- Religion and Philosophy
The Watchtower: Delaying Your Personal Happiness One Day at a Time
"For over a century, delightful, correct words of truth covering every aspect of life have been presented in the Watch Tower Society's publications .." - Watchtower December 15th, 1990 pg. 26
For well over a century, the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society have been claiming to be God's personal representatives on the earth. As stated above, their advice, counsel and words are said to be 'truth.' Indeed, they have gone out of their way to comment, give direction and even enforce their perception of "correct words of truth" covering EVERY aspect of life" on their members.
Aside from the fact that literally hundreds of their teachings have been changed, warped and discarded....(for proof, start here), proving they have NOT been printing 'correct words of truth'..... the Bible itself is largely silent on the majority of matters in life. The Bible doesn't comment on whether or not a person should celebrate birthdays, watch certain movies, play school sports or go to college. Yet, the Watchtower Society has commented on all such matters and many, many more. While some will point to verses or principles found within the pages of the Bible, God Himself has been largely silent on most personal decisions a person will face. One quick glance into the Bible and a person will note that a person's loyalty to God is measured in each of our decisions and actions.
While some may easily dismiss the Governing Body's 'pervasive 'control' over the 7 million people now claiming to be Jehovah's Witnesses, one doesn't have to look far to see the massive damage this has done to countless generations.
Nowhere has this been more evident than their constant reminder that each of us should delay our happiness.
Happiness is Coming! Or is it?
Most people will agree that certain aspects of life are vital for a person to experience happiness. Having children, feeling the sense of accomplishment in career or hobby, giving to others, etc. are all things most any person would list if asked what has brought them happiness.
Imagine that such things are not only discouraged, but highly frowned upon by those you view as God's messenger.
The message from the Society's publications, meetings and conventions has always been very consistent:"the end is near, now is a time to preach, not be happy. Happiness comes later." At their very best, the Governing Body works diligently to 'encourage' people to feel happy in doing 'God's work'...namely, the mundane task of preaching the Society's message door to door.
Starting with Charles Taze Russell and continuing up to the 2013 Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses, the Watchtower reader is constantly reminded that happiness is not meant to be experienced today, but rather, in the future.
Consider some examples. From the very beginning of the organization, delaying your desire for a family, a career or general well being....your very happiness, was expected.
"There is no reasonable or scriptural injunction to bring children into the world before Armageddon, where we are now." - Watchtower November 1 1938 p. 324
"A great crowd of people are confidant that great destruction is imminent, which has been a major factor in their decision not to have children." - Awake! November 8 1974 p.11
Speaking of the Society's preaching work:
"It is, therefore, appropriate for Christians to ask themselves how getting married or, if married, having children will affect their share in that vital work." - Watchtower 1988 March 1 pp.18-22
Decade after decade, Jehovah's Witnesses have been encouraged to delay having a family and therefore one of life's greatest joys.
If you were a young person in 1969, you were told to put off anything that would make you happy at the time, including education:
"If you are a young person, you also need to face the fact that you will never grow old in this present system of things. Why not? Because all the evidence in fulfillment of Bible prophecy indicates that this corrupt system is due to end in a few years. ... Therefore, as a young person, you will never fulfill any career that this system offers. If you are in highschool and thinking about a college education, it means at least four, perhaps even six or eight more years to graduate into a specialized career. But where will this system of things be by that time? It will be well on the way toward its finish, if not actually gone!" - Awake! May 22,1969 pg.15
The result of following such counsel from 'God's representative?' A delay and complete loss in many of the things that brings a person happiness! Many gave up families, careers, homes! Imagine the very real pain that exists for a woman that followed this counsel and forty four years later is past middle age and without children!
Those that aren't Jehovah's Witnesses wonder how anyone could be duped into exchanging daily happiness for a future 'maybe.' The messages come at a person weekly among Jehovah's Witnesses. At a very young age, Jehovah's Witness youths are enticed with illustrations of paradise, endless beauty, forever young, all while hugging their favorite animal.
For many, including this writer, that day has not come. The colors of those books and illustrations have long since faded. Even worse is the pain endured by many that are currently alone, including thousands of Jehovah's Witness women who have delayed dating or marriage believing they would be taken care of by a 'perfect' man in a paradise earth....continually taught to be arriving any minute now.
The result in putting off happiness has been lost income, families and experiences. Tragic doesn't fully describe the aftermath of obeying the Watchtower Society or the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses. The lost opportunities are only measurable in tears, as many of the decisions made in the past cannot be overcome today.
Why would any 'organization' be happy with robbing their followers of happiness?
The Watchtower Gains from Our Loss
During the 100+ years that the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society have been in existence, many millions have delayed or even lost their personal happiness. It isn't difficult to imagine the loss from an emotional perspective, however, what truly becomes difficult is understanding how these self proclaimed messengers of God have GAINED. And shamelessly so.
Since 1881, the Society as Jehovah's Witnesses refer to it, has been gathering to itself members.
A person may wonder why this organization would be so aggressive in encouraging it's members to delay the things that bring most humans happiness. What was in it for them? How do they feel about the resulting loss to millions?
While many theories abound and indeed, motives may be different for many of those that have held leadership positions within the Watchtower Society, there is one reason that continues to draw scrutiny.
In 1881, the Watchtower Society was located in humble Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. According to the Zion's Watchtower Issue of January 1882, they received donations totaling $35,391.18.
Upon Russell's death in 1917, Joseph Rutherford assumed command and grew the small publishing entity into a corporation. In the 1920s, preaching and distributing Watchtower literature door to door became a requirement for the Bible Students (Jehovah's Witnesses). With a completely free 'labor force', Rutherford was able to canvas the world with his literature... all under the veil of it being a command from God, through the organization.
In order to utilize this amazing force of labor, the message began to take a different tone: Sacrifice...sacrifice everything to preach. In other words, ... delay your dreams....your happiness, until the future. Families, jobs, homes, health... all were sacrificed in this effort to grow the Society.
By 2001, the last available financial records for the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society showed that their revenue was $951 million dollars! It has been estimated, that along with real estate/property holdings, the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society has assets in the billions!
How many publishing companies do you know that claim over 7 million publishers in their workforce, all working for FREE? Not only working for free, but themselves, "donating" (read: buying) literature themselves?
When a thinking person considers the history of the Watchtower against what a person knows about Jesus Christ from the Bible, they come away puzzled.
At Luke 9:58, it is obvious that the Son of God doesn't even have a bed, much less a view of Manhattan: "Jesus replied, "Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head." NIV.
At Matthew 21:12, Jesus goes a step further: "Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves." NIV. The Son of God hardly comes off as a real estate magnet, moving properties in the billions.
Working under the promise of perfect life in a paradise earth has enticed over 7 million people to work for free in distributing Watchtower literature around the globe! The tragedy is that while some do realize what is happening, many do not, until it is too late. Meanwhile, those profiting from the endless messages to delay happiness today are clearly those leading the Society.
Be Happy Today
"And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labor, it is the gift of God." - Ecclesiastes 3:13
Nowhere is it taught in the scriptures that we should delay in being happy now. Each day of life is a gift from God. Even for those that may be an atheist or agnostic, life is still felt as a precious gift!
For those that are spiritually minded, the Bible, as well as other great books on spirituality, all portray God to be a 'happy God.' Certainly those of us that are parents don't consider ourselves happy when we see that our children are suffering or indeed unhappy. Being made in "God's image" means that each of us is given the privilege of reaching our full potential; to obtain the things we want that may add to our lives....this includes family, children, romance, hobbies and what is needed materially.
There is no question that life includes many challenges. However, nowhere are we taught to delay in being happy until a future date. Our personal happiness IS our lives. What the future holds is largely unknown to man. Why would we choose to live a day without happiness and joy?
Happiness and joy can be obtained without an artist depiction of paradise. As stated above in Ecclesiastes, it is God's will that we enjoy our 'labor'... that we pursue the things that add to our happiness today!
Relying on the words of eight men in Brooklyn, New York has proven to be dangerous for countless members of Jehovah's Witnesses. As someone with 'free will' consider the repercussions of those that listened to such selfish counsel.
Choose happiness. Today.
About the Author
Darrin Hart spent 40 years among Jehovah's Witnesses; eleven of them as a congregation elder; author of Leaving Jehovah's Witnesses - Practical Thoughts to Help You Survive and Thrive
It's worth the effort to be happy!!