conscience. Do not hold it against them if, even after being informed of these clarifications, they continue to choose to avoid you. “But let each one examine his own actions, and then he will have cause for rejoicing in regard to himself alone, and not in comparison with the other person for each one will carry his own load.” (Gal 6:,4 5)

If you are below the age of emancipation and under your mother’s care, or of age but required to come to meetings while under your mother’s roof (Which some require), then simply endure it for now. As for your mother, she may not have the tools necessary to treat you more lovingly, but not because she doesn’t love you, but simply doesn’t know better.

For some, it takes many years in the truth to learn how to respond appropriately, and for a few, they might not learn at all through their time in the truth because they never learned to apply it in their heart. The same situation existed in the first century congregation. Personally, it took me around 18 years in the truth before I learned how to be loving, and even then it has been a gradual improvement. Each one of us is different with different limitations. So don’t hold it against them. Also, each congregation has its own personality and things to work on.

Another avenue, if the situation were to persist unaddressed by the elders after you bring the matter to them and give two to three months to resolve the situation while requesting updates, is to address the issue with that congregation’s circuit overseer, the traveling representative who visits from time to time.

The reason it can take a while is that it takes time for the elders to discuss the matter in elders meetings, decide on a course of action and schedule appropriate talks, if necessary. This may seem like a long time to endure such a situation, but once behind you, and some time has passed, it will seem a simple trifle, especially if you endure it prayerfully and do not preoccupy your mind with it, but leave it in Jehovah’s hands. As long as you do these things exactly as we are recommending, and you are patient, you will find that the situation will resolve satisfactorily.

If you would be amenable to it, I would be glad to address some of your differences of opinion and see if I can help you understand the subjects better. You may contact us by email using the contact form on the sidebar to the right.

We hope this helps your situation. As a whole, Jehovah’s Witnesses do not, and should not want to make anyone feel uncomfortable. Even with disfellowshipped ones, it is not our goal to make the situation more uncomfortable than what the Scriptures require. In all things, even shunning, love should be our goal.

Monday, February 18, 2019

JW Advisor: How Do I Address Gender Identity in My Ministry?

JW Advisor: This is a personal question that has been coming to mind. I am addressing it here because it has not yet been addressed in our publications.

It is fairly obvious that the new ultra-feminism that has taken over in the entertainment industry and politics is a very small, but extremely vocal minority that is seeking to get the rest of the world to conform to their way. God’s people, however, do not conform to the world’s ways that conflict with Jehovah’s righteous standards. (1 John 2:15; James 4:4) That said, we still respect the right of individuals in this world to hold their own beliefs. So how do we address gender identity if someone asks us to refer to them by a specific gender pronoun that defies God’s two-gender arrangement?

Why Does It Matter?

The matter of gender choice is a fundamental one. To claim the right to choose one’s gender defies the arrangement put into place by Jehovah God himself. (Matthew 19:4, 5) To claim to be female when a person is actually male or visa versa is also dishonest, a deception. It is even described as offensive to Jehovah (Deuteronomy 22:5) To claim oneself to be a “non-binary” gender of one kind or other is also a deception.

What this issue raises is a matter of sexual morality. When a person says, “I am of such-and-such gender” to mean something other than their genetic gender, they are referring to their sexual preference. If that sexual preference is anything other than the opposite genetic binary gender, then they are referring to immoral sexual relations or no sexual relations at all. There, of course, is no issue with abstaining from sex, but sexual relations with anyone or anything other than a sexually mature human person of the opposite sex to whom you are legally married is against the natural order set in place by God, (Leviticus 18:6-23; Acts 15:28, 29) so a Christian loyal to Jehovah would not adopt that way of thinking.

Their New “Name”

It is okay to call a person by any name by which they seek to be called, regardless of whether it sounds contrary to their actual gender as long as the name does not promote immorality. That would be the same as if someone changed their legal name or wants us to call them by their nickname. (Genesis 17:5; Daniel 1:7)

If this makes you uncomfortable, just remember that names that are often identified as masculine or feminine do not always make clear the person’s gender. Both men and women are named “Tracey” or nicknamed “Sam” for example. So we can call them by that name without violating the principle as long as our pattern of speech does not conform to worldly ways. Though if it still makes you feel uncomfortable, you might call them by a nickname that you can both be comfortable with, such as calling a transgender person who identifies as “Susan” as “San” or “Sans”.

How to Handle Requests for Gender Identity

First, we should never compromise Jehovah’s standards by conforming to any unscriptural worldly norms, including gender choice, even if the law of men requires it. (Acts 5:29) In whatever way the discussion progresses, never allow yourself to be heated up. Stay calm and at peace. We should also avoid broaching the subject ourselves, as it is very contentious. Let the person you are speaking to be the one to bring it up. If you live in a country where it is legally required to ask for gender pronouns from everyone you meet, such as Canada, you may do so and then proceed to refer to them by gender-neutral pronouns.

Any time a person asks you to identify them with a specific pronoun, you may say, “Thank you for letting me know.” Then, any time you refer to them in a way that would normally use a gender-specific pronoun, you may either call them by their name or use neutral pronouns like “they”, them”, “their” and “this person”. This is the same for those who have undergone so-called “gender reassignment surgery” or who erroneously identify as an “hermaphrodite” because of undifferentiated genitalia or have breasts along with male genitalia.

The use of neutral pronouns have been used for gender-fluid grammar from mankind’s beginning. It exists in almost every language. Though, while in English neutral pronouns are expressed by plural pronouns, in some languages, the male pronoun is used to indicate neutral gender, and in others female pronouns are used. Whatever pronouns represent the neutral gender in the language you are speaking, use those pronouns in order to minimize offense. If you are asked what pronouns you wish to be called by, simply say “male pronouns” or “female pronouns”. There is no need to get more specific than that.

Handling Objections

If someone gets offended by your always referring to them with neutral pronouns or their name, assure them that you respect their choice not to identify by non-binary pronouns, then ask them to respect your beliefs and explain that you are compromising as far as your beliefs allow by referring to the person by neutral pronouns or their preferred name. Assure them also, that their beliefs are not a hindrance to your talking to them lovingly and respectfully.

If their objection continues, try giving them an appropriate illustration, such as, “When two people love and respect each other, they do not expect the other person to do what that person does not want to do. For example, if there is love, one person will not try to force the other person to have sexual intercourse. Instead, they respect the other person’s autonomy and right to choose for their self how they will conduct their self. If the first person expresses a desire for sexual intercourse, the other person may be flattered, indifferent or offended, but they respect that they were not forced to conform to the other person’s desires. If that is so in the big things, such as sexual intercourse, then it should also be in other things, such as personal beliefs. Would you not agree that personal autonomy is every person’s right?”

However, that might not always work. The modern ultra-feminist movement was born out of socialist ideals in which personal freedoms may be required to be sacrificed for the supposed larger community or so-called “greater good”. So they may object to the above illustration on those grounds and insist that you conform to their law. But do not get into a political debate. There is never any need to mention the political origins of any belief, nor should we seek to convince them that they are wrong. Nothing good ever comes from such debate. And most importantly, stay humble, do not act morally superior or appear as though you have the moral high ground. All of us are sinners and constantly in need of Jesus’ ransom.

You may demonstrate the point in the above illustration by saying, “I respect your right to your beliefs.” Then you might say, “I am awaiting the fulfillment of a promise that the earth will one day be free of wars and personal aggressions, and all people will seek peace with one another. Would you mind if I show you that promise in the Bible?” Feel free to use any subject to divert the discussion in order to find common ground. But sometimes that will be impossible and you just have to accept it and move on.

A Wearisome Vocabulary

The vocabulary that the public is being unreasonably asked to adopt in relation to gender choice is extensive and growing frequently. A Christian does not need to burden their self with memorizing any such terms. To do so is not a wise use of one's time and energy. (Eph 5:15-17)

The Pharisees in Jesus' day were steeped in specialized terminology, and it led to their feeling elitely special for their knowing things others do not. (1Co 8:1) This in turn led to an attitude of disdain for anyone who was not likewise trained. (John 7:49)

Regarding the learning of this sort, the congregator wrote: "The words of the wise are like oxgoads, and their collected sayings are like firmly embedded nails; they have been given from one shepherd. As for anything besides these, my son, be warned: To the making of many books there is no end, and much devotion to them is wearisome to the flesh."—Ecclesiastes 12:11, 12

This means that the Scriptures contain all we need for our understanding. To devote ourselves to anything more is "wearisome to the flesh." So be kind to yourself and spare yourself the concern over tedious matters that are unrelated and contrary to spiritual things.

Instructing Students

If the time comes to address the subject with a student after they have demonstrated a love of God’s word and are progressing in the truth, it may be addressed peacefully by drawing them out to express their love for God and his written word and their trust in it. Once they have expressed those sentiments without undue influence, it will be easier to help them to reason on Genesis 1:27. You may also share with them Genesis 2:24 and Matthew 19:4, 5. A Scripture that will help a student to understand the gravity of this truth is Numbers 23:19 and Titus 1:2. To suggest that one can choose their gender identity is against the one who made them to have that identity from conception. (Romans 3:4)

If a person wishes to become one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, but refuses to give up ideas of gender choice beyond the binary arrangement put in place by God and inviolably enforced by human genetics by his design, they should not qualify for baptism.

Discipline

Anyone who adopts the belief in gender choice after baptism may be restricted from privileges in the congregation and even the ministry on the basis of their permissiveness toward sexual immorality. If they try to promote such a view by word or conduct, then they may be seen as dissident to the peace of the congregation and appropriate action may be taken by their local body of elders to secure the peace in the Christian congregation. (Romans 16:17, 18)

Helpful Links

The following articles may be helpful toward understanding this subject:

The Bible’s Viewpoint: Alternative Life-Styles​—Does God Approve?, October 8, 2003 Awake!, pp. 13-15

Failure of the "Gay Gene" Argument

Sunday, November 19, 2017

I Had a Vision: Is it Impossible?

    Note: The following email exchange is a demonstration of the attitude each of us should have towards anyone claiming to be anointed or have visions. Since it is not our experience, there is no way that we can know anything for certain except if we see clear signs of demonization or extreme mental illness. We can discuss the Scriptures with them about these issues, but only that individual gets to decide what the facts are for theirself. We can have our own view, but we must let them have theirs and not try to convince them otherwise because it is not our place.

I had a vision wrote [November 10, 2017, 10:40 pm]:
    I had a vision of seeing Jesus Christ, I could describe his look and appearance in detail but I won't do it here. I had this vision and received a brotherly love and was according to my experience adopted as a son of God and Brother of Jesus - followed by a strong sensation of burning within and a voice saying "I sanctify you". I am not baptised a JW, but i am studying. I feel very close to Jehovah and everything about the organisation seem correct, except that my teacher believes my vision and any form of modern vision is of the devil. I have a very hard time approaching for baptism because of this experience, not because of the experience but because it seems like the organisation rejects it as a direct false vision sent from satan the devil. The experience changed me as a man. I have also experienced being lifted up from my bed by angels and i also hear Jesus voice some times. Jesus is young according to my experience, not a old man.
    My sincere question is: what is the official belief of the organisation? Is it impossible for someone to have experienced what i recognise as the "christian greek text" experience? Sanctified, in fire of the holy spirit, with the speaking in thounges (I do not speak in thounges now but i did when the experience occured) and I do not know what the spirit spoke through my thounge. What is the organisation's view on this subject. Is it true that the Watchtower once said Rutherford or someone else in the early days had a "flash of the Heavenly throne" and stopped having beard and was clean shaven after the experience?
    As I stated, I have a hard time approaching the baptism now because the JW's says it is impossible to have any of these early Christian experiences in our day.
    Grateful for any answer. thank you.

JW Advisor: Thank you, "I had a vision" for contacting us with your concern. There is much to say that I think you will find comforting.

The organization has stated in our publications that we are not responsible for determining whether someone else, even our own Bible student, is anointed or not. (1 John 2:27) That is up to the student. All that matters is that the student is convinced of their anointing and fully understands what it means.

Variety of Anointings

The Scriptures show that there is no one way to receive an anointing. Those in the upper room on Pentacost 33 CE heard a rushing breeze and received tongues of fire above their heads and began speaking in tongues. (Acts 2:1-4) Paul was one of only 3 people recorded to have received a vision of Jesus, (The other two being Stephen and the apostle John; Acts 7:55, 56; Re 1:1; 5:6-14) but he did not receive his anointing until later, (Acts 9:17-19) but he did not recieve the gift of tongues. Others received their anointing by the laying on of hands. (Acts 8:14-17) Still others have received their anointing at their baptism with no dramatic effects. (Acts 8:36-38) Some of these received their anointing before or after baptism. (Acts 10:44-48) A full understanding of the Scriptures does not appear to have been a requirement of that anointing.

Having Visions is not Indulging in Dreams

It is not the having of visions that the Bible speaks against. It is indulging in dreams that Paul warned against. (Jude 8) What this means is that some try to interpret every dream to guide their lives. This is a form of divination, which is condemned in the Bible. (Deuteronomy 18:10) But visions, on the other hand, have a clear spiritual component, usually involving angels or the appearance of Christ or a visual representation of Jehovah on his throne or an angelic voice, or even the voice of Jehovah. So clearly what you experienced does qualify as a vision and it should not be seen as indulging in dreams. For a discussion of visions, see Insight on the Scriptures, vol 2, pp. 1158-1160. You can also do additional research using the publications index on your own copy of the Watchtower Library on PC.

[Also, what Paul said was done away with at 1 Corinthians 13:8 was specificaly the spiritual gifts of prophecy, tongues and divinely inspired knowledge, not visions. Those gifts have a particular divine element meant to be shared publically. Personal non-prophetic visions meant for an individual were not specified, therefore we cannot speak with any certainty about them without them being a common shared experience.]

Speaking in a Foreign Language by Spirit

But there is something you need to understand about speaking in tongues: the speaker understands what they are saying, even being able to converse back and forth in the language spoken, they simply speak them in another language. If you read 2 Corinthians 14:13-19, you will see that speaking in tongues does not leave the mind inactive, and thus engages the mind. What one speaks in a tongue, they speak from their heart. The spirit merely causes them to speak it in a foreign language.

Tongues, (speaking in an existing foreign language,) are for others to hear in their own language. (Acts 2:7-11) If there is no one to hear and understand what is said, then speaking in the tongue is absolutely pointless. (1 Corinthians 14:7-12) Speaking in tongues was not for identifying ones as anointed, but for showing the transfer of God's favor from the physical Jewish nation who rejected the Christ to the spiritual Christian congregation who accepted the Christ through faith. It also facilitated the preaching of the good news. (1 Corinthians 14:21, 22) These are things not needed today. (1 Corinthians 12:8-12)

Levitation Not in the Bible

Also, there is not one single case of levitation in the Bible other than Jesus being lifted up into the clouds. Such has only ever been associated with demon attacks, particularly in people's beds, or with epilepsy or simple euphoria caused by blood pooling in a particular part of the brain, leading to visions, babeling and feelings of levitation.

Stating vile things in a foreign tongue has also been associated with demon attacks. But at the same time, I will not label your experience as demonic or in any way not coming from Jehovah's holy spirit. If you were demonized, it would be clearly evident. But you wrote well and with good words and in a lowly way. But if you have ever had an epileptic attack, then that is the most likely culprit, but I will not pretend to know. [Only you can be certain of that.]

The Unforgiveable Sin

Jesus warned the Pharisees not to falsely attribute acts of the spirit to demons in fear that they should commit the unforgiveable sin. Thus, if there is no clear evidence of demonic influence, such as leading people away from Jehovah God, particularly with apostate sayings or speaking in demonuc tones, then there is no reason to assume that you are in any way demonized. (Deuteronomy 13:1-3)

If you are aware that it is demons, epilepsy or some other cause, but attribute it to the spirit, after I have made you aware of this, you would become liable to everlasting judgment. But if what has happened to you is from Jehovah's holy spirit and I or anyone else were to attribute it to demons or epilepsy after you or anyone warn them not to, they would also become liable to everlasting judgment. For that reason, you should keep your experience under wraps, revealing it only to those with a right to know.

Satan could use your experience as a means to corrupt you away from God or decieve others into believing you are demonized or that Jehovah's Witnesses entertain demons, thus leading them to commit the unforgiveable sin or driving them away from Jehovah. Certainly for most, such a thing is beyond their experience and they might come to conclusions about you personally. So be discreet. At the same time, those who do know should themselves be discreet and not make any assumptions regarding it. [I post it here only to show that it is not anyone's place to judge who does not know.]

Counsel

Thus, your Bible teacher is wrong for telling you otherwise. You can direct your Bible teacher to read the January, 2016 Watchtower, pp. 18-19, pars. 5, 6, and 10, for understanding this. You would do well to study that whole article yourself.

If you think you need to be sure that you are not being deceived by demons, the Live Forever book had the most comprehensive advice on p. 96, pars 17-19. If you want to be more sure, you can also let the elders know about your experience, making these issues clear to them and ask them to pray over you. But there is also nothing wrong with simply being convicted in your experience. Jehovah did something spectacular for me that he did for someone in the Bible, which no one would believe if I told them, so I keep it to myself.

Guard Against Apostasy

But always be aware that your experience in no way protects you from becoming apostate. Thus always keep a lowly frame of mind and do not believe that your experience in any way entitles you to special privileges within Jehovah's organization. You have to earn those privileges like anyone else.

However, your experience does obligate you to live up to that calling and thus privileges are likely to come as you demonstrate your calling. From that day forward, you became responsible for striving to preach the word without let up. You must live up to your calling if you wish to receive the reward of becoming a king and priest in heaven as one of Christ's brothers, having received the adoption of a son of God. You must keep yourself holy and unblemished from the world and prove yourself worthy of the calling. Most of the other sheep do not have witness born to them through holy spirit, so that witness from the spirit gives anointed ones a greater obligation.

The thing that distinguishes the heavenly calling from the earthly hope is their understanding of the spiritual resurrection. Someone with the earthly hope envisions earthly surroundings, but the one with the heavemly hope comprehends a heavenly existence and their weighty responsibility as a king-priest over the earth. (1 Cotinthians 11:27-31; 15:35-57; Eph 2:6; Heb 6:4; 12:22)

May Jehovah guide you and protect you and grant you peace and everlasting life through Jesus Christ. [November 11, 2017, 6:26 am]

Did this reply help? [November 15, 2017, 3:33 am]


I had a vision wrote [November 16, 2017, 6:19 am]:
    Hello, yes it helped. I go to meetings now. I will be baptised.

JW Advisor: Glad to hear it. May Jehovah bless you. [November 17, 2017, 12:15 am]

JW Advisor [Addendum]: The anointed are under obligation to spearhead the preaching work and to assist in spreading the message to the entire world as part of their qualification as king-priests. If they do not expend themselves in the work, they may fail to qualify for their calling. (1Corinthians 9:24-27) It is unknown what happens if one fails to qualify, but we can be certain Jehovah is not unjust in dealing with them. It is reasonable to conclude that they simply default to the earthly calling.

Also, one should avoid presumptuously claiming to be anointed if they do not have the witness borne to them by spirit. (Proverbs 21:24) Such may result in their losing out on salvation. (Compare 2 Samuel 16-18; 1 Kings 1) [December 23, 2017, 3:52 am]

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

We Are Here

We would like to assure our visitors to this site that we are still here and have been handling many of our correspondences behind the scenes as they are either of an extremely delicate matter or involve some congregational matters that we think may be contrary to the peace of the organization to deal with publically. Our goal is to be discreet.

We have handled a certain number of such correspondences and noticed a recent reduction in such. Be assured that even though we have not posted any responses publically in a while, we do respond to all correspondences that are not clearly bait by an apostate.

If you have an issue of a personal nature that you do not feel comfortable addressing with friends or elders, let us help you. Even if you have received advice from someone, but need another opinion, we are here. (Pr 15:22) Of course, no need to dredge up a problem where there is none. Be discerning.

Also, remember, we do not handle questions about the Bible. They do not qualify as being of a personal nature. That is the most common request that we turn down. Our time is limited, so we cannot field such questions. The organization encourages doing your own research. This is a site for advice, not Bible study.

Sincerely,
JW Advisor

A few replies we have received for our advice behind the scenes include:

DrumBeat wrote: Thanks brothers for reshaping my thinking. May Jehovah continue to grant you His wisdom.

SingledOut wrote: Beautiful response JW Advisor...! ;)

Thank you

I appreciated when you said...it is a matter of making an adjustment to accommodate the circumstances, as no sin is being committed that is in your power to correct..that's good

. . .

I also liked it when you suggested that I apply the council in proverbs 10:17. That's a good verse to remember.

All I want to be is a promoter of peace in the congregation. That's why I'll try your recommendation . . .

Thanks for everything JW Advisor. I'm really happy to be part of this organization where there are brothers like you two that try their best to help others to remain firmly set in this truth.

You're the best!

. . .

Keep well brothers
Agape

FamilyConcern wrote: Thanks for the straight forward advice. You remind me of what my father used to say. He likes to say it like it is. He used to say "straight talk is no insult."

And I must say, after I applied what you suggested...I get it. I really understand. . . . After going through the cross-references, I just sat and smiled in my truck. The people that work with me asked why I am smiling alone like that and I just told them: "I GET IT." :)

Thank you

Monday, August 14, 2017

HoldingBack: How Can I Open Myself Up for Serving as an Elder More?

HoldingBack wrote [August 14, 2017, 9:33 AM]:
Something's been on my mind, unresolved, for about 10 years. Truth is, I love the truth, but I've been holding back from giving Jehovah my all. What I mean is, that I can open myself up for serving as an elder more than I have.
I really want to. But I fear being disappointed like some have in the past, and getting discouraged. You know? Some brothers, like a long time elder in my hall, just stopped one day. He disappeared for several months, and came back later on. He's doing fine now, but has no desire to really resume his service.
I just want some help in getting over that feeling. I cannot seem to truly get over it. Some weeks I am fine, others, this creeps up, man, and I hate it.

JW Advisor: The key is to stop thinking about the negativity. You are not them. Elders are just members who have stepped into a position to help the congregation.

In that position, you can come across many issues unique to being an elder. But a few of the biggest issues will be strong personalities that may seem to make it hard to get something done. Another is that you yourself might try insisting on certain things and find yourself marginalized. And then the Roberts Rules of Order (RRO) may make progress slow in your eyes. And finally, seeing the decision-making and policies at work might make you uncomfortable at times. You might even find yourself afraid of speaking up for fear of ostricism or fear of being seen as a trouble-maker.

Those are all common complaints in the RRO meeting format in all meeting rooms. So just expect things like that, recognizing that it is just a matter of dealing with flawed people in a flawed process and that you yourself are flawed.

But the way past the fear is to calculate whether you have the time to do it, then just put your hat in the ring without thinking about it. Just switch your brain off when it would stop you from doing what you feel you need to do and then do it.

Do not calculate anything non-essential into your time considerations. Personal pursuits are not so important as serving as an elder. The organization needs all the elders it can get. [August 4, 2017, 10:09 AM]

HoldingBack wrote [August 14, 2017, 10:23 PM]:
You know what that's a good point. My wife and I have had discussions about me serving as such. She is in full support, and I do think I have the time, and I have the desire. I do want to help the organization. That's all I really want to do. I've had the desire since I was old enough to read. It's been a long time.
Since you put it like that, I think it's really the fear of imperfection dealing with imperfect people in an imperfect system. I really haven't prayed to Jehovah about it, in deep detail like that. 
This has given me something to think about, and pray about. You're right, I am not them. And I don't need to be thinking about them in that fashion.
You know something? I guess that helps governing body members to get through their responsibilities. I cannot imagine all the stuff that may cross their plate on a Wednesday when they meet.

JW Advisor: The key to patience in those situations is to remain detatched during any decision-making process or any situation that is potentially volatile. I make myself into the one rising above it, but more as the impartial arbiter with no horse in the race, as they say. That puts me in the frame of mind to ask the right questions and guide the discussion toward a conclusion that all can live with.

If a challenge or insult occurs, I recognize that they don't mean it and carry on as if it was not even said. That generally causes the person to think about what they said, letting the silence flog them, so-to-speak, but not in a way that embarasses them any more than they may already be embarassed by it. It is important to help them keep as much of their dignity as they can salvage out of love. [August 14, 2017, 10:40 PM]

HoldingBack wrote [August 14, 2017, 10:43 PM]
Yeah. Perhaps taking things personal can have a negative effect. The point you made about "strong personalities" had me thinking. It's entirely possible to detach ourselves in the sense too, that we recognize why we are here. For example, we have office meetings about how we are going to handle issues, and realizing that a suggestion is best for everyone, and not me only, can help deal with that.
This was a very encouraging discussion. Thank you for your [] suggestions bro. . . . What I need to do now today is make sure i pray about it, in detail, and accept the help that I'm given.

JW Advisor: We're glad to help. [August 14, 2017, 10:45 PM]
Compatible with the most popular browsers: Google, Firefox and IE. If you are having trouble reading this site in your browser, call your browser's company and complain, like really, really sincerely and stuff. Reaching 90% of all browsers is enough.