Convention: Remain Loyal to Jehovah

This year’s convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses promises to be an interesting one. The basic theme is loyalty… loyalty to Jehovah. The theme made me think of a certain cover-page from a book written by former Governing Body member, Raymond Franz.

2016 Regional Convention Program

2016 Regional Convention Program of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Talk Highlights

When one evaluates the talks in the convention program, one gets a sense of what the basic objective of this convention really is: Don’t leave the organisation. Some of the talks that caught my eye include:

  1. Jehovah Deserves “Undivided Loyalty.”
  2. Maintain Loyalty in Thought![1]
  3. Be Loyal, as Jesus Was When Young [or] Facing Death.
  4. Loyally Uphold Jehovah’s Judgments: Shun Unrepentant Wrongdoers.
  5. Helping Others to Become Loyal to Jehovah: Inactive Ones.
  6. Never Abandon Your Loyal Love for Jehovah.
  7. Lessons from the Book of Job: Loyal Despite Direct/Subtle Attacks.
  8. Hope for What We Do Not See.
  9. Avoid What Erodes Loyalty: Bad Association.
  10. Jehovah Will Treat His Loyal One in a Special Way.

I could write entire articles based off of these themes alone. I reckon that most seasoned Witnesses have been in “the truth” long enough to predict how these talks would ebb and flow, and what general direction they’ll take, as the various speakers invariably attempt a tug at the listener’s heartstrings. And, yes, I agree with what some have said about this convention, namely, that it was written primarily for active Witnesses, that is, as opposed to the general public. The convention is geared more towards retaining membership than augmenting it.

Loyalty to Who?

The convention theme seems to suggest that the loyalty in question pertains to Jehovah, but is that really the case… in practice? Suppose a Witness of integrity disagrees with some “new light” that the Governing Body introduces, say it affects his conscience, not something that the concerned Witness can simply ignore; maybe it’s the blood issue, perhaps this “overlapping generation” thing, what if the Witness has since discovered certain historical facts about the organisation that don’t quite sit well with him? What then? As Raymond Franz’s book, Crisis of Conscience, puts it, what if the struggle is between “loyalty to God and loyalty to one’s religion?”

Crisis of Conscience

Crisis of Conscience (1983) by former Governing Body member, Raymond Franz. It demonstrates the conflict between loyalty to God and loyalty to one’s religion.

What happens when a Christian finds himself at a moral crossroad much like the apostle Peter and John who were moved to declare to the supercilious religious leaders of their day: “Whether it is righteous in the sight of God to listen to you rather than God, judge for yourselves.”[2] Peter and John demonstrated loyalty to God, not some religious organisation whose leaders craved the final say, this on the premise of being God’s sole channel of communication here on earth.

That said, it occurs to me that what Jehovah’s Witnesses define as “loyalty to God,” may not in fact be so if put to the test. In my assessment, this “loyalty” of which they speak is a type of patriotism, patriotism for an organisation, masquerading as “loyalty to God.” It is a patriotism that is governed by emotion than a true inspection of fact and values. It is a “blind” patriotism that is potentially more vice than virtue, good intentions notwithstanding.

You see, Witnesses like the idea of being in the truth – in fact, it’s a concept – sometimes at the expense of actual truth itself. Additionally, Witnesses seem to struggle, in their mind, to distinguish the organisation from God. And this confusion, I submit, is borne from the baptism that is peculiar to Jehovah’s Witnesses.

In a previous article, I demonstrated how the organisation effectively “hijacks” Jehovah and entangles itself into his person, so much so that when a Witness decides to leave the organisation, the narrative given is that the person in question is in fact leaving Jehovah. Apostasizing. And of such persons, the organisation says:

“The obligation to hate lawlessness also applies to all activity by apostates. Our attitude towards apostates should be that of David, who declared: ‘I do hate those intensely hating you, O Jehovah, and do I not feel a loathing for those revolting against you? With a complete hatred I do hate them. They have become to me real enemies.’ (Psalm 139: 21, 22) […] As loyal Witnesses of Jehovah, we therefore have absolutely nothing in common with them.”[3] [Italics mine]

That said, what thinking Witnesses need to do, then, when attending the convention, is to lift the “God veil” and see what actually lurks behind it. This can only be done by conducting a legitimate investigation – an unhindered unpretentious investigation. Unfortunately, however, Witnesses are not permitted the freedom to authentically evaluate the basis of this alleged loyalty to “God.” Any legitimate investigation is impeded by restrictions; Witnesses are not permitted to read certain material, to watch certain things, or speak to certain people. And how genuine could such a heavily restricted evaluation be?


If you are an active Witness attending the “Remain Loyal to Jehovah” convention, approach it with an open mind. Confront the blind-spot you have neglected for so long. Ask yourself the questions that need to be asked: Who am I being asked to be loyal to here? Jehovah? Or the organisation?

Make no mistake, these two entities are not synonymous.


[1] Notice the exclamation mark. The topic of “loyalty in thought” conjures up ideas of Steven Hassan‘s “BITE” model, the element of “thought-control.”

[2] Acts 4:19.

[3] ‘Christ Hated Lawlessness – Do You?’ The Watchtower July 15 page 12 para. 19.