The Kingdom Ministry (an official internal publication for Jehovah's Witnesses) for September 2007 has clamped down on a number of activities being pursued by individual Jehovah's Witnesses that are viewed as unacceptable by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. The following are condemned as not endorsed in this edition of Kingdom Ministry:
View the whole article for yourself here:
Incredibly, the Watchtower has always been quick to condemn other religions and individuals who do the very same things as mentioned in the Kingdom Ministry article, as the examples below show.
A Watchtower magazine argued that the Catholic Church has such a hold on the Irish people that they are fearful of independent thinking!:
"Fear has a great hold on the people. People are afraid of what their neighbors, their friends, relatives and clergy might think if they were even so much as to read the Bible on their own. For centuries the clergy have dominated their lives, told them what they can read, what they should believe and do. To ask a sound religious question is a demonstration of lack of faith in God and the church, according to the clergy. As a result, the Irish people do very little independent thinking. They are victims of the clergy and fear; but freedom is in sight." (The Watchtower, August 1, 1958, p. 460).Other examples (From the Watchtower CD Rom):
In April further clergy-inspired attempts to intimidate these preachers of the Kingdom message occurred. On April 15, 1918, however, Kingdom News No. 2 appeared, being distributed by the millions of copies, with bold headlines: “The Finished Mystery and Why Suppressed—Clergymen Take a Hand.” The facts of suppression in Canada and the United States up to April 15 were laid bare to the public, exposing the clergy’s efforts to destroy the Society’s activity. In connection with such distribution a petition was circulated, addressed to United States President Wilson: “We, the undersigned Americans, hold that any interference by the clergy with independent Bible study is intolerant, un-American and un-Christian; and that any attempt to combine Church and State is radically wrong. In the interest of liberty and religious freedom, we solemnly protest against the suppression of The Finished Mystery, and petition the Government to remove all restrictions as to its use, that the people may be permitted without interference or molestation to buy, sell, have and read this aid to Bible study.” (*** w55 4/15 p. 237 Part 8-International Attempt to Destroy Society Fails ***)
Their stressing the need for Bible study was in line with the apostle Paul’s counsel: "Make sure of all things." (1 Thessalonians 5:21) Personal Bible study taught Jacobus Arminius and others that some long-held religious doctrines and practices were not based on the Bible at all. When they realized this, they had the courage to differ with established religion. Would you have done the same? (*** w99 4/15 p. 27 The Collegiants-Bible Study Made Them Different ***)Ironically, it was exactly through small independent Bible study groups that the founder of Jehovah's Witnesses, Charles Taze Russel, began the movement which was to become the Watchtower organisation of today!:
It was an event of historical dimensions when Russell-together with other truth-loving men and women-started an independent Bible study in the 1870’s. Between 1870 and 1875, however, they were “merely getting the outlines of God’s Plan and unlearning many cherished errors, the time for the clear discernment of the minutia not having fully come,” as Russell later wrote. But the following years became milestones in restoration of original Christian standards. (*** w87 9/15 p. 29 Is Religious History of Any Benefit to You? ***)
Should anyone have the right to tell us not to do independent study of the Bible, or a study of the original languages of Hebrew and Greek? Surely, in depth studies of the Bible can only benefit an individual a group. To insist that the Bible can only be studied through the literature or control of a religious organisation is reminiscent of the control that the medieval Catholic Church had in the dark ages over the common man and woman, by insisting that it could only be understood through the Church or a priest.
In contrast, the Bible commends those who embark upon a careful study of the Scriptures (not a religious book or literature about, the Scriptures) and calls them "noble-minded."
Immediately by night the brothers sent both Paul and Silas out to Be•roe´a, and these, upon arriving, went into the synagogue of the Jews. Now the latter were more noble-minded than those in Thes•sa•lo•ni´ca, for they received the word with the greatest eagerness of mind, carefully examining the Scriptures daily as to whether these things were so. (Acts 17:10-11, NWT)
Similarly, when Jehovah spoke to Joshua before he was to lead the people into the promised land, was he told to read God's Word or/and a book about God's Word? What would be the result of what he did read?:
“Only be courageous and very strong to take care to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn aside from it to the right or to the left, in order that you may act wisely everywhere you go. This book of the law should not depart from your mouth, and you must in an undertone read in it day and night, in order that you may take care to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way successful and then you will act wisely. (Joshua 1:7-8)Should we therefore read the Word of God or the word of man about the Word of God? The former will never lead us astray but history has shown that the latter is not a good guide.
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