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www.Quotes-Watchtower.co.uk

Verify Your Religion

Yes please verify the teachings and reliability of the Watchtower. Please read this in conjuction with their other view Do Not Verify Religion.

Watchtower May 15, 1957 pp.313-315 Appreciating Basic Christian Publications

…Their zeal for knowledge may even prompt them to dig back into things that were published long before they came into the truth, expanding and deepening their understanding, and ever growing in Christian maturity... Do you dig out older publications to expand and deepen your knowledge on subjects about which questions arise? Have you really studied these earlier publications?... How is your background of knowledge? ... Never think: "Oh, I know most of that." For you will find, indeed, that you do not and that you will be strengthened by your additional study...once you have completed your study of them you can then look to even older publications... Only by studying earlier publications and digging back through previous issues of The Watchtower kept in the library at your local Kingdom Hall. There is much in the way of spiritual riches and aids toward mature knowledge in these earlier publications, and their study is most certainly worth your time.

[Emphasis Added]

Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence October 1879 (reprint) p.38 "The Ten Virgins"

We do not object to changing our opinions on any subject, or discarding former applications of prophecy, or any other scripture, when we see a good reason for the change,-in fact, it is important that we should be willing to unlearn errors and mere traditions, as to learn truth... It is our duty to "prove all things."…by the unerring Word,…"and hold fast to that which is good."

[Emphasis Added]

Zion's Watchtower Feb. 1886

When men affirm that something more than membership in the body of Christ is essential to membership in their religious organizations, they make it other than the church of Christ, and make themselves greater than the Lord, for they refuse to receive him whom they admit the Divine Master has accepted.

[Emphasis Added]

Watchtower March 1, 1894 p.1629

[This is a summary, not a quote.]

[If you get a tract or paper from us that is not in harmony with the Scriptures, let us know and do not circulate it.]

[Emphasis Added]

Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence December 15 1896 (reprint) p.2080 "Worship the Lord in the Beauty of Holiness"

Nor would we have our writings reverenced or regarded as infallible, or on a par with the holy Scriptures. The most we claim or have ever claimed for our teachings is that they are what we believe to be harmonious interpretations of the divine Word, in harmony with the spirit of the truth. And we still urge, as in the past, that each reader study the subjects we present in the light of the Scriptures, proving all things by the Scriptures, accepting what they see to be thus approved, and rejecting all else. It is to this end, to enable the student to trace the subject in the divinely inspired Record, that we so freely intersperse both quotations and citations of the Scriptures upon which to build.

[Emphasis Added]

Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence January 1 1908 (reprint) p.4110 "Views From the Watch Tower"

We are not prophesying; we are merely giving our surmises, the Scriptural basis for which is already in the hands of our readers in the six volumes of SCRIPTURE STUDIES. We do not even aver that there is no mistake in our interpretation of prophesy and our calculations of chronology. We have merely laid these before you, leaving it for each to exercise his own faith or doubt in respect to them.

[Emphasis Added]

Watchtower April 1, 1920, pp100, 101

We would not refuse to treat one as a brother because he did not believe the Society is the Lord's channel. If others see it in a different way, that is their privilege. There should be full liberty of conscience.

[Emphasis Added]

Watchtower May 1, 1934 p.131

[This is a summary, not a quote.]

[Instructions to confirm Watchtower teachings against the bible.]

[Emphasis Added]

RICHES, 1936, p.178

[This is a summary, not a quote]

[If you find a lie, forsake it regardless of who teaches it; it is your duty to God.]

[Emphasis Added]

RICHES, 1936, p.179

[This is a summary, not a quote]

[If you have been in an organization that teaches things contrary to God's Word, forsake it.]

[Emphasis Added]

Is This Life All There Is? (1974) p.46 What Is This Thing Called "Soul"?

…God, who is himself "the God of truth" and who hates lies, will not look with favor on persons who cling to organizations that teach falsehood. (Psalm 31:5; Proverbs 6:16-19; Revelation 21:8) And, really, would you want to be even associated with a religion that had not been honest with you?

[Emphasis Added]

Watchtower August 15, 1950 p. 263 Name and Purpose of The Watchtower

…The Watchtower… invites careful and critical examination of its contents in the light of the Scriptures.

[Emphasis Added]

Watchtower November 15, 1963 p.688 Execution of Divine Judgment upon False Religion

3 Can there be false religion? It is not a form of religious persecution for anyone to say and to show that another religion is false. It is not religious persecution for an informed person to expose publicly a certain religion as being false, thus allowing persons to see the difference between false religion and true religion.

[Emphasis Added]

Watchtower March 1, 1965 p.151 Basis for Reliance on Prophecy

The best method of proof is to put a prophecy to the test of time and circumstances. The Bible invites such a test.

[Emphasis Added]

Watchtower March 1, 1966 p.132 Should Falsehood and Corruption Be Exposed?

Therefore, how will you respond when pointed statements are made about false religious teachings and corrupt practices? Will you immediately condemn the person or organization making the exposé? Do you feel it is all right to teach lies and misrepresent God's Word, but wrong to expose the error? Contrary to what some may think, it is not unkind and unloving to lay bare falsehood and corruption.

[Emphasis Added]

The Truth That Leads to Eternal Life 1968 p.13 Why It Is Wise to Examine Your Religion

4 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.

[Emphasis Added]

Watchtower April 15, 1970 p.246 Questions That People Ask About Jehovah's Witnesses

How many are aware that adhering to false religion can mean their eternal destruction?… Are true Christians going to stand by quietly and say nothing about such gross misrepresentations? Hardly!

[Emphasis Added]

Watchtower April 15, 1971 p.230 The Bible-the Creator's Guide for Man

Human history demonstrates that man, apart from God, cannot successfully direct his steps. (Jer. 10:23) Only the Bible provides the guidance that he needs. It gives guidance regarding morals, showing what God condemns and what he approves. (Gal. 5:19-23) It proves to be a most practical help amid a world that has thrown off moral restraint. It helps us to get the viewpoint of God and to be pleasing to him.

Is it not obvious why this Book of books should be mankind's primary textbook for study? Christians, above all, are keenly concerned about investigating this Book that is authored by the One to whom God's Son said: "Your word is truth." (John 17:17) The more you become familiar with the sixty-six books of the Bible the more you will be convinced that it is indeed the Creator's Guide for all mankind.

[Emphasis Added]

Awake! October 22, 1973 p. 6 Examine the Evidence

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.

[Emphasis Added]

Watchtower August 1, 1978 p.12 A Growing Paradise in Sweden

EFFORTS TO HINDER THE WORK

[…]

Over the years, representatives of different churches have published many books and brochures for the purpose of "exposing" Jehovah's Witnesses as heretics. These publications have been examined by a researcher, who summarizes his impressions as follows: "As a researcher in religion, I have over the years more and more found evidence to support my views that those who are quickest in calling another a 'heretic' or 'false prophet' are themselves most deserving of such a remark. I feel that it is time to blacklist this type of books which, with a Christian cover, gives a false picture of, for example, Jehovah's Witnesses." (Religion och Kultur, No. 4, 1976) Naturally, we are not afraid of this kind of publicity, because we know that it serves to awaken the curiosity of many honest persons.

[Emphasis Added]

Watchtower January 15, 1974 p.35 Can You Be True to God, Yet Hide the Facts?

When persons are in great danger from a source that they do not suspect or are being misled by those they consider their friends, is it an unkindness to warn them? They may prefer not to believe the warning. They may even resent it. But does that free one from the moral responsibility to give that warning?

If you are among those seeking to be faithful to God, the issues these questions raise are vital for you today.

[Emphasis Added]

Awake! November 22, 1984 p.3-4 An Open or a Closed Mind—Which Do You Have?

An Open or a Closed Mind—Which Do You Have?

[…]

What Is an Open Mind?

An open mind is free from the fetters of prejudice, which by one dictionary is defined as follows: "A judgment or opinion, favorable or unfavorable, formed beforehand or without due examination; a mental decision based on other grounds than reason or justice; especially, a premature or adversely biased opinion."

A necessary part of life is that we make decisions and reach judgments. But decisions made "without due examination" or judgments reached "on other grounds than reason or justice" are evidences of a closed mind.

Having an open mind, on the other hand, means to be receptive to new information and ideas. It means being willing to examine and to evaluate information without a biased attitude. By retaining what is worthwhile and rejecting what is worthless, we can reach definite conclusions on a solid basis and still leave our minds open to further revision should additional information become available at a future time. He who feels he has learned it all can be sure that this attitude will prevent him from ever learning more.

Why People Have Closed Minds

A closed mind may indicate lack of knowledge. We may know so little about a subject, or have information so distorted or incomplete, that the facts necessary to reach proper conclusions are missing.

[Emphasis Added]

Awake! 1984 November 22 pp.4-7 Six Benefits From an Open Mind

Six Benefits From an Open Mind

OF THE many advantages of an open mind, we would like to discuss six. Give thought to whether you could perhaps derive greater benefit or pleasure from life by developing an open mind in this or that particular aspect.

1 Enriches Life

Remember when you were a child? How exciting life was! How thrilling to explore everything new that came along. You were—as most children normally are—open-minded, receptive to new impressions. You did not know what prejudice meant.

But have you retained this open-minded attitude toward new things? Or have you become like the foreign traveler who complains that he can't find the food he is accustomed to eating at home? Of course, taking certain health precautions as regards food and drink when traveling may be necessary. For example, it may be wise to drink only bottled water and, particularly in the tropics, to avoid raw vegetables and salads. But, outside of that, what prevents you from at least trying some of the local cuisine? The natives have been enjoying it for years. You may not know what you are missing!

And how do you feel about foreign customs? They may be somewhat strange viewed from your standpoint. But "strange" does not mean "inferior." It is a closed mind that insists that "our way of doing things is better." So even though you may still prefer a knife and fork to chopsticks, your life will be enriched once you learn to eat with them.

Why rob yourself of association with other ethnic groups because their way of life may be different? A German graduate of the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead recalls that he had never enjoyed close contact with people from other nations until he attended this missionary school in 1962. "I was part of a student body composed of students from 50 different countries," he remembers, "from such faraway places as Japan, Papua New Guinea, the Congo, Argentina and India. At first my feelings toward them were mixed, but in the course of time, after becoming better acquainted with them, I learned to love them. It was an experience that greatly enriched my life and broadened my horizons." Your life, too, will become more meaningful if you widen out to enjoy the full variety to be found within the human family.

2 Contributes to Better Health

The total and lasting cure for illness is beyond man's power to find, either at present or in the future. But divine help is on the way. God's new system of things will soon displace today's society that is sick both physically and morally. Then, "no resident will say: 'I am sick.'"—Isaiah 33:24.

In the meantime we seek temporary relief from physical ailments. There are any number of medical treatments to choose from. Having an open mind, we will not condemn any of them simply on the basis of their being unusual or unorthodox. We will also realize that what may be effective for one person may not work for another. Thus, although we exercise due caution, an open mind will open up a much wider scope of medical therapies to choose from than a closed mind would ever allow.

An open mind helps us maintain a cheerful attitude. A closed mind is poisoned by prejudice and hate. It is unloving and therefore detrimental to health. As one psychiatrist said: "It is easier to hate, but healthier to love." Yes, modern medicine has discovered the Bible truth that "a tranquil mind gives life to the flesh" and that "a cheerful heart is a good medicine."—Proverbs 14:30; 17:22, Revised Standard Version.

3 Promotes Mental Growth

It has been estimated that your brain has the capacity to remember 10,000 times as much material as is recorded in the Encyclopædia Britannica! Why stifle this tremendous capacity by allowing a closed mind to limit your intake of knowledge?

A closed mind brings mental growth to a standstill. This is dangerous because a closed mind is incapable of correcting improper or wrong ideas and views. An open mind, on the other hand, leads to maturity and greater mental balance. It helps us broaden the foundation upon which to base our views and make our decisions. Thus, the greater likelihood we have of making correct ones.

4 Helps in Solving Problems

To solve problems successfully we need to be willing to accept wise counsel. Proverbs 15:22 says: "There is a frustrating of plans where there is no confidential talk, but in the multitude of counselors there is accomplishment." An open mind helps us to accept the counsel of those around us, people with whom we work, live and associate. This leads to accomplishment and success.

An open mind will help us pick up counsel by way of example, even when the one giving it may be unaware of that fact. This is illustrated by what a Christian missionary's wife used to tell her husband whenever he became upset at the way people were doing things. "Remember," she would remind him, "you can learn something from everyone—if it's no more than how not to do something."

Yes, we can benefit greatly by not closing our minds to the thoughts and conduct of others. By open-mindedly contemplating "how their conduct turns out," we can either imitate or avoid their course of action, as the case may be.—Compare Hebrews 13:7.

5 Promotes Good Relationships

Did you ever jump to conclusions that later proved to be incorrect? How embarrassing. But even worse, how painful if this caused a severe strain on your marriage or on a treasured friendship. An open mind would have prevented you from making up your mind about the matter until all the evidence was in. This, in turn, would have prevented you from speaking too soon. The Bible's sage observation about this at Proverbs 18:13 is: "When anyone is replying to a matter before he hears it, that is foolishness on his part and a humiliation."

It is truly difficult to have a fine relationship with narrow-minded people who see everything only from their perspective, not allowing for differences of opinion, taste and preference. And what is more narrow-minded than a closed mind?

Of course, an open mind should not be so open or broad that it loses sight of moral principles and adopts the view that "anything goes." But by open-mindedly trying to understand a person, we are not condoning his wrong actions. We are simply trying to determine why he thinks or acts as he does. Are there extenuating circumstances? Could it be the way he was brought up, his background or his environment? Could it be lack of knowledge?

Being open-minded as regards the faults and weaknesses of others will make it easier for us to show them empathy. It will not be difficult to reach out to them in Christian love, helping them to change wrong actions and attitudes. It will make for meaningful relationships.

6 The Most Important Advantage

A sixth advantage of an open mind is so important that it deserves more detailed consideration. It, too, has to do with our relationship with others, this time with our Creator, Jehovah God, and with his Son and our Redeemer, Christ Jesus.

Our relationship with our fellowman, while important, can mean at most only the difference between happiness and unhappiness. Our relationship with Jehovah God and Christ Jesus means the difference between life and death! See the next article for details.

[Emphasis Added]

Awake! 1984 November 22 pp.8-10 An Open Mind Wins God's Approval

An Open Mind Wins God's Approval

THE importance of having an open mind so as to win God's approval is shown in the words recorded at Ephesians 5:10, 17. There we read: "Keep on making sure of what is acceptable to the Lord. On this account cease becoming unreasonable, but go on perceiving what the will of Jehovah is."

But is it not a fact that many people have closed minds when it comes to religion? Some even reject the idea of a Supreme Being and are unwilling to listen to the evidence of his existence presented by believers. For them religion is a closed subject.

Even some religious people have closed minds. They are interested only in "their" religion, showing no willingness to as much as listen to the views of others. And even though they may not have chosen their religion but simply have inherited it from their parents, still they feel that their religion must be right. But not every inheritance is necessarily good. A quick temper, a selfish attitude or a deceitful spirit can also be parental hand-me-downs, but they are definitely undesirable.

What makes a religion right is its total adherence to God's Word. Whether our religion meets this criterion or not can only be determined by open-mindedly comparing it with the Bible. Certainly such an important matter as our worship of God should not be determined for us by the coincidence of where we were born. After all, the child born to Catholic parents has had no more control over this fact than the child born to Muslim parents controls that.

Avoid Religious Prejudice

When people are approached with a religious message, they may react in one of several ways. Some will say: "Absolute truth is impossible to find"; "all religions are only out for your money"; "science has disproved religion"; "religion is just a crutch for weak people." These views, and others like them, tend to close the mind and cut off investigation before it has begun. It is prejudice at work.

Why, some people have even been known to doubt the truthfulness of a message simply on the basis of where the message bearer came from. Take, for example, an event from the first century C.E. John 1:45, 46 tells us: "Philip found Nathanael and said to him: 'We have found the one of whom Moses, in the Law, and the Prophets wrote, Jesus, the son of Joseph, from Nazareth.' But Nathanael said to him: 'Can anything good come out of Nazareth?' Philip said to him: 'Come and see.'" Philip was clearly admonishing Nathanael to keep an open mind.

Similar things happen today. When missionaries of Jehovah's Witnesses preach in foreign countries, they may experience rejection, even though their message is based on the Bible, simply because of their nationality. Following the example of Nathanael of old, some people may ask: "Can anything good come out of America?"

Others may tend to reject a message because it is presented in a simple way by a person of simple background. But is this wise? About members of the early Christian congregation, we read: "When the Council [Jewish Sanhedrin] saw the boldness of Peter and John, and could see that they were obviously uneducated non-professionals, they were amazed and realized what being with Jesus had done for them!"—Acts 4:13, The Living Bible.

Yes, "uneducated non-professionals" can do amazing things when trained in the sayings of God. So do not allow their lack of formal theological training or professionalism to close your mind; leave it open to investigate the message they bring.

How to Find Religious Truth

An open mind is willing to do what 1 John 4:1 recommends. It says: "Beloved ones, do not believe every inspired expression, but test the inspired expressions to see whether they originate with God, because many false prophets have gone forth into the world." But in view of the thousands of different religious groups and sects now in existence, is it possible to test what is true? Yes, not only possible but also not nearly as difficult as you might think. For example:

Some religions teach that in time our literal earth will be burned up. They may quote 2 Peter 3:7 in support: "But by the same word the heavens and the earth that are now are stored up for fire and are being reserved to the day of judgment and of destruction of the ungodly men."

But does this text really say that the literal earth will be burned up? Actually, it only speaks of the "destruction of the ungodly men." In the preceding verses, 2Pe 3:5 and 6, it likens this to the time of Noah's flood when "the world of that time suffered destruction when it was deluged with water."

Now what actually perished in the Flood? Genesis 7:23 answers: "Thus he wiped out every existing thing that was on the surface of the ground, from man to beast, . . . and they were wiped off the earth." Logically, when wicked people were "wiped off the earth," the literal earth must have remained standing.

This is in harmony with Ecclesiastes 1:4, which informs us that "a generation is going, and a generation is coming; but the earth is standing even to time indefinite." Psalm 104:5 is even more emphatic: "He has founded the earth upon its established places; it will not be made to totter to time indefinite, or forever."

After comparing these scriptures, an open mind will conclude that any religion teaching the literal destruction of the earth is teaching an untruth. Could it then be the true religion, representing Jehovah God, the God of truth? Or what if it teaches other doctrines equally false? By the process of elimination, we can weed out false religions quickly.

"Be Sound in Mind"

The apostle Peter's admonition "be sound in mind" includes, of necessity, having an open mind, for only an open mind can reach sound conclusions and make sound judgments. Some of the inhabitants of Beroea had such an open mind, because of them we read that "they received the word with the greatest eagerness of mind, carefully examining the Scriptures daily as to whether these things were so."—1 Peter 4:7; Acts 17:11.

An open mind, free of prejudice, will enable us to go on "carefully examining the Scriptures daily" and then to act upon what we learn. This is in harmony with the Bible counsel to "become doers of the word, and not hearers only." The Beroeans were more than just hearers, because Acts 17:12 informs us that "many of them became believers."—James 1:22; see also Matthew 7:21.

Yes, having an open mind will pay in many ways. Using it to help us find the true religion will enrich our present life, improve our spiritual health and assist us in solving life's problems. But, most importantly, it will also help us win God's approval, thus putting us in the way of receiving everlasting life in his new system.—See Mark 10:29, 30.

Literally hundreds of thousands of people living around the globe are happy that they were open-minded enough to investigate the Bible message. By having an open mind toward religion they have seen the marvelous prospect of everlasting life on a paradise earth opened up to them. Would you enjoy such a prospect for your future?

Are you open-minded enough to investigate? It will be to your everlasting benefit if you are.

[Footnotes]

For additional examples, see chapters 8 and 9 of the book You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth, published in 1982 by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc.

[Picture on page 9]

Do you reject a message because of preconceived ideas? Or do you investigate?

[Pictures on page 10]

An open mind can put you on the way to everlasting life in Paradise.

[Emphasis Added]

Watchtower June 15, 1985 p.12 Digging Deeper Into God's Word

18 But that does not relieve each individual Christian of the responsibility to dig deeper into God's Word, for the purpose of getting the full depth of the thoughts explained. This involves looking up the scriptures cited. It means reading the footnotes in Watchtower articles, some of which refer the reader to an older publication that provides a fuller explanation of a certain passage or prophecy. It requires digging deeper, putting forth effort to locate that older publication and then studying the pages referred to. It consists of making full use of specialized Bible study aids that the "slave" class has made available over the years, such as indexes, concordances, Aid to Bible Understanding, and "All Scripture Is Inspired of God and Beneficial." Yes, Christians have been provided with excellent digging tools, the latest of which is the new English-language Reference Bible, which, in time, will be available in a number of other languages. Let us use these digging tools to good advantage.

[Emphasis Added]

Awake! 1987 March 22 pp.8-9 Are You Open-Minded Toward God?

Are You Open-Minded Toward God?

DO YOU love God? Do you want to know him better? The way to do so was shown 19 centuries ago. The apostle Paul preached to a mixed crowd of Jews and Greeks in a Jewish synagogue in Thessalonica. Some Jews and some Greeks were convinced and changed their religion, but many of the Jews, "full of resentment, enlisted the help of a gang from the market place, stirred up a crowd, and soon had the whole city in an uproar."

Under cover of darkness, Paul escaped the mob and moved on to Beroea and soon was in the synagogue preaching to both Jews and Greeks. "Here the Jews were more open-minded than those in Thessalonika, and they welcomed the word very readily; every day they studied the scriptures to check whether it was true. Many Jews became believers, and so did many Greek women from the upper classes and a number of the men."—Acts 17:1-12.

The Jews in Thessalonica clung to their centuries-old religion with its oral traditions that made void God's Word. (Matthew 15:1-9) How different were those of Beroea—they listened with open minds, checked the Scriptures to see whether Paul's words were true, and changed their religion.

Catholic commentators, as quoted in the previous article, have this to say about Jehovah's Witnesses. They are "in first place when it comes to fervor, zeal, activism." They "are the first to live the faith they preach," and they "follow a virtuous and honest life-style." One is "welcomed with warmth and a sense of brotherhood and solidarity." "They always have the Bible in their hand," and their "way of reading the Bible evidently meets real needs that other theologies no longer fill." Their message "helps in overcoming the anxiety of the individual in the face of this world's woes." All of this and more is said by Catholic clergymen and commentators. Is not all of this high praise for Jehovah's Witnesses?

Would it not be wise, then, to listen to their Bible-based conversations when they call at your door? And remember, the fact that their religion is disparagingly called a "sect" does not make it false. The first Christians were called "the Nazarene sect." The Bible admonishes all of us to "prove all things: hold fast that which is good." (Acts 24:5; 1 Thessalonians 5:21, Douay Version) Should not all who love God and want to know him heed this divine counsel?

[Box/Pictures on page 9]

If you are a Catholic and wish to know God better, with an open mind consider these questions along with the scriptures cited, using your own Bible.

The Catholic Douay Version Bible teaches that the soul dies—does your church teach that it is immortal?—Ezekiel 18:4; Acts 3:23; Apocalypse 16:3.

It teaches that the wages sin pays is death—does your church teach that sinners are tortured in hell or in purgatory?—Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10; Romans 6:23.

It teaches that Jehovah is one God and that Jesus is not equal to him—does your church teach that God is one God in three persons and that Jesus is one of three equals?—Deuteronomy 6:4; John 14:28.

It teaches that Jesus is the rock on which God's church is built—does your church teach that it is built on Peter?—Ephesians 2:20, 21; 1 Peter 2:4-8.

It teaches praying to God through Christ Jesus—does your church teach praying to or through others?—Philippians 4:6; 1 Timothy 2:5.

It teaches addressing confession of sins and requests for forgiveness to God through the advocacy of Jesus Christ—does your church teach that these favors come through a priest?—1 John 1:9; 2:1.

And that same Catholic Bible teaches that friendship with the world and political involvement with this world is enmity with God—does your church involve itself with the political or military affairs of this world?—John 15:19; 18:36; James 1:27; 4:4.

[Pictures]

Hellfire?

Trinity?

Intercessors?

[Emphasis Added]

Watchtower April 1, 1991 p.17 Mankind's Search for God

Mankind's Search for God

[…]

To help us to have a clearer understanding of other religions, their teachings, and their historical background, the Watch Tower Society released around the world during the 1990 "Pure Language" Conventions a new publication entitled Mankind's Search for God. Equipped with this instrument, we will be better able to preach to people of the non-Christian world as well as to those of Christendom.

A Practical Instrument

[…]

The book then raises the logical question. "Is it reasonable to assume that the religion imposed at one's birth is necessarily the whole truth?" Thus, every person is encouraged to examine other religions with an open mind. As is stated on page 10: "Understanding one another's viewpoint can lead to more meaningful communication and conversation between people of different faiths." It continues: "True, people may strongly disagree about their religious beliefs, but there is no basis for hating a person just because he or she holds a different viewpoint."-Matthew 5:43, 44.

[Emphasis Added]

Awake! 1993 March 22 pp.3-4 Why So Many False Alarms?

[Footnotes]

Jehovah's Witnesses, in their eagerness for Jesus' second coming, have suggested dates that turned out to be incorrect. Because of this, some have called them false prophets. Never in these instances, however, did they presume to originate predictions 'in the name of Jehovah.' Never did they say, 'These are the words of Jehovah.' The Watchtower, the official journal of Jehovah's Witnesses, has said: "We have not the gift of prophecy." (January 1883, page 425) "Nor would we have our writings reverenced or regarded as infallible." (December 15, 1896, page 306) The Watchtower has also said that the fact that some have Jehovah's spirit "does not mean those now serving as Jehovah's witnesses are inspired. It does not mean that the writings in this magazine The Watchtower are inspired and infallible and without mistakes." (May 15, 1947, page 157) "The Watchtower does not claim to be inspired in its utterances, nor is it dogmatic." (August 15, 1950, page 263) "The brothers preparing these publications are not infallible. Their writings are not inspired as are those of Paul and the other Bible writers. (2 Tim. 3:16) And so, at times, it has been necessary, as understanding became clearer, to correct views. (Prov. 4:18)"-February 15, 1981, page 19.

[Emphasis Added]

Awake! June 8, 1994 p.20-21 The Bible's Viewpoint Does the Bible Discourage Freedom of Thought?

The Bible's Viewpoint

Does the Bible Discourage Freedom of Thought?

THE flames leap heavenward as the bonfire devours precious books fed to it by German officials. A scene from Nazi Germany? Yes, but it could also be a scene from the year 1199, when a Roman Catholic archbishop ordered all German-language Bibles burned.

Actually, incidents of book burning—a universal symbol of the suppression of freedom of thought and speech—have occurred in many countries and in many centuries. Often, it has been instigated by religious leaders who feared the effect that freedom of thought would have on the common man.

No wonder that many today assume that the Bible mandates rigid restrictions against open intellectual inquiry. But does it really? Does the Bible encourage restraints on freedom of thought?

'Love Jehovah With Your Whole Mind'

The Bible does not discourage the use of the mind. In fact, Jesus encouraged each of us to 'love Jehovah with our whole mind.' (Mark 12:30) His ministry shows that he had a keen interest in current events (Luke 13:1-5), biology (Matthew 6:26, 28; Mark 7:18, 19), agriculture (Matthew 13:31, 32), and human nature (Matthew 5:28; 6:22-24). His illustrations indicate that he clearly understood the principles in God's Word and the background and thinking of his listeners and that he thought carefully about how to bring the two together.

Paul entreated all Christians to render their service to God with their "power of reason." (Romans 12:1) He encouraged the Thessalonians not to let misleading 'inspired expressions shake them from their reason.' (2 Thessalonians 2:2) He had some knowledge of Greek and Cretan poetry (Acts 17:28; Titus 1:12) and military equipment and procedures (Ephesians 6:14-17; 2 Corinthians. 2:14-16). And he was observant of local customs.—Acts 17:22, 23.

Although Jesus and Paul enjoyed so much freedom of thought, they did not view themselves as the sole authority on right and wrong. Rather than reject the Bible in favor of his own reasoning, Jesus repeatedly quoted from the Scriptures. His swift and severe reply when Peter urged him to consider a course different from the sacrificial death that was God's will for him shows that he would not even contemplate that line of thinking. (Matthew 16:22, 23) Similarly, Paul told the Corinthians: "When I came to you, it was not with any show of oratory or philosophy, but simply to tell you what God had guaranteed." (1 Corinthians 2:1, The Jerusalem Bible) Like Jesus, his reasoning was based solidly on the Scriptures.—Acts 17:2

The Bible encourages the use of one's mental faculties to the full but not without all restraint. However, the burden of responsibility for keeping our thinking in harmony with that of Jehovah is placed on the individual Christian, not the congregation. Thus, when a number of Ephesians publicly renounced their practice of spiritism and became Christians, Paul did not take it upon himself to burn their books, but "a number of them who had practised magic collected their books and made a bonfire of them in public." (Acts 19:19, JB) Why did these Christians feel it necessary to burn their own books?

The First Line of Defense

Consider this illustration. A successful military defense often involves several lines of defensive bulwarks. No successful general would feel that any one of these is unimportant and should be given up without a fight. In a Christian's fight against sin, there are several lines of defense as well.

James 1:14, 15 states that "each one is tried by being drawn out and enticed by his own desire. Then the desire, when it has become fertile, gives birth to sin." The first step toward sin is the cultivation of a wrong desire in the mind. Thus, the first line of defense is to refrain from cultivating the desire—to control one's thinking.

It is because of this link between thoughts and actions that the Bible warns us: "Keep your minds fixed on the things above, not on the things upon the earth." (Colossians 3:2) When Christians refuse to dwell mentally on immorality, spiritism, or apostasy, they make this decision, not because they fear that these ideas might prove superior to Bible truths, but because they wish to avoid anything that could draw them into a sinful course.

'All Things Are Openly Exposed'

Another important reason why we should control our thinking is our love for Jehovah and a respect for his ability to know our thoughts. Imagine that you had a cherished friend or a close relative who was particularly sensitive to dirt or dust. Would you stop inviting your friend into your home, unwilling to do the extra cleaning that your house would require? Would love not move you to make the needed extra effort to keep things clean? Jehovah's sensitivity to our innermost thoughts is shown at Psalm 44:21: "He is aware of the secrets of the heart." Paul said we are accountable for those thoughts: "There is not a creation that is not manifest to his sight, but all things are naked and openly exposed to the eyes of him with whom we have an accounting."-Hebrews 4:13; Psalm 10:4; Proverbs 6:16, 18.

Job acknowledged man's responsibility to God for his thoughts. "Job . . . offered up burnt sacrifices . . . ; for, said Job, 'maybe my sons have sinned and have cursed God in their heart.'" (Job 1:5) Willful contemplation of a wrong course could in itself be viewed by Jehovah as a sin.-Compare Exodus 20:17.

True Freedom of Thought

The Bible encourages each Christian to set as a goal the bringing of "every thought into captivity to make it obedient to the Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:5) This is achieved, not through restrictions placed by religious leaders, but through an individual's exercise of self-control and through his love for and understanding of Jehovah and His principles. With the achievement of this goal comes true freedom of thought, limited only by godly standards and enhanced by the joy of knowing that, even in our thoughts, we are pleasing to Jehovah.

[Emphasis Added]

Watchtower April 15,2002 p.28

Two Pastors Who Appreciated Russell's Writings

As observed in 1925 by Remigio Cuminetti, Banchetti showed "much sympathy" for the work of the Bible Students and was "fully convinced" of the doctrines as explained by them.

On one occasion. Banchetti was dicussing Russell's writings with a man named J.Campbell Wall. In answer to Wall's criticisms, Banchetti said: "I am certain that if you read Russell's six volumes, you would experience a vigorous and deep joy, and you would thank me with emotion. I do not parade doctrine; but I read those books eleven years ago, and thank God every day for putting before me such light and such consolation by means of a work that is entirely and solidly founded on the Holy Scriptures."

Listen, Listen, Listen

It is significant that these two Waldensian pastors—Daniel Rivoire and Giuseppe Banchestti—expressed appreciation for the way Russel explained the Bible. Banchetti wrote: "I say that none of us evangelicals, not even our pastors of theology professors, nobody knows everything. Nay, we have many, many other things to learn…[we should] …stay and listen, not thinking we know it all, and not rejecting what is offered for our examination. Rather, listen, listen, listen."

Every year, thousands listen to the Kingdom message as brought to their homes by Jehovah's Witnesses. Open-minded people everywhere who thirst for Bible truths are responding to Jesus' invitation: "Come be my follower."

[Emphasis Added]

Awake! 2000 June 22 The Manipulation of Information

The Manipulation of Information

"By clever and persevering use of propaganda even heaven can be represented as hell to the people, and conversely the most wretched life as paradise."—ADOLF HITLER, MEIN KAMPF.

AS MEANS of communicating have expanded—from printing to the telephone, radio, television, and the Internet—the flow of persuasive messages has dramatically accelerated. This communications revolution has led to information overload, as people are inundated by countless messages from every quarter. Many respond to this pressure by absorbing messages more quickly and accepting them without questioning or analyzing them.

The cunning propagandist loves such shortcuts—especially those that short-circuit rational thought. Propaganda encourages this by agitating the emotions, by exploiting insecurities, by capitalizing on the ambiguity of language, and by bending rules of logic. As history bears out, such tactics can prove all too effective.

A History of Propaganda

Today the word "propaganda" has a negative connotation, suggesting dishonest tactics, but originally that was not the meaning intended for the term. "Propaganda" apparently comes from the Latin name of a group of Roman Catholic cardinals, the Congregatio de Propaganda Fide (Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith). This committee—called Propaganda for short—was established by Pope Gregory XV in 1622 to supervise missionaries. Gradually, "propaganda" came to mean any effort to spread a belief.

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Propaganda promoting war and smoking has contributed to many deaths

But the concept of propaganda was not born in the 17th century. From ancient times, men have used every available medium to spread ideologies or enhance fame and power. For example, art has served propagandistic ends since the days of the Egyptian pharaohs. These kings designed their pyramids to project an image of power and durability. Similarly, the architecture of the Romans served a political purpose—the glorification of the state. The term "propaganda" took on a generally negative connotation in World War I when governments began playing an active role in shaping the war information spread by the media. During World War II, Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels proved themselves to be master propagandists.

Following World War II, propaganda increasingly became a major instrument to promote national policy. Both the Western and the Eastern blocs waged all-out campaigns to win the great masses of uncommitted people to their side. Every aspect of national life and policy was exploited for propagandistic purposes. In recent years the growing sophistication of propaganda techniques has been evident in election campaigns, as well as in advertising by tobacco companies. So-called experts and other leaders have been employed to portray smoking as glamorous and healthful and not as the threat to public health that it actually is.

Lies, Lies!

Certainly, the handiest trick of the propagandist is the use of outright lies. Consider, for example, the lies that Martin Luther wrote in 1543 about the Jews in Europe: "They have poisoned wells, made assassinations, kidnaped children . . . They are venomous, bitter, vindictive, tricky serpents, assassins, and children of the devil who sting and work harm." His exhortation to so-called Christians? "Set fire to their synagogues or schools . . . Their houses [should] also be razed and destroyed."

A professor of government and social studies who has studied that era says: "Antisemitism has fundamentally nothing to do with the actions of Jews, and therefore fundamentally nothing to do with an antisemite's knowledge of the real nature of Jews." He also notes: "The Jews stood for everything that was awry, so that the reflexive reaction to a natural or social ill was to look to its supposed Jewish sources."

Making Generalizations

Another very successful tactic of propaganda is generalization. Generalizations tend to obscure important facts about the real issues in question, and they are frequently used to demean entire groups of people. "Gypsies [or immigrants] are thieves" is, for instance, a phrase frequently heard in some European countries. But is that true?

Richardos Someritis, a columnist, says that in one country such perceptions caused a kind of "xenophobic and very often racist frenzy" against foreigners. It has been shown, however, that when it comes to delinquent acts, the culprits in that country are just as likely to be native-born as foreign. For example, Someritis notes that surveys have shown that in Greece, "96 out of 100 crimes are perpetrated by [Greeks]." "The causes of criminal activity are economic and social," he observes, "not 'racial.'" He blames the media "for systematically cultivating xenophobia and racism" by a slanted coverage of crime.

Name-Calling

Some people insult those who disagree with them by questioning character or motives instead of focusing on the facts. Name-calling slaps a negative, easy-to-remember label onto a person, a group, or an idea. The name-caller hopes that the label will stick. If people reject the person or the idea on the basis of the negative label instead of weighing the evidence for themselves, the name-caller's strategy has worked.

For example, in recent years a powerful antisect sentiment has swept many countries in Europe and elsewhere. This trend has stirred emotions, created the image of an enemy, and reinforced existing prejudices against religious minorities. Often, "sect" becomes a catchword. "'Sect' is another word for 'heretic,'" wrote German Professor Martin Kriele in 1993, "and a heretic today in Germany, as in former times, is [condemned to extermination]—if not by fire . . . , then by character assassination, isolation and economic destruction."

The Institute for Propaganda Analysis notes that "bad names have played a tremendously powerful role in the history of the world and in our own individual development. They have ruined reputations, . . . sent [people] to prison cells, and made men mad enough to enter battle and slaughter their fellowmen."

Playing on the Emotions

Even though feelings might be irrelevant when it comes to factual claims or the logic of an argument, they play a crucial role in persuasion. Emotional appeals are fabricated by practiced publicists, who play on feelings as skillfully as a virtuoso plays the piano.

For example, fear is an emotion that can becloud judgment. And, as in the case of envy, fear can be played upon. The Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail, of February 15, 1999, reported the following from Moscow: "When three girls committed suicide in Moscow last week, the Russian media immediately suggested they were fanatical followers of the Jehovah's Witnesses." Note the word "fanatical." Naturally, people would be fearful of a fanatic religious organization that supposedly drives young people to suicide. Were these unfortunate girls really connected with Jehovah's Witnesses in some way?

The Globe continued: "Police later admitted the girls had nothing to do with [Jehovah's Witnesses]. But by then a Moscow television channel had already launched a new assault on the sect, telling viewers that the Jehovah's Witnesses had collaborated with Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany—despite historical evidence that thousands of their members were victims of the Nazi death camps." In the mind of the misinformed and possibly fearful public, Jehovah's Witnesses were either a suicidal cult or Nazi collaborators!

[Note: see Watchtower quotes regarding Nazi Conciliation]

Hatred is a strong emotion exploited by propagandists. Loaded language is particularly effective in triggering it. There seems to be a nearly endless supply of nasty words that promote and exploit hatred toward particular racial, ethnic, or religious groups.

Some propagandists play on pride. Often we can spot appeals to pride by looking for such key phrases as: "Any intelligent person knows that . . ." or, "A person with your education can't help but see that . . ." A reverse appeal to pride plays on our fear of seeming stupid. Professionals in persuasion are well aware of that.

Slogans and Symbols

Slogans are vague statements that are typically used to express positions or goals. Because of their vagueness, they are easy to agree with.

For example, in times of national crisis or conflict, demagogues may use such slogans as "My country, right or wrong," "Fatherland, Religion, Family," or "Freedom or Death." But do most people carefully analyze the real issues involved in the crisis or conflict? Or do they just accept what they are told?

In writing about World War I, Winston Churchill observed: "Only a signal is needed to transform these multitudes of peaceful peasants and workmen into the mighty hosts which will tear each other to pieces." He further observed that when told what to do, most people responded unthinkingly.

The propagandist also has a very wide range of symbols and signs with which to convey his message—a 21-gun salvo, a military salute, a flag. Love of parents can also be exploited. Thus, such symbolisms as the fatherland, the mother country, or the mother church are valuable tools in the hands of the shrewd persuader.

So the sly art of propaganda can paralyze thought, prevent clear thinking and discernment, and condition individuals to act en masse. How can you protect yourself?

[Emphasis Added]

Awake! 2000 June 22 Do Not Be a Victim of Propaganda!

Do Not Be a Victim of Propaganda!

"A fool will believe anything."—PROVERBS 14:15, TODAY'S ENGLISH VERSION.

THERE is a difference—a big difference—between education and propaganda. Education shows you how to think. Propaganda tells you what to think. Good educators present all sides of an issue and encourage discussion. Propagandists relentlessly force you to hear their view and discourage discussion. Often their real motives are not apparent. They sift the facts, exploiting the useful ones and concealing the others. They also distort and twist facts, specializing in lies and half-truths. Your emotions, not your logical thinking abilities, are their target.

The propagandist makes sure that his message appears to be the right and moral one and that it gives you a sense of importance and belonging if you follow it. You are one of the smart ones, you are not alone, you are comfortable and secure—so they say.

How can you protect yourself from the types of people that the Bible calls "profitless talkers" and "deceivers of the mind"? (Titus 1:10) Once you are familiar with some of their tricks, you are in a better position to evaluate any message or information that comes your way. Here are some ways to do this.

Be selective: A completely open mind could be likened to a pipe that lets just anything flow through it—even sewage. No one wants a mind contaminated with poison. Solomon, a king and educator in ancient times, warned: "Anyone inexperienced puts faith in every word, but the shrewd one considers his steps." (Proverbs 14:15) So we need to be selective. We need to scrutinize whatever is presented to us, deciding what to accept and what to reject.

However, we do not want to be so narrow that we refuse to consider facts that can improve our thinking. How can we find the right balance? By adopting a standard with which to measure new information. Here a Christian has a source of great wisdom. He has the Bible as a sure guide for his thinking. On the one hand, his mind is open, that is, receptive to new information. He properly weighs such new information against the Bible standard and fits what is true into his pattern of thinking. On the other hand, his mind sees the danger of information that is entirely inconsistent with his Bible-based values.

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Discernment enables you to discard irrelevant or misleading information

Use discernment: Discernment is "acuteness of judgment." It is "the power or faculty of the mind by which it distinguishes one thing from another." A person with discernment perceives subtleties of ideas or things and has good judgment.

Using discernment, we will be able to recognize those who are merely using "smooth talk and complimentary speech" in order to "seduce the hearts of guileless ones." (Romans 16:18) Discernment enables you to discard irrelevant information or misleading facts and distinguish the substance of a matter. But how can you discern when something is misleading?

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Test whatever you are reading or watching, to see if it is truthful

Put information to the test: "Beloved ones," said John, a first-century Christian teacher, "do not believe every inspired expression, but test the inspired expressions." (1 John 4:1) Some people today are like sponges; they soak up whatever they come across. It is all too easy to absorb whatever is around us.

But it is far better for each individual personally to choose what he will feed his mind. It is said that we are what we eat, and this can apply to food for both the body and the mind. No matter what you are reading or watching or listening to, test to see whether it has propagandistic overtones or is truthful.

Moreover, if we want to be fair-minded, we must be willing to subject our own opinions to continual testing as we take in new information. We must realize that they are, after all, opinions. Their trustworthiness depends on the validity of our facts, on the quality of our reasoning, and on the standards or values that we choose to apply.

Ask questions: As we have seen, there are many today who would like to 'delude us with persuasive arguments.' (Colossians 2:4) Therefore, when we are presented with persuasive arguments, we should ask questions.

First, examine whether there is bias. What is the motive for the message? If the message is rife with name-calling and loaded words, why is that? Loaded language aside, what are the merits of the message itself? Also, if possible, try to check the track record of those speaking. Are they known to speak the truth? If "authorities" are used, who or what are they? Why should you regard this person—or organization or publication—as having expert knowledge or trustworthy information on the subject in question? If you sense some appeal to emotions, ask yourself, 'When viewed dispassionately, what are the merits of the message?'

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Popular opinion is not always reliable

Do not just follow the crowd: If you realize that what everybody thinks is not necessarily correct, you can find the strength to think differently. While it may seem that all others think the same way, does this mean that you should? Popular opinion is not a reliable barometer of truth. Over the centuries all kinds of ideas have been popularly accepted, only to be proved wrong later. Yet, the inclination to go along with the crowd persists. The command given at Exodus 23:2 serves as a good principle: "You must not follow after the crowd for evil ends."

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We can confidently look to God's Word as the source of truth

True Knowledge Versus Propaganda

Previously, it was mentioned that the Bible is a sure guide for clear thinking. Jehovah's Witnesses unequivocally subscribe to Jesus' statement to God: "Your word is truth." (John 17:17) This is so because God, the Author of the Bible, is "the God of truth."—Psalm 31:5.

Yes, in this age of sophisticated propaganda, we can confidently look to Jehovah's Word as the source of truth. Ultimately this will protect us from those who want to 'exploit us with counterfeit words.'—2 Peter 2:3.

[Emphasis Added]

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