(WDGR Lesson 10: “Practices That God Hates”)
(CONTINUED FROM PREVIOUS DIALOGUE)
KAREN: Cindy, I’ve been thinking about the lesson we studied last week in the Watchtower brochure What Does God Require of Us? In that lesson on “Practices That God Hates,” we had studied that not only does God hate lying, but he wants us to avoid “spiritism.” Since “the power behind all these practices is Satan,”1. wouldn’t you agree that Christians should also stay away from any objects that have been inspired through spiritism?
CINDY: Oh, yes, Karen. In the Watchtower book Knowledge That Leads to Everlasting Life, the Society warns us that “Even if you have not practiced spiritism, get rid of anything having spiritistic uses or overtones. This includes books, magazines, videos, posters, musical recordings, and objects used for spiritistic purposes.” 2.
KAREN: Cindy, have you heard of the book called Angels and Women?
CINDY: No, Karen, I can’t say that I have. Why should I be familiar with it?
KAREN: I would think you would want to be familiar with this book because the Watchtower Society gave a “Review of the Book” in one of their articles and encouraged Jehovah’s Witnesses to purchase the book. On page 702 of the July 30, 1924 issue of The Golden Age, the Society wrote: “ ‘Angels and Women’ is the title of a book just off the press.…The book is revised and published by a personal friend of Pastor Russell, and one who was close to him in his work.…The publishers advise that the regular price of this book is $2.00; but to all subscribers of The Golden Age, it will be furnished at $1.00 per volume, when ordered in lots of ten or more.”
CINDY: So the Society encouraged Jehovah’s Witnesses to purchase several copies of this book as they could get it at a discount, but why are you concerned about it?
KAREN: Cindy, why don’t you read this section of the foreword found on page 5 of Angels and Women, and you’ll see why.
CINDY: “The reviser of this book is of the opinion that the original manuscript was dictated to the woman who wrote it by one of the fallen angels who desired to return to divine favor.” 3.
KAREN: Cindy, is this book, Angels and Women, admitting that it was dictated by a demon?
CINDY: It sure looks that way, but did the Society know that this book was dictated by a demon when they encouraged Jehovah’s Witnesses to purchase it?
KAREN: How could they not have known, Cindy, when the book had been read by Charles Russell who was the founder of the Watchtower organization and had been revised and re-published by one of his personal friends? After all, even the foreword in the book admits that it had been dictated by a demon. 4.
CINDY: That’s a good point, Karen. I must admit, this information does concern me. How can an organization that is so concerned about helping people become “servants of God” by loving what is good, justify the promotion of such a book that came from spiritism? Certainly, the Society doesn’t do this kind of thing anymore, does it?
KAREN: Cindy, I wouldn’t be so quick to make that assumption. Under the “Questions from the Readers” section in the April 1, 1983 issue of The Watchtower, the question was asked: “Why, in recent years, has The Watchtower not made use of the translation by the former Catholic priest, Johannes Greber?” In response, the Society said, “This translation was used occasionally in support of renderings…given in the New World Translation and other authoritative Bible versions. But as indicated in a foreword to the 1980 edition of The New Testament by Johannes Greber, this translator relied on “God’s Spirit world” to clarify for him how he should translate difficult passages.…The Watchtower has deemed it improper to make use of a translation that has such a close rapport with spiritism.”5. Cindy, is the Society saying that in the past, they used this translation which had been made through the use of spirit-mediums?
CINDY: Yes, Karen, but just as they noted in this article, when the 1980 edition of his translation came out with the information that he had relied on the spirit-world to help him, they stopped using it. So, you can see, the Society is very careful to avoid spiritism.
KAREN: Really, Cindy? Is the Society indicating that that they didn’t know about Greber’s connection with the spirit-world until the 1980 edition of his translation?
CINDY: Well, I don’t know, Karen, but it appears that way from this article.
KAREN: Cindy, would you read these statements the Society made regarding Johannes Greber found in the February 15, 1956 Watchtower article called “Triumphing Over Wicked Spirit Forces”?
CINDY: “Says Johannes Greber in the introduction of his translation of The New Testament, copyrighted in 1937: ‘I myself was a Catholic priest, and until I was forty eight years old had never as much as believed in the possibility of communicating with the world of God’s spirits. The day came, however, when I involuntarily took my first step toward such communication, and experienced things that shook me to the depths of my soul.…My experiences are related in a book that has appeared in both German and English and bears the title, Communication with the Spirit World: Its Laws and Its Purpose.’…Very plainly the spirits in which ex-priest Greber believes helped him in his translation.”6. Oh, dear…
KAREN: What’s wrong, Cindy?
CINDY: Well, the Society indicated in their 1983 Watchtower that it was the 1980 edition of his translation that contained the information on spiritism, but here we see that as far back as 1956, the Society knew that Greber used the spirit-world to help him.
KAREN: That’s right, Cindy. I have a copy of the 1937 edition of Greber’s translation, and on page 15 of his Introduction, he even said: “In the rare instances in which a text pronounced correct by the divine spirits can be found in none of the manuscripts available to-day, I have used the text as it was given to me by those spirits.” So you can see, the Society knew of Greber’s use of the spirit-world in his translation long before the 1980 edition, and yet they quoted him for over twenty years!7. How could they do this and be God’s organization? Would Jehovah really be behind an organization that throughout various periods of its history has knowingly used material from the spirit-world?9.
Friends, at Deuteronomy 18:10-12, God warns: “There should not be found in you anyone who employs divination…or anyone who consults a spirit medium…or anyone who inquires of the dead. For everybody doing these things is something detestable to Jehovah.” 8.Instead of putting your trust in an organization of men who at times seek the darkness, why not put your trust in the One who is the “Light.” Jesus said: “I have come as light into the world, that everyone who believes in Me may not remain in darkness.”
1.What Does God Require of Us?, 1996, p. 21:5
2. Knowledge That Leads to Everlasting Life, pp. 114-115
3. Angels and Women, A Revision of the Unique Novel Seola, by Mrs. J.G. Smith, 1924, p. 5
4. See also The Golden Age, December 3, 1924, pp. 150-151
5. The Watchtower, April 1, 1983, p. 31
6. The Watchtower, February 15, 1956, pp. 110-111
7. See “The Word”—Who Is He? According To John, 1962, p. 5; The Watchtower, September 15, 1962, p 554; “Make Sure of All Things—Hold Fast To What Is Fine”, 1965, p. 489; Aid to Bible Understanding, 1971, pp. 1134, 1669; The Watchtower, October 15, 1975, p. 640; The Watchtower, April 15, 1976, p. 231
8. New World Translation
9. John 12:46, New American Standard Bible