Monday, November 5, 2012
Are you scared of "Crisis of Conscience?"
When recommending Ray Franz's books to Jehovah's
Witnesses, I am most often met with appalling disgust and sentiments like "he has no proof for anything and demonizes Jehovah's organization. No way will I read his books! You hate Jehovah's Witnesses!" I actually, I'm ashamed to admit, used to share these wacky ideas because I was heavily indoctrinated with persuasive and bias Watchtower literature, which somehow causes JW's who heed it to be terrified that any criticisms of the Watchtower are apt to not only be wrong but downright dangerous because they could shipwreck your faith entirely, causing you to lose Jehovah's favor. Yes, a good sign you're in a cult is when the leadership inspires great fear when it comes to examining the opinions of those who question the leadership's claims. When Jehovah's Witnesses respond the way I just noted, I will typically respond this way:
Imagine for a moment that as a Jehovah's Witness you're witnessing to a Mormon. You recommend a book to that Mormon that exposes the truth about Mormonism and all the deceptions in it. However, the Mormon has been told by his leaders not to read any literature that doesn't come from them. That anyone who tells him that Joseph Smith or Mormonism are in any capacity wrong or to be questioned conscientiously is mentally diseased, possibly even demonized. That such persons are only trying to demonize Joseph Smith and Mormonism and shipwreck his faith and relationship with his creator. To avoid those persons with any dissenting information about Mr. Smith or Mormonism like the plague, as if they could destroy him, since that is obviously their goal. And as you, the sincere Jehovah's Witness, also try to hand this Mormon a Watchtower with an article about Mormonism's and Joseph Smith's deceptions, this Mormon says "no way will I read that. I know better. You're just trying to demonize the only true religion and shipwreck my faith. You obviously hate Mormons. Go away."
What would you think about this Mormon and how would you feel? (And I'm not suggesting Mormons would act this way..it's just a fictional illustration intended to make a point.) And would the reason for trying to help this Mormon have been because you hate him or because you care about him and want him to find out the truth?
However it is you would feel and whatever it is you would think, that's kind of how folk like me feel and think when JW's act like the Mormon in my brief illustration.
In reality, who's demonizing who here? And what are they trying to hide? Shouldn't truth be able to stand up glowingly to any scrutiny? The Watchtower unfairly demonizes Ray Franz. The only way you could possibly know if he unfairly demonizes them is if you give him the same shot you've given the Watchtower. If you ever read his books ("Crisis of Conscience" and "In Search of Christian Freedom"), not only will you be glad you did, it may change your life for the better if you care about holy scripture, justice, and truth. Ray Franz was a Christian man who knows everything that happened in the governing body meetings for a time because he was a member! He has proof and documentation for almost all of his claims, sharp and undeniable reasoning, and compassion for Jehovah's Witnesses like only someone who has been one could. I used to literally be scared to even have one of his books in the same neighborhood as me, much less pick one up to read. I am truly ashamed of myself for that. I feared men. No more. I bet you have seen some so-called "apostate" videos or websites where the people were disrespectful and off-putting. Franz is the OPPOSITE of that. If you are willing to examine the sincere truth about the Watchtower, respectfully and irrefutably presented, Ray is the way to go! He didn't harbor all the bitterness and anger and hatred a lot of ex-JW's have even though he probably was more entitled to it than any other ex-JW after all he went through, after how harshly he's been demonized & slandered.
It is those Jehovah's Witnesses online who ARE checking out supposed "apostate" web pages and youtube videos and blogs (etc.) who generally say Franz's books are a no no. Seems a little hypocritical, doncha think? So don't be like the Mormon from my earlier illustration. The bible says to make sure of and examine all things. Ray Franz wasn't critical of the bible or Yahweh. Watchtower literature is not the bible and the governing body are not Yahweh, so you should be able to discern the difference there even though the Watchtower attempts to conflate them all, imprisoning JW's in the fear that to entertain conscientious criticism of an organization is somehow the same thing as questioning Yahweh himself! Ridiculous. Franz didn't fear men. Do you?
I really care about and love Jehovah's Witnesses. I mean no harm here just like JW's would mean no harm if they were to witness to a Catholic about the problems within Catholicism's religious institution. As a Jehovah's Witness, you wouldn't do it to "demonize" Catholics because you hate them..you would do it to help them find Christian freedom because you care about them. So why and how could you accuse people like me of hatred and slander when I'm only doing the same things JW's do..trying to reach people with what I consider the good news from the bible while also informing them of certain dangers within religious organizations that don't conform.