How to Rescue
Your Loved One
from the

an online guide
to helping
Jehovah's Witnesses
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How to Rescue Your Loved One from the Watchtower 2010 edition
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"Rescue" from a Religion?
Don't Delay--Act Today!
Overall Strategy
Techniques that Work
Tools to Use
Step by Step
God's "Prophet"
A Changing "Channel"
Doctoring Medical Doctrines
Strange Ideas Taught in God's Name
"God's Visible Organization"
Providing an Alternative
Can This Marriage Be Saved?
When Children Are Involved
Warning: The Life You Save May Be Your Own
Afterwork: Gradual Rehabilitation
Appendix: Resources & Support Groups

How to Rescue Your Loved One from the Watchtower
Home | Preface | Introduction | "Rescue" from a Religion? | Don't Delay--Act Today! | Overall Strategy | Techniques that Work | Tools to Use | Step by Step | God's "Prophet" | A Changing "Channel" | Doctoring Medical Doctrines | Strange Ideas Taught in God's Name | "God's Visible Organization" | Providing an Alternative | Can This Marriage Be Saved? | When Children Are Involved | Warning: The Life You Save May Be Your Own | Afterwork: Gradual Rehabilitation | Appendix: Resources & Support Groups
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Chapter 8
A Changing “Channel”

While a prophet is often thought of as one who tells the future, a more general meaning can include the thought of being a divine spokesman or mouthpiece. The Watchtower Society claims this role for itself, too, and in fact asserts that it is the sole and exclusive channel of communication that God is using:


 … Jehovah God has also provided his visible organization, his “faithful and discreet slave,” made up of spirit-anointed ones.… Unless we are in touch with this channel of communication that God is using, we will not progress along the road to life, no matter how much Bible reading we do.… (The Watchtower, 12/1/81, p. 27)



Many religious groups change their doctrines and practices, to some extent, over the years. This is inevitable, in part, because the surrounding social, political and cultural influences do not remain the same, and in part because new leaders within the sect see things differently. But the Watchtower Society claims that its changes in belief and practice result, not from such mundane forces, but from God Himself providing “new light” or “new truths” through His “channel of communication.” Thus Witnesses are always reminded to “move ahead with Jehovah’s organization” (The Watchtower, 6/1/67, p. 335).

If the Watchtower Society were really God’s channel, the sort of changes it would undergo would be different from those of “worldly” organizations. For example, there would not be the sort of back-and-forth policy shifts that we see in civil government when a Democratic administration is voted out in favor of a Republican administration, only to be followed again in a few years by another Democratic administration. Instead there would always be forward progress in the general direction of closer conformity to God’s will. And God would not reveal through his channel any “new truths” that contradict “truths” he revealed yesterday.

The Watchtower acknowledges these proper expectations. Long ago it said:


If we were following a man undoubtedly it would be different with us; undoubtedly one human idea would contradict another and that which was light one or two or six years ago would be regarded as darkness now; But with God there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning, and so it is with truth; any knowledge or light coming from God must be like its author. A new view of truth never can contradict a former truth. “New light” never extinguishes older “light,” but adds to it.… (Zion’s Watch Tower, February, 1881, p. 3—shown here as page 188 in a bound volume of reprints compiled in 1920)

And yet, the organization has in fact done just what it said should not be done: it has introduced many “new truths” that contradicted what it had earlier been proclaiming as “truth.” An outstanding example of this is found in the teachings on the Great Pyramid of Egypt.

For nearly fifty years, from 1879 through 1928, the Watchtower Society taught that the Pyramid was “God’s stone Witness and Prophet,” inspired much like the Bible, and an object to be studied by Christians to gain knowledge of future events. Thus, the book Thy Kingdom Come (Studies in the Scriptures, vol. III), published by the Society in 1891, features numerous diagrams of pyramid chambers and passageways, along with their measurements. Pyramid inches are translated into calendar years in a complex timetable of the “Divine plan.” Chapter 10 of this book is titled “The Testimony of God’s Stone Witness and Prophet, the Great Pyramid in Egypt” (p. 313, edition of 1903). It says:


 … the Great Pyramid … seems in a remarkable manner to teach, in harmony with all the prophets, an outline of the plan of God, past, present, and future … (p. 314)



Some might wish to pass off this devotion to the pyramid as a quirk of the Society’s founder and first president, Charles Taze Russell. However, years after Russell’s death in 1916 and well into the 1920s the organization continued to teach that God designed the Great Pyramid:


In the passages of the Great Pyramid of Gizeh the agreement of one or two measurements with the present-truth chronology might seem accidental, but the correspondency of dozens of measurements proves that the same God designed both pyramid and plan … (The Watchtower, 6/5/22, p. 187)

The great Pyramid of Egypt, standing as a silent and inanimate witness of the Lord, is a messenger; and its testimony speaks with great eloquence concerning the divine plan … (The Watchtower, 5/15/25, p. 148)


But then, in 1928, the Society completely reversed its teaching on the pyramid, now calling it “Satan’s Bible” and declaring that persons following pyramid teachings were “not following after Christ”:

If the pyramid is not mentioned in the Bible, then following its teachings is being led by vain philosophy and false science and not following after Christ (The Watchtower, 11/15/28, p. 341).

It is more reasonable to conclude that the great pyramid of Gizeh, as well as the other pyramids thereabout, also the sphinx, were built by the rulers of Egypt and under the direction of Satan the Devil.… Then Satan put his knowledge in dead stone, which may be called Satan’s Bible, and not God’s stone witness … (The Watchtower, 11/15/28, p. 344).





First it was designed by God; then, by the devil. First it was God’s witness and prophet; then, Satan’s Bible. What more dramatic example could there be of a “new truth” that contradicted prior teachings? In fact, if what The Watchtower said in 1928 was correct, then much of what it had been teaching for the preceding fifty years had been taken from “Satan’s Bible” and communicated by people who were “not following after Christ.” Was it truly God’s channel of communication during that time, or the devil’s?

In order to excuse a number of such doctrinal reversals over the years, Jehovah’s Witnesses will often turn in their Bibles to Proverbs 4:18 and read, “But the path of the righteous ones is like the bright light that is getting lighter and lighter until the day is firmly established” (nwt). Since the changes indicate that their “light” is getting “brighter,” they see this as evidence that they are the “righteous ones,” that is, God’s chosen channel.

However, what if, after the “light” has gotten “brighter,” the organization then returns to the darkness it had been in before? What if it returns to a teaching that had previously been rejected in favor of “new light”? The Watchtower Society has done this very thing on a number of occasions. One that older Witnesses alive today should remember involves the significance of Romans 13:1—“Let every soul be in subjection to the superior authorities … ” (nwt). To whom should everyone be in subjection? Around the time of World War I the teaching was that the superior authorities were the earthly political governments. Later this was rejected in favor of a “new truth”, namely, that the superior authorities were “Jehovah God and Christ Jesus” (“Make Sure of All Things”, 1953 edition, p. 369). During the 1950s, Jehovah’s Witnesses looked back at the prior teaching and said:


When the Society began to be freed for further preaching work following World War I, they soon realized that they had been held in spiritual bondage too in many ways. There were many false doctrines and practices that had not yet been cleaned out of the organization.… With considerable misunderstanding they had accepted earthly political governments as the “superior authorities” that God had ordained according to Romans 13:1 … particularly the civil rulers.… (Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Divine Purpose, 1959, p. 91)





This “false doctrine” had been “cleaned out of the organization” by the 1950s, but in the 1960s it was reintroduced: “Who are the ‘superior authorities’ to whom Christians are to be in subjection? The duly constituted political governments of this world” (The Watchtower, 1/1/63, p. 31).



To help your JW loved one see the seriousness of such back-and-forth doctrinal changes, you might intersperse the discussion with questions such as:

If you had been a Witness at that time, what response would have been expected from you when the Society reversed its teaching?

Would you have been put on trial and disfellowshiped if you failed to change your mind when the leaders changed theirs?

Were some people back then expelled for believing what the Society later took up teaching again?

When the Society again taught the formerly rejected view as “truth,” did it welcome back the men and women who held to that “truth” all along, but who had been disfellowshiped for believing it during the time the Society was teaching differently?

If you or I were to vacillate doctrinally in this way on our own, changing our mind back and forth as to what we believed, it could be blamed on “human nature” or chalked up to experience as part of our spiritual growth. But if a group claiming to be God’s mouthpiece engages in doctrinal flip-flops, those actions seriously undermine the validity of its pretensions. Has the Watchtower Society negated its claim to be God’s “channel of communication” by some of the messages it has communicated? With others in mind, The Watchtower of May 15, 1976, made this observation:


It is a serious matter to represent God and Christ in one way, then find that our understanding of the major teachings and fundamental doctrines of the Scriptures was in error, and then after that, to go back to the very doctrines that, by years of study, we had thoroughly determined to be in error. Christians cannot be vacillating—wishy-washy—about such fundamental teachings. What confidence can one put in the sincerity or judgment of such persons? (p. 298 ).




Not only has the Watchtower Society shown itself capable of going back to doctrines that it had “thoroughly determined to be in error,” but there are even cases of the organization flip-flopping back and forth on the same issue a number of times. A prime example of this is the question of whether or not the men of Sodom and Gomorrah will be resurrected. The official teaching on this from ‘God’s channel’ goes back and forth like this:


Yes -  July, 1879 Watch Tower, p. 8                   

No -  June 1, 1952 Watchtower, p. 338

Yes  - August 1, 1965 Watchtower, p. 479

No  - June 1, 1988 Watchtower, p. 31









At a time when a few dissenters left the group, calling attention to many such doctrinal flip-flops over the years, the Watchtower sought to defend itself, as follows:


 … At times explanations given by Jehovah’s visible organization have shown adjustments, seemingly to previous points of view. But this has not actually been the case. This might be compared to what is known in navigational circles as “tacking.” By maneuvering the sails the sailors can cause a ship to go from right to left, back and forth, but all the time making progress toward their destination in spite of contrary winds … (The Watchtower, 12/1/81, p. 27)




Next to this denial of any adjustments back to “previous points of view” the magazine featured an illustration of a sailboat traveling in a zig-zag course. But, as we have seen above, the Society has actually returned to previous points of view, and then abandoned them again. Instead of their “light” getting “brighter,” it has actually been blinking on and off. Rather than “tacking into the wind,” a more accurate description would be that given in their New World Translation of the Bible at Ephesians 4:14, “ … tossed about as by waves and carried hither and thither by every wind of teaching by means of the trickery of men, by means of cunning in contriving error.” The Living Bible paraphrases it this way: “ … forever changing our minds about what we believe because someone has told us something different, or has cleverly lied to us and made the lie sound like the truth.”

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