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TrueTomHarley

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  1. Okay. My bad. I’ll yield on the point. It was just a throwaway transitional remark anyway.
  2. Not to worry. That is understood here. I’m flying no flags. Depending on context, we can be part of a greater “we” or not. Being from Florida, would you strenuously deny you are a Floridian? You are a Witness living in Florida to me. Your neutrality is understood, as I hope is mine.
  3. We in the US excel at amazing people for a boundless capacity to make things political. It would probably be easier for authorities here if they strongly recommended the vax & left it at that—as a choice, as I think is done in. Sweden (per the website below). Instead, they seek to mandate it, and Americans are not people given to obedience. https://www.reuters.com/world/countries-make-covid-19-vaccines-mandatory-2021-07-13/
  4. Thank you Thomas. I hope it is understood that what I wrote is an attempt to reconcile the two different views, which can get extreme in either direction.
  5. “We know it can be difficult to make a wise decision when there are various opinions and conflicting reports that the world provides, perhaps making it hard to know what to believe,” said Stephen Lett on jw.org. Boy, he sure got that right! There have been adverse reactions to Covid vaccines. How common are they? One in a hundred or one in a million? How serious are they? Like stubbing your toe? Or like being struck by lightening? These are the questions that matter. You wouldn’t think it would be so hard to find answers to them, but it is. So Bethel tells what it knows, which is not everything, but it does fill in a lot of blanks. They tell of those they find easiest to track—fellow Bethelites and special full-time servants—22,000 of the first and 44,000 of the second who have gone ahead with vaccination. Of the 66,000, four reported “severe adverse reactions that may be linked” to the vaccine. Those four are now all “stable and their conditions under control.” These “statistics have been collected by our brothers, so we can trust these figures,” Lett says. And we can. It’s not a scientific study. It’s data. As data, it may be better than a scientific study. Alas, “follow the science” has become a joke these days, with everyone spinning it their preferred way and calling it “the science.” We have all learned from experience that if one study doesn’t go our way, just hold out for the next one that may. Four out of 66,000 works out to .006%. I wouldn’t want to be that in that .006% but it seems pretty unlikely I would be. How much comfort I would take in my condition being “stable and under control” would depend upon just what that condition was. But doesn’t it roughly correspond to the odds of being struck by lightning or going down in a plane crash? In a world of 8 billion people you can find countless examples of anything. At Bethel they are Bible-only people, and they are chomping at the bit to get back to their sole reason for being. Their special mandate is to prepare and distribute the spiritual food. Covid-19 just gets in their way. Take the vaccine and be done with it, seems their position. They can look around themselves and see people are not dropping dead once they take it. Might it cause long-term problems down the road? Well, so will Armageddon if left unannounced, so they don’t dare unannounce it. Bro Lett concludes with the line, using gestures peculiarly his, “The coronavirus is not the worst trial to strike out at all mankind and it won’t be the last. We can expect things to deteriorate even further as these last days march on till their end.” In this eighth Governing Body update since Covid-19 began, he also relates some disaster relief efforts and introduces the next year’s text: “Those seeking Jehovah will lack nothing good.” (Ps 34:10) They are putting the pandemic behind them. Were lockdowns the answer and had the world followed their lead, Covid-19 would be a distant memory by now, since they locked down almost immediately. Been there, done that, they say of lockdown, it’s time to move on. They invite everyone to “get behind” them, which led one bro to say, “get behind them in what?” Take the vaccine is the first interpretation that comes to mind. I admit this has not gone down the way I thought it would—you can’t always get your way. Several months ago, it was ‘vaccination is a health care matter and we do not presume to choose for others on such things.’ Later the statement was made that Witnesses were not anti-vaccine, apparently to counter the impression of some that they were, and it was pointed out some at Bethel have chosen to accept the vaccine. Then that “some” turned out to be just about everyone—99% in the U.S! It’s ‘pedal to the metal’ time there. You are not allowed to do stuff without the vaccine. You are allowed to do stuff with it. So they take it and move on. If it hasn’t gone down the way I thought it would, it has gone down in a way to get things done, so maybe I should have figured it. Now, the trouble with all this, if there is one, is that you may suspect the Bethel brothers haven’t looked deeply into what’s cautionary of the vaccine. It is a downside of being single-minded. Do you suspect they just monitor media that ardently cheers the one hand and does all in its power to proclaim Tevye-like that “there IS no other hand”—which satisfies them because they want to get back to serious work? If there’s one thing Witnesses are convinced of, it’s that this whole system of things is going down. Whoever looks aside from the plow is not well-suited for the kingdom of God—you know they’re not going to forget that Luke 9:62 verse. If one set of scoundrels isn’t driving the whole world into this ditch, then another set is driving it into that ditch. Who cares about winning a shoving match with Big Pharma or the conniving globalists? Losing out to the “normal” ungodly state of things is just as bad, and that’s what the pharma and globalist enemies want to get back to. Of course, Bethel will never tell people to get vaccinated. They will not forget that “we are fellow workers for your joy” and not “masters over your faith.” (2 Corinthians 1:24) They will remember well: “Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls.” But they will lead by example, and this they are doing. Maybe it’s because I hang out online a lot that I have come across a lot of friends aghast that the organization would so quickly embrace the Covid vaccine. Some of these friends are not listening to “the voice of strangers,” but they have vetted those strangers to separate the relative sheep from goats. They know, or at least they think they know, that Covid 19 responds readily to early treatment with mostly cheap (though increasingly hard-to-get) drugs). They cheer when the Nebraska Attorney General kicks back at the “official” storyline. The doctor who wrote the White House with the medical regimen that quickly cured Trump thinks there will one day be the equivalent of Nuremberg trials for those who let hundreds of thousands die by discrediting and even withholding treatment of an eminently treatable disease. Moreover, their concern on vaccines is for long-term safety. Short term safety appears okay, per the Bethel stats, but on the long term these “hesitant” ones are dubious. They’re not moved by official promises of safety. They know that Vioxx was perfectly “safe” until the day it was pulled from the market to reveal a phalanx of Pharma lawyers empowered to beat away all its injured customers. They know the new vaccines are not like the old vaccines that when you took them it meant you didn’t get the disease. They don’t think they’re safe. Some of these hesitant ones feel arm-twisted. Bethel explicitly says no one should be made to feel arm-twisted, but they feel it nonetheless. It is simply the nature of peer-pressure. One local bro reminds all at the meeting how we ought submit to government mandates, apparently misunderstanding that there are no government mandates in the US at present, but only a mandate that certain employers fire those unvaxxed. Feel strongly enough about the issue to walk away from your job and your have violated no mandate. Another speaks of how “our loyalty and obedience really allows us to get back together,” implying that those not onboard are disloyal and disobedient. Relax. Not to worry. The game is the same, its just up on another level. If the concern is one of safety, a whole different set of Bible principles come into play. Nobody would dispute that Jehovah’s Witnesses are among the most safety-conscious in the world. And with safety principles on the front burner, even ‘obey the superior authorities’ principles begins to fade. Madame Moaaga pointedly did not obey the secular authority when she convinced herself that obedience to them would cause her harm. These things happen. It’s human nature. Nothing to get all excited about. Indeed, if meetings should open with vax requirements and without a Zoom option , or even if there is a Zoom option, just how far will people go in sticking to their conscientious guns? It is a question some are asking of themselves. As much as we are concerned about safety these days, what if someone does research and concludes they can best stay safe by relying upon distancing and other preventative measures? Stand your ground, if you think best, but be respectful standing it. That way you become an informed voice on something that is not the specialty of the Bethel brothers. So long as you do not get strident over it, who knows? In the event you are on to something, maybe they will one day take some pointers from you. In the event you are not, maybe you will take some pointers from them. “Get behind the Governing Body” the bro said in Update #7, but get behind them in what? How about get behind them in remaining undistracted from the main mission? Don’t let it become our new cause, for we already have one. That is something everyone can agree on, and it doesn’t call for any decision as to vaccination. Through Zoom, informal, letters, phone & other non-contact means, many have proven to themselves that they can yet have a meaningful share in the ministry regardless of vaccination status. Research the matter all you want, for those so inclined, in case you’re cursed with being one of those high-information people who has to know everything about everything, but don’t become emotionally divided. You don’t want to be distracted from the good news. More: To Jab or Not to Jab: Part 1
  6. Just came across this post from the U.S. Shoah Foundation: Reflections of Brother Kempler, who survived the Nazi camps as a Jew. There, he observed Jehovah’s Witnesses in a “camp within a camp” (to counter their preaching). After the war, he became one. This short clip is a must-see: https://fb.watch/7Hctxjx0mK/ This brother was featured in the documentary movie Knocking. Fourteen years ago I wrote up a post about it. His quoted words from that post are reproduced here: "It's difficult to speak to Jews. They say I became a traitor. Six million Jews died and I joined the other side. "I was among those survivors who felt that God was really responsible and guilty. He was the one who permitted the Holocaust. So we didn't fail him, we didn't do anything wrong. He failed us. And this is a very common belief. "God is being maligned and misunderstood and in many different ways looked down upon as being uncaring or dead or whatever, and there are all kinds of distortions as to what God is and who he is. To be able to speak up in his defense....what a powerful turnaround from somebody where I was to become a defender of God...what a wonderful privilege this is." https://www.tomsheepandgoats.com/2007/12/knocking-highli.html
  7. Isn’t horse paste ivermectin administered orally to horses? You are not (hopefully) the size of a horse. Were you to go this route you must make sure any amount to take is proportional. Here is a chart that helps. Scroll down. This is from the ‘frontline doctors’ organization. It is doctors who have treated hundreds of patients. One of them, Pierre Kors, pleaded before (US) Congress to make the drug widely available, since his colleagues had all taken it for protection with good results. https://covid19criticalcare.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/FLCCC-Alliance-I-MASKplus-Protocol-ENGLISH.pdf
  8. No. Don’t apologize. Finally this thread’s getting interesting.
  9. I heard one of the ‘frontline’ doctors in the trenches, treating and coming into close proximity with countless Covid patients, testify before Congress and pleading for the approval of Ivermectin. He was passionate and he knew it from experience, even saying: “If you take this drug you won’t get sick.” He had made his staff take it (in combination vitamin C and D), and they hadn’t gotten sick in the course of treating hundreds. In time, however, the powers-that-be ruled the findings “inconclusive,” and the video of his testimony was removed from social media. A record of it is here, however (paragraphs 6-8): https://www.bmj.com/content/373/bmj.n747 It has also been pointed out that none of the epidemiologists advising the (US) government has ever actually treated a Covid patient. This is so common in human society today: the ones who have experience are ignored in favor of the theorists. If anyone goes his route, taking the drugs he said worked, it seems to me they are still obligated to society (love of neighbor) to mask up in public and maintain social distancing. Even if you are protected, your neighbor doesn’t know that—you mustn’t scare the wits out of him. Another website recommends a similar protocol, both for treatment and prevention: https://covid19criticalcare.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/FLCCC-Alliance-I-MASKplus-Protocol-ENGLISH.pdf You would hope so, but it is worth noting that the FDA has not formally approved any vaccine. Individuals of that body will recommend them, and they have been authorized on a emergency basis, but they still are not approved by the agency itself, possibly because it wants time to assess the things @Anthonypointed out.
  10. No. I think not. Don’t try it. The few times I have, (I sometimes write for a mixed audience) even starring out the letters, I am met with such protest that I don’t do it anymore. “To the Romans I became a Roman” and all—but there are limits. But I agree with you and @Hopethat for Nita to be flummoxed upon hearing ‘wicked’ is a tad unrealistic. It strikes just a little bit of overplaying the ‘goody goody’ card, as though ‘worldly’ slang is not something a Christian would ever use. It comes off as just a little too pious, though I barely noticed it at the time so it is hardly a big deal. It is hard to make a video for everybody. Though you and I and Hope and DP are undoubtedly cool, (and don’t get me stated on @Dages)there is no requirement to be cool and many are not. A significant part of the world’s population will not get that slang use of ‘wicked.’ They don’t hang out in cool circles, their grasp of English is not so good to begin with, or they may guard their association to such an extent—think a long-term Bethelite—that they truly hear that use so seldom that it sets them back. Why take a chance of stumbling such ones by suggesting that Nita has no problem with what is wicked? Addressing a large audience is near impossible. One person says, ‘thanks for the new rule!’ and his neighbor says, ‘huh? Did you say something?.’ There not much for subtlety at Bethel. They lay on counsel with a trowel. They don’t want to find themselves in Lot’s shoes, whose sons-in-law thought he was joking. Their material will not win any Emmys; they are primarily teaching videos. Clear communication is the goal, with no one failing to get the point.
  11. I wouldn’t want to strain the gnat here, Carlos. You are probably right. Nor would I want to suggest that they should make special accommodation. But given the uniqueness of the present situation, and the effort that goes into training a missionary, I wonder if they would hold to that position regardless. Many firsts are being done in these days of the pandemic. And it is also true that circuit overseers will often be assigned circuits in the proximity of ailing parents; the branch does accommodate when they deem the cause reasonable. Whether they would think this reasonable or not—your guess is as good as mine.
  12. Thereafter, would they rebuke him, is my question, or advise the local elders to give him stern counsel? My guess is they would not. They might even think it an application of the ‘counting the costs’ passage. The missionary counted the costs, decided he/she was unable/unwilling to pay them, and modestly withdrew from that assignment. That may be why the 98% figure is what it is—much higher than I would have imagined from the “some Bethelites have accepted the vaccine” announcement. 98% is “virtually all Bethelites have accepted the vaccine.” They are on a special assignment at US Bethel. In New York, where they are located, the governor has said life can resume pretty much as normal for those vaccinated [this may very soon change with the sudden onslaught of the delta variety], whereas those unvaccinated ought still very very cautious. The Bethel brothers cherish their special assignment and do not want to jeopardize it by going unvaccinated. They don’t want to risk being sent home where they could hunker into Zoom, phone calls, and letters for however long they wished.
  13. We didn’t actually comply with the intent of the law then, did we? I am sure if people could show up at the vaccination site and then simply pretend to take the shot, nobody would have any objection to that. Same with the other examples you mentioned. In every case, we found a way to “get around” them. There is no such way when it comes to getting the shot or not.

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About TrueTomHarley

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