JUDICIAL COMMITTEE MEETING
July 5, 1991
SUBJECT: Judicial Committee Meeting of Dale & Bette Baker
BACKGROUND: In September of 1990, after a year of intensive research into the
historical and doctrinal foundations of Jehovah's Witnesses, the religion in
which I was raised, I mailed a 110 page Open Letter to Family and Friends. In
it, I documented my search for truth, and outlined the Scriptural reasons that I
could no longer accept the spiritual authority of the Governing Body of the
Watchtower Society. The reason for sending such a letter was to discharge my
responsibility before God to inform those many persons who I had influenced over
many years as a Jehovah's Witness elder of the facts that I had recently learned
about my religion. I felt they had a right to know, and that I had an obligation
to tell them. *
Note: As a matter of record, Dale passed away a few years ago.
A group of elders in the Kansas City area sent copies of my letter to the
Headquarters of the Watchtower Society, who then sent a copy and a request to
the local congregation elders to investigate a charge of apostasy against my
wife and me. Their goal was to get evidence of apostasy against us so that we
could be disfellowshipped. This would mean that none of our friends or family
members would be allowed to have any personal contact whatever with us, on pain
of similar treatment.
I agreed to meet with them on the one condition that they would examine my
letter and show me scripturally wherein it constituted apostasy according the
Scriptures. I invite you to examine the proceedings of our "trial" on the charge
They began by describing how they became involved in the matter.
Elder D: You have a long background as a Jehovah's Witness, isn't that correct?
Dale: Since about 1940.
Elder D: Were your parents Witnesses?
Dale: My mother, my grandfather was active in the 1 920s.
Elder D: From the sound of it, you were used quite a bit.
Dale: Yes, I served at Bethel in the 50's, pioneered for years, and served as an
elder for most of my years. It wasn't until the early 80's that we began
experiencing problems in the organization.
Elder D: I understand those things, and I don't think these brothers haven't
been around so long that they haven't seen similar things. The Bible book of
James is full of those problems and what to do when those things happen. It's a
shame that it does...
Dale: I hear stories like that from most every congregation I know of.
Elder V: But there's a sifting going on.
Bette: Well, in our experience, the wrong people are being sifted out..
Dale: It's the wrong people that left..
Elder D: What's unfortunate is that, so many times, when we're touched by people
like that, what people will often do is question, Why would Jehovah allow
something like that to happen? The Bible mentions that would happen. All of the
apostles warned about it. It's a human failing.
Dale: Well, I don't think you can expect a perfect congregation.
Elder D: But nonetheless, we still have our faith. That can be tested and tried
Our faith should survive.
Dale: Well, it has. It has been strengthened by it. It certainly hasn't been
Elder D: The point that really troubles us, Dale, is that the net, after all
these years after the problem, that the net result is that you've actually
veered away from Jehovah's organization.
Dale: I still consider myself a part of Jehovah's organization.
Elder D: Really?
Dale: I just disagree with you as to what it is. I believe Jehovah's
organization is Christ's body. His kingdom made up of all his followers who are
joined to the head. I believe I'm very much a part of that. I think all true
Christians are. We don't know who they all are, and I'm not into judging them. I
feel very much a part of that.
Elder D: The problem with that is that comment goes opposite of what the Bible
says, because the Bible talks about our brothers. The scriptures indicate that
we should be able to determine who our brothers are. It should be a simple
matter to determine who they are.
Dale: How would you know?
Elder D: What I'm thinking about is the scriptures that talk about doing good to
your brother. How can you love your God if you don't love your brother? The
Bible isn't being ambiguous; it's being specific. It's not talking about our
Christian Brother who's out there somewhere, but people that we should
specifically be doing good to.….
Dale: I can tell who is a Christian Brother. If somebody is a believer in
Christ, I'd have to accept him. If he behaves in a manner that doesn't show that
he has a walk with God, I'd have to say, well, maybe he's not a Christian. I
consider Jehovah's Witnesses, most of them that I know, my Christian brothers. I
also consider other people my Christian brothers, too. I don't think that you
can say that if they belong to this organization or that organization, or go to
this church... I no longer am convinced that that's how you tell, just by a
Elder D: The Bible talks about what we're really doing, we're getting to the
point where - I'm aware, and so is J-- and V--, where your disagreement with the
points on chronology are, and we could talk from now until the end of time on
the subject of chronology. It's a long and advanced discussion. But apart from
that and without actually getting into the chronology aspect, do you believe
that we're living in the last days?
Dale: It depends on how you define the last days. I don't think you can define
it by a generation. We're certainly in the Christian Age. I don't know if he's
going to come in my lifetime or not. I hope it does -I'd like to see it. But I
don't think scripturally you can say that.
Elder D: You know, there's an awful lot of Bible prophecy that discusses events
in relationship to the last days. And virtually all of them.. show we're living
in close proximity of the end.
Dale: You can believe in urgency without setting a date.
Elder D: Well, we're not setting a date.
Dale: Jehovah's Witnesses certainly have set dates. They have set so many of
them, that that's one of the things that led me to start making an investigation
of the Bible and of my religion, and of the history of my religion. I was
appalled to find out how many dates they actually did set. And none of them have
come true. I believe Jesus, when he said, "You do not know when your master will
return." He said it so many times that I think that's the whole point. In fact,
in Luke he says, beware of those saying, "the due time has approached." Now
that's just what we've been doing - that's what I've been doing for about
forty-five years, telling people, "it's just around the corner", "a couple of
years away. The early Christians had a sense of urgency, and we should too. You
could die tomorrow and that would be the end for you. So we have to be right
with God and with Christ all of the time.
Elder D: We've always taken that view.
Dale: I know, but you can't deny, the organization set dates that were wrong. I
mean you can't deny that. They haven't been right about a date yet. Tell me one
they're right about. I'd like to know.
Elder V: With your background and years in the truth, what caused you to doubt?
You were in the truth many years. Did you believe in 1914 then?
Dale: Being raised a Witness, the only information I had to go on was what I was
taught. I believed them. I believed, as I read in the Wt recently, that JW's
were going around telling people, "watch out for 1914, a time of trouble is
going to start." That's not what they said. That's absolute falsehood. They did
not say that at all. Russell said that 1914 would be the end of the time of
trouble. He said that the Jews would be returned to Palestine, God's kingdom
would be ruling on the earth. If there was a war he said h would be well before
1914. He didn't say that a time of trouble would start after 1914, he believed
Christ was already present, in 1874. He believed the time of the end began in
1799. Have you ever read any of that stuff? That's what they were preaching.
I've gone back and read pre-1914 issues of the WT. I know what they said. And to
come around and say after the fact, "oh, no, we didn't say that, we were
preaching about a time of trouble to start in 1914," that's very misleading. And
I've gone out and knocked on doors and told people that this is proof that this
is God's organization. And now I find out they told me a- something that wasn't
really quite true. 1975 - I went through that. And I can remember, after 1975. I
said, well, the society didn't really say that. But then a brother said, yes,
they did. He showed me some of the Awakes and we started looking at them, and
they really did say that. They really did encourage a belief that 1975 would be
the end; and when I look back and see all the damage that did to people, I
started examining articles to find out just what they did say. What is a false
prophet? A false prophet is somebody who gives a prophecy that doesn't come
true, period. That's right out of Deuteronomy 16.
Elder V: Does Jehovah have an organization, or doesn't he?
Dale: Yes, he has an organization, but I don't agree that...
Elder V: Who do I have to go to now?
Dale: Christ Jesus. Directly. Without the aid of any human agency.
Elder V: Are you saying you're a born again Christian?
Dale: Well, that's a part of becoming a Christian - the early Christians did.
Those of the 144,000 - they're born again, aren't they? They're part of the body
Bette: Doesn't the Bible say, everyone that believes that Jesus is the Christ is
born from God?
Elder V: That's different- that's a different connotation. It's not the same as
born again. Born of God comes as a result of [our complying with] John 17:3. But
you know that better than I, you've been in the truth for over 40 years.
Elder J: Apparently you're of the opinion now that there is only the hope of
Dale: I don't know what the status of the earth will be
- I know there are scriptures that talk about the earth - I think that when I
read anything in the New Testament, that it speaks to me, and any Christian who
reads it. I don't believe that I can say, "well, that only applies to one
millionth of the human race." I don't agree with that. That's been the hope down
through the centuries. If you look at the 144,000, taking that literally, if you
just count the numbers that Jehovah's Witnesses are happy with as far as
increase, and apply that to the first century, they would have had 144,000
before the end of the first century.
Bette: There were more than 144,000 Christian martyrs
Dale: I find it very hard to believe that they weren't real Christians. If you
look in Revelation, (I know you take that literally), but it says, 12,000 out of
each tribe. Are those 12.000 literal persons?
Elder D: Yes.
Dale: They are? Do people of spiritual Israel have a concept of what tribe they
Elder D: It just shows a correspondency to Israel.
Bette: Doesn't it say 12,000 out of each tribe, meaning that there are more in
each tribe, but only 12,000 out of that tribe are taken?
Elder D: In that chapter it talks about the sealed ones, and in the very next
breath, in the 9th verse...
Dale: Who are the 24 elders?
Elder D: [Body of Christ]
Dale: Since they're represented by the 144,000, and they're also represented by
24 elders, why can't they also be represented in another aspect by a great crowd
-- an innumerable crowd?
Elder V: But why even entertain the idea, Dale, about the majority having a
concept of heaven? Do you think this is just a big incubator that God made here
on earth, to hatch out imperfect people so they could go to heaven? Is that what
God wants, take all these Holier-than-thou people off the earth, and resurrect
them to the heavens?
Dale: I don't think he's going to take all the holier-than-thou people, I think
he's going to take true Christians and Jesus knows who they are, and I don't
think we have a right to start picking and choosing and being the judges.
Elder V: Right, and . . They can't sing that song unless they're of that
Dale: How come, then, "there is one faith, one hope, one baptism", one hope. How
is it that all of a sudden now, there's two hopes?
Elder V: Jesus said, "I have other sheep that are not of this fold."
Dale: Have you ever looked at that scripture in the Greek? It says, I have other
sheep that are not of this fold- the word there is aule; it means a sheep-fold.
It says he takes his sheep out of it. He doesn't take them to another sheepfold,
he takes them out. When he says I have other sheep which are not of this fold,
the Greek there is taute - it refers back to this fold, that is, the Jewish
people. There's no other way you can understand that in the Greek. I've gone
through this with several Greek scholars, and they all say the same thing.
There's no way contextually that you can say anything but that Jesus was saying
'I have other sheep which are not of this Jewish fold', the Hebrew system. These
"other sheep" are simply Gentiles; they're not from the Hebrew ethnic
background. And Jewish Christians, after Jesus died, after Cornelius was
preached to, would understand what he's talking about. They'd say, "oh, yes,
that's who he was talking about - the Gentile Christians." Jesus said they would
be one flock, one shepherd. If you look at it from the WT's viewpoint, for 1900
years all you have is the original flock he took out of the sheepfold, right?
Then in 1935, Rutherford had an inspiration, and all of a sudden we have this
"other sheep group." So they're together for - from 1936 to whenever Armageddon
is, and then they go up to heaven and the "other sheep" stay on earth. So out of
all eternity, they're only going to be together about 65 years, as one flock. To
understand it in a contextual sense, as Jesus said it, that these other sheep
were merely non-Jewish Christians, makes a lot more sense.
Elder J: The 144,000 are spoken of as standing on the Mount Zion with the Lamb.
reigning with Christ on mount Zion, whereas the great crowd are standing before
the Lamb. On the throne or before the throne.
Dale: But another chapter of Revelations talks of the 144,000 standing before
the throne. You can't prove the point by a preposition, because of the way the
word is used in other places.
Elder J: casting their crowns before him...
Dale: On. or before, or around, the words are used so interchangeably...
Elder J: Revelation refers to them as ruling over the earth.
Bette: Only in your translation. The word is epi meaning upon....
Elder J: Surely you'll agree that they'll reign over a paradise earth.
Dale: Well that depends on when you want to say Revelation starts to apply.
Obviously it applied in the first century to the churches to whom it was
written, wouldn't you agree? I believe Revelation has had application all down
through the centuries. A Christian in any era can look at those symbolisms and
Elder J: The Society teaches that it has fulfillment in the Lord's day.
Dale: Well, the year 1914, I disagree with that. There's absolutely no way of
proving it. And the Society's chronology that they use to prove it - the 2520
years- there's absolutely no way you can say Jerusalem fell in 607 BC. I've been
through that over and over again, and their chronology on 1914 is faulty...
Elder D: What is the sign?
Dale: The sign? That could be applied if you're going to take wars, famines and
pestilence and say that's the sign? What century could you not have applied that
Elder J: Then the horseman of Revelation 6 rides throughout all the generations?
Elder J: But you're forgetting, they're preceded by the one with the crown on
the white horse.
Dale: That explanation about the one on the white horse being Christ Jesus is
another thing I have to disagree with; I've read all sorts of things about that
and I'm not sure that that's the application.
Elder J: Then it must not be the same white horse mentioned in Revelation...
Dale: I forget now, but I've read quite a bit about that. Interpreting
Revelation, the society has done it how many times now? Four. They've
reinterpreted Revelation four different times. Revelation's one of those books
that it's hard to pin numbers and symbols to specific things...
Elder J: As things transpire we understand things more clearly...
Dale: How do you apply that to 1914?
Elder J: Well we tie that to 1914 because that's when wars famines and
pestilence's began to become intolerable as the white horse began to ride forth
in his conquest...
Dale: How do you know when the king rode forth to complete his conquest?
Elder J: Because that's when the wars, famines, and earthquakes became worse as
a result of his conquest...
Dale: But how do you put that in 1914? It seems to me that when it comes to
evidence, that you are Justmaking an assertion. But show me some evidence, how
can you tie the year 1914 to that event?
Elder J: The generation that began in 1914 started with world war.
Dale: So did the generation that lived in Napoleon's time; that was as much a
world war as 1914 was.
Bette: Doesn't that sound like you're saying we know that the rider was on the
horse because of the war and that I know that's when he rode because...
Dale: Circular reasoning.
Elder J: Actually world war began a period of conflict, crisis and upheaval that
people had never seen.
Dale: That's not really true statistically. I know that the Society has said
about 1914, and that "World War I was seven times worse than all the previous
wars of history," have you read that? That's one of the statements that they
trot out from time to time. Wars have been going on ever since before Jesus'
time, I mean there have been wars and wars and wars - you can hardly find a
century in which there wasn't war. And there have been some centuries, which
were a whole lot worse than ours.
Elder J: One thing we have to remember is that [with the population growth and
the progress in technological arms since 1914] makes them certainly far worse
than the hand to hand combat of earlier generations.
Dale: How do you relate world population to wars, etc?
Elder J: What I'm saying is that world war during in the 1800's were fought when
we had a much smaller earth population whereas in our day we have very, very
large populated nations rising up against one another.
Dale: Then why did wars kill more people? That's a good point, but why did those
wars kill more people than the First World War? The First World War killed 10-12
million people. There've been wars in the past in the 1600's, 1 500,s that
killed 25 million people.
Elder J: Then why have they never been called a world war?
Dale: Some have been called world wars. The French Revolution (and Napoleon
Wars) is considered a world war by some. Some earlier wars are considered by
historians to have been more accurately "world wars" than World War I. World War
II was a world war. But the First World War was basically European. It was
fought mainly in Europe, and the United States was about the only non-European
Elder J: Sometimes we hear statesmen call it World War I...
Dale: I know, they call it that, but it is not unique. However you bring up a
very good point about population, and that really shoots down the whole composit
sign idea, because of the fact that if you look at world population, h was about
what, 300 million in the time of Christ? And it had gone up to about 600 some
odd million in the 14th century, then it went back down to about 400 million.
The 14th century was probably the worst century that the human race has ever
survived. They had the black death, every 15 years, terrible famines, the
hundred years war, Tamerlane who went all through Asia - I don't know if you've
ever read any of that history, but world population actually decreased. And then
about the 1700's I think it started up, and by 1830, I think, it reach the first
billion, and then he's been going up ever since. It's been escalating ever
since. Do you know the reason that can happen? Because wars, famines, and
pestilence don't kill nearly as many people. Medical science, we've got food
distribution, we've got agriculture that's finally efficient - there are a lot
of factors involved, but those are the factors. Before we were Justlike rabbits
- coyotes got us every time we went out. Nowadays, population is getting to be a
problem, that's true, but...
Bette: It's because of lack of war and famine, I didn't know that until I
started reading the history books. Everybody thinks that this is really a
terrible time until you start reading history, then you really see it.
Elder J: There were more people killed in World War I than any other war in
Dale: That's not true. That's just not true. Let me read you some statistics.
The Thirty Years War 1618-1648 killed 3 million soldiers and 4 or 5 times that
many civilians, 30%-40% of the entire German population died, and that was a
world war. The Manchu-Chinese War in 1644 killed 25 million. The Napoleonic
Wars, 1792-1815, 5-6 million, Taiping Rebellion, 20-30 million, Genghis Khan,
you've got people like that.. Tamerlane; did you ever hear about Tamerlane in
the 14th century? He went through whole countries, slaughtered whole cities, and
whole districts if anybody so much as raised a sword against him he killed the
whole city. There were some bloody, bloody wars in history and those
ElderJ: Those statistics are not accurate, you're talking about a 40 year war, a
10 year war, 12 year war, neither of the two world wars which were undoubtedly
world wars lasted that long, 40 years, most any of them...
Bette: The percentage of the population killed in this century is very small
compared to the past 20 centuries and in actual numbers h turns out that those
other centuries had a lot more killed; I don't know what statistics they're
Dale: But what you've got to look at is that someone sitting in this century
with a particular population and while the rise in population and the growth in
weaponry and that sort of thing, to that person sitting there, they have no idea
what's going to happen in the future, and they can make a case for wars,
famines, and pestilence in any century, that's the point I'm making. You could
take any century and look at it from his standpoint and make a case that this is
the worst period of time the human race has ever lived through. We don't know
what's going to happen 10 years from now; we don't know what's going to happen
20 years from now. You can't make that case just on that point, you have to have
something else. I recognized that a long time ago because I looked into this
stuff 15 years ago and I found out that you couldn't prove the earthquake thing.
As for famines and pestilence, that's no contest because this century has had
far fewer famines and pestilence compared to previous times when there were
famines many years and pestilence killed almost half the babies born. I came to
realize that you couldn't prove the time of the end by statistics alone - but I
always thought that you could prove it by the chronology of 1914. Now I find out
that that doesn't hold up either.
Elder J: Then you disagree with all the Society's teachings?
Dale: Not everything.
Elder D: There are several things that I want to run by you quickly. Immortality
of the soul, hell fire? From what I remember there was no question on that.
*NOTE: I am answering these questions from the viewpoint of what Jehovah's
Witnesses mean by "Trinity", etc. They are misinformed about what other
Dale: No, I don't believe in immortality of the soul. I agree that that was a
Greek idea and many Bible scholars will agree with me too, if you get them aside
where nobody will hear them...
Elder J: How about Trinity?
Dale: I believe that Christ Jesus is God's son.
Elder J: Not the same person?
Dale: No, I have learned from talking to people that Jehovah's Witnesses have no
idea what other people believe as far as what they call the Trinity, and they
have no idea what Jehovah's Witnesses believe when they talk about not believing
in the Trinity. And actually, you think they're way out here, but they're
actually in here somewhere. They're a lot closer together because hardly anyone
believes Jesus is Jehovah, or God is the Son. Maybe five percent of Christians
believe the Modalist view, most view them as separate persons...
Elder J: What about the creeds?
Dale: Well, that's true, some of the creeds state it in that way, but that's not
really what they mean, and as far as Trinity, you can get into a lot of
tail-chasing arguments and arguments about words and I think ifs fruitless
because we're talking about the nature of God and none of us have ever been
there, all we have are the examples in the Scriptures and that couched in human
terminology. It's not an issue. What's an issue with me is the controlling,
dominating attitudes that I've seen build up in the organization over the years.
Because I remember reading what Russell said, and Russell made some classic
comments about people who bring the "silly charge of traitor" to someone who
dares to look at information that might raise questions about one's own
religion. (Of course he said that before his own movement became an
organization). I think that our personal freedom should be such that we
shouldn't fear to read information from any source.
Elder D: How do you feel about the faithful and discreet slave?
Dale: Why don't you read that from Luke. Have you ever compared the accounts of
Luke and Matthew? I've got a comparison I made here. I've printed up all the
gospel accounts here in a three-column format on my word processor, and it's
really interesting when you compare the different gospel accounts. I know
Matthew is always quoted, but in Luke he talks about the whole concept of being
found ready when the master of the house returns. If you read that illustration
in Matthew about the owner of the house you'll note that he says you must always
be ready because the son of man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
Elder J: [Reads Luke 12:41-48 NW]
Dale: I don't see that as a prophecy. I see that as an illustration that Jesus
gave that had to do with what the illustration shows - our responsibility to be
ready when the master returns, and each individual Christian can be a faithful
slave, or he can be an unfaithful slave. He can be one who doesn't do his
master's will and be beaten with a few strokes, or I don't know what the
eventually of the other course will be, it doesn't sound too good to me and I
wouldn't want to be there.
Bette: But Peter says "Lord, are you saying this illustration to us or to all",
so he would know what Jesus meant then, and when Peter talks about stewards in 1
Peter 4:10 "In proportion as each one has received a gift, use in ministering to
one another as fine stewards of God's undeserved kindness in various ways." So
if anyone could understand that illustration Peter would and he seemed to apply
to all Christians; in fact this version says "Lord are you talking to just us or
to everyone? And the Lord said, "l 'm talking to any faithful, sensible man
whose master gives him the responsibility of feeding the other servants."
Elder D: The question is when does it apply?
Dale: When Christ returns.
Bette: No, not in Luke's account. It is not part of the sign at all.
Elder J: And particularly where it says, "Happy is that slave if his master on
arriving finds him doing so. Truly I say to you, he will appoint him over all
Dale: Are you reading from Matthew or from Luke?
Elder J: From Matthew.
Bette: And then it says, in Luke's account, "But if ever that slave...
Dale: An interesting thing I came across in Luke's account, and that the problem
with the phrase, "if ever that slave", so it doesn't seem that he is talking
about a faithful slave and then over here is an unfaithful slave.
Elder J: "If the unfaithful slave..."
Dale& Bette: No, it says "if ever that slave" in Luke...
Dale: In other words, if that slave should prove to be unfaithful" so that slave
has two eventualities - he can be a faithful slave, or he can be an unfaithful
Elder J: [Says that Matthew's account of the slave is part of the sign]
Dale: But ifs same conversation. And that's something I wanted to ask you about.
When do you apply Matthew 24:42-44? [long silence] When does that apply?
Elder V: Applies now.
Elder J: Jesus says that the days of Noah would be like the coming of the Son of
Dale: He says "You must be ready because the Son of Man will come at an hour
when you do not expect him", when is that "coming in verse 44?
[Consensus of committee: at Armageddon, at his revelation]
Dale: That is how the Society has applied it. Now in verse 46, they apply that
to 1914. Contextually you can't do that. It says "Who, then,…" The Greek word
ara, refers back to the previous information. I talked to a professor of
Biblical Greek while back and he checked it out for me. You see the point I'm
making? If you subscribe to the "two-stage coming" idea. The parousia idea as
the Society does, you'll have a problem here because if you say that this part
here in verses 42-44 applies at Armageddon, they you have to say that the
"faithful and discreet slave" hasn't been appointed yet.
Elder J: In Matthew 24:37 Jesus talks about a period of time, "For just the days
of Noah were, so the presence of the Son of man will be." And then he talks
about the days before the flood. And the days of Noah were a century. And the
presence of the Son of Man is a time period culminating [in Armageddon].
Dale: Unfortunately that idea of the two-stage coming -are you familiar with the
history of that? The idea was apparently started over in England by a banker
named Henry Drummond who became a Bible expositor. Benjamin Wilson who had just
published his Emphatic Diaglot was of this persuasion. These ideas were a part a
religious awakening early 1800's, the Millerite movement - are you familiar with
any of that? There were an incredible number of dates set using time periods
based on the 2520 years. The 1260 years, and when these dates failed, a lot of
people began to use this idea of parousia as meaning a period of time, as a
method of salvaging their failed dates. Unfortunately that was before the real
explosion of information on the koine Greek. You can check in any Greek-English
lexicon, the T.D.N.T. by Kinel, has got 14 pages of discussion on the technical
meaning of parousia, and that's not just Biblical, but includes the usage in the
common Greek of the day. Parousia refers to the coming of a ruler in judgment.
And this idea of a two-stage coming cannot really be supported in the Greek at
all. It has been used to salvage tailed predictions. In fact, that's what
Barbour did. In 1874, when nothing happened visibly in 1874, he said Christ came
invisibly. He was basing his 1874 date on the end of 6,000 years. And then he
added 40 years to that to come up with 1914. I never did figure out exactly
where Barbour got the 2520 years. Russell got it from Barbour. Also he may have
gotten the parousia idea from Joseph Seitz, who was a prominent Second Adventist
and a propagator of Second Adventist ideas. But that's real interesting how that
came about. Russell didn't figure it out by himself by any means. But there is
no way to support that idea of parousia.
Bette: Didn't you show me a side by side comparison of those words...?
Dale: Yes that's the interesting thing about h, if you put those texts side by
side you find that they are essentially used as synonyms. For example parousia
and epiphaneia are used almost interchangeably. When you look at all the usage
of them, you can't really say that parousia has a different meaning than coming,
since they're used as synonyms.
Bette: If you only read Matthew's account you would get that idea perhaps, but
if you read the corresponding accounts you would probably notice that the
opposite word is used in the same place so it must mean the same thing.
Elder J: In Thessalonians, when it talks about Jesus coming in flaming fire,
that is his coming as far as the end of this system is concerned.
Dale: Which reference to parousia, in 1st Thess. or 2nd? There's two places
where he uses parousia in 2nd Thessalonians.
Elder J: In 2 Thessalonians.... and Revelation, of course.... that was
comparable to one actually arriving back in those days where arriving was
actually a period of time.
Dale: Yes, but the coming that he talks about, where he relates his coming with
the days of Noah, Luke here uses apokalypsis, and the parallel account Matthew
24:39 it says "They knew nothing until the flood came and took them all away,
that is how it will be at the coming, parousia, of the Son of Man." And Luke
says, "It will be Justlike this on the day that the Son of Man is revealed, and
he compares it with Sodom and Gomorrah, and also Noah entering the ark Justprior
to the flood.
Elder J: [Goes back to early part of Matthew 24 and tries to apply wars, famines
and pestilence to the apostles asking for a "sign of his presence".]
Dale: Yes, but he did tell us what the sign was, he says at the end there, "Then
they will see the sign of the Son of Man coming in the heavens.
Elder J: He says in verse 7, " For nation shall rise against nation and kingdom
against kingdom" and so forth, certainly Jesus was discussing things that would
happen in answer to their question...
Dale: I would say that he was discussing things that would happen all down
through the centuries. Verse 4, all the way down to verse 28. Those were all
things that would happen all down through the years, and you can say that those
things happened all down through the centuries.
Elder J: Verse 15 is where he says that the "disgusting thing that causes
desolation spoken of by Daniel would be standing in the Holy place"[...]
Dale: Ok, now that has direct application to the end of the Jewish system,
that's one of the questions they asked, when was the temple going to be torn
down, right? So these things did happen, and the temple was torn down, and these
things have continued to happen, right on down through the ages. It can be
interpreted that way just as rationally as the way you are interpreting it.
Elder J: There's a fallacy there, however, because Jesus goes on to say there
would be a time of "tribulation that has not occurred since the world's
beginning until now, no, nor will occur again." Then in Daniel 12 he says that
Michael will stand up, and there will be a uniting of his people and he also
says there that there would be a great tribulation or time of trouble."
Dale: But how can you apply that word tribulation to a particular time period?
Are you saying that that tribulation was the one that the Jewish system came
Elder J: We're saying that it was the same one that the great crowd comes out of
in Revelation 7.
Dale: Now it's very possible in looking at that, that Jesus could have meant
several things. If you look at the words and the way they are used - thflpsis,
the Greek word translated "tribulation", can refer to a number of things - such
as the tribulation that Christians endure, the tribulation that came upon
Jerusalem, the tribulation his followers would endure down through the
centuries. If you look at it from this standpoint, that this tribulation that
started back there, has continued down through the centuries and will be cut
short when Jesus arrives then there's no problem.
Bette: I just came across something I didn't know before. In 2 Thessalonians 2:8
he says that "the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will do away
with by the spirit of his mouth and bring to nothing by the manifestation of his
presence. Well, in that case, if his presence began in 1914, then the man of
lawlessness should already have been done away with.
------------ OBSERVATION -------------------
This threw some confusion into their ranks. They had obviously never confronted
this problem. One seemed to think that the manifestation of his presence was
Armageddon. However that is not what the Watchtower teaches. The Aid Book says
that the epiphanela (manifestation) was when he manifested himself to his
followers in 1919. So here they are inconsistent even with their own doctrine.
Elder J: [Something about discrepancies..]
Dale: here are a lot of things that are not stated.
Elder V: It says Adam lived to be 930 years do you believe that?
Elder V: Do you believe those were regular years, within 5 days or so?
Dale: I won't argue with that.
Bette: I just don't know what to do with scriptures that say that God planned
for Jesus to die before he ever created the world. I just don't know what to do
with those Scriptures.
Elder J: Well the founding of the world has to do with....
Bette: I know what the Watchtower says, but I'm sorry, now I know too much to
Bette: I haven't thought about this lately, but I'm still researching and I
don't have answers to everything yet.
Elder J: You're saying, then, that you don't know whether Adam was created [to
go to heaven]
Dale: I don't know what the possibilities are, I don't know - I believe that
maybe the possibility existed -it depended on the original purpose of God...
Elder V: Do you believe that God had a purpose in putting him on earth? Was
there any reason why he couldn't have lived forever had he not done something
contrary to God's wishes?
Dale: No, there's no reason, if God wanted to do it that way. I'm just not sure
that he did it that way. Of course there are Scriptures in the Greek Scriptures
that talk about God's purpose in bringing many sons to glory and so forth.
Elder V: Well, He told them to multiply and fill the earth and to have all
things in subjection, now do you agree with this?
Elder V: Now, Adam's children were born in the same perfection in which God made
Adam, or in imperfection?
Dale: They were born imperfect.
Elder V: OK. Now, what was the penalty for imperfection?
Elder V: So for whatever eons of time, or corridor of time you want to come down
to in our system, 6000, 100,000 years, whatever connotation you want to put on
that, during that corridor of time man has progressively degenerated, right?
Dale: That's true.
Elder V: Now do you believe that God loved Adam?
Elder V: Does he love you?
Dale: Of course.
Elder V: Then why did Jesus die?
Dale: He died for our sins.
Elder V: All right, now, if He loves you and I the same as Adam, does it not
make sense that he would restore the paradise and give you and I the same
chance, the same opportunities that he gave Adam?
Dale: That doesn't necessarily follow.
Elder V: Well I'm asking a question, do you think that he might do that?
Dale: I don't know. I'm still researching a lot of things and I haven't answered
every question. But I see too many conflicts in that reasoning. I see a hope in
the New Testament that encompasses the entire Bible, and I see that as something
that applies to Christians
Elder V: OK, now, if God is not a liar, if God is a God of love, if, if, if, if,
if God didn't give all these things to men forever, and he provides his son
Jesus Christ as you've admitted to and he died for us so that we would not have
to die, then what's the alternative if God doesn't restore the paradisaic
conditions to earth...
Dale: What's the alternative?
Elder V: What's the option? If God cannot carry out his word towards a perfect
earth, and race of perfect persons upon it who can live forever, as the Bible
says, "the meek shall inherit the earth," and "the righteous shall live forever
Bette: But when Jesus said, "the meek shall inherit the earth," the Watchtower's
interpretation of that was that the 144,000 would inherit it by ruling over it
when they get to heaven.
Elder V: No, no, no, no, the Watchtower does not interpret the Bible, the meek
are teachable people, the Greek word there means teachable.
Bette: Yes, but the rest of the verse talks about the pure in heart who will see
God, and I know the Watchtower in times past, at least as recently as 5 years
Elder V: Did you ever see Jesus?
Elder V: Did you ever see Jesus?
Bette: It says they will see Jesus.
Elder V: Well, have you ever seen Jesus? Do you believe he's there?
Bette: I know he's there but I haven't seen him.
Elder V: But you've seen him with the eye of the mind.
Bette: But I know that the Watchtower's interpretation is that the 144,000
inherit the earth.
Elder V: Well, let's get back to finish this point and then I'll get back to you
in a second. Now this corridor of time that man lived down to the point of Jesus
who died for our sins so that we did not have to die was 2000 years ago, and
mankind is still dying - So when did historians record the day that Armageddon
came and the resurrection came and people in Revelation the 7 chapter verses 9
came through that great tribulation? So none of that has happened? Is it going
to happen? So all this other stuff about chronology when it started, when it
ended, it doesn't mean a thing.
Bette: No, except that in Deuteronomy the 18th chapter it tells you not to pay
affliction to false prophets, and I don't mind people making mistakes, but I do
mind when they cover it up and misrepresent what they actually said; mistakes
are human, but cover-up is definitely evil. "However, the prophet who presumes
to speak in my name a word that I have not commanded him to speak or who speaks
in the name of other gods, that prophet must die. And in case you should say in
your heart: 'How shall we know the word that Jehovah has not spoken?' When the
prophet speaks in the name of Jehovah and the word does not occur or come true,
that is the word that Jehovah did not speak. With presumptuousness the prophet
spoke it. You must not get frightened at him.'" So that tells me that when
people who make significant predictions claim to speak in God's name and none of
those predictions come true, then I must not be frightened at him and that he is
a false prophet.
Elder V: So then in continuation of our conversation earlier, and of the
feelings you express, do you want to remain as one of Jehovah's Witnesses?
Dale: In the sense of Isaiah 43:14 I've always considered myself as one who
bears witness for Jehovah.
Elder V: But not in the sense of the organization?
Dale: I'm not going to give you an answer on that because I know what you will
do with it.
Elder V: But you should because Dale, what you've done so far is you've
contradicted the Society on everything in question.
Dale: Can you show me, and this is getting back to the question, can you show me
evidence that the Society is God's channel of communication? How can you prove
Elder V: Well, there is an organization that is doing the preaching work around
the world, but very, few do...
Elder D: What other people are preaching the good news of the kingdom?
Befle: Well, my Dad told me about how many were being converted in South
America. I don't remember what the numbers were, but it was many times more than
Jehovah's Witnesses convert.
Elder D: Who is preaching the good news of the Kingdom and spending so much
money doing it....
Dale: There are a lot of Christians preaching the gospel about Christ. Now you
have another idea. You're preaching a gospel that says Christ has returned
invisibly and is now ruling invisibly in the midst of his enemies. That's your
Elder V: Well, it's a part of it.
Dale: Well it's a major part of it because the Society says that the message
being preached by Jehovah's Witnesses is not the same as the message that has
been preached throughout the centuries. Now, that is an assertion that has been
made by the Watchtower Society. Now there is a lot of question about that, now
if they are God's channel, and they have the right to say that, and they have
God's spirit putting all this stuff out, then you're right, I should be there.
That's absolutely correct. But how can you show me that they are? Now you
brought up this thing about the faithful and discreet slave, and we've talked
about that on the phone. Now the Society says that the faithful and discreet
slave has existed all the way down through the centuries. Isn't that correct?
Elder V: There have always been faithful Christians...
Dale: But aren't they part of that faithful and discreet slave?
Elder J: We really don't know their identity...
Dale: That's true, nobody can say who they were...
Elder V: God's always had his witnesses, like Jacob, Daniel...
Elder D: We're talking about the Christian era, V--...
Dale: But anyway, you can't even show that during the first century that they
acted as a faithful and discreet slave or a governing body, but down through the
centuries, where we get into a problem is down around the 1800's. Who was the
faithful and discreet slave in 1800?
Elder J: There wasn't always someone fulfilling that role...
Dale: No, they've always been in existence, is what the Watchtower has said,
that they've always been represented on earth. Russell never found an
organization that was the faithful and discreet slave. Russell was a maverick;
he left all organized religion...
Bette: There should have been one there before Russell...
Dale: Yes, and 10 and behold we have Russell. At first Russell taught that the
faithful and discreet slave" was a class. But from 1896 until his death he
taught that he personally was the "faithful and discreet slave" who was feeding
spiritual food to the domestics. But the point it is, if, as is claimed, in 1919
Jesus came to his temple and looked at all the organizations claiming to
represent him and he chose this one, there would have to be a reason why he did,
wouldn't there? And if I look at the things they were teaching and the things
they were doing, they weren't any better than anybody else. I'm not putting
Russell down; from what I know about Russell, he seems to have been a sincere
man and a serious student of the Bible. It's my feeling, though, that his idea
of being led and being used in the way he claimed was rather presumptuous. If
you read all the things that he said, it's hard to see any evidence of the
spirit really leading.
Bette: Wasn't he pretty heavily into numerology and using the great pyramid?
Dale: Did you know that there's a pyramid on his grave today?
Elder J: There's a pyramid shaped stone there and someone stuck his picture on
it, but I don't know whether
Elder V: There's some today who still read and study his literature...
Dale: Oh I know, but they're out in left field some where, they even have less
excuse than you or I would have…
Elder V: All right let's say that you convince us that this is not God's
Dale: I'm not trying to convince you, that's your own decision to make...
Elder V: What spiritual organization does Jehovah have on the earth?
Dale: The spiritual organization is by Christ Jesus. True Christianity is in the
Bible, and we go to Christ Jesus.
Elder V: Now, how are we going to win people over to the truth? Are the
Catholics, they're going to burn you in hell, the Baptists are going to burn you
in hell, the Episcopalians are going…
Dale: And the Witnesses say the same thing, minus the hell.
Elder V: That's not true...
Dale: I know, but what you do say is that unless you are a Jehovah's Witness you
are going to die at Armageddon and be dead forever.
Elder V: No, but what I'm saying is now which of these organizations should I
Dale: Maybe none of them...
Elder V: Why not? Who's going to get the preaching work done? Me and him?
Dale: Something that I have learned, in the first place, you don't go out and
convince people logically and argue them into being a Christian. They have to be
drawn by Jesus. He said that himself, that "my sheep hear my voice," and whether
he's accomplished by knocking on doors, or by just interacting with people...
Well, I'll give you an example. I know a man, at the place where I worked, at
TWA, he was an instructor down there in the training department. Very, very fine
individual. And his goal in working there, he would concentrate on one person
for awhile and get to know him. And he would finally get to know someone well
enough that at some point he could share his Christian hope with him. And then
he would get to know someone else. And this man was somebody that, if you got to
know him there was no way you could say he was not a real Christian. He's not a
Jehovah's Witness. But there's no way you could say he's not a real Christian.
He lived it. He was preaching - maybe not knocking on doors the way you do. And
I have to say that out of my experience, there I've spent a whole lot of hours
knocking on doors that didn't accomplish a whole lot. I don't know, maybe it has
its place - I'm not putting h down - The early Christians did it to some extent,
and they also used other methods. But, there are a lot of people out there who
are living a Christian life and who give every evidence of being real
Christians. That was one of
the hardest things for me to confront, because I mentions here, were things
that, if the Gentiles knew some of these people, and my religion told me that
they were going to die at Armageddon. And they were not the kind of people who
say, "you need to come to my church." They were the kind of people who say, "you
need to be a Christian." Now I think that's more in keeping with what
Christianity is. And I'm not saying that you have to go to this or that church.
You can find a lot of churches and you'll find the whole gamut; you'll find some
like the Catholics where they're very authoritarian, very dogmatic, they think
that they are God's organization, they've got the franchise on religion like
McDonald's got on hamburgers. But I don't agree with that. I don't believe
Christians should be that way. We can fellowship in a variety of places. God can
use the variety... he uses people; he doesn't use organizations, that's my
belief. He can use Jehovah's Witnesses too.
Elder J: I imagine you've read the book of Acts. Clearly in the Book of Acts it
lays down the facts where the Christians met together, fellowshipped together.
And when this question about the circumcision raised a bit of a problem they
took the matter to the apostles and older men in Jerusalem, 15th chapter of
Acts, and they sent out a letter about a decision about what should be done and
it was sent to the various congregations. As far as the way the decision was
made by meeting together, the apostles and older men in Jerusalem...
Dale: And everybody who had a question in the matter was there...
Elder J: And the congregation of Christians were told what the decision was.
Dale: The reason that they went, if you take the background of the way the early
church functioned -Paul did not work through the governing body. For fourteen
years he never even went up to Jerusalem and this was when he was engaged in all
kinds of active preaching, because the holy spirit was directing the
organization directly through the apostles individually. This incident in
Jerusalem is interesting, because it was brought about by the fact that there
were gentiles coming into the congregation, and, particularly with the Jewish
Christians, the matter of circumcision came up. And they went up from Antioch to
settle the problem because it says right here that people came down from Judea
to Antioch and began teaching the brothers, and apparently they didn't listen to
Paul and Barnabas, and so they decided to go up to Jerusalem and see what your
elders say about this problem." There seems to have been a number of
congregations involved in this same sort of problem because of the fact that
there were Jewish Christians in many of these cities. And it seems very likely
that some of these things James would abide by, they would satisfy the Jewish
Christians, because you know the Jews did keep the law, even after Christ. Even
James was a strict keeper of the Law. Early Christian documents tell us that,
because if you lived in Judea and didn't keep the law, you got in a lot of
trouble with the locals. When Paul went up to Jerusalem, he kept provisions of
the law, paid for the sacrifice for the young men -not that he felt it was
necessary, but it was necessary if he was going to be in Jerusalem. So the
reason they went to Jerusalem was because that was the source of the problem.
They went to seek a solution to a problem that came about because of the
different cultures. But to use that account to try to prove the existence of a
governing body that would continue to the present is unreasonable in the light
of history. Nineteen hundred years have passed, the apostasy has come, and the
apostles are no longer present. And Jesus knew that there was going to be an
apostasy, Paul knew it. All the apostles knew it, John knew it. It was very
evident it was happening right then and there. So why would Jesus lock everybody
into a hierarchical organization run by men, knowing that it would apostatize?
What would be the position of a Christian back there in the early part of the
second century or the third century, when you had people like Igatius running
around saying "obey your elders" no matter how they behave? How would a
Christian react, where would he draw the line, when would he say, "Well I don't
know, I've got to check this out in the Scriptures." You don't allow that today,
Elder D: You can't have disagreement.
Dale: Now I know there are things as a Christian you have to believe. You have
to believe in Christ's sacrifice, you have to believe that Christ came and died
- that he came in the flesh. John said that if you don't believe that he came in
the flesh you're a heretic, an apostate. And there was a lot of that going on
back then - the Gnostics were going around teaching all sorts of things. That is
the central doctrine of Christianity that you have to believe. But there's a lot
of these other things that the Scriptures are not all that dogmatic on, and I
don't think we should be either. I think we should allow each other our freedom
of conscience and we shouldn't make issues. We shouldn't say, "If you don't
believe everything the way I do, you're not a Christian," on some of these other
matters. On the ransom, on Christ, the central doctrine of Christianity, I
believe we should agree.
Elder V: Here then is the crux of the matter. What you believe as one of
Jehovah's Witnesses is contained within your heart and your mind. But when there
is the influencing of others - right or wrong, right or world wars which we can
live without quite nicely, wrong, [you influence that individual, now you are in
trouble] then you are apostatizing.
Dale: What if I've lied to somebody? What am I supposed to do about it?
Elder V: You don't have to lie to people.
Dale: What if I have lied to them in the past? What if I've told them things
that I know now are not true, what am I supposed to do? Give me a good answer?
What am I supposed to do?
Elder V: Well that is something that will have to be decided.
Dale: What am I supposed to do? My obligation before God is to right the wrong
if I can, to whatever extent I can.
Elder V: Are you going to set up an organization to get all this done, are you
going to set up a printing shop to get all this writing?
Dale: No! The only reason I wrote this letter was because I learned some things
that I felt were very important to me, and the people that I sent it to, for the
most part, were people that I felt I had influenced. Over the years. I watched
some of their lives fall apart as a result of their association, not just
because they associated, but because they didn't get the help that they should
have gotten, but didn't, because of different things about the teachings of the
organization. But I won't go into that unless you want to hear about it.
Elder V: How about you, are you going to continue writing these letters?
Dale: No. I have not written any of these people, I explained that very plainly,
I said that I feel I should explain these things, this is how I feel, what you
do with it is up to you, and that's the end of it. I'm not going to any of these
people trying to convert them. If they call me, I'll talk to them. But I'm not
going chasing them, because, I don't know, maybe this is working for them. I'm
not going to take it upon myself to try to get anybody in or out of an
organization. If I can....
Elder V: If you can appreciate the reverberations of such a letter, while you're
a scholar to an extensive degree, you've said some Greek words that I've never
even heard before. Well, I'm satisfied with the point if I never knew any more
about the truth other than that God is going to restore paradise on earth, and I
want to be a part of it. I want life. And whether that is on earth or in heaven
is immaterial to me.
Bette: I feel the same way.
Elder V: And so I want life. Now I was in the Methodist church and my first wife
was in the Catholic Church; I never heard about the paradisiacal conditions
either in the beginning or in the end. Now if it's God's purpose to restore the
paradisiacal conditions in the earth rather than this 30- year war thing and
these so if I can live in a time when there's no famine, no death, no sickness,
no crime, that's the only hope I've got. And through the death of Jesus Christ,
the man who died on Calvary and was resurrected to heaven, that's the only way
that I've got to get there. And in the meantime all he wants us to do is to tell
others about the kingdom. And the kingdom is the essence of the whole thing. The
kingdom that will being blessings to the earth, or whether he's to the blacks,
to the Indians, to the Jews, to the Hungarians, whoever wants it. Now we're back
to the point, whoever wants it. If they will do the will of God, which is to
tell others about the Kingdom, and when it comes ... And when it comes, and when
it starts, you're confused in your mind. It doesn't matter that much. We know
we're living pretty close to the time of the end, and I'll tell you why. Because
for two thousand years people have repeated the Lord's prayer that he taught in
Matthew the 6th chapter. Now historians, apparently some of the history books
you've gone to, historians have documented every major event that they wanted
you and I to know about 5000 years ago. What wasn't recorded in the Bible was
recorded in the history books. Every major event that they wanted to preserve
for posterity, for you and me to read about, if we wanted to read about it. Well
where did we read [the event of God's Kingdom being done on earth Justas Jesus
said. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. How is it in heaven? How is
it in heaven?
Dale: What do you mean?
Elder V: Well he said, "thy will be done on earth as in heaven." What's his
will? What's going to be done on earth the same as in heaven? And so you can go
ahead and keep reading all that stuff, if you're a scholar. I'm not that much of
a scholar. But I believe that Jesus Christ died for my sins and I won't have to
die, and if I do die, I will be resurrected.
Bette: All of that is perfectly true, but what does it have to do with a human
Elder V: That's where I learned it. I didn't learn it in the churches.
Bette: Well, you went to a couple of lousy churches. Elder V: Well, yes.
Bette: Well, I went to the Methodist church too, and that's what attracted
Dale: That brings up a question: you keep saying that you learned it from
Jehovah's Witnesses. Well it's true some of the things I know I did learn from
them, but I have since learned that the Witnesses were not the source of the
information. Russell did not get the teaching about immortality of the soul,
Trinity, hell-fire, he did not discover them himself, he got them from other
Elder V: Well, like you said, there was an organization
Elder V: Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggert, and several in England before...
Dale: That wasn't an organization. These were people writing newsletters, and
people getting together, and people...
Elder V: It's immaterial, it doesn't matter.
Dale: The idea comes from here [Bible]. It comes from people reading this and
talking about it. You don't need to do it through an organization. You can do it
lots of different ways. Fellowships, study groups, it's not important...
Elder D: People in general do not. They do not read the Bible. It's the most
printed piece of literature in the world.
Bette: I have met people who not only know the Bible better than Jehovah's
Witnesses, but know things about prayer and worship that I never had any inkling
of. Real, spiritual people that I haven't seen the like of for years. And all
these myths that I was taught about everybody else in the world simply aren't
true. And it makes me think of the Scripture that says, "You say that you have
all these things and you don't need anything, but you don't know that you are
miserable and pitiable and poor and blind and naked." And here they're talking
about such a spiritual paradise. If that's a paradise, I'd hate to see the
Elder V: well, what's your objection to not being one of Jehovah's Witnesses?
You made the statement "them".
Elder D: By your words you don't consider yourself one of Jehovah's Witnesses,
Dale: You're talking about being one of Jehovah's Witnesses; in the first place,
I have no objection to fellowshipping with people who are Jehovah's Witnesses. I
consider them my friends, but I don't know, they may not consider me their
friends. Knowing the organization, they probably won't. But, that is not an
issue with me, I consider them very fine people. I know a great many of them are
in a mindset that is a little strange, but I know I was in it a long time
myself. But being a Jehovah's Witness in the sense of being an active Jehovah's
Witness, (you can call me an inactive Jehovah's Witness if you want to), but to
be an active Jehovah' Witness requires some things that I would find very
difficult to do. I would find it very difficult to go out and knock on people's
doors and tell them things that I know are not true, and yet you have to do
that. I would have to study books with them, and I would have to tell them
"Jehovah's Witnesses knew all about World War I and 1914", and I know that that
is not true. I know that a lot of things are not true, and I would have a hard
time doing that; that amounts to deceptive recruiting practices if you want to
put it in legal terms. Others lie to their congregations too...
Dale: Well, you ought to be thankful to Jimmy Swaggert: now you don't have to
pay for your literature any more, right?
Elder V: .. .how would you like to be sending your money to him?
Dale: You knew about Jimmy Swaggert, didn't you? The Society filed a friend of
the court brief for Jimmy Swaggert. Did you know that? The Society, the National
Council of Churches, and Hare Krishna all filed "friend of the court" briefs on
behalf of Jimmy Swaggert in his tax case...
Bette: And within five days of when Jimmy Swaggert lost his tax case, is when
the Society decided to give the literature free.
Dale: No, I have no use for Jimmy Swaggert and people like that and what's that
other guy's name in the World Wide Church of God, Armstrong...
Elder V: What about Dr. Schuller?
Dale: The apostle of wealth? No, that's not Christianity
Elder V: What about Humbard down in Louisiana?
Dale: Humbard? I don't know him, no, I don't listen to those guys on the tube,
and I have no interest in them.
Elder J: You know in 2 Timothy, Paul says, "Keep holding the pattern of
healthful words that you heard from me with the faith and love that are in
connection with Christ Jesus. This fine trust guard through the holy spirit
which is dwelling in us." [2 Tim 1:13,14] So we view the overall understanding
of the truth that we have as a pattern of healthful words that we have received
and we are happy to have received, and Paul goes on to say that some in his day
for example, who were teaching that the resurrection had already occurred. In
fact, he mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15 that some were saying that there was no
resurrection. So there was some confusing teaching going on and it disturbed
matters, and so Paul had to write about the mater.
Dale: What did he do about it?
Elder J: Well, for example here he says "But shun empty speeches that violate
what is holy; for they will advance to more and more ungodliness, and their word
will spread like gangrene. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of that number. These very
men have deviated from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already
occurred; and the are subverting the faith of some." [2 Timothy 2:16-18]
Dale: What did he say next?
Elder J: "For all that, the solid foundation of God stays standing, having this
seal: 'Jehovah knows those who belong to him,' and: 'Let everyone naming the
name of Jehovah renounce unrighteousness.'" vs. 19
Dale: So what did he do about those people?
Elder J: In those days some of them were actually disfellowshipped or
disassociated from the congregation as a result of their being…
Dale: There is no record of that, though, is there, except for 1 Corinthians 5
where he was very definite about taking action in moral matters...
Bette: Well, mostly, Paul just wrote long letters to explain what was true and
let people decide for themselves, that's why Galatians was written, that's why
Colossians was written, that's why Romans, any of those...
Dale: In fact, where it says it was necessary to "silence the mouths of these
men" - are you familiar with the scripture I'm talking about? - If you look at
that, the silencing was done by giving such strong exposition in the way of
doctrine to the rest of the church, to the congregations involved, and they were
spread around, everybody read them, that people had both sides. These guys were
saying one thing, but here's what Paul said. And Paul gave a good, clear, solid
argument for the resurrection that was irrefutable. To a Christian who wanted to
believe Jesus, who wanted to believe the Scriptures, and like he says, that
"even with all of this, the church is secure, in other words. "These men may
mislead some, but they're not going to get any real Christians." And what did
Paul tell Timothy about the house with the honorable vessels and the
dishonorable vessels? Did he say "Go through the house and throw out any vessels
you don't like?" He said, "just stay clear of them," didn't he? He's talking
about chatterers who are teaching things that are wrong, and that's good advice
and I agree with it 100%. You're going to find - and Jesus knew this, he knew
that the wicked one was going to come and oversow the field with weeds, and that
was going to last until his coming, and that the angels were going to do the
gathering and the weeding out and so forth. So he knew that this was going to
happen, and yet true Christians are not going to be misled. The only case there
is in 2 John. In 1 John he talks about testing the spirits and then he also
talks about the spirit which would teach them the things that they need to know,
they didn't need to listen to the traveling Gnostics propagandizers that were
Bette: Well, he says you don't need any man to teach you..
Dale: Yes, you don't need any man to teach you because the spirit teaches you,
and I believe that. And those who said that Jesus did not come in the flesh were
the Gnostics. Their teachings clearly undermined the very basis of Christianity.
I just read Albert Barnes' comments on that, the Society quotes him a lot. If
you don't believe that Jesus came in the flesh, you aren't a Christian, period.
And so John says, "don't take these people into your home, don't subsidize their
spreading of false doctrine." And I agree with that. But I certainly don't
believe I'm in the position of saying that Jesus didn't come in the flesh. I
believe, more strongly than I ever did before, that Jesus came in the flesh and
died for me and all mankind. I agree with you on all of that.
Bette: Didn't Rutherford say that the spirit acted as a paraclete until 1919?
Elder V: What's a paraclete?
Elder D: A helper.
Dale: Oh yes, Rutherford in the 20's in Preparation and 3 or 4 books I traced it
down to, where he said that the spirit no longer teaches individual Christians.
But it did up until 1919.
Elder J: But they changed that. The spirit does teach us. We're taught by the
Dale: Individually? Does the spirit teach you?
Elder J: It teaches, well, through the Bible.
Dale: Well, there's a statement here [in my letter] from a Watchtower where they
discuss 1 John 1:27, about "you do not need any man" and they insert "apostate"
in there, but before that they say that the spirit only teaches the 144,000, the
Elder J: In the days of the early Christians it was similar, that one had to be
in contact with the body or organization of Christians that Christ was using,
such as Philip was directed to the Ethiopian...
Dale: God's spirit directed him, not the organization...
Elder J: . ..in contact with one of the visible Christian congregations.
Dale: I don't disagree, I'm not saying that the congregation is unnecessary.
Don't misunderstand me. I think congregations are necessary, fellowship is
necessary, but I don't think it has to be under one big umbrella organization.
Elder J: Think of Paul when Jesus appeared to him and he was chosen and so
forth, he was told to into the city and wait for Annanias to come, Annanias who
was from the local Christian congregation, came and furthered his understanding
and directed him further.
Dale: Let me pose a question to you. Suppose someone comes into the Kingdom Hall
and he's had a vision and now he's a Christian, and he comes and meets with
Annanias, and you; you talk with him, spend a week with - I think that's what
Paul spent - and then he never came back for fourteen years, but you hear that
he's appointed himself a missionary over in Africa. What would you say about
Elder J: Well, there's no question that the Apostle Paul had a wealth of
knowledge and a splendid foundation in the law...
Dale: But he went out and started new congregations undirected by anyone...
Elder J: But he certainly had holy spirit and Christ Jesus who was directing his
Dale! That's true. But the point I'm making is that there are so many things in
the first century that were different, from the way you do things now. That's
why I believe that our relationship is directly with Christ.. The apostles were
a special group, never repeated again in history. They were the ones that Jesus
used directly. He didn't go through a governing body to talk to Paul; the spirit
talked right to Paul, and others. That was the way teaching was done.
Elder D: He also told him to appoint elders.
Dale: Yes he did. But we don't know anything about how the men in Jerusalem were
appointed, do we? We only know about the ones that Paul personally appointed, as
he did in Antioch, he gave some instructions to Timothy and Thus, and those are
good instructions that any body of Christians could use to examine any man who
is going to be a teacher, or an overseer. I agree with that. And a lot of
churches use that too, you'd be surprised. Of course there's a lot of them that
fail, but there's just as many failures among Jehovah's Witnesses as there are
in some of these other churches too. The point that I'm making is, the
organization, - and I really don't like to use that word - I should say, the
church is being directed by Christ. People can get together and form
organizations and God can use these men if they are truly, truly spirit led, and
if they're truly seeking to serve him.
Bette: And they don't misuse their power.
Dale: And they don't use their power in a wrong way. Christianity has become so
big and spread all over the world, that there is a problem of trying to control
it as humans - I see the fallacy of that. I've lived through it, I was at Bethel
and I know what goes on up there. I could tell you some things that happened at
Bethel that would curl your hair. I just put them in the back of my mind and
said, well..., see it as a pattern. They're good people, they're trying hard,
but they're imperfect. I Justdon't think that God is really using a particular
group. He can move people in a lot of different ways. Far be it from me to try
to tell him how to do it, or try to organize it for him.
Elder J: You know Paul used the illustration of the human body..
Dale: Yes, and you know what the trouble with that is, that people like
Jehovah's Witnesses, and the Mormons - they want to be the neck. They want to be
the source through which all teaching comes, all thinking comes - everything.
And yet Paul was not using that illustration to show a hierarchical organization
because he says there is "neither Jew nor Greek, nor slave nor master, male or
female in the body of Christ. Our relationship is directly with Christ and we're
all on level ground. Now, we have other relationships, husband - wife, slave -
master, relationships between people in the congregations and those that serve
as elders, pastors, deacons, ministerial servants; those are human relationships
that have a bearing on our worship. But our connection where the head is direct.
Paul was using the illustration of the human body, which is a great illustration
to show how we all work together. If one is hurt, the other one hurts too. We
all cooperate. Some have prominent positions, some have not-so-prominent
positions. Wherever we find ourselves, we do the best we can and all cooperate
together. But you can't use that illustration to show a hierarchical
organization, like there's the head and directives go through the neck and then
through the arm and if you're a finger you get your orders through the arm...
Elder J: No, simply that the body itself is an organization.
Dale: Yes, but it's a spiritual organization...
Elder J: The body in its functions are individuals - even that little toe is
Dale: But does it have to be a human organization?
Elder J: Well the thing is that there is direction, there is a need for
Dale: But why can't it be through the spirit?
Elder J: We feel that an elder, for example, which we are, is no better or
higher than anybody else...
Dale: But you do have a hierarchical organization. I came to appreciate that in
the early seventies, when the arrangement started. When they started the elder
arrangement, although I had served in such position for many years, there were
some elders in my congregation who didn't want to appoint me because they didn't
like my job. They didn't think you ought to be an airline pilot if you're going
to be an elder. For that two years, I was really amazed. The brothers would come
to me because they knew that I wouldn't tell everything to the elders. You'd be
surprised. The brothers know that there is a power structure within the
organization. We like to say there isn't, but it's there.
Elder J: Well certainly there are those with responsibility. You might say he's
like you are in an airplane, you certainly have a measure of responsibility, and
stewardesses don't have the same responsibility that you have
Dale: That's true, but now we're talking about a business organization and I
hate to make an analogy between the body of Christ and any human organization
Elder J: Let just take a look at one other scripture and that is Hebrews
10:25,26, about associating together and encouraging one another all the more so
as you behold the day drawing near." Now you haven't associated a whole lot in
the last several years, now I'm wondering if you feel that that's unnecessary or
if you fulfill that in some other way, or…
Dale: I know a number of good Christians, I talk to them a lot associate with
them. I feel that I am doing that in a way that is meaningful.
Elder J: As far as there being any organized...
Dale: I seriously doubt that I'll ever join another organization...
Elder J: The entire association of our brothers is organized for work and
certainly the entire religious family of Jehovah's people, certainly there are
some bonds there...
Bette: If you're all a family, how is h that only a few of you are sons of God?
Elder D: We will all eventually be sons of God.
Bette: Yes, in a thousand and some years. Why is it that Romans says that "all
who are led by God's spirit are sons of God,' and in 1st John it says "by this
we recognize the children of God and children of the devil?"
Elder D: We can get into all sorts of semantically arguments too. Every time the
word son is mentioned it doesn't necessarily mean it's the same type of son.
Bette: But there's only two groups in 1st John, the children of God, and the
children of the devil. If you aren't a child of God, what are you?
Elder D: Rom. 3:3[??] can be used to prove we are all sons of God.
Bette: But you're taking away the entire New Testament from people, so that they
can't believe that God is speaking to them.
Elder J: This is the mistake of false religious organizations, which claim
Christianity. That everything in the Scriptures that talks about those that have
the heavenly hope applies to everyone, and that all good people go to heaven and
all of this. And here is where they have gone off the beam to start with.
Bette: But to take away something that God gives me, by a human organization,
just to consolidate their own power, is not God's way of doing things. Besides
that in Jeremiah he says "'Look there are days coming', is the utterance of
Jehovah, 'and I will conclude with the house of Israel and with the house of
Judah a new covenant; not one like the covenant that I concluded with their
forefathers in the day of my taking hold of their hand to bring them forth out
of the land of Egypt, which covenant of mine they themselves broke, although, I
myself had husbandry ownership of them,' is the utterance of Jehovah. 'For this
is the covenant that I shall conclude with the house of Israel after those
days,' is the utterance of Jehovah. 'I will put my law within them, and in their
heart I shall write it. And I will become their God, and they themselves will
become my people... For I shall forgive their error, and their sin I shall
remember no more.'" So if you're not in the new covenant, where is the
forgiveness of sin?
Elder J: Those that are in the new covenant are the first to receive the
benefits of that forgiveness of sin.
Bene: So meanwhile our sins are not forgiven, because according to this, we have
to be in the new covenant.
Elder J: The new covenant is based on the ransom of Christ, and the forgiveness
of sins is made possible through his blood like the Apostle John writes, "Not
our sins only but also those of the whole world."
Dale: So that still doesn't answer the question, if you're not in the new
covenant, how are your sins forgiven?
Elder J: The new covenant was made with spiritual Israel to make possible a
class that would [bring this benefit] as a part of the seed. That was the
purpose of the new covenant.
Dale: There is a problem with that argument, and that is that the seed of
Abraham, according to Galatians chapter 3, is only one person, Christ Jesus,
it's not 144,000.
Elder J: Paul says in verse 29 "if you belong to Christ, you are really
Dale: If you read the context it's really not hard to sort out, because
Abraham's seed is used in several different senses. It's used in the sense of
his natural progeny, right? Those who are his physical progeny are called
Abraham's seed in Scripture. And then he says Christ Jesus is Abraham's seed,
it's in the sense of a seed of promise. And that Christians are his seed in a
spiritual sense, they are his spiritual progeny, you might say. The scripture is
very clear when it says, "And not to seeds, as in the case of many such, but as
in the case of one; and to your seed who is Christ."
Bette: Because he says earlier in that chapter "Now the Scripture, seeing in
advance that God would declare people of the nations righteous due to faith,
declared the good news beforehand to Abraham, namely: By means of you all the
nations will be blessed. Consequently those who adhere to faith are being
blessed together with faithful Abraham." So Paul gives the interpretation of
that scripture about "by means of you the nations will be blessed" and says, "it
is happening, we are being blessed." Those with a heavenly hope are receiving a
Dale: The Society's saying that the 144.000 are serving as a blessing, and that
doesn't square with what I am reading here. I'm sorry, it just doesn't square.
Elder J: Now you're saying that the seed of Abraham in one verse isn't the same
seed of Abraham in another verse.
Dale: Obviously it's not, time later in the middle 50's. Now being Abraham's
Elder J: Why would you say that? If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's
Bette: And you get the blessing, you don't give the blessing, according to Paul.
Elder J: We all know that in Revelation 21 the bride of Christ, the New
Jerusalem, the Lamb's wife represents the Kingdom class now united with him in
heaven... It says that "there came forth a river of life from the throne and it
came down the broad way of the city New Jerusalem to mankind on earth." Now the
New Jerusalem, the city, is not a city, it is that body of Christ that is with
him in the heavens, and through that family with Christ as its number one head,
or husband as depicted in the illustration, with reference to what? Well through
Christ, and those with him the blessings come to mankind.
Bette: How did those blessings come before they went to heaven in 1919?
Elder J: Certainly not all of them are in heaven yet.
Bette: Well, what I mean is, according to your theology, nobody went to heaven
until 1919. How did all those nations get the blessings meanwhile for the last
Elder J: The blessings are not spoken of as blessings, but air and water and
food that we eat...
Bette: But it says "Let anyone who wishes come and take life's waters freely..
So they're all Christians.
Elder J: The reference there is the blessings to flow and benefits of Christ's
ransom that begin flowing in connection the kingdom paradise.
Bette: According to your theology, yes, but that's taking a piece of a scripture
here and a piece of a scripture there. You're using a particular interpretation
of a scripture as though it were proof. I find it much better to take the
scriptures verse by verse.
Elder J: Well let's go a step further. Genesis 3:16 speaks of a seed, the same
seed that later Abraham was told would come through his name. Now in Revelation
Jesus speaks to those in that heavenly class [3:26,271 he says, "I will give him
an iron rod and let him shepherd the nations." So they would share in the
dispensing action which Christ Jesus brings upon the earth. So they are a means
for the earth, together with Christ, for bringing that destruction that is
referred to, and as far as Satan's complete destruction we know that the angel
that comes down to bind Satan is Christ Jesus. Certainly those of his kingdom
class are sharers in his experiences and sharers in his kingdom with him, so the
idea of their being part of that kingly secondary part, nonetheless part of the
body of Christ united with him, I can't see where there is any...
Dale: It still conflicts with the seed being only "one person who is the
Christ." He wrote this quite some time later in the middle 50's. Now being
Abraham's seed in a spiritual sense would mean being part of spiritual Israel,
which relates to Abraham due to the promise. You can look at it in that way. For
you to arbitrarily say that being Abraham's seed makes them part of the seed
which refers to Christ - that's not what that Scripture says...
Bette: But, mostly, in the 3rd chapter of Galatians in the 9th verse where Paul
gives the interpretation of "by means of you all the nations will be blessed",
they [Watchtower] interpret that to mean that the Christians of his day were
giving the blessing, but he says, "consequently those who adhere to faith are
being blessed." It doesn't say, "you will bless the nations." It says you "are
being blessed." That's Paul's interpretation of "by means of you all the nations
will be blessed." He says they are receiving the blessing, and then in verse 16
he says, "Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. It says, not:
'And to seeds,' as in the case of many such. But as in the case of one: 'And to
you seed', who is Christ."
Elder J: And then in the 29th verse there "Moreover, if you belong to Christ,
you are really Abraham's seed, heirs with reference to a promise." So they
become heirs to the same promise that Jesus is heir of.
Dale: Well, I can't agree with that. (Making them part of the "seed" that does
Elder J: They're joint heirs with Christ. The Scripture says that.
Dale: Abraham was the father of the literal nation of Israel. He was also the
father in a sense of spiritual Israel. But to say that Spiritual Israel is the
same as the seed of promise who is Christ Jesus -- Paul has to be using a
different connotation of "seed" there, because he limits it to one person; in
black and white.
Bette: Notice what other translations say there: "And now that we are Christ's
we are the true descendants of Abraham and all of God's promises continue on to
us." "If you belong to Christ you are a true descendant of Abraham and true
heirs of his promise." "Merely by belonging to Christ you are the posterity of
Abraham, the heirs to his promise." "If you belong to Christ then you are
descendants of Abraham and will receive his promise."
Elder D: The Bible was written to common people. They weren't scholars of their
day. They were fishermen, common people. And with the complicity of theology,
how does anyone find the truth? How many thousands of people pray, "help me
understand this", and they come up with nothing. They come up with nothing
because they need to be directed in their thinking and their understanding.
[Discussion continues about lack of spiritual understanding of people locally].
I may not have called on as many doors as you have, since 1948, but I have
talked to thousands, with the real intent of helping them understand the Bible.
That's been my purpose in calling. Now, I don't know where you've found all
these Christians, and a true knowledge of [.?.] but when it comes right down to
understanding the Bible, or reading it, or receiving [?1 from it,... it's hard
to find people who do.
Dale: Well, I'll grant you that.
Elder D: Now I probably haven't called on every home in our community, but I've
come close; but quite frankly1 people just don't have a concern for, I won't say
that none do, but quite frankly, if they do, one thing I've always found is that
if someone has a genuine interest in spiritual things, regardless of who you
are, if you get this out [Bible], they'll talk. They're afraid of it. Most
people are afraid of it because they have no understanding of it, and they may
have some fear in the back of their heart that it is God's word..
Bette: Well, I used to run into people who knew the Bible, but sometimes they
would quote that Scripture in 2nd John about bringing another gospel, and they
would feel that they could not invite me in. And I have tried to explain to
several people that, in that day, the traveling evangelists would go and be put
up in people's homes. And so it was talking about the Gnostics - "don't put them
up in your home and feed them." It doesn't mean you can't invite them in and
talk to them if they have a different belief.
Dale: Some churches teach that. I agree, though, that only a small majority of
the population are really interested in the Bible on a deep level. But since
when should we ever expect true Christians to be in the majority in the world?
The Bible tells us that. It's always been that way.
Elder V: That's why Jesus said that narrow is the road to life and few are the
ones finding it." So if you're going to look for any organization, the "few" is
the place to look. Not the majority, look for the few.
Bette: Every religion - like the Mormons, and the Moonies - every religion
claims that same type of thing, and that's not the identity.
Elder V: Well no, that's not the identity, but that's the place to start
looking, where there's few.
Dale: I don't think that's a criteria, but you're right, there are not that many
people who are interested and are going to become Christians. That's just a sad
fact of life. Jesus died for all, but not all are going to avail themselves of
Bene: I know that every once in awhile I would run into someone at the door, and
it would be unsettling to me because I recognized that they knew Jesus better
than I did. And I had to discount that - it wasn't "real". Your belief system
says it can't be, therefore you deny it. But it was true.
Elder V: There's a lot of things going on, they talk Christ and they say they
know him, but they get caught up in emotion.
Dale: How do you know that they aren't Christians? I mean, you can't judge the
house servant of another. Now there are some matters you can judge in a
congregation; immorality and things like that. If someone wants to be a part of
the congregation and wants to live with someone else's wife, then you have to
take care of that. There's no question about that. But the central doctrine of
Christianity is not all that complicated, and you asked that question and I want
to make one comment on that. You don't have to be a scholar to understand the
Bible and to understand the message of Christ. But if you're going to be a
teacher, and claim to be a teacher and teach others, you should be qualified.
Now there are a great many things that would have been common knowledge to
anyone living in the first century that I daresay most of us have no knowledge
of whatever. First of all is the Greek language; second, the culture; third, the
history. [The early Christians knew all of that without specialized education.]
The Bible has to be understood in the context of the times in which it was
written. There is a place for scholars.
Bette: Otherwise you are reading present culture back into it...
Dale: Yes, and that's what I see so many religions doing. They say, "Well this
is the way we do it today, so that must have been the way they did it back
Elder D: We don't do that.
Dale: Well, I'm not so sure.
Elder V: How long did it take them to figure out how congregations ought to be
Elder D: There are very few that ever did.
Bette: And then that doesn't account for a lot of Paul's activities and lot of
Peter's. There's a lot of things that the apostles and some who were not
apostles did, that if a Witness overseer or elder did today, they'd have his
hide for that, and yet the early Christians didn't operate that way at all. I
noticed a lot of those things just reading the Bible But on the one hand, you
say you don't need to be a scholar, but on the other hand you're saying that
people cannot just read the Bible anywhere and get the truth out of it, they
need your organization.
Elder D: But Romans says that there is a need for teachers, you do agree with
that, don't you?
Bette: Well people need to know about Jesus Christ and what he did, that's what
Philip did, all he filled him in on was some history.
Elder D: No, that man had a lot of knowledge. He was a Jewish proselyte.
Bette: Well, he knew the law, and all Philip needed to do was to tell him what
Jesus did to fulfill it. He gave him some information he lacked. Big deal.
Elder D: Well, quite frankly, that in itself was a big deal. They were looking
for the Messiah.
Dale: But how do you account for the Gentiles who were converted in a very short
time? Cornelius - he wasn't a Jew?
Elder D: To a large degree they had miracles to help in the establishment of a
Dale: But one's personal conversion didn't necessarily have to do with a
miracle, at least not in the case of Cornelius.
Elder D: No, not necessarily....
Elder V: It's heart condition, he was ready for a change.
Bette: Now here's the thing. The Watchtower says that when Moses was given the
law he had the miracles to prove that he was from God. And then when God began
using the Christian congregation they had the miracles to show that God had
changed his dealings. So now if you've got a new gospel, which you say is
different from what has been preached for the last two thousand years, then by
all means if God's going to make that radical a change then there ought to be
miracles to prove that, because it's a new gospel. They themselves [The
Watchtower] have admitted that it's not the same gospel In fact Galatians says
that if you teach a different gospel you're under a curse.
Elder J: The only new thing about it...
Bette: The two-class system...
Elder J: No, the only thing that's different is we feel that the kingdom began
when Christ began his reign from 1914 onward.
Dale: The proof of that assertion is what I have challenged. Why doesn't anybody
want to refute that challenge? I know of a number of different research programs
done by Witnesses into that question of why does history give 587 BC and why
does the Watchtower give 607. There's been any number of independent studies
into this question. I read one the other day that I wish I could let you guys
read, but I wouldn't dare cause I don't want to blow the guy's cover. He's a
prominent elder somewhere in these United States. The research that he did was
incredible. He attacked it from a slightly different approach than Carl Jonsson,
but it's just as valid. And the Society didn't do anything about it. I guess
it's because it didn't show up in anybody's mailbox. He ended his letter by
characterizing the Society's approach to the evidence for 1914 by likening it to
an old man who goes to a pick-and-choose banquet, but has forgotten his teeth.
He will only pick what he is sure he won't choke on. And that's they way they
pick their facts and figures when it comes to history. I mean, he actually said
Bette: And he said that "we have this time bomb ticking away and it won't go
away just by climbing into bed and pulling the covers over our heads."
Dale: He said, "I don't want another surprise", he was talking about 1975, he
said, "I've already had one bad surprise, and I don't want another one. And this
is going to happen."
Elder V: And why doesn't he get out?
Dale: Because he's probably got kids, he's probably got a wife, probably got a
mother, and a grandmother and he doesn't want to be treated like an outcast.
Elder V: Then if the Society's right then he's a dead man anyway.
Dale: I don't think he's a dead man. And he'll probably get out one of these
days. Anyway the point is, there has been a lot of research on this, and the
Society will not attack this problem in the open. They will not give an honest
up-front, above board consideration of the evidence against their theory. They
won't do it. Why?
Elder V: Well if my memory doesn't fail me the Society has registered the
chronology of other people, other organizations.
Dale: Show me where they have given a dissertation or done anything like Paul
did on questions like resurrection. Show me where they have honestly considered
Bette: And refuted it.
Dale: I mean, most Witnesses are not even aware of how strong the evidence for
587 is for the fall of Jerusalem, and there's a real easy way, you don't have to
say "we follow the Bible", that's garbage; because the 70 years can be shown to
be "for Babylon", not for Jerusalem. And most scholars recognize it. And it
works out to the year. In fact you can have an exact 70 year period for Babylon
if you start with 609 which is the year that the Assyrian empire was effectively
overrun by Nebuchadnezzar's father Nabopolassar, and there are no discrepancies
of more that a year, and these can be answered by correlating the methods of
counting reigns in the various empires. And there are astronomical diaries that
fix exactly Nebuchadnezzar's thirty-seventh year. It fits with Egyptian history,
it fits with Persian history, and it fits with Grecian history. It all hangs
together so well.
Bette: It fits with all the dates in the Bible where Egyptian and Babylonian
events are mentioned.
Dale: And why the Society won't look into this thing, well, I know why they
won't. It blows their 1914 date, that's the casualty. But everything else works.
It fits with history, it fits with the Bible, and it fits with everything else.
Now, you can say, I'm going to stick with the Bible, I'm not going to pay any
attention to secular historians." Now, you have that information I gave you
about George Storrs, how he did the same thing with the seventy weeks, which
cuts about a hundred years of history out. Many fundamentalists today say, "the
earth was made in six literal days," Well, you don't agree with that, because
the evidence obviously proves that false. So to say "I'm going to take the
Bible" [over secular history is an admirable thing, but if the Bible itself
gives you an answer, why not accept that answer? And I think it does very well.
And these are questions that really strike at the heart of the authority of the
organization, any organization. And why don't they come out in the open and
answer these things? They haven't. Why don't they? "If you have the truth, what
is there to be afraid of?" That's right out of the Truth book. That's what we
used to say to people. When people would tell us, "My minister says I'd better
not talk to you because you might mislead me." "Oh no, all we want to do is read
the Bible to you, and if you have the truth, what is there to be afraid of? Have
you said that to people? I'll bet you have. So if we have the truth, put it on
the table and show me. They won't do it. And it has to do with the whole
underpinnings of the authority structure. But that's important. If you
misrepresent yourself.. You see, the Bible is where we get our authority. That's
where anybody gets it. That's where the truth comes from. It's all we have. We
don't have any succession of Popes, or Apostles, or anything like that. We can't
trace our history back. The Catholics have tried it - it doesn't work. We can't
trace ours back to any authority. We've got to get it from the Scriptures. And
if you can't support that maybe there's something wrong. And that's where I'm
Elder D: I knew you had some problems from the first time I learned about your
letter... in fact all three of us....
Dale: But if you had an interest… [in giving evidence]...
Elder D: Well quite frankly, we could get into a long drawn out question about
Bette: That's why I brought this notepad, because I figured if anybody had an
answer to what Dale had written, I want to know about it. That's what I want to
know, does anybody have any refutation? [Bette shows them her blank notepad]....
Elder D: There are other points besides chronology that would indicate who true
Christians are. The Bible says they would have love amongst themselves. And
quite frankly, I have experienced, and I would be shocked and surprised if you
hadn't experienced, a lovable Jehovah's Witness, having love for one another.
How would you explain that?
Bette: I have met people who are more loving.
Dale: That is not to say that some of Jehovah's Wit nesses are not loving.
However, their love is hooked up to a switch in New York.
Bette: It can be highly conditional. And that smacks of mind-control. However I
will have to say that in the last 10 years it has gotten worse. Once they got
scared and had no answer, it has really gotten bad. Thirty-five years ago, that
would be 1952, if they had taken the position that they do now, I would have
recognized it as unchristian and run the other way. At that time they said, "if
we have the truth we have nothing to fear" in looking into, or reading anything
else. At that time we weren't worried if someone had written anything about us.
Dale: You know, something that bothered me too, and I have to say this to you
because of the fact that we had many, many people coming into the organization,
they were coming in droves-. If they got between you and a swimming pool, they
got baptized. But after 1975, things really, really fell apart. And one of the
things I observed, and I felt very strongly about - we were getting many of the
basket cases of society, people who wanted something better, the failure of the
churches, people with marriages on the rocks, kids running wild, that sort of
thing. We had all kinds of problems. I felt that we made a big effort to get
people to quit drinking, quit smoking, quit running around on their wives,
things you could see, they're visible. We did a fairly good lob in that. New
ones were going on momentum, because here was a new hope, something that would
solve their problems. But then as far as really making Christians, we got them
so busy going to meetings, studying for this, studying for that, going out in
service, just on and on. I saw so many of those people spin, crash, and burn,
after about three years, and they finally gave up and said, "this does not work
either." Well, what some of those people needed was psychological counseling,
family counseling - but boy, I'll tell you, that if you even breathed the word,
you were on the carpet with the rest of the elders. We just weren't trained to
do that sort of thing.
Bette: There were dozens of them who were suicidal, including an elder's wife
and some of the pioneers, and do you think they'd even let them go to a
psychologist who was a witness?
Dale: I saw so many needs within the congregation for services that we would not
provide because we didn't believe in it. And you can't let a kid go to college,
my God no, don't let him go to college! I got into all kinds of trouble for
letting my son go to college. Thank God he did! And he's a very committed
Christian today It didn't hurt him. He didn't get into immorality, he didn't get
into drugs. Our family has always been an excellent family. I saw a lot of these
things happen. And I finally had to say, "there are a lot of things we don't
know that we need to learn them from someone else." The attitude you going to
associate with", there are people right seemed to be, "Armageddon's always going
to come in couple years and they didn't need to be concerned about these
problems because if they can Justcoast through they can make it." And that's not
true. It doesn't happen. The end has been "just around the corner" for all of my
Bette: It's a band-aide approach.
Dale: And the band-aide approach at some point wears out. Now you can say "God's
spirit is supposed to do that." I'm not saying that God's spirit can't do
things, but there are various helps that we can give them as humans and there is
expertise that we can apply that is available that we don't do, Witnesses do not
do. Now if you say they do it, I don't know where it is that they do it, but
they sure didn't do it in any congregation I've ever been in.
Bette: What made me start thinking was mostly when this character who moved in
[into our congregation] who was a real wheeler and dealer, and he got 30 people
to pioneer, and what was the big shock to me was that those people began to lose
their Christianity. They got harsh and judgmental, and the things they would say
about the non-pioneers-- and the whole support system just tell apart - the
love, the closeness...
Dale: That's the trouble with works-oriented systems...
Bette: And when I saw people actually forced to live it, and saw the rotten
fruits, I thought, "What is the matter?" Because you recognize the tree by its
fruits. Before that, I could say that if people would really do it, it would
work. But then when they did it and the opposite happened, that was really
something that was amazing.
Elder V: Well now you've just come up with a problem, and to some degree the
problem still exists. Now how are you going to solve it? How are these people
needing all this psychiatric help and love, and all this stuff that you say they
needed, how are they going to get it? If you don't have an organization to get
it done how are they going to get it?
Bette: There is a wonderful woman who lives across the street who is trained as
a counselor and she has streams of people come into her house day and night. Her
husband is a doctor, and they wear themselves out helping people and charging
nothing. She was a minister's wife, and she knows Greek, she does all those
things, but she is a really loving person. All that she asks people is that they
find a special person, not a family member, and do something special for that
person. Do something for someone else. They also help the poor and witness to
the street people.
Dale: There are people like that out there.
Elder V: You're right, I won't argue that point.
Dale: You say. "Where are you going to go, who are on our street here; there are
some very tine people.
Elder J: Within the last eight or ten years we have had four or five different
articles in the Awake! and Watchtower on depression. Many of them bringing out
that there are time when counseling is...
Dale: Yes, and it took Richard Wheelock jumping off the roof of Bethel to get
that done. Did you know Richard?
Elder J: Yes. I knew Richard Wheelock.
Dale: So did I. I worked under him for three and a half years.
Elder J: When he was sick in the infirmary my son wheeled him about...
Dale: First time they finally changed their mind on something like that was when
something happened to someone that was close enough to them. Isn't it a shame
that it took that long?
Bette: And another thing, they cautioned in those articles that if it was a drug
that they gave you, then it was ok, but if it was talk therapy. Then you have to
be very, very careful.
Dale: I'll tell you another story that happened at Bethel. You know Russ Kurzen?
Do you know Art Barnen? They both worked on the Bethel reception desk. They had
a sister from over in Thailand who developed a psychiatric problem while she was
going to Gilead. Several times she tried to jump oft the roof of Bethel. Did you
Elder J: Yes, I knew her.
Dale: In the first place, they wouldn't send someone back to Thailand with her
to take care of her, even though she begged for a plane ticket, or at least a
companion. They sent her back by boat, by herself. She had another one of her
seizures, she jumped overboard. What happened? When the word got back to Bethel
and Russ Kerosene told somebody, he got called on the carpet and taken off his
job for letting that out and letting the Bethel family know about it. When I was
at Bethel there was a young man who developed diabetes. We didn't have a doctor
there, and they wouldn't send him to a doctor or to a hospital. He Justgot so
sick he couldn't get out of bed and go to work so they decided to send him home.
Some of his friends thought. "He isn't going to make it home, he has to go all
the way to Seattle on a bus." The least we could do for him was to help buy him
an airline ticket. So about thirty of us got together and chipped in about five
bucks apiece. My roommate took it down to the Bethel office and said We've got a
little money to put with the Society's money so Jack can have an airline ticket
home. That way we know he'll get there." And they told my roommate that he'd
better get right back up there and give every penny of the money back. The
Society had decided how he was going home, and we had taken up a collection; and
evening that nobody's perfect. No person is perfect, that was unscriptural.
Well, they took the poor kid down to the bus. He was practically in a diabetic
coma; they had to put him in the bus because he couldn't figure out which one to
get on. We didn't hear from him for almost a year. They picked him up in a drunk
tank somewhere down in Iowa, and some police officer recognized that he was sick
and put him in a hospital. He had been living on skid row for six months. His
one living relative was worried sick about him, nobody knew where he was.
Finally he recovered enough to write his friends that he was ok. Is that caring?
And that was before the sister lumped off the ship. But it's the same story. Do
they ever learn?
Elder J: There were several who came from Thailand, because I was in Thailand.
There were several other sisters from Thailand in her Gilead class. Because of
her condition they kept her for a number of months longer so she could rest and
recuperate. I know Brother Franz was personally involved trying to help her.
Bette: But since she requested an airline ticket home, why didn't they do that?
Or if they had to send her by boat, why didn't they send someone with her since
she asked them to?
Elder J: I don't want to comment since I don't know all the circumstances, but I
do know that it did happen because I was on the receiving end in Thailand at the
Bette: And then there was another case at a district assembly where babies were
getting heat stroke and dying, and there were two doctors who were Witnesses
working in first aid, and they went to chairman's office and asked them to
please make a public announcement to the effect, "Mothers, don't leave your
babies in the sun, don't let them sleep, don't leave them there. They could get
seriously overheated and die." And they were told that the assembly program was
too precious to be used for personal announcements.
Dale: I don't necessarily see these people as uncaring or unloving. I see a
system that says that the message, the work, is more important than people.
Bette: And refuses to take responsibility, because everything is under God's
Dale: Real Christianity is people-oriented, it's just loving people. And when an
organization's dictates, or requirements, or agendas get in the way of people
loving people and taking care of people, then something is off track. Now I
realize this doesn't happen all the time, it doesn't happen everywhere, it
doesn't happen to every person. But there is enough of it to cause me to wonder
if this is really the exclusive organization of God, the only one God uses...
Elder D: But we've already acknowledged earlier in the evening that nobody's
perfect, no person is perfect, no individual, not any organization. And then
you've picked a few situations out of a hat…
Dale: Of course, the same thing can happen in any organization.
Bette: But, if any organization claims to be God's exclusive channel in the
world, then they're taking on a lot of responsibility.
Elder D: But when is somebody responsible for any thing? My comment is that you
are responsible for something or it becomes a sin to you if you are aware of it.
Some people are hurt by this. Some people are not. Some people experience one
thing in life, and say, "well, I believe this is a necessary thing." Most people
don't need to see the track record of anything to believe. And quite frankly,
watching the Society move for several decades. I've noticed that they've made
changes conservatively, although not always quickly. But they've made changes
conservatively as they see in God's Word because a lot weight on them. It's a
faith they can stand on. Or if they get too liberal, people will take it and run
with it, I've found that to be...
Dale: Then you haven't really made Christians out of them. If you have to say,
"you can't give them an inch because they'll take a mile," you're saying these
people are really not well intentioned and you can't trust them to be good.
Bette: It also means it's a legalistic system based on human rules, and it's not
going to work right, because it's the Holy Spirit that produces the fruit-ages
within the Christian, not the organization.
Elder D: People are still by nature followers. Because, by and large, of the
majority, very few would have the inclination or the desire or expertise to be a
leader, quite frankly. That's partly just due to human nature.
Dale: Well, the problem, of course, is that the wrong people often have the
desire to lead. It's true, I've seen that happen. I used to tell people "I don't
know why in the world anybody would want to be an elder." It's a lot of work. A
lot of work in helping people. I remember spending hours and hours, and getting
called out in the middle of the night back in 1976 to pull somebody's wife out
of a bar or somebody's husband out of somebody else's bedroom. That was back
during what we came to call the "class of '75". I was so busy during that time
that I didn't have time to think. But it made me start thinking afterward. But
when you see so much piling up, you have to start asking questions. Here's
another thing I began to see. Elders are supposed to be "appointed by holy
spirit." How many times have you sat in an elder's meeting and they were going
through the list, and somebody's name comes up and they want to make an elder
out of him. I re member numerous cases. And I would say, "now wait a minute,
look at his family. He does not have a loving relationship with his wife." Now
between two dedicated Christians that's the first place love shows up, isn't it,
within the family, the closest relationship we have? If he hasn't got it in his
family life, you'd better look very carefully. Yet how many times I'd hear,
"Hey, look, he's putting in 20 hours per month." I don't care about his hours.
Elder J: That's where the holy spirit comes in...
Dale: But he got appointed.
Elder J: Well, if you ignore those requirements set forth by the holy spirit...
Dale: But then when it goes up to New York, to the governing body, and the five
men on the service committee pray about h, does holy spirit tip them off?
They're the ones who make the appointment and that's who the holy spirit comes
through, it doesn't come through the elders, they just make a recommendation.
Bette: What about that communist spy who became a District Overseer in East
Elder J: Paul counseled Timothy not to "lay his hands hastily on another man
Dale: Absolutely right, and yet they do it all the time. How about the case we
heard about from the Circuit Overseer here in California. A Circuit Overseer
visiting a congregation got a sister pregnant. She went and confessed to the
elders, naming the Circuit Overseer. They went to him and he said, "No, that
wasn't me." He lied about it, but they disfellowshipped her mostly for "lying"
Elder D: With how many witnesses?
Dale: None, except her. But they did it anyway. But here's the hooker...
Elder D: Well, we can't help that...
Dale: Right, of course. I know you can't help that. But that's not my point.
Here's what happened. They disfellowshipped her and not having the required
witnesses, he went on his merry way. She did her time in the back of the hall
with the bag over her head, the standard procedure, and eventually got
reinstated. The Circuit Overseer continued to serve and was eventually appointed
as a District Overseer. Fifteen years later he came back to the same area, and
here was this sister, reinstated, and on the stage at the Circuit Assembly with
her 15 year old son who is the spitting' image of the District Overseer. And it
got to him and he admitted his sin, and he resigned or was removed, or whatever.
So my brother-in-law said, "Well, you see, God's spirit took care of the
problem." Fifteen years later! Well, ok, but how can you explain to me how Holy
spirit can appoint a man like that to a higher position, living in sin? My
brother-in-law said, "Well maybe he was doing more good than harm." Well, come
on, you can't fool the Holy spirit, but Jehovah's Witnesses do a pretty good job
of it. I know of a case where an elder left his wife ran off with a sister and
was disfellowshipped. They both moved clear across the country. Someone knocked
on his door, and he said, "Oh sure, I want to study the Bible." He studied, got
baptized. He became a ministerial servant, then he became an elder. Finally the
Circuit Overseer from his old area happened to get transferred up there and
walked in and recognized him, years later. Now, where was the holy spirit?
You've got to ask these questions.
Elder D: Back in the time of the Apostles, Annanias and Saphira played false to
the Holy spirit...
Dale: How long did it take them? How long did it take them?
Elder D: Well, it would be nice if we had the opportunity to take the life force
out of them for doing that sort of thing, but, quite frankly, we don't have that
power, and nobody does today.
Bette: Then why assume the same authority that the Apostles had? No human
organization today can safely do that.
Elder D: Timothy made appointments and he was not an apostle.
Bette: But they had apostles with those groups then, but for an organization to
make the sort of claims that they do...
Elder D: . . . they worked as a support group for those in the community in the
Dale: But it's the authoritarian control, though it doesn't appear in the New
Testament, it doesn't appear in the early church of the first couple of
centuries, and it isn't until the later part of the second and early third that
you start running into this sort of thing, it's the iron-clad control over
peoples minds that causes them to stop thinking.
Elder V: Well, it may very well be as you said, but if that's the way it seemed
to me, I'd want out. I would not want to be associated- I don't care how many
kids of mine. How many relatives- with an attitude like you two have. Go on, get
Bette: I have in fact had to say good-bye to my mother and brother, and I'm
willing to do that because my integrity to Jehovah is more important. But at the
same time, reading the Bible, I feel that the way Jehovah's Witnesses handle
shunning is unscriptural, and I'm not about to cooperate in an unscriptural
application which keeps me from carrying out my scriptural obligations.
Elder D: I'm aware of your views - some religious organizations do exercise mind
control. Nonetheless it was our earnest intention to see if there wasn't some
point we could find some positive thing. I've done some work or researching your
letter. It's not completed, but some day I would like to share it with you.
Bette: That's what I would like to see.
Elder D: But, quite frankly, that doesn't stop our... quite frankly, one of the
things that I used to say to people is that when people are positive about the
way they feel, and you can call it control of information, thought control...
Bette: Mind control.
Elder D: Yes, I've studied mind control too, I went to some higher education,
but I had some opportunity to see how it works, the deprogramming and so forth1
so I'm familiar with how it works, and your correlation to the Watchtower
Society and the way it deals with people, even though some of the essential
ingredients are similar, in no way are they the same. What draws us together,
there's a bond of love based upon our mutual affection for our father in heaven.
Quite frankly, I would have a hard time believing that the first century
Christians were not operating similarly [to JW's] despite what you've been
saying. Quite frankly, they were well defined, there was usually one in every
Dale: They were autonomous.
Elder D: No, they were not.
Dale: You need to read some history.
Elder D: When one was disfellowshipped by one congregation, they were also
viewed in the same position somewhere else, and that's not autonomous.
Dale: There's only one place in the Scriptures that talk about it...
Elder J: One congregation sends a letter and it is distributed.. ..[He is
talking about the Corinthian Letters being circulated]
Dale: Well, after the fact, it was only 2 months later.
Elder D: How many examples do you need?
Dale: Well, it was the congregation's responsibility to do it.
Elder D: Jehovah's Witnesses congregations are somewhat autonomous...
Dale: Oh, no no no no no
Elder D: Well, that's your view -- that's your view. You must realize that the
time must come....
Dale: Well, upon what scriptural basis would you base that on?
Elder D: You know exactly.
Dale: No, you tell me, what scripture, I want to hear it from you!
Elder D: You understand.
Dale: Have I slandered? Have I committed adultery? Have I bowed down to an idol?
That's 1st Corinthians. Do you have a basis there?
Elder D: The charges brought against you are for apostasy
Dale: And that's being an anti-Christ, right? Have I denied that Jesus came in
Bette: Or that he is the Son of God?
Dale: Or that he died for our sins?
Elder D: No.
Dale: That's right, I haven't. You haven't proven me Scripturally wrong on the
questions I've raised. You've just disagreed with what I've said. I may be wrong
on some doctrinal point, but I know where I stand with Jesus Christ.
Elder D: The long and the short of it will be, quite frankly, not whatever
action this group takes, but what happens in the long run as far as all of our
everlasting future is concerned.
Dale: I'm very sure of that.
Elder D: And you need to be, quite frankly, you need to be... .there will be
quite a number of Jehovah's Witnesses, quite frankly, who will not survive...
Dale: What are you going to do when those people who were living in 1914 are
dead and gone? There's not many left.
Elder J: Well, I guess we'll know pretty soon who is right.
The meeting ended shortly thereafter, with the usual promise, "We will get back
to you with our decision. It is not hard to imagine what that will be. For the
record, I will say that these men conducted themselves amicably throughout the
discussion, and at the end, thanked us for being pleasant. That is not normally
the case where "apostasy" is concerned. In fact, lam surprised that they even
allowed themselves to hear some of the points we presented. However, they seemed
deathly afraid to tackle the challenge that chronology presents to their entire
belief system. I think that on some deeper level, they must know, or at least
suspect the truth. It is a difficult matter for one to face, and they have been
well trained in denial.
For those of you reading this who have never been Witnesses, you might wonder
why not just resign and avoid all of this? It has to do with the Witness
practice of shunning. What started out as a way to express congregational
disapproval of immorality, has degenerated into a "political weapon" to quell
dissent, or questions of Biblical interpretation. They are deathly afraid of any
information that might upset the "lock-step" unity of thought and action"
mind-set of the Witness ranks. When one is disfellowshipped, or officially
"disassociates" himself, he is treated as an anti-Christ in accordance with 2
John 10,11. While we can endure the loss of our many Witness friends, these can
be replaced, being cut off by one's immediate family members can be tragic --
not only for us, but also for children, parents, grandparents, and
grandchildren. For these are forced to deny their natural feelings and bend to
the will of the organization, believing that "God wants them to." When one
considers that many families around the world who have been touched by this
practice, the broken marriages, the dismembered families, the psychological
trauma which in many cases had lead to suicide, one can begin to appreciate the
truly evil nature of this phenomena. And all because one has chosen to follow
the dictates of his conscience.
Although the early Christians did, on occasion, discipline members of the
congregation who were grossly immoral, there is no evidence that they used the
practice to control and hold onto their members. Jesus said that his followers
would be the ones cast out, not the ones doing the casting out. It is our hope
that one day soon a way will be found to stop this unchristian practice.
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