Did The Watchtower Ever Advise People To “Examine Their Religion”?

anne marie

Even though years after the 1945 “Armageddon Prediction” had failed, and the Watchtower had continued to valiantly “sound the alarm” that “Armageddon is just around the corner!” as Jehovah’s Witnesses, we did not really feel such an urgency as we did beginning that fateful Summer District Convention in 1966 when the powerful talk regarding the “new date” for Armageddon was given; yes, that day began a fervor of which I have never seen since, but the fire of urgency to “complete Jehovah God’s Work” of “bringing in the sheep” was even further fueled at the Summer District Convention of 1968 with the Watchtower’s release of the very first of many-more-to-come “little teaching books.”This first “little teaching book” was entitled, “The Truth That Leads To Eternal Life.”  This little blue book was something very different from what the members of the Watchtower had come to expect from each summer convention; we had always looked forward to at least one new Watchtower Book, but these had always been full-sized.  This new book was more “pocked-sized,” and had only 199 pages…far fewer than we were used to.

The speaker introducing this little book, which he held high in his hand for all to see, was explained as “an important new teaching tool” by which one could learn all one needed to know about “The Truth” in order to be able to make an informed decision of whether or not to join “Jehovah’s Organization” within 6 months, emphasizing that if the student was not ready to make up their mind to “come over to Jehovah’s side within that time period,” that they were then to be “dropped” from their study, so that the Jehovah’s Witness could then concentrate on helping someone else to come to “an accurate knowledge” of “the truth,” since “time was so short” (for the coming of Armageddon).

(NOTE:  To a Jehovah’s Witness, “The Truth” is whatever the Watchtower teaches…)

This “having a time limit” with a Bible Study Student was an entirely new concept, as always, before, as long as a Bible Study Student wanted to continue to study with Jehovah’s Witnesses, the witness was to continue to do so; nurturing that one along, so to speak, but no more!!  Time was too short to waste on those who would not make up their mind!!

“The Little Blue Bombshell,” as the witnesses fondly nicknamed the new book, quickly sold out, and the brothers and sisters excitedly rushed out to begin as many new studies with as many interested people as possible, searching for “Jehovah’s Sheep,” as “time was so short!”

This book remained the number-one Watchtower-Teaching-Tool for years…but for some reason, it later “fell to the way-side.”  I wondered why, since it had been such a mainstay.

I obtained from a web site, Freeminds.org, a copy of this old book from my childhood, and as I looked at the table of contents, I was actually surprised to note that the second chapter was entitled, “Why It Is Wise To Examine Your Religion.”  I did a “double-take”!!  I could hardly believe my eyes!!  Was the Watchtower Organization actually saying that a person should “examine their religion”??  Even if they were a Jehovah’s Witness???  I just had to read the chapter then and there.

I was surprised at what I read…and then I realized that at the time the Watchtower published this little book, they most likely never thought that any Jehovah’s Witness would actually take their very intelligent advice!!

Below is a copy from a WORD program of a direct scan taken from the above book. Unfortunately as the scan was of two columns, it didn’t come out perfectly, though you can still read most of it.

Though the Watchtower quotes the Bible, it does insert their doctrine of “salvation through WORKS,” but their overall message that one should examine their religion still remains “good advice” to follow!!


WHY IT IS WISE TO EXAMINE YOUR RELIGION – Excerpts quoted from Chapter 2 pages 11-16

“…through it; whereas narrow is the gate and cramped the road leading off into life, and few are the ones finding it.” (Matthew 7:13, 14) How clearly those words answer our questions! They show that many people are not worshiping God in a way that pleases him. Only a few are on the road leading to life.

‘Probably you find yourself readily agreeing with the fact that much religion is not approved by God. No doubt there are many things done in the name of religion that you do not approve. For example, if you look around in the churches and observe persons who live immoral lives but who make a pretense at being righteous, you know that something is wrong. (2 Timothy 3:4, 5) And when you read in the newspaper that some clergymen are publicly approving of sex relations between unmarried persons and that they are saying that homosexuality is all right under certain condi­tions, you are well aware that this is not what God says. You may remember that God destroyed the ancient cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. And why? Because they practiced such things! So you know that God is not going to approve of a religion that tells people it is all right to act like that. —Jude 7.

* However, you have no doubt heard people say: “It doesn’t matter what you believe, as long as you lead a clean moral life and deal kindly with your neighbors.” But is that all there is to worship­ing God in an acceptable way? These things are necessary, but God requires more. Doctrines are also involved. The Bible informs us that “the true worshipers will worship the Father with spirit and truth.” (John 4:23) If our worship is to be acceptable to God, it must be firmly rooted in God’s Word of truth. Jesus reproved those persons who claimed to serve God but who relied heavily on the traditions of men in preference to God’s Word. He applied to them God’s own words from Isaiah 29:13, saying: “It is in vain that they keep worshiping me, because they teach commands of men as doctrines.” (Matthew 15:9) Since we do not want our worship to be in vain, it is important for each one of us to examine his religion.

5 We need to examine, not only what we per­sonally believe, but also what is taught by any religious organization with which we may be asso­ciated. Are its teachings in full harmony with God’s Word, or are they based on the traditions of men? If we are lovers of the truth, there is nothing to fear from such an examination. It should be the sincere desire of every one of us to learn what God’s will is for us, and then to do it.—John 8:32.

6 The mere fact that church members may have the Bible or that it is occasionally read to them from the pulpit does not of itself prove that all the things they are taught are in the Bible. It is good to have the Bible; each and every person should. But we must also know what it says and believe it. If a religion really accepts the Bible as God’s Word, it is not going to use certain parts of it and reject other parts. “All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight.” (2 Timothy 3:16) Since this is so, the religion that is approved by God must agree in all its details with the Bible.

7 The man who wants to please God must be sincere. But sincerity alone does not make one’s religion approved in God’s eyes. The apostle Paul was moved by God’s spirit to write concerning
certain ones in his day: “I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God; but not according to accurate knowledge; for, because of not knowing the righteousness of God but seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.”  (Romans 10:2, 3) As a result, their sincerity was misdirected. Their prob­lem was that they were looking in the wrong di­rection for instruction. They held onto the Jewish religious system, which had rejected God’s Son
and so was itself rejected by God.—Acts 2:36, 40; Proverbs 14:12.

8 What, then, of the religions that take the name of Christ and profess to accept him as their Lord? Does their preaching in his name guarantee that they meet with God’s approval? In view of the
scriptures already considered, perhaps you have concluded that it does not. If so, then on this matter you agree with Jesus Christ, the one whom God has appointed as heavenly judge; because he warns us, saying: “Not everyone saying to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of the heavens, but the one doing the will of my Father who is in the heavens will. Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name…?’ And yet then I will confess to them: I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness.”–Matthew 7:21-23


7. As shown by the apostle Paul, does the sincerity of the wor­shipers in itself indicate that their religion is approved by God?

8. How did Jesus Christ show that not all religion that claims to be Christian meets with God’s approval?


“Knowledge of the Bible and of God’s will is essential for God’s approval. But, as Jesus said, it is the doing of that will that counts. One must have works that are consistent with what one has learned. (James 2:26) To please God, then, one’s religion must be in full harmony with the Bible and be applied in every activity of life.—Luke 6: 46-49.

10Jesus said that you could recognize whether a man practices the true religion by his “fruits,” that is, the things he does. (Matthew 7:20) In the same way, we can recognize a religion by the kind
of people it produces. True religion ought to pro­duce better persons—better husbands and fathers, better wives and mothers. It should produce per­sons who are honest, who stand out among others
because they do what is right. Is that not what you would expect of a religion that truly draws one close to God? God looks for these things too, and they determine whether a religion is approved of God or not.

11Certainly you do not want to be classed with those who are refused entry into the kingdom of God because of failure to do God’s will. It will be to your benefit, then, to get well acquainted with the Bible. The book that you are now reading is designed to help you do that. Follow the course of those ancient Beroeans whom God’s Word approves because they “received  the word the greatest eagerness of mind, carefully examining the Scriptures daily as to whether these things were so.”–Acts 17-11


9.  What besides Bible knowledge is needed for one’s religion to be pleasing to God?

10.     What fruitage will true religion bring about in the personal lives of those who practice it?

11.     What course taken by people In ancient Beroea do we do
well to follow? (See Acts 17: 11)

Anne Marie

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Author: Anne Marie