Where Else Can We Go?
a Witness asks an honest question of David Reed
I have pored over the many pages on your site, your books, I have seen at the Christian book store and at other places, and have also been to Randall Watters site many times at Free Minds. While it is true that looking at your site and others has informed me of a lot, I don't necessarily believe it has helped me. You have heard the statement "ignorance is
bliss," but I am not sure if that were the case in my situation. The reason being that I am more confused now than ever. Why? My thinking is, how could such a wonderful organization and group of people be guilty of so much wrong, as they are being accused? Could it be that they honestly believe the things they teach, and are not liars as you and others have suggested? I have read "Crisis of
Conscience," and was disturbed at some of the things I read. But one can't help but notice how one sided it was, and that to this date the Society has never published anything as to the events of 1980 at Bethel, nor have they published the events of your "apostasy" from your congregation. For example, Franz mentions how the Governing Body got witnesses of statements he made to testify on audio-cassette as to statements he made that they felt leaned toward apostate thinking. Yet Franz never wrote in his book what some of those things were that he said that provoked them to such a course of action. Could it not be said then, that Franz is simply appealing to the emotions of his readers, as if to get them to say 'What a travesty! Poor Brother Franz was not given a chance.'
And your situation: Did not the brothers meet many times with you to reason with you about your thinking? Weren't there many brothers that liked you and gave you the benefit of the doubt? Did you leave any details out in your books about what really happened? Weren't you holding 'secret' meetings in certain friends' homes to discuss the errors of Watchtower teaching and thinking, and eventually accusations mounted up against you? Were you openly calling the governing body liars?
Looking at things from my perspective, it's hard not to notice certain doctrinal flip-flops, as you call them, as well as certain 'expectations' that the organization leaders have had that have been imposed on the multitudes, and the disappointments that followed. Yet a course of negativity and criticism don't get one very far either. Didn't Carnegie, in his book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, outline that one of the first things you should never do is CRITICIZE, CONDEMN, and COMPLAIN? Those things are all negative, and that's what you, Franz, and Randall Watters have done, is stir up negative thinking in individuals looking for information, with no positive direction in site. It's hard to believe that three men, such as yourselves, were all great elders at one time, able to help a lot of people through spoken words of encouragement, and taking a personal interest in others. Word has it, David, that many people came into the truth through you. Yet, you became very publicly discontent, growing your hair long, a beard, and becoming very technical out in service as to how to keep track of one's time. And you openly questioned teachings that you accepted for years, not satisfied with your own decision, but had to upset the consciences of other people. While it is true that the organization and it's leaders have made many mistakes over the years, where should one go? Just accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, and everything will be great? I read the same Bible you do, and I know there's more to the matter than that. While I too feel discontent with a lot of things, where the belief in the organization is that a relationship with God and Christ only works if one is part of the organization, there always arises the question: Where does one go? Is life really so bad as one of Jehovah's Witnesses? If one doesn't really accept all the teachings of the Society, couldn't one just quietly remain a witness and keep his discontent to himself? While that would be a difficult thing to do, it would be a lot more difficult to openly contend with an organization that is not interest in the thinking and attitudes of those within it, except for the purpose of controlling them. The only result, as you know, is disfellowshipping, and what comes after that. You can be sure, that following your disfellowshipping, there were a lot more people that remembered you by name and related the events of your congregation and the horrible things that you did before being removed as both an elder and as a Witness, then you could remember by name and remember details about those individuals. Your name has a permanent stain in those organization. Do you think I want that for myself? When you left, you took your family with you. Do you think if I left, the same would happen to me? I would be all alone, and would lose everyone that is important to me. And even if I was willing to do that, I don't believe that I could ever be content with anything, religiously speaking, outside of the organization, because on top of seeing all the negative, I see all the good, and have not given up on the idea that somehow, in someway, God is using these people for some purpose, and I don't want to miss out on that. Whereas in Christendom, I can't help but notice all that is wrong about it. Are you just as critical about life outside the Watchtower as within it? In other words, the Society is very forgiving of their own mistakes, and critical of others. Do your criticisms of your church in Christendom come with the same fire as do your criticisms of Jehovah's Witnesses, the Watchtower Society, or your congregation that you used to go to in general? Do you believe that any of your friends in the truth, circuit overseers, district overseer when you were disfellowshipped, or fellow elders in that congregation in Brockton, did you any injustice when they tried you and removed you?
David Reed's Reply:
Thank you for your letter.
It is unfortunate that your contact with me has been largely limited to learning of negative things I have said or done in regard to the WT Society. There is much more to my life than that. Although I have spent time exposing the errors of Mormonism and of some local churches too, my walk with God is focused on positive things much more than negative. But I would be embarrassed to start listing things and saying, "Look at all the good things that I do." The negative things about the WT probably would carry more weight, anyway, in the minds of those whose whole world is encompassed by that organization.
Your zeal in defending God's truth (as you understand it now) will be rewarded, I confidently believe. Saul displayed similar zeal in defending Judaism, but later learned more when the risen Christ appeared to him. Jesus promises that he will reveal himself to those who love him and obey his commands. "Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him." (John 14:21 NIV) I believe that is the case of many in the JW organization, and in other churches, whose relationship has until now been focused more on the visible fellowship than on personally knowing God.
I encourage you to remain loyal to Jehovah God and Jesus Christ. If you can do that while remaining in the Watchtower organization, fine. But if not, and if you are ever forced to choose between the organization and God Himself, choose to obey God rather than men. That is the choice that faithful Jews made in Jesus' day, when the leaders of what had been Jehovah's organization at that time put Jesus on trial and executed him.
Always stay close to Jehovah in personal prayer, and ask for his help to know what is right and to do what is right. I am confident that he will answer your sincere prayers. When I faced a threat of being wrongly disfellowshipped at one point, a beloved District Overseer (who knew that I had done nothing wrong) told me to "always remember your personal relationship with Jehovah." He was right!
I know that the churches I have attended since then teach some false doctrine, and I tell them so to their faces! As the letters of the Apostles reveal, even in their day there were already false teachers gaining a foothold in many congregations. And real Christians must stand up against them. I have formally resigned positions and membership in more than one church, publicly focusing attention on errors, similar to exposing Watchtower errors.
Christian congregations have always had such problems. (See, for example, the congregations named in the first chapters of Revelation; also, the congregations Paul and Peter wrote to.) The important thing is personal loyalty to Jehovah and love for the brothers.
Discussing theology may help clarify matters in your own mind, though we won't see God clearly until we see face to face. "Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." (1 Corinthians 13:12, NIV)
Don't let yourself be discouraged. The most important answer is that an organization or a church can not save us, and our own goodness or good works can not save us; Jesus is the Savior, and God's arrangement is for us to put faith in His Son for salvation. When we put simple faith in Jesus and choose to follow Him as Lord, He saves us. The rest is a matter of Christian growth, which He also promises to help us through. "God, who began this good work in you, will carry it on until it is finished in the Day of Christ Jesus." (Phil.1:6,Today's English Version)
Sincerely in Christ,
David Reed at Comments From The Friends
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