For a member of the Watchtower Organization to come to the private realization that deep down they are not truly “happy”…that they have become disillusioned with “the truth”…and for them to honestly acknowledge to themselves that they are just plain tired of all of the expectations and the never-ending “works” that they are expected to perform as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in order to maintain their “good standing” with both God and with the Watchtower can, in itself, be a heavy burden to bear. Add to this the unsettling feelings of guilt and uncertainty, and the burden can be very heavy, indeed.
Yes, the burden of being in “God’s Organization” can, indeed, feel very “heavy”; so heavy and so tiresome, in fact, that it is not uncommon for a Jehovah’s Witness to turn to alcohol, or to other legal drugs, to help them to cope with the day-to-day carrying of such a burden; for no “lover of Jehovah” wants to feel that he has “let his heavenly Father down,” or that Jehovah is “displeased” with him because he is not “happy” as the Watchtower says that he ought to be.
But what if the reality of the unhappiness with the “load” of serving Jehovah God through the Watchtower becomes too great for an individual Jehovah’s Witness to bear?? Is there anywhere else to go?? Is there a group of people anywhere who love Jehovah God, and who preach Biblical truth according to His Word??
The emotional fear of being “out there,” possibly “stumbling around in the dark,” can be an unsettling circumstance for a Jehovah’s Witness to even begin to fathom. After all, as the Watchtower has long taught its members, aren’t all Christian Churches “dens of the devil”? all preaching “lies from Satan” by which to trick and fool anyone who doesn’t know the “truth” according to “God’s Channel,” the Watchtower??
The questions that may swirl around in the mind of a troubled Jehovah’s Witness may be very unsettling, indeed, but these very questions are ones that have invaded the minds of many faithful Jehovah’s Witnesses…
“If the Watchtower is really ‘God’s Organization,’ does He approve of our ‘Faithful and Discreet Slave,’ even though they make ‘mistakes,’ and though they have often changed their teachings, claiming that they are just ‘imperfect men’?” (Matthew 24: 45) (NWT)
“Is it possible that ‘God’s Organization’ has ‘disowned the faith’? according to Paul’s words at 1Timothy 5:8?” (NWT)
“If ‘The Truth’ isn’t really ‘the truth,’ where else can I go to find it? Will Jehovah help me to find the ‘real truth’ if I should leave the Watchtower?”
“Will Jehovah disown me if I leave the Watchtower? Will He stop loving me if I leave?”
“Will I be destroyed at Armageddon if I am not in the Watchtower when it comes?”
“Will Jehovah protect me if I do stay in the Watchtower? even though I have doubts?”
“Am I ‘wicked’ for having these thoughts?”
Truly, any faithful member of the Watchtower may come to a real spiritual and emotional crisis if he has been a member long enough to have cause for these thoughts and feelings, and the stress of this situation is further compounded by the fact that it is to his detriment should he choose to share his disquieting thoughts and concerns with a fellow member of the Watchtower Organization…
Should a Jehovah’s Witness share his troubling feelings even with a trusted friend in the organization, he is certain to be quickly reported to the elders, (as would be any loyal member’s duty to do so), and the questioning one would likely then be subject to a “shepherding call” by one or two Watchtower elders, or worse, he may be called before a private, formal “Committee” which would then closely question him as to his belief in the Watchtower as being “God’s” Organization; whether or not he believes in his heart that the Watchtower is God’s only “Channel” by which He guides His people; yes his very LOYALTY to the Watchtower Organization would be called into question!
He could be disfellowshipped by this committee, and then he would be shunned by everyone in the Watchtower! Yes, he would even be shunned by members of his own, immediate family.
Yes, any Jehovah’s Witness who may be having serious doubts as to whether they are truly in “God’s” organization knows it is best to “keep up appearances,” and that they had better not “let on” to anyone their private thoughts of doubt or concern regarding the Watchtower, for if anyone should suspect him, he would, at best, be seen as “weak in ‘the truth’,” or worse, he may be shunned by individual Watchtower members, (and then the gossip is sure to start), and he may come to lose his “good standing” in the organization. No matter how you paint it, it would be a very uncomfortable position for one to be in.
But what, then, is a Jehovah’s Witness to do when he has come to the place where he is having these doubts and thoughts and feelings? But before we seek to answer this question, let us first ask another question…
Why is it that “God’s Organization” should be the cause of such stress and discomfort and unhappiness and doubts in so many of its members??
(The Watchtower knows that this very situation is not uncommon among the rank and file, and they have therefore addressed this issue many times with the same “pat answer”):
The Watchtower tells its people that it is because of “Satan,” and because of his “wicked designs,” and that therefore if a member of the Watchtower is having “difficulties” or “doubts,” it is because Satan is trying to “stumble” them out of “the truth,” or worse, it is because the troubled member may have ignored the Watchtower’s admonition to avoid looking at “apostate literature” or web sites.
But does this really answer the question?
Again, why is it that anyone in “God’s Organization” should have such trouble in their heart?? Could there be more of an answer to this question other than what the Watchtower claims?
At Ephesians 2:13-14 we read that, “Christ is our peace,” which begs another question: If Watchtower members are TRUE Christians, why is it that so many deep down do not have this “peace of Christ”? (NWT)
At Matthew 11:28-30 we read Jesus’ loving and inviting words, telling us to “come to Him”; that His “load is light,” and that we would “find refreshment for our souls,” but how many members of the Watchtower really feel this to be true for them? Are there any among Jehovah’s active Witnesses who truly feel that “their load is ‘light’”? or do they, instead, feel privately “heavily burdened”? (NWT)
But Where Else Is There To Go??
The Watchtower has long inculcated into the minds of their members that “there is nowhere else to go” where they can learn the “pure truth of God’s Word,” and many members have reiterated this very conviction among themselves. But what is the origin of this belief? Many Jehovah’s Witnesses say that this belief is to be found in God’s Word, the Holy Bible. But is it?? Let us see…
At John chapter six, beginning at verse twenty-nine, we find Jesus teaching a group, His twelve disciples being among them. After Jesus has explained that He is the “bread from heaven,” and that His followers must “eat of His flesh” and “drink of His blood,” verse sixty-six then states that “owing to this many of His disciples went off to the things behind and would no longer walk with him.”
“Therefore Jesus said to the twelve: ‘You do not want to go also, do you?’ Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, whom shall we go away to? You have sayings of everlasting life.’” (John 6: 29-68) (NWT)
Note that Simon Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, WHOM shall we go away to?”
The word, “WHOM,” should not be confused with the word, “WHERE,” just as the word, “YOU,” should not be confused with the title, “Watchtower Organization,” but one must see that the word, “YOU,” in this case, is clearly referring to Jesus Christ as being the one who has “sayings of everlasting life,” and not to any future religion or man or organization of man.
Yes, Jesus is clearly not the Watchtower Organization. Jesus is not a “place,” but a “person”; the very person of the Son of the Almighty God, Jehovah.
So this begs another question: Does Jesus really have “sayings of everlasting life”??
Let us now consider this thought; let’s see if Simon Peter’s words to Jesus are true…
Here are some things that Jesus said:
“I am the light of the world. He that follows me will by no means walk in darkness, but will possess the light of life.” (John 8:12) (NWT)
“For God sent forth His Son…for the world to be saved through Him.” (John 3: 17) (NWT)
“He that hears my word and believes Him that sent me has everlasting life.” (John 5: 24) (NWT)
“He that exercises faith in the Son has everlasting life…” (John 3: 36) (NWT)
“If anyone observes my word, he will never taste death at all.” (John 8: 52) (NWT)
“And I give them everlasting life, and they will by no means ever be destroyed, and no one will be able to snatch them out of my hand.” (John 10: 28) (NWT)
“…everyone that is living and exercises faith in me will never die at all. Do you believe this?” (John 11: 26) (NWT)
Certainly, just in these few scriptures quoted, we can see that Jesus does, indeed, have “sayings of everlasting life,” wouldn’t you agree?
But what does Jesus say as to how one might have the benefit of these “sayings of everlasting life” of His??
Let’s take a look at some of Jesus’ answers to this question…
“Come to me, all you who are toiling and loaded down, and I will refresh you. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am mild tempered and lowly in heart, and you will find refreshment for your souls, for my yoke is kindly and my load is light.” (Matthew 11: 28-30) (NWT)
“…the one that comes to me I will by no means drive away.” (John 6: 37) (NWT)
“If you remain in my word, you really are my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free…therefore, if the Son has set you free, you will actually be free.” (John 8: 31-32, 36) (NWT)
“I am the way, the truth and the life…” (John 14: 6) (NWT)
“You will be witnesses of me…to the most distant parts of the earth.” (Acts 1: 8) (NWT)
“Everyone that is on the side of the truth listens to my voice.” (John 18: 37) (NWT)
Does Jesus have anything to say to those who believe that they have to follow a religion of “man,” or listen to the “voice of man,” in order to know “the truth”? Yes, He does!
At John 8:12 we read Jesus words, saying, “…I am the light of the world. He that follows me will by no means walk in darkness, but will possess the light of life.” (NWT)
At John 8:31-32,36 Jesus says, “…If you remain in my word, you are really my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. Therefore if the Son sets you free, you will be actually free.” (NWT)
Jesus also said, “Everyone that is on the side of the truth listens to my voice.” (John 18: 37) (NWT)
Who’s “voice” are we to listen to? The voice of Jesus.
In whose “word” are we to remain? The word of Jesus.
To whom should we go for the “truth” and the “life”? To Jesus.
Nowhere in Scripture are we pointed to following “the word” of the Watchtower.
Jesus says of those who profess to be God’s people…to those who claim to want to properly serve Him by following and obeying His Word according to Scripture…
“You are searching the scriptures because you think that by means of them you will have everlasting life, and yet you do not want to come to me in order that you may have life.” (John 5: 39-40) (NWT)
“I am the door of the sheep…whoever enters through me will be saved…I am the fine shepherd, and I know my sheep and my sheep know me…a stranger they will be no means follow…my sheep listen to my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10: 7, 9, 14, 5, 27) (NWT)
And finally, “Continue following me.” (John 21: 19) (NWT)
There are many scriptures in God’s Word that point us to the person of His own Son, our King and Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Jesus’ own words tell us to “come to Him,” and that if we really want to know “the truth,” and if we really want to be “free,” we should “remain in His word.” We have considered just a few of these.
And so, then, what is a member of the Watchtower to do when he has come to the place where he is having questions or doubts about the Watchtower Organization?
A person who is a member of any religion or organization that professes to be the only way by which that person can hope to “be right” with God, or to know “the truth,” or to “have eternal life,” may want to seriously take a closer look at what God’s Word actually tells us.
At John 14:6, Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth and the life…” (NWT)
Though these words of Jesus may fly in the face of the Watchtower who continues to claim that THEY are the only way to be right with Jehovah God, and that only by following THEM can one know “truth,” and that only by humbly submitting to THEIR authority, and that only by obeying THEM and by following THEIR teachings can one have any hope of everlasting life, their claims cannot make the claims of Jesus false.
And remember that “hope” is all the Watchtower can ever offer, because the Watchtower has no “life” to offer to anyone; they never have.
Clearly, the claims of the Watchtower just don’t ring as true as Jesus’ words. The Watchtower’s claims cannot negate the truth of Jesus.
So, whom are we to believe? Are we to believe the Watchtower, an organization of man who claims to be THE truth, when their truth has changed so many times? or can we believe the words of Jesus…Jesus who gave His very life for us?
Though there are many wonderful and loving and kind and sincere people faithfully serving God to the best of their ability in the Watchtower Organization, it is not by being “good,” or by performing any “works” that makes us “right” before God, but as Paul brought out to the Galatians, we are declared righteous because we have put our faith in Jesus; that our righteous standing before God has nothing to do with our “works.”
Please take careful note of Paul’s words to the Galatians:
“I do not shove aside the undeserved kindness of God; for if righteousness is due to works, Christ actually died for nothing.” (Galatians 2: 16, 21) (NWT)
“For such freedom Christ set us free…therefore do not let yourselves be confined again in a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5: 1) (NWT)
So why do we have such powerful religions that hold so many captive to their doctrines?
Paul says of these, “Because of the false brothers brought in quietly, who sneaked in to spy upon our freedom which we have in union with Christ Jesus, that they might completely enslave us…to these we did not yield by way of submission, no, not for an hour, in order that the truth of the good news (about the Christ) might continue with you.”
(See Galatians 2: 4-5; see also regarding the good news about the Christ, 2Corinthians 2: 12) (NWT)
Each one of us needs to feel that we “belong.” We all need to feel that we are an integral part of something important; that we are a valued member of a tribe or group or religion or family. It is only human nature.
We each long for genuine friendship and acceptance and unconditional love; yes, we all need to feel that we “matter.”
There is no end, it appears, of clubs or groups or religions or cults that do not appeal to these very basics of human needs in order to ensure their continuing numbers; no end to those who would cause a real sense of loss or distress in any member who might think of leaving; in any who would dare to depart from “the fold.”
But Jesus invites us to “come to Him”; to become part of His sheepfold; and He offers us eternal life; yes, life for us which He purchased with His own sinless body and by the shedding of His own innocent blood.
The Watchtower Organization may tell their followers that they have “nowhere else to go,” but Jehovah God tells us whom to go to!!
“For God loved the world so much that He gave His only begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in Him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life. The Father…has given all things into His hand. He that exercises faith in the Son has everlasting life.” (John 3:16, 35) (NWT)
Yes, if we believe what God’s Word says, and if we believe the words of Jesus, we don’t have to worry as to “where” to go, because now we know whom to go to!!
May you, too, enjoy the peace of Christ…