The June 2020 Watchtower has a couple of articles that are intended to help elders assist inactive JW’s return to the congregation. This is surely an ongoing trend— the exodus, that is. It is not possible to say with certainty how many have already left the organization. Quite likely it is hundreds of thousands. Perhaps millions. And considering the many persons who have studied and wanted to commit, but who have been stumbled or even prevented from becoming baptized as Jehovah’s Witnesses, the numbers are huge.
The Watchtower article offers a few reasons why JW’s may become inactive. Some become absorbed in secular work. Some are overwhelmed by personal problems. Some have difficulties with fellow believers. And others get tangled up in sin and develop a guilty conscience. No doubt, that is true for some. There is another factor, though. There is an overriding problem that the Governing Body refuses to acknowledge.
But the truth is, the main reason Jehovah’s Witnesses are leaving in droves is because of the Watchtower itself— more specifically, because of the shocking hypocrisy and treachery of the leadership of the organization. It is true, some may become absorbed in secular work or be weighed down with personal problems, but when JW’s become aware of the hypocrisy and double-dealing of those whom they had implicitly trusted to be their unfailing spiritual guides, their trust in the so-called faithful and discreet slave is shattered and every other burden then becomes unbearable.
So, until the Governing Body addresses the underlying issue they will not be able to speak with any credibility. Nor will they be able to persuade the sickened sheep to return to the shepherds they no longer trust.
As far back as 2004, I implored the Governing Body in a widely distributed open letter to consider making a heartfelt apology for having duped JW’s into distributing literature aggrandizing the United Nations and for the deplorable way they had treated sexual abuse victims. Their response was predictable. I was disfellowshipped for having the temerity to suggest that the exalted leaders of Jehovah’s visible organization had any reason to say “we are sorry.”
In actuality, we are witnessing the fulfillment of prophecy: “For from the least to the greatest, each one is making dishonest gain; from the prophet to the priest, each one is practicing fraud. And they try to heal the breakdown of my people lightly, saying, ‘There is peace! There is peace!’ When there is no peace.” — Jeremiah 6:13-14
Jehovah’s Witnesses claim to be God’s people, do they not? I certainly believe they are. And what the organization is experiencing is a breakdown of spirituality. As Jehovah acknowledged, the appointed men are trying to heal the breakdown of His people lightly. That describes exactly what is reflected in the Watchtower’s anemic call for the sickened sheep to return.
The organization’s prophets and priests are practicing fraud. They claim that all is well, that there is peace with God. They fraudulently claim that Christ came in 1914 and that in 1918 the messenger of the covenant cleansed God’s people and make them as pure as refined gold and ushered them into spiritual paradise. They continually exalt themselves as the sole-explainers of prophecy. They take no responsibility whatsoever for stumbling God’s people.
Instead of humbly seeking forgiveness they demand to be treated as kings— even exploiting thousands of free laborers in order to construct a grand palace for themselves in the secluded woods— far away from the plague-infested city. No wonder they list their residence as Kings Drive.
They use the sacred funds donated for the ministry as if it were their private hedge fund. They sell off dedicated real estate to the highest bidder and flip kingdom halls for cash— evicting the congregants who build them with their own hands. They really have become a cave of robbers. And Jehovah has seen it: “‘Has this house that bears my name become a cave of robbers in your eyes? Here I have seen it for myself,’ declares Jehovah.” — Jeremiah 7:11
How true, Jehovah’s prescient observation: “Do they feel ashamed of the detestable things they have done? They feel no shame at all! They do not even know how to feel humiliated! So they will fall among the fallen. When I bring punishment on them they will stumble,” says Jehovah. — Jeremiah 6:15
In the last days of Jerusalem, King Jehoiakim undertook to build a lavish new palace for himself— just as have the Governing Body. Jeremiah was inspired to denounce the wicked king, saying to him: “Woe to the one who builds his house without righteousness and his upper rooms without justice, who makes his fellow man serve him for nothing, whose wages he refuses to pay; the one saying, ‘I will build for myself a roomy house with spacious upper rooms. I will fit it with windows and panel it with cedar and paint it with vermilion.’ Will you continue reigning because you outdo others in your use of cedar? Your father (King Josiah) also ate and drank, but he upheld justice and righteousness, and it went well with him. He defended the legal claim of the afflicted one and the poor one, so that it went well. ‘Is that not what it means to know me?’ declares Jehovah. ‘But your eyes and heart are set only on your dishonest gain, on shedding innocent blood, and on committing fraud and extortion.’” — Jeremiah 22
What an amazing parallel. The leaders of Jehovah’s Witnesses have similarly refused to uphold justice. Shockingly, they have repudiated Christianity itself by becoming the legal adversaries of Jehovah’s tender lambs who were sexually abused by cunning predators who are free to prowl in “spiritual paradise.” Like wicked Jehoiakim, the Governing Body has exploited God’s people, making them serve them for nothing, using them as their private construction company to build for themselves a “roomy house with spacious upper rooms” with lakefront views.
Back in 2014, when I ill-advisedly put the Watchtower on notice that their proposed Warwick project would not be completed, I had not taken into consideration the Jehoiakim parallel. I mistakenly assumed that the leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses had already filled up the full measure of their sin back then. How very wrong I was!
Leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem the false prophets assured the Jews that God would not allow Babylon to ruin the city. After all, Jehovah’s angel had wiped out the entire Assyrian army when they attempted to take the city. Surely Jehovah would protect the city where his temple was located. But this time was different. That is why Jehovah spoke through Jeremiah to tell the Jews: “Reform your ways and your actions, and I will allow you to keep residing in this place. Do not put your trust in deceptive words and say, ‘This is the temple of Jehovah, the temple of Jehovah, the temple of Jehovah!’”
Simply substitute “Jehovah’s organization” for “temple of Jehovah” and you can immediately get the sense of it. Who can deny that Jehovah’s Witnesses have put their implicit trust in the permanence of what the Watchtower calls “Jehovah’s earthly organization”?
Tragically, though, Jerusalem’s prophets were wrong. Jeremiah was right. Babylon destroyed Jerusalem and obliterated the temple.
Concerning the Watchtower, it once claimed to be the voice of a so-called Jeremiah-class. It used to claim that it had announced Jehovah’s judgments against Christendom— because Christendom is the antitypical Jerusalem that is destined to be destroyed. Now, though, Bethel’s prophets have changed their tune. Jerusalem no longer foreshadows Christendom. Although they apparently haven’t thought it through, that would mean that the Watchtower is not the Jeremiah class, nor have they been announcing Jehovah’s judgments on Christendom.
What, then, does Jerusalem represent? They don’t say. The implication is it doesn’t symbolize anything. There is no modern counterpart. But how can that be? The central feature of Jesus’ far-reaching prophecy concerning the conclusion of the system and his parousia has to do with the desolation of Jerusalem.
What do the organization’s seers envision for the future? Over and over the Watchtower claims that the tribulation will begin when the beast turns upon Babylon the Great. Although there is no scriptural support for that timing in Revelation, the Watchtower bases that assumption on the fact that Jesus indicated that the desolation of Jerusalem will be during the great tribulation. So, contradicting their own interpretation, Jerusalem does represent Christendom according to the confused seers. If that were true though, why would it be necessary for Jesus’ disciples to flee out of the midst of Jerusalem when they see the disgusting thing standing in a holy place?
The Jews really had no basis for supposing Jeremiah was a false prophet. The reason being, Nebuchadnezzar had already subjugated Jerusalem. He had already taken the royals and skilled craftsmen to Babylon along some booty. Jehovah mercifully gave the Jews more time to repent.
Is there a modern parallel? Yes, there is. The Governing Body has been quite vocal in declaring that God has set them on high and that the enemy cannot suppress them. They have already been set free from Babylon and false religion has no power to interfere with their restoration of pure worship worldwide. Well, that vain boast is simply not true. Since the collapse of the USSR Jehovah’s Witnesses emerged from underground and had been quite visible. That is why it came as quite a shock when the Russian Orthodox Church in conjunction with the devout Orthodox leader of Russia, Vladimir Putin, completely and totally shut down the work of Jehovah’s Witnesses in that vast country. The Society’s properties, including the newly-built branch office in St. Petersburg, have been liquidated. Many of Jehovah’s Witnesses have fled Russia to avoid prosecution— seeking asylum in nearby Finland and other countries.
One would think that with the stunning turn of events in Russia that humble Christians would modestly reevaluate their position before God. Not so with the leaders of the Watchtower. They stubbornly brag that no power on earth can stand in their way as they march on to theocratic victory. They will persecute anyone who questions their pronouncements. Truly, it is as Jehovah said: “All of them are the most stubborn men, walking about as slanderers. They are like copper and iron; all of them are corrupt.” — Jeremiah 6:28
Just as Jehoiakim was killed and his body thrown out of the gates of the city— unburied, so too, Jehovah’s onrushing judgment will result in the wicked slave being thrown out into the outer darkness where he will weep and gnash his teeth.
No, the Watchtower will never regather God’s sickened and scattered sheep. Quite the contrary, all will be scattered when God unleashes the tempest from out of the north and God will hold his shepherds responsible. Hear the word of Jehovah: “Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!” declares Jehovah. Therefore this is what Jehovah the God of Israel says against the shepherds who are shepherding my people: “You have scattered my sheep; you kept dispersing them, and you have not turned your attention to them. So I will turn my attention to you because of your evil deeds,” declares Jehovah. “Then I will gather together the remnant of my sheep from all the lands to which I have dispersed them, and I will bring them back to their pasture, and they will be fruitful and become many. And I will raise up over them shepherds who will really shepherd them. They will no longer be afraid or be terrified, and none will be missing,” declares Jehovah. “Look! The days are coming,” declares Jehovah, “when I will raise up to David a righteous sprout. And a king will reign and show insight and uphold justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will reside in security. And this is the name by which he will be called: Jehovah Is Our Righteousness.” — Jeremiah 23
The blind seers have long perpetrated the fraud that the greater David has already come. They claim that the organization is accomplishing the foretold gathering of the remnant of lost sheep. What they refuse to accept is that the ingathering takes place in the aftermath of the destruction of Jerusalem. In the grander scheme, Jerusalem represents Christ’s congregation. Indeed, it is the place where Jehovah has caused his name to reside. It is the holy place destined to be desolated by the disgusting thing.
In all probability, the storm is even now gathering. The great crash from out of the north has been set into motion. When Jesus instructed his disciples to flee from Jerusalem and Judea when the critical time arrived he was echoing the words of the prophecy of Jeremiah: “Take shelter, O sons of Benjamin, away from Jerusalem. Blow the horn in Tekoa; light a fire signal over Bethhaccherem! For a calamity looms from the north, a great disaster.”