I would like to examine education from the Watchtower perspective. The video will be featuring Anthony Morris III and I will be adding a commentary and some thoughts. The organization from the beginning has no valued much in the way of education because there’s an old adage, “knowledge is power.” Through prevention of the rank and file (common Watchtowerite) from getting a higher education, speaking strictly from the educational aspect, the organization has prevented the majority of you from a better life economically which generally comes from gaining a college education. I say generally because there is no guarantee in life except for death and taxes.
Prior to looking at the Watchtower and quick start contrast is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and the Seventh Day Adventists.
The LDS or Mormons as is commonly known operates Brigham Young University in Brigham, Utah. They are encouraged to get a college education. One direct connection is my wife works with a Mormon and their kids have scholarships lined up when they graduate high school for a full ride to BYU. The Pew website gives interesting information on Mormons.
One impressive statistic is that 73% range from some college to a post graduate degree. The Jehovah’s Witness range is approximately 37%. That can be found here.
Another similar group is the Seventh Day Adventist in America. Their range is approximately 66%. The Adventists operate the following institutions of higher education:
- Burman University in Lacombe, Alberta Canada
- Walla Walla University in Washington
- Pacific Union College in California
- Loma Linda University in California
- Union College in Nebraska
- Southwestern Adventist University in Texas
- Andrews University in Michigan
- Kettering College in Ohio
- Southern Adventist University in Tennessee
- Oakwood University in Alabama
- Washington Adventist University in Maryland
- Adventist University of Health Sciences in Florida
In contrast, the Watchtower is unofficially jumping in late to the “party.” There is one school system that isn’t officially sanctioned or associated with the organization and it is New System School. The webpage says it is in 35 states and expanding. With this in mind, I would like to keep up with “new light” today and examine a video featuring Tony Morris.
All words in bold are those of Tony Morris or Watchtower representative.
:15-:19 Has the Governing Body changed it’s view on the pursuit of higher secular education? No.
However, you will see that this is not the case.
:30-:40 Our goal now is to focus on the pursuit of intensify our promotion of the pursuit of divine education.
Does this mean that the material put out by the organization is now to be considered inspired since the primary method of teaching a Jehovah’s Witness is through the Watchtower magazine?
:58-1:07 The cost of obtaining university training is not our primary concern. It is the potential for spiritual harm (Potential emphasis is mine).
What is the definition of spiritual harm? Could it be when an individual is away from the continual teachings of the organization they have a better chance of going inactive since they are getting information from a variety of sources in which isn’t from the organization’s official website?
1:34-1:50 Ask yourself, “Why are you getting additional education? Because I’m pursuing a specific skill or trade to support my service to Jehovah?”
Why does Jehovah need more workers when the work which should be “speeding up” isn’t going anywhere? The organization is losing people and trying to mask this by giving reasons with information on their website “Branch Offices of Jehovah’s Witnesses Consolidated” and the accompanying reason why it’s happening.
Here’s a news article that says as much:
What we have again is the classic case of the organization stating one thing yet actions aren’t meeting the words.
Also, let’s just say for one minute that Armageddon happened today. The Society hasn’t looked at Revelation 21:5 (NWT): And the One seated on the throne said: “Look! I am making all things new.” Also he says: “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”
Let’s contrast this with information printed out by the organization:
It says, first of all, you have the work of cleaning up the earth and clearing away the ruins of this old system. And then they will have the privilege, under the direction of the Kingdom rule, of cultivating the earth and making it a beautiful place in which to live.
You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth. 1982, 1989 edition. p. 159
So in short, the organization is preparing you to be unemployed in the new system if the words of the New World Translation are correct. However, if the quote from You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth is correct, as a Witness, the words in the New World Translation are in error.
1:50-2:00 Or will higher education make me a more respected person lead me to a better life.
This chart provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics should give enough evidence that economically, it is better to have a college education.
2:03-2:10 If we are in continued association with those who do not believe the same, it can erode our thinking and convictions.
The organization in short wants to rely on the door to door work to gain converts. I guess those who became Christians after working or being friends with someone isn’t a good method even though Jesus in Matthew 28:19 said, “Make disciples.” He doesn’t say how, He just says to do it. That leaves a lot of latitude in the methodology.
2:31-2:36 We are to be careful that this system does not share or mold our thinking.
To a point I would agree. However, isn’t this what the organization does? Is there as much churn and change in the world as there is with the organization regarding different types of changes such as doctrine?
2:37-2:42 Higher learning can easily influence thinking and attitude.
Couldn’t this easily be applied to the organization as well since it influences thinking and attitude? One example is how the organization uses John 14:28 to disprove the deity of Jesus, doesn’t the organization do the same thing?
3:14-3:23 Who dropped them off at the university? Where does the responsibility really lie?
What we have here is Tony Morris finding a way to not encourage parents to send their child to college.
5:23-5:36 Think of all the opportunity to enjoy divine education (accompanied by this image):
Does divine education need to be done in the sight of men? Galatians 1:10 comes to mind, and it says, (New World Translation), “Or am I trying to please men?” Or perhaps John 14:23 (New World Translation) “for they loved the glory of men ever more than the glory of God.”
Does “divine education” need to be done in the local kingdom hall or during an activity associated with other Witnesses?
5:52-6:07 We need construction skills around the world right now. We will not need doctors or lawyers after Armageddon.
If that is the case, why doesn’t the organization put an end to the lawyers in the legal department and have them pick up a hammer instead to help out with these construction projects? They are wasting their time on one case when they should devote that time for kingdom hall construction.
6:25-6:36 Speaking of lawyers, we have an interesting case of brother Philip Bromley. The organization made a decision to send you through law school.
It is foolish to want to be a doctor or a lawyer.
The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom. August 1, 1975 p.451
Yet, when the organization deems it necessary, they can send someone violating the very words it printed.
6:50-6:55 A fierce spirit of competition in law school.
Isn’t the goal of the educational system in general promote competition to see who is number one? Are the traits he mentioned employed by the organization especially when it comes to the growing number of child abuse cases going to court?
8:24-9:00An inclination toward medicine, become a nurse instead of a doctor. Become a paralegal rather than an attorney… Consume four, six, eight, or 10 years of study. Focus on two years of study to become a pioneer.
Here we have again the organization promoting someone to not try to explore their academic possibility but to immediately get into a field that interests them yet limit automatically limit themselves.
This is again a case where you can go to college and do Biblical things. The person who goes to college simply has to learn time management skills. This is coming from someone who has a bachelor degree and a juris doctorate (most likely seven total years of education).
Why not give up being a lawyer? Paul the Apostle gave up a lot according to Philippians 3:8 (NWT): What is more, I do indeed also consider all things to be loss on account of the excelling value of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have taken the loss of all things and I consider them as a lot of refuse, that I may gain Christ.
9:00-9:25 Subtle mental conditioning that can transpire when exposed to higher education. If they need further attorneys, they won’t expose the Bethel family.
Doesn’t the organization do the exact same thing? Are they supposed to go outside of the channel of communication for help?
9:55-10:15 College was a factor in breaking up a family
Further blatant fear mongering by blaming college as a contributing factor to a family breakup.
10:15-10:33 Why not pioneer a year after high school? You’re young, strong, and healthy.
Is it possible that as the organization is getting older due to the young leaving that they want the youth to get involved immediately in hopes of convincing them to stay?
This organization wants to keep you like a child. Children are dependent typically on a mother. The organization calls itself this in May 1, 1957 on page 274 of the Watchtower magazine says, “If we are to walk in the light of truth we must recognize not only Jehovah God as our Father but his organization as our mother.”