Miscellaneous Questions

Records show the Society has registered other NGOs in several countries, such as the Former Soviet Republic of Georgia. What about these NGOs?

What about them? Even many apostates admit these other NGOs are nothing to do with the United Nations DPI.

An NGO is simply a widely-used term for an organization which is not part of a government. Although the term was coined by the UN, it has not been an exclusive piece of terminology used by the United Nations for decades — other organizations and governments use it all over the world.

There are an estimated 2 million NGOs in the United States alone, with millions of others worldwide. Of these, nearly 30,000 operate internationally. Now compare that to the number (as of 2006) registered with the UN's DPI — just 1,500, and those registered with ECOSOC — just 2,300. Clearly, just because an organization is an “NGO” does not mean it is automatically anything to do with the United Nations. This is typical of the bad logic of apostates on Internet discussion boards, using so-called “common sense” to reach a conclusion instead of checking their facts. —See the appendix entry, “e-Watchman — a conspiracy theorist or an anointed prophet?” for more examples of the bad argumentation used by opposers

Why did the DPI state in an e-mail that requirements for association of NGOs has not changed since 1991?

The UN staff member who wrote that widely-circulated e-mail is wrong. On the one hand the UN representative says the requirements did not change since 1991, yet the UN's own website and scans of forms we have in our possession tells us the exact opposite. Of course the requirements changed — the forms did! It seems the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing at the UN, as the saying goes. —See chapter 2 and 3 for more information on the changing NGO world

The 1997 NGO brochure says DPI NGOs are there to increase grassroots support for the UN. Since this was during the Watchtower Society's NGO membership period, doesn't this mean the Society agreed to those terms?

No, why should it? The 1997 DPI NGO brochure is only sent to new NGOs. The Society would not have received that brochure as it was granted DPI NGO status five years earlier in 1992. Why would the UN send a “welcome” booklet to all of the existing NGOs every year? Also, how would the Society agree “to those terms” by allegedly receiving a brochure in the mail? The Society knew exactly what “terms” they had “agreed to” when they completed their initial application form in 1991, which we can read today and see that there is nothing there about increasing “grassroots support” for the UN.

The UN has stated they do not “trick” organizations into becoming NGOs. Does this not mean the Watchtower must have known what they were doing?

This kind of argument is known as a “straw man”. The Watchtower Society has never once claimed they were tricked into agreeing to anything, so the point is irrelevant. The DPI's annual accreditation form changed in 2001, and in that year the Society withdrew it's status. We have copies of the forms the Watchtower Society completed (with and without signatures) so the Society knew exactly what they agreed to, and we can read those forms today. The Society was never “tricked” into agreeing to anything that compromises our Christian beliefs. When the requirements on the accreditation form changed ready for the 2002 year, they were now inappropriate, and the Society did not sign them but instead ended their DPI NGO status. There was no trickery anywhere.

Doesn't the Watchtower teach that the UN is the unclean thing and should not be touched?

No, the Watchtower Society does not teach that at all and never has. This is a deliberate lie by apostates to make the Society look like a hypocrite, but they're hoping you will not check the facts yourself. A quick search in the Watchtower's archives turns up countless results showing the “unclean thing” to be applied to pagan religions. Here are two fairly typical quotes:

In her desire to win pagan hearts, the church therefore did not adhere to the truth. She justified the practice of syncretism, the absorption of heathen beliefs and practices “dear to the masses.” The result was a hybrid, apostate church, far removed from the teachings of true Christianity. In this light, perhaps it is not so surprising that a former Roman temple to “all gods”—the Pantheon—should become a Roman Catholic church dedicated to Mary and all the “saints.”

It ought to be obvious, however, that changing the dedication of a temple or the name of a celebration is not sufficient to transform the ‘worship of devils into the service of the true God.’ “What agreement does God’s temple have with idols?” asked the apostle Paul. “‘Get out from among them, and separate yourselves,’ says Jehovah, ‘and quit touching the unclean thing’; ‘and I will take you in.’ ‘And I shall be a father to you, and you will be sons and daughters to me,’ says Jehovah the Almighty.”—2 Corinthians 6:16-18.

—March 15th 1999 Watchtower

Christians realize that the Bible draws a sharp distinction between true worship and false. They know that God does not approve of religious organizations that do not adhere strictly to the teachings of his Word. Therefore, they do not share in any way in the services of such organizations. Rather, they heed the Scriptural counsel: “Do not become unevenly yoked with unbelievers. For what sharing do righteousness and lawlessness have? ... Or what portion does a faithful person have with an unbeliever? ... ‘Therefore get out from among them, and separate yourselves,’ says Jehovah, ‘and quit touching the unclean thing.”’—2 Cor. 6:14-17.

—15th January 1965 Watchtower

Although there was nothing technically wrong with being an NGO with the DPI in 1992, should the Watchtower have not avoided anything to do with the United Nations to avoid stumbling the brothers?

No, because if the requirements had not changed the apostates quoted in The Guardian would have had nothing to exploit, and no one would have been stumbled. The actions of the Society were clearly innocent and it's letters regarding the matter honest, as the evidence in this work shows. The ones doing the stumbling are the apostates who twist the situation and present misleading evidence to others. To illustrate: if I start slandering a brother in your congregation by using selective evidence, mis-applying quotes, and hiding all contrary evidence, who is doing the stumbling? Is it the brother, or myself?

There was nothing wrong with the UN's Department of Public Information recognizing the Watchtower Society as an NGO in 1992, so the Writing Department could use their extensive library facilities for research. Only after the requirements of such a status changed did it become inappropriate, thus the status ended in 2001. The only stumbling done is by those who twist and hide the evidence to promote their own arrogant agenda.

One brother who formerly believed the apostate's conspiracy theory comments:

“...even if it was not a "wise" move [on the part of the Society], who really caused the stumbling? If apostate propaganda did not exist, extreme elaborated stories and theories, the brothers would have humbly accepted the response the Watchtower Society gave, and gone on with their Christian lives. However we had apostates embellish the story, then make it out into a whole prostitution thing, ... etc etc, ... then brothers started looking at it differently with apostate lighting as it were — yeah, then they got on the bandwagon of Watchtower-bashing and so-called 'standing up for the TRUTH' Bleh!”

If the Society is innocent, how come they haven't sued the United Nations for lying?

This is another straw man argument: if the Society is innocent how come that...? The fact is the UN has not lied or misled the Society in any way, therefore there are no grounds for a lawsuit whatsoever. While the UN staff have sometimes given wrong advice, have given out misleading information, and others have reported their incompetence, they did not do anything to deliberately hurt the Watchtower Society nor did they trick the Society into signing any documents. When we applied for the status, we signed nothing that compromised our beliefs. However, after we became a DPI NGO the DPI's requirements and expectations of it's NGOs changed, but once the Governing Body was made aware they promptly ended the status. There is absolutely no grounds to sue the United Nations nor any purpose in doing so.

The DPI said, “The financial records of the organization must be turned over to the UNDPI for review.” Why would the Watchtower turn over their financial records because some guy at the UN told them they had to in order to get a library card?

The quote is from the DPI’s Paul Hoeffel in 2003 after the rigorous review process was put in place. The original 1991 application shows that any financial disclosure was simply to give proof that they were a non-profit organization and nothing more. Critics try to twist this requirement to make it look like something sinister — as if the Watchtower Society were somehow giving control of their finances over to the UN, when this is really nothing but crazy, ignorant paranoia. Also, note that the DPI-association was not just to “get a library card”. —See the chapter, Following it to the Letter

Where can I get the data on which you based your charts?

The data came from the 2001 edition of the Watchtower Library CD-ROM (published by Jehovah's Witnesses) by searching for single words such as 'America', 'USA', 'UN', etc, and phrases like “United Nations” in double quotes (the quotation marks are important for an accurate count). All one needs to do is add up the results in a spreadsheet program, then generate a chart based on the data (a program such as the free OpenOffice is capable of this).

If you try this yourself, remember to include different phrases and words for the same thing. For example, in the 1990's the Society started using the phrase “new world” to describe the new system, and it accounts for a large percentage of all references to Christ's Kingdom. If you forget to include a phrase like that, you will have grossly distorted results. Also remember to discern which words have double meanings, like how “new world” can also refer to Columbus’ discovery of America, for example. Take care to get your data right, and double check it.

What about the 1992 press release from the UN which says DPI NGOs help build support for the UN and it’s goals, and also support the UN charter?

Here is what the press release says:

NGO/208
PI/755
14 February 1992
...

The Department of Public Information (DPI) accepted, on 28 January, 37 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) seeking association with it. Among them are: The American Cancer Society (USA), the Centro Unesco de Galicia (Spain) ... the Russian-American University (Russia). A complete list is available from DPI.

The Department failed to approve the application submitted by 13 Organizations, and terminated the association of 14 others that were inactive.

The NGOs officially recognized by DPI cooperate with the United Nations to help build public understanding and support for the United Nations programmes and goals.

...

To be granted association with DPI, NGOs must have national or International standing, support the charter of the United Nations, have a broadly based membership and posses the resources necessary for effective outreach.

So yes, this press release does indeed say that NGOs recognized by the DPI “support” the UN, it’s goals, and it’s charter. This is also from 1992, the year the Society became recognized. So, you may think that similar statements could also be found on the application form to become a recognized NGO, on any subsequent forms, and in UN resolutions on the matter. Well, you would be wrong.

The requirement to “support the UN” is not found on what was then the DPI application form, nor on the old accreditation forms. Further, UN resolution 13 stipulates the requirements for DPI-associated NGOs, and likewise makes no mention these things. It is the statements on the forms and the resolutions – which were no doubt read by the Watchtower legal department – which governed the nature of the relationship. The relationship was governed by the proper legal forms, not governed by what a Public Relations officer wrongly believes is the current legal requirements, and incorrectly writes in an obscure press release.

It is extremely doubtful that anyone at the Society even saw this press release. You must remember this was in the days before the Internet made information like this easy to find. The Watchtower legal department and the Governing Body do not spend all their days reading UN press releases. The legal department evidently read the actual application and accreditation forms and truthfully saw that there were “no statements that conflict with our Christian beliefs.”

Also remember that it is the DPI that decides if an NGO meets their criteria or not. Therefore it is the DPI that determines what is meant by the words “support for the United Nations programmes and goals”. It is irrelevant what definition or meaning opposers place on those words. As we have shown, the word support has various definitions and NGOs are not required to agree with all goals and programs of the UN. If the DPI ruled that Jehovah’s Witnesses met their criteria, then so be it. —See the chapter, Principle Support

Of course, perhaps the Society should have been more cautious. However they are humans and humans make mistakes. As the Society freely admitted the letter to Brant Jones:

“If one is looking for evidence that all of Jehovah’s people, including those at headquarters, are imperfect and may not always consider matters as carefully as they should before acting, despite their best intentions, then we quickly acknowledge that such evidence is not hard to find.”

Also of note is that when this press release mentions that some NGOs were dropped from the register, it fully agrees with how we understand the association and disassociate procedures. Specifically, that an NGO is not legally bound to write articles for the UN, as NGOs are simply “terminated” from the list if they become “inactive”. See the chapter Did We Agree to Praise the UN?


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