AN INTRODUCTION TO THE REVERSALS
In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul warns about false doctrines, and in 4:14 (NWT84), he says:
So we should no longer be babes, tossed about as by waves and carried hither and thither by every wind of teaching by means of the trickery (panourgia) of men, by means of cunning (kybeia) in contriving error.
Paul’s words refer to false teachers who were planning (contriving) error by means of “cunning” (kybeia). The Greek word kybeia refers to dice playing and gambling, and metaphorically, the word refers to “cunning.” The word panourgia (“trickery”) includes “craftiness” or “treachery.” The false teachers that Paul referred to did not have good motives, and they tried to persuade everyone to follow their teachings.
The members of the GB resemble the false teachers in Ephesus
The members of the GB seem to have had good motives. But because of the hierarchical and dictatorial organizational system they have created, they can be put in the same slot as the false teachers mentioned in Ephesians 4:14. How so? In the book for elders, “Shepherd The Flock Of God” (2019), there are 46 different disfellowshipping offenses. Of these, 35 are human commandments made up and invented by the GB, and no passage in the Christian Greek Scriptures says that these are disfellowshipping offenses.
The GB does not work to persuade the Witnesses to accept all the 35 unbiblical disfellowshipping offenses. But they demand that all Witnesses accept these. Persons who are not obedient in connection with these laws and many other laws and regulations created by the GB will be disfellowshipped. The pretext for the disfellowshipping is that they cause divisions (= they are not obedient to the GB).
The Witnesses are “carried hither and thither” by “the new winds of teaching”
In connection with all the 35 mentioned disfellowshipping offenses, we can rightly say that the Witnesses are “tossed about as by waves and carried hither and thither by every wind of teaching.” This is so, because the members of the GB have invented each of these unbiblical laws, and because new applications and definitions of the laws are continually added. And every time something is added, all Witnesses must accept this new “wind of teaching.”
Being “tossing about as by waves and carried hither and thither by every wind of teaching” is particularly seen in the next paragraph, where three examples of complete reversals of the teachings are seen. The Witnesses had to accept the original teachings, and later they had to accept the very opposite. Of the three examples of complete reversals, only gambling is included in the 35 unbiblical disfellowshipping offenses.
The first example is the use of methadone when persons strive to quit their dependence on hard drugs. In 1973, the use of methadone was put in the same slot as heroin and was forbidden. Later, methadone has been covertly accepted, but the acceptance has not been published. The second example is the meaning of porneia (“sexual immorality”). In 1974, sexual actions between married persons that the GB viewed as “lewd” were defined as porneia and could lead to disfellowshipping and divorce. This law was annulled in 1978. The third example is gambling. This was first viewed as “extortion,” and then it was viewed as “greed.” More situations were added to the definitions of gambling and forbidden, such as petty gambling for entertainment and even the use of free lottery tickets. In the book for elders from 2019, petty gambling for entertainment and the use of free lottery tickets are allowed, and the only situations that can lead to disfellowshipping are when one is employed in a gambling enterprise or when gambling leads to greed.
In connection with each of these three situations, the Witnesses can rightly be said to have been “tossed about as by waves and carried hither and thither by every wind of teaching.”
The unbilical decisions of the GB have had catastrophic effects on the lives of thousands of Witnesses
The results of the unbiblical decisions of the GB are so bad that only the word “catastrophic” can be used as a description. Most persons who have become addicted to hard drugs did not plan that. But a great number were hooked, and they “took a false step before (they were) aware of it” (Galatians 6:1). It is extremely difficult for a person to quit hard drug addiction. But when a person has been able to do that, there is one drug that can help him or her from relapsing to hard drugs, and that is methadone.
This drug does not cause “intoxication” and does not have the bad effects of hard drugs. The medical authorities in different countries view methadone as medicine, and in the US, about 100,000 former addicts of hard drugs live normal lives with the help of methadone. But for 40 years from 1973, the GB forbid the use of methadone as a medicine, those who used it would be disfellowshipped, and the disfellowshipped ones who used it were not reinstated. The fact that the GB today accepts methadone as medicine shows that their previous ban on it was wrong.
What was the catastrophe? That thousands of persons who had been Witnesses and who had become hooked on hard drugs were prevented from living normal lives and having a good relationship with Jehovah. When a person had mobilized all his power to raise his head above the hole of drug addiction, the members of the GB stood there and pushed the person down in the hole again. Each member of the GB has a burden of guilt and responsibility on his shoulders.
The view of porneia-inside-marriage caused great harm to thousands of Witnesses. Marriage is the basic institution in the lives of Christians, and Jesus showed that a marriage should not be dissolved. The only reason for a marriage to be terminated is porneia, and the meaning of this word was modified and diluted.
What was the catastrophe? That the GB caused marriages to be dissolved for reasons that were not included in Jesus’ use of the word. And when a marriage was terminated, irreparable damage was done. Men were disfellowshipped because of their sexual relations with their wives, and men, women, and children were suffering. Because of their grief, many became so depressed that their relationship with Jehovah was damaged. Again, each member of the GB has a burden of guilt and responsibility on his shoulders.
The third reversal—the view of gambling—did not cause so great damage as the other two because different forms of gambling were not widespread among the Witnesses. But it was a catastrophe for those who were disfellowshipped because of petty gambling. So, I must say this a third time: Each member of the GB has a burden of guilt and responsibility on his shoulders.