Tuesday, July 25, 2017


The scriptures encourage us to demonstrate our love of God, the Bible, and his truth through our enthusiasm. But to what degree? Recently I experienced a sister witnessing to a friend of mine that I've been trying to cultivate into a real Bible student.

She came across as if she were a person eating the best piece of chocolate cake that she just wanted to shove a piece down everyone's throat around her. She didn't realize it, but she came across as a fanatic. Not only did she have very few specific details in answering his question "What happens when you die?" She went on to bring in a number of unrelated subjects and then concluded (after several long minutes) that she just loves the truth; it comforts her; it is her reason for living. I could tell she turned off his listening long before she was done and even I kept begging (in my mind "Sister, please stop! You're hanging yourself.")

In my mind, the proper degree of enthusiasm is more akin to an appliance salesman who truly and thoroughly knew his product and was overjoyed to tell all the features of it to a prospective customer. He kept his enthusiasm in check, making sure to pause long enough to observe the customer's body language and attentiveness and the pause to allow them to ask questions.

Only if appropriate might the salesman mention, "I even own this unit." There is the right time to hold things back and a right time to mention them. The features of the appliance should always be the main discussion. How much the salesman loves it, Should always take the back seat

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Mormonism Makes No Logical Sense

Point A: bad conclusions about the Bible
Speaking to two young Mormon men, I asked:
1. You have a saying, don't you, that the Bible is God's Word as long as it is interpreted correctly, right?
2. You claim that the Bible contains contradictions and missing books, right?
3 You claim that only your "prophet" is qualified to interpret the Bible correctly, right?
4. So tell me, how is it that your prophet is the only qualified to interpret scripture and yet his interpretations yield contradictions and missing books? In fact, this one lie alone shows you to be apostates from Christianity because the Bible itself says that God's Word is complete for directing man in all his needs (2 Timothy 3:16). The Bible also says it is impossible for God to lie (thus also impossible to contradict himself. (Hebrews 6:18)

Point B:
Using only the Holy Bible, prove to me the concept of "celestial animals." (I am not certain if it is all animals or just some, but the Mormons believe that animals are also headed to a better life in another form. This is in direct opposition to the Bible which makes it clear that when animals are dead, there is nothing more for them. They did not sin, they do not come under Adamic sin's curse, therefore the death that befalls them is not punishment but the natural progression and end of their life.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Crying Wolf

I know, I am as surprised as you may be that I am still alive. The nurse last week predicted I’d be dead by Sunday, July 2, 2017. So where have I been? Sleeping up to 20 hours a day. The cancer will take me, nobody knows when. (I seem to be the most alert at midnight, which it is now.)

But that is not the only reason I write. Recently, appearing on, was an article titled “’Amish Atheist’ Began Doubting His Faith After a Friend Asked a Simple Question”. The man in question had gone from Pentecostal before joining the Mennonite and Amish communities for several decades. So what was the all-devastating question? “Who created the creator?”

For some reason, Mr. Copp, the stumped Mennonite, had never actually learned to reason beyond what scripture says. Reading the definition of a progenitor, never crossed his mind. Yet, even so, I can understand the confusion because being the beginning of something that had no prior and being God are two different things. (The very reason I mention "progenitor" is to drive home the point that it is very possible to reach the beginning of something so that nothing else existed before it. Artists are cited in the link. Jehovah himself I an artist par none.)

In contrast, Jehovah’s Witnesses have long been given a logical answer for this question. It is both learning to reflect and learn to put the puzzle pieces together that such as the foregoing link that demonstrates the shallow convictions other religions who so easily lose members. Really, there has to be starting a point. One cannot go off ad-infinitum without coming to realize there had to be a beginning. The Bible says that beginning is Jehovah God.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

End of Health Saga

Hello everyone. It appears the end of my life story is approaching rapidly. A few weeks ago I had a CT scan that revealed all my lymph nodes and spleen were dramatically enlarged (indicative of leukemia taking its final toll. A week later I had a conversation of my oncologist who indicated that there is a treatment to reduce the swelling of the lymph nodes, that it was a dangerous drug that could immediately kill me, and that there was no other long-range benefits such as prolonged life, a better quality of life, or such. I declined the drug.

At that the oncologist said, “In that case sir, I need to let you know there is nothing more medical science can do for you. I am now on hospice. They feel I have 2 weeks at the most before I die. I am at peace with the situation. I’ve even joked with local brothers about the foot race we’ll have in the new system.

I don’t plan on writing anymore on this blog.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Growing Through Life's Lessons

Simple but challenging life’s lessons -- that seems to be the theme of most true-life stories. Recently, I just finished my fifth true-life story. In the order I read them, they were “A Long Way Home,” “The Man Who Knew Infinity,” “The Boy Who Runs,” “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind,” and finally “Carry On,” (by Lisa Fenn). I had previously written about Infinity, so I won’t comment on it here.

Crème de la Crème: Of all the above, my wife and I agree that by far “A Long Way Home” was the most amazing, awe-inspiring, and heartwarming story. (Read the book first. The corresponding movie (Lion) edits out a lot of scenes due to time constraints.) What makes this head and shoulders above the rest is that the main character is an illiterate 5-year-old boy from India who ends up nearly 1,000 miles away from home. He survives merely by his wit and “street smarts.” Some 25 to 30 years later, that boy is the autobiographer of his own story. Most outstanding in this story is his vivid memory of what happened to him -- to the point that after continued determination over several years, he discovered where he originated, flew there, and met his mother and siblings. He absolutely refused to accept defeat to find his home, even though it was decades later.

“The Boy Who Runs” is a first-person narrative, but the actual writer is someone else. It is about a boy (Julius Achon) in Uganda who is abducted by an insurgent army at the tender age of 11 or 12 (can’t remember) and used to attack villagers and steal their food. He was able to break free and return home but felt humiliated because of the things he was forced to do. Through a series of self-determined actions, in spite of being mocked by villagers and even his mother, he runs to a town 40 miles away to enter a race. Over time, he is recognized internationally. What was most striking about this story was that Julius never allowed arrogance to cloud over his victories. He always remembered his family and his roots. Bad circumstances did not define him, his positive attitude defined him. I highly recommend this book.

“The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” is about William Kamkwamba in Malawi. Like Julius, William grew up in stark poverty. No running water, no electricity. He likewise is ridiculed by his villagers as he scavenges through junk yards looking for anything he can use to make a windmill for his family. He wanted to provide electricity for lights and to pump water. His parents could not afford for him to go to school, so everything he learned was from books at his local library. But it wasn’t as easy as merely reading a book. The books he checked out were highly technical and written in English -- not his native language. Once again, his determination carried him through to the point of being able to decipher electrical diagrams. “Obstacle” was not a word in his vocabulary.

Just today I finished reading “Carry On.” It is a story of two teen boys, one blind and the other a double-amputee in Cleveland, OH. It is also a story of an ESPN sports writer tasked with bringing “the human side of the story” to sports (video). The boys were competitive wrestlers at their local high school. The life lessons this story carried were many. It has been said that “you can take the boy out of the ghetto, but you can’t take the ghetto out of the boy.” This story demonstrates that while there were many setbacks, it was unbreakable love (motherly instinct) of Lisa Fenn (the sports writer) that helped both boys to gain self-dignity. (Dartanyon Judo Wrestler today)

Wrapping It Up: Taken altogether, the lessons I gained from all the books are listed below. The scriptures following each point demonstrate that the principles are universal through time, place, and circumstance:
  • Unexpected events in life may send us reeling for a time. Regaining our balance and focusing on an unselfish, noble goal will help us regain a much stronger footing. (Luke 22:32)
  • Complaining about our lot in life accomplishes nothing beneficial and may even be self-destructive. (Proverbs 24:10)
  • Opening our hearts to others, helps us to grow and round out our own character. (2 Corinthians 6:13; Luke 6:31, 38)

Friday, May 5, 2017

Questions About Patriotism

“Are Jehovah’s Witnesses patriotic?” Recently someone had a series of questions that I am addressing here.

I have found in my years of discussions with people, it is usually best to set a baseline. So here are two English definitions:

Patriot: Per, (noun) 1. a person who loves, supports, and defends his or her country and its interests with devotion. 2. a person who regards himself or herself as a defender, especially of individual rights, against presumed interference by the federal government.

Patriotic: (adjective) 1. of, like, suitable for, or characteristic of a patriot.

By the above definitions, the one possible applicable term of “patriot” to Jehovah’s Witnesses is that we, to some limited degree, “support” the governments we live under. That is to say, we pay our taxes, we obey the laws, we respect authority. You will never find us participating in a flag burning or anti-political rallies. Regarding the paying of taxes, we are very scrupulous about this. My personal case is a prime example: My wife has for decades owned her own house-cleaning service. She gained such a reputation for honest and hard work, that she had clients living in million-dollar homes. Most of her clients paid her in cash. She logged the amounts in her calendar alongside the corresponding appointment. At the end of the year, I would open a new spreadsheet, logging date of service, name of client, and amount received. On another tab in the spreadsheet, I had formulas prewritten to summarize each client by month and provide the grand total of income per year. This we faithfully reported even though we probably could have lied and not reported it. This past year, that honesty cost me several hundred dollars in taxes owed. We always budget for it by saving throughout the year. This is a very basic principle of honesty that we have always been taught by our faith.

As far as the rest of the words describing a patriot, no, we don’t particularly “love” any country -- but we do not treat it with hatred or contempt either. In decades past I’ve heard songs written about “loving” America, but what does that really mean? If it is the land created by God, that is not “America,” that is just land. The land would have it natural beauties regardless of who ruled. If it is the political administration, all I ever hear from anyone are complaints of our corrupt and self-serving politicians are. So I’m not sure even non-Jehovah’s Witnesses would say they truly love their country. With all the hatred and divisiveness in the world today; with all the complaining I hear when I am in public places about corruption in government; with all the cheating I have been encouraged by non-JW’s to engage in (such as not reporting my wife’s income), I truly cannot say I’ve recently met anyone, even flag-wavers, that truly love the country they live in.

Finally is the matter of “defending the country or its interests.” Again, we don’t fight against the country, but we also don’t engage in war conflicts. That is part of the “world” (of mankind not following God’s direction) that we are no part of. However, we are instructed to follow the requirement of registering. Here in the USA, that is when a male adult turns 18yo. In times past, refusing military service meant automatic incarceration. This is still an issue in South Korea.

Consider a simple illustration: “Johnny” is raised by his parents to be honest, trustworthy, and respectful. His parents have told him he must be obedient to school authorities unless it conflicts with the parents’ moral instructions. Some of his teachers at school have noticed that in class, Johnny has exemplary conduct. One day during “physical education,” two teachers pick teams for a friendly yet competitive game. (It really doesn’t matter, it could be football, baseball, basketball, whatever.) The teacher/coach of Johnny’s team tells him that it is okay if he “sort of” cheats and pushes kids on the opposing team. Although Johnny assists in helping his team score several points, the teacher notices that Johnny didn’t act on several “open” opportunities to cheat. After the game, he tells Johnny he is not really a team player and that his lack of cooperation nearly cost them the game. Johnny stood his ground respectfully: “Coach, my parents raised me to be honest in all things. Although I obey you in everything else, as long as it doesn’t go contrary to my parents moral and ethical instructions, I cannot obey when you tell me to go against my parents. At the end of the day, I owe my life to my parents, not to any coach, teacher, or school.”

That, in essence, is the situation we live under. Although we are instructed in the Bible to obey governmental authority, it is obvious that does not include disobeying God’s clear instructions about being part of this world, participating in wars, etc.

Question Two: Why is reciting the national anthem, voting in elections and observing national celebrations perceived as a disservice?

National anthems & celebrations: First I performed a Google search for “features of most national anthems,” figuring that key elements must be present in many if not most of them. I came up with this article. It appears to be someone’s college report. As noted by the writer,

One of the most prevalent themes among the world's national anthems is the theme of war.  This also encompasses the struggles of revolution and rebellion.  These anthems often do nothing more than retell an account of a battle in which men succeeded against all odds to emerge as victorious against an oppressive evil.

I have always sensed that national anthems (and celebrations) contain a thinly veiled praising of victorious war, how great the nation is, and by extension, how much the nation ought to be adored. Maybe you won’t agree, but that strikes me pretty much as a form of worship. Speaking symbolically of governments as “wild beasts,” these three passages in the last book of the Bible (Revelation) tell of how people “worship” the wild beasts. In practical terms, this works out to such things as nationalism, patriotism, flag waving, anthem singing and other “devotional” acts.

Voting: Even before I became a Witness, I was never very political. My Catholic father voted. I think he was a Democrat. But he never considered that something to rant about. I cannot remember even one time he discussed that at home. (My father was from a German background, and far from the stereotypical hot-headed German, he was such a mild and reasonable man, I strived to emulate those qualities. I still have dreams of him and miss him dearly.)

However, for the first time in my life, I have actually followed closely the progress of the campaigns. I tried to learn as much as I could about the whole election “fever.” I did so because I have never seen Americans as whipped up, stirred up, and passionately engaging in outright violence. I am still amazed that things turned out the way they did. I don’t know if you’ve read any articles about what is still happening post-election. People are still beating each other to a pulp over divisive opinions. Trump actually encourages such actions. In fact, he is being sued because of it.

I think one of the things that shocked me most was how big a push there was for everyone to register and to vote. People were receiving unsolicited calls from campaign offices. “Your vote counts,” the people were told. They were lied to. It turned out their vote amounted to diddly-squat. It was the “electoral college” that put the current person in power, not the overwhelming vote of the people, who were for Mrs. Clinton.

Changing gears: The Bible tells Christians that they are ambassadors substituting for Christ. In real life, an ambassador is “a diplomatic agent of the highest rank accredited to a foreign government or sovereign as the resident representative of his or her own government or sovereign or appointed for a special and often temporary diplomatic assignment.” As such, they are not allowed to engage in political activity in support of or in opposition to the foreign government to which they are assigned. That would result in immediate expulsion and they would be viewed as a traitor by their own country. In quite the same way, it would be very hypocritical of Jehovah’s Witnesses who claim to be representatives of, proclaimers of, and extollers of the benefits of God’s Kingdom, to turn around and support any human government, regardless of how noble it may be. Both Jehovah and his son Jesus would absolutely view that as a traitorous act.

Some (those not of our faith) feel that people should support human rule in whatever country you live until Christ comes again. But when we pull back the curtain on that, what we plainly see is that such reasoning means those individuals are supporting Satan's dominion of divisive hatred, wars, etc. Anyone claiming to be Christian is under command by Jesus to be "no part of the world" because such is direct allegiance to Satan, God's main adversary.

I could carry on about my personal opinion, however, my opinion is insignificant. What matters is what we are formally taught. So, with that, I provide this link.

Question Three: If truly righteous people (in God’s eyes) refuse to participate as elected officials, how can the scripture be true that “when the righteous rule, there is peace.”

Perhaps you were thinking of this verse: Proverbs 29:2

To put this in real life context, two men immediately come to mind: David and his son, Solomon.

David: When he started his rule, it was indeed blessed by God and the nation truly did prosper. However, after his indiscretion with Bathsheba, God doled out must what has been a humiliating and emotionally devastating punishment. Fortunately, David truly had a humble heart and accepted the punishment as "deserved."

Solomon: He was known for his wisdom. Even the queen of Sheva is amazed. Sadly, however, he got sloppy in marrying foreign wives, which was completely against the law of Moses. The end result is mentioned was that the "wisest man to ever live" (up to that time) started worshipping valueless gods that were mere stone and wood.

Indeed, the proverb states a truism that is accurate: "When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn." (KJV) Being righteous in God's eyes is not some intrinsic quality of a select and privileged few, but rather a quality of anyone willing to live their life according to God's direction. God can use such people to cause the ripple effect to those of like-minded determination. Just as demonstrated, even people that Jehovah speaks admirably of, can lose favor.

Therefore, what keeps a rule "righteous" in God's eyes, is that the ruler makes obedience to God a personal goal and then seeks to promote it in his domain. The scripture was written with the kings of Israel and Judah in mind -- they were under command from the Mosaic Law to read a portion of God's Word daily. This was never a requirement of other nations.

Poteyto, Potahto, Tomeyto, Tomahto

I’m pretty sure you’ve heard the saying, “Poteyto, Potahto, Tomeyto, Tomahto,” emphasizing that different pronunciations do not change the essence of the subject. Over the years I’ve notice those I meet during my public ministry pretty much feel the same way about churches. To wit, “Hey, if they talk about God and Jesus, that’s all that matters to me.” “All religions are just different paths to God.”

In fact, I’ve seen people more loyal to car brands or favorite hamburger joint than to believe that a religion really matters. I bring this up because of a recent conversation (via email) I had with a man. After several back-and-forth discussions, I thought he would have gotten the idea that to me, true faith is much more than “which flavor of ice cream do you like.” I’m not sure if it was something I said in my blog’s About page, or it was something I said in one of my email responses, but he inquired about my health condition. I assured him I was not worried. I told him that as far as the doctors could tell, 2017 will most probably be my last year of life.

In response, he boldly claimed I would not die this year, but I had to “believe him” and concede that if I were healed, I would start to worship his god. This came across to me as this man feeling that changing gods, faiths, and religions was as inconsequential as changing one’s clothing. I told him “No deal.” I pretty much know where this man “is coming from.” He believes in miraculous cures merely by praying to Jesus. While God has in times past used miracles, especially to establish things such as: 1) Who were truly sent by God (Examples: Moses, other prophets, Jesus), 2) Which faith God was now supporting, (Example: The initial setup of Christianity), 3) God’s unwavering claim to full all the promises he made, there is no scriptural reason to think that God would answer selfish prayers for healing.

Today, nearly two centuries since Jesus walked the earth, humanity has the complete word of God (both the Hebrew/Aramaic scriptures (recounting of creation, the formation of Israel, and more), and the Greek scriptures (recounting Jesus life and the early Christian congregation). That is the basis for determining true faith, true religion -- scripture.

One final thing: Scripture says that God is indiscriminate in that he “makes his sun rise on both the wicked and the good and makes it rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous.” In that same dissertation, Jesus concluded “You must accordingly be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect,” in demonstrating indiscriminate love. (Matthew 5:43-48). In contrast, it is Satan and his religions that want compromise. They will only help you if you give them something. Like Jesus, my response was “no deal,” or as Jesus put it: “Go away, Satan! For it is written: ‘It is Jehovah your God you must worship, and it is to him alone you must render sacred service.’” (Matthew 4:10) Even centuries later, Satan is still up to his old bag of tricks.

(A few months ago, I was hospitalized (in ER) with numerous monitor leads and vein taps. (It has become so common, I don't even remember what that incident was about.) A nurse walked in and said, "I've done this before and it has never failed." With that, she took hold of my arm and broke into a prayer requesting that "the lord" heal me. I haven't yet seen that nurse again, but as expected, her prayer did nothing. It simply is not in keeping with what the Bible teaches.)