|Apostasy Knocks At Bethel's
A Look at "The Report"
The first of many dissenters to challenge the mother organization
I had heard about "The 'Report'" a few months ago. It was a book that was somehow making its way into a lot of bookstores, a rather unusual phenomena for a self-published work. Someone was spending a lot of time and effort to get this message out. After a proponent of the book (which is now printed in three volumes, and in spite of the web site teaser must be purchased for $12.95 each) joined our Internet mail list, I decided to do a report on "The 'Report'." Surfing on over to their website at www.the-report.com/overview.htm I read the following:
Overview of The Report
MY colleagues and I are pleased that you are interested in reading the document we call THE "REPORT." We feel sure that you will find this particular information quite beneficial and enlightening as one who "thirsts for truth and righteousness." (Matthew 5:6) In fact, the following material, we think, will help you identify modern-day "Israel" of Bible prophecy, ~ whom we believe to be Jehovah's Witnesses as a nation. But you must be thinking at this point:
What would make a rational individual think that this small, obscure, and seemingly, odd family of about five million people, scattered throughout the earth, could in any way represent the nation of "Israel," of Bible prophecy? 1
"Ah, it looks like defectors from the Watchtower, who still haven't completed their homework," I thought. Not that I condemn a person for still holding on to organizational ideas, as most of us can remember how long it took us to get free of their selective indoctrination. It takes a few years unless the person is especially studious and has a good deal of exposure to other people and ideas, as well as a few history lessons. "Apparently these fellows are still trying to piece it all together," I thought. Yet as I read on, it appears they had already come to solid conclusions and bet their money on it, in a most literal way. They even called themselves the "Two Witnesses" of the Apocalypse of John.
The purpose of THE "REPORT" document can best be described in the following words spoken at Ezekiel 21:6, 7 which says: "And as for you, O son of man, sigh with shaking hips. Even with bitterness you should sigh before their eyes. And it must occur that, in case they say to you, 'On account of what are you sighing?' you must say, "At a report." 2
"The 'Report'" is a moral indictment against the Watchtower, and as it turns out, a prophecy regarding them, supposedly backed by Jehovah God himself. Perhaps even a new "faithful and discreet slave" in the works? Unlike the Franz Incident at Bethel in 1980 and other recent forms of dissent in Watchtower history, these authors are attempting to salvage the Watchtower and even declare judgement from God on the powers that be, until only those whom God chose as leaders would be fit to run God's one true organization. Shades of Joe Rutherford! (This stands in stark contrast to those of us who left Bethel in 1980, none of which has desired to return, start our own religion or denomination, or even desired to do so.)
Were it not for the small footprint of these "Two Witnesses," one might think they pose a formidable threat to the Watchtower leadership. Yet their main web page showed only 5642 visitors since early 1997 (a little over a month's number of visitors for the Free Minds, Inc. website). Yet "The 'Report'" is available from some major bookstores across the country, something Free Minds, Inc. cannot match. Clearly some money has been spent to get this message out. This is a direct threat to the powers that be, a true "apostasy" from the direction of the Governing Body and Service Dept. of the Watchtower.
The writers of "The 'Report'" (who still mirror the mock-humility of the Governing Body in writing a book and refusing to sign their name) declare that God will shortly visit his judgements on this modern Israel of God, namely Jehovah's Witnesses:
Therefore, we say, if the things written about in this document come to pass, and if they come true as they are written in this document, then it could only have happened by the "Hand of God." It would be supernatural intervention. It would have to be considered, an Act of God. Isaiah 30:26 3
The most obvious question to ask at this point is, "Why, if they believe that the Watchtower organization has become corrupt, do they still believe it is comprised of God's only true people?" "The 'Report'" website responds with a series of FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) and their answers. They answer the question as follows:
The following characteristics distinguish [Jehovah's Witnesses] as modern-day Israel:
Not satisfied with the Governing Body's list of requirements for identifying God's people, the "Two Witnesses" form their own list of requirements and add, "...it is the 'framework of Truth' that differentiates them from all other religions on the face of the earth today." 5
Possessing the only true faith is not enough, sayeth the Two Witnesses, since Jehovah God will not tolerate the commercialism, disobedience and twisting of the scriptures as practiced by the current leadership. The Governing Body, yes, ALL Jehovah's Witnesses must repent and yet still expect persecution in the near future by the hands of God (note the WT writing style):
Yes, these things are now being revealed because Jehovah God has now ordained a "measuring" period to begin upon these wicked, villianous characters who lead this organization of God's Name People, called Jehovah's Witnesses. And after such a "measuring" period, Oh, how they resemble their first century counterparts, the Pharisees and Sadducees! After such a "measuring," it becomes quite clear that there is a need, a REAL NEED for someone to do something. Someone to say something. Someone to act, boldly, in Jehovah's Name. And someone will. Jehovah will "cause" as the Scriptures say, His "Two Witnesses" to speak or "witness." Yes, the beginning of the movement the Bible calls, the "Two Witnesses." And their ministry will indeed place the issue of deception concerning 1914, and other issues, squarely before each and every Jehovah's Witness on earth today, as modern-day Israel. We can know this because it is Jehovah God Himself, the Almighty, who has "caused" such witnessing to happen in the first place. Think about it. -- See Revelation 11:3 6
According to "The Report," Jehovah's Witnesses will have to decide between the current leadership and Jehovah, and it even gives a timetable of events (scriptural, of course):
And after the 3 1/2 year ministry of the "Two Witnesses" has been complete -- then, and only then, will greater acts of "discipline" be administered by the "God of Truth." (Psalms 31:5) These greater acts will handled by Jehovah God Himself, in His allowing the political nations to overrun His People and render them completely powerless before their enemies. This has happened before in years past to disobedient "Israel." And it will happen again to modern-day "Israel" of our day. This Divine Discipline, upon the nation of Jehovah's Witnesses, will be administered before a worldwide audience for a particularly difficult and trying time of some "42-months," a specific period of time of discipline. Many prophecies testify to this coming judgment upon modern-day "Israel." -- Ezekiel 36:33-36; Daniel 7:25; Daniel 12:7; Revelation 11:2; 12:13, 14; 13:5-7 7
Jehovah then rages against his organization. What must they do to be saved from his anger? "Get the Report."
Jehovah now demonstrates "rage" upon His "adversaries," His Own Name People. God's People must "understand what has been heard [Ref. NWT fnt. "the report"]. Yes, they must "understand" the "Report," the "thing heard." -- Isa 28:17-19; Jeremiah 23:19, 20.
Finally, after the "rage," and other disciplinary actions upon His part, Jehovah has thus, taken matters into His Own hands. He brings about what He deems, "necessary" action or "discipline" to cleanse the nation of the wrongdoing or "practiced" sin. This "discipline" could take many forms, like famine, pestilence, being overrun by nearby enemy nations temporarily, or even having their "temple" destroyed and being led into captivity and re-deposited upon foreign soil. Whatever it takes to deal with the situation -- Jehovah now at "war" with His Own People, administering "discipline" as a "father" would upon his "sons," just as the Mosaic Law outlined He would do in keeping HIS end of the Covenant or contract. After which, if His people are "repentant," then he "restores" them. In this way, Jehovah "FIXES IT." -- Please consider Isaiah 30:26; Micah 4:6, 7; 1 Kings 8:46-52; Hebrews 12:5-13. 8
One suspects at this point that there are politics hidden just beneath the sheets. First of all, the "Two Witnesses," whoever they are in human form, are apparently so overwhelmed by the visual organization's scholarship over the last 100 years that they consider it to be Jehovah's own "framework of Truth," while simultaneously accusing the Governing Body of gross idolatry by putting the "organization" to the fore. They deny the necessity of the door-to-door work as the main way of preaching their message (something the current leadership will no doubt use against them). They oppose the idolatry of the "organization" concept (which begs the question, "What would replace it?). They oppose the emphasis on chronology and 1914, and they oppose the practice of shunning those who are disassociated or disfellowshipped. Apostasy is considered largely a future event, rather than a condition found in dissenting individuals (2 Thes. 2:3).
Perhaps they will continue to research the Watchtower's "framework of Truth" in the days ahead, and discover their complete lack of understanding of historical Christianity. More importantly, I would hope that they focus on the message of grace and forgiveness of Jesus Christ. What happened to many of us at Bethel in 1979-1980 was proof that even the "Two Witnesses" might see Christianity in a different light.
1. www.the-report.com/overview.htm (site no
Doctrines that make no predictions are less compelling than those which make correct predictions; they are in turn more successful than doctrines that make false predictions. But not always. One prominent American religion confidently predicted that the world would end in 1914. Well, 1914 has come and gone, and -- while the events of that year were certainly of some importance -- the world does not, at least so far as I can see, seem to have ended.
There are at least three responses that an organized religion can make in the face of such a failed and fundamental prophecy. They could have said, "Oh, did we say '1914'? So sorry, we meant '2014'. A slight error in calculation. Hope you weren't inconvenienced in any way." But they did not. They could have said, "Well, the world *would* have ended, except we prayed very hard and interceded with God and He spared the Earth." Instead, they did something much more ingenious. They announced that the world *had* in fact ended in 1914, and if the rest of us hadn't noticed, that was our lookout.
It is astonishing in the face of such transparent evasions that this religion has any adherents at all. But religions are tough. Either they make no contentions which are subject to disproof or they quickly redesign doctrine after disproof. The fact that religions can be so shamelessly dishonest, so contemptuous of the intelligence of their adherents, and still flourish does not speak very well for the tough-mindedness of the believers. But it does indicate, if a demonstration were needed, that near the core of the religious experience is something remarkably resistant to rational inquiry.
quote from "Broca's Brain" by Carl Sagan, p. 332, twelfth edition
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