Jehovah's Witnesses discuss convention and tenets of the faith

Monday, August 10, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT
Ryan Stone, from the Holts Summit congregation, presents an informational session at the Jehovah's Witnesses Convention at Mizzou Arena on August 8.

COLUMBIA — More than 4,000 people gathered over the weekend in Mizzou Arena for the annual Jehovah's Witness convention, “Keep on the Watch!” They heard speeches and testimonials regarding the faith and read passages from the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures.

The three-day district convention concluded Sunday. It was open to the public and welcomed people outside the faith.

Extended Q & A

To read the extended interview, go to Charles Allyn and Sean Cotton discuss their views on heated issues, including blood transfusions, homosexuality, child birthdays and divorce.

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The sessions highlighted how biblical figures such as Noah, Moses and Jeremiah prepared for large events and urged attendees to follow suit in preparation for the end of the world: What Jehovah’s Witnesses believe is an impending restoration of God’s kingdom to the time of paradise described in the book of Genesis. Speakers and skits addressed family spirituality and suggested that parents structure a weekly night to study the Bible with the whole family. Speakers referenced each other as brother or sister.

About 40 people were also baptized at the Saturday service, which is equivalent to ordination for a practicing Jehovah’s Witness.

Speakers announced that in January 2010, congregations will be able to use a new song book to sing from, which will include 42 new additions. “Sing to Jehovah!” will feature 135 songs, which has been reduced from the previous 225.

Sean Cotton, 40, is an elder at an Oakland Park congregation, and Charles Allyn, 57, of Springfield, is a circuit overseer. Cotton joined the faith after hearing about it as a child, and Allyn joined after hearing about it in the military. Both responded to questions about the Jehovah’s Witness faith and lifestyle.

Q: What does the phrase "Keep on the Watch" mean?

Allyn: Well, that was from Jesus’ words there, when his disciples asked him a question about basically ‘What is it gonna be like in the time of the end?’ And so he was alerting them for things to keep on the watch. I think the brother who gave the talk, mentioned how different attitudes ... could affect us and maybe cause us to fall asleep spiritually.

Q: Have you had such an experience where you’ve fallen asleep spiritually?

Allyn: Well, the way to overcome your spiritual sleep is just to get into a good spiritual routine. Our meetings help us — a lot of it we gotta do on our own, personal study, prayer to God. Yeah, I’d have to say there’s were times in the past, you know, I just got a little lax, lethargic spiritually. A scripture that we would want to heed is 1 Corinthians 15:58 where Paul writes ‘consequently my beloved brothers become steadfast unmovable, always having plenty to do in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain.’ Just staying busy.

Cotton: When we say ‘Keep on the Watch,’ it doesn’t necessarily mean everyone listening is spiritually asleep but one of the parts today drew on Jesus’ illustration about a thief. And no one knows when the thief is coming but if you did know a thief was coming, why you’d be extra alert. And so we know that this system as we know it is going to change — is going to come to an end. God’s kingdom is going to make changes upon the earth. And so, knowing that, the call is for us to be extra alert for the signs that show that time is getting nearer.

Q: The idea of a designated weekly family worship night in the home was discussed. Would this be beneficial for families of this faith?

Cotton: Well, it’s important for families to spend time together. And to communicate. And we do a busy theocratic schedule. But our organization has encouraged that we set aside time for families to work on building up their spirituality right within their home. And it’s tailored to the things that they consider about God’s word and the Bible and to what their family’s facing — the raising of their children, or the challenges their children face in school or meeting the economic challenges that exist right now. Each family takes a responsibility to apply God’s word in their home.

Q: Is the idea of the end of the world, which has been threaded through the convention, is this to be feared or celebrated or somewhere in between?

Cotton: Well, the Bible talked about this good news of the kingdom that must be preached to the entire heaven and earth. Jehovah’s Witnesses are well known for preaching and teaching God’s word to their neighbors and, just as Jesus said, this is good news. Because it’s going to be the end of wickedness and the suffering we see today. So if we desire a change in the world and we want to live under that kingdom, then it’s not gloom and doom but it’s rather something to look forward to.

Q: What happens after this period has arrived?

Allyn: You mean when God intervenes? Well, you get back to the original purpose. Which, where did God put Adam and Eve when we created them? In a garden paradise, told them to have children and to fill the Earth. Had they stayed obedient to God, as a family they’d multiply and the garden would become too small. They just would’ve had to expand it. That’s what’s gonna happen. God never forsook that purpose, but it will come to completion now.

Q: So, in terms of the Bible, from what I understand, Jehovah’s Witnesses take a pretty literal interpretation of the text?

Allyn: No, there are a lot of things that are symbolic. Especially, when you get into the book of Revelation. We don’t take everything strictly literal.

Cotton: And the Bible interprets itself. What is common in one book is oftentimes made more clear in another book of the Bible.

Q: Some might contend that Jehovah’s Witnesses have been saying the end has been coming for some time. How would you respond?

Allyn: If we knew the day and the hour, we’re actually benefited by not knowing. Hopefully we’ll be prepared for it when it does come. Another thing too is we get locked into thinking in 70, 80 years — things have to be done on our time schedule. Thinking about how God counts time, we are very close.

Q: What is it about this time in history that makes it time for God’s kingdom to be restored?

A: Jesus was asked that question in Matthew 24:3. He was asked by his disciples what would be the conclusion. Jesus went on for two chapters and gave a very detailed sign. And so, looking at his answer, and seeing what’s going on in the world today, it’s like a fingerprint. It’s undeniable. As one of the speakers brought up, we’ve always had wars, but you’ve got a multi-faceted sign here on a worldwide scale.

Q: What examples from today support this?

A: Jesus mentioned the wars, the earthquakes, the food shortages, love of the greater number cooling off, you know, just people’s love toward one another, love toward God especially cooling off, people’s being lovers of pleasures, things like that. Most people would say, ‘Yeah, that’s today.’ But that’s the beautiful thing about free will. People do have free will, but we do encourage people to consider these ideas. It should be an educated decision. We’ve studied the Bible, and that’s what we’d encourage others to do.

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Danny Haszard August 11, 2009 | 2:34 a.m.

Jehovah's Witnesses beliefs:

A) They are at your door to recruit you for enslavement to their watchtower corporation,they will say that "we are just here to share a message from the Bible" this is deception right off.

B) Their 'message' is a false Gospel that Jesus had his second coming in 1914.The problem with this is it's not just a cute fairy tale,Jesus warned of the false prophets who would claim "..look he is here in the wilderness,or see here he is at the temple."

C) Their anti-blood transfusion ban has killed hundreds if not thousands

D) once they recruit you they will "love bomb" you in cult fashion to also recruit your family & friends or cut them off.
Danny Haszard Jehovah's Witness X 33 years

(Report Comment)
Danny Haszard August 11, 2009 | 2:36 a.m.

The Watchtower first published in 1879 had the slogan: advertise,advertise,advertise the King and his (1914) Kingdom.

JW are a spin-off of the second Adventist which all came from the Millerite movement.
American war of 1812 army captain William Miller is ground zero for Jehovah's Witnesses.
Yes,the "great disappointment" of Oct 22 1844 has never died out... it lives on in the Seventh day Adventist (who admit it) and the Jehovah's Witnesses who deny it.
The central CORE doctrine of the Watchtower,yes the reason the Watchtower came into existence was to declare Jesus second coming in 1914.When the prophecy (derived from William Miller of 1842) failed they said that he came "invisibly".

Ergo,no 1914 then there can be no 1918 inspection and sealing of the 'anointed' so the entire Watchtower Bible and Tract Society doctrinal superstructure comes crashing down like a house of cards.
The Watchtower is a truly Orwellian world.
Danny Haszard
Help today is only a mouse click away

(Report Comment)
Danny Haszard August 11, 2009 | 2:37 a.m.

Jehovah's Witnesses blood transfusion confusion

Simple fact-The Bible does not prohibit Blood transfusions.If you are bleeding to death it is more dangerous to refuse a blood transfusions than to take one.
Bloodless surgeries are great if they can be elective.1/3rd of all trauma deaths are from blood loss.

Jehovah's Witnesses elders will investigate and disfellowship any Jehovah Witness who takes a blood transfusion,to say the issue is a 'personal conscience matter' is subterfuge to keep the Watchtower out of lawsuits..

Jehovah's Witnesses children die every year worldwide due to blood transfusion ban.Rank & file Jehovah's Witness are indoctrinated to be scared to death of blood
1) JW's DO USE many parts aka 'fractions' aka components of blood,so if it's 'sacred' to God why the hypocritical contradiction flip-flop?

2) They USE blood collections that are donated by Red Cross and others but don't donate back,more hypocrisy.

3) The Watchtower promotes and praises bloodless elective surgeries,this is a great advancement indeed.BUT it's no good to me if I am bleeding to death from a car crash and lose much of my blood volume and need EMERGENCY blood transfusion.

Remember the Jehovah's Witnesses use thousands and thousands of pints of blood donated by others.They use 60% of the blood volume as broken down "fractions" then go on Bible thumping rants about how dangerous and sinful blood transfusions are.

( JW do allow organ transplants which has more risk than whole blood transfusions so their arguments of disease transmission is bogus)

Know this,the reason that JW refuse blood is because of their spin on the 3000 year old Biblical old testament,modern medicine will eventually make blood donations and transfusions a thing of the past.When this technology happens it won't vindicate the Jehovah's Witnesses and all the deaths that have occurred so far.

The Watchtower's rules against blood transfusions will eventually be abolished (very gradually to reduce wrongful death lawsuit liability) even now most of the blood 'components' are allowed.

They are such hypocrites!
Jehovah Witness blood policy reform site

Will you die for a lie?

How many deaths?

(Report Comment)
Candace Robins August 11, 2009 | 4:02 a.m.

The Jehovah's Witness policy requires two eyewitnesses to abuse - or a molester's confession -before the church sanctions a molester. A young child cannot be his own witness. When someone is found guilty by the elders, the rest of the congregation cannot be told because doing so would be a sin, according to the church's interpretation of the Bible.

Its a good thing many witness ignore this rule, gossip is alive and well in the kingdom hall. Still as a former JW I can tell you their are people who do not know about sex offenders in their Kingdom hall.

A good way to know something is up is when a witness goes door to door with a elder by his side, every time, do not allow your children to this brothers house. Jehovahs Witnesses seeking REFORM

keep your children safe!
thank you

(Report Comment)
s owens August 11, 2009 | 7:15 p.m.

Re: DannyHazzard’s Post on Blood transfusions
The truth of the matter is this: Everyone is entitled to the seek the best medical treatment for themselves. So, who are you to regulate what is the best medical treatment for someone? You are not a doctor. And, by right, you are not someone else’s conscience. Your encroaching on personal freedoms and personal choices is “Orwellian” to say the least.

(Report Comment)
s owens August 11, 2009 | 7:17 p.m.


First of all, the website and founder, Danny Haszard, claims to be an expert on “counter-cult” education. I raise doubts as to his credentials and his “expertise”. Is he a licensed psychologist / psychiatrist? If so, which state is he licensed so that the general public can check it out for themselves? If he does not have the credentials to offer psychological advice, then on what premise is he offering these advices? Claiming to be an expert on “counter-cult” education is dangerous if you do not have the credentials for doing so. It is possible that one can get sued for mis-representing himself/herself as an expert and giving advice (especially when it deals with health issues, including those of mental health issues).

Second of all, he claims to be a “Whistleblower”. Typically, in the legal practice, whistleblower lawsuits can be brought against organizations or government entities which violate a law or regulation. What “law or regulation” have the Jehovah’s Witnesses violated to merit a whistleblower case? State the exact name of the law, section, and precedence/jurisdiction of the law.

Third of all, I question his intentions. He claims to be a former Jehovah’s Witness. His website has anti-Jehovah’s Witness sentiment. I am bringing up Intentions because in order for someone to have a balanced/informed decision, he/she needs to rely on Un-biased information. The Anti-Jehovah’s Witness sentiment he puts on his website can hardly be called “Un-biased.” Much like how a scientist’s test results provide objective outcomes; so too, one can test the ways of Jehovah’s Witnesses to come with an objective result.

The trial is = to test biblical doctrines

The control is = the Bible itself

Test bible doctrines against the Bible itself and see whether or not the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ religion is true. Be as objective as possible and use your power of reason.

From my personal review, I have found that the Jehovah’s Witness religion is the most true to the 1st Century Christian Congregation.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro August 11, 2009 | 7:40 p.m.

@s owens:
1. Some of the best drug counselors are those who are former users.
2. You say: ("...the Jehovah’s Witness religion is the most true to the 1st Century Christian Congregation.")
I say: Nice sound bite.

(Report Comment)
Danny Haszard August 12, 2009 | 1:37 a.m.

Watchtower Society Jehovah's Witnesses: Are They a Cult?

(Report Comment)
Danny Haszard August 12, 2009 | 1:54 a.m.

Jehovah's Witnesses SHOCKER NBC nightly News

Jehovah's Witnesses pedophile cover up problem at a glance:
It's the Watchtower's protocol for (non) handling of criminal pedophilia that is the root of this evil.
Recent Watchtower legal department 'damage control' in house memos on 'correcting' past cover ups and years of past stone walling/foot dragging does not undo decades of child abuse damage.
Too little too late!

Sexual Abuse/Child abuse issues among Jehovah's Witnesses are discussed.


(Report Comment)
Candace Robins August 19, 2009 | 2:38 a.m.

Don't drink the Kool-Aid.

1894 "We see no reason for changing the figures - nor could we change them if we would. They are, we believe, God's dates, not ours. But bear in mind that the end of 1914 is not the date for the beginning, but for the end of the time of trouble." (Watchtower July 15, 1894, p 266; p 1677 reprints)

1897 "Complete destruction of the 'powers that be' of 'this present evil worlds - political, financial, ecclesiastical - about the close of the Time of the Gentiles; October A.D. 1914." (C.T. Russell, Studies in the Scriptures, IV, p. 622, 1897)

1920 'Therefore we may confidently expect that 1925 will mark the return of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the faithful prophets of old' (Millions Now Living Will Never Die, 1920, p. 89-90)

1968 "Just think, brothers, there are only about ninety months left before 6,000 years of mans existence on earth is completed... The majority of people living today will probably be alive when Armageddon breaks out, and there are no resurrection hopes for those who are destroyed then. So, now more than ever, it is vital not to ignore that spirit of wanting to do more." (Kingdom Ministry, March 1968, p. 4 [note: 1968 90 months = 1975])

1972 "Of course, it is easy to say that this group acts as a 'prophet' of God. It is another thing to prove it. The only way that this can be done is to review the record. What does it show?" (Watchtower April 1, 1972, p. 197)

1972 "Does this admission of making mistakes stamp them [Watchtower] as false prophets? Not at all, for false prophets do not admit to making mistakes." (Watchtower, Nov. 1, 1972, p. 644.

According to the Bible they are false prophets.

Deuteronomy 18:20

'But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.'

There is no room for error with a true prophet of God.

Don't drink the Kool-Aid.

(Report Comment)

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