Talk:Jehovah's Witnesses

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Good article Jehovah's Witnesses has been listed as one of the Philosophy and religion good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.

Use of other translations[edit]

An editor has wrongly stated that WTS publications "frequently" quote and cite Bible translations other than their own.[1] For a discussion on this issue see this archived discussion. BlackCab (TALK) 00:28, 29 July 2016 (UTC)

I suppose at debate here is the interpretation of the word "frequently". I used it as it is commonly used in ENGLISH, however some seem to insist on using it as a mathematical equation to determine the "number of times" which has little to do with frequency. Frequency is determined by how often, in terms of "frequency" not how many times, in terms of volume, something is done. Watchtower literature does frequently quote from other bible translations. it simply does not use them as the primary bible quoted from, therefore the overall volume of those quotations is not overwhelming in comparison to quotations from the NWT . I hope this clears up your confusion. Willietell (talk) 00:53, 29 July 2016 (UTC)
There is no confusion. The use of other translations in Watchtower publications is actually infrequent as the discussion to which I referred quite clearly shows. BlackCab (TALK) 04:36, 29 July 2016 (UTC)
Willitell was also involved in an esrlier discussion here in which he had claimed that "public issue of the Watchtower is heavily dependent on bible translations other than the NWT. Also, the Awake often uses scriptural references from bible translations other than the NWT." The statement is no more true today than it was in 2012 when he made this baseless comment. BlackCab (TALK) 07:02, 29 July 2016 (UTC)
No, I claimed the Watchtower was heavily dependent on other bible translations in addition to the NWT. Citations from other translations regularly (aka FREQUENTLY) appear in the public addition of the Watchtower AND Awake and on a regular (aka FREQUENT) basis. Also, please stop vandalizing the page by reverting all my edits using your feigned dispute on a single point as an excuse to do so. You are damaging the page and that constitutes vandalism. If you continue to vandalize the page, you will be reported. Willietell (talk) 22:13, 29 July 2016 (UTC)
I quoted your earlier false "heavily dependent" claim verbatim. Why would you lie about that when it's so easily verifiable? Just click on the link. BlackCab (TALK)
The lead of this article is not concerned with how often different issues of a particular JW periodical refer to at least one Bible translation other than NWT, so trying to use the word frequently in that fashion is essentially pointless. This article is not about JW public relations, so the attempted distinction about whether The Watchtower—Public Edition or Awake! use other translations 'frequently' is immaterial, not only because even those journals primarily use the NWT, but also because those journals constitute a minority of JW literature, now collectively only 16 pages per month. At best, the requested change to the article would give a false impression about how much JWs and JW literature actually rely on the use of other Bible translations.--Jeffro77 (talk) 01:54, 30 July 2016 (UTC)

I figured I'd throw my two cents in here.

First off, I agree with the "through Christ by God's power" change. It more precisely and more clearly represents what JW's believe than the previous wording.

Secondly, Willietell, "regularly" does NOT equal "frequently". Something can happen regularly that does not happen frequently. For example, Halley's Comet happens to regularly pass by the earth, but it does not happen frequently (on a human time scale). I have changed back the original wording to "occasionally" and have added a RS to back that up. If you change it again without further discussion and consensus you will probably be very close to being in violation of 3RR.

Thirdly, I have changed your edit back to "their own translation", as "modern language translation" is JW speak. "Modern language translation" implies that the NWT is more widely accepted and used outside of JW circles than it is. While JW's may describe it as a "modern language translation", any academic will describe it as "their own/preferred" as is also seen in the RS I provided for the above. Vyselink (talk) 22:36, 29 July 2016 (UTC)

The term "modern language translation" is hardly something Jehovah's Witnesses exclusively use as there are numerous bibles billed as being modern language editions, and the use of "there own translation" is indicative of bias against the NWT and violates WP:NPOV and needs to be re-expressed in a neutral fashion. your preference of "regularly" over "frequently" or "occasionally" is fine with me and I will make the change. The edit inserting "through Christ by God's power" was from an IP editor and reverted senselessly by a POV editor. I think making the change you've suggested more accurately represents Jehovah's Witnesses beliefs on the matter. Which is why I re-instated the IP editors edit originally. Willietell (talk) 01:27, 31 July 2016 (UTC)
On second thought I will hold off in making the change from "occasionally" to "regularly" until we here from the other editor, but my argument here is that "occasionally" implies a very limited use over time, which would indicate a citation from other translations only periodically over the span of many months or even years, which is simply inaccurate as most literature that is intended for public use tends to have at least some reference citations from other translations. Obviously, the NWT is the preferred translation and is thus much more widely referenced. But the use of the term "occasionally" here is misleading. Willietell (talk) 01:50, 31 July 2016 (UTC)
JW literature makes references to scriptures very frequently, and by far the majority of those are the NWT. The proportion of non-NWT translations cited is quite definitely best described as occasional. The notion that it implies usage that is "many months or even years" apart is unsubstantiated (the time period you are claiming it implies would more accurately be described as rarely).--Jeffro77 (talk) 03:10, 31 July 2016 (UTC)
For a Bible translation printed in the 20th century and updated in the 21st century, it is the default expectation that it would employ modern language. Unless specifically comparing with a translation such as the King James Version, it's an unnecessary qualifier. The description of the NWT as "their own translation" in the lead is not only a simple fact, but is also an accurate summary of the concerns of third-party commentators about doctrinal bias, which is addressed in the article.--Jeffro77 (talk) 03:19, 31 July 2016 (UTC)
Willietell's claim that referring to the NWT as "their own Bible" is biased and expresses a POV is laughable and barely worth a response. The phrase is perfectly accurate and used by Linda Edwards in the reference book cited at that point. I think there's a bit of attention seeking going on here. BlackCab (TALK) 09:49, 31 July 2016 (UTC)
Well, yes, it is a plain statement of fact that the NWT is "their own translation", and isn't really an indication of 'bias' as claimed; but even if a reader were to infer the phrase suggests bias, that would still be supported by sourced content in the article.--Jeffro77 (talk) 12:31, 31 July 2016 (UTC)

Addition: Now that I look at your comment in full, accusing BlackCab of vandalizing a page (as you also did in your edit summary), when what he did was return it to the original wording (which is currently disputed only by you), and threatening to "report" him, is WP:ACCUSE and WP:THREATEN, as even if you did bring up a possible report, it would be shut down immediately as being unsubstantiated, so I recommend that you do not use such wording. Vyselink (talk) 22:44, 29 July 2016 (UTC)

This particular topic is out of context here for further discussion, if you really wish to understand why I feel the particular editor is engaging on activities which violate WP:vandal ask on either my or your talk page. Willietell (talk) 01:27, 31 July 2016 (UTC)
You 'feel' that editors who disagree with your religious positions are necessarily pushing some 'agenda'. The fact remains that neither POV editing nor edit warring (nor even all distruptive editing) constitutes vandalism, regardless of your 'feelings' on the matter. This would remain the case even if your feelings were justified.--Jeffro77 (talk) 03:10, 31 July 2016 (UTC)
After checking the article history, I also fail to see how the reverts were "mass reverts" or vandalism. I click on the diff for a purported "mass revert" and there actually only are minor changes. Those log comments appear to me as dishonest misrepresentation. Proper explanations and sources have been discussed at length on this page to justify the current wording. (talk) 06:23, 2 August 2016 (UTC)
Yes of course you do, I would have expected no other conclusion from you after examining your edit history (sigh). Such is usually the case with a mysterious, antonymous IP editor who "just happens" to appear at convenient times in support of the anti-JW's editors with their anti-JW's agenda. However, if you wish to be taken seriously, start another an account, after all, its free. Willietell (talk) 21:55, 21 August 2016 (UTC)
Just to be clear, Willietell: are you returning to your accusations of sockpuppetry by either Jeffro77, Vyselink or myself? You have made this accusation in the past when you found no other editor agreeing with you. If you want to accuse any editors of sockpuppetry, do so in the appropriate forum, where it will be investigated. These sort of grubby implications are a very cowardly form of conduct. BlackCab (TALK) 23:23, 21 August 2016 (UTC)
The IP geolocates to Canada, so unless Willietell imagines some elaborate conspiracy, that's pretty much the end of any accusation of sockpuppetry.--Jeffro77 (talk) 07:43, 22 August 2016 (UTC)
The edit history goes back far enough that it should be clear that I have no relation to these other editors, which I do not personally know; our discussions have been limited to Wikipedia public article talk pages, and we don't always necessarily agree. One thing which we however most probably share would be an interest in knowledge development and sharing (the purported agenda?), and this naturally conflicts with censorship or obscurantism. I have simply resisted creating a Wikipedia account so far, and have never used one. This should also be clear from the history. My interests should also be visible: computer science, information technology, biology, medicine, geology, astronomy, archeology, anthropology and religion; I'm not here to edit on a single topic. Instead of dismissing anyone who contradicts you, I can only recommend to re-read and to try to understand the arguments with a honest attitude. There seems to be a tendency to aggrandize or exagerrate. When I said "dishonest misrepresentation" it was not to debate, I have actually perceived that. Do you understand the meaning of "vandalism" or "mass revert" in the context of Wikipedia? (talk) 12:49, 28 August 2016 (UTC)

Sorry for adding my opinion but this seems to be very petty and an attempt to bias people against a minority religious group than it is to simply express facts. Anything that could be taken positively must be cautioned because we don't want anything to be taken that way. When JWs use other translations frequently, does that only include published works? Does it include talks or public discourses, conversations, etc? Also some publications use other translations more than others. I can't believe we are having a conversation over this. Consider this: if another religious organization has a primary Biblical text as it preferred Bible version, does the WT use other translations less than these? Could words like "occasionally" be seen as a slight? Indeed, i believe that is the intention! It is not enough to say that WT literature also make use of other Bible translations as well. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jacobpressures (talkcontribs) 19:48, 16 November 2016 (UTC)

JWs do indeed reference the NWT by far the majority of the time, and that includes printed materials, talks and even conversations. The fact is relevant as various scholars who have reviewed the NWT have noted doctrinal bias in the translation, and this is properly stated in the article. Are you suggesting any specific change to the article?--Jeffro77 (talk) 21:30, 16 November 2016 (UTC)

Critical websites[edit]

An editor has added to the Criticism and controversy section this line: "The exjw community has produced several websites with research into the various teachings and doctrinal changes, such as JWFacts, JWSurvey and JWStruggle" and added a link to a list of critical websites. I'm a bit uneasy about this inclusion (particularly the informal reference to "exjw community"), but would welcome comment. Wikipedia's guideline on notability states plainly that it is not used to "determine the content of articles, but only whether the topic should have its own article". Therefore the lack of references in reliable sources to websites such as JWFacts and JWSurvey does not rule out mentioning them in the article. Some of those critical websites are of a very high quality, with excellent scholarship and an emphasis on fact-checking. On that basis it could be argued they are as valuable a resource to Wikipedia readers as published books or the official JW website. What's your view: should that sentence stay or go? BlackCab (TALK) 06:23, 30 August 2016 (UTC)

The more relevant guideline here would be the one on promotional material. Sites that fail Wikipedia's criteria for external links or reliable sources (e.g. personal websites, forums, blogs) should not be used as citations for such sites. It may be suitable to indicate that the genre of websites exists (though this too should have some kind of source), but such sites should only be specified if they are specifically mentioned in a suitable secondary sources.--Jeffro77 (talk) 07:51, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
I agree that they generally cannot be used; an exception perhaps would be if a particular site was so notable for its mention to be unavoidable in relation to a particular topic (and more as a notable resource than as a reliable source). For instance, there is already mention of SilentLambs in its relevant context. Criticism of Jehovah's Witnesses may also be a better place to mention such (and we already point to that article from here).
I also find "exjw community" problematic as not all critical of the Watch Tower Society were necessarily previous members (any scholar, cult specialist or social scientist may be, as well as friends of family of members, public media, and even current members). Moreover, in one definition, anyone who had an affilliation with the religion can be considered a Witness, while in another definition only baptized members are Witnesses. Adding more confusion is the fact that official membership statistics are accounted on the basis of "publisher" status (which does not imply baptism). Not to mention distinctions like "faded", "excommunicated", labeled as "apostate"; "ex-jw" seems vague and inaccurate. (talk) 03:54, 23 September 2016 (UTC)



This talk page should be used to discuss about improvements we can make to the Jehovah's Witnesses article. This is not a forum; please make specific change suggestions or a precise criticism. This article, as well as the one on Jehovah's Witnesses beliefs already mention the above. (talk) 05:02, 28 October 2016 (UTC)

James Beckford[edit]

Typical of the blatant attempts by JW apologist Willietell to distort clearly sourced facts in this article, he has added the thoroughly misleading information that James Beckford is "a critic of the religion" as if he has some known agenda. Beckford, as his Wikipedia article notes, is a noted and respected sociologist of religion and a prolific author of books on new religious movements. Willietell has also removed the widely reported statement by his religion's leaders that defectors are mentally diseased, claiming in his edit summary that he was removing "POV spin" and "redundant material". Willietell's own agenda is fairly clear and this new string of edits reinforces his past known conduct as a dishonest and sneaky contributor who is here only to subvert and undermine the article. BlackCab (TALK) 07:57, 30 December 2016 (UTC)

Oh boy. In his/her talk page, User:Willietell has a template which says "This user is a member of WikiProject Jehovah's Witnesses." So his/her objectivity is compromised. Dimadick (talk) 13:08, 30 December 2016 (UTC)

Willietell's objectivity on this subject is certainly compromised, as demonstrated by his edits. However, membership of a WikiProject is not itself an indication of affiliation with the project's subject.--Jeffro77 (talk) 03:36, 31 December 2016 (UTC)
It took me a while before deciding to answer, as it's often best to not discuss editors; but this particular editor indeed has a long history of problematic editing. From memory, the early history included sockpuppetting to claim consensus of other fictitious editors, as well as dishonest attempts to delete articles for claimed copyright violations (using references to misdated copies of Wikipedia articles on other sites), editing/deleting talk page content, and some blocks (for suckpuppetting or edit revert wars). Some answers on talk pages were also mimicking those of more experienced editors who were pointing to specific guidelines, as if it was an appeal to authority game. I have also noticed misrepresentation in edit descriptions over the years (and remember once complaining about this here). It is also an account which appears to strictly be used to edit JW-related articles.
We all start somewhere, and I can myself sometimes blush at some of my own previous edits. While I do believe that some of the early misconduct of this account has ceased, regular attempts to whitewash articles have persisted. It also appears that the Wikipedia definition of NPOV and RS will never be understood (or acknowledged). Therefore I do not think that any particular justification or extended explanations are necessary when reverting inappropriate changes from that account.
However, we have occasionally noticed what appears to be decent discussion attempts on talk pages in recent years (albeit with mishaps here and there, which can happen, considering the sensitive nature of the topic). Rarely, these discussions resulted in constructive article changes. If some of those recent edits which get systematically reverted are deemed important or worthy enough, we can probably expect their author to still be able to open a discussion about it...
I understand how frustrating persistent disruptive behavior can be (not only from this account), and I admire the patience of those who must constantly deal with this. (talk) 16:42, 7 January 2017 (UTC)