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Review: Draw Close to Jehovah Book

    F Sirona posted Sat, 27 Nov 2004 12:21:00 GMT(11/27/2004)

    Post 2806 of 4578
    Joined 10/10/2001

    I read the Draw Close to Jehovah book because a Jehovahs Witness told me that it had some ?deep? spiritual information in it. The book appears, at first glance, to be all about knowing Jehovah God and his attributes. The book is divided into sections, each of which relate to different things that the bible tells us about God. Is its true purpose purely to help us to be close to Jehovah God?

    I have never read a Watchtower publication whose true purpose is so cleverly shrouded. This book?s sole purpose is to leave the non-JW reader with an embedded belief that they didn?t have before:

    Jehovah God = Watchtower
    Watchtower = Jehovah God

    This may sound extreme, but I intend to show you how I reached that conclusion. The writer uses various strategies that are designed to disarm the reader and gradually begin to influence them.

    Strategy One: A new format

    The format of this book is designed to subtlly influence. Other Watchtower publications (such as the ?Live Forever? book for example) have clearly defined ?sections? which are loosely arranged as ?here is the doctrine? then (at the end of the book) ?here is what we think you should do about it?. With the Draw Close to Jehovah book the writer uses an entirely different strategy.

    The entire book is presented as purely providing more information about Jehovah and how we might draw close to him. What the reader doesn?t realise is that it is also littered with the suggestion that there is something ?more? required and that ?something? is not drawing close to God, it is drawing close to the Watchtower organisation. Because the suggestion is hidden within the other ?scriptural? information, it is difficult to identify and guard against.

    Strategy Two: ?Relax. We?re Christian just like you?

    Basically the first chapter lays the groundwork by saying absolutely nothing that is controversial. It talks about Jehovah as a Loving Father who wants to be close to us all. This chapter would be seen as a favourable summary of God the Father by most Christians, and it would be a comforting introduction for the non-religious person. However, it does not answer the question that the book is supposed to be answering ?How do we ?Draw Close to Jehovah??

    The fact that this question is not answered yet serves the purpose of 1. building anticipation in the reader for this secret of how to know God 2. puts the writer in a position of power (the writer has, up until now, quoted scripture and suggested that ?he? has a special knowledge of God).

    This second point leads us to the next strategy used:

    Strategy Three: ?We know something you don?t?

    The very first page of this book is presented as a letter to the reader: ?May this book help you to draw ever closer to Jehovah God, to forge a bond with him that will never be broken, so that you may live to praise him forever.?

    This letter hints that the writer knows how to help you draw close to God himself.

    The next chapter entitled ?Can you really ?Draw Close to God??? mentions briefly that Jesus is involved. The paragraph is entitled ?Jehovah Has Opened the Way? and says ?Yes, Jehovah arranged for Jesus ?to give his soul a ransom in exchange for many? (Matthew 20:28) Our faith in that ransom sacrifice makes it possible for us to be close to God.?

    Christians would agree with that, also the following section which mentions the benefit of bible reading. Now the reader feels secure that this is a book which is based upon scripture, a Christian reader will note the mention of Jesus and be comforted. Then and only then do the Watchtower writers begin to hint that theirs is the only way. It starts with the paragraph ?A Study Aid to Help Us?

    ?Searching for Jehovah involves coming to know his qualities and ways as revealed in the bible. This study aid that you are now reading is designed to help you in that endeavour?.

    Isn?t it revealing that the Watchtower is telling the reader that they might actually need more than faith in Jesus and bible reading? Why would a Christian need any further ?help? in the matter?

    As you read on, the book becomes more and more littered by these ?subtle? suggestions that faith (In God and Jesus Sacrifice) alone isn?t good enough.

    Strategy Four: ?There are true Christians and there are False Christians?

    Up until now the Christian reader thought that all faithful Christians were approved of by God.

    One sentence in the fourth chapter begins introducing the idea that there are Christians who don?t know these ?important? things:

    ?Yet, few in today?s world truly recognise God?s power. Still fewer view it properly?

    Then here another subtle hint at an ?approved group of Christians? in paragraph 9

    ?Jehovah also exerts power through his authority as Universal Sovereign. Can you imagine having millions upon millions of intelligent, able subjects eager to do your bidding? Jehovah wields such power. He has human servants, often likened to an army?

    It is notable that the writer immediately goes on to talk about angels rather than expanding upon the army of human servants. Again, this shows how the writer uses the strategy of telling the reader this information in as subtle a way as possible ? in between the scriptural information about God.

    Strategy Five: ?Questions for Meditation?

    Each chapter has ?Questions for Meditation?. These questions reveal a lot about the true purpose of the book. They are what the watchtower want you to remember from the information. Interestingly, the questions do not relate to any particular paragraph. They also each have one scripture reference (presumably which offers the answer to the question raised).

    In chapter two we are asked the question ?What conduct is essential if we are to maintain a close relationship with Jehovah??

    A christian might answer ?love of God and neighbour? to that question, but note that the watchtower give this scripture as a reference:

    2 Corinthians 6:14 to 7:1
    14Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15What harmony is there between Christ and Belial[2] ? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people."[3]
    17"Therefore come out from them
    and be separate, says the Lord.
    Touch no unclean thing,
    and I will receive you."[4]
    18"I will be a Father to you,
    and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty."[
    1Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.

    This scripture isn't about good conduct, it is really about not being part of the "unbelievers". Again this is a reference to "there are bad Christians and we'll show you how to be a good Christian"

    This is a review of just the first few chapters. I will review the rest of the book where time allows. The book does continue to exert more influence upon the reader until they feel that simple faith in God and love for others isn?t enough and they must be part of the Watchtower organisation. Towards the end of the book it is suggested that preaching the "good news" is also what Jehovah requires, aswell as attending meetings to "worship Jehovah". Hence the Watchtower introduces the idea that if you don't follow the Watchtower you are not following Jehovah.

    Jehovah = Watchtower.

    M ellderwho posted Sat, 27 Nov 2004 12:47:00 GMT(11/27/2004)

    Post 618 of 1242
    Joined 8/1/2003

    Thanks for the review,

    I recall reading this book a couple of years ago and getting the same impressions. Please continue.

    M Blueblades posted Sat, 27 Nov 2004 14:44:00 GMT(11/27/2004)

    Post 1388 of 3332
    Joined 8/4/2002

    Sirona,Thanks for that review, very good, thanks for taking the time to do it.Looking forward to the rest of it.

    Blueblades

    M Poztate posted Sat, 27 Nov 2004 16:17:00 GMT(11/27/2004)

    Post 501 of 2479
    Joined 10/6/2003

    Thanks for taking the time to do this review. It certainly gives us an insight into how the WT manages to control and manipulate persons through subtle comments to equate Jehovah with the Org and how we need to mindlessly obey them to gain approval with god.

    M ezekiel3 posted Sat, 27 Nov 2004 19:15:00 GMT(11/27/2004)

    Post 365 of 1238
    Joined 5/3/2004

    About the format of the book:

    There are four sections of the book that deal with "Jehovah's qualities" (love, power, justice, wisdom). JWs must have a patent on the qualities because I don't hear other Christians touting this specifically.

    Each section is divided by chapters. The first 3 or 4 chapters deal with Jehovah specifically.

    Then a chapter is devoted to Jesus' application of that particular quality.

    Then a chapter is devoted to personal application.

    Most JWs still don't know what to do with the "meditation" scriptures - most scratch over the surface topics, lost without a formal question.

    Here is an example of the stellar reasoning found in the book:

    *** cl chap. 18 p. 186 Wisdom in "the Word of God" ***

    18

    In contrast, when we make a careful study of the Bible with a sincere heart, we come to see Jehovah in the context in which the Bible as a whole presents him. Hence, we are not disturbed if a particular account raises some questions to which we cannot find immediate answers. To illustrate: When piecing together a large puzzle, perhaps we cannot at first find a particular piece or we cannot see how a certain piece fits in. Yet, we may have assembled enough of the pieces to grasp what the complete picture must look like. Similarly, when we study the Bible, little by little we learn about the kind of God Jehovah is, and a definite picture emerges. Even if we cannot at first understand a certain account or see how it fits in with God?s personality, our study of the Bible has already taught us more than enough about Jehovah to enable us to see that he is unfailingly a loving, fair, and just God.

    Perfect circle, how tidy. Translation: "If you don't understand the WTS explaination of the Bible, don't worry. Since you already believe we have the truth, you don't need to understand anymore!"

    Here's another gem:

    *** cl chap. 18 p. 181 Wisdom in "the Word of God" ***

    4

    What, though, if that Law had never been put in writing? Would Moses have been able to remember the precise wording of that detailed code and to convey it flawlessly to the rest of the nation? What about later generations? Would they have had to rely solely on word of mouth? That would hardly have been a reliable method of handing down God?s laws. Imagine what would happen if you were to transmit a story to a long line of people by telling it to the first person and then having it relayed from one to another down the line. What the person at the end of the line heard would likely differ considerably from the original. The words of God?s Law were in no such danger.

    Hmmm... How about these stories told by word of mouth until Moses supposedly wrote them down:

    1) The creation account 2) Adam and Eve 3) Rebellious angels and the Nephilim 4) Noah and the flood 5) Job's trial by Satan

    Did Jehovah "protect" these oral accounts or are they Jewish fairy tales??

    F Sirona posted Sun, 28 Nov 2004 17:46:00 GMT(11/28/2004)

    Post 2808 of 4578
    Joined 10/10/2001

    Thanks Ezekiel,

    Great quotes there! Definately shows what they're *really* doing.

    Sirona

    minimus posted Sun, 28 Nov 2004 17:57:00 GMT(11/28/2004)

    Post 12239 of 36249
    Joined 7/3/2002

    Sirona, that was excellent! Blondie might start getting nervous!

    M frankiespeakin posted Sun, 28 Nov 2004 19:16:00 GMT(11/28/2004)

    Post 1625 of 11439
    Joined 9/9/2003

    Ez,

    Thanks for posting some of the book.

    Don't you just love the way the Society like to tell people how to think.

    Similarly, when we study the Bible, little by little we learn about the kind of God Jehovah is, and a definite picture emerges. Even if we cannot at first understand a certain account or see how it fits in with God?s personality, our study of the Bible has already taught us more than enough about Jehovah to enable us to see that he is unfailingly a loving, fair, and just God.

    They make it look like we should naturally feel God is always fair and loving even when in the Bible,, God is shown destroying people that don't satisfy his offended ego. God, according to Isaiah, views all the people on the earth are just a drop from a bucket or dust on the scales. The Bible God has even ordered the Isrealites to murder men women and children and not to feel sorry for them. And soon this God will wipe out the whole world of mankind and only spare his Witnesses because they are truley in fear of him and so do exactly as he has commanded them through the faithful and discrete slave.

    So then we should naturally just overlook these thing about Jehovah and only think nice thoughts about him or else we might piss him off. That's how the bible scares us to beleive.

    M ezekiel3 posted Mon, 29 Nov 2004 12:02:00 GMT(11/29/2004)

    Post 371 of 1238
    Joined 5/3/2004

    The next time I hear about a JW child abuse scandal, I'll think:

    Since I don't understand why Jehovah methodically murdered throughout the OT, and I don't understand why the WTS would protect child abusers, that must mean that I will have to wait on Jehovah because He is a loving God.

    Not funny? You bet, but that's how JWs think.

    shotgun posted Mon, 29 Nov 2004 14:39:00 GMT(11/29/2004)

    Post 2748 of 2718
    Joined 7/3/2003

    Nice Job Sirona...that's Job not Job...you know what I mean damn it.

    I picked the book up a couple times but could not force myself to read it.

    F Fleur posted Mon, 29 Nov 2004 14:59:00 GMT(11/29/2004)

    Post 346 of 1231
    Joined 4/14/2004

    ah, talk about "proper food at the proper time" ;) thanks so much Sirona and Ezekiel3 for your insights. A relative suggested this book to me saying it would 'restore my damaged faith' in Jehovah's love.

    They just get sneakier and sneakier, don't they with this stuff?

    "Even if we cannot at first understand a certain account or see how it fits in with God?s personality, our study of the Bible has already taught us more than enough about Jehovah to enable us to see that he is unfailingly a loving, fair, and just God."

    Yeah...I was just saying to my mom that I don't understand all the killing that went on in the OT and she said "Don't ask me to explain it, I don't understand it either" then in the same breath went on to say "but I'll die before I leave the organization."

    F bikerchic posted Mon, 29 Nov 2004 17:26:00 GMT(11/29/2004)

    Post 2889 of 5099
    Joined 8/24/2001

    Sirona that is an excellent review and you know as I was reading your summary it occurred to me that one could use your outlined strategies to almost every WTS publication.

    Strategy One: A new format

    Strategy Two: "Relax. We?re Christian just like you"

    Strategy Three: "We know something you don?t

    "

    Strategy Four: "There are true Christians and there are False Christians"

    Strategy Five: "Questions for Meditation"

    The subtle way the WTS puts a spin on everything to gently guide you to their way of thinking is so apparent to me now that I'm out but I must say when I was "in" I couldn't see the forest for the trees. It still amazes me and I dare say it's brainwashing at it's best.

    This is a review of just the first few chapters. I will review the rest of the book where time allows. The book does continue to exert more influence upon the reader until they feel that simple faith in God and love for others isn?t enough and they must be part of the Watchtower organisation. Towards the end of the book it is suggested that preaching the "good news" is also what Jehovah requires, aswell as attending meetings to "worship Jehovah". Hence the Watchtower introduces the idea that if you don't follow the Watchtower you are not following Jehovah.

    Jehovah = Watchtower.

    Thanks Sirona for your review, can't wait to see the rest of it.

    Leolaia posted Mon, 29 Nov 2004 18:12:00 GMT(11/29/2004)

    Post 2731 of 16234
    Joined 9/1/2002

    Sirona....That was brilliant. Here's another point: That "To the Reader" letter that opens the book is an act of intimacy on the part of the Watchtower Society with the reader. The reader is encouraged to respond with intimacy with Jehovah.

    M euripides posted Tue, 30 Nov 2004 01:38:00 GMT(11/30/2004)

    Post 38 of 159
    Joined 10/27/2004

    Sirona, your analysis is excellent. The entire presupposition behind a book entitled "Draw Close to Jehovah" is that either a) the author(s) know the answer because they have indeed done such already, or b) by "Jehovah" is meant "Watchtower." You already figured out that the institutionalized working for the writing committee and the FDS have no clue what drawing closer to God really means or entails, so then it must be choice b). I suspect that the book is written using a different structure because it is an empty discussion otherwise, in that the theology of the WT is elitist and exclusive, rather than accessible and inclusive, the very essences of what a universal understanding of God engenders. Having nothing left to write about God, Watchtower's primacy is all that's left.

    M AK - Jeff posted Wed, 01 Dec 2004 02:07:00 GMT(12/1/2004)

    Post 33 of 10727
    Joined 11/19/2004

    Good review Sirona - Thanx

    This comment in an old Watchtower sums up what they want people to put their faith in:

    *** Watchtower 1964 May 1 p.277-8 Building a Firm Foundation in Christ ***

    8 God's Word is the basis of our faith. As we pore over its pages our mind is communing with God's. Our faith is established and strengthened. We are "always ready to make a defense" by offering "a reason for the hope" that we hold, and we are thereby equipped to teach others the way of life. (1 Pet. 3:15; 2 Tim. 2:2) Why, though, is such emphasis placed on "accurate" knowledge? Why should such care be exercised in our study of the columns of The Watchtower, and of our application of the Scripture texts to the material under consideration? It is through the columns of The Watchtower that Jehovah provides direction and constant Scriptural counsel to his people, and it requires careful study and attention to details in order to apply this information, to get a full understanding of the principles involved, and to assure ourselves of right thinking on these matters.

    Did anyone ever notice that much more print and type is devoted to teaching us to have faith in the Watchtower than to have faith in God and Christ - the headlines are always misleading -as above. Not much has changed in the past 40 years huh?

    Jeff

    F wizedup posted Wed, 01 Dec 2004 02:30:00 GMT(12/1/2004)

    Post 71 of 84
    Joined 11/22/2004

    Did anyone ever notice that much more print and type is devoted to teaching us to have faith in the Watchtower

    Shouldn't that read....................................print and hype?

    M rocketman posted Wed, 01 Dec 2004 02:48:00 GMT(12/1/2004)

    Post 3523 of 3888
    Joined 12/7/2002

    Nicely summarized and analyzed Sirona.

    M garybuss posted Wed, 01 Dec 2004 03:02:00 GMT(12/1/2004)

    Post 2095 of 7501
    Joined 10/8/2001

    Good thread, Thanks!

    The sweet thing about encouraging meeting attendance is it's at meetings that the Witness people are a captive audience to the Watch Tower Publishing Corporation to promote it's goals. It's at meetings that public distribution of Corporation produced literature is taught and literature is distributed to members for a donation, and literature is a profit item.

    It's at meetings that donations are received in provided boxes and donation boxes are a profit item. It's at meetings that conventions are promoted and arranged and conventions are a profit item. It's at meetings that workers are recruited to work at Bethel, and Bethel is a very nice profit item.

    It's at meetings that building campaigns are organized to build buildings and construction is a profit item. The meetings are the starting point, not the end. GaryB



    F snbdye2000 posted Thu, 02 Dec 2004 06:35:00 GMT(12/2/2004)

    Post 6 of 16
    Joined 9/20/2004

    This is wonderful, and I'll print out the stuff you write. I noticed my husband has this book now, just started reading it. He's not a JW, but is meeting with one on his lunch breaks and got it from him. Maybe the stuff you write will help me show him that they're not just innocent little books to help him understand the Bible.

    F jgnat posted Thu, 02 Dec 2004 12:59:00 GMT(12/2/2004)

    Post 4295 of 24034
    Joined 7/4/2002

    They are up to page 199 now, and the warm, fuzzy paragraphs about Jehovah's nature are morphing in to specific Watchtower agenda. The "Sacred Secret" and the "New Covenant" is revealed on pages 195 to 198. Three guesses what magic number is introduced. I notice there are a lot of scripture fragments. What are they leaving out?

    Para 15 About Jesus' appearance as fulfillment of prophecy, they quote Luke 1:31, 32, 35. (What does it say in 33 and 34?)

    Para 17 Satan's followers will be crushed Revelation 20:1-3, 10, 15. (What does it say in 4-9, 11-14? In proportion, how often did Jesus talk about the Kingdom of Heaven and how Christians are to live? Why the emphasis on destruction? Is not Jesus the author of life, not death?)

    Para 19 the anointed "experience 'a new birth to a living hope...reserved in the heavens' "(1 Peter 3, 4 What is missing in the dots?)

    1Pe 1:3-5 (Darby)

    Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, according to his great mercy, has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from among the dead, to an incorruptible and undefiled and unfading inheritance, reserved in the heavens for you, who are kept guarded by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

    I SEE why they didn't quote the whole thing. All these references to "us" and "you" might fool the reader in to thinking that this promise is for them as well.

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