"Dr." Firpo Carr, a Typical Watchtower Apologist
by Dr. Jerry Bergman
Firpo Carr is one of the newest self appointed Watchtower apologists. He has evidently so far survived the Watchtower's attempt to control religious publication by members. His recent self-published book on blacks and the Watchtower titled, A History of the Watchtower From a Black American Perspective tries to whitewash their embarrassing history of racism (for a review see Free Minds Journal 12 (2) 1993 p. 11). When Firpo and the author first made contact, it surprised me that he appeared to be unaware of much of the important research on blacks and the Witnesses. I offered to send him some of my research which he acknowledged in his book. When I sent him this material, he stated he was going to have to rewrite his book because much of my material was new to him. He also said he would send me a copy of his book in appreciation for the material I sent him. He quoted my material approvingly on page 4 and 189, and used sections of it elsewhere.
Given that the Watchtower does not appreciate my work and would likely cause problems for Firpo if they knew he was associating with me, the only way he could use my work would be to claim that I misrepresented myself to him. This he did: on page 189 of his book he stated that I "voluntarily contacted" him, then claims I did not give him "a full disclosure" of my religious status. This claim would exonerate him from problems with the Watchtower for associating with me because it would not be his fault if I misrepresented my status and implied that I was never a Witness. Interestingly, if I cannot be trusted, why would he approvingly use much of my material? He not only used long quotes but also relied on many of the articles that I sent him. He even stated my material was "accurate."
As I recall the conversation now, he asked if I was disfellowshipped--and I stated "No." (which is true). A charitable interpretation of this event is, that he understood my response to mean that I was never a Witness when it could have just as well been understood to mean that I was a Witness in good standing. I will give Carr the benefit of the doubt and assume I was misunderstood. If so, he should have contacted me to clarify the matter. He claims to follow the Scriptures but grossly ignored Matt. 18 in my case. Of course, he could not apply Matt. 18 in this case because it would not serve his purpose.
Anyone who is even remotely familiar with my work would know that I was once very active in the Witness movement. This is even obvious from the material that I sent to Mr. Carr.
Unfortunately, Carr's accuracy leaves much to be desired--he inaccurately claimed that I identified myself as "a psychologist and historian." I manifestly do not identify myself as either, but as a researcher and a college professor. I have written extensively about psychology and have much background, a degree in this area and am licensed in the state of Ohio as an L.P.C.C. Consequently, occasionally others may have identified me by one of these titles because of the area in which I often publish. What possible reason would there be for me to hide my Witness background in these exchanges? Conversely, a very good reason exists for Firpo Carr to be concerned about our exchanges because they could cause him to be disfellowshipped (a concern that he expressed to me on more then one occasion on the phone).
Carr even concludes that I "deliberately lied and deceived" him because I am "an unscrupulous white man working under false pretenses, to take advantage of the truthfulness of an unsuspecting black man; an all too familiar theme as many blacks see it." This response is ludicrous because it implies that my "deception" is due to hatred of blacks. This conclusion is foolish in view of the information which I sent Mr. Carr and even my quotes that he published. Other statements which he makes that are totally erroneous include his claim that the "anti-Witness network is well organized" which it is anything but, and that I "attempted to give the impression" that I did not "personally know [Dr. Jim] Penton." Again, he should apply Matt. 18.
Carr then proceeded to attack all ex-Witnesses including Ray Franz and Ed Dunlap, concluding that "their most notable signature is a web of deception." What this "web of deception" is was not stated. Considering the Watchtower's history of the use of "theocratic warfare," Carr's terminology is not unexpected.
Will Firpo Carr be disfellowshipped?
Firpo Carr makes many claims about others but freely name-calls with a wide brush, consequently digging his own grave by what he says. The easiest way to respond to information that one cannot deal with is simply to name call the source--and the source is then simply disregarded. One of his many ethical violations is misleading use of his credentials: his Ph.D. is from a "Pacific Western University," an unaccredited school that is little more than a diploma mill.
If one can prove a critic wrong, present the facts and do so. Those who cannot often utilize name-calling. Firpo Carr obviously cannot, so to try to discredit those he disagrees with name-calls by use of expressions such as "half-truths, lies, cunning, deceit, and subterfuge." If his claim was valid he should give specific examples to prove his point instead of the irresponsible frequent name-calling that he utilizes. Carr's book has motivated me to do a lot more digging into the history of the Watchtower Society's treatment of blacks and I have found quite a different story than I first assumed was true.
Much of what I assumed was valid was actually the Watchtower's distorted party line. My research has resulted in a paper which reveals in detail the incredible racism in the Watchtower's history. I have learned much since he first called me and no longer feel the same way about several things, partly due to Carr's response. I now believe the Watchtower is indeed a religion of hate. The Watchtower's and many of their follower's primary response to critics is to irresponsibly lash out against the messenger because they cannot appropriately respond to their concerns. As Randy Watters said, "perhaps Carr needs a second book to correct the incredible fantasies in his first one, if the Watchtower doesn't disfellowship him first." (1993 p. 11)
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