The Dream Talk

dreamtalkLast night I dreamed that a persistent Witness, evidently newly converted, asked me to address his congregation at the next Service Meeting. He still believed that the Witnesses were open-minded, and I could tell that he was so thoroughly convinced that they had the “truth” that he envisioned them satisfactorily answering any questions I might pose.

I knew there was but a small chance that such a talk might actually transpire, but I thought I’d better prepare my talk just in case; it was an opportunity too golden to be ignored.

Unfortunately, I woke up at that point, leaving my conscious mind to struggle with the challenge.

So I sat down at the computer intending to write the talk. At first I was overwhelmed by the blank screen in front of me; the scope was so big. There would be no way to cover all the issues in the twenty minutes allotted. So I would have to focus on a few things and tie it into a single theme. Should I choose what was most important (e.g. blood transfusions, shunning, mind-control, pedophilia, the subjection of women, hatred of “the world” and apostates)? Or should I focus on what was most tenuously held: chopping away at the thinnest root first? Should I argue Biblical interpretations with them, or show them that such disputes were pointless since the Bible cannot be “God’s word”?

After a few minutes of such quandaries I told myself I was giving it too much thought, and that I should just pour out my heart. This is what I came up with:

Sisters and brothers, if I may still call you such; having labored together with you in service for many years, and having been privileged to serve at Bethel. I still feel a close affinity with you as people trying to live moral lives and reaching out in love to others. I have been asked to speak to you this evening about why I decided to no longer serve with you, and I thank you for this opportunity to do so. I hope this talk and others like it will help open a dialog between us and replace misunderstanding and hatred with understanding and love.

What initially attracted me to become a Witness was the idea of the truth. Here was a group of people evidently so loyal to truth that they would follow wherever it would lead them, even if that resulted in persecution or the loss of their lives. I saw them serving, not an Earthly master, but God himself and his representatives: not in the form of lordly overseers, but as ones who characterized themselves as mere slaves: faithful and discreet in God’s service.

Although I was invited to speak to you today, some of you may be wondering why you are sitting here about to hear the words of an “apostate.” Well, let me tell you why: the Watchtower has repeatedly published statements that encourage you to listen to criticism and to consider both sides of an argument. I will quote three such statements:

If you were on trial in a court of law, would it be fair if only your opponent was allowed to present evidence? No, you would surely want the court to hear your side of the matter …. Reasonable persons agree that the only fair method is to examine the evidence on both sides, both for and against a disputed theory. That is how one arrives at the truth.
(Awake! October 22, 1973 p. 6 – WBTS)


We need to examine, not only what we personally believe, but also what is taught by any religious organization with which we may be associated. If we are lovers of the truth, there is nothing to fear from such an examination.
(The Truth That Leads To Eternal Life, p. 13 – WBTS, 1968)


Every man should be persuaded in his own mind and no man should permit himself to be deterred from examining a question based upon the Bible because a clergy man or any one else makes the unsupported assertion that it is dangerous or unworthy of consideration. Error always seeks the dark, while truth is always enhanced by the light. Error never seeks to be investigated. Light always courts a thorough and complete investigation.
(Millions Now Living Will Never Die p. 13 – WBTS)

Don’t you just love those quotes? I know I do.
So let’s start the investigation the Society encourages us to embark upon.
And let’s start with something we can all agree on: There is wickedness in this world of ours. Daily we witness enough immoral actions to make our hearts sick. We often wonder how some individuals can become so depraved.

Let me tell you of one example. These are the actions of an army leader. Now we know that in war there is killing to be done, and as you know, the Bible even says there is a time to kill. But even those out in the world have recognized that there are “war crimes” where soldiers or their commanders have violated human decency by such actions as killing civilians or using undue force; burning crops; destroying damns; torturing prisoners; engaging in rape; enslaving the conquered populace, and so on.

Here’s the account:

The army commander ordered 12,000 of his troops to attack several cities. The soldiers successfully plundered all of the cities, killed every man there, and then burnt the cities to the ground after taking all of the women and children as prisoners of war.
When the commander heard about the prisoners he became very angry [you see: the looting, burning, and killing of civilians didn’t bother him; it was just the taking of prisoners that upset him.] So, he was angry with his men and ordered them to murder all of the women and children except for the virgin girls whom he allowed the soldiers to keep for themselves. The soldiers kept all but 32 of the 32,000 virgin girls. The remaining 32 of these virgin girls were sacrificed to the commander’s god.

I know: that is a shocking story, and one I probably shouldn’t have shared with children present. I hope it doesn’t lead to any bad dreams. But it’s important to look evil in the face and recognize it when we see it. And I think it’s safe to say that we can all agree that what this commander and his soldiers did was cruel, immoral, and wicked.

As an ironic side-note to this story, the commander in this account also claimed that God spoke to him, and he wrote down what he said. Would you be inclined to believe him and to accept what he wrote as God’s words? Do you think anything this commander wrote would be a good moral guidebook for our lives? Of course not!

But what if I told you the commander’s name was Moses, and the account I read is a summary of the Bible book of Numbers chapter 31? If that surprises you, I suggest you read that chapter when you get a chance.

The Watchtower accepts the view that Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible. That includes the all-important book of Genesis where the roots of the “ransom sacrifice” lie. If we just agreed not to value commander Moses’ writings as the word of god, then we’ve lost the foundation–indeed the very reason– for Christ’s ransom sacrifice. Without Genesis we’ve also lost the entire notion of God’s turning the world over to Satan until the “end times.” That means there are no “last days” and any organization claiming to be the “prophet” that has revealed the “finished mystery” of the “last days” will be, in a word: wrong, and certainly not our source for truth in this world.

So, what do we do now: without a faithful and discreet slave to lead us and tell us how to live our lives? To answer that, let’s turn in our Bibles to Luke chapter 12 and verse 57. I’m going to read that from the New International Version where we read Jesus’ words:

“Why do you not decide for yourselves what is right?”

Jesus’ parable of the faithful and wise servant was meant for all of us, not just the Governing Body. Right after the telling of all these parables his disciples asked him if what he said was meant just for them, or for the whole world. He answered:

“What I say to you, I say to everyone” –Mark 13:37

We all need to be faithful to our humanity and wise in our dealings. This was not a prophecy any more than the parable of the Good Samaritan was a prophecy. Rather, they were both illustrations of moral conduct for us all. Nowhere did Jesus ever intimate that there would ever be a group of men who would decide for everyone else what should be believed or what was right or wrong. I challenge any of you to show me such a Scripture. You can’t, because those who hold you in their power made it up in order to lord it over you.

Yes, sisters and brothers: you don’t need to be slaves of slaves a moment longer. We can stand on our own and use our inherent sense of empathy to determine what is right.

As soon as we start to do that, several things become obvious. One is that it is not right to shun our family members and friends for disagreeing with our views. Another is that it is not right to allow family members to die when medical care could save their lives. Yes, I’m talking about blood and platelets here. Finally, it is not right, under any circumstances, to let child molesters go unreported to the authorities.

If the soldiers under Moses’ command had decided for themselves what was right they wouldn’t have followed his order to murder boys and rape girls. If we, likewise, decide for ourselves what is right we will not follow the Governing Body’s orders to deny our children an education, shun them, ignore their cries for help, or withhold life-saving medical care.

Never forget that we are all human beings first, no matter what our religious affiliation. As humans we have certain moral responsibilities: duties to one another, for which there is no acceptable excuse for neglecting. Jesus said it best at John 13:34:

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

This would seem to be more important than anything else: the over-riding command. But, frankly, I have seen more love outside of the Kingdom Halls than inside. Love does not sit back and watch loved ones die needlessly. Nor does it shun those who question, nor does it fail to adequately protect the vulnerable.

If I could make one simple request of you all, my dear former sisters and brothers, it would be for you to pay more attention to Jesus’ commandment to love one another than to the Governing Body’s commandment to obey whatever they may say. Please conquer your fear of these men and their scare tactics so that you can take up your responsibilities as human beings on this planet by making your own decisions. Come back in tune with your inherent sense of empathy and abandon your slavish worship of the Governing Body and its rules that violate the spirit of love.

Thank you. I love you all {except for any child molesters who may be amongst you today.}


One thought on “The Dream Talk

  1. Loni Hull • 4 years ago
    That’s fantastic stuff. I’ll be forwarding it to my father, who is intelligent but completely addled by his devotion to JW beliefs. He thinks that because the world looks like it’s heading for the crapper (viewed in a certain light) that it must be proof of prophecy fulfilled, and that therefore the governing body(-snatchers) must be entirely right about everything. Perfect logic, right?

    When he last visited my sister’s children, I surprised him by walking in from the back room as he was attempting to indoctrinate his grand-daughters regarding the necessity of the ransom. After a lengthy discussion about the reliability and provenance of scripture, I looked him in the eye and said, “Dad, you know you’re probably the only person in our extended family who has any chance of bringing us all back together.

    “I had a dream, in fact, that you called a meeting of the Witness side of the family (almost equally divided; all raised JW, some never baptized, some now capable of seeing the failings of the organization) and admitted to them that you have been terribly misused and lied to, and that it is time to face the truth that the Bible is the faulty word of men. You told them it was time to put away hatred and reunite our family.”

    …to which he replied, “Don’t hold your breath.”

    I won’t, but I still love you, Dad.
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