QUESTIONS & RESPONSES
Regarding The Urantia Book
♦ The article “The Little Known Twelve” came straight from the Book of Urantia. Why are you using such information?
On August 5, 2013, we received the following comment and inquiry:
“I've been a [Jehovah’s Witness] all my life (30+ years). I'm an inactive [Jehovah’s Witness] that got really disappointed with the "new" light. That encouraged me to look and look and look for answers and every time I found something, I was more disappointed.
I've been reading some of your articles and I have to say I'm really impressed with them. But I do have my doubts/concerns about the teachings. Please check the following questions I have for you. I hope you answer them for me, because I'm really LOST right now. This is even affecting my marriage. So please, I beg you to answer them. You do not have to publish them in your site. [Then the brother lists his questions, most of which we will address individually below.] Hope you answer my email. I really need answers. I'm about to disassociate myself.”
To the author, thank you for your email. Usually, we answer questions such as yours privately, but we have come to understand that there are many brothers and sisters with similar concerns who have not mustered the courage to email us with their questions. So, with the exception of the one that we believe is very personal, we will answer your questions one at a time in this response.
First, we want you to know that you are not alone. The power play of the Governing Body with their so-called ‘new light’ is having the opposite effect of what was intended. Instead of corralling the sheep, it is scattering them. Like you, it has opened the door to a new and sincere search for real truth outside the confines of the organization. Many are finding their way to the plain and open teachings of Jesus. When they do, their spirit becomes agitated and restless. A true warring begins to take place between the flesh and the spirit. They are faced with a precipice moment when they must decide to whom they belong. This is your current struggle.
Most of your questions appear to be about us and who we are. But, in reality, they are more about yourself and what you should do. They reveal your struggle and confirm that you already know what to do, though perhaps not how. With that in mind, let us begin.
1. You say you are "local brothers." But many who have questioned the Watchtower before have been disfellowshipped as apostates. How are you still a "member"? Are you or not a [Jehovah’s Witness (“JWs”)]? Are you active? Disfellowshipped? Disassociated?
We are ‘local brothers’ in that we are not a part of the Governing Body or the Bethel Family. Nor are we disfellowshipped or disassociated. But we do not participate in the field service arrangements with the congregation, so we would be considered ‘inactive,’ though it is quite clear that we are very active in the ministry of Christ.
2. You also say that JWs are preaching the wrong message... the wrong Kingdom. If you are still active or a member of JW, do you still go and preach the "good news"? How do you get away with your teachings when you are in the field?
As we mentioned above, we do not participate in the door-to-door ministry with the congregation and we certainly do not preach what we consider to be ‘the wrong message.’ That would be hypocritical, weak and selfish. How can we know the truth, but teach the lie? We are certain neither the Christ nor the Father would be too pleased with us if we did.
3. If you are still an active member, and you know the "spiritual food" we are getting at the kingdom hall and magazines is not correct, do you still go to the meetings? How can you seat there for 90+ mins, knowing it is not entirely the truth?
We are not active according to the definition by the organization and we have ceased attending meetings for a few reasons. One, because of our ministry, we believe we would be too much of a distraction to the congregation. Two, as you allude to, subjecting ourselves to what is taught from the platform would grieve our spirit far too much. Three, we do not have family ties that could cloud our judgment or extort our allegiance. And four, we believe we can do a far better service to our association in this ministry, coupled with personal association outside of congregational arrangements. We maintain a good working relationship with all. We stopped converting and started conversing. Neither do we browbeat our brothers for remaining behind, for not yet having the courage to stand up, or for their temporary visual impairment. We also keep the door open to our Body of Elders and our Circuit Overseer who keep in touch with us.
At the same time, we recognize that many of our brothers and sisters are able to continue in relative association for the purpose of helping their family and friends who remain. You may have read the emails from the growing number of Elders and Circuit Overseers who are stepping down from their positions of oversight. (See Kingdom Update - June 2013 and Emails From Our Visitors.) But instead of leaving the organization, they are remaining behind, as one former Circuit Overseer recently stated, ‘as life rafts to help others get safely to shore.’ But all of this has a lifespan. If the Governing Body continues to stubbornly reject the plain and open teachings, or implements more offensive ideology, we suspect that many, if not all, of these brothers, will move on.
In the past, while we have provided this information in private emails, we have refrained from making public our decisions in this regard because it is important that each of us comes to our own conclusions and makes our own decision. We are not seeking followers. And we have learned over the years that premature departure can be more devastating than staying behind. One need only look at the trail of devastation of those who fled but had no where to go, or who picked up the ministry of the ancient Hebrew prophets rather than the ministry of Jesus, or even worse. (See Converting Pauls to Sauls.)
One of our goals is to empower our brothers so that they can leave as victors, not victims, which would surely occur if they have not build up sufficient spiritual strength to stand alone if necessary. We elect to make this known publicly now because we believe we have built up an adequate storehouse of spiritual encouragement to sustain our brothers during a necessary flight to safety as the time we have allotted for the Governing Body to subject themselves to the plain and open teachings of the Christ is dwindling and will soon come to a close.
4. I agree that the [Governing Body] is going beyond what is written by declaring themselves "God channel". It reminds me of the pharisees, adding rules. Are they overstepping as well with all the rules about celebrating holidays/birthdays, military service, blood, vote, etc? Do you consider that a matter of conscience or not?
We view many of their rules as overstepping their boundaries. But you do not need us to tell you which ones. Consider the Governing Body’s reasoning and then apply knowledge of the plain and open teachings and spiritual discernment and you can figure out which ones. In essence, put on the mind of Christ.
(1 Corinthians 2:16) Those that are conscience matters will be revealed by your own conscience.
5. It is known by others that the Watchtower has prophesied the end several times and failed. It is in our own literature. Isn't that consider a false prophet? Didn't Jesus warn us about this?
You do not need us to answer these questions for you. You already know the answer.
6. I will love to believe all your precious teaching, but someone in another blog said that The Little Known Twelve came straight from the Book of Urantia. I checked it myself and it is true. Why? Why are you using such information? I thought you were basing everything from the Bible. Confused here.
Brother, we do not want you ‘to believe all of our teachings.’ We are not seeking a following nor are we looking to become a new governing body over our brothers. If you believe what is published on our site, believe because you are convinced, not because we say so. That applies not only to us, but to all sources of information that have a bearing on your eternal salvation.
As for the article, The Little Known Twelve, we removed that article from our site back in March 2013. We are no longer ‘using such information.’ We published it under a section entitled Dramatic Presentations and expressly stated that it is not presented as dogma, but as an interesting diversion. Personally we found it very interesting and encouraging. So did many others. But we also saw that some stumbled over it. They continued bound to the spiritually-stifling and fear-inducing idea that everything outside of the Bible is somehow demonic. So for the sake of their consciences, we deleted the article. Its presence or lack of presence on our site does not at all effect our ministry. But even with its presence, that does not change the fact that all of the articles published as teaching articles (that is, not in the Dramatic Presentations section or titled “Contemplations”), are based squarely on the Bible. A review of the articles themselves reveal this fact. We hope we have cleared up your confusion.
Now that you have our answers, we hope you will use the information wisely. We are not the masters over anyone’s faith. We are brothers and fellow workers with you. Whatever decision you make, first count the cost and then act boldly, yet discreetly, and in full faith of the Father’s approval, protection and guidance. That applies to whether you stay or go. Sadly, one does not seem to realize that he is imprisoned and institutionalized until he attempts to leave. You are having an awakening of sorts. Act in a way that does not destroy your faith or unnecessarily destroys your relationships with others. And we will be praying with you.
♦ Did the pictures on your website come from The Urantia Book? What is your relation to the Urania Book?
On May 7, 2014, we received the following comment and inquiries:
“You know, I love the encouragement and comfort you gave to me. But whenever I speak about your articles with people who have a [Jehovah’s Witness] background (just like me), the topic "urantia" comes up. Even when you do a google pictures search for urantia, your website's photos comes up. This seems to be no coincidence, does it? You made a comment to the yet deleted article "the little known twelve", saying you don't use the urantia book anymore. But do you think it contains kind of a divine revelation? Please clarify your relation to the thoughts contained in urantia. I haven't read it, but as far as I overlooked it, some topics seem to be pretty similar to topics from you. Please don't see this as an offend, I really love you guys - when there was not much light anymore in my life due to the disappointment from the [Jehovah’s Witness] organisation, you gave me hope and strength to hold on to Jesus”
To the author, thank you for your email. It is always good to hear from you. Yes, we know that some people associate us with the Urantia Book. We don’t mind that because we find the book to be fascinating, especially Part IV concerning Jesus. But we understand the fear many Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Christians in general, have about any book that speaks about God, Jesus, heaven or related matters in an authoritative manner, so we make sure that everything we post on this website is fully supported by Biblical scripture. We think many people would be surprised to see how much the Urantia Book agrees with the Bible. Interestingly, those who condemn us for the similarities are, in fact, admitting the similarities between the two books!
But The Urantia Book is not easy reading. It can be quite intimidating to many who are not mentally, intellectually or spiritually prepared to tackle its contents. And the intimidation and lack of understanding can be stumbling. For that reason, we do not promote the book. However, to those who have the courage to undertake a sincere reading, we are happy to share our thoughts with them on how we approach the book.
And in case you have not seen The Urantia Book, we can tell you that there are no pictures in it. It is straight text from cover to cover. The pictures on our site were created by a gentleman who is apparently a reader of The Urantia Book who has created several works of art based on his understanding of what he read, along with other works that are not inspired by the book. Here is his website:www.visionafar.com. But the pictures are not found in the book itself.
We hope we have answered your questions adequately. If not, please do not hesitate to write us again. And if you find our answer difficult to accept, remember that even those who conduct a Biblical ministry have many different interests and hobbies. And as long as what we present in our Biblical ministry is based on the Bible, there should be no problem with the fact that we also enjoy reading and doing other things.
♦ Why did you remove “The Dramatic Presentations” from your website?
On May 14, 2014, we received the following comment and inquiries:
“As a side note, I have been working through the Website Worksheets to try to read all of the content on AnointedJW.org. While reading the April 2012 articles, I noticed that the Dramatic Presentations of the 12 apostles seem to have been removed from the site. Is there any particular reason why those were removed?”
To the author, thank you for your email. We are happy to respond. The Dramatic Presentations of the 12 apostles were removed from the site because some of our visitors had a problem with the source. We commented on that in Question and Response 8/5/13, Question No. 6. Most Jehovah’s Witnesses are fearful of any Biblical or theocratic information or commentaries that do not originate from the Watchtower Society or are not a part of the canonized Bible. They immediately think those sources must be demonic and ‘a part of the world’ controlled by Satan, and so they reject them outright.
We are not of that mindset. We are very open spiritually, and take to heart Jesus’ counsel to ‘keep on knocking, keep on asking, keep on seeking.’ (Matthew 7:7-8) At the time Jesus said those words, there was no canonized Bible. He was telling his followers to go on a quest for enlightenment. We are following that counsel.
Having first come to understand the authentic Jesus Christ and the personality of our Heavenly Father, we believe we were then prepared to venture out. We believe we have adequately trained our perceptive powers and can discern what is right and what is wrong. (Hebrews 5:14) We believe we can hear the ‘master’s voice’ when reading and hearing about spiritual matters. (John 10:27) And we have absolute confidence in the ability of the Spirit of Truth to ‘guide us into all truth.’ (John 16:13) As a result, we are well read on many matters having to do with God, Jesus, the Bible, spirituality, theology, theosophy, physics, quantum physics, metaphysics, philosophy, sociology and things like these.
In all of our reading, we have seen a lot of what we believe to be error and we have seen much that we believe is true. The information on the 12 apostles came from a source that we find fascinating – The Urantia Book. And, at that time, we thought our readers would appreciate the information so we posted some information from the book on our site with a disclosure that it was from an extra-Biblical source and is being presented only as an interesting diversion. In response, we received emails of appreciation for the information, but we also received some emails from people who believe the book to be demonic. So for the sake of the consciences of those who were stumbling over the book, we removed the information from our site. We want our readers of this site to know that what we present here is soundly based on the Bible and so it was a small matter to remove the offending information. But for the record, we continue to think the information in The Urantia Book is fascinating, though we do not promote it on our site.
We will also tell you that the Urantia Book is very complex reading and not for the weak or faint of heart. Not all are mentally, intellectually or spiritually able to read and comprehend the book and will therefore be stumbled. But for those who ask, we are happy to share our own personal view of the book and how to we approach it.
We hope this adequately answers your question, but if you continue to have questions in this regard, please feel free to write us again.
♦ Will you eventually be explaining the background of the Urantia Book and its influence on you, if any?
On May 18, 2014, we received the following comment and inquiry:
“A while ago I asked if the two pictures on your home page had anything to do with the Urantia Book. You have not responded to my question. Since then I Googled "Urantia Book pictures." I was taken to a Urantia Book page which included the above pictures. Will you eventually be explaining the background of this Book and its influence on you, if any.”
To the author, thank you for your email. As always, it’s good to hear from you. We are sorry, but we did not receive any email from you inquiring about the pictures on our site. The last email from you was received on February 23, 2013. You can resend it if you like, but perhaps the response we provided to the other visitor, Question and Response 5/7/14, might address your concerns. Since you are a reader of the book yourself, you should know, without a doubt, that the Urantia Book contains no pictures or images. However, because it is in the public domain, there may be others who have created their own version or commentaries of the book with some pictures in it, just as the Watchtower Society has created their own version of the Bible and added their own pictures and commentaries. There is also a possibility that when you Goggled “Urantia Book pictures,” you were taken to pages containing pictures created by readers of the Urantia Book based on their understanding of what they read. But as you should know firsthand, The Urantia Book itself contains no pictures.
As for the pictures on our site, we think they are beautiful works of art that stir the imagination of what is possible from a God for whom nothing is impossible.
"Looking straight at them, Jesus said: “With men it is impossible but not so with God, for all things are possible with God.”– Mark 10:27
We personally are quite fascinated with pictures of the universe, including those published on NASA’s website www.Nasa.gov [who are knowingly or unknowingly conducting a study of the Kingdom of the Heavens], or other cosmically conscious websites that include actual photographs of the universe as well as pictures that originate in the imaginations of others. Man’s fascination with the heavens goes back thousands and thousands of years as is now being discovered through archeological digs around the world.
Gary Tonge, the creator of the two pictures on our site, is an extremely talented artist. You might want to visit his website: www.visionafar.com to see his beautiful works. A few of his pictures we believe were inspired by the Urantia Book, but most of them obviously were not. And think of the beautiful scenery in recent science fiction movies like Avatar, and some of the Star Wars movies. We would not be surprised if the creators of those movies might have also been inspired by the Urantia Book. But as we said, the most fascinating part of the book is Part IV concerning the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. That would be a great movie!
You also asked: Will you eventually be explaining the background of this Book and its influence on you, if any. Our answer is no, we will not be explaining the background of the book. We have no first hand knowledge of its background, and besides, that would be too far off purpose. This ministry is concerned with the background and teachings found in the Bible. And as we often write, we want our audience to pay more attention to the message rather than the messengers. We are not hypocritical in that view. And so with The Urantia Book, we are more interested in its content, rather than the writers of the content. We believe, across the board, that a better comprehension of the motive and intent of any writer is obtained by an examination of the contents of their writings rather than by their names, titles or places of origin.
As for its influence on us, we can tell you that the Urantia Book has enhanced our understanding and appreciation for the Bible. As we wrote you previously, we believe that before one can gain a real understanding of The Urantia Book, they have to first understand the nature and purpose of Bible. Gaining an appreciation of Jesus and the true personality of our Heavenly Father is paramount and preliminary to gaining any real benefit from The Urantia Book, and any other writing about divine spirit matters. In fact, in our opinion, it is this failure to truly understand Jesus and the Heavenly Father that causes even Bible readers to miss the beauty and understanding of true good news as taught by Jesus and recorded in the Christian Bible scriptures. And, in our opinion, it is also the reason so many people are so easily led astray by the convoluted machinations of man and his assumptions and interpretations as to what is true.
Since you are a reader of the Urantia Book yourself, you can form your own opinion. Our opinion is of little import. If you have accepted your sonship with God, then you can trust the Spirit of Truth to guide you into all truth. (John 16:13) If you have not, then your quest for truth will be significantly hindered and delayed because the spirit only leads the sons of God. (Romans 8:14) We wish you the best in whatever path you choose, but we pray that you begin your journey as a son of God with the power of the Spirit of Truth as the wind beneath your wings.
♦ Visitor who had lost faith in God questions the growth as stated in Kingdom Update - December 2014.
On December 31, 2014, we received the following detailed comment and question which we are happy to respond to. We present the entire email:
“I'm a reader of your website since end of 2012. I followed with great interest many of your articles and I check almost daily if something is new. I was a witness [for 28 years]. I pioneered and served in various positions. We were close to attending Gilead, but decided to have children instead. In 1980, I was disfellowshipped due to not accepting the [Faithful and Discreet Slave] anymore.
“In the years after 1980 I became a very active ex-witness, trying to help our former brothers to recognize the errors I found, but my own family became even more convinced as a result. I joined an evangelical group for about 10 years, became more critical, lost my faith in the Bible as God's word and finally my faith in the God the Bible represents.
“In the 2nd part of 2012, I had the desire to see what's going on with [Jehovah's Witnesses] because [my family] are still in the organization. For many years I had no interest in religion – became an agnostic – but through your articles my hope was nourished that something is going on which finally could change the organization and I could be reunited, at least with my family. I agree with a lot of your articles, which show that Jesus needs to be the center of our faith. I never commented any of your articles, but I'm thankful for the work you have done during this period. Particularly I'm thankful, that I found on your pages for the first time a reference to the Urantia Book. I have read it meanwhile from beginning to the end and I'm reading it again. It simply overwhelmed me and since reading it, I can believe again in God. There is so much to detect and as my memory fails now often (I'm 72), I will have to read it often. I'm reading daily in it and marvel about the information presented there and I tend to believe it.
“On the other side there is something which fuels my skepticism. In your Kingdom Update December 2014 you speak of the tremendous increase from April 2014 to now (from 8.7 to 27 million) which simply ignites my doubts, because that sound unbelievable. I remember that you once answered a similar question [Question and Response 2/12/14] but the answer for me was not satisfying. On what do you base such information? It would take even for an organization like the [Watchtower Bible & Tract Society] a department of people to add up all the figures which would come in from various sources and different parts of the world. I would appreciate if you could provide a satisfying and understandable answer - no details are required for it.
“Does the figure include the figures from another group or religious organization and how then do you decide which ones should or can be included? How do you get the information? I don't expect any details, but a general, open and understandable answer. Or is it that you personally have - or believe to have - contact with some of the celestial beings? Sometimes your wording rings like that.
“Personally I think that your statement of these figures rather discourages as it will fuel doubts, especially if you don't explain how you can say that. So, I should appreciate very much a satisfying clarification, as I'm considering helping you to translate your articles into German. I'm looking forward to your answer and wish you further success in your wonderful work. With kind regards.”
To the author, we want to thank you for your email. We suspect there are many others who have followed, and are following your faith journey, and many others who share your concern about the numbers reported in the Kingdom Update – December 2014, and on other articles on this website. We are awed at the numbers as well, but we assure you they are accurate as we will explain below.
First, we want to acknowledge that many, many of our brothers who were mistreated and mislead by various religious groups and who have consequently turned away from God have found their way back to faith and back to the Father and Christ Jesus by means of The Urantia Book. What happens is that the hard to understand Bible stories, and the way many of its teachers and adherents behave make it hard for intelligent, reasonable and thoughtful people in these modern times to believe there is a wise, loving, and caring God. But, in our experience, The Urantia Book, which we call “The Teacher’s Guide to the Bible,” explains many of those hard to believe stories by adding context and background which appeals to reason, logic, intelligence, and known scientific facts. And in so doing, it makes the Bible understandable and acceptable to the modern mind, and thereby builds and rebuilds faith. But we know that the vast majority of Christians and Jehovah’s Witnesses would stumble at the book. That is why we limit what we publish on this website to what was actually presented in, and supported by, the Bible. More advanced concepts and the examination of extra-Biblical writings such as The Urantia Book are reserved for our sister site www.TheChristExperiment.org. We hope you continue visiting that website and sharing your thoughts. Now to your question.
You are right that it would take a very large army of men to count each person who claims to be a son of God, and there would always a question of whether the person is truly a son of God or just an imposter or a ‘wanna-be.’ While we do have a means of tracking visitors to our site, those reports do not identify who is a looky-loo and who is an actual son. So there must be more to it.
Jesus once said: “When the son of man arrives, will he really find the faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8) But faith in what? Faith in the Father; faith in Jesus; faith in the Spirit of Truth; faith in Holy Spirit; faith in the angelic army whose purpose is to serve man; faith in one another; faith in personality survival after death of the mortal body; and things like these. Like those in the 1st century, a large portion of our society is ‘a faithless generation.’ In an effort to change that, we published articles such as “Faith in Unseen Realities” and “Walking By Faith.” We showed that angels are active today and very much concerned about continuing and completing the ministry Jesus began in the 1st century. As they did back then, angels continue to guide and direct his ministry. And yes, dear brother, they can count. (Matthew 10:30) Does this stumble you? “What, therefore, if you should see the Son of man ascending to where he was before?” (John 6:32)
We hesitate to speak too much on this matter because we want people to focus on the message, not the messengers. Numbers signifying growth in the sons of God are encouraging, especially among a people who are convinced that the world is increasingly Godless and going ‘straight to Armageddon.’ But it is the plain and open teachings of Jesus that build faith and lead to peace to salvation.
The bottom line is that you can doubt the numbers if you choose to – they are only good for counting. But do not lose sight of the more important things. As some would say ‘Do not throw out the baby with the bath water.’ If what you find on this website is encouraging and if you are moved to assist us in continuing Jesus’ authentic ministry, we welcome you and any others who want to help us spread his ‘plain and open teachings.’ We especially need translators.
So reflect on what we have written and let us know if you still wish to help us.
The Inquirer’s Reply: 1/1/15 - Dear brothers, Thank your very much for your really fast and kind answer, which I appreciate and accept - it didn't stumble me, somehow I even expected it - but certain doubts will remain for the time being. You are right, there are more important things than numbers. Your message and the articles on your site bears the spirit of truth, which I can't deny, so I'm still willing to help you in translating your articles.