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1Jo 4:18  There is no fear in love, but perfect love throws fear outside, because fear exercises a restraint.  Indeed, he that is under fear has not been made perfect in love. – NWT


Acts 17:10, 11: Immediately by night the brothers sent both Paul and Silas out to Be-roe’a, and these, upon arriving, went into the synagogue of the Jews.  Now the latter  were more noble-minded than those in Thes-sa-lo-ni’ca, for they received the word with the greatest eagerness of mind, carefully examining the Scriptures daily as to whether these things were so. – NWT

You are anonymous here.  You can speak to other Jehovah’s Witnesses, former Jehovah’s Witnesses, Bible Students and other Christians. When posting your comments, you will be able to use a Pen Name.  Your e-mail address and website info are completely optional. No one can identify you.  No one can report you.  You have a home and quiet place to pray and honestly investigate scriptures.  It is not our purpose to indoctrinate you, but merely to provide you with resources for further study of Jehovah’s word.  You are not alone.  You have friends.

Romans 14:4  Who are you to judge the house servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for Jehovah can make him stand. – NWT

2 Tim 1:7  (Amplified Bible) –  For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but He has given us a spirit of power and of love and of calm {and} well–balanced mind {and} discipline {and} self–control.

Gal 5:1 – Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.   NKJV

Gal 5:13 – For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.  NKJV

2Co 3:17 –  …where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.   NWT

John 8:31, 32 – And so Jesus went on to say to the Jews that had believed him: “If YOU remain in my word, YOU are really my disciples, and YOU will know the truth, and the truth will set YOU free.  NWT

If 1 John 4:8 says “God is love,” then shouldn’t love, not fear, be our motivation to serve Jehovah?  Are you serving Jehovah in a certain way because you are afraid/fearful of being destroyed in Armageddon?

Hebrews 13:6 (Amplified Bible) – So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper; I will not be seized with alarm [I will not fear or dread or be terrified]. What can man do to me?


408 comments to Welcome

  • Noel

    Hi Sis. Jacqueline. Thanks for introducing me to br. Peter, and him for introducing me to Sis. Regine. I attended their bible study today. Also, i’d like to thank br. Ray Charlton for inviting me to their online bible study. During the meeting this afternoon, one of the songs we sang mentioned that we worship Jesus. But aren’t Jesus teaching in Matt. 4:10 that it’s only Jehovah we should worship? I already texted Sis. Regine about it, because I forgot to ask during the meeting. But what is your input about it? Thanks

    • Jacqueline (Bible Student)

      Hi Noel, Hebrews 1:5,6
      5For to which of the angels did God ever say: “You are my Son; today I have become Your Father”? Or again: “I will be His Father, and He will be My Son” ? 6And again, when God brings His firstborn into the world, He says: “Let all God’s angels worship Him.”

      Philipians 2:10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

      A study of the Hebrew word shachah and the Greek word proskuneo reveals that both these words mean “to bow down.” The Hebrew word shachah (Strong’s number 7812) is used of bowing or prostrating oneself, often before a superior or before God. [1] In the King James Version, it is translated by a number of different English words, including: “worship” (99 times), “bow” (31 times), “bow down” (18 times), “obeisance” (9 times), and “reverence” (5 times).

      The examples of “worship” in the Bible confirms that in the biblical culture, people bowed down before those to whom they wanted to show respect or honor. Lot “worshipped” (shachah) the strangers who came to Sodom even though he had never seen them before. He prostrated himself before them to show them respect (Gen. 19:1). Moses “worshipped” (shachah) his father in law, whom he respected and honored (Ex. 18:7). Abigail “worshipped” (shachah) David. She honored him by prostrating herself before him. These three examples can be multiplied many times over, but they show that when someone wanted to honor another, he would fall down before him. The act of falling down is called “worship,” and reveals the heart of the worshipper—respect and honor towards the one being worshipped.

  • Hello Everyone, just wanted to introduce myself and say hello. 🙂 I am so happy to have found you all. It is so nice to have the real truth now about the Bible Students and the real truth about the truth. I am an x-jw who was trying to find answers for many years now. I feel a complete body relief to have found you all. Prayers helped guide me here now and following Jesus. I am located in the Asheville, NC area and moved here from Sarasota, FL. I am shunned by my family for leaving, so it is nice to find a new christian family here and see a true display of love. If you look my name up online you can find all my links and message me anytime. :)xx Sanura Moon

    • Jacqueline (Bible Student)

      Sanura welcome, we were glad to hear your voice on Wednesday and here learn more about your journey and it is just that. I know sometimes you walked, crawled and hitched a ride to get to Jesus Christ but you made it. You are free here to respond to comments and ask questions. It is a fearfree zone. We have 3 internet talk meetings this weekend. North America is Friday 8pm your time. Let me come nsck to put links or someone else might. I need to get to a larger computer after i get some coffee. Lol Welcome, you have already been a blessing to us your story resonates with our experiences.

      • Thank you so much Jacqueline! It is wonderful meeting you! It was surely an adventure to get to where I am today and finding true faith and also all of you. I am so overjoyed to have Jesus in my life now. As a JW it was not until I left that I found Jesus. I had no idea until now the love that truly fills your heart when you find him. It is something almost indescribable until you actually experience and feel it. Its something that when you get it, you never want to let go.

    • Ted R.

      Welcome Sanura I too am an ex JW. You have truly found friends here. I look forward to hearing more from you. I think I found your Facebook page and sent you a Friend request.

    • greg (Bible Student)

      Greetings dear sister Sanura!

      It is wonderful to hear that your search for truth has been rewarded. It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance. Welcome!

      I, too, experienced a complete sense of relief and peace through my entire body when I was finally led to the Bible student community. That sense of peace and joy has only grown richer and deeper since that time. I trust you will experience similar in the days, weeks, months and years to come.


      http://www.friendsofjehovahswitnesses.com/2017/11/09/testimony-meeting/ (added by Jacqueline)

      • Thank you very much! Yes, I am happy to read that you felt that too in finding the Bible Students! I can’t believe I had no idea all these years. But searching and prayer and following Jesus helped me surely find my way here. Now here I am, and I look forward to talking and meeting all of you. Blessings!

    • Richard Tazzyman

      Hello Sister,Greetings from Australia,Where quite a few ex JWs(My self included)Have found the Truth that sets us free.We have our Main Convention in Australia on the last weekend( from Thursday Eve to Sunday A/Noon).God bless.Bro RichBro Richardard.P.S Forgot to Say it was the last week in Jan 2018.

      • Hello! Wow, Australia! I have always wanted to go, maybe one day I will be able to! Its exciting to meet everyone and see we are all scattered around the globe but can still remain very connected. Then many of us have gone through the same life trials too and are also healing from the JW mindset. Every time I would ask a question as a JW, I was told that its just independent thinking and you are basically wrong to do such a thing. God gave me my brain and I do intend to use it to the best that I possibly can, that was and still is my answer to that lol. So I am happy to hear you all sharing your thoughts, feelings, questions, and supporting one another in the very best way that you can. I noticed this immediately among the Bible Students and also on this delightful helpful site. Now that is a real loving blessing. Nice to meet you!

    • Thank you to everyone who friended me on FB and for all the friendly messages!

      I noticed right away you all talk to one another saying Brother “first name”, Sister “first name”.

      What a delightful experience to see you all using the first name in place of the last name. As a JW we all said sister “last name only” or brother “last name only”.

      I always thought using the “last name” after saying brother or sister was impersonal.

      When we were in the Kingdom Hall (I say Church because it is a church which simply means a building used for Christian worship) we would use the term inside the Church and outside the Church brother and sister wasn’t used at all. Think about it, right when you walked out as a JW everyone started using their first names together again.
      Because outside any church or fellowship its not natural to talk to your friends by calling their last name out and not mentioning at all their first name.

      When we are with our friends we use their first name, so why not in the Church – aka Kingdom Hall.

      So I really like that about the Bible Students. It also helps us get to know each other better, makes so much more sense this way. Its always harder to remember someones last name because we are used to using first names to distinguish who we are really talking to and who we each truly are. Our last names are shared with our family, but our first name tells who we are as an individual.

      I am seeing Brethren used. Which is the plural form for Brother. The plural form for Sister which was lost many years ago is Sistren. In English its not used much, but more recently its starting to be used once again.

      I know these phrases are used to identify who is in a spiritual relationship and in fellowship. Meaning someone who shares the same faith in Christ, or fellow believer.

      I see Brethren used more today and I wanted to add, that phrase can make sisters feel that only brothers maybe being addressed to in a certain area. So it is helpful when the phrases of: Brothers & Sisters, or Brethren & Sistren are used.

      Adelphoi / Adelphos
      (Greek: spiritual siblings in the house of God)
      Adelphe – Sister

      *JW Bible: 1 Tim 3:15 / Church is replaced to be called Gods Household.
      They really make it seem as forbidden to say the word Church; which simply means a house of God. But my guess is since others use Church they have to be different since they are the only ones in the world with the true god by their side, as they preach. But I just remember my parents teaching as a JW child to “never say church and never enter one either”. So in my mind as a child I thought the word Church meant something evil or Satans house. Like if you were to enter one you were doomed.

      Anyway just some thoughts. 🙂

  • Richard

    Good evening brethren,
    I have been using the New American Standard Bible for years before finding the “truth”, and needless to say, no matter what version I use, the footnotes are those of Christendom… is there a particular version the Bible Students use? What about concordances, and commentaries? Need direction. Thanks

  • Hi, My name is Yumi

    I am studying the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses in Japan. I am a housewife with three little children. My parents and brothers are Buddhists so they don’t interested in the Bible.

    Many Japanese people think that most are Buddhists and that God does not exist.

    So I am very lonely. The kingdom hall is older.

    I have no friends of the same circumstances who are studying the Bible. The place I live in is the countryside.

    Japanese people have little interest in the Bible, so I have a hard time finding friends. I thought about seeking friends overseas.

    I am on Facebook.
    I am going In the kingdom hall, they don’t do Facebook. Can anyone communicate with me on facebook? Please send a request to Facebook. I want a friend who is studying a lot of Bible.

    • greg (Bible Student)

      Greetings Yumi.

      I really empathize with your situation. I also can sympathize with it because it sounds all so familiar. It sounds to me as though your very lonely, isolated, perhaps discouraged, longing for some connection with others who share your passion for the Bible. It sounds to me as though there’s a sense of frustration and sadness you cope with.

      I’m guessing that your three little ones keep you very busy, and very focused on what’s important to little people. While that can be very rewarding, I’m guessing that you’d also like to enjoy some moments of more stimulating and encouraging conversations with others who aren’t quite so young, but who can inspire you to grow.

      I sincerely hope you can find the meaningful connection you seem to be desperately wanting and needing. If you want to connect with other sincere Bible Students, you’ve definitely come to one of the best places to get it. If there are any pressing concerns or Bible questions you have, please feel free to express them here. Whatever it is that’s on your mind is welcome here.

      I don’t use Facebook myself. But I do try to connect with persons here on this site. It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance.


      • yumi

        Thank you for your reply,greg.
        I’m happy that I can talk with each other who are studying the Bible. Just because my English is not good enough, I may give you a misunderstanding.

        I was not baptized, so I thought that I could not make friends with my brothers and sisters who were baptized. So I thought I was lonely. But it is unavoidable. Still God will listen to my prayers and I will try to get better.

    • Jacqueline (Bible Student)

      yumi, hello and thank you for commenting. This is the link to our facebook page.
      You will find Jehovah witnesses and Bible students on that page and be able to talk to them.
      We are the original Bible students from where the Jehovah witnesses branched off. Some of the discussions on there will be according to what the bible actually say and not doctrines taught and believed by the witnesses. Our beliefs are similar so discussions can proceed smoothly. Jehovah witnesses have many doctrines that the governingbody has decided should be followed, so that is why you will see a slight difference here on this site as we don’t go beyond the bible.
      Interesting that majority of Japanese don’t believe in God the same as Christians. I never knew that.
      Tell me do Buddhist religion believe you live again? If so where?
      I will wait on your reply. Take Care, Jacqueline
      PS: I also had three sons and they are still all Jehovah’s witnesses

      • yumi

        Thanks for your reply,Jacqueline.
        I’m glad to read your reply. Thank you for letting me know the URL of Jehovah’s Witness friend’s recruitment. I often see the site.

        Japanese buddhism is a great trouble seed. In primitive Buddhism, Buddha teaches that there is no God.

        Before Buddhism was conveyed to Japan, there was a religion called Shinto in Japan. Shinto is polytheism. There are many gods.

        Based on that influence, a completely new Buddhism was born in Japan.

        In original Buddhism, the existence of a spirit was denied.But new Buddhism began to recognize the spirit immortality.And people came to worship idols. It is for the politics of the country.People do not know the origins of their religion,And people are at the mercy of religion.

        It is regrettable.

        This is a very difficult story, so I may be misleading because I am not good at English. I hope that you can convey to you well.

        You have three children, are not you? I am also. I am glad about the same thing

        • Jacqueline (Bible Student)

          Yumi, First let me assure you we can understand you perfectly. We have over 3,000 visitors from every nation on this site per month.
          I finally understand New Buddhism. It is always best to get an answer from a person that has been in a religion. Thanks for the short version. So coming from that background I could imagine it is difficult to talk about the bible at all with most of your friends. I was raised a witness and had a need to just study the Bible and not go beyond what it has written. That is why I associate with the Bible students. Religion is to me like a slavemaster. I prefer being a spiritual person, open to what others see in the scriptures and not condemning their thought if I don’t see it that way.
          Tell me what it is that interests you in scripture, and let’s open the bible and discuss. I do copy and paste of scripture from this link so you don’t have to write a scripture out or just refer to it and we can look it up. https://www.biblegateway.com/
          Just thinking about your background: I think this might be a great subject to discuss. http://www.friendsofjehovahswitnesses.com/2010/05/06/will-present-unbelievers-serve-and-worship-jehovah/
          Does this interest you since so many of your family and friends don’t believe or accept Christ as a saviour.
          If not look to the left and let me know which subject appeals to you.

          • yumi

            Dear Jacqueline

            A reply becomes slow, and I’m sorry.
            I take time to write an answer in English.

            You were right, and I had to argue from the Bible.
            Though there were many visitors in this site, I did an inappropriate comments.

            I should not have judged other religion.
            and I should not have looked for a new friend of Facebook.
            I am imperfect too, and I reflected.
            Please delete my comment if you can.
            next time, I would like to talk from the bible.

            Thank You very much for your advice.

            • Jacqueline (Bible Student)

              Yumi hello, I dont see an inappropriate comment. Has someone scared you and told you not to talk about the bible with anyone?
              We can take your comments down if you like. I encourage you to use the internet to check out any religious organization or corporation before joining it because you will lose your family.Christians are free to discuss the Bible with anyone.
              But, I will take your comments down so your conscience isn’t hurting. Take care of yourself and feel free to read articles on this site and comment.
              Your English is okay and it was a pleasure talking to you. Thanks for info on Buddhism. In Christian Love Jacqueline.

    • Lee Anthony

      Hello Yumi and welcome,
      I went through a time where I was quite lonely and unsure and found alot of help from friends on this page, this is and excellent place to reach out and talk to others and discuss the bible. I pray that you will find friends close by. I too live in an area where it is country and there are not many near me to relate to personally on spiritual things, even my wife is not really on the same page but is coming around to some things. Prayer helps, ask anything according to his will and it will be given us, (1 John 5:14-15) I am confident that it is never the will of Jehovah or Jesus that we are ever alone.
      Take care, Lee Anthony

      • yumi

        Dear Lee

        Your comments” I am confident that it is never the will of Jehovah or Jesus that we are ever alone”
        I think that is exactly right about that too.

        My husband don’t know the bible. but just like your wife, he is coming around to some things.

        I am praying for both to approach the Jehova.

        I thank that there is a place to talk freely like this.
        I thank your advices.

    • yumi, I do facebook and would love to be your friend my name is forrest( butch) jones I live in ohio in usa friend me if you wish

  • Jacqueline (Bible Student)

    Greg and Lincoln, Now you will see all of your replies to each hopefully. So sorry not monitoring for a number of hours. Links and key words will sometimes mark the comment to be looked at. We should be on track now. Take Care.

  • Lincoln

    I try “to get to the bottom of this”?

    August 18, 2016 at 1:10 pm · Reply (I just left this reply)

    Dear Friends,
    I have a reply/question? Here on this site, does it mean anybody (like me) can discuss, tell or question “things”, religion, beliefs and stuff? Let me speak clear out:

    I did register on Jehovas-Witnesses.com (my name is Lincoln) and after one day with a new “subject” (it was on the Holy Spirit), all of a suddent my “writings” and “things” were remooved and my “asccount” disabled.

    So, I do not understand and my thoughts was: is this “former JW treating a “member” like this and ” is this USA”?

    Now, I do not want to write things you are not allowed to write, but think about it; a site for “former member of JW, and you cannot write about their beliefs”?

    I do not know wehat I did wrong, but I do not want to repeat “what ever” once more, so therefore I ask:

    “On this site, can you write things”?

    • greg (Bible Student)

      Greetings and welcome Lincoln.

      The answer to your question is Yes. You can ask questions here. You can discuss ideas, concerns, understandings, and even opinions here.

      I’m curious about something: How is it that your search for truth brings you here?


      • Lincoln

        Dear Greg, Thank you.

        No, this is not “my search for the truth; that brings me here”.

        It was more an interest in “what Jehovah Witnesses are doing right now” since I cannot understand (I have family JW) why they keep on with their doctrines.

        From the beginning they have cursed everyone but themselves and after becoming a Christian myself I just think, what is going on.

        I found the “truth” in Jesus.

        But, thank you for your welcome.


        • Jacqueline (Bible Student)

          Lincoln hello and welcome. You mentioned you wanted to know what the witnesses are doing. There are some closed and open facebook pages that post every elders letter and myriads of every minute thing going on in the witnesses. This site doesn’t really post that much. I do from time to time if I feel it will help readers on here to know about it. We are the Bible students association we hold very few common beliefs with the witnesses now as they change every five- ten or even yearly and monthly their beliefs. Also we present the Biblical view as we see it and don’;t have a lot of extra rule books such as the “Shepherd the Flock Book” used by the witnesses. If you ask entrance to these groups they will approve you. Just do a search on Jehovah witness groups on facebook, there are hundreds if not thousands of them. http://www.sixscreensofthewatchtower.com has a lot of info and http://www.jwfacts.com and http://www.jwstruggle.com print and deal with what the witnesses are doing now. We deal with the doctrinal differences. Thanks for commenting. Jacqueline

          • Lincoln

            Dear Jacqueline,

            Thank you very much. Ok, about JW, I thought so. This is one very peculiar thing.

            When I became born again Christian, I became a Jesus believer and follower. He said to me:

            Hebrews 13:8 Christ’s Unchanging Nature.

            …7Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.

            8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

            9Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace and not by ceremonial foods, which are of no value to those devoted to them.…
            quote end.

            So, looking forward to have interesting spiritual conversations with you people here.

            “Him” I shall praise always. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UuuZMg6NVeA

            Love from here.

    • Jacqueline (Bible Student)

      Lincoln I am truely sorry. I failed to turn on the volume on my phone which would have alerted me to a need for moderation of a comment. Please excuse and forgive me. I was driving a car for last 24 hours but normally pull over or I should have told Br. Peter this was a travel day for me. I dropped the ball on this.

  • Jacqueline (Bible student)

    Wow, this is interesting. I will read all of it when I stop for the night. I am still on the road in the RV. Only 2 cities left then back in.
    I am like you I have to bite my tongue, think pray so I don’t blame individual witnesses for their behaviour. It is the system headed by the governing body and it corporation.

    • Lincoln

      Dear Jacqueline

      I am new here and please bear over with me (I also is not American and this is not my first language), but I also like to know “what you have to say”. So, please write back.

      • Jacqueline (Bible Student)

        Lincoln, I have a friend that is from your country and he always say to me slow down Jacqueline English is not my first language. I am going to email or call him on skype and tell him to come talk to you. I am sure you speak the same language. His name is Kent. He is 7 hours ahead of me but I know he works nights so I am going to call him right now and tell im to come on. be right back.

        PS:Lincoln, BTW when the comment is very long it will kick it into moderation. I am trying to go over the comments and release them now with the replys.
        If you can link out to material rather than quotes it can be helpful also. But hey sometimes you got to say what you have to say and there is no link.
        I will go release your comments and collapse repeats. I was on the road for most of the last 24 hours and not able to monitor the site. So that is me not doing my job not you. The site will think a long comment with links need to be looked at. I will also alert the webmaster. Take Care catching up.

        • Lincoln

          OK, Kent can talk to me. If he write here I will answer him. He can use is own langue.


          • Jacqueline (Bible Student)

            LINCOLN, I just spoke to Kent it is 3PM in Sweden and 9 am here. He is interested in coming on the conversation and another brother. He will join in when he gets off work. They are opening the work up over there and he is duplicating this website. He has had 2 conventions in his home with brothers visiting from England, Romania etc. He is an exJW also. I will only have a phone or tablet for a few hours as they are upgrading my internet today putting fiber optic cables, so I don’t answer long on those little devises. lol So today is a new day and I will go over all your conversations and so will Kent and he will reply. Take Care my brother. I will make some coffee and review yesterday.

  • greg (Bible Student)


    I am eager to read what you write. Your topic intrigues me greatly. In contemplating that particular subject, I’m reminded of the book: The Grand Inquisitor’s Manual – A History of Terror in the Name of God, by Jonathan Kirsch. What he wrote about the Inquisition aptly describes my experience with JW zealots.

    As a tiny taste of it, Page 8 reads: Since the inquisitors were utterly convinced that they were doing God’s work, they collected and preserved the smoking-gun evidence of their own brutality and greed with unmistakable pride as well as an obsessive attention to detail. The whole point of the Inquisition was to achieve a critical mass of terror by making examples of the men and women who dared to think for themselves, and thereby frightening the rest of the populace into abject compliance. Interrogation, torture, and trial were conducted in strict secrecy, and the inquisitors emerged into daylight only to sentence and punish the victims at the great public spectacle known as an auto-da-fé.

    Page 11: Here we find what is arguably the single most dangerous idea that the medieval Inquisition bequeathed to the modern world. “Heretics were not only burned,” writes historian Norman Cohn, “they were defamed as well.” And these two acts were intimately linked. As the inquisitors grasped, and as history has repeatedly proved, it is far easier for one human being to torture and kill another if he has convinced himself that the victim is not really human at all.

    Page 12: The Inquisition understood the danger that its victims might be seen by their friends, neighbors, and relations as pitiable rather than hateful. So the inquisitors sought to convey the impression that they were engaged in a life-and-death struggle against “a monstrous, anti-human conspiracy” under the control of “a devoted underground elite,” and that the Inquisition itself had been “called into existence to meet a national emergency,”…

    Page 14: … the will of the victim to resist had to be utterly crushed, his or her sense of self eradicated, and the authority of the interrogator acknowledged as absolute. The best evidence that an accused man or woman has been utterly defeated, then as now, is the willingness to betray a loved one or a trusting friend.

    Page 22: To understand the Inquisition at all, it must be seen as a panicky and ultimately futile effort to establish a monopoly in religion rather than as an effort to preserve one that already existed.

    Page 43: Bernard was willing to entertain the subversive notion that words written on parchment were not the only or even the best resource for achieving spiritual enlightenment. “You will find something much greater in the woods than in books,” he wrote. “The woods and stones will teach you what you cannot learn from other masters.”

    Page 64: By a certain Orwellian logic, the Inquisition always fancied itself to be the spiritual benefactor of the men and women whom it arrested, tortured, and killed. Pope Innocent III encouraged the inquisitors to regard the persecution of heresy as strong medicine intended to restore the spiritual health of the heretics even if it meant afflicting their bodies or even ending their mortal lives. Pope Gregory IX, too, saw the Inquisition as “an integral part of pastoral care.” Thus did the inquisitors come to justify the prosecution of accused heretics as “an act of love” and “profound Christian charity” toward errant Christians who had put their souls at risk by straying from the benign embrace of the Mother Church.

    Page 65: All of them had taken vows of obedience when they joined their orders, and a papal bull of 1260 formally redirected their loyalty from their own Dominican and Franciscan superiors to the pope himself.

    (Personal Comment: Doesn’t THAT sound familiar?)

    Page 67 reads: The real work of the Inquisition, of course, was always conducted by those humble friars who wore the hooded mantle of the mendicant orders rather than a cardinal’s red hat. And the greatest number of them were probably not sadists or homicidal maniacs; rather, they have been described by Malcolm Lambert as nothing more offensive than “zealous, hard-working bureaucrats” who, not unlike the clerks who devised the railroad schedules for Auschwitz, showed up every day and simply did their jobs. No matter where they stood in the hierarchy, all the inquisitors prided themselves on their hard work in ridding Christendom of “heretical filth.”

    Page 73: [The inquisitors] also perfected and used various weapons of what we would call psychological warfare to reduce their victims to a state of isolation, anxiety, and vulnerability.

    Page 91: For this reason the Inquisition has been called “the first international law-keeping force,” a phrase that sums up its vast reach even as it obscures the fact that the Inquisition enforced only the law that criminalized an act of conscience.

    Page 92: The inquisitor’s handbooks, as we have noted, prescribe the precise formula to be used by one inquisitor in addressing a request to another inquisitor for the return of a person who has managed to escape from an inquisitorial prison, and the escapee is described as “one insanely led to reject the salutary medicine offered for his cure, and to spurn the wine and oil which were soothing his wounds.” Thus we are reminded that the Church insisted on presenting itself not as a persecutor and a punisher but as “a loving mother unwillingly inflicting wholesome chastisement on her unruly children.”

    Page 115: Next in severity after pilgrimage was the obligation of a convicted heretic to wear “the cross of infamy”—a yellow cross sewn to one’s outer clothing as an unmistakable sign that the wearer had been convicted of the crime of heresy. Sometimes the cross was affixed to the breast only and sometimes to both the front and back of the garment, sometimes for a designated number of years and sometimes for the rest of the penitent’s life. Once the wearing of crosses had been decreed by the inquisitor, however, they were to be worn at all times, both at home and on the street, as an indelible mark of one’s status as a former heretic. So the wearing of crosses reduced the victim to a pariah, just as it was intended to do, and exposed him or her to abuse, isolation, and ridicule.

    Page 116: While the wearing of crosses was regarded as among the lesser afflictions imposed on the victims of the Inquisition, the sentence amounted to a social and financial catastrophe. A man or woman compelled to wear the heretic’s crosses would find it hard to secure work or lodging. Even if the family were not reduced to homelessness and hunger, the sons and daughters of convicted heretics made poor prospects for marriage. The whole family might be ostracized by friends and relations who were fearful of being seen to associate with convicted heretics and then finding themselves accused of the same crime. Indeed, the terrible isolation that resulted from the wearing of crosses was the whole point of the penance.

    Page 138: Then, too, the inquisitors sought to enforce the theological monopoly of the Church as a matter of realpolitik, and the Inquisition objected to the Beguines and the Beghards less because they were dangerous heretics than because they submitted themselves to “no Rule and no authority from the Holy See.”

    Page 189: “We must remember that the main purpose of the trial and execution,” wrote one Spanish inquisitor in 1578 in a commentary on Eymerich’s classic manual, “is not to save the soul of the accused but to achieve the public good and put fear into others.”

    Page 201: The sight of men, women, and children being slowly burned to death was apparently a crowd-pleaser, and “the shrieks of dying heretics sounded as sweet music in the ears of blameless adherents of the Church,” according to Cecil Roth’s bitterly sarcastic description of the scene.

    Page 201 continues: Not every spectator was quite so cool about the carnage. A private letter written by one of the queen’s attendants, the Marquise de Villars, betrays a degree of compassion that apparently escaped the others: “The cruelties which were witnessed at the death of these poor wretches it is impossible for me to describe.” Yet the writer also confirms the principle of terror that the Inquisition applied not only to its victims but to the populace at large. “It was necessary to put in an appearance from beginning to end, unless one had a medical certificate, for otherwise one would have been considered a heretic,” she reports. “Indeed, people thought very ill of me that I did not seem to enjoy everything that was happening.”

    Page 215: Both the Inquisition and the Nazi regime were fearful of any idea or practice that fell outside the narrow circle of dogma; thus, for example, both turned their attention to Freemasons, homosexuals, and Jews, among other victims. Both were obsessed with their self-appointed mission of imposing a rigid authoritarian order on an unruly world, always putting “the C’s with the C’s.” Tragically, the similarities do not stop there.

    Page 218: Indeed, the violence that Nazi Germany did to language was always intimately linked to the violence it did to its victims.

    Page 238: What Hitler and Stalin had in common was the same aspiration that animated the first inquisitors—the simple but deadly notion that it was both possible and desirable to rid the world of anyone whom the regime deemed to be unworthy of life. Significantly, Hitler, Stalin, and Pope Innocent III all used the word filth to apply to a different set of victims, but each saw himself as the ordained agent of purification, each arrogated to himself the absolute power to decide who lived and died, and each was convinced of both the rightness and the inevitability of his role in history.

    I have a Personal Comment here: “JUDGE Rutherford” with his rigid authoritarian upbringing, and his evidenced subscription to attitudes of rigidity, crime, punishment, power, control, domination, and (demands for perverted forms of) obedience –all of which seem to have been highly valued by his supporters, and which, like the inquisition, seem to have been mistaken for piety and Godliness– seems (to me, at least) to have continued the zealous work of the inquisition under pretty much the same justification and methods. Ask any JW today this question: “What would make life wonderful?” and the reply will most often be “Kill billions of people.” History well attests to just how deadly are such attitudes.

    As much as I hate the inquisitorial acts that have been perpetrated upon me over the years as a JW, I pray that I myself NEVER fall into the deadly trap of adopting inquisitorial attitudes, expressions, or actions. I wish never to become the same as the monster that I condemn.

    I could have included so many more snippets and excerpts, yet I believe this closing comment from Page 247 of the book rather captures the essence of the issue quite completely: “And here we confront the deadly and inevitable peril of the inquisitorial impulse: sometimes we do not know the difference between an authentic threat and an imaginary one until it is too late.”

    I eagerly await the fruits of your research and efforts.

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