Dear brethren from the Bucuresti congregation,
This letter, with the exactly same content, I sent you three months ago. But you didn’t answer me. Now, I’ll try again.
My name is Ioan Bota, I live in the Mures area, the city of Reghin…
I have decided to write to you because I have become (internally) a battle field of many serious contradictions regarding some ideas of our belief system, the Jehovah Witnesses.
I beg you to help me, please answer me!
- My first concern is regarding a matter of vital importance to any Christian: the honor of our Savior and Captain of our faith, Jesus Christ. My understanding is that the first Christians, the apostles, and the other disciples from the 1st Century, were much more loving and much more respectful toward Him. They had Him more often on their lips and he was the focus of their good news. – 1 Cor. 1:23, 24; 2:2. That’s why they were called Christians.
But they were honoring Him in still another way: They were calling him Lord and our Lord. A very careful reading of the New Testament would lead to this conviction.
Out of my own personal studies, I arrived at some astonishing facts: that His honor as the Lord started already in the Old Testament, with David – Ps. 110:1 (Matt. 22:41-45). He was David’s Lord!
Also, to Elizabeth, He was her Lord, before He was even born! – Luke 1:43.
It is the same manner that the angels announced His birth to the shepherds – Luke 2:11. And I repeat myself here: it is the same way that the first Christians were referring to Him. A few proofs: John 4:1; 20:28; Acts 2:36; 3:15; 1 Cor. 8:6; Phil. 3:7,8; Eph. 4:5,6; 1 Pet. 3:15; Rev. 22:20,21. The language the first Christians used when they referred to Him was full of reverence. This reverence is obvious from their expressions and in addition, the Lord Himself teaches us that we ought to honor Him very, very much! John 5:23. However, I observe with sorrow, that honoring Him is actually a big problem for us. We are lacking in this matter. And this is very easy to see not only in the materials that we are publishing, but also in our programs for our congregations and Assemblies. In all of our literature, He is not being addressed as Lord but as follows: The Man Jesus Christ, Jesus (a lot of times), Christ, Example and Master (the same way a Hindu Guru would be addressed), Instrument, etc… It is sad that although David, Elizabeth, the angels, and the first Christians were calling Him Lord, we don’t!
In the literature we are publishing, it is repeated many times that He is King. But, from this position, as of now, he is not influencing the situation on the Earth. Still, in these writings we can’t find either much talk regarding His roles that he performs since the day of the Pentecost (Matt. 28:18-20), which are Lord, Redeemer, Mediator, Great Priest, Wonderful Shepherd, The Door, Master, The Prince of Life, etc, … Almost everything is mentioned only in relation with the Sovereign Lord, Jehovah. We are being preached a Jesus much less important than the one in Matt. 28:18; Phil. 3:21; Heb. 1:3; much less involved, much less honored, and even much less loved! Even worse: in some articles and studies from the Towers, He is not even mentioned! He does not appear either in the autobiographical reports of our missionaries! In addition, and unfortunately, even our hymns are reflecting this unbalance: out of 135 hymns, only one, which is Hymn # 30, calls Him Lord! This is by far, not enough!
Due to these severe official omissions in our publications, our brothers and sisters are not calling the Only Son, Lord: this is not happening either in prayers, discourses, programs, conversations, etc… They (our brothers and sisters) are imitating the language found in our publications instead of emulating the language of the first Christians, which was to call him Lord, Master, Shepherd, etc… Rom. 15:4. The argument that we are not calling Him Lord because other Christians are not calling Him such, is inconsistent since the first Christians were calling Him frequently Lord.
- Reading the WTs-CD, I discovered that the “Awake” issues from 1991, the months of February-June, are missing. Which is the reason of this gap in the spiritual nourishment? They existed during that time, right after the fall of the dictatorship. Is there something tainted that it is being hidden from us?
- Another issue: our explanations teach that Jesus’ brothers from Matthew 25 are only the 144,000. But in Matthew 12:50, Hebrew 2:11,12, we read that all Christians are His brothers, albeit less preeminent. What should I believe: the words of our Lord and the words of Apostle Paul, or the explanations of our Organization?
- The saints in the Bible often prayed on their knees. A few proofs: In Ps. 95:6, we are commanded this. 2 Chronicles 6:13; Ezra 9:5; Daniel 6:10; Acts 20:36; 21:5; Eph. 3:14; Phil. 2:10; Rev. 4:9,10. We see that there is a commandment but also clear examples that we cannot ignore. And something even more extraordinary: there are prophesies regarding this! Isaiah 45:23; Romans 14:11. But, there is also the innate law of the common sense and of humility that God put into men; before Him, we are falling to the ground!
During br. Russell’s time, kneeling in prayer was often practiced, but after his death this good Biblical habit disappeared. And we are not taught this any longer. I am a Jehovah’s Witness since 1968 and I knew the brethren for even longer than that, since my childhood, but I haven’t ever seen a Jehovah Witness kneeling in prayer! This proves that our sensibility got rough and we are no longer humble. I am aware of this and it hurts me. Am I wrong?
Which are the scriptural reasons for giving up this biblical, old, popular, and humble practice?
It has been practiced since before Adam, and in Revelation we see that those in heaven are throwing themselves down before the One sitting on the throne. Further, our Lord Jesus kneeled in prayer. Again, in this case the same like in the previous, we cannot bring the argument of looking at other Christian groups, since we should worship based on Biblical principles and not based on other cults’ practices.
- The advice of Ap. Paul from 1st Timothy 5:23, according to the New World Translation, cannot be obeyed: anyone following it would dehydrate and intoxicate himself. If Timothy would have applied it in the form given to us in the New World Translation, his stomach sufferings would have aggravated.
I had never learned a foreign language and I’ll confess (if needed) that the text might be so in the Manuscripts. But Ap. Paul never gave advice that was impossible to follow! If one or more scribes made a mistake, their writings did not deserve so much superstitious honor. It was again Paul who said that “the letter kills”. Also, due to translation we got the word “riches” instead of “mammon”. And in our case, wasn’t it possible to find a way to follow the logic of the text under translation? And now what is the result? An advice that nobody could follow without negatively affecting his body!
As about me, I am going to stand by the Cornilescu translation, GBV, and Galaction; I will do the same as you: I will drink some water too, when I am sick.
The translation regarding this paragraph should be revised soon; because of it I had to go through very unpleasant moments, not being able to defend it before our slanderers.
- Another problem with our translation: many old Romanian words especially of slavic origin are gone from it. For example, the words “prostitute” and “prostitution” are not being used any longer. They are replaced with adultery and fornication. And this fact incite our critics; “You falsified the Bible!”, they say! “You modified the Bible to satisfy you!” How can we answer them?
But the most critical aspect of this issue is another one: any well-educated person knows that these words are part of the “politically correct” language of the unbelievers, who fight hard to eliminate from the everyday vocabulary all the words with a “religious flavor”. Thus, the elimination of the words “prostitute” and “prostitution” is essentially an attempt to fit in with the “political globalization.”
The beast of Revelation wishes to shut up the religious language. She wants a political language instead. But we are a religious system, aren’t we? We are interested in the accurate Scriptural (Biblical) language – aren’t we? Then, what are we doing? Are we also striving to fit in with the political brainwashing? Aren’t we trying to fight on our front?!
The world “adultery” would never bear the same stigma as the world “prostitute” or “prostitution” does. These are words that burn, words that remind us of God’s judgment! “Adultery” reminds us of human judgment courts, and not of the Bible.
Further, the word “fornication” does not even exist in the DEX (Romanian Language Dictionary). And, when used, minimizes the powerful accusatory charge that the Bible directs toward sin!! But this is the effect of this word, an effect desired by the world. Do we desire the same thing?
The way these verses are being translated (and the same is the case with the verses from 1st Timothy, but there are also more) makes me feel very uneasy, and greatly disappoints me. I am shocked!
- What is the Scriptural foundation for the campaign to invite guests to the Memorial?
Our Lord Jesus, did not invite anyone else, except His disciples, although He and his disciples had baptized a lot of people (John 4:1), and although the upper room was quite big; after the Pentecost, we read that 120 people were gathered in that same room – Acts 1:15.
We understand from the restricted number present at the Supper Jesus shared with the disciples and also from 1 Cor. 11, and from many other Scriptural references, that the presence at the Supper Memorial is a special honor, sober, brotherly, intimate, at which the non-Christians were not invited, contrary to what we practice. Am I wrong?
- According to our teachings, only the 144.000, those receiving a heavenly reward, are being allowed to share of the Supper Memorial’s symbols, while the great company (Rev. 7:9) – those who are hoping for an earthly resurrection – should not have a share of these symbols.
However, I found no mention in the Bible of a direct relation between the final destination of the overcomers and their share in the symbols. I found only that Jesus left us the observance of this celebration with the end goal that we would be able to recognize the importance of His sacrifice on behalf of our salvation. And for one more reason: to keep His sacrifice and its importance in our actuality. It does not have a relation with the place of reward of those who are saved. Luke 22:19; 1 Cor. 11:26.
The explanations from our literature point to 1Cor. 11:27-29 as argument in the matter. But these verses are referring to something completely different! The context (verses 20-22 and 33,34) warns us not to mix up the common practice of brotherly meal sharing (agape) that they were practicing before the Memorial, with the Memorial itself.
The Conclusion: All the beneficiaries of the sacrifice at Golgotha have the right to partake of the symbols, the same as in the Old Testament – the entire nation had the right to partake of the lamb and the unleavened bread, even the Proselytes – not only the King, the priests, and the Levites. What then?
- Regarding the baptismal practice: Why do we baptize by using the Trinitarian formula? (See the book “Organized”, question #31; the book “Knowledge” pg. 176 – paragraph 12, and other literature).
The first Christians were baptizing in only one Name: the Name of Jesus Christ. Could you please show me in the New Testament a baptismal done by using the Trinitarian formula? Matt. 28:19 is not a proof: in the high position you occupy, it is not possible for you to not be aware of what the researchers of the old manuscripts have discovered, even from the beginning of the 20th Century; which is that the Father and The Spirit were not found in the original manuscripts, but these were additions done by the Trinitarians, and that this verse has been translated wrong by the apostates of that time. Our translators should have observed these discoveries which have become already history.
- Why aren’t we, the Jehovah Witnesses, proclaiming the High Calling, too? According to the Watch Tower from May 1st 2007, the section called “Questions from the Readers”, the understanding regarding the year 1935 got changed from being an end point to the Heavenly Calling; according to the new understanding, the High Calling is still open and still going on up to the time of the great tribulation.
I am convinced that I do not tell you anything new in the matter. Then why aren’t we also proclaiming the High Calling in our witnessing literature? Further, why aren’t we talking about it during our spiritual programs at the Meeting Halls, or in our magazines? This could be the basis of a great joy and hope, because it is not up to us to choose who is going to or who is not going to have a part of it. This could be a possibility even for a newly immersed member if this is the desire of Jehovah God and our Lord Jesus (see the thief at the crucification scene, who was not a disciple).
Jehovah God did not empower anybody to go and choose the ones going to heaven, but He reserved this privilege for Himself. Rom. 14:4; James 4:12.
- Why aren’t our sisters covering their heads during meetings and when they prophesy? Apostle Paul gives two reasons in defense of head covering: to acknowledge the authority of men and because of angels. Any contrary explanation does not stand up before the clarity of the Biblical text. The angels are a permanent spiritual presence. The explanations coming from the Society define witnessing and the pioneer work as prophesying and Paul commanded that women should not prophesy without covering their heads.
Those women pretending that the Bible is their guide, but in the same time being selective at obeying its teachings, deceive themselves, by believing themselves approved. The norms of the Bible are not negotiable and they do not depend on the cultural context.
- The Apostle Paul orders the women to be silent in meetings, and in order to enforce this command he notes in 1 Cor. 14:37 that this commandment is coming from the Lord. The reference to the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ is not made just in passing and it cannot be ignored.
Besides this, in the Bible we see an old law: in the old Jewish times, the women were not allowed to speak during assemblies and inside the Synagogues, that’s why Paul alludes to the law. Again, I don’t bring here anything new to anyone that is familiar with the Scriptures.
I am aware of the explanations that give this right, but the Apostle Paul is very categorical here: he does not leave room for exceptions and we cannot disregard his authority and especially disregard the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ.
But I see with great grief that our literature is purposefully bringing up arguments just to transform the interdiction into permission.
I searched for instances of Christian women speaking at assemblies during the 1st Century and I could not find any.
Conclusion: this regulation is well known and respected by others. Why can’t our sisters respect it? Moreover – some of them are disobeying it even worse, by the fact that they speak at the congregation with mini-discourses and even dare to use these opportunities to give advice to the elders!
I will stop here dear brethren. I look forward with great interest to receiving your reply!
I will continue to worship our Jehovah God rejoicing in His present blessings and being full of hope for the future ones, as a disciple of our Lord Jesus.
With great respect and brotherly love!
PS A note to my readers: Until the date that this letter was published on the Internet, I haven’t received any answer from Bucuresti, although I sent the letter to them twice already (in summer and then again in October). But even no answer is an answer…
Of course, what followed was me being disfellowshiped from the Jehovah’s Witnesses Organization on July 11, 2011.