I’d chosen the title for this blog site prior to finding out that it was actually embedded in an old Turkish proverb, which states, “The sheep separated from the flock is eaten by the wolf.” I was dumbstruck upon seeing this. I found myself connecting with this proverb on so many levels. Of course! As Jehovah’s Witnesses, we are taught that if we stray from the flock of “righteous ones,” then there is “nowhere to go.” We believe everyone outside of “the truth” is an alcoholic, thief or drug dealer and will certainly lead us into a life of misery and debauchery. We stay where we are because we are afraid of the “wolves,” who just can’t wait to devour us. We live in fear of being separated from the flock and so remain humbly, and blindly obedient to the shepherds, the elders in the congregation, who act on the orders received from the Faithful and Discreet Slave, also known as the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The more afraid, and the more sheep-like we become, the lower the likelihood of ever straying away from the flock and going out on our own. Paralyzed and unable to think freely, we take the direction provided to us, believing there is nothing better out there. We speak of anything outside of the organization as being “wordly,” and part of the “old system of things.” We look upon non-Jehovah’s Witnesses with contempt and derision, bordering on abject hatred. We claim to be protected from the wickedness of the world by the “society” and its “spiritual food.”
Let’s shift our thinking now. Let’s imagine that instead of the wolves existing outside the fences containing the happy, contented, and well-protected flock, that they are actually running the show? Yes, keeping the sheep locked up under their own will, devouring their minds instead of their flesh, feasting on their freedom and independence, which the wolves have maliciously and knowingly stole from them. Somehow, other members of the flock have left. They occasionally come and stand near the fence, calling out to their old friends and relatives. They try to tell them that they can live outside the fence, and think independently, without the wolves protection. The wolves come out of their lofty “watchtowers” high above the flock. They terrorize their own sheep, telling them if they talk to the sheep on the other side of the fence they will be cast out, no longer to benefit from the wolves’ kindness and hospitality. “Where else will you go?” the wolves say. “Who will feed you food at the proper time?” The vast majority of the sheep turn away from the fence and don’t even look upon the ones on the other side. They conclude they are better off inside, and don’t see any possible reason to leave. They know they have everything they need right where they are. They don’t have to worry about where their next meal will come from, and besides, they are constantly protected from the wolves that roam freely outside the fences. It doesn’t strike them as odd that somehow the sheep that have left are still surviving out there, away from the flock.
If you are one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, please think carefully about the situation you are in. Do you really believe that everyone that is not a Jehovah’s Witness is really such a wicked person–a “bad association?” Are you being told not to talk to any members that have left for fear of punishment? Are you allowed to verify anything you are being told? In 1 John 4:1 we are admonished to “test the inspired expressions to see whether they originate with God, because many false prophets have gone forth into the world.” What are you doing to test the food that is being provided to you?
If you are no longer one of Jehovah’s Witnesses and are struggling to find your way, know that life is meant to be a search for answers and for truth. We were created with the wonderful gift of choice and will. It is not possible for any organization, or even any small group of men, to have all of the answers. There are sheep and wolves on both sides of the fence. Time and experience will guide you toward knowing who is who.