Would you go to a JW Bible study?(90 Posts)
I have wanted to do a Bible study for a while but there aren't many around here and the times at the church ones just don't fit in with everything else that I do.
I work with a Jehovah's Witness and she said that they do Bible studies in people's homes or in the home of the JW and they work right through the Bible and the key features. She said that a lot of non-JWs go the the studies and that even some non-believers do too. They are usually 1 on 1 or 2 JWs and 1 student.
Would you go to a JW Bible study? Do you think there would be anything to worry about?
Hmmm...I just re-read what I posted and noticed one thing at the end that could sound a way other than I meant it...in the last paragraph in the first sentence I said "while some people think Jesus is taking too long to return (yes we do believe that)..." I was making the statement that 'we do believe that he is returning', but it could sound like I was saying 'we believe He is taking too long'...from the completion of the paragraph one can tell easily that is not the case, but I thought I would clarify...oops! :-)
quizzywizz, you haven't posted in some months...If you continued your study because you are learning/enjoying it, it would be great to let people on here know. If you chose not to, I think people are interested in how your "exit" went as well.
To clarify a few things very simply, and offer some helpful advice to anyone looking to study the Bible, especially with a JW or two(you can choose, all you have to do is ask...some find it fun to meet someone new at various times, and no student has ever been discouraged from bringing as many others to the study as they wish-100 to 1 would be acceptable, Jesus spoke before upwards of 5000 at a time, why should any Christian be afraid to do the same if He is really "with us"?):
Why "study" the Bible in addition to just "reading" the Bible? One definition of "reading" or "to read" is "to receive or take in the sense of (as letters or symbols) especially by sight or touch" --> While a definition of "studying" or "study" is "application of the mental faculties to the acquisition of knowledge"...so, what's the difference? If you were to read a repair manual for your car, would you then be able to do everything in the manual? How about if you were to read, then meditate on it, try it and practice it, possibly reading it and thinking about it more times? Which of those practices would result in your better knowing how to repair your car? In the same way, most Christians believe that the Bible is our manual for life. God Himself said at Isaiah 48:17 that he is trying to 'teach people to benefit themselves'.
Does this wisdom from Solomon sound like "just reading" is involved?: Proverbs 2:4-5, 20 (International Standard Xlation) - "if you seek it like silver and search for it like hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and learn to know God......20 This is how you will walk in the way of good men and will keep to the paths of the righteous.
"Mainstream Christian" = Did Jesus teach that "mainstream" would likely be the correct "Way"? According to Jesus, is "believing" enough to enjoy the "grace" of God?
Matthew 7:13-14 (American Standard Xlation) - ""Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. "For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Only 7 verses later, Jesus makes clear he is not talking about "Christians" vs "non-Christians", but instead of 'true' Christians vs 'those who claim to be' Christian. People don't say "Lord" unless they "believe", but James points out that even the demons "believe", but it isn't going to save them.
Matthew 7:21-23 (AMX again) - "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'" <-- Caps theirs, not mine ;-)
Did you ever realize that Jesus Christ led to the coining of the phrase "It's My Way or the highway!" ? Makes you think right?! ;-) And He said He learned that from God.
But really that is the whole big question right? I mean if God really created everything then does he have the right to say what is right and what is wrong? Can he rightfully say to each and every creation "I want you to live together in the following way, and if you don't like it, you can just leave." Kinda sounds like something any dad would say right? So if someone wishes to "leave", where does one go 'outside of creation'?
Why is it not enough to just "believe"? If you went into the store and looked at the "Enquirer" tabloid paper and it said your town was undergoing a major virus epidemic and that you should evacuate, what would you do? What if that same message came across all TV channels on the "Emergency Broadcast Frequency" and that you needed to evacuate, then what would you do? Even if both of them were just talking about a "flu bug", and so you believed they were both telling the truth about the virus, would not one of those levels of "belief" move you to action? Maybe because of the reliability, accuracy, and maybe the 'sense of urgency' from the source? Is Jesus message not one of saving lives?
So some above, in their comments, mentioned it being not cool that the JWs view themselves as the only ones that are "right" and that "everyone else is wrong"...so I would ask anyone of ANY faith; if you DON'T believe your faith is the only right one, then why on Earth are you in it?!
Is it reasonable to expect ALL of the people in ANY group of imperfect humans to PERFECTLY represent the ideals of that group? Did not the Apostle Peter deny even knowing Jesus 3 times? Did not two of the apostles request of Jesus that they be allowed to call down fire and brimstone from Heaven on a town that did not receive Jesus well? Did not two of the apostles get their mom to go ask Jesus to give them special places with Him in Heaven? Did not the apostles, on more than one occasion, get into heated arguments about who of them was of more importance "greater"; one of those times even being during the last supper before His death? Yet would anyone try to argue that these bad attitudes and ridiculous displays of arrogance, pride, selfishness, wrong thinking, and fear of man took away from the message of Christ? In fact, did Jesus remove any of those apostles from their position due to their un-Christian attitudes; or did He cover it over with forgiveness? And what would He ask us to do? hmmmmm
Others above complained that the JWs are trained to be persuasive and ready to answer most things, and that they are "told not to go back to the homes of committed Catholics (too good at awkward Scripture questions wink)"...these statements are partial truths, but the Bible makes clear in what instances they should be true:
2 Timothy 2:15 (International Std. again) - Do your best to present yourself to God as an approved worker who has nothing to be ashamed of, handling the word of truth with precision. <-- Does this sound like it should be untrained or unprepared?
Here is an "awkward scripture question" for you: If Jesus words say
John 14:28 (KJV - and the same writer that wrote John 1:1) - Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.
and John 20:17 (also KJV - same writer again) - Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
but the Nicene and Athanasian Creeds both say that Jesus and God are equal to each other. Neither of these "creeds" is in the Bible, nor do they make any references to it (unlike the Apostolic Creed which has a scriptural reference for each point of belief)...so, who's word do you believe? That in the Bible or that in a couple agreements of men that happen to be accepted by ALL of the "MAINSTREAM" Christian religions...hmmmm
Yet, if someone is "committed" to this belief, despite the proof in the Bible, would it make any sense to just go and argue with them? Interestingly the Apostle Paul gave Timothy advice on exactly this matter:
1 Timothy 6:3-4 (God's Word Xlation) - Whoever teaches false doctrine and doesn't agree with the accurate words of our Lord Jesus Christ and godly teachings is a conceited person. He shows that he doesn't understand anything. Rather, he has an unhealthy desire to argue and quarrel about words. This produces jealousy, rivalry, cursing, suspicion,..."
I highly recommend this parallel translation site ( www.biblos.com ) for use in learning important terms like:
Why use certain names for God and Christ? Read the below scripture and then answer, whose name is it saying to call upon?
Acts 2:21 (KJV) - And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Romans 10:13 (KJV) - For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
From the above readings, I would guess that you would come up with the same conclusion as I would, "Jesus" right? Some people say "well, some things haven't been translated right from Greek into English because the New Testament was originally written in Aramaic, not in Greek, so something was lost in translation"...This is not in fact the case, as proven by archaeology, but just to play along let's see what the Aramaic to English translation says of the same exact scripture:
Acts 2:21 (Aramaic Bible in Plain English) - And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of THE LORD JEHOVAH shall receive life.' <-- Caps theirs, not mine ;-)
Romans 10:13 (Aramaic Bible in Plain English) - For everyone who will call the name of THE LORD JEHOVAH shall be saved. <-- Caps theirs, not mine ;-)
Does this difference strike you as important? Does it impress upon your mind the need to pay close attention to the translations you choose to use?
A fun scriptural challenge (hid treasures!): Some people ONLY believe in using the King James translation of the Bible, believing it to be the earliest and most pure, despite it's difficult readability. Go to your local Wal-Mart and go to the book section. You will find they have a good few Bibles, one of which is a King James Version, another of which is the NEW King James Version. Open them both to Psalm 83:18 and see what it says about the name of God (Your local Dollar Store is probably selling the "Old" King James as well)...do you see the difference? In the "Old" one is God's name Jehovah, one of only 4 places it still is left in that version...in the "New" one, it has been REMOVED and replaced with LORD. Does anyone think Jesus would find it acceptable to remove His name from the entire Bible? and yet didn't He say that His Father was GREATER then Him? Recite the first line of the "Lord's Prayer"...what name does Jesus say should be "hallowed" or "made holy" or "sanctified"? (And if Jesus IS God, then who was he praying to all those times he prayed, and why?) Did you know that the above scriptures in Acts and Romans both pull from one of the last prophets in Jerusalem before Jesus? Look up Joel 2:32.
All of this has proven to be nothing but truth. I am a JW. I have been disfellowshipped (kicked out, shunned, excommunicated) 3 times, yet I am still going back...why? because there is ONLY ONE TRUTH.
Jesus said 'You will learn the truth, and the truth will set you free." which people love to quote, but they are using "free" in a sense of "total freedom" (as in the comment from "HoneyAndRum" above)...but if you check your history(Genesis), there was only one being that promised "total freedom", and it wasn't God. Jehovah God gave humans freedom to act within the bounds of what He knows is beneficial. Are you a horrible parent if you won't let your child have the freedom to play with a gun? Are you an overly oppressive human if you won't allow someone to steal from you? What if you won't allow someone to scream hateful abusive things at someone else, does that make you a tyrant? COMPLETE Freedom is called anarchy, and no, God did NOT give that to anyone.
It is unfortunate that "Peaceful" is anything but as they are 'overwhelmed with their strong feelings on this matter' and therefore spouting very biased "information", as goes for a few others including "stressed"...yes, beliefs have changed, but if you check your facts, they have changed to be MORE in line with the Bible, instead of not-at-all, or further away (like adopting beliefs/customs/practices of the world in general to fit in)...One of the biggest arguments on here was that regarding 'loss of family' due to religious difference (holidays and other practices)...then all of those people must really be disgusted by Jesus words at Luke 12:49 I came to start a fire on the earth, and what more is there for me to wish if it has already been lighted? 50 Indeed, I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and how I am being distressed until it is finished! 51 Do YOU imagine I came to give peace on the earth? No, indeed, I tell YOU, but rather division. 52 For from now on there will be five in one house divided, three against two and two against three. 53 They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against [her] mother, mother-in-law against [her] daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against [her] mother-in-law.
But He did explain why that would happen at Matthew 10:36 Indeed, a mans enemies will be persons of his own household. 37 He that has greater affection for father or mother than for me is not worthy of me; and he that has greater affection for son or daughter than for me is not worthy of me.
But beautifully, while some people think Jesus is taking too long to return (yes we do believe that), but remember that He is sitting at the right hand of God (but according to some, he is sitting to the right hand of Himself?...)...so some feel God is taking too long to 'put all His enemies under His feet'...sometimes these split families come together in truth eventually (remember, even Jesus own brothers were not believers at first...it took time) so sometimes, in our human imperfection and impatience, we forget to see things through the eyes of Jehovah and Jesus...so the Apostle Peter gave us a loving reminder at 2 Peter 3:8 However, let this one fact not be escaping YOUR notice, beloved ones, that one day is with Jehovah as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day. 9 Jehovah is not slow respecting his promise, as some people consider slowness, but he is patient with YOU because he does not desire any to be destroyed but desires all to attain to repentance.
May our Savior Jesus and our Creator Jehovah bless the search for truth of each one of you. emails are welcome <email address deleted by MNHQ for privacy reasons>
I'm not a JW but can say that they do believe in Jesus Christ . The difference is they believe He is Jehovah (God)'s son but not that He is God.
quizzywizz I didn't post on this thread before but was lurking . I was wondering how you got on when you said you didn't want to continue. How are things with your colleague?
Id not go. I know what I believe (believe m I've worked it through) and I know I'd just get cross.
My dh might. He's much quicker off the mark with theology tan e.
It is sad to think that they present themselves as this perfect community where everyone loves each other and yet they still judge one another.
Ooooooh for some reason I assumed the overseer would be a woman!! I do ask a lot of questions but I don't know if I like being classed as a likely study. Guess they will have a surprise when I extract myself from future sessions!
The idea that you have to put in hours and hours door knocking and doing studies to get into heaven is unsettling. It would seem .... nicer? perhaps if they believed in grace based salvation and yet still believed enough to share their faith. Not that they are trying to ensure their own salvation.
If you don't join then they dump you because JWs aren't really allowed outside friends. If you do join, many witnesses remain close friends with the person who brought them into "the Truth", but like everywhere else, there is a lot of bitchiness and back biting in JW congregations especially over things like the number of hours they spend in the preaching work.
The overseer will be a man. Women aren't allowed positions of authority within JWs. He will be doing his twice yearly visit to the local congregation and will be coming along to you because your friend thinks that you are a likely study. All the questions might be seen as you trying to find out more about the Truth more quickly, iyswim. He'll also be seeing how she handles a study. A circuit overseer is kind of like a manager, he looks after about 20 or so congregations and spends his time travelling between them.
The whole logging of hours thing is so that the society can keep track of what each witness is doing. if you do less than a couple of hours a week you are considered "inactive" and therefore on the fringes of the congregation. You will be asked to bring up your hours. if you are a man, you won't be allowed any extra responsibilities unless you keep regular publishing hours. As I said before, it is a religion of very little grace. JWs belief that the preaching work is key to surviving Armageddon, so the more hours that you do, the better your chances of surviving, as long as everything else in your life tallies with what Jehovah commands. it's very much a works not grace faith.
Okay dokay so I decided that the last session would be the last one as I wanted to finish the chapter. (I am odd like that!) It just seems an odd religion all around to me - having to commit all those hours and recording time spent on conversations about God etc. with non-believers towards some monthly target. Seems a bit like a sales team to me.
Before I could mention it she said she had a really big surprise for me and that an "overseer" was coming to the area and she had arranged for her to come to my next study. She seemed really excited so I guess it gets her brownie points somewhere.
So the plan now is that Monday will be the last study. I will just let her know after the session as I don't really want to embarrass her in front of this overseer person. I wonder if I am being checked out by some higher up people as I tend to ask a lot of questions.
The fake friend thing is a little odd to me - do they just do that to draw you in the dump you if you do join or are they genuinely interested in the people doing studies?
Please don't even consider doing a Bible Study with the FUCKING JEHOVAH WITNESSES THEY ARE PURE EVIL THROUGH AND THROUGH. I did a Bible Study with one particular Jehovah woman and she let me down completely. She encouraged me to do the Bible Studies, introduced me to "brothers/sisters" of their 'cult' and took me to their meetings. Then she told me to tell my family or she wouldn't be able to continue to do the Bible Studies with me plus she said she would support me when I did. Well she didn't and left me to sort it out myself. Me and my husband almost split up because of the Jehovah Witnesses. She tried to convert me into her religion and let me down. I thought she was a friend but then she told me she wasn't a friend and she just wanted me to convert to her religion.
There're many ways or religions with their own look or interpretation on the bible.
If you'd like to have a study with the JW's, why not?
If you feel ok with it there's nothing wrong with it.
There're a lot of good, but also wrong people to be found among the JW's, same as with any other religious group or any group of people.
They're good, except they 'kick' JW's out of the group if they don't follow the rules. Then none of the other witnesses are allowed to have a chat or any form of contact with that other person. Even if it's someone of your own family or someone you've known for all your life.
Have a study with them, but I'd advice never to get baptized.
They also have some odd rules like don't celebrate birthdays. Yet the bible doesn't say it's not allowed to do that.
And they don't take or give blood. They don't celebrate Christmas, because it's coming from pagan celebration/rituals. But if you look into history almost everything has got his origin or is being influenced by pagan beliefs.
These rules change. There's a big difference between their rules now and when this religion started.
Some of mine friends are JW's and I've been doing a bible study with them and went to their meetings. I've met other witnesses there. Some are nice and some others just give me an uncomfortable feeling.
oh, Peaceful, your poor DH. Sadly his story is not uncommon.
Under the surface of any Jw is a hard, judgemental person. Congregations are full of judgement for those who leave, those who stay but aren't "strong enough in the truth", and other congregations. it all comes from never knowing if you've done enough to survive Armageddon and from the fear of having to measure even the minutiae of your life against impossible standards.
it's really hard to escape, partly because of the fear of Armageddon and of condemning your children to certain, awful death, and partly because the indoctrination goes so deep that life outside is really hard. Satan is everywhere don't you know, in the books you read, the songs you listen to, the cards you send, the jewelry you wear, the people you know, the places you go. It takes a long, long time to adjust and even years later, the thinking is still there somewhere.
as to their view of Jesus, they will not stop, OP, trying to convince you. They will do everything they can to bring you in. They are compelled to do so. I used to have a friend that devoted 125 hours a month minimum to preaching just so that she could avoid the blood guilt of not doing enough.
Please get out while you can.
If I get one thing right today, please let it be putting my 2-pence' worth into dissuading you from continuing with the JW Bible study group.
DP was raised a JW and although he has had no adult involvement with this group, it continues to cast a long and unpleasant shadow over our lives together, impacting in so many ways.
I've learnt to just live with the complete wierdness which permeates all aspects of dealing with his family (which we do as little as possible), and it really is a wonder that he isn't in more of a mess than he is, nearly 4 decades and a lifetime of therapy on.
My MiL and her friends in the congregation seem nice as pie and the close-knit feel of the group can appear quite attractive but scratch the surface and you find people who are so hard, judgemental and completely devoid of any real compassion. I will never forget listening to MiL and her JW friends talking about the kids DP grew up with, "in the Truth", whom have since left the congregation, and coldly dismissing the many personal tragedies which seemed to have befallen those now grown up kids as justified punishments by Jehovah for disassociating themselves with the faith, and hard but necessary lessons for their parents. What makes it so chilling is that they were talking about sufferers of mental illness, victims of domestic violence, cancer, depression, eating disorders and, shockingly, the very recent suicide of one of the sons of the women present in this way, all in absolute and terrifying agreement. No hint of empathy or sadness, only self-satisfied righteousness.
DP grew up under the constant threat of violence in the name of Jehovah; severe beatings for the smallest things were deemed the norm in their congregation. The indoctrination is second to none and runs so deeply that he is still able to "quote scripture" and skewed JW rhetoric with sickening accuracy and aplomb if asked.
Oh dear, I keep writing and re-writing this, because I find myself overwhelmed with the strength of my feelings about it. Please listen to Stressed and others who speak from experience and hindsight, and make your exit now. I am sure your colleague is lovely, but really, you owe her nothing. The very best of luck to you.
Having convinced yourself that 1. you disagree with them and 2. they want to convince you of something you disagree with, do you plan to keep going? I think it's good that you've tried it and can recognise their strategies. But I'm not sure what you'd get out of continuing to go, now you've given it a try. Either you'll continue to disagree with them, in which case you will be having to reach your own conclusions in some other way, or you'll find yourself starting to think they have a valid point.
To me, the definition of a Christian is someone who follows Jesus Christ (hence CHRIST-ian) . It sounds like JWs don't believe Jesus was "the Christ" so how can they be Christian?
It was interesting in a way to see what verses they used to back up their points - we were using the JW bible so I don't know if they are altered compared to normal Bible translations.
It was amusing that at the start I was asked if I thought that Jesus was God and I said yes. Then we read the chapter. Then at the end they expected me to completely change my mind based on their study book. To give up Jesus so easily!
quizzy, I think you do need to get out. I'm really glad there was a barrier. That said, to me, a Bible study specifically designed and set up to reject Jesus cannot be a safe or good place for a believing Christian.
Last night was alllllllllll about Jesus - or their version of Jesus.
The one who lived in heaven with God for billions of years before He (Jesus) created the heavens and earth and everything in it. The Jesus is less than God and that Jesus states this more than once.
They are very good at using Bible verses to back up all their points and in the way that they back each other up - seemed quite practised even the little comments.
It was strange as I expected to feel like I needed to get out of there as soon as possible but really I felt like there was a barrier between them and me and that their words weren't really getting to me.
I can really see how people end up getting deeper and deeper though as it is all presented as fact and the truth.
Yes, good point. Spidir are informal and are an 'ecumenical Christian network'.
I do like it when Christian groups work together. It gives me hope for the future.
It has been a good eye opener on Mumsnet to see at times that Christian from all different denominations can give sound advice and compassion. I really don;t mean that in a patronising way, I really think by pooling our resources and our care we can be a better force for good.
Thank you, IG.
Just popping back briefly to clarify that CLAY and the Mirfield Centre are both ecumenical, so it doesn't matter what church you belong to if you want to contact them.
Sorry seeker style Alpha style
BackOnlyBriefly sorry "...reading the Bible alone .... people do read
but it just as it is but if you have a version that contains a comentary it can explain some of the references etc and that can be helpful.
Tuo I think the idea of a spiritual director is brilliant. Well done. I have had a spiritual director for about three years and she is lovely and very wise, and yet manages to help me without actually telling me what to do! In fact the term 'director' can be a bit misleading because the person is a friend who listens and supports and yet often does not directly 'direct'!
For anyone interested in a spiritual director who is in the south east of England (including London) you could visit this website www.spidir.org.uk/finding-a-spiritual-director
quizzywizz please do let the local churches know you are interested in a seeker style Alpha style service. One of them may be able to provide that.
If you want to read the Bible there are lots of study guides to help you. There is a Christian book shop called Wesley Owen www.wesleyowen.com/
BackOnlyBriefly there is nothing wrong with reading the Bible aone but it can be quite hard going. It is a pretty old book and sometimes hard to understand. Lots of people do read it but it just as it is but if you have a version that contains a comentary it can explain some of the references etc and that can be helpful.
The "New Life" church sounds like a "charismatic" church if they're speaking in tongues regularly. Personally, I would avoid this type of church as I associate it with American-style right-wing fundamentalism. The C of E church could be what you're looking for but they do vary widely - only thing is to give it a try and see if it's up your street. The Methodist one sounds promising too, as at least they tried to start an Alpha course!
Thank you for the links - I will look into them! Around here the churches tend to be Sunday only or Sunday services with a couple of other meetings during work hours.
On a positive note the study is making me think more about what I believe and making me dig into the Bible to back up what I believe.
John 1 : 1 is different in the JW version - has a changed meaning so I can see how challenging them on who Jesus is based on the Bible would be tricky as they trust their version.
Last thing I want to do is cause issues with someone that I work with so hopefully there will be a tactful way around it!
Hello, quizzywizz... I don't have any direct experience of JWs (except the usual 'doorstep' experience) but would also urge caution. I think that there are other ways of getting the kind of support that you need.
For example, have you thought about getting a Spiritual Director? I have been thinking about this for a while, although I haven't quite been brave enough to do it yet. But this would be someone whom you could meet at a mutually convenient time, who'd listen to you and help you make sense of things at your own pace. You should be able to get contact details from your diocesan website. Here's one example, with some info about what spiritual direction involves, but if you're in a different Yorkshire diocese, then just look on your relevant website and there should be something similar.
I would also recommend CLAY (Christians Learning Across Yorkshire), and The Mirfield Centre. Mirfield runs full- and half-day courses at weekends, so even if you're not that local it might be feasible to get there for one day once in a while.
I was at a training course today and was reminded of this group which have an online presence but if you call them or email them they will be delighted to answer questions or put you in touch with someone who can.