May 26, 1999
Dear _________(Head Worker)
I am looking forward to meeting with you this afternoon, and the following will be the areas I would like to cover with you. I must presume that you are willing to try and understand what the members of your group are now understanding.
Could I start by asking you what it is that you currently understand is causing people to leave your group? We hear many variations, none of which are really true.
Could I continue by making some introductory comments, and then move on to discussing your recent letter to me, before suggesting how you might address the exodus of members from the group.
Do you know people from South Africa? Imagine, for a moment, that you are a white person living there 50 years ago. To you, there is only one way to view the black people of your country. They are of lower intelligence and need to be ruled by white people. White people’s “truth” of the situation is evaluated against this backdrop of a “given” reality.
People like you and me were fixed in their understanding of what was “truth”. There was no other way. (to view the situation) Nelson Mandella was jailed for decades for suggesting otherwise. Nowadays, there is a different “truth”, based on a rational view of the facts, and I might add, well supported by the words of our Lord. Before God, we are all equal. But it has taken time and a willingness to confront the facts, before such a huge change of ideologies could become the norm in South Africa.
Or, what about Galileo, hundreds of years ago, labeled by the Church of Rome as a heretic, for suggesting the earth was not the centre of the universe. Until then, many hypotheses and “truths” had evolved, based on the “fact” that the earth was the centre of the universe. It was until then, a universal “truth”. Again, people like you and me were fixed in their understanding of what was “truth”. We now evaluate our solar system on the basis that the SUN is the centre of the universe.
Fast forward to the 1800s, when, for a whole lot of reasons, maybe some related to the Victorian era of Lord and servant, King and subjects, (who knows), many sects sprang up, all announcing that they, and they alone, had the inside view of what God required. Even today, and in Bible days, people rise up and get a following, and establish exclusive groups, clubs, or whatever. The JWs, the Seventh Day Adventists, the Mormons, the Christadelpheans, to name a few.
And of course, the “Go preachers” or “Testimony” or “2x2s, or “Truth” or whatever term is current, came into being at the same time. Maybe for some of the same reasons that self-appointed leaders today get a following, maybe for other reasons, the 2×2 group grew, until today where the member’s reality is limited by their narrow and distorted view of the facts. To them, their “truth” is absolute. To others outside their group, it is relative, like an earlier South African’s view, or those of Galileo’s day. To the JWs, and the Mormons et al, their “truth” is also similarly absolute. The JWs even refer to their members as the “Friends”, and their belief as the “Truth”.
So, it is natural for you to want to deny any view outside your own personally held, deep-seated belief. You are in good company. And as a result, what I am going to say will probably seem like a foreign language to you. The Church of Rome thought the same about Galileo. And I must add, the Pharisees thought the same of Jesus.
Before I suggest how you might address the flow of members from the group, I would like to discuss four items covered in your recent letter to me.
I would like to confirm that since we left your group one year ago, and sent a letter to family and friends explaining why we left, that at no point have we contacted any current member of your group about our current belief.
In the case of all those who have recently left the fellowship, their decision came because they had suppressed for years, a deep-seated concern that the group was not what it was purported to be. They saw that their belief was a result of a system of subtle mind control, and the climate was right for them to start sharing their suppressed concerns with others. The Internet helped this communication process immensely.
These people couldn’t take their concerns to the workers, because questioning is frowned upon, and gets people labeled. They contacted either us, or in the majority of cases started reading their Bibles with others, with a different “Gospel” in mind, and got blown away by what they saw in Scripture. Our pastor is now meeting with many of your group, both current and ex-memberss and the enthusiastic love for God’s Word is a new and wonderful experience for all of us.
One young man said that he never believed all the God/Jesus stuff he professed to believe, but went along with it because he was raised in the group. NOW he is starting to see the plan of God for him so clearly presented in Scripture, that he can not deny the Christian experience. He wants to have Him as his Lord.
Another said to me that he would have eventually left the group anyway because it never made sense to him. Now he is so consumed by the Word of God, that he has his Bible on the car seat beside him and reads it at traffic lights, such is his love for his new understanding.
Your other comments in your letter said that I had “encouraged young friends to dress as they like and wear make-up”. I admit I do dress as I like, but I don’t wear make-up, so I don’t understand how I could be bothered with even thinking about such trivia.
You also suggested that I had “drink” available in one of the gatherings I had organised. That could well be true, because like the majority of the “friends” in Australia and elsewhere, we have enjoyed a glass of wine with our meals all my adult life. Jesus also seemed to enjoy wine.
Finally, your point in your letter about me “luring people from the Way of God” hardly needs further comment, given the above discussion.
I would now like to suggest how you might address the flow of people from your group, which I presume you are concerned about.
You will never be able to address people’s concerns until you understand those concerns. And you will never know what it is that people now see in Scripture, unless you are shown the same things yourself. You don’t have to believe those things. You just need to understand them. Like most of us, age works against us being mentally capable of seeing clearly another’s point of view, whilst saddled with our own exclusively held view. So, the older one gets, the harder it gets. I hope you are not too old to be at least willing to give it a go. Maybe some of the younger workers could see what is going on if they were encouraged by you to do so.
Anyway, the offer is for you to meet the Christian man who is meeting regularly with members of your group, and try to understand. Then with that knowledge clearly understood, you can then decide what to do about it.
Please discuss it and let me know if you are prepared to take this step. It will be a reflection of your status as a leader of the group if you decide to take up this offer. As the leader of the group in this State, you have an awesome responsibility.
Kind regards as always,
John (surname unknown)
May 26, 1999