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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Islamic ISIS, the Christian Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Watchtower, and their Governing Body – Part I

Governing Body of the Jehovah's Witnesses
Following this new series of posts titled “Islamic ISIS, the Christian Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Watchtower, and their Governing Body”, in this entry I will address the first section of the original article “What ISIS Really Wants” by Graeme Wood and how it relates to the faith and practices of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The other posts of the series can be found here:

Intro: http://testigoscristianosdejehova.blogspot.com/2015/02/islamic-isis-christian-jehovahs.html

Before starting, it is important for the readers that are not familiar with the Witnesses extensive terminology to clarify some of their terms. Here are some keywords to understand Jehovah’s Witnesses’ lexicon and the further understanding of my comments:

Jehovah’s Witnesses: Generic name of the religion’s conglomerate that includes the individual members worldwide and the publishing legal entities. The vast majority of the witnesses are not legally associated with any of the Watch Tower societies as official members; therefore their association is merely by ideology.

Watch Tower or Watchtower:  One of the many legal corporation or societies used by the religion to conduct their businesses. They are conformed by around 500 anonymous voting members to publish, print, and distribute their religious publications.

Governing Body: Currently 8 men from New York who direct and impose doctrine over the 9+ millions of witnesses worldwide. They are not necessarily part of the Watch Tower corporations’ voting members.

“Faithful and Discreet Slave” or “The Faithful Steward”: The doctrinal term how only the Governing body is currently described as a spiritual teacher leader.

Disfellowshipping: The act of being excommunicated from the church by an internal disciplinary Judicial Committee. The person is completely shunned by formers fellow worshippers and families.
Disassociation: The act of being excommunicated from the church by oneself based on practicing something against the doctrines or rules. The person is also completely shunned by formers fellow worshippers and families.

Armageddon: the Judgment Day in which Jehovah God will destroy all humans that are infidels to his laws as taught by the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The exact date of the Armageddon has been prophesized several times by the leaders of the Watchtower societies and the Governing Body.

The original article is divided in 5 parts:

I. Devotion

“Zarqawi’s penchant for bloody spectacle—and, as a matter of doctrine, hatred of other Muslims, to the point of excommunicating and killing them.”
Comments: The first similarity I spotted from the article. Abu Musa’b al Zarqawi can easily represent any member of the Governing Body. They have imposed the literal interpretation of the bible to disfellowship (Jehovah’s Witnesses excommunication act) members that do not agree with them, getting them shunned by their communities and families and consider them plainly dead. They considered ex-members as dead and “food for the bird” in the near Armageddon.

““If a man says to his brother, ‘You are an infidel,’ ” the Prophet said, “then one of them is right.” If the accuser is wrong, he himself has committed apostasy by making a false accusation.”
Comments: Jehovah’s Witnesses consider accusations between brothers as not conclusive necessarily. If there is only one accuser, the matter dies there and everybody must “waits on Jehovah”; it is just one word against another and the truth may or may not come out eventually. This rule has allowed the Jehovah’s Witnesses to be a very unfair place to be and worst, a “Paradise for Pedophiles” and Child Sexual Abusers. Their golden rule is that they require two witnesses of the same accusation to put the accused under a Judicial Committee.

“The punishment for apostasy is death. And yet Zarqawi heedlessly expanded the range of behavior that could make Muslims infidels.”
Comments: This is particularly similar with Jehovah’s Witnesses. They consider apostates as the worst class of individuals only worthy of death; not by them directly, but by the wrath of God in Armageddon. They have even mentioned in their publications that they don’t kill their apostates only because it happens to be illegal*.

“The distinction between apostate and sinner may appear subtle, but it is a key point of contention between al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.”
Comments: It is the same within the Watch Tower organization. A sinner is not necessarily and apostate, but an apostate is the worst of the sinners.

“Denying the holiness of the Koran or the prophecies of Muhammad is straightforward apostasy.”
Comments: This is exactly the same in the Jehovah’s Witnesses belief. When somebody gets his faith questioned by the elders -for instance, during a Judicial committee, elders go down to only one question they ask to the accused: Do you believe in the way the “Faithful and Discreet Slave” (the Governing Body alone) provides spiritual food as the Truth? Even though the Governing Body does not currently calls itself a “prophet”, it has prophesized events that never occurred many times during the church’s history. Absolute faith and trust in the current teachings and interpretations of the governing body are mandatory for the Witnesses.

“But Zarqawi and the state he spawned take the position that many other acts can remove a Muslim from Islam. These include, in certain cases, selling alcohol or drugs, wearing Western clothes or shaving one’s beard, voting in an election—even for a Muslim candidate—and being lax about calling other people apostates.”
Comments: Many of the officially written and unofficial de-facto rules on the Witnesses lives have to do with their clothing choices, grooming, job choices, political position, and food consumption. It is well known that Witnesses don’t vote in “worldly” political elections and if they are forced by law to do so, they practice the nullification of their vote. Whoever is caught somehow voting by a particular candidate or party have disassociated themselves from the faith and is treated as disfellowshipped. There are many rules regarding dress choices and what to avoid and when to use certain type of clothing. Beards are not approved and extremely reproachable in most of the countries. Not accepting blood transfusions even to the cost of their own lives is a result of their many rules taken form the literal reading of out of context Bible verses. Many kids have died so far due to this “eating rule”.

“Being a Shiite, as most Iraqi Arabs are, meets the standard as well, because the Islamic State regards Shiism as innovation, and to innovate on the Koran is to deny its initial perfection.”
Comments: Witnesses are coerced to follow the Governing Body instructions and current teaching to the letter. No exceptions. Trying to change its meaning, or even to have an own personal understanding of the Bible is not allowed and considered as potential apostasy. Been a progressive Witnesses is not allowed. Only the Governing Body will implement changes as they see fit and when they see fit.

“That means roughly 200 million Shia are marked for death. So too are the heads of state of every Muslim country, who have elevated man-made law above Sharia by running for office or enforcing laws not made by God.”
Comments: In the Jehovah’s Witnesses theology, whoever is not a Witnesses or is a former member (apostates, disfelloshipped, and disassociated ones) is mark for death in the soon coming Armageddon. It is important to understand that the Witnesses preaching work is considered by them as “Life-saving work”.

“Following takfiri doctrine, the Islamic State is committed to purifying the world by killing vast numbers of people.”
Comments: One of the most attractive aspects of the theology of the Witnesses is their coming Earth Paradise. It will be the earth restored and populated only by Jehovah’s Witnesses. Everybody else will be destroyed in Armageddon so the clean paradise can start. This should happen soon based on their own particular eschatology.

“Muslim “apostates” are the most common victims.”
Comments: There is a particular despise and fear against the apostates by the Witnesses. These apostates are the primary targets of the judgments and shunning practices. Active Witnesses are commanded to avoid them at any costs.

“Many mainstream Muslim organizations have gone so far as to say the Islamic State is, in fact, un-Islamic.”
Comments: Many, if not all the other Christian churches and denominations consider Jehovah’s witnesses as a non-Cristian cult or an anti-Christian religion. At the same time, much of the propaganda and publications published by the Watchtower organization is focused on trying to prove how Christian actually they are.

“According to Haykel, the ranks of the Islamic State are deeply infused with religious vigor. Koranic quotations are ubiquitous. “Even the foot soldiers spout this stuff constantly,” Haykel said. “They mug for their cameras and repeat their basic doctrines in formulaic fashion, and they do it all the time.”
Comments: The daily life of the Witnesses is flooded with theocratic activities that practically consume all of their time. Five meetings per week, daily Field Service Meetings, Family worship, extensive Field Ministry, Elders’ Shepherding calls, elders meetings, Pioneers meetings and arrangements, personal study, Bible students preaching, preparations for all these meetings, conventions, etc., etc., etc. The life of a Witness is extremely busy and the Governing Body makes sure it is kept that way.

“Leaders of the Islamic State have taken emulation of Muhammad as strict duty, and have revived traditions that have been dormant for hundreds of years. “What’s striking about them is not just the literalism, but also the seriousness with which they read these texts,” Haykel said. “There is an assiduous, obsessive seriousness that Muslims don’t normally have.””
Comments: The Watchtower Society and the current Governing Body have always been obsessed with their assiduous and characteristic reading and interpretation of the Bible. This is a “restoration religion”; as ISIS claims to be as well; meaning that it fervently claims to restore the early and pure Christianity to its supposedly original way.

Part II: http://testigoscristianosdejehova.blogspot.com/2015/02/islamic-isis-christian-jehovahs_72.html

Some References:
* "Question from Readers" Nov. 15, 1952. "The Watchtower" Nov. 15, 2011

3 comments :

Anonymous said...

More violent isis killing and burning apostates. Jehovah more respect man made laws then isis. We watch them for radical interpretations and violent offshoots too! No man is perfect but the 10 commandments are morally sensible. Killing apostates is to me cardinal sin. And like said no one is perfect and in war treason could warrant death but isis at war with their idealogy and is threatening and intimidating so will surely fail!

Bryan Armour said...

You are a liar. It is sad that you have to spread stupidity because you are incapable of seeking truths. I challenge your experience as a witness. I believe your experience and research on Jehovah's witnesses didn't last 20 seconds. You say 20 years!!! Your information is far gone and wrong that the only persons you can convince of this are nay sayers and those that love gossip. Please reply, I look forward to helping you get back in touch with reality and more so Jehova.

lemuriana said...

Bryan Armour dedíquese a su ministerio desplegando sus frutos del espiritu si usted dice q somos unos chismosos que hace aquí???
ustedes tienen la orden de no responder, como su Maestro, cuando lo estaban escupiendo no estaba insultando
No es fácil seguir a Cristo cuando esta todo malentendido el cuento no???
Una sola cosa queda mas que clara no quieren que se vea su verdadera cara es vergonzoso sentirse especial ungidos y no se q otro cuento y un dia ver q se cae el telon y era toda una farza y quedan SOLOS expuestos ante su fascismo no reconocido
y su deseo de ver muerto a quien piensa diferente
paciencia Bryan todos moriremos

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