(CONTINUED FROM A PREVIOUS DIALOGUE)
Two Jehovah’s Witness sisters discuss the Watchtower policy of shunning those who leave this religion and contrast the difference between the lack of love shown among the devoted followers of the Watchtower with the brotherly love shown among Christian followers of Jehovah who serve Him outside the organization.
JULIE: Sarah, how could Brother Anderson be so cruel to Sister Jones? It’s as if she couldn’t do anything right. I understand he had to correct her for wearing slacks out in service, but then to embarrass her in front of the whole congregation like that, I think that was totally uncalled for. I just don’t understand why Jehovah allows elders who are so lacking in brotherly love to be in leadership like this.
SARAH: I know, Julie, but you must not blame Jehovah God for faults we see in our brothers. In His time, He will cleanse His organization. You just need to have patience.
JULIE: But, Sarah, doesn’t this hypocrisy upset you? How can we point at Christendom and talk about how they are so judgmental and condemning of each other, when we do the same thing to our brothers in the congregation? Doesn’t the Bible say the world will know we are Christians by our love for each other?
SARAH: Yes. . .
JULIE: Brother Anderson is anything but loving. Do you remember the way he acted when mom disassociated herself from the Watchtower organization? You would have thought she had cursed Jehovah God.
SARAH: I know, Julie, I had a hard time with that too, but we must not forget that our love for Jehovah needs to be greater than our love for our earthly mother. By rejecting the Watchtower organization, mom has rejected the truth, and we must not associate with her or Jehovah may reject us too.
JULIE: I know she had a hard time with the hypocrisy she saw in the congregation and for some reason she thinks she can serve Jehovah without the Watchtower. I don’t understand her, but that doesn’t seem like a good reason we should refuse to speak to her.
SARAH: Yes, Julie, but our loyalty to Jehovah’s organization requires us to not associate with her anymore. If Sister Brown had seen you two together the other day and turned you into Brother Anderson, you know what he’d have done.
JULIE: I know, but don’t you realize how hard it was for me to try to resist saying “Hello” to her when I saw her in the store yesterday? She hasn’t seen the grandchildren since Joey was two years old! Why would a loving God require us to shun our mom like this?
SARAH: Julie, don’t you remember the Watchtower article on how we are to treat those who leave the organization? In that article, the question was asked: “Would upholding God’s…disfellowshiping arrangement mean that a Christian should not speak at all with an expelled person, not even saying ‘Hello’?”1. In answer, the Society said: “…we all know from our experience over the years that a simple ‘Hello’ to someone can be the first step that develops into a conversation and maybe even a friendship. Would we want to take that first step with a disfellowshiped person?…Consequently, Christians related to such a disfellowshiped person living outside the home should strive to avoid needless association, even keeping business dealings to a minimum.”2. So you see, Julie, Jehovah requires us to keep the Congregation clean and you know what that means!
JULIE: What that means! Why, I’m to love Brother Anderson who tramples anyone who dares stand in his way, but at the same time, I’m to shun my mom who left the organization of her own accord but still loves Jehovah God and would never do anything to hurt anyone. You call this a loving organization? Where in the Bible does it state we are to shun those who leave the Watchtower because they believe they can serve Jehovah better outside of the organization?
SARAH: Julie, doesn’t 2 John 10 say: “If anyone comes to YOU and does not bring this teaching, never receive him into YOUR homes or say a greeting to him.”?3. Doesn’t this mean we shouldn’t talk with someone who has left the organization?
JULIE: Sarah, look at the context of that passage here in 2 John. This letter is addressed “to the chosen lady and to her children.”4. In the Watchtower book “All Scripture is Inspired of God and Beneficial,” the Society notes that “…it is thought by some that John was writing to a Christian congregation, referring to it as ‘the chosen lady.’ This may have been done in order to confuse persecutors.”5. So, you can see, Sarah, this letter was likely written to a congregation that met in the brothers’ homes. Due to the many false teachers that were traveling from congregation to congregation, John admonished the brothers to prevent these false teachers from entering their house-congregations and deceiving the flock. But this says nothing about how Christians should treat a sister who wants to serve Jehovah outside of the organization.
SARAH: But, Julie, doesn’t 2 Thessalonians 3:14 say: “…if anyone is not obedient to our word through this letter, keep this one marked, stop associating with him, that he may become ashamed.”?6.
JULIE: Yes, Sarah, but look at the next verse. Verse15: “And yet do not be considering him as an enemy, but continue admonishing him as a brother.”7. Mom did not leave the organization because she wanted no part in Jehovah’s table. She left because she loves Jehovah God and feels that serving Him outside of a hypocritical organization was the best way she could remain loyal to God. All of the Scriptures I’ve researched on apostasy have to do with leaving Jehovah God—not an organization!
SARAH: I know, Julie, but hasn’t Jehovah always worked through an organization? Doesn’t loyalty to Jehovah God require loyalty to His organization?
JULIE: I’m not so sure, Sarah. Wasn’t the prophet Jeremiah accused of disloyalty and apostasy when he urged his fellow brothers to leave the “organization” of his day and told them that “everyone remaining in Jerusalem would die…but anyone surrendering to the Babylonians would live.”?8. And what about those disciples who followed Jesus instead of staying with the priestly organization they were taught was of Jehovah? Why does it seem like people who choose loyalty to Jehovah over loyalty to an organization end up being persecuted by the very organizations that claim to represent God?
1. The Watchtower September 15, 1981, pp. 24
2. The Watchtower September 15, 1981, pp. 25, 29
3. New World Translation
4. 2 John 1, New World Translation
5. “All Scripture is Inspired of God and Beneficial,” 1963, 1990, p. 259
6. New World Translation
7. New World Translation
8. Jeremiah 38:2, Living Bible
9. Matthew 7:16, New American Standard Bible
10. 1 John 4:20, New American Standard Bible
11. New American Standard Bible