Sunday, June 19, 2011

Two JW elders confronted

In this video, an atheist confronts two JW elders regarding the so-called "secret elder's manual."  If you want to know the background about this manual (the newest was recently released), a simple google search of "Watchtower elder's manual" should bring up some hits, as well as the option to download (do so at your own risk).  Or you could ask a JW in your local area, but you may get a blank stare.

I'm not advocating the atheist's approach, nor am I drawing a conclusion from this video.  I post it here for two reasons:

1. A video confrontation like this is extremely rare and i'm surprised these elders agreed to it.

2. For educational purposes.  Watch the full video and draw your own conclusions in the matter.

However you look at it, this was a very interesting encounter to say the least.  If these elders agreed to do an interview regarding this issue, I would very much enjoy the same 15 minutes to confront them about the Watchtower's "two-class theology."  If anyone has any ideas as to how I could approach some JW's regarding such an opportunity, please share your ideas.  I have no intention of embarrassing any JW, but to video-tape an interview whereby the viewer can listen to both sides interact and come to their own conclusions on the matter.


Anonymous said...

I don't think they knew they were being recorded. From what I understand, there is no way they would have agreed to to it. Very interesting video nonetheless.

Anonymous said...

Secondly, they didn't agree to sit down and talk about the "secret" elders manual. They sat down because this guy told them he wanted to learn about the Bible.

So by watching this particualr video you say "wow, these JW elders are such liars." And I can see this. But in perspective and in life, we don't have to tell everyone everything. The elder was close to lying (not sure why he felt it was that much of a secret because in general JW's know the elders have a book that is not shared with the congregation) but it seems he could see where the discussion had already ended up (with someone who had lied to him and his friend to get them there) and therefore refused to work with the athiest in proving his "point". Which is what? The JW's lie? The JW's are dumb? The JW's don't have truth?

If it takes a lie to prove someone is lying, who looks worse? Well, in this one sided video (and only one part of many), it's clear what Mike is intending.

Anonymous said...

Every JW knows about the Elders manual - that's no secret, hence it cannot be termed "SECRET LITERATURE) - many are aware it can be downloaded from apostate websites , most have no desire to read it, as its a guide to Elders on shepherding members of the congregation - I have no issue with that ,I also do not think this is unique to the WTBTS , all religions have literature and documents that are not freely distributed to the laity and that are restricted to the Clergy.I have read the book and I have to be honest was dissapointed as was expecting to find some really juicy big secret - was actually a bit of an anti climax instead and dont see what the big deal is - alot of fuss about nothing really.

The Apologetic Front said...

@anonymous #2

First, guys/girls, please make a pseudoname or something or leave your initials at the end of the post. It will be easier to distinguish who i'm speaking to.

I don't care what you call it. The information in the book is what is secret, not the book itself obviously. I think when its referred to as a "secret manual," that should be assumed. But I guess we can't make those assumptions for all people.

The problem I had with this interaction was the elder's beating around the bush. Why not just say, "Yes, we have a manual that we don't want anyone reading but the elders." And if they are pressed further, they could say, "I don't know why no one else can read it. Our governing body is God's sole channel of communication on earth today; so I am simply following their direction."

There is no reason to beat around the bush on this issue. But I think it speaks volumes as to how JW leadership operates. If JW's want to have books that they will not let anyone read, then that is their right. But its also my right to question it.

With regards to its policies and such, my church has nothing to hide. In fact, it doesn't even produce literature. What you see is what you get. We use the Bible, which seems to get us by just fine.

Kyle said...

I agree with alot of the points you make about the manual , from my discussions with Elders and what I do know about the Org is , there are so-called "sensitive issues" as opposed to "secret issues" dealing with a range of subjects in particular with the way Elders handle certain cases of wrong doing for example especially of a sexual nature and in the wrong hands could be taken out of context and possibly even become a stumbling block for certain ones depending on spiritual maturity, so I can understand from that perspective are correct however that all we need is Scripture , but then each one to his own ...the problem with the society is that all this literature just becomes wearisome to the soul and makes the Religion legalistic and so yes they will just keep digging a deeper hole for themselves ..what we need are fewer rules , more of Gods Spirit and a whole lot more love ...;-)

The Apologetic Front said...

Kyle, I agree with you in most of what you said. Unfortunately for JW's, I think their view on so-called "Bible based literature" has been their downfall. And I think this elder's manual is just one of many examples of this. And it's not that I'm against extra-biblical literature per se, but literature that should be read with absolute unquestionable obedience as coming from "God's sole channel of communication on earth today."

Anonymous said...

James the Preacher on YouTube uses only the Bible and it works pretty well for him.

exposingthecults is his name on YouTube. I would love to see these apologetics challenge him. Entertainment value would be great. James the Preacher witnessed to Batman on one of his videos. Amazing stuff.

JW's are easier though.

JW's bible based literature is their strongest tool. It helps get people who would be otherwise turned off to the Bible (from wonderful christians like, say, James the Preacher for example) to examine it a little closer. To see that it isn't what mainsteam christianity is. The Bible doesn't threaten hell. God doesn't take little babies from families to be in Heaven with him. The Bible doesn't say Jesus is one of three faces in a God-head. That God does not hate but desires all to be saved. Not the calvinist predestination, but by free will.

If not for the Watchtower you wouldn't have the freedom of speech on religion that you have now. James the Preacher wouldn't be able to talk out on the streets.

No other religion wants to do that though and that should make it clear enough who really try to follow Christ's steps.

Kyle said...

Mike I agree with you whole heartedly - Im not against extra biblical literature either , unless it is peddled as inspired or unquestionable truth as the WTS literature is ...I've had both good and bad experiences with the WTS , but I have had the same with some Evangelical Christian Churches I have fellowshipped with ..not sure if you are familiar with the New Frontiers Movement , lead by Terry Virgo who claims to be an Apostle as an example? In all honesty I'm so completely put off by religion . Fallen human nature it seems starts out with a noble cause, that ultimately becomes corrupt by the need for "power" and "authority" over the lives of others.

The Apologetic Front said...


So the solution to the "problem" is to produce extra-biblical literature and claim that all Christians worldwide should have absolute unquestionable submission to whatever is put in print?

And no other religion wants to do what? Fight for freedom of speech? Are you actually serious?

Kyle said...

@Anonymous , the irony is that the WTS is only interested in its own freedom. Once a person commits to the WTS their freedom is taken away , they can never again question the GB or WTS literature, have freedom of expression or individuality - they are robbed of all these freedoms , even when it comes to styles of dress, length of hair ,association these are all dictated by the Society - The reality is the WTS has become the very antithesis of what it's founder C.T Russell once stood for and intended for it to be.

Anonymous said...

Mike, JW's I would say produce less literature than they have in a long time.

The distribution of the Watchtower mag has been what has led to the battle of freedom of speech. If not for that mag we may not be talking right now, for a few different reasons.

The secret elders manual is only a problem for apostates and people like you Mike, who make mountains out of mole hills. Nobody in the Org is worried about this book or the major GB secrets it holds. Infact, for the most part, the things in the book are presented in KM's and Watchtower's from the past. All of which you can access via the Library.

I like on the video the JW Elder brought out that the book is copyrighted and the brilliant athiest didn't even understand what the Elder was talking about. Legally you cannot download the book without the consent of the copyright owner.

But I would imagine you have it downloaded, right Mike? Are you like Mark Hunter? Law doesn't apply to you?

One last thing for Kyle. Are you a Bible Student? You said, "WTS has become the very antithesis of what it's founder C.T Russell once stood for and intended for it to be."

To an extent, I agree with you. But I do believe the WTS is more like the Society under Russell than the broken up groups of the Bible Students today.

Russell left A. H. Macmillan in charge when he left on his last preaching campaign. It's interesting because Russell trusted him that much and confided in him that much and yet, Macmillan stayed with the Society, even realizing that Rutherford was the man to take charge. Yet, those other directors left because they didn't have the full power they thought they deserved. Johnson is the perfect example. The Society is not about one man. It is about one God.

The Apologetic Front said...


Again, are you seriously suggesting that JW's are the only ones who battle for free speech? But even if JW's are at the top of the list, so what? What if Mormons were more successful in fighting for free speech? Should this have any bearing on what is true?

If you think the elder's manual is a mountain of a mole hill, then fine. But just note that I am looking at the org from the outside and views hidden and suppressed information as noteworthy. And to be completely frank, if my church's leadership had secret policies held in "for elder's eyes only" books, I can assure you that I would be out the door in search of new believers to fellowship with.

Apparently, you do not take issues like these as seriously as I do, and that's ok. But after I read "Crisis of Conscience," I began to take "inside information" very seriously as it relates to the WT.

Kyle said...

@Anonymous, No I'm not a Bible Student , not yet anyway . I'm keeping an open mind as far as they are concerned, but deffinately have way more respect and admiration for them than I do the WTS as it is today .I've studied with the JW's on and off for a number of years , attended meetings and even became a publisher , visited a number of Bethel homes around the world - I have studied all the literature as I am a prolific reader and studied the organizations history in great depth, but from a variety of reliable sources and not just from the very biased WTS perspective. From your comments you are obviously very loyal to the org and I understand that , there was a time when I blindly accepted everything they said to, but when you take of the WTS rose tinted glassses and see things as they really are a different picture emerges as it has for me. The WTS has lost touch with is foundational roots. Have you read all 6 Studies in The Scripture ? Most JWs have never - and you will probably not even find the set in most KH libraries ,the WTS will not encourage they be read either , apart from perhaps Divine Plan of The Ages. Do yourself a favour if you can get your hands on the book "The New Creation" then please do and read it to see how far away the WTS has drifted from CT Russells vision of a restored New Testament Church . The truth is Rutherford hijacked the organisation and lead it into apostasy , taking all his followers with him , the WTS today has become another Religion and we all know that "religion is a snare and a racket"...

Anonymous said...

Kyle, thanks for your honesty. But I have to correct you. I don't just blindly accept the WTS view on everything. For instance, you talk about the history of the Org. I have read all sides of it. PSL Johnson's side, the Herald side, the Dawn side, WTS side and then Macmillan's side who I talked about before. I read his book Faith on the March and that's when I realized, 100% it was the truth. The other sides didn't add up. You can connect dots with WT history, '75 yearbook, with Divine Purpose, Proclaimers, even on the inside of the boxed set edition of the Divine Plan with Russell's bio. (I have all of Russell's books, including manna and his answer book and every KH I have been to has had most if not all of the SS books and WT 1879-1916) I mean, the real history is there. What are they hiding? Nothing.

The Bible Students are taught to believe what they want, basically. Which is fine. Russell didn't make them all believe him, but most did. But in reality, Russell did things that the Bible Students today are either unwilling or unable to do.

The WTS, when they see something, maybe a change has to be made, they make it. Despite all the negative outside stuff, they change.

The WTS has unity unmatched and unrivaled by all religions. Just watch a KH build. You cannot appreciate it if you haven't seen it. Go to a meeting in Mexico, different language, same teaching. They do the same preaching. No religion does it like JW's.

Mike, you go with all kinds of false information. Make wild claims about JW's and even C.T. Russell as does your Context Ministries "partner".

Are JW's the only ones to fight for free speech? No. Are they the ones who have made the biggest impact in the fight? Yes! Just look up Cantwell vs. Connecticut.

"When the civil rights of any one group are invaded, the rights of no other group are safe."

What exactly is your issue with the Elders book? You say I don't take it as seriously as you. You can question the idea of having a "secret" book, but what would be your question? If you want to see it so badly, just download it illegally. Oh wait, you did that already. What is your question again?

Kyle said...

Well anonymous., firstly do you have a name ?
I'm curious as to why you are hiding your identity , also why you are debating on this site as prolifically as you are ? My hunch is you have doubts about the org and are trying to convince yourself you have the truth ? I used to do the same . God works in mysterious ways and I get the impression you have a heart for God and for truth , and finding it is a process with the Holy Spirit working powerfully and imperceptibly , so keep an open mind , keep researchiing asking questions and see where it leads you is my advice .and I don't say any of the above to be patronising , it comes from the heart ...

The Apologetic Front said...


Please tell me very specifically what kind of "false information" i'm going with? If I have said something that is false in a blog or video, I will gladly take it down.

What problem do I have with the elder's book? Again, the suppression of information pertaining to organizational policies. The fact that I would hold my own local church to the same standard should say something as to how seriously I take things like this. As I stated before, if it weren't for books like Crisis of Conscience, I probably wouldn't have been the least bit concerned with such things as the Elder's manual.

Steve Finnell said...

you are invited to follow my blog

Anonymous said...

Nice Mike, found you here from YT! I find this guy in the vid really interesting or should I say, interrogating :D
I dont know much about Jehovah's Witnesses as it is, altho there is a couple at Church that witnesses to them! So I've been interested to learn more from them. My experience w/ two of them once was that when I told them I was a Christian, they said, "well we believe in God and Jesus too, but not his deity", so for me that was the first problem they need to correct. They clearly did not believe Jesus was fully God and fully man.. Nice catch on this vid!

tao~itness said...

If they think they can keep this info from those who want it they are deluding themselves.R&F members who are in fear(or is it afraid )of "jehovah"or revere the g.b wont read it. Personally I have come to the conclution that it motivates ones that want to feel special to reach out for eldership. They are already special being the only group to be saved through the trib. The only ones to have the "ultimate truth". But if these type of insecure men can now be"extra special"(church lady ref. intended). I'm not saying it will motivate true lovers of God,which seem to with time & maturity slow down their enthusiasm when exposed to the underbelly of tne org. However the ones that at heart need to fill the empty gap of insecurity & lack of true spitituallity are the ones who stay busy trying to 0feel special. They love being on judicial commitees,"shepherding" calls,(spying,digging up dirt,etc.) They are wanting to be the first to get new light org.inside secret info that they leak(eg.angels protect sis from rape)

tao~itness said...

...(continued)...(The whole smurf thing,demonised thrift store items,all sorts of stories proving Divine intervention, stuff fhe g.b & other higher ups can't/wont put through official channels for lack of evdence)but these type of elders get it from some "credible source"d.o,p.o,g.b another extra special elder so it gets gleefully passed around, yet in hushed &reverent tones. Again making the j.w feel special. The j.w feels they are in spiritual warfare & under divine protection. It's heady stuff and makes them feel insulated,special, if you will. SO insulated that no one outside would understand. SO when confronted with a direct question,eg.are you here to covert me? Does your religion have a secret manual for elders? etc. They employ theocratic warfare(avoid, sidestep,redirect or outright lie! See theocratic warfare "insight on the scriptures"published by wtb&t society(j.dubs).... As King David said"The heart is trecherous,who can know it?!" sidethought ,In 1919 what did jesus think about Christadelphians?

tao~itness said...

how come my comments keep getting removed?

tao~itness said...

If the g.b thinks this manual will be kept secret they are deluded.However I have come to believe there is another motive. Now perhaps they fear stumbling weaker ones in the faith however it serves another purpose wheather overtltly, subvertly or perhaps subcontiously among some or all of g.b members or other higerups. Witnesses feel special that they have inside info the rest of the world does not have not to mention being the only ones to know God&be saved thru the trib.For some its secondary to love of OurFather for others it is #1 motivator filling deep insecurities,attaining to elder w/ inside info apart from r&f makes them"extra special"(church lady ref. intended)Now for those elders that love God,they tend to slow down after yrs. of being exposed to the underbelly of the org.Not so with those men that reach out to feel extra special.They want to be on every j.c., make shepherding calls(spy)they love to spout insider propaganda(eg.smurfs,the sis saved from rapist by angels etc.)in hushed&reverent tones.