Although many view the hope for change, real change, in the Watchtower organization as nothing more than a misguided fantasy, we are seeing signs that real change can actually take place, and rather soon. We note in particular the public silence of the Governing Body. One would expect that if they were wholly opposed to the possibilities we propose, they would take some type of opposing or defensive action. Instead, all indications are that they are contemplative of what we write and deeply affected by the operation of the Spirit of Truth and the powerful impact of the plain and open teachings of Jesus.
As we consider what must be going on in their hearts and minds, we have to remember that they, too, have been victims of the misguided teachings of their predecessors. They, too, were indoctrinated over many years. Our research indicates that every one of the current members of the Governing Body began full time ministry with the Watchtower organization between the ages of 16 and 23. They were young impressionable men who truly believed what they had been taught but were never able to discover truth for themselves by personal examination unencumbered by the commands of others. Their entire adult experiences were within the confines of the organization and all were, for the most part, financially supported by the Watchtower organization for much of that time. As a body, they have very little real life experiences to draw from and, for these reasons, they have not had their ‘powers of perception’ fully trained. (Hebrews 5:14)
As all of us who have found our spiritual freedom know, the first step to freedom is to open our minds to the plain teachings of Jesus without the veil or filters of Watchtower publications and the doctrines of men. As long as one limits their world to the four corners of the Watchtower organization, it is only natural that they will remain veiled and spiritually stifled. These men are only just beginning to take such a bold journey, and we respect the difficulties they face in this endeavor given how much of their lives have been dedicated to error.
As for the matter of sonship, even though they profess to have ‘the heavenly hope,’ they held that hope as part of an erroneous elitists idea of being members of 144,000 super Christians. For practically the entire time they confessed their ‘anointing,’ they could not see that ALL of their brothers in the organization are sons of God and brothers to Christ Jesus, ALL with the heavenly hope. And so they furthered and reinforced the errors of their predecessors, teaching that any who disagree with their views must be expelled as apostates. Yes, they have been persecutors, ‘believing they were offering a sacred service to God.’ (John 16:2) But they are also victims of a death-dealing machination, just as are the local brothers and sisters.
We warned in Question and Response October 7, 2012, that their new light that they alone are the ‘faithful and discreet slave’ would compound their obligations and increase their liabilities before God. This is proving true. Because they have taken on such a monumental task of micro-managing the faith and personal affairs of nearly 8 million people, they are very much dismayed at the magnitude of their error which now rests solely on their shoulders. Their individual distress is exceedingly great and we fear for their health if they continue on this path. We hope that this section on Possibilities will help them cope with their failings, retain their faith in the Father, and humble themselves before their true leader, Christ Jesus.
To that end, we demonstrated what can be done to immediately extricate them from their dangerous position, correct their errors and get on the path to a real and unobstructed relationship with the Father. In the article, Leadership by Example, we drafted a model letter to show how easy it is to begin the path to spiritual rejuvenation. In the drama, A Prelude to Leadership, we demonstrated how certain personalities can find their way to humility and correction. And we also proposed a method whereby the local brothers and sisters can retain their faith and not be stumbled by the longstanding errors or lose their longtime friendships and the closeness they have developed with others in the congregations. That method is to allow the development of a true Christian fellowship based on the plain and open teachings of Jesus without any interference or threats of disfellowshipping, marking or shunning. And in the article A True Christian Fellowship, we explained how a true Christian fellowship can be formed that will assure that Christ remains the head of the congregations and is never usurped. So, now what else can we do to further that possibility?
In the fictitious Prelude drama, the Governing Body agreed to meet with certain traveling brothers who accept the true message of sonship for all to discuss the possibility of them forming and developing a true Christian fellowship right alongside side the current organization of believers. So, we thought we would write another drama examining the possible thoughts and reactions of those traveling brothers after their unprecedented meeting with the Governing Body. So relax and enjoy our second drama, Starting Anew.
The scene opens in a small hotel suite in Brooklyn, New York. Two sisters, Sister NewSon and Sister SonChose, are sitting on the couch while another sister, Sister AwakerSon, is sitting in a nearby chair. They are all nicely dressed, but all have kicked off their shoes and are engaged in a lively conversation. In the background, you can hear the voice of a fourth sister, Sister McGrateful, who had stepped into the adjoining room to answer the telephone. They had all arrived in town the night before with their husbands who had been called to the Bethel headquarters for a special meeting with the Governing Body. Rather than wait alone in their separate rooms, the sisters gathered together awaiting word from their husbands on how the meeting went.
Brother and Sister NewSon and Brother and Sister SonChose had served in circuit work for many years, but due to the teachings of the Watchtower Society, they had stepped down. Brother and Sister AwakerSon had served for many years in district work, but they, too, had stepped down. Brother McGrateful served as an Elder with the support of his wife, Sister McGrateful. He, too, had stepped down from his responsibilities for the same reason. Although he had never served in the traveling work, he was grateful to be invited to this special meeting.
Sister McGrateful hung up the phone, and rushed into the room with the other sisters. “The taxi just dropped the guys off,” said Sister McGrateful. “They want us to meet them downstairs in the diningroom.” All four sisters interjected words of surprise and excitement and quickly put on their shoes, straightened their clothes, grabbed their bags, and off they went, nearly slamming the door behind them.
Downstairs, the four brothers were exiting the taxi. All were dressed in nice business suits and all were carrying briefcases. Brother AwakerSon, the last brother to exit the taxi, reached back into the cab and tipped the driver. As the taxi pulled away, Brother AwakerSon said, “It was nice of Brother Hurt to take care of the cab fare for us.”
“Yes,” said Brother McGrateful, “If the Society hadn’t paid for our travel and lodging expenses, my wife and I couldn’t have made the trip.”
“Neither could we,” said Brother SonChose, “It just shows how important this meeting was to them, and they didn’t disappoint! I didn’t expect the meeting to go so well, and I can’t wait to tell the ladies.”
As they approached the hotel, the concierge greeted them and opened the door. Each brother nodded as they passed. “I told my wife to have the ladies meet us in the diningroom,” said Brother McGrateful, turning back toward the other brothers. “It’s over there to the left.”
At the same time, the four sisters were exiting the elevators. When they saw their husbands, Sister AwakerSon called out to her husband “Bob!” The brothers turned and each one hurried to his own wife, embracing her and giving her a soft kiss.
“So how did it go?” asked Sister NewSon, “We’ve been waiting on pins and needles!”
“Honey, you won’t believe it,” said Brother NewSon. “This was nothing at all what we expected. Let’s get a table and we’ll tell you all about it.”
At this time of day, the dining room was sparsely occupied. They had just missed the lunch crowd and it was too early for the dinner crowd, so they had the pick of the tables. They chose a large booth toward the rear where they could have a little privacy and get comfortable in their seats. When everyone had sat down, Brother AwakerSon placed his forearms on the table in front of him, clasped his hands and leaned forward:
“Well, ladies, it’s begun! The Governing Body is ready for change and their suggestion on how to do it is AWESOME!” All the ladies opened their mouths in surprise. Brother AwakerSon continued: “They want us to form a new fellowship of the sons of the kingdom ...”
“What?!” interrupted Sister McGrateful, hardly believing what she just heard. “They want you to do what?”
The brothers all laughed. “Yes, that’s right, Connie,” said Brother AwakerSon, “They want us to form a new fellowship ... right in the congregation!”
“Are you kidding?” said Sister SonChose, “They’re just trying to put us in a situation where we can be disfellowshipped!”
“No, no, honey” said Brother SonChose, “Brother Letting-go showed us a letter that they will be sending to all congregations letting them know about the new fellowship and directing the bodies of elders and all overseers not to interfere.”
[Brother AwakerSon] “Think of the special meetings for Pioneers and Elders and Ministerial Servants. The new fellowship will be special meetings for the anointed sons of the kingdom. And we can invite others to join us if they want to.”
[Brother SonChose] “We would be similar to the Worldwide Order of Jehovah’s Witnesses for those in missionary and special service. But we will be a worldwide order of sons of the kingdom.”
[Brother AwakerSon] “Yes, except that we will be a self-governing group, wholly separate and apart from the Watchtower Society. But it gets better. The Governing Body is going to make a formal apology for their error in teaching the two-hope doctrine. And they are going to openly admit that the Bible teaches that everyone has the opportunity to reach out for sonship with God and the heavenly hope!”
“Shut UP!” said Sister NewSon playfully. “You have GOT to be kidding! They are going to make a public apology?”
“Yep,” said Brother AwakerSon, “The letter was just beautiful. I could hardly believe it myself.”
“I was actually stunned,” said Brother McGrateful. “I fully expected them to tell us that while our understanding of sonship is correct, they want us to be quiet about it. But, they want us to proclaim it. They want us to develop a teaching program so that gradually all in the congregations can discover for themselves the true Christian hope. They were actually very sincere.”
“Yes,” said Brother AwakerSon, “What impressed me most was the humility of these brothers when you speak to them one on one and not in a crowd where they have to posture to appear stalwart and unshakable. Actually, it was quite refreshing. I wish the whole organization could experience these brothers as men and not as the elite [puffing his chest out] “Governing Body!”
“Wow!” said Sister SonChose, “I wish I was there to see that!”
“I wish you were there, too,” said Brother SonChose. “I don’t like the way the sisters are left out of important decisions. When we form the new fellowship, I think we should change some things about the way sisters are treated and what they can do. Remember the discussion we had some months ago about the Spiritual Equality of Women? I think it will be important to allow the sisters to have a more meaningful input. I believe Jesus would want it that way.”
“Watch it now!” said Sister AwakerSon, “Be careful what you ask for! We have a lot to say! We’ve been suppressed a long time!” They all laughed together. “That’s right” said Brother AwakerSon, “You brothers better get ready. Our sisters are intelligent, articulate, bold, well spoken, and not afraid of men . . . like some brothers I know.” Then looking around the table with a smile, “Present company excluded, of course!”
“Of course!” asserted in Brother NewSon. They all laughed again.
At that point, a waiter approached, an attractive young man, likely waiting tables while he pursues an acting or modeling career. “Excuse me,” he said, politely interrupting the discussion. “May I get you all something to drink?” Each one looked up a bit startled. They forgot they were in a restaurant. Each one picked up a menu and quickly ordered ice teas and lemonades. “Okay,” said the young man, “I’ll be back to take your food orders shortly.”
As the waiter walked away, Brother McGrateful continued the conversation: “There are a lot of things we need to do differently in the new fellowship. For example, all the invasive rules about grooming, you know, beards and facial hair. Rules about education, career choices ...”
[Brother SonChose] “And how about medical care, entertainment and ‘bad associations.’ I think sons are quite capable of making personal decisions about these matters.”
[Sister AwakerSon] “And how about holidays and celebrations? I think we need to re-examine those matters, too. Just because someone other than a Christian started something doesn’t mean it’s wrong!”
[Sister McGrateful] “And what about all of our disfellowshipped brothers and sisters who can’t even speak to their families. What a shame! We need to do something about that. They need a fresh start, too. Let’s be fair. If the Governing Body is getting a fresh start, so should the brothers and sisters!”
[Brother AwakerSon] “I agree. We actually talked about that in the meeting. They’re trying to find a dignified way to restore and reconcile these disfellowshipped ones, but apparently in some cases there might be some legal ramifications, according to Brother Hijack-a-son.”
[Sister AwakerSon] “Well, maybe the Watchtower organizations will have a problem restoring disfellowshipped ones, but not the new fellowship. Can’t we be like Jesus with the woman caught in adultery. Can’t we just say “go on your way and from now on practice sin no more?” alluding to John 8:3-11. “We can explain the matter of self-governance and the importance of respecting one’s sonship with God, like the brothers and sisters in the Reno Congregation. Then let those who chose to join the new fellowship start without the disfellowshipping stigma.”
Brother SonChose chuckled, “You know that story about the woman caught in adultery has been edited completely out of the new Bible – the Silver Sword!”
“Yeah,” said Sister AwakerSon, “But the lesson can’t be deleted that easily. I personally believe it really happened, but that doesn’t really matter. Whether one views the story as authentic or not, it does so much to further Jesus’ teachings of tolerance and mercy, how can you reject it?”
“You’re right,” said Brother AwakerSon. “I think we can do something like that. But we’re getting a little sidetracked. The first thing we need to do is figure out how we’re going to set up this new fellowship. Brother Hurt specifically stated that it is up to us and they will not interfere. And Brother Hijack-a-son said he could arrange for us to meet with some folks in their legal department to help us set up a proper legal structure.”
“For the new fellowship?” asked Sister SonChose. “I don’t feel right about having another organization.”
“No, no, babe” said Brother SonChose, “A non-profit would not be directing the fellowship. That’s the problem the Watchtower Society is having now. We will make sure the non-profit corporation that supports us is a wholly separate entity that simply holds resources and supports the fellowship. After we talk with Legal, we’ll have a better idea of what we can and should do.”
“Right” said Brother AwakerSon, “Then Brother Letting-go explained that we need to develop a new education program to help the friends take hold of the true hope. And Brother Splaining-to-do said he could find brothers in the writing and publishing departments who might want to help us translate, publish and distribute our new materials.”
“Wow!” said Sister SonChose, “They’ve given this a lot of thought!”
Again, the young waiter interrupted, “Okay, ice teas for you, and lemonades over here. Are you ready to place your food orders?” Brother AwakerSon volunteered: “Can you give us a few more minutes? We haven’t even looked at the menus yet.”
“Certainly,” said the young man, “I’ll be back in a few minutes.”
“Don’t forget about us,” chimed in Brother SonChose. “I won’t,” said the waiter with a smile as he walked away.
Brother McGrateful picked up the conversation: “Well, for one thing, I think we need more brothers involved to help work things out. We each know several brothers across the world who fully accept their sonship and understand the plain and open teachings who would be more than happy to help us. Maybe each of those brothers can arrange meetings in their local Kingdom Halls to teach the plain and open teachings to all those who might want to join us. They can pick a day when the Kingdom Hall is not being used and have ‘Sonship Schools.’”
[Sister AwakerSon] “And we don’t have to limit it to Jehovah’s Witnesses. We can invite our Bible Students, families, friends, neighbors, anyone who might be interested in joining a true fellowship of sons of God and brothers to Christ Jesus.”
“Yes,” said Brother SonChose, “And as those brothers [turning to look at his wife] and sisters become qualified to teach, more schools can be set up.” Sister SonChose smiled and added: “And for those areas where there aren’t many true sons, maybe we can arrange for some brothers [turning to her husband] and sisters to travel to those areas to help out. That’s where the resources from the non-profit can be useful.”
“Absolutely!” interjected Brother AwakerSon. “And we definitely need to prepare new materials for use in the preaching and teaching work. I know a couple of people who might be able to help us with that.”
[Sister AwakerSon] “And let’s think about doing more than just preaching and teaching. Let’s figure out a way to be of real service to the community. Maybe we can organize canned food drives, collect clothes and shoes for the less fortunate, or volunteer at soup kitchens.”
[Brother SonChose] “I like that! And maybe we can find out what the local brothers need and work together to help them meet those needs. You know, maybe someone needs their roof repaired, or a fence built. If we can join together to build entire Kingdom Halls, surely we can find a way to make minor repairs that will really improve the living conditions of our brothers.”
“Wow!” said Sister McGrateful, “That would be incredible! And I think practically everyone in the Kingdom Halls would want to take part in the expanded service opportunities, and the Sonship Schools! Let’s face it. The ‘food’ being served now is stale and boring, and the ministry is apathetic.”
“I have to agree,” said Brother AwakerSon. “And according to Brother Hurt, it could be as John the Baptist stated: Those belonging to the old organization will keep on decreasing, while those belong to the new fellowship will keep on increasing [John 3:30] until there is a complete transition and we all become “Anointed Witnesses of Christ.”
“Anointed Witnesses of Christ?” interrupted Sister AwakerSon, “Where did that name come from? Did you just make that up?” “No,” said Brother AwakerSon, “That’s the name Brother Mourning mentioned. He reminded us that we are to be witnesses of Jesus according to Acts 1:8.”
“I knew it!” cried Sister McGrateful, “I’ve read that scripture so many times and wondered why aren’t we called Jesus’ Witnesses! I mean, I love Jehovah with my whole heart, but Jesus said we are to be witnesses of him. So, I think it’s a great name.”
“It just makes sense,” said Brother AwakerSon. “This change is so important because it’s disrespectful to continue under the old wine after all that Jesus did for us. The prophets were indeed witnesses of Jehovah since they were delivering the messages Jehovah spoke to them. But we, as ambassadors for Christ, are delivering the messages of Jesus and proclaiming his sayings. It’s a matter of respect for divine arrangement to ‘listen to him’ as Jehovah proclaimed. [Mark 9:7] So, yes, I wholeheartedly agree with Brother Mourning’s suggestion.”
“You know what’s strange?” said Sister McGrateful, “I looked at all the videos on the Society’s website about the Warwick project and I don’t think Jesus’ name was mentioned even once! Not one person gave any honor to the one who supposedly appointed the Governing Body!”
“Are you serious?” said Sister SonChose.
[Sister McGrateful] “Yep, take a look for yourself. It’s really shameful. We definitely have to make sure Jesus is at the forefront of the new fellowship.”
[Brother McGrateful] “Well, then, in harmony with our new name, perhaps we should arrange for re-baptisms to make sure every son is baptized ‘in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,’ [Matthew 28:19] not in connection with an organization! They need to understand that they are being baptized into Christ’s death as Paul wrote.” [Romans 6:3]
[Brother NewSon] “A new name. Re-baptisms. This is newsworthy stuff! Should we contact the media and let them know what is going on?”
[Brother AwakerSon] “No, no, I don’t think that’s a good idea. Let’s just ‘be about the Father’s business’ and let things develop organically. If the news media picks it up, fine and good. Our method of spreading this good news will be by word of mouth from brother to brother, from son to son.”
“I agree,” said Brother McGrateful, “Humility is going to be the overriding theme in everything we do from this point forward.”
“Well, this is all good stuff,” said Brother AwakerSon. “I like everything that was suggested. And how great that the sisters are having a full share in these discussions. Welcome sisters!” Then spontaneously, the brothers stood up and applauded their wives. The sisters laughed at first, and then, one by one, they started to cry. They were simply overjoyed!
“Excuse me,” said the waiter, trying not to be a nuisance. “Are you ready to place your food orders? Is everything okay?”
“Yes,” said Brother AwakerSon, “We’re just all very happy. It’s been a great day.”
While the others each gave their food orders, Sister McGrateful sat, almost numb, staring out the window. “Could this really be?” she thought. “Could this really happen? Father, is this for real?” She closed her eyes and said a silent prayer of thanksgiving:
“Father, these words are too wonderful. My heart is overjoyed. A new fellowship founded solely on the plain and open teachings of Jesus? Surely this is your will. Father bless this small beginning and strengthen all of us to carry out this task and remain faithful. Thank you for opening the hearts of the brothers in Bethel, for giving our husbands the courage to act, and for allowing us sisters to be a part of this wonderful development. And thank you for providing your Son to lead us in this endeavor so that so many lost sheep can be found. In his name, I place this prayer of thanksgiving before you. With all that I have, amen.”
As she concluded her prayer, the waiter interrupted her: “And what may I get for you, Miss?” Sister McGrateful was momentarily startled, but she had a look of absolute peace on her face. She quickly browsed the menu and said “I’ll have a house salad.” She just didn’t feel very hungry. “You better add a turkey club on wheat,” said Brother McGrateful, turning to his wife. “You’re gonna be hungry later, honey. Trust me!” She smiled and chuckled.
As the scene widens out, we see the entire dining room. There are a few occupied tables in the center and then in the rear is this group of 8 jovial sons of the kingdom having a monumental meeting that will be recorded in the annals of history. In this little hotel dining room, the seeds of a true Christian fellowship are being sown to the glory of the Father and His awesome son, Christ Jesus. Who would have imagined that!
This fictitious meeting of a few faithful sons of the kingdom demonstrates what can be done when hearts are properly motivated to doing the Father’s will to the best of their ability. Their ideas are bold and their intentions are pure. They are discovering for themselves the power and beauty of fairness, equality, personal dignity, brotherhood, and true Christian fellowship. They demonstrate the courage and progressive foresight required to start anew.
We recognize that this drama is wishful thinking. But we also recognize that it is quite within the parameters of reality and what is possible for God-oriented men and women. The Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses can prevent further delay in righting their wrongs and mitigate their own errors by willingly supporting such qualified brothers, and sisters, in developing the type of fellowship that will give glory and honor, no more to men, but to the appropriate personalities – our Heavenly Father and His Christ, Jesus.
Again, we wait in hopeful anticipation, having full faith in the power of godly devotion, not only by the Governing Body, but by the men and women who have already picked up their torture stakes and are following the Christ. (Matthew 16:24) Courageous moves like those portrayed in these dramas will not only benefit Jehovah’s Witnesses, but will provide a template to other religious associations who are seeking to conform more closely to the type of religion Jesus practiced and the type of ministry Jesus commissioned.
We wish all of our brothers Godspeed, faith and blessings. And, as always, we welcome your comments.