Jehovah’s Witnesses are proud to tell others that they live by the same teachings all over the world. Yet, after leaving the religion and doing our research, we discovered that this is certainly not the case.
We can recall hearing about the brothers and sisters in Malawi when the Watchtower, Bible & Tract Society initiated a letter writing campaign to the Malawian government in the 1970’s. It wasn’t until after reading Crisis of Conscience by Raymond Franz that we realized that the friends in Malawi were experiencing successive waves of vicious attacks and acts of brutality by savage mobs for many years before it came to our attention in the United States.
There were reports of Malawian families losing their homes in destructive fires, women being sexually violated by multiple men, suffering from miscarriages. Still others were being violently tormented and brutally beaten and savagely killed.
Their offense? Refusal to purchase a 25 cent political party card because according to the Watchtower Society it was tantamount to being unfaithful to God. According to Franz, “the issue hinged on the fact that the card was a “political” card representing membership in a “political” party. Because, of course, to a Jehovah’s Witness, the word “political” has a bad connotation.
Yet, there was an issue unfolding in Mexico at the same time. While the Watchtower Society was refusing the brothers in Malawi to purchase a political card, they were allowing the brothers in Mexico to bribe the Mexican officials by purchasing the an “Identity Cartilla for Military Service” in order to escape military service.
Each month, if a Jehovah’s Witness wants to retain their active status as a member, they are required to turn in a timesheet to report their activity for proselytizing. This entails providing the number of hours they spend talking to people about God and recommending that they attend meetings at the Kingdom Hall. They must also indicate the number of books, magazines and return visits they made on individuals interested in their message. When the Jehovah’s Witness turns in this timesheet, they are also required to sign their name and hand it in so the service overseer can keep track of their activity.
The Watchtower, Bible & Tract Society claims that the reason why Jehovah’s Witnesses count time is so that they can better manage their resources. For instance, they claim that they use this information to ascertain how many presses they need to buy, how much paper they will need to print more books and magazines or know what area of the country people are placing more magazines and books.
It’s interesting how the Watchtower always encourages people to look at the foundation or the history as to where a particular teaching comes from. Because Jehovah’s Witnesses have a tendency to deny that counting time is a requirement.
When Jehovah’s Witnesses were first told by the Watchtower, Bible & Tract Society all over the world, that they would now be required to turn in the amount of time that they talked to people about God, many of the people said you’ve got to be kidding. It became an issue to the point where the Watchtower writers had to address it. People on the Watchtower editorial staff sat in meetings trying to find ways to convince Jehovah’s Witnesses around the world, that they need to turn in their time. They did so by coming out and making the statement that this is a requirement of God.
JT answers the listener submitted question: “Why do Jehovah’s Witnesses count time?”
Counting time is when Jehovah’s Witnesses are on the clock while they minister to others. Some people have encountered Jehovah’s Witnesses coming to their home. Members must report the time that they spend talking about God and account for the literature that they distribute on timesheets.
Comedians have joked about Jehovah’s Witnesses and their door-to-door activity by making comments like, once you let them in your house, you can’t get them out; don’t let them in or they will be there all day.
The reason why when Jehovah’s Witnesses are talking to individuals they are always long winded. It is because they are counting time, yes, they are on the clock.
Counting time is a teaching required by Jehovah’s Witnesses and is sanctioned by the Watchtower and according to them it is endorsed by God.
When the Watchtower first introduced the notion of counting time, there was a push back from the members. In fact, it became such an issue, that the Watchtower writers had to address this issue in order to enforce it. They did so by writing an article in the Watchtower stating that counting time, “is a requirement of God”. The name of the article, was called “Righteous Requirements”. [July 1, 1943 Watchtower]
JT used example of Pharisees washing up to the elbows as a requirement of God, instead of being introduced as common manners as an example of men making up requirements of God in the past.
Counting time is used to determine who will be promoted and get positions in the church in addition to managing resources.
JT compares the practice to forging a bounced check with God’s name on it.