Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Society & CultureReligion & Spirituality · 1 decade ago

Jehovah’s Witnesses: Why do you insist the only way to learn about your religion is from your official website?

Here’s a typical quote from a Jehovah’s Witness:

“The best way to learn unbiasedly about us is to review our official website.”

Earlier, when I advocated considering multiple sources and keeping a completely open mind, I got 12 “thumbs down” from the JWs, who considered my view ridiculous. Your members consistently claim that the ONLY way to get an “unbiased view” of the WTS is by strictly limiting one’s reading/research to official Jehovah’s Witness publications. This doesn’t make much sense to me. Here’s why:

Suppose that you were seriously considering converting to Seventh Day Adventism. One obvious way of learning about their religion is by visiting their official website:

www.adventist.org

But should that be the ONLY way you learn about Seventh Day Adventists? Has it ever occurred to you that like ANY religion, one major goal of SDAs is getting new converts? In other words, the organization has a particular agenda; therefore it cannot be 100 percent objective about itself. Consequently, it would be prudent to examine three general categories of information: (1) anti-SDA literature or negative personal testimonies, (2) neutral discussions of the group (such as encyclopedias), and (3) pro-SDA materials (like their official website).

After doing a lot of research into all three sources, you would then scrutinize Seventh Day Adventist doctrines and practices in light of the Holy Scriptures (using multiple Bible versions, of course). As the Bereans did in Acts 17:11, you would carefully examine the Bible to see whether SDA teachings are true.

[By the way, you would probably follow a similar course of action if you were trying to figure out what automobile to purchase.]

So why do you guys absolutely insist that people who are searching/seeking into your faith only read and consider publications officially endorsed by the Watchtower Society? And once a person joins your faith, you strictly prohibit him/her from reading any (religious) material that questions the WTS. Wouldn’t you agree that this is a rather poor way of making an important spiritual decision? Can you understand how your opinion on this matter make outsiders think that your group has cult-like qualities?

Update:

Hoser: The group fluctuates between claiming that it’s the “best way” and the “only way.” But none of them would advocate considering the full spectrum of sources.

Hannah: No doubt your website accurately describes the major beliefs, but it certainly is NOT comprehensive. For example, it hints at a “compromise” with the Bulgarian government on blood transfusions, but does not specify the details of that compromise. I could give thousands of other omissions, if I wanted to.

Update 2:

Ishvarlan: You believe that the “best way” to get objective/unbiased information about Jehovah’s Witnesses is from their official literature (website, membership, etc.). But you state that it’s not the “only way” of learning about your group. Here’s my key question: Do you believe that someone interested in your faith SHOULD give fair consideration to all three sources (anti, neutral, and pro)? If so, then what’s the problem with a (current) Jehovah’s Witness continuing to follow the example of the Bereans (“trust but verify)?

Update 3:

Poя¢єℓαιη Vєssєℓ: I am not marketing or promoting myself in any manner (for example, running for a political office). Therefore, I would not like it if someone put up a website with lies about me. However, if I were, then I would not have a problem with it. True knowledge comes about from the forceful collision of truth with error. So I would not wish to suppress countering opinions, even if I believed that those opinions were way off base. That’s the beauty and benefit of free speech in America.

Update 4:

Error 999: I've already studied with the Jehovah's Wittnesses before (In Japan, both in Japanese & English). But thanks for the link, perhaps I will do so again.

Update 5:

Ron R: First, thanks for the thoughtful response. You’re probably correct about some pastors in Christendom trying to prevent their members from studying with you. That’s a shame. As for those “rotten anti-JW sources,” that phrase illustrates clearly the sort of insular attitudes you guys have. In almost ALL cases, those sources are simply challenging your doctrines and pointing out your history. You guys talk as if it’s 100 percent “apostate lies.” It sounds a bit conspiratorial and cult-like if you ask me.

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  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    I don't know why they do that... Obviously, they don't read their own literature very well because even the WTS agrees with you, and says:

    "Reasonable persons agree that the only fair method is to examine the evidence on both sides, both for and against a disputed theory. That is how one arrives at the truth." –Awake!, October 22, 1973, page 6.

    Of course, when they say things like that.. The WTS really only means nonJWs. In reality, JWs are admonished to NOT search outside the WT. It was in the Sept. '07 Kingdom Ministry (Internal literature not given to nonJWs). There they are told the "governing body" does NOT condone JWs gathering to study the BIBLE by themselves. They are told they can not learn Greek or Hebrew in hopes of studying/reading the bible in it's original language. You're absolutely right to say that this aspect about their religion is "cult-like." They try to control every bit of information that JWs can have. That's why JWs are warned by the WTS about the "dangers of the internet," which is another reason they will only tell you to go to watchtower.org. Pretty soon the WTS won't just /warn/ people of the internet, they'll forbide it's use!

    Source(s): exJW
  • 1 decade ago

    The reason we direct people to the website is because there are many websites, all claiming to be about JWs. There is only one. To find out the beliefs of the witnesses, you only need to ask any witness. We all believe the same - The Bible and try to live by its standards and principles. However, we are all imperfect and we make mistakes like everyone else. In your comments, you hint at a "compromise with Bulgaria over blood". There can never be a compromise on God's standards with regard to blood. However, there are other medical practices which are safe and do the same work as a blood transfusion. These are acceptab le to the individual if he/she so wishes without compromising God's standards.

  • 1 decade ago

    Funny Funny stuff.

    I've never claimed the Only way to get a "unbiased" view is to go to http://www.watchtower.org

    I am a Christian, one of Jehovah's Witnesses.

    In general, it's hard/rare to find anything that isn't somewhat biased. Unless someone Truly doesn't care/have an opinion, then they have, on some level, a bias. The sad thing about those who Truly don't care, is often not caring means poor workmanship.

    As for this claim

    "Earlier, when I advocated considering multiple sources and keeping a completely open mind, I got 12 “thumbs down” from the JWs, who considered my view ridiculous. Your members consistently claim that the ONLY way to get an “unbiased view” of the WTS is by strictly limiting one’s reading/research to official Jehovah’s Witness publications. This doesn’t make much sense to me."

    I have a few problems with it, firstly I don't think I've EVER seen an ID claim "the ONLY way to get an “unbiased view” of the WTS is by strictly limiting one’s reading/research to official Jehovah’s Witness publications". Also this claim "I got 12 “thumbs down” from the JWs, who considered my view ridiculous" is just sad/paranoid. Unless all 12 IDs that gave TD said "I consider your view ridiculous and thus gave you a TD" you have little/no basis for that claim.

    EDIT

    As mentioned already, your quote and your claim are in fact 2 differing statements.

    Do I think the BEST place to go to ONLINE to learn what I believe, is http://www.watchtower.org?? Yup. Do I think it's the ONLY place?? Nope. Big difference there.

    In general if someone REALLY wants to learn about a Real World group, I suggest talking to the group members, in the Real World, that way you can be more interactive with them, and know, firstly that they are who they claim, and also have a much better idea of where their claims come from.

    EDIT again

    The asker REALLY likes misquoting people.

    "Ishvarlan: You believe that the “best way” to get objective/unbiased information about Jehovah’s Witnesses is from their official literature (website, membership, etc.)."

    I NEVER said that, please, calm down, Actually read what I've written then Comment, if you wish, on what I've written, not on what you think I've written, or Wish I'd written.

    EDIT Yet again

    More misquotes/accusations.

    "They are told they can not learn Greek or Hebrew"

    Untrue. In fact, quite often the Greek and/or Hebrew Root(s) for words are studied at length.

  • 1 decade ago

    There are too many places on the web that have nothing but bad things to say about us. Too many places with inaccurate information. Too many people who pretend to be witnesses, but who really are former witnesses who only want to bash us.

    We know that if someone goes to the official JW site they will be getting accurate information about what we believe. It is only fair to direct people to "the horses mouth" so to speak.

    Obviously there are other ways a person can learn about Jehovah's Witnesses. They can call up their local kingdom hall and ask for a Bible study.

    I can't think of any other way that they will learn the truth about what we believe and teach. If they go to any of the sites that hate us and want to express that, then that is all they will get. Falsehood and hatred, not our true beliefs. Why then wouldn't we direct them to what we know are true sources of information about us?

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  • 1 decade ago

    its the best way then you can compare the scriptures in the bible yourself. If someone gave me the link www.adventist.org and I was interested... sure that would be enough for me if that was the official site.. There I could see what the beliefs were, take my bible and lookup the validity of the beliefs and work from there. I trust a muslim or adventist to tell me what they believe. I dont want to ask someone else who may have been prejudice by what others have said or personal experiences of those that just dont like them for whatever reason.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Greetings,

    I think that there are a great many misconceptions in your answer and comments.

    Yes, if you want a strictly unbiased and accurate view of our teachings go to the official web site.

    However, when Witnesses study with people we expect them to do all kinds of research. I have never told anyone I ever studied with not to find out what other religions teach or not to go talk to people of other religions. (Now, some JWs may but they would be building weak disciples).

    I for one have over 2,000 reference books in my personal library, for the most part all written by scholars of other religions. Yes, I do recommend that people not read books that are written for the express purpose of attacking another religion. But, that applies to books against Mormons, Catholics and JWs.

    That being said, Witness are trained to answering any honest and reasonable person's questions. Even when those questions or objections come from rotten anti-JW sources. Again, some JWs on a personal basis may not choose to deal with those questions.

    But, Witnesses all go door to door and must hear and answer all manner of objections and arguments against their beliefs. We are constantly coming face to face with the "collision of truth with error." So, we are not ignorant of opposing arguments, rather everyone of us must be able to support our beliefs. On the other hand, what we find is that other religions as a general rule try to keep their members from having full discussions with us.

    And each one of JWs does continue to follow the example of the Bereans (trust but verify)!!!

    Yours,

    Ron Rhoades

  • It's because there is a lot of misleading Information on negatively biased sites. Some are even downright lies.

    It's one thing to be objectionable ... but quite another to be deceived.

    Our official website gives our beliefs, & cites scriptures which the viewer can then check up with their own copy of the scriptures.

    Rustic, it's a bit like someone setting up a site telling all about you but giving misinformation about you, possibly even slanderous information.... How would you feel? Honestly?

  • 1 decade ago

    As many times as we've been to your door to tell you about it, how could you think that we mean that exclusively? The official web site is merely the best source of information about our religion online.

    Just yesterday, someone accused us of not using modern media technology to spread the good news. Today you accuse us of insisting upon using it exclusively?

    If you want to know what Jehovah's Witnesses believe, you should consult Jehovah's Witnesses, just as I should consult Adventists, if I want to know what they believe.

    Just in case you were never home when we came to your door: https://watch002.securesites.net/contact/submit.ht...

  • 1 decade ago

    Of COURSE their going to say to check out their own website. The website isn't going to let people in on all the negative history about the 'organization' nor will they provide lists of their ever changing doctrines with their old publications.

    The best way to find out about JWs is to ask a former one. We know the insides and out of this organization, the damage it causes, and ALL that the WT organization doesn't want new members to know. It's how they keep a turn over. They lose as many as they gain.

    Source(s): Raised JW.
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Because it is an accurate source for people to learn about our beliefs in a quick way; simple as that.

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