THE GALILEO SYNDROME- by Larry & Rena Luecking

The Galileo Syndrome

From a legal perspective

The Galileo Syndrome is, by definition, a situation or set of circumstances wherein someone establishes him/her self as possessing knowledge over, above and beyond that which might be possessed by anyone else, including  those who have a natural bent for a specific discipline and any/all who have acquired , at significant effort and substantial cost, education in accredited schools and who then seek to validate themselves by denigrating, even punishing such learned one(s) by defaming, demeaning, and denigrating them in the eyes of the rest of the society in which they exist and live.


Consider Galileo Galilei, a sixteenth and seventeenth-century musician, natural philosopher, astronomer, and mathematician who was, unquestionably, endowed with the above noted natural attributes but was also not only educated in notable schools of learning but who subsequently taught geometry and even astronomy [no surprise here!).  Also notably, he was a craftsman who made telescopes and ground and polished his own lenses.  He was truly not only a remarkable individual but he was definitely a Bible scholar and even an author who maintained that any literal interpretation of the Bible would, if such conflicted with known and proven facts, (stated quite simply) ‘not be acceptable’.  Germane to this, but beyond the scope of the ideas here offered for consideration, is the notion that most people back then considered the earth to be the center of the universe!  Galileo, in 1616 not only suggested, but declared that, “the sun was the center of the universe” (slight error here but he did get away from the self-centered notion that the earth was the real focal point!)   He also assumed a position that interpreting the Bible literally would be erroneous should such literal interpretation conflict with established facts concerning the world (universe).


Enter Pope Urban the 8th! Urban was, ironically, a friend even admirer of Galileo but was, in spite of these facts, ultimately (however indirectly) responsible for having Galileo declared a heretic and imprisoned. The salient facts of this are that while there was then a great deal of accurate knowledge about the solar system (with only little factual discoveries having been made about the rest of the universe) there was no small controversy about ‘what revolved around what’ and ‘what was stationery’ and very little was known about the planets.  The lesson here is that a little knowledge in the hands of the wrong people is a very dangerous thing, especially when it is comingled with illusions of the grandeur that accompanies self-importance.


Thus Pope Urban was, for all intents and purposes, ‘getting into’ (just as the Watchtower Society (WTS) and Jehovah’s Witnesses (JWs) do today) areas in which he had little to no education or knowledge, and thus no business; e.g. no right (again like the WTS and the JWs) to, without such knowledge, take it upon himself/themselves, to wreak havoc into most of the known world at that time, at least that part that claims to embrace Christianity, by assuming that they only can discern God’s will and even His purposes. Therefore it can be clearly seen that the Catholic Theologians of that day, who elevated themselves above the scientists of the day, were bound and determined to establish themselves as the final authority for the world in many, if not all, of the matters that concerned mankind in that era. Can we see a similar pattern in this day and age?


Question: Is it not equally clear today then, that the WTS, with its self-appointed and self-serving Governing Body (GB), has mimicked the early Catholic church and has attempted to establish itself as the sole source of Biblical knowledge with that GB being the only ones commissioned with divine authority to discern, interpret, or for that matter, even offer comment on the meaning of Bible passages?


History, coupled with the formal apology of the Catholic Church, took the Galileo Syndrome errors some 350 years to be rectified!  Only then did the Church finally make an admission that it was wrong!  So, it seems that time does, at least in some instances, seem to rectify error; but, 350 years?  If the Catholic church’s three hundred and fifty year time span is any indication of an acceptable grace period, then the WTS has a bit more than 200 years during which it can continue to ignore its grossly reprehensible promise to the generations of, and following, 1925 that relied (to their lifelong detriment) on that “Millions Now Living Will Never Die” promise. .  And, perhaps by that time lapse, fortuitously, few will remember that the year 1914 was concomitantly promised to be the year in which God’s Kingdom would be ushered in bringing paradise to the earth.  This was unquestionably the carrot which, “dangled before the donkey” and tantalized many if not all, who ultimately became dedicated JWs.  This must give rise to the kindred question:  will the JWs ever publicly admit, and apologize for its wrong statements (even LIES if that is not too strong) about 1914 and people not ever dying?


Another question, spawned by the Galileo Syndrome and now screaming for an unambiguous answer, is whether or not the WTS GB will ever be exposed for what it really is: “A pompous group of avaricious men who have manipulated circumstances within what was at one time a group of generally mannerly people that seemed to have accurately gleaned significantly comforting truths from the Bible and shared/preached them to many people, hungry for answers to the world’s increasingly devastating woes?  The stark facts are that this GB arrangement is not only completely unmentioned in the Bible, it has absolutely no scriptural basis in any sort of Biblical precedent.

To this extent, I recall when rank and file JWs first began hearing about the GB (and when was THAT — perhaps the late 70s?) that a somewhat well known WTS diplomat made mention of the (supposed) “fact” that the Jerusalem Bible was so accurate in its modern English translation renderings that it “laid out” with total clarity, the structure of the GB!!  I, in my often admittedly less than genuinely diplomatic approaches, countered quickly with “Where” (in the bible of course!). 

The response came back “The book of Acts!” Now, in and since those times, obviously not much has now changed: no self-respecting JW would ever even THINK about, reading (much less actually do it, i.e. read a Catholic Bible!)  So, like the ever so slightly inquisitive individual I tend to be, I acquired my own Jerusalem Bible.  And, I did so under the guise of Being a true Berean.  (Note: a Berean [see Acts 17:11] is one who accepts the admonition to “search the scriptures daily, to see if “those things” (told to them) were so.")    Strange how we haven’t heard such admonition, e.g. “see if the things we have been taught are true”, for a lot of years now!  Could it be?  ...


Could it be true, that the above is accurate in its depiction of men manipulating circumstances and events for their own advantage?  [please contemplate Jude 1:4]  Surely though, would it not be absolutely expected, at the very least, that the term ‘Governing Body’ would appear somewhere in the Bible, and especially in view of the manner in which this ‘GB’ goes to such great lengths to dictate and establish the claimed authorization of its allegedly exclusive and privileged relationship with our Great creator?  As an example of such dictatorial persuasions, I point to the many dictators of mankind’s history who seem to have been successful in establishing themselves as the only hope for whatever nation(s) they subsequently desecrated.


More specifically I recently read somewhere on the internet the epithet: “Obey the Governing Body”.  This sort of inane pronouncement is truly thought arresting! Pragmatically may I suggest that we should be ‘obeying Yahweh and perhaps soon, when he will become more active in Kingdom power, his chief crusader, his Messianic Son, and pursuant to his duties and command, obey also his Bride?  But “OBEY the GB?” some of whom have been captured in photographs ‘humbly displaying’ Rolex watches?


In synopsis and final argumentation for meaningful reflection in support of the Galileo Syndrome, I quote George Santayana (the Spanish writer) who philosophized that, “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Note: Sir Winston Churchill later reiterated this premise.  Pragmatically, I posit: Is it so difficult to discern that the WTS has, in say the last 40 to 45 years, successfully duplicated the entire control strategy of the Catholic Church?


So, I like to refer to it as “The Galileo Syndrome” wherein religion (in this instance the WTS and its self appointed GB) takes upon itself to invade every facet of human life, imposing rules, guidelines, decrees, canons and every sort of criterion possible to control and manipulate people, and to do so blatantly in the face of the very basic and truly prudent Bible counsel to “… not go beyond the things written.”  (I Cor 4:6)


Just as the Pope had Galileo declared a Heretic for speech that the Church did not like, the WTS has determined to excommunicate any/all individuals who would be “presumptuous enough” to, however sincerely, request an explanation for controversial dogma or a simple “Why” for certain “New Light” since it must clearly supersede what surely must have to become “Old Light”.  Strange how we never hear the term, “old Light” but isn’t that what “new light” must ultimately become when the GB has determined (through their exclusive ‘Voting process’ — YES! they actually vote on changes — however incredible that may seem!) that some adjustment in understanding needs to be made?


4 Responses to THE GALILEO SYNDROME- by Larry & Rena Luecking

  1. Larry Rena says:

    From the desk of Larry and Rena:

    > The title to the one about which the following comments have bEen made is APOSTASY, THERE AT LEAST TWO OTHERS
    > Authentic and truthful (I was a JW for nearly 40 years)
    > Last night my wife and I went to a screening in Sheffield and the film’s writer and director was there to field a far too short Q & A session afterward.
    > It wasn’t an easy film to watch and, in hindsight, it really only exposes the tiniest tip of what is, in reality, a truly gigantic, ugly iceberg. For someone like me who was a JW for nearly 40-years and had been either a ministerial servant (deacon), or elder for most of that time, it had an additional layer of uncomfortable poignancy.
    > Notwithstanding all the remedial good we’ve done, or attempted to do since we came “out”, with a fly-on-the-wall film like this you can’t help being reminded of the harm you undoubtedly caused even though the “help” you were trying to give at the time may have been well-intentioned. The road to hell truly can be very often paved with good intentions.
    > The film will have a very strong emotional impact for ex-JWs dependent on a number of salient factors. How long they were in…how long they’ve been out…how much deprogramming they have had or pursued subsequently, and how much damage they suffered during both their time “in” and/or how they’ve been treated following their exit.
    > Virtually the whole of the audience was comprised of ex-Witnesses. (This did not surprise me.) Represented there were young and old, men and women, disfellowshipped, disassociated or some that simply faded away. One thing that was agreed on by all, though, was that even though it was a work of fiction that the director had woven his own experiences and memories into, he had managed to encapsulate a real truthfulness into every one of the characters.
    > The hard-hearted and judgemental elders. The gossipy sisters. The rather awkward courtship/pairing rituals. The ordinary folks who are emotionally torn and battling to suppress their inner humanity in obedience to directives from “above”. And overshadowing everything – a naïve, blinkered and unthinking mindset.
    > I use the word “unthinking” advisedly. Our received mindset actually decried and tried to suppress independent thinking and we instinctively tried to hide from the facts of history as they pertained specifically to the Watchtower Society. Many of us are “out” now because we managed to climb over that particular hurdle and start, maybe for the first time, to REALLY start to think!
    > It was great that after the screening we were able to have some really good, meaningful conversations… as well as the opportunity to compare scars. And it will be great to possibly meet up with some of them as a way of continuing to provide some much needed support.
    > If you haven’t seen “Apostasy” yet, by all means, search out an opportunity to do so. However, bear in mind that if you are an ex-JW (or a naughty current JW) and do decide to watch it, you may experience some degree of triggering.
    > ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    > It’s grim being a JW
    > clennox-362087 June 2018
    > This film is about being a part of a Jehovah’s Witness family in the North of England. I was brought up as a JW in England and this film captures the faith and community perfectly. The location of the film fitted the subject matter with its ‘grim up North’ Ken Loach style. It is very gritty, painfully accurate, and it captures the personalities of a typical JW extremely well. The performance from the actress playing the mother was very strong. I could see her in so many of the JW parents that I encountered when growing up – “just come back to the meetings” is repeated ad nauseum just as it is in the JW religion. This is by far the most realistic portrayal of the JW religion that I have ever seen.
    > ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    > The director, Daniel Kokotajlo, nailed it.
    > johnviney-1141420 July 2018
    > Last night I watched this film with my wife, and we had been Jehovah’s Witnesses for near on sixty years. Without giving away any spoilers, the director was accurate in every way with the belief system and indoctrination of this cult. We too were expected (and did for ten years) completely shun two daughters at age sixteen who were vulnerable, had been abused by another member of the fatih, and ‘went off the JW rails.’ The cost….enormous in emotional energy and happiness.
    > I was interested in the demeanor of the main character (mother) and noticed just how sad and unhappy she was all the way through ‘doing the right thing.’ Surely obeying God, if this is what is required, should make us happy, but the film got it spot on. Next time you see any Jehovah’s Witnesses at their carts, watch to see if they are smiling and happy, if they are not on their phones.
    > If you want to know what Jehovah’s Witnesses believe without it being sugar coated…..this film is for you. I can vouch that it is 100% accurate in all details and I hope will go some way to alerting people to the reality of the religion.
    > ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    > ubtle and heartbreaking
    > mattiasflgrtll65 February 2018
    > Jehovah’s Witnesses is one of the most famous sects in the world, yet it doesn’t get anywhere near as much exposure as Scientology. This is probably one of the best faith based movies I’ve ever seen, mostly because it deals with the emotional and moral consequences the things you are taught to believe can have on those you love in a very realistic way. The acting is natural and none of the performers feel like people acting for a movie. It was like getting into the look of a real family and their hardships. As for how Jehovah’s Witnesses members themselves are portrayed, the point is not to show them as evil. It’s more of a cautionary stance, on whether it’s worth jeopardizing your children’s lives because of your conviction to follow one certain ideology. The controversy about Jehovah’s Witnesses is that you are not allowed to give or receive blood, even in life-threatening circumstances. The mother in this movie is not an inherently bad person, she just can’t find a way to balance her love for God and the love for her children. And that has consequences she might wish she would never had to deal with.
    > This movie will stay with you after you’ve watched it. I urge those who not only are interested in the subject matter of organized sects to see it, but those who think a lot about beliefs and how they can affect other people in general.
    > ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    > For anyone who thinks that the jw’s are a harmless religious sect, you need to see this truthful film from someone who was on the inside. My mom and family and whole community of people that were the only ones I was allowed to have any association with, they are all shunning me, and I haven’t even done anything wrong at all, I just stopped believing that it was the only true faith and that jw’s were the only ones that were going to survive the destruction of Armageddon. But because of this, I’ve lost everyone. Highest rate of suicide of any group is the jw’s. It’s not harmless, it’s abusive and makes people feel trapped. This movie is completely accurate and shows the inner world that most outsider’s will never get to see. A sad, but truthful film, that is a must watch! Cults of this kind are dangerous!
    > ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    > Very close to the truth on the blood issue
    > cochran1215 October 2018
    > I can relate to this film. I would like to say, that being a true Christian should not be based on the taking away of free will to choose. We are all, (elders) as well are only imperfect humans. There are numerous scriptures that tell us to love one another. When the prodigal son sold his birthright, and later returned seeking forgiveness, he was not shunned. Being a follower of Christ, is not based on numbers, or the boasting or the tearing down of other people and other religions. There is a example in the Bible, which tells the story of a man and his farm animal, during this time you were not to work on the saboth. However, the man’s animal fell into a hole, and the man worked hard to save his animal, which happened to be on the saboth. They (people) wanted to punish the man because he broke the law. This is where it gets interesting. The Bible tells us if your animal fell into a hole, would you not try and save them. It further brings out how so much more if it was our children. In this movie, the blood issue is used. The mosiac law was to abstain from blood, but, if it was used to save a life, then the law of love, the new law, this law of love was to Trump any and all laws. The true definition of practicing to live as Christian’s, is Love! The Bible clearly states for us not to put our trust in man, who cannot give you salvation, but in God, but to trust him only. Newsflash to wittnesses, Jehovah, sent his only begotten son to die for (ALL) mankind, not just one particular religious group. I serve a just God. We are so lucky it is He who does the judging, not man.

  2. jacqueline says:

    This is an interesting link on the history of the Free Bible students movement. I found it to be interesting read on history of the willingness to admit error and change your thinking or at least think.

  3. Rena Luecking aka Just Stay Sweet and Good says:

    Thankyou Gregg. It has become aware to me that I had this information available to me for many years before I began “connecting the dots”. One was that there is no such thing as apostolic succession. The other was that the bible does not support a clergy/laity class. These two truths are really all that is needed to level the playing field, so to speak. The “playing field” here, being just the bible its self for teaching and doctrine. Anyone who flatly contradicts the message of Jesus and the apostles are speaking against the “glorious ones” 2 Peter 2:10 NWT 1983

  4. Greg says:

    Thank you for writing this! Excellent use of logic and argument.
    I’ve often referred to Galileo and his experience as a way of validating my own experience when interacting with Jehovah’s Witnesses. Being “born into” a devout family of Watchtower adherents, I found myself increasingly angry at their blind determination to refuse to “look through the telescope and see for yourself.” They would always reply, “We don’t need to look because we know you can’t be correct.” And then I would just want to SCREAM in frustration!!!! They’d rather believe lies than be the only one standing up and saying, “Look! The Emperor has no clothes!”
    So I thank you SO MUCH for writing this. It’s very validating and encouraging to me.

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