This is Me
The Story of Brian and Tara
But by God's undeserved kindness, I am what I am
And his undeserved kindness to me was not in vain, but I labored more than all of them, yet it was not I, but the undeserved kindness of God that is with me.
~ Paul (1 Corinthians 15:10) ~
- A Return to the Truth
- Leaving "The Truth"
- New Light
- Jehovah's Love
- God's View of Transsexuality
- Homosexuality and the Bible
- Sodom and Gomorrah
- Romans 1:26, 27
- Leviticus 20:13 and 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10
- God's View of Homosexuality
- My Identity and Circumstance
I am Brian...and I am Tara. The purpose of this story is to reveal Jehovah’s true nature, through His mercy, compassion, undeserved kindness, and most of all, His love, through His outworking within my life.
Jesus once said “there are those last who will be first, and there are those first who will be last.” (Luke 13:30) Never has this statement proven more true than in my own personal circumstance, for the truth was revealed to me at an early age and I rejected it, turning instead to practicing evil things. And yet, like Paul, Jehovah saw in me a loyalty to the truth—a zeal that He knew, once I recognized what the truth was, would be applied wholeheartedly to the truth. I was very haughty at an early age, and it took a lot of hardship and pain for me to recognize that the gifts that I have been given are just that.1 Through trials and tribulations, I came to realize that my abilities have been given to me by the Creator, and they are not inherent.2
Of course, Jehovah knew that with the right discipline, I would grow closer to the level of humility required to be a servant of Jehovah. I eventually started going back to the Kingdom Halls, where I would endure a new test – a test of loyalty to Jehovah (which I will describe in further detail later in this article). After this test of loyalty, and my training in the truth, and in conjunction with my ability to recognize, not only the truth that the Watchtower Society has gone to great lengths to make known throughout the world, but also the lies that have gone along with the truth, Jehovah put me in a position to bear witness to the Watchtower Society.3
My experience with Jehovah is summed up in Paul's counsel to the Ephesians:
Furthermore, God made you alive, though you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you at one time walked according to the system of things of this world, according to the ruler of the authority of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience. Yes, among them we all at one time conducted ourselves in harmony with the desires of our flesh, carrying out the will of the flesh and of our thoughts, and we were naturally children of wrath just as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, made us alive together with the Christ, even when we were dead in our trespasses—by undeserved kindness you have been saved. Moreover, he raised us up together and seated us together in the heavenly places in union with Christ Jesus, so that in the coming system of things he might demonstrate the surpassing riches of his undeserved kindness in his graciousness toward us in union with Christ Jesus.
By this undeserved kindness you have been saved through faith, and this is not of our own doing; rather, it is God’s gift. No, it is not a result of works, so that no one should have a grounds for boasting. We are God’s handiwork and were created in union with Christ Jesus for good works, which God determined in advance for us to walk in them.—Ephesians 2:1-10
To understand all of this, I need to tell my story, from the very beginning, because it is those beginnings that shine a light on Jehovah’s wisdom, foresight, and His ability to read hearts and His love of those whose hearts are in line with his will, in spite of outward appearances.
My story begins on April 10, 1982. That was the day I was born. I guess technically, my story began 9 months before that, but that is more like the story of my parents. Growing up, I was different than most kids. That can be said of most kids growing up in a family of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I was not one of those kids. But the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses had a profound effect on me nonetheless.
My grandmother, who was at the time, a Jehovah’s Witness, tried to instill in me Christian values—to the chagrin of my mother, her daughter, who wanted nothing to do with the religion. Instead, my mother began to explore alternative spiritual paths. It started with Wicca, and branched off from there into various other pagan belief systems. Although what I learned from my grandmother about Jehovah struck a chord with me, I was a typical rebellious teenager, and quickly gained interest in the religions my mother was studying. That, combined with the fact that at the time I was coming to understand that my sexual orientation was not straight at the time (more clarification on that later)…and I quickly grew away from the beliefs and values that my grandmother was trying to instill in me.
Now, when I say I was a rebellious teenager, I did not rebel against my parents or anything like that. My rebellion was more against the ideologies and philosophies that most of society just blindly accept as fact, and which, to me, seemed idiotic. This is not an idea that I would abandon upon becoming Christian; for now, I recognize that the reason this system is the way it is, is because it is really Satan’s system, and not Gods (1 John 5:19). Even prior to accepting the truth, although I was a part of the world, deep in my heart, I recognized the pettiness that exists in this system. People pay lip service to ideals that they will not follow through on when it is inconvenient for them to do so. That has always been the way of Satan’s system: it appeals to a person’s sense of right and wrong, but when push comes to shove, it does not deliver and instead encourages indulgence in one’s own desires over standing up for what it right.
I will not spend time going over the various religious and spiritual systems that I explored over the years, because I no longer believe in any of them, and they are irrelevant to my ultimate story, other than the fact that despite my various pagan beliefs, Jehovah still called on me and I eventually responded.
During my time in college, along with my spiritual investigation, I also became very introspective. I mentioned above that when I was younger, I came to understand that I was not straight. I was a prominent supporter of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) rights in my own community. I was involved in various forms of GSAs (Gay Straight Alliances) in high school and both colleges I attended. When I first came to realize that I did not feel the same way towards women that other boys did, and that I preferred boys, it did not bother me. This despite the fact that at the time, during the 90’s, the LGBT community was enduring much more attacks than it does today. It was a different time back then, and although there are still some hate groups that exist even today, the threat to the community as a whole is not as prominent as it was back then. Being gay in today’s world does not carry the same stigma that it used to.
None of that mattered to me. I knew (or at least I thought I knew) who I was, and I surrounded myself with people who accepted me and largely ignored those who didn’t. I was lucky enough to be born in a family that would accept me no matter what, and because of the company I kept, I did not experience the hatred and abuse that other members of the LGBT community faced for being gay.
A new Chapter
What I thought I knew about my own sexual orientation at the time did not turn out to be altogether accurate. It started at the close of my second year of college. I began to not feel entirely comfortable in my own body. It did not take me long to determine that I was, in fact, transgendered. Mind you, this was in the early 2000’s, before Caitlyn Jenner. Although things were beginning to turn around for LGB people, at the time I felt there was still a stigma for being labeled “transsexual.” It was thought by several psychologists back in the 70s that transsexuality was more of a sexual fetish than a gender identity, and that belief largely persisted in social science, even as late as the early 2000’s. While it is true that for some, dressing as the opposite gender is a sexual fetish, or that the person does not identify themselves with the opposite gender, but rather, simply feels more comfortable in clothes of the opposite gender (such people are called transvestites), this was not the case with me.
It was this stigma of “sexual fetish” put upon transgendered people at the time that made me much more hesitant to admit that I was transgendered than I was to admitting to being gay. Once I finally admitted it to myself though, I decided to seek therapy. At first, I discussed with my therapist my depression, which has, itself, been a constant in my life (although at the moment it’s not too horrible). By the end of my first session, however, I was ready to reveal the real purpose for seeking him out: to explore the possibility of transitioning to female.
A Return to the Truth
About a year and a half had passed from when I first started therapy to when I began seeing a doctor for HRT (hormone replacement therapy). I had two sessions with Dr. McGinn before I had the prescription for hormones in my hand. That year and a half, however, did not go by completely uneventful.
At that time I had finished my two years at community college and had been taking classes at university, majoring in physics (with a minor in astronomy). In addition to taking classes, going to therapy, studying various religions, and being active in the university’s GSA, I was also being slowly called upon by Jehovah to return to the truth. It was subtle at first, but grew fairly quickly. Jehovah didn’t pull any punches, he knew how to draw me back to him by appealing to my intellectual side.
Even when I was a kid, learning the truth for the first time from my grandmother, I knew that there was something not quite right about the Society’s interpretation of prophecy, and the whole 1914 thing. It just never sat right with me. Well, one of the first things Jehovah did in bringing me back into the truth was to lead me to Robert King. I spent months reading the articles on his website and listening to podcasts, and I recognized the ring of truth in what he was saying. While other apostate voices also condemned the Society for their evils, they also encouraged their listeners to abandon the Biblical doctrine that they knew to be true. King, on the other hand, was just the opposite. He encouraged his listeners to continue in the Society, citing Matthew 24:15, 16 as evidence of his belief that his listeners should not leave the Society until they “catch sight of the disgusting thing.”
Upon learning this from King, I knew that I needed to return to the Kingdom Hall. I did not know at the time how I could possibly reconcile this with my gender identity. I knew the Society would not allow me to get baptized if I transitioned to a woman. I was literally in tears one night, reading King’s site, and it is at that moment that Jehovah’s holy spirit entered into my life for the first time in a major way.
In addition to worrying about my gender identity, my real concern was with finding a mate. It was the one selfish desire that I longed for more than anything else in my life, and at that moment, I felt a despair in the deepest reaches of my heart that I had never felt before, and haven’t felt since, to this day. It was at that exact moment that Jehovah’s Holy Spirit entered into my being, and filled that pit of despair in my heart. It was so powerful that if I had not known better, I would have thought that something had physically entered inside of me. From that moment on, it was as if there was a shield around my heart, protecting me from my emotions. My tears immediately stopped, and where, just a moment prior, I felt immeasurable sorrow, now I only felt numb, and I knew what I had to do.
I literally had the prescription for hormones in my hand, when I had made my decision to go back to the Kingdom Hall (I say “back,” but in reality, it wasn’t the same one I went to as a child). From that point on, I spent a year, maybe two studying with a few brothers, until a new brother joined the congregation, who had been an elder at his previous congregation. This new brother sat in with one of my Bible studies, the first week he was there, and quickly began asking me questions about my background and what I knew about the truth etc. It was not long after that, that he would take over my Bible studies.
Shortly after the new brother took over my Bible study (mind you, I had already been studying for at least a year at this point), that protection that Jehovah had placed around my heart had been removed. I was so confused at the time. I thought that Jehovah would continue to protect me so that I could eventually advance to baptism. I now understand that the purpose of the removal of this protection was for the purpose of testing my resolve to remain faithful to him. It was a test I passed with flying colors. By the end of the trial, the words of Matthew 10:39 were proven true in my case, “Whoever finds his soul will lose it, and whoever loses his soul for my sake will find it.”
This new brother was a fantastic teacher. His use of illustrations and his exuberance for the truth captivated me. His family was very hospitable as well. It was not long before I started going to their house for dinner on family worship nights. They really made me feel like I was a part of their family. I was even invited to the funeral and reception of the new brother’s father. This continued on for about two years, until my grandmother, who had since moved to Arizona, decided to move back to Pennsylvania. This was the beginning of a new chapter in my spiritual journey.
Leaving "The Truth"
My grandmother, who had become inactive, as they say, in the truth, for some time, had slowly been drawn back into it when a Jehovah’s Witness came to her residence in Arizona. After studying with them for a short time, she decided she wanted to move back to Pennsylvania with her relatives. She moved into the same apartment as me, my mother, my sister, and both their boyfriends.
At that point, my grandmother started going to the same Kingdom Hall that I had been going to, and studying for a few months, until we decided to rent a house in New Jersey because we needed the space. We started going to the local congregation in Jersey, and my grandmother attended the second meeting in the Jersey congregation that I attended. After that, we set up a meeting with the elders to re-establish a Bible study for me and for them to get to know my grandmother.
My grandmother told the elders her story, and then I began to tell my story. I told them not only about my religious past and my gender identity issues, but also how I felt concerning the so-called apostate Robert King.
I know Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that any “new light” will come through the Governing Body, and that Jehovah would never use someone on the outside. So I told them how I felt about this topic, that it is not without precedent for Jehovah to go outside the leadership of his own people to provide correction. I used the prophets of old during the time of the Israelites as an example. When Jehovah raised up those prophets, they were opposed to the leadership of God’s people at the time. Again, that sets a precedent for our day (and yes, up until recently, Jehovah considered Jehovah’s Witnesses his people).
My grandmother has been given a gift, an ability to hear a person’s voice and determine the intentions behind what is being said. She says that it’s not so much what is being said, but how it is being said. Now meetings with the elders, such as the one we arranged, are supposed to be up-building, but with her gift, my grandmother informed me that there was nothing loving in what was being said in that room that evening. She implied that the mood of the meeting was such that we were being looked down upon. I was completely oblivious to this, because I do not have the refined ability to read between the lines; instead, I act on the information that is presented to me.
From that moment on, we never went back to the Kingdom Hall. My grandmother did not come out and say what she had to say about that meeting until some weeks later. She needed time to process her feelings, especially since she had been trained not to question the Governing Body or the elders. In the meantime, I ordered a hard copy of Robert King’s book so that she could read it, and gradually her eyes began to be opened. When I explained what I had learned from King, and she eventually came to accept it, she told me that it was a lot simpler and easier to understand than the Governing Body’s convoluted interpretation of prophecy. It was at this point that our work really began, and new light was really beginning to shine forth from above.
In addition to the new light that we were given with respect to prophecy, of which Robert King was given but a shadow, Jehovah also revealed to my grandmother (she being anointed) that a new understanding of the nature of Jehovah would be forthcoming. I have personally gained but the briefest of glimpses into that new understanding on October 31, 2014, the day of my dedication to Jehovah.
The religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses stands as a beacon of light against the darkness and vitriol spewed by those who condemn others in the name of God. It is clear that the actions of those who tear others down in the name of God are not displaying God’s love, or following the example that Jesus set for his followers. Despite this contrast, the love of God that Jehovah’s Witnesses understand is itself but a shadow of the true depths of God’s love.
Jehovah provided me with an experience prior to my dedication that made me see that God’s love is greater than human comprehension. The experience itself was just a feeling. I didn’t get swept away in a vision like the Bible-writers of old…I simply felt an emotion that was beyond my own experience, and, I expect, beyond the experiences of most, if not all, others as well. It was this emotion that had moved me so deeply that it swept away all reservations I had about making my dedication. Ironically, my dedication was made in the shower; so, in a sense, I was baptized by Jehovah himself.
It is true that Jehovah’s Witnesses do not engage in the same hatred that those in Christendom do; they do, however, engage in their own form of self-righteousness by looking down on those that they consider “spiritually weak.” If my experience has taught me anything, it is that we have no right to step into God’s place and make a determination of a person’s worthiness to be counted among God’s people. While it is always better to err on the side of love and compassion, the elders in the congregation take it upon themselves to make determinations on a person’s heart despite knowing full well that they are imperfect and their judgment flawed.
God's View of Transsexuality
The causes of transsexuality are too complex to outline here and involve not only DNA and genetics, but also something called “epigenetics,” which is basically the notion of how the environment can affect genetics. More specifically, the chemicals we are exposed to in the womb can activate or deactivate various parts of our DNA. How is this done? Our DNA is wound up around spools called histones, and those histones can wind and unwind our DNA, exposing one part of the DNA (activating it), while winding another part of the DNA around itself (deactivating it). These histones react to their environment, and specifically, the chemical makeup of their environment. So how does this affect gender and gender identity?
In the womb, all embryos are identical in terms of gender up to week 7. We are all conceived as “female,” and the presence of the y chrome, which carries the SRY gene, allows the development of testes. The testes, in turn, produce, AMH to suppress ovary formation, and testosterone, which contains DHT to induce further development of the male reproductive system.
By the beginning of the second half of the pregnancy, external sexual differentiation is complete, and the presence or absence of testosterone begins to differentiate the male or female brain structure.
Because the external sexual biology and the internal brain structure develop separately from one another, at distinct times, an introduction or suppression of hormones, or hormone-mimicking chemicals (i.e., endocrine disruptors) at one stage of fetal development, and not another, will cause a mismatch between the physiology and the neurological makeup of the baby’s gender.
Traditionally speaking, when different expectations for different genders are put into place for religious reasons, people in the past have put those expectations on people based on their physiology because this information about the difference in how the brain and the body develop was unknown to people in the past. Now, however, science has discovered these differences, so would it not be prudent, when making decisions, to take into consideration this new information?
Of course, I’m not suggesting we abandon Biblical principles; however, those principles must be applied in an informed manner, because if they are applied in ignorance of the facts, then we are not really doing our best to uphold God’s standards. And in the future, when humanity is restored to perfection, the laws will be different (although the principles will still be the same).
Take for example, the Mosaic Law. During the time of the Israelites, it was forbidden to eat certain animals. These animals were to be considered “unclean” by the Jews. When Christ arrive on the scene, however, those dietary restrictions were lifted, why? Did God change? God’s laws changed because the information available changed, but his principles stayed the same. The principle behind not eating certain animals, for example, was because they were carriers of diseases and man’s knowledge of how to properly preserve and prepare meat to guard against those diseases was insufficient to protect the Israelites, which was especially necessary because the nation of Israel had net yet produced the promised messiah. However, as science and technology progressed, humans got to a point where we could safely prepare those animals for food. This principle of protecting ourselves from things that can harm us stayed the same, but the laws were changed to reflect new information that was not formerly available to mankind.
The same is true in this case, and the question we now have to ask is, does God view gender as a function of the shape of a person’s reproductive organs, as a function of brain structure, or a combination of both?
The Bible doesn’t give us an explicit answer to the question, and it would be presumptuous of us to make that determination for God. Instead, we appeal to two principles in the Bible. The first, and primary, principle, is love, and the second is that God sees what is on the inside, and not what is on the outside. Since we cannot put ourselves in the place of God, to determine what gender a person is supposed to be, this is an area where we need to back off a bit and allow the individual to work out their situation with Jehovah. Jehovah is fully capable of making the determination of whether an individual is being sincere or honest, and if adjustments need to be made, we can be sure Jehovah will step in and make them. Until that time, however, we cannot tell another person what gender they are “supposed to be,” because that is not something that is for us to determine.
Homosexuality and the Bible
So, the big question to address next is the question of God’s view of homosexuality. Before we can address that question, we should first look at how the Bible deals with homosexuality. Despite what many would say, the Bible actually says precious little on this topic, and we are going to go over the passages that are used, by those who call themselves Christian, to attack gay or bisexual people. Before we get into that, however, we want to make one thing perfectly clear: no matter what the Bible does or does not say about homosexuality, it is not a loving thing to use God’s word to verbally or physically assault a person because of their sexual orientation. In fact, to do so, is an abuse of God’s Word. If you are a Jehovah’s Witness and you are reading this, you probably already agree with this. I make this statement for those who believe that violence is justified if it is done in God’s name (in actuality such violence tarnishes God’s name). With that said, let’s start with the big one: the story of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Sodom and Gomorrah
The story begins in Genesis, chapter 18. In verses 21 and 22, Jehovah says to Abraham, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great, and their sin is very heavy. I will go down to see whether they are acting according to the outcry that has reached me. And if not, I can get to know it.” So already we see that whatever is going on down in Sodom and Gomorrah is very serious in Jehovah’s eyes. So serious, in fact, that Abraham is afraid that Jehovah will destroy the righteous alongside the wicked.
Abraham begins to ask Jehovah a series of questions, beginning with, “Suppose there are 50 righteous men within the city. Will you, then, sweep them away and not pardon the place for the sake of the 50 righteous who are inside it?” (Genesis 18:24) Jehovah reassures Abraham, “If I find in Sodom 50 righteous men in the city, I will pardon the whole place for their sake.” (Genesis 18:26) Abraham then repeats that question, not once, but four times! Each time, knocking 5 or 10 off the total number of righteous people in the city, until he finally gets down to 10 (Genesis 18:27-32). Each time Abraham asks the next question, Jehovah says he will not do it on account of the number in question, until finally, on the last question, he says “I will not destroy it for the sake of the 10.” (Genesis 18:32)
Of course most people know that the cities were destroyed, but imagine, in two entire cities, not ten righteous people were found! So wicked were the people in that place, that the Bible states, “The men of the city—the men of Sodom from boy to old man, all of them surrounded the house in one mob. And they kept calling out to Lot and saying to him: ‘Where are the men who came in to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we may have sex with them.’” (Genesis 19:4, 5) What is being described here is rape. So vile were the people in the city, that even the boys thought nothing of forcing themselves sexually on another person! The account says that “all of them surrounded the house.” There was not a single man in the entire city that was not in the mob and desiring to rape the angels that had visited Lot.
This story of Sodom and Gomorrah does not explicitly comment on the homosexual nature of the intended rape. In fact, while Jehovah does mention that the original purpose of his investigation of the city was because “the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great and their sin is very heavy,” the exact nature of that outcry and sin is never mentioned. However, Ezekiel 16:48 gives us a clue:
“This was the error of Sodom, you sister: She and her daughters were proud and had an abundance of food and carefree tranquility, yet they did not support the afflicted and the poor They remained haughty and carried on detestable practices in my sight.”
The intended rape of the angels was but a single manifestation of the “detestable practices” being carried on in the city. The fact is, the people of Sodom and Gomorrah were well off and they had no desire to help others in need, preferring instead to indulge in their own selfish desires and lusts, whatever those desires were. In this particular incident, the desire was to have sex with the men that came into Lot. The fact that the angels appeared as men and thus that their lust was homosexual in nature is incidental to the true crimes in this story. However, this is not the only place in the Bible where homosexuality is incidental to what’s being presented.
Romans 1:26, 27
We next turn to one scripture which is often used to attack people for being gay. Romans 1:26, 27 states:
That is why God have them over to uncontrolled sexual passion, for their females changed the natural use of themselves into one contrary to nature; likewise also the males left the natural use of the female and became violently inflamed in their lust toward one another, males with males, working what is obscene and receiving in themselves the full penalty, which was due for their error.
It is clear here that in this verse is not referring to a monogamous, committed, homosexual relationship. Like the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, the fact that these people engaged in homosexual conduct is incidental to the real problem: that their sexual passions went unchecked. It says that the “females changed the natural use of themselves” and that “the males left the natural use of the female.” Thus, this is referring to those who are committing fornication. In fact, since it describes the males as leaving the natural use of the female, this likely is referring to those who had no natural inclination or desire to be with someone of the same gender specifically, but who were simply looking for people with whom to fulfill their own selfish desires. That is the opposite of how God intended sex to be used.
Sex is a gift from Jehovah, meant to unite two people in the bond of marriage; it’s something that when used properly is an expression of love. Using it to fulfill lustful desires is a perversion of its purpose. Why, though, is God so tough on promiscuity? Some might be inclined to feel that as long as they’re not hurting anyone, it should be okay. First and foremost, the whole reason why we are in the situation we are in, is because the first parents decided that they could choose for themselves what is right and wrong. If we’ve learned anything from that, it should be that reliance on God and his will is paramount, not only to our survival, but also our happiness. Secondly, God’s purpose for everything is love. The fact is, there are people who get hurt because they developed feelings for a person they did not intend to after engaging in sex with them. To potentially put someone in that position is not a loving thing to do. When we are in the new system everything must be motivated by love, all else falls short of God’s standards.
However, there are other things that are not loving that God’s word is not as vocal about. For example, it is not a loving thing to go back on one’s word, and while that is mentioned in the Bible, it is not given nearly as much attention as promiscuity. Why is that? The fact is that the human sex drive is powerful, and when left unchecked, it often leads to violence. Even among the laws of men, sex crimes are counted among the most heinous. An unchecked human sex drive can result in rape, brutality, and even murder. Jehovah knows how powerful sex hormones are…and the less restraint we put on our sexual urges, the more they control us. That is just a part of human imperfection, and Jehovah was well aware of this long before science could explain that strong sexual urges are a result of hormones. Because Jehovah was well aware of this…he stressed the importance of controlling sexual urges and keeping our desires in check.
Leviticus 20:13 and 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10
Leviticus 20:22 states:
If a man lies down with a male the same as one lies with a woman, both of them have done a detestable thing. They should be put to death without fail. Their own blood is upon them
At first, it might seem like a simple matter to dismiss this verse as part of a law that is no longer in affect; however, when we take a closer look at 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10, we will see why it’s a little more complicated than that. The scripture in 1 Corinthians reads:
Or do you not know that unrighteous people will not inherit God’s Kingdom? Do not be misled. Those who are sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, men who submit to homosexual acts, men who practice homosexuality, thieves, greedy people, drunkards, revilers, and extortioners will not inherit God’s Kingdom.
There are two words in the original Greek, which do not translate well into English. These words are μαλακοι (malakoi) and αρσενοκοιται (arsenokoitai). The word malakoi is translated in this translation as “men who submit to homosexual acts.” The kingdom Interlinear translates the word as “soft (men).” Other translations use the term “effeminate men.” The connotation here is of a man who is sexually submissive to another man.
The second term, arsenokoitai, is translated here as “men who practice homosexuality.” This word has been greatly debated by scholars, because it does not appear to be a Greek word that was in use. Paul uses it in one other place in his writings: 1 Timothy 1:10, and it is not used by any other Bible writer. Some scholars believe that Paul made up this word. The word has two parts: arseno, which means “man,” and koitai, which can mean “bed,” or “lying with.” The Kingdom Interlinear thus translates this word, arsenokoitai, as “liers with males.”
It seems as if Paul is referencing the same restriction on homosexuality that was put forth in the Mosaic law in Leviticus 20:13. In fact, the Hebrew versions of the two components of the word, arseno, or “man” and koitai, or “lying with,” appear right next to each other in Leviticus 20:13. Since this word appears to be made up by Paul, and its two components appear side-by-side in a verse in Leviticus which Paul appears to be referencing, it’s not too big of a leap to consider that Paul simply copied that part of the verse and transcribed the two Hebrew words into a single Greek word to express the same meaning. Thus, we must conclude that Leviticus 20:13 is not simply part of a Law that no longer applies to us, but instead it is a principle that has been preserved in the Christian Greek scriptures.
So does this mean that those who practice homosexuality are going to be rejected by God? What about same-sex couples who are already married? After all, God did say “I hate divorce.” (Malachi 2:16)
God's View of Homosexuality
I want to start this section off by saying that 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10 does not apply to most people. Why not? Consider what it says: it lists a bunch of things and ultimately says that people who do those things “will not inherit the God’s Kingdom.” Who are the ones who are destined to inherit God’s Kingdom? It’s not those who have an earthly resurrection: they inherit the earth, not the Kingdom. The ones who inherit the Kingdom, and thus, the ones that this scripture refers to, are the 144,000 anointed Christians. So why were the Israelites given the same command to not practice homosexuality? Well, it was originally God’s intention that as long as the nation of Israel remained faithful, the full number of the 144,000 were to be chosen from fleshly Israel, not to mention the fact that the nation of Israel was God’s means of producing the messiah. That is why the laws that God put in place back then were so strict. He needed his people to remain “holy,” which literally means to be set apart. The nation of Israel needed to be set apart from the nations of the world if God was going to use to produce the Messiah and the 144,000. Of course the Messiah came from Israel as promised, but as a result of their unfaithfulness and ultimate rejection of Christ, fleshly Israel lost its privilege to be the sole source of the 144,000.
So does that mean that those with an earthly hope do not have to worry about any of the things listed in 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10? Well, no, common sense will tell you that at least some of those things also apply to Christians with an earthly hope.
So where does that leave us in determining God’s view of homosexuality? Well, it is clear that Jehovah originally intended for marriage to be between a man and a woman. Genesis 2:24 states, “That is why a man will leave his father and his mother and he will stick to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” Paul quoted that exact passage in his letter to the Ephesians (Ephesians 5:31). However, it has become clear to me that we are entering into a new phase. At this moment in time, things are starting to become critical in the world, and they are only going to get worse from here on out. This is not the time to be condemning our brothers and sisters in the faith. If two men or two women are married to one another, then perhaps Jehovah has decided for now to make an allowance as a comfort going into the turbulent times ahead. We are facing a time period which the Bible says is going to be less endurable than any other time period in human history, and Jehovah himself admitted that “it is not good for the man to continue to be alone.” (Genesis 2:18) Therefore, we are not, at the present time, going to reject those who are in or are pursuing a same-sex relationship, as long as it is a committed monogamous relationship. Biblical principles against promiscuity are still in effect. I do not know if this allowance on Jehovah’s part will be indefinite, but if there are changes that need to be made once we are on the other side of Armageddon, Jehovah will make it known, and he will help people through the process.
It was my original intention for the next article we write to be a deeper exploration of prophecies of Revelation; however, Jehovah has decided that further exploration of this topic of homosexuality is required. Thus, the next article will be a follow up on this topic.
My Identity and Circumstance
Over the weeks and months to come after my dedication, Jehovah opened up my grandmother’s eyes in a new way. Jehovah revealed to my grandmother that he does indeed consider me to be female. Not only has God determined that I am, indeed, female, but Jehovah has also revealed that his purpose in connection with my own particular situation, will be for his glorification. How so?
Most of Jehovah’s Witnesses understand that those who survive Armageddon, will eventually become perfect, but that perfection will take place gradually over Jesus’ millennial reign, while those who are resurrected will be resurrected with perfect bodies to begin with. While this is true for most people, there are some who survive Armageddon who will need new bodies right away.
As an example, consider the miracles that Jesus and his disciples performed while on earth. When Jesus and the apostles healed the sick, it was not a gradual process that took years. Instead, Jesus healed the deaf, blind, and lame immediately. The man who couldn’t walk, all of a sudden, could. And what’s more, these miracles were done for a specific purpose: to give witness to the people concerning who Jehovah’s true followers were. More specifically, it gave witness to the Jews that Jesus and his disciples had God’s approval.
Jehovah has determined that a similar phenomenon is going to happen in our time, to give witness to Jehovah’s Witnesses, and to others who hear the news. Specifically, at some point at or near the beginning of the time of the end, I will be called on to return to the Kingdom Halls. During my time there, I will be given a new, perfect, female body, capable of carrying life naturally. (It won’t literally happen in the Kingdom Hall, it will occur when I’m asleep, of course, but I will be in the process of going to meetings for the specific purpose of providing a witness to Jehovah’s Witnesses.)
Others will also be in need of new bodies, not just those who are transgendered. Those who are crippled or missing limbs, or blind or those who have any number of other ailments which inhibit functionality, will need to be restored early on so they can help with the restoration of paradise on earth.
So why was I chosen to be the first to receive a new body? There are a number of factors that go into that decision. The first, of course, was the loyalty I displayed to Jehovah: my willingness to give up my identity in order to follow him. He has in turn blessed me with the promise of restoring my soul (Luke 9:23, 24).
There are a lot of people who have come before me, however, that have dedicated much more of their lives to Jehovah than I have, so why do none of those have the honor that Jehovah has blessed me with?
Remember, it is also God’s purpose to reveal to men that it is his will that counts, and not the will of men. Nowhere is this better illustrated than in the parable of the 11th hour workers (Matthew 20:1-15). Those who labored in the field through the heat of the day were given the same wages as those who were brought in at the last hour. Those who labored throughout the day, however, became indignant, despite the fact that the master had told them beforehand what their wages were to be and they agreed to it. The purpose of this is revealed in verse 15, where it says “Do I not have the right to do what I want with my own things? Or is your eye envious because I am good?” In other words, through his decision that “the last ones will be first, and the first ones last” (Matthew 20:15), Jehovah is pointing out the greed, or haughtiness, of others who put on displays of righteousness for others to see instead of working out their salvation in private with Jehovah.
One final reason why I have been put in the position I have been is because I have been among a very few select individuals who have given an answer to specific accusations that Satan has made. In fact, so few are the individuals who have been put into the same situation that I have, that, including myself, their number is 3.
The first of these 3 individuals was Job. Satan’s accusation was thus: “Is it for nothing that Job has feared God? Have you not put up a protective hedge around him and his house and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his livestock has spread out in the land. But, for a change, stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your very face.” (Job 1:9-11) With that, Jehovah allowed Satan to attack Job’s fields and livestock, and even to kill his family, but Jehovah did not allow Satan to harm Job directly (Job 1:12-21). In spite of this, Job remained faithful to Jehovah (Job 1:22). This did not appease Satan however, who said, “Skin for skin. A man will give everything that he has for his life. But, for a change, stretch out your hand and strike his bone and flesh, and he will surely curse you to your face.” (Job 2:4, 5) So Satan was allowed to take away Job’s health, but he was still not allowed to take Job’s life. Yet, even through this, Job remained faithful (Job 2:6-10).
It was not until much later that Satan’s next challenge was to be answered. Satan charged that a man would not remain faithful to God, even to his death, and, of course, Jesus answered that challenge, not simply through death, but through a torturous death that ultimately vindicated Jehovah.
Satan’s third and final challenge has now been answered through me. What was that challenge? Back when I was studying with Jehovah’s Witnesses, I asked a number of them (some of them elders) a specific question that I was curious about. None of them could give me an answer, and most of them, for reasons unknown to me at the time, could not even comprehend the question. I now understand that they had been blinded to the question and its answer. The question was this: Satan provided two challenges, one was answered by Job, and the other was answered by Jesus. Those challenges were a test of man’s integrity even to death. However, is it still not possible for Satan to call into question man’s integrity? After all, Job knew that he would eventually be resurrected, as did Jesus. They both had the prospect of living forever in perfection. What if a person did not have the hope of living forever? Could a person remain faithful to Jehovah under test because it is the right thing to do, even without the hope of a resurrection? How could such a thing even be tested?
As I mentioned, I have had the privilege of answering this challenge. Does that mean that I do not have the hope of living forever? No. However, back when I was studying with the witnesses, I believed that the life I had led was so bad that there was no way I was going to survive Armageddon. I seriously believed that I would not make it through to the end, not because I didn’t want to, but because I felt that Jehovah would not allow it. And despite that belief, I continued to study, even going so far as to abandon my own identity for Jehovah’s sake. My own particular circumstance has allowed me to offer to Jehovah something that not even Jesus himself was able to offer to Jehovah: an answer to Satan’s final challenge. There would have been no way for Jesus to answer this challenge because he knew all along that he would be resurrected. I state here, today, that there is no greater honor that could be given to an individual than to be able to offer to Jehovah what my circumstance has allowed me to offer him: the answer to Satan’s ultimate challenge. Yes, an individual with the right heart can and will be loyal to Jehovah for purely selfless motives, and not just because we are being offered eternal salvation. And while it is true that I did not answer Satan’s challenge perfectly as Jesus did, because I am imperfect, that only sweetens the deal. After all, if the loyalty of an imperfect being can be purely selfless, how much more so would that apply to a perfect being?
Of course, this story has been about my life and my spiritual journey which has been one of both self-discovery and discovery of the divine. However, that is not the purpose for this story. The real purpose of this story is to show that Jehovah is not the person that most people, even those among Jehovah’s Witnesses, make him out to be. What I found during my spiritual journey provides not only a new perspective on homosexuality and transsexuality, but also a new perspective on the depth of God’s love. My story is meant to humble those who think they know what God’s love is and how deep it runs, because they don’t. Even I can’t completely grasp it, despite the intimate experiences that Jehovah has provided me with. In fact, if my experiences have taught me anything, it’s that we may never understand, and that we may even be incapable of understanding, the true depth of Jehovah’s love.
Jehovah’s Witnesses believe they know God’s love, and they are definitely closer to it than most other religions; however, even the Watchtower imposes rigid rules upon its members. While it is true that John wrote, “Whoever does observe his word, in this person the love of God has truly been made perfect,” (1 John 2:5), this is only in a relative sense. After all, during the time of the Israelites, the law made an allowance for divorce, which was not God’s original intent, because it is not loving. It is not enough to follow the law, but if one is to follow the law, it should be done judiciously. For example, when being questioned by the Pharisees about plucking grains on the Sabbath, Jesus pointed out that when David was in need, he ate the loaves of presentation which were given to him by the priests and they were not condemned (Matthew 12:1-4). The Watchtower itself indicates that in that particular instance, it was the spirit of the law that was being followed, even if the letter of the law was not (w82 7/15 pp 30 – 31).
Jesus once said:
“You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind.” This is the greatest and first commandment. The second, like it, is this: “You must love your neighbor as yourself.” On these two commandments the whole Law hangs, and the Prophets. (Matthew 22”37-40)
In other words, the law is dependent on love, not the other way around. The laws that were put in place for the Israelites were designed for a nation that Jehovah knew would be unfaithful, so they had to be strict. When the Christian era began, a new set of laws were put in place for a refined, yet still imperfect, people. We are now going to begin entering a new phase: one of human perfection. That is something we’ve never experienced before, and in order to continue in perfection, we will need to meets God’s standards for perfect beings, not the laws that were set out for imperfect humans.
As mentioned previously in this article, God’s standard requires that everything be done out of love. Anything else simply does not meet his standard. This means that there will be no need for laws; instead, everything we do will simply be motivated by a single principle: love. Paul summarizes the situation perfectly:
For he is not a Jew who is one on the outside, nor is circumcision something on the outside, on the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one on the inside, and his circumcision is that of the heart by spirit and not by written code. That person’s praise comes from God, not from people. (Romans 12:28)
1 I have been given the ability to see the truth from a unique perspective. I can look at reality, and complicated phenomena in a way that most people can’t even fathom. I know this, because when I try to talk about complex and subtle concepts with my peers, they have a difficult time breaking down those complex concepts into their components and looking at them in the same way that I do, in a way that makes complex concepts seem obvious to me. And yet, although I have the ability to see these things, communicating them to others in a way that makes sense is very difficult. Because my grandmother is anointed, Jehovah communicates predominantly with her, and she has expressed to me that what is presented to her is done so in pictures and details that are often difficult to put down into words. It has been her gift to relay new information; whereas it has been my gift to interpret that new information and put it down in a logical order. My grandmother then picks it up again, once the pieces have all been laid out in a logical fashion, and proceeds to reword it in a way that is understandable to others.
2 The same can be said of life itself. Life is not inherent to us; instead, we are dependent on Jehovah to support us. (Of course, when the anointed are resurrected, they will have life in themselves…they will be truly immortal and not dependent on anything or anyone to sustain their life…but they too will recognize that their immortality is a gift from the Creator and will thus continue to submit themselves to Jehovah.)
3 Of course, Jehovah laid the foundation of my work and my grandmother’s through Robert King, although we have gone beyond his work, and continue to do so. King may not be receiving any more new light, but that doesn’t mean that Jehovah has stopped.