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Does the Watchtower Consult Spiritists?

[Quotes from the Watchtower, including their New World Translation, are in blue.]

Part 1:  The Watchtower on Spiritism
The Awake!, July 22, 2000 says the following about spiritism:
even some clergymen participate in spiritistic gatherings, and one can see that many believers think that getting in touch with spirits for comfort and guidance is approved by God. But is it?

“Do not turn yourselves to the spirit mediums, and do not consult professional foretellers of events, so as to become unclean by them,"
Lev. 19:31; 20:6,27.

“There should not be found in you anyone… who consults a spirit medium..." Deut. 18:10-12.

“Likewise today, those involved in spiritism put themselves at grave risk. The Bible warns that ‘those practicing spiritism ‘will suffer ‘the second [or, everlasting] death" Rev. 21:8; 22:15.

What if you have already become involved in spiritism? Then you will do well to take immediate steps to protect yourself and your family from being harmed by wicked spirits.

“Quite a number of those who practiced magical arts brought their books together and burned them up before everybody" Acts 19:19.

Get rid of all objects related to spiritism.
[emphasis in original.]

Get rid of all objects related to spiritism.  This would include all books, magazines, comic books, videos, posters, material from electronic sources, and music recordings that have spiritistic overtones….”

THIS WOULD INCLUDE THE WT’S OWN PUBLICATION, The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures, 1985 [current] edition!

Part 2:  The WT and Spiritism

We have no argument with what the WT has stated here about spiritism.  This is the official stand of the WT, often expressed. That is why the following is so shocking; it raises the question, does the WT itself consult spiritists, and if it does, why does it do so?

On page 1139 of The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures, in Appendix 2A, the WT lists other Bible translations to support the New World Translation’s rendering of “a god” at John 1:1.

The second translation in the short list is The Monotessaron; or, The Gospel History, According to the Four Evangelists by John S. Thompson.  Thompson’s translation reads, “and the Logos a god,” and thus lends support to the WT’s rendering.

Who exactly is John S. Thompson?  The answer to this question is found in an old publication.

The American Quarterly Review of September 1830, volume 8* [found here], has an article entitled, “Fanatical Guides.”  It presents this John S. Thompson as a proud, unstable and troubled man:

We quote Thompson’s own words, excerpted from the article on pages 237 and 238, in which he relates his contact with demonic spirits:
My honesty in expressing my sentiments, nearly destroyed my fellowship with the whole body of professing Christians, and caused me much bitterness.  I appeared almost as an isolated individual, feeling no interest in any party, nor almost in any terrene object.  The subject of religion seemed to me to wear a gloomy picture.  For a time, I desisted from every religious meeting whatever, and for several months dreaded insanity [emphasis in the article].  My application to study was inexpressibly intense :  I never slept more than two or three hours.  The deity of Jesus, the immortality of the soul, and some other subjects, continually kept my mind in excitement.  Having adopted Materialism on the Priestleyan plan, I could not admit the existence of spirits in our world; for all antiquity supposed spirits to have been originally men : but if there had been no resurrection, there could be no human spirits.

I will now proceed to relate things, just as I have before done, agreeably to the views and impressions I then had ; leaving every one to form his own opinion.  I acknowledge, my mind was in a state of great excitement, at the time I had these extraordinary impressions; but it did not then seem to me, nor does it yet, that the degree of the excitement was adequate to the phenomena.  I awoke, one night, and heard a considerable noise in my room.  I listened carefully for some time, and the sound was that of a thousand pens, writing in great haste what was dictated.  I heard a voice very distinctly, saying, - "In all your writings, be careful to represent Jesus as only the instrument of God in all he does."  I immediately interrupted, by exclaiming,- "Silence!  I’ll not believe one of you."  The noise immediately stopped; and I was often afterward sorry that I had interrupted the dictation. I examined; but there was no person in the room, the door being locked, and none had yet arisen in the house.

Not long after, sleeping in the same room, I awoke by pressure, which removed immediately on awaking.  I began to reflect, whether it was a dream, or an external force applied to my body.  Whilst I doubted, some being took hold of my hands, and pressed with violence, which excited in me great surprise.  My hands were let loose, but, in one minute, they were again seized, with renewed violence. I then cried, - "Let me loose!  I believe!  Do not injure me!  I am entirely satisfied of your existence!"  The pressure on my hands was immediately removed, and I then felt greatly agitated, and tossed in my bed.  In two minutes after, my hands were seized a third time : I then complained loudly, but, in a minute of time, I was again set at liberty.  I leaped on the floor, determined that I would make full proof, whether any person had got into the room : though I believed that no man could apply so much strength as I had experienced on my hands.  The first thing I did was to examine the door, which I found as I had left it, locked, with they key in the inner side.  I took the key out of the door and again trying it, found it fast. I then groped all over the room, but found nobody.  I retired to my bed, placing the key under me, and waiting for the light of day.

This is the end of Thompson’s words, but much more information on him is contained in the article.

It would seem that John S. Thompson took the advice of the "voice" which commanded him to "represent Jesus as only the instrument of God in all he does," because, as stated above, in the WT's KIT on page 1139 Thompson's rendering of John 1:1 reads "and the Logos was a god.”  This rendering is not supported by any reputable Greek scholars and makes Jesus a lesser god and only an “instrument of God.”

In fact, this is not the first time the WT has consulted, and referred its readers to, spiritists.  From 1962 to 1983 the WT used Johannes Greber for support of it’s John 1:1 “a god” rendering (plus other NWT renderings).  Full documentation is available on request.  Finally, under pressure, the WT addressed the spiritist connection in Greber (Questions from Readers, April 1, 1983).  However, the WT’s answer in the Questions article put it in such a way as to lead the readers to think the WT had just found out about Greber, when in fact they knew about him and had warned about him 7 years before they started using him for support!  (See the WT book, What Do The Scriptures Say About “Survival After Death”?, p 88; and the WT article, Triumphing Over Wicked Spirit Forces, Feb. 15, 1956, see p 110,111.)

Part 3:  Some Questions

Please re-read the WT’s own words in the July 22 Awake, above, as to the seriousness of contact with spiritists, “those practicing spiritism ‘will suffer ‘the second [or, everlasting] death.”  The WT says in italicized words, Get rid of all objects related to spiritism,” and reports favorably those in the book of Acts who burned their books on spiritism.  Why has the WT not burned it’s KIT?  Why has it not taken the advice it gives to “take immediate steps to protect yourself and your family from being harmed by wicked spirits”?  Isn't it odd that the WT finds it necessary to look for support among spiritists?  What might this tell us about the source of the “a god” translation the WT insists on at John 1:1?  What was in it for the WT that it would be willing to take such a desperate risk? Why has the WT been so dishonest about its practices?  How can we trust a leadership that is willing to expose its members to such a dangerous practice as spiritism?

Written by Greta Olsoe

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* We are indebted to Leonard A. Chretien for this information.