Sgt. Robert Wilson III Ceremony for Valor Showcases Watchtower Hypocrisy
A Brave Man
It should first be said that this article is not at all meant to detract from the valor of this man. It takes courage and bravery to be the sort of person who would make a career out of serving to protect others every day, to be a person who would take action to save lives in a situation where all he wanted to do was buy his son a birthday present. Thinking of his family and the loss they’ve suffered truly does make me feel angry and disappointed.
Society should be better, it should be past all of this; yet, we still feel the need to kill each other over insignificant and ridiculous things. When a member of the human family is lost prematurely by unnatural causes it is a tragedy. However, all the more so is it a tragedy when it is a man like Sgt. Wilson because he, unlike me and probably you, willingly went out everyday to face the very things that would seek to end our lives prematurely. He lived his life to protect and serve others.
So, no, this article is not meant to belittle his sacrifice. It is meant to call out the inappropriate effect Watchtower has on people’s lives, influencing someone to the extent that they thought it appropriate to wear a piece of advertising for this organization to an event to honor a brave and courageous man. It’s distasteful, it detracted from the spirit of the event, and it was hypocritical. The pin you see on her lapel is more than just a cross, it is, as already mentioned, advertising. It may surprise you to know that the majority of people reading this will take less an issue with referring to it as an advert than as a cross. For such people reading, I ask you: Do you think wearing a JW.org lapel pin to this event was appropriate? Your feelings must surely be saying, “no” even if your training says, “yes.” Why do you think that might be? Let’s discuss it.
Do Jehovah’s Witnesses Approve of Police Officers?
This is a tricky question, and, one to which the answer is that it depends upon your meaning by, “approve.” If you mean, “Do they appreciate the work of police officers?” the answer is yes, as long as it doesn’t in any way interfere with Watchtower’s agenda, primarily preaching. More to the point though, if your meaning is, “Would a Jehovah’s Witness approve of a son or grandson becoming a police officer?” The answer must be no. Why?
In the February 2003 Awake! magazine Watchtower included a section called, “From Our Readers” and they had recently published an article entitled, “The Police—Why Do We Need Them?” In this Awake! segment they included responses to the article on police, one of which said,
The cover series on the police has made me want to ask a question. Would it be appropriate for one of Jehovah’s Witnesses to choose this occupation? I assume that if a fight ensued, you might have to pull a gun and use it, possibly killing someone.
J. S., Australia
“Awake!” responds: Our cover series simply acknowledged some of the beneficial work performed by the police in maintaining order and providing other necessary services. Most of Jehovah’s Witnesses avoid employment that would require them to carry a weapon, since they do not want to incur bloodguilt by taking a life. (Exodus 20:13; Matthew 26:51, 52) It should be noted, however, that there are many people employed by law-enforcement agencies who do not have to carry any kind of weapon, and in some countries most policemen do not carry guns.
As you can see, Watchtower teaches Witnesses that it would be wise to avoid employment as a police officer because they don’t want to incur bloodguilt. Let’s take a look at what those two scriptures say they cite as well.
Exodus 20:13, “You must not murder.”
Matthew 26:51, 52, “But look! one of those with Jesus reached out his hand and drew his sword and struck the slave of the high priest, taking off his ear. Then Jesus said to him: “Return your sword to its place, for all those who take up the sword will perish by the sword.”
The message, even more so having considered the verses, is that if you kill another person you incur bloodguilt. It doesn’t matter if it’s in defense either, not when you consider the message of Matthew. Jesus himself said that all those who take up the sword will perish by it. Think about what this is saying just for a moment, we are going to go deeper into this but lets pause here for a moment. In this article, in the span of two paragraphs, Watchtower expresses praise for the police followed by indicating they will perish by the “sword” because they took up the “sword.” This is like saying, “Yes, we do appreciate your method of employment, but, we do not encourage our members to pursue it because we believe that if they do they will incur bloodguilt and be judged by God and killed by him.”
Returning to the topic of whether Watchtower approves of police officers or not, let’s delve further into the topic of bloodguilt. The popular reference work (among Jehovah’s Witnesses) Insight on the Scriptures has this to say under the topic for bloodguilt.
The Christian Greek Scriptures outline three distinct ways in which a Christian could become bloodguilty before God: (1) by bloodshed, murder—this would include those actively or tacitly supporting the activities of a bloodguilty organization (such as Babylon the Great [Re 17:6; 18:2, 4] or other organizations that have shed much innocent blood [Re 16:5, 6; compare Isa 26:20, 21]); (2) by eating or drinking blood in any way (Ac 15:20); and (3) by failing to preach the good news of the Kingdom, thereby withholding the lifesaving information it contains.—Ac 18:6; 20:26, 27; compare Eze 33:6-8.
Bloodguilt – Babylon the Great
Watchtower believes that the alluded to, “Babylon the Great” in the book of Revelation represents all the other religions in the world besides theirs. This book was studied several times, paragraph by paragraph, by Jehovah’s Witnesses during their weekly meetings. One of the most common themes was how Babylon the Great is bloodguilty.
Instead of welcoming our Lord’s return in 1914, her clergy got embroiled in the slaughter of World War I, in which 24 of the 28 contending nations claimed to be Christian. How great their bloodguilt! During World War II, which was also fought largely in Christendom, false religion’s sins again “massed together clear up to heaven.” (Revelation 18:5)
-Revelation book page 72
As you can see, they teach that every other religion in the world (Babylon the Great) is bloodguilty for all those killed in both World Wars. If you can believe it though, these deaths are only scratching the surface of that bloodguilt. According to them it gets worse.
It bears remembering that there are children at these weekly meetings, and they are encouraged to comment. Commenting at the meetings is something that nets you praise from your friends and loved ones. It’s a great way to earn the approval of all the people a regular child would want it from. So it wouldn’t be uncommon at these meetings for a very young child to comment on, “how silly she looks” for instance, inviting laughter from those present. What about you? Do you think it’s funny? Would you let your children read this?
But consider the text on this page of the book. This harlot is said to have incurred bloodguilt for every single person who has ever died.
She is shown both being attacked by a vicious beast and then, later, this picture is shown of her dead, burning body with smoke rising from it.
The above citation from the Insight book said that any who are either actively or tacitly supporting any other religion but Watchtower will share in her bloodguilt. So Watchtower is saying that this picture is what will happen to them. So if you were a Witness, a child even, how scared would you be of bloodguilt? When I was a young boy I remember being very scared of accidentally finding myself judged the way she is shown here, I had terrible dreams about it.
But it wasn’t just children, adults won’t shop at markets where the proceeds benefit churches. If you’re studying with the Witnesses or a recent member you may have noticed this and wondered why, and this is the reason. They are worried they may incur bloodguilt and suffer the fate of the harlot.
Everyone is Bloodguilty?
Now that we have an understanding of how afraid Witnesses are of bloodguilt, let’s look at the November 15, 1995 Watchtower. On page 15 there is an article entitled, “Stay in the City of Refuge and Live!” Here is the first two paragraphs of that article. Straight away we see that Jesus is referred to as, “Jehovah’s Avenger of blood” who will take action against all those who are, “unrepentantly” bloodguilty. Then notice how those first paragraphs end, “Mankind will then be brought face-to-face with their bloodguilt” followed by fostering curiosity as to how, “we really are” bloodguilty. But there is a way out, you have to be in the, “modern-day” city of refuge. If you’re not…
Some people have caused human death willfully or through carelessness. Others have taken part in collective killing, perhaps persuaded by religious leaders that this was God’s will. Still others have persecuted and killed servants of God. Even if we have not done such things, though, we share community responsibility for the loss of human life because we did not know God’s law and will. We are like the unintentional manslayer ‘who killed his fellowman without knowing it and who did not hate him formerly.’ (Deuteronomy 19:4) Such individuals ought to implore God for mercy and should run into the antitypical city of refuge. Otherwise they will have a fatal meeting with the Avenger of blood.
-Watchtower November 15, 1995 page 16 par 5
So the point is made very clearly, very quickly, that every living human being is bloodguilty. One paragraph before this, allusion is even made to Babylon the Great – just to really nail in the severity of the subject. Surely you must be wondering what the modern-day “city of refuge” is by now, and the article is going to enlighten you.
Watchtower teaches that only a certain number are going to heaven. These are known as the “Anointed” and they can only be found among Jehovah’s Witnesses. Just to really make this clear for the purposes of our point, let’s remember that all other religions on the planet will be horrifically destroyed along with all who support them either tacitly or actively. So, of course, Watchtower also teaches that only amongst their numbers can anointed be found.
Per this paragraph from the article, where is the modern-day city of refuge? You guessed it, the Watchtower organization.
What we have seen thus far is:
- Watchtower fosters a fear of incurring bloodguilt
- Watchtower teaches that Witnesses should not hold employment that requires them to be armed for risk they may have to take a life – thus incurring bloodguilt.
- Watchtower also teaches that everyone is bloodguilty by default.
- Watchtower invokes the cities of refuge from the Old Testament, saying that it is the modern-day city to which all must flee for survival because all are bloodguilty. Any not there will suffer at the hands of the, “Avenger of blood.”
No doubt you are beginning to see that a Jehovah’s Witness agreeing to go to a ceremony to honor a fallen police officer doesn’t really make sense. As a grandmother? Of course it makes sense, but that lapel pin changes things. That lapel pin is saying with a clear voice, “My grandson died bloodguilty and will be trodden in the winepress of vengeance.” I want to be clear, I do not expect that Mrs. Wilson has this in mind. She, like the rest of all rank and file Jehovah’s Witnesses are not responsible for the messages Watchtower preaches. Yet, through that pin, Watchtower was there and it was condemning this brave man for doing the very thing he was being honored for in the ceremony. The pin should not have been there, but there’s even another reason aside from this.
Veneration of images is a religious practice that has no support in the Bible. For that reason, Jehovah’s Witnesses do not venerate images, nor do they have religious images in their homes or in their places of worship
-Awake! October, 2014 p. 14-15
According to Oxford Dictionaries venerate means to, “regard with great respect; revere.” and revere means, “feel deep respect or admiration for (something).” Watchtower teaches that to venerate images constitutes idolatry, which is not tolerated by God.
I am Jehovah. That is my name; I give my glory to no one else, Nor my praise to graven images.
When you look at the image at the start of this article, does it not look to you no different from a cross? Is this not the very definition of what it means to venerate an image?
I could fill pages with such images, from clothing to accessories.
“But it’s not worship”
Most witnesses would respond that it’s not idolatry because it’s not being used in worship. However, I challenge this statement in two ways.
- Is not personal study part of your worship as a Witness? Therefore it is involved in worship. You are, by definition, venerating the image of JW.org as part of your worship to God.
- The behavior by Watchtower toward jw.org fits their own definition of idolatry perfectly.
An idol is an image, a representation of anything, or a symbol that is an object of passionate devotion, whether material or imagined. Generally speaking, idolatry is the veneration, love, worship, or adoration of an idol.
-Insight on the Scriptures Vol. 1 p. 1167
You see, the Bible does not condemn idolatry because it’s related to worship. Not according to Watchtower. The bible merely condemns idolatry without any attachments to it, be it worship or not. Idols, and idolatry are both wrong. So I would honestly like an explanation for how all of this veneration of the image of jw.org is acceptable. It’s surely the most on the nose display of hypocrisy I’ve seen lately, and it brings us full circle to the point.
Putting It All Together
Watchtower teaches that it would be wrong for a Jehovah’s Witness to be a police officer because it requires them to be armed, and may force them to incur bloodguilt by killing another person. I invite any readers to ask their local Elders if a person who is a Police officer could be baptised. The answer would surely be no because a person would not be allowed to be baptized while holding such employment.
This of course means that this person is not allowed into the anti-typical city of refuge. Which means that, unless they changed their ways, they would meet the, “Avenger of blood” who would slay them in their bloodguilt along with the rest of Babylon the Great and anyone else not found within the safety of this “city.”
Mrs. Wilson venerated an image as part of a hypocritical practice of the Watchtower organization which otherwise condemns such an action. But what makes it so terrible, and so insulting to the very person the ceremony sought to honor, is that this image being venerated conveys such a damning and horrific message for Sgt. Wilson, a man who died bloodguilty, outside the city of refuge, buying a birthday present for his son (something that could get a Witness excommunicated).
Jehovah’s Witnesses, to you I ask, with all of this in mind, do you truly believe all of your doctrine I just showed you? Or, do you think to yourself that any one part of it is just not true? Do you think God would condemn this man, or reward him? It is my hope you will think about this and compare what your critical thinking tells you to what Watchtower says.