The Prophet Without Credentials
Updated: Sep 12
Ipsa scientia potestas est!
My soul (i.e., my total being) was corrupted at birth by ill-bred parents who knew no better than to allow a child to bed with them, never considering that child observed their activities with keen interest. My drunken father, in fact, encouraged it, providing pornographic images to view during several of those encounters.
The resulting corruption of heart and mind haunted and tormented my life, and yet somehow, through that, I kept a deep spiritual connection to something I did not understand or recognize.
During my youth, I visited churches and synagogues, trying to understand that enigmatic need. In fact, for this nearly entire seventy years of my life, it is my daily compulsion to find God, to find answers.
After five years of military service at age twenty-five, I met Jehovah's Witnesses amidst the tremendous mental turmoil known today as PTSD. An excruciating pain of mind and spirit.
During my association with the Witnesses, the connection I attempted to make with God began drawing me away from and began to help me to slowly clear my heart and mind of the corruption of my youth.
The process also brought into focus what religion is and is not, as I will explain.
So many are the regrets for things I've thought, seen, and done throughout my life that I cannot begin to recount them, and I pray that anyone I offended might forgive me. Happily, I learned that "Whomever is forgiven little, loves little. Whomever is forgiven much loves much." (Luke 7:44-47) Once the realization of the decrepit life we lead comes to the fore, only then does one fully recognize the true nature of the Gift God gave in sacrificing his son, Jesus Christ.
Consequently, articles and other things that I write are born from
association with so many religious organizations,
study and familiarization with the Bible and the history of the Bible,
steady and unbiased observation of people and the world, and finally
a constant and daily plea to God through Christ Jesus to understand the value of what I've learned and the ability to communicate it to any who wishes to share and comment on it.
What's Wrong With This Picture?
What's wrong with this picture is an oft-used idiom that can express a disenchantment, a disappointment, or even as much as a total injustice. For me, it describes the situation between myself and a childhood friend, what the world today would call a BFF (i.e., best friend forever) but turned out very much to the contrary.
Having introduced me to Jehovah's Witnesses, our friendship supposedly ended because I ultimately disagreed with them. Not with their teaching, necessarily, but their self anointment as "God's People," which gives them an air of pomposity of which, I believe, they remain unaware.
After knowing this friend from our earliest school days, we gradually went our separate ways over many things, but the reason our friendship ultimately ended, I know irrefutably, was not because of religion. We had a 'school-boy relationship' based on similar social status and a few personality flaws that put us in a situation where we were drawn to one another.
Back then, in the 1960s/70s, the kids of our ilk were generally rejected; lower-income class, low fashion, nerds with a penchant toward modeling our lives after superheroes and movie characters rather than looking to the future regarding education and career.
We shared what seemed to be an intellectual compatibility of sorts that permitted us to step aside and observe our peers as though it were they who were the outcasts. These commonalities lasted until middle school, my friend's musical talent blossomed, and his popularity along with it.
After high school graduation, his dream of being a professional musician put him on the road and providentially landed him in Florida. In 1969, at the beginning of my senior year, I dropped out of school and enlisted with the U.S. Navy. Consequently, we lost touch with one another.
The reason I previously used the word "providentially" is because a few years later, circumstances brought us together once more when I was transferred to the U.S. Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida, only a few hours away from where my old friend currently lived at that time.
As we made arrangements to meet, I learned that he was proselytizing for his newfound faith while, at the same time, I was undergoing some severe depression and other neurological issues. He invited my family and me to visit, wanting to share his faith with us.
One Friday evening in 1973, my wife and I packed the boys into the car and drove three hours or so to visit him in Panama City. In our hotel room, as my wife and children lay sleeping, he and I talked throughout that night as he pressed the importance of the year 1975 as a marked year in Bible chronology in which significant events would take place and bring our world as we knew it, to an end.
The information seemed so extreme that we left him that same morning without a wink of sleep. We drove back to Jacksonville, and as we rode along, I could still hear his expression, "If things don't start happening soon, I'm going to be very disappointed.". All I could think of was how to refute the things I'd learned.
When we arrived home, I immediately contacted Jimmy Hargrove, the then pastor of the Church of Christ in east Jacksonville that my family and I attended. Jimmy and I discussed these matters for hours and hours but, unable to offer anything conclusive, all he could say was, "Jehovah's Witnesses are a cult, you shouldn't believe them." It wasn't them I was believing. It was the Bible!
Power Corrupts. Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely
Iconoclastic by nature (either my greatest impediment or best trait; I'm not sure which), I do not and have never trusted people in general, and most, so to speak, I keep at arm's length, especially figures of authority.
After a childhood of being serially exploited by adults, I began recognizing more keenly what was behind the eyes of such people, and not only persons of authority but also and most especially ministers, priests, and politicians, whom I find to be the most disingenuous, devious, and dangerous minds of all: not to mention the most reprehensible. There is good reason for them to seek such positions, and they are rarely altruistic.
What is in the minds and hearts of people, i.e., their ideologies, beliefs, religious and political leanings, social personality and biases, likes and dislikes, hygiene, personal habits, and other traits, causes me to scrutinize and shy away from so many? People, in general, take too much for granted and are consequently duped and misled.
More importantly, we live in a disgusting world where people "hook up." People who know nothing about one another and nothing about whom or with whom the other had relationships. They have no idea of what crawls on or inside this other person. Yet, for the sake of companionship and selfish pleasure, they compromise their health and morality and ultimately drag one another through the mire of their selfish indulgences.
Similarly, RELIGIONISTS often "find a church they like" because they fear death and are desperate over life's vagaries and unpredictable nature. Attaching themselves to organizations that appear altruistic and holy, they hope that for a day's wage, they might make a reservation for themselves in heaven. (From the discussions I've had with people over the years, however, for most, heaven is more or less a hope, or a wish, rather than a reality.)
Regardless, as Jesus foretold would happen, EVERY church or religious organization claims to speak for God in the name of Jesus Christ (Mark 13:21). Consequently, each of these groups or organizations behave as though the Bible was written explicitly for them and to them, all of whom wholly feel that God speaks to them and only them.
The organization of Jehovah's Witnesses that I was now looking to refute interprets and dispenses their information as though they are somehow akin to the chosen of God and Christ, namely, Christ's apostles, disciples, and the anointed followers while he was here on the Earth.
There are also those few among the organization who claim to be "called" or "anointed" with the hope of ruling with Christ in heaven over the promised New Earth. A calling, by the way, that happened after their association with the witnesses organization brought the scripture to their attention.
According to scripture, this anointing is strictly between God and them, as the scriptures state that God's Spirit will attest to their spirit to tell them of this spiritual anointing. Is this true? Indeed, we have no way of saying one way or the other. Our Creator alone can and will decide this.
Jehovah's Witnesses adamantly believe that they alone will be the nucleus of the "New Heavens and New Earth" spoken of in the Bible. And they believe this with good reason, i.e., according to the way they interpret scripture to support their outcome, as do all religions!
Unfortunately, like all others religions, in doing so, they take on the self-appointed responsibility of claiming to speak for God! Not through divine revelation or direct communication, of course, but by claiming inspiration through God's Spirit.
The Divine Plan Of The Ages
Back in the late '1800s, a man named C. T. Russell (Image above) saw the fallacy of the churches, the hypocrisy and, the perversion of God's word and began a movement that later became this new schism called Jehovah's Witnesses. An organization that he knew only as The International Bible Students Association.
Known as "Pastor Russell," despite being self-studied and self-ordained as such, his outspoken and apparent truths about the fallacies of church teaching began gathering momentum and amassing followers.
According to 'Brittanica' online: "By the time he was 20, Russell had left both Presbyterianism and Congregationalism because he could not reconcile the idea of an eternal hell with God’s mercy. He had drifted into skepticism when a chance encounter with some followers of the Adventist movement begun by William Miller introduced him to the idea that the Bible could be used to predict God’s plan of salvation, especially as the plan related to the end of the world."
Although never claiming to be a prophet, Russell was quickly painted as a prophet by his sycophants, all of whom became attached to his foot-in-the-door preaching style. Was he ordained by God or simply the purveyor of a new sect? Was it indeed by inspiration that he received this message, or was it merely a new notion among the thousands of divisions already circulating their theories of "true faith"?
Is it not a fact that:
"inspiration is a simple notion by which those who have had an epiphany or seemingly miraculous revelation of thought, and in turn, often claim or feel that God moved them to do so?
(A claim which, of course, I DO NOT make, and yet, if I did claim such, could anyone refute it?)
Unlike most religions who claim Heaven to be their common goal, this ersatz theocracy, created by the organization that came behind and long after Russell's death, claims to be preparing those who will repopulate a "New Earth" under Christ's rulership as spoken of through Bible prophecy.
For the past one hundred years, they have added to, morphed, and adjusted claims that humankind is facing imminent destruction and that only those who become one of Jehovah's Witnesses can expect protection and salvation at its end.
Ergo they have established a Theocracy that rules over the lives of those baptized in subjection to it, and as such, the members are consequently subjected to the rigors of attaining perfection to the best of their ability, even in this day and age; an utterly impossible task.
No, they are NOT a cult! The same can be said of any religious clubhouse where members vie for a position in God's Kingdom. Still, you would better understand had you lived it with their collective conscience imposing itself upon all those who become followers as certain members are held up as examples to be followed, and failure to do so makes one spiritually 'weak' and in need of help. Once involved, if you're paying close enough attention, you will learn that it becomes quite unclear who is following what.
As I mentioned earlier, a severe psychological condition predicated my advent into the organization. Consequently, with a wife and two children to care for, my illness became my impetus to run to God for healing. So then, as were so many others, I was there seeking to escape the vagaries and torments of this world in which we live.
Turning to what I felt most likely to be accurate and valid at the time, in my desperation, I freely accepted 'everything' I was taught by the Witnesses, hoping to be healed. Consequently, in November of 1975, I was baptized and joined the throng of happy people. Sadly, nothing changed, and no healing took place.
The self-loathing and internal torment continued, and I realized I was mistaken in my hope and sank deeper into self-doubt, guilt, and overwhelming depression.
(Ironically, I have to compare it, somewhat, to King Nebuchadnezzar, who, in his madness, ate grass in a field with the bulls until reality began returned to him. (Daniel 4:33)
It wasn't until the late '1990s, after reading a particular scripture, one I had read many times before, that a sudden epiphany broke the cycle.
We Must Do The Works...While It Is Day
One evening as I was reading the Bible, I again came across this description by Jesus Christ:
According to John9:1-5 NWT
... As he was passing along, he (Jesus) saw a man who had been blind from birth. 2 And his disciples asked him: “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, so that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered: “Neither this man sinned nor his parents, but it was so that the works of God might be made manifest in his case. 4 We must do the works of the One who sent me while it is day; the night is coming when no man can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the world’s light.” (bold italic is mine)
After forty (40) years of observing the behaviors of those within the congregations, and especially the senior members called elders and servants, as well as witnessing the often false or misleading predictions of events-and-times (a constant shift in projections referred to as "the light becoming brighter"); the behaviors of those within the congregations, and the expectations of "service" laid upon the congregations as the organization grew monetarily fat, made it apparent that something was amiss with "God's people,"
The expectations laid upon the congregations can, essentially, be viewed as a new Law Covenant wherein everyone is expected to live by a code of conduct that is impossible to comply with today, just as it was impossible to do so before Christ's advent and ascension.
Jehovah's Witnesses have a prescribed daily regimen of a nearly monastic lifestyle that when one is not walking from house to house preaching, if strictly adhered to, would consistently keep one on their knees in prayer.
Whereas, in his letter to the Roman Congregation, Paul said:
" 20 Therefore, no one will be justified in His sight by works of the law. For the law merely brings awareness of sin. 21 But now, apart from the law, the righteousness of God has been revealed, as attested by the Law and the Prophets. 22 And this righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe."
"To all who believe," and not "To all who are Jehovah's Witnesses." Is it not true that the very reason Christ had to die was as compensation for our inability to live by the law? Ergo, we cannot live without sin? One source describes thirty-six (36) Biblical references that indicate "God wants obedience, not sacrifice." Such obedience, according to Jesus, identifies with "Love." Even as the scripture says:
"37 Jesus declared the greatest commandment to be; “‘Love God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
As I prayed and cried and tortured myself over my inability to be joyful and love preaching door-to-door as so many appeared to be doing, I began recognizing the hypocrisies, especially those of my 'friend.' His display of the same pretentious air of righteousness of those who preached one thing and did the opposite made me realize that they were as much a cause of the pain as anything else.
Like them, I cannot be perfect, not in this world. My brain, my condition, is far too corrupted. I must depend on Christ to rescue me, and there is no 'sacrifice' to be made by me that would predicate healing. "Who will rescue me from the body undergoing this death?" (Romans 7:24)
Even as do I, C.T. Russell did as many do, i.e., recognized that religion is a scam and a falsehood and proclaimed it to be so. Unfortunately, by doing so, he unwittingly established yet another belief system that is as misled and as every bit misleading as any other: nothing more than another schism, a concoction of a man who sets himself up as a prophet without credentials.
That, and so much more, helped me realize how badly they are deceiving themselves and how they have interpreted yet another "time of the end!" Something that is predicted and chanted through every period of history that experiences difficult times. (e.g., The Civil War-"Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the lord!")
THE DAY AND THE HOUR NOBODY KNOWS... Matt 22:37
That's a fact.
Jehovah's Witnesses are building an ark that will never float. They fail to see that we began living in the time of the end when Christ left Earth two thousand years ago when the LIGHT left the world, it is now dark, and NO ONE can any longer work.
As stated previously, Jesus said to his disciples: "as long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world." (John 9:4)
The Romans murdered Jesus in 33 CE and subsequently all of his anointed followers throughout the next decade. True Christianity ceased to exist.
To quell the so-called Christian uprisings in Rome, in 325CE, Roman emperor Constantine established his Roman religion, which we today know as Catholicism, that now reigns as the Antichrist!
THE CHURCH stole and corrupted true Christianity, perverting and twisting it into an unrecognizable wrangle of falsehood and misconception that became the beast (the churches and religions) that rules over the hearts and minds of humanity today; profaning Christ with its pagan teachings of saints, Mary worship, pagan holidays, and the elevation of men to the status of Gods, and so on.
The overlord of Satan's world, "the church," extends Rome's rule over the globe, and riding on the backs of political leaders and big business, false religion induces and incites chaos among the people of the world.
16 And the second beast required all people small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, 17 so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark—the name of the beast or the number of its name. (Revelation 13:16,17)
Religion has become so overwhelmingly corrupt that every believer in Christ on Earth today carries pieces and bits of those falsehoods taught by the Roman Church, such as, along with many others, an immortal soul and a fiery pit of eternal torment, despite none of these being Biblical teaching.
These false trappings are arranged neatly around so many other lies that the masses simply accept them. Providing a mockery of God's Kingdom, which is not the same Kingdom you pray for in what is called "The Our Father Prayer," the true kingdom that will one day return Truth and Godliness to Earth.
Our Bible is nothing more than what it claims to be: "A tutor to bring us to the Christ." To make us recognize our sinful state and recognize Christ Jesus, whose salvation is now all that we have to count upon to escape the madness of this world. We cannot "interpret" it anymore that anyone of us can speak ancient Hebrew or Aramaic.
So, then, don't be so prideful of your religion, your country, your race, or your nationality! Because you and I, like all of humanity, are not righteous.
The churches are a falsehood, yes, but Christ is the reality. We are given enough of His history and teaching to know what is right. We know that it is our responsibility to show love toward one another. We need to live by those things to the best of our ability until such time, i.e., until that 'unknown' time, has come for His renewal of things through God's Kingdom.