Watchman Fellowship Inside the Watchtower Convention
What is it like to be surrounded by 4,700 Jehovah's Witnesses as an outsider looking in? This writer experienced that very thing at the "Pure Language" District Convention of Jehovah's Witnesses in Amarillo, Texas earlier this summer.
Upon arrival at the Amarillo Convention Center, the main parking lot was completely full, forcing the use of an overflow parking lot - the first sign that this would be a well attended convention.
Once inside, it was obvious that everyone had on their Sunday best except... that's right! - casual shirt, jeans and Cheetahs - no doubt, an outsider.
The Witnesses even wore name tags, so any idea of blending in with the crowd quickly vanished.
The outsider realized that the Jehovah's Witnesses would recognize him as an outsider and that one of two things would probably happen. They would either descend upon him, treating him harshly as an enemy or they would reach out to him compassionately as one seeking the truth (the more probable of the two).
Which would it be? Neither!!
There was complete indifference. No one greeted him or even spoke to him unless he asked a question. This treatment was not uniquely given to the outsider, however, as most of the Witnesses kept to themselves or their own family members.
The joy of the Lord was unmistakably absent from the convention, which is not surprising when one considers that the Witnesses do not worship the true Lord Jesus Christ. They serve another Jesus (II Cor. 11:4), the first and greatest creation of Jehovah God, Michael the Archangel, instead of the Jesus of the Bible.
The word "slave" describes many aspects of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.
First of all, the Society calls itself the "Faithful and Discreet Slave" giving each Witness his "food at the proper time," (Matt. 24:45, ?New World Translationo (NWT), the Jehovah's Witnesses' Bible), the one whom God appointed "over all his belongings" (Matt. 24:47 NWT).
In turn, all Witnesses are subject to the "Faithful and Discreet Slave" making them slaves to the Slave.
In fact, one of the earliest books written by a former Jehovah's Witness was entitled ?30 Years A Watchtower Slaveo, by William Schnell.
As evidence that the Society treats the Jehovah's Witnesses as their slaves, consider the following. They cannot:
- celebrate holidays;
- celebrate birthdays;
- salute the flag;
- run for public office;
- join the military;
- sing patriotic songs;
- receive a blood transfusion.
- go door-to-door with the Watchtower gospel;
- believe the Society's interpretation of the Bible;
- believe that 1914 was a focal point in Bible prophecy;
- turn in a time sheet showing the time they spent for the Society.
Much more evidence could be given, but the Convention amplified this concept of slavery to the Society.
To start with, page two of the program stated that the convention was "arranged and directed by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc." And just how much direction is given to the slaves at the convention?
It appears that the most minute detail is not overlooked. Examples from the program include:
"Attendants - The attendants are assigned to assist you. Please cooperate fully with them by yielding to their direction....
"First Aid - Remember, this is for emergency treatment only (emphasis theirs).
"Lost and Found and Checkroom - ...children who have strayed from parents and are lost should be taken to this department. However, this department is not to be viewed as a nursery. Please look after your children and keep them with you.
"Seating - Please be considerate of others. Remember, seats may be saved only for your immediate family members and any who may be traveling with you in your car...."
The Witnesses were told by one speaker that through the course of the convention they may find that adjustments should be made in their thinking. If so, the command from the speaker was "Make the adjustment."
All in attendance were told to stand for announcements. The announcements were then given in a stern, commanding tone of voice. A good example of items covered during the announcements involved going to the concession stands.
Only one member of the family could go for the entire family and they needed to decide what they wanted before they got there.
It was as if the Jehovah's Witness could not think for themselves, even in the small details. It is no wonder, though, because they are not allowed to think for themselves when it comes to their belief system.
They must believe exactly as the Society tells them to or risk disfellowshipping. The convention demonstrated the power the Society has over the Jehovah's Witnesses in a very graphic way.
Other things of interest during the Convention would include:
- The music. It was "canned" with a man leading the crowd with a baton. The Witnesses did not seem to enjoy the songs at all. It was very uninspiring.
- Testimonies. There were several who told what life as a Jehovah's Witness meant to them. One man said that the Faithful and Discreet Slave (not Jehovah or Jesus) had given him sufficient supply to live life.
A high school student told how he turned down his coach's request for him to play basketball because it would interfere with the Watchtower meetings on Tuesday and Thursday nights. His goal was to serve at Bethel (headquarters for the Watchtower in Brooklyn, NY).
A high school graduate told how he turned down a scholarship from AT&T because of the type of people he would be associating with (those abusing drugs, alcohol and sex, etc). His objectives were to keep reaching out as part of Jehovah's Organization (the Society) and to live forever in Paradise on Earth.
What better career could there be than to be a Pioneer in Jehovah's Organization (a pioneer is one who spends an average of 100 hours per month in the field of ministry primarily going door-to-door and conducting book studies).
- Contributions. Contribution boxes were placed throughout the convention center with attendants sitting next to them.
- Literature. A new booklet entitled, How Can Blood Save Your Life?, dealing with the Society's teaching against blood transfusions, was released at the Convention. One copy was offered free to all in attendance (including the outsider who took them up on the offer!).
Experiencing a Jehovah's Witness Convention first hand made the outsider extremely thankful that he has a saving relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. It is great to be a son and not a slave.
It was a depressing experience to see so many enslaved to an organization when they could be free in Christ.
When it comes to the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, it is preferable to an outsider looking in, even when outnumbered 4,700 to 1.