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Spiritual Chess – A Short Story

A Jehovah’s Witness and an apostate grew tired of arguing and tried to resolve their disagreements over a game of chess.

The Jehovah’s Witness insisted on being white, the color of purity. He went first.

After a few moves, the Jehovah’s Witness said, “I object to you having rooks on your side. Those rooks are obviously Watchtowers. Watchtowers belong to Jehovah’s Witnesses.”

The apostate could only agree. He didn’t protest when the Jehovah’s Witness removed his rooks from the board.

The apostate thought for a moment and said, “It seems to me that you shouldn’t have bishops on your side. You claim not to have a clergy class. Besides, a good Jehovah’s Witness would want to remove such symbols of false religion immediately.”

The Jehovah’s Witness cheerfully agreed. He removed his bishops from the board.

As the game progressed, a few minor pieces on both sides were taken.

The Jehovah’s Witness had a thought. He asked, “Well, then, what do the bishops represent on your side?”

The apostate responded, “We apostates aren’t obsessed with symbolism and classes like you Jehovah’s Witnesses. We apostates celebrate our diversity, our different skills and approaches for getting the job done. Some of us are religious, and some of us aren’t. Yet, we try to respect our differences. My pieces simply represent apostates with a variety of viewpoints. Except for the Watchtowers, of course, which you have already pointed out don’t belong to us. Speaking of symbolism, I’m having trouble deciding what your knights represent.”

The Jehovah’s Witness was taken aback and stammered for a few moments. He finally said, “The knights represent the brothers who take menial jobs, like janitorial work. Many of them work at ‘night,’ so they have more time to advance Kingdom interests during the day.”

The apostate responded, “Your analogy is weak and poorly researched. Knight and night aren’t even the same word. However, I realize that weak analogies are a custom among Jehovah’s Witnesses, so I’ll allow it. Still, a minor point needs to be corrected. The men you mentioned aren’t gallant knights, but mere pawns of a publishing empire. Don’t worry, I’ll fix that for you.”

The apostate removed the two white knights and replaced them with two white pawns that he captured earlier.

“Oh no you don’t!” cried the Jehovah’s Witness while he restored his knights to the board. “Some of those knights are elders! They take the lead in the congregation. They aren’t mere pawns as you suggest.”

“You make an interesting point,” replied the apostate. “You have reminded me of the fact that only men are allowed positions of authority in your religion. It seems that something should be done about your Queen. She is currently the most powerful piece on the board. You know that would never be allowed in one of your Kingdom Halls. I suggest that she be demoted to a pawn. Do you agree?”

The Jehovah’s Witness nodded his head reluctantly and made the substitution. Then, his face lit up with a silly grin. “You apostates are a proud group. You don’t have the humility to let others tell you what to do. You insist on thinking independently. You refuse to act like pawns, so your pawns should be removed from the board.”

The Jehovah’s Witness violently swept all the black pawns from the board and shouted in triumph.

The apostate sounded tired and defeated. “You’re right. You caught me off guard. I feel like you have penetrated my defenses. I guess I will accept your Watchtowers.”

The apostate sadly removed the white rooks from the board.

“What now?” asked the Jehovah’s Witness.

The apostate tried to explain. “I have agreed to accept your Watchtowers. You do offer them for free to the public, don’t you?”

“Well, yes, but we don’t just give them out indiscriminately. You have to agree to look at them.”

“Sure, I’ll look at them, although I’m not sure how that will do any good.”

“I don’t know,” the Jehovah’s Witness said. “It doesn’t seem right somehow.”

The apostate replied, “I know you used to charge for your Watchtowers, but you switched to the voluntary donation arrangement to avoid paying sales taxes. You wouldn’t want the revenue of your publishing company to be taxed, would you?”

“No, of course not!”

“Okay, I’ll keep the Watchtowers then. It’s funny that, as an apostate, I probably spend more time reading your magazines than you do. I recall that a recent issue reinforced the belief that your King, Jesus Christ, arrived invisibly in 1914. It seems to me that you should remove your King from the board. The fact that I can see him contradicts one of your most important doctrines.”

The Jehovah’s Witness complied by hiding the king in the chess box. He shouted, “Ha! You have been caught in your own cunning! Now that my King is invisible, you will never be able to put him into checkmate. You have no hope of ever winning!”

“I think you misunderstood my intentions. I never expected you to admit defeat. I merely wanted to demonstrate that I have the stronger position. If you study the board honestly, you will eventually come to the same conclusion. If not, that’s not my concern. As long as you insist on having an invisible king, you may as well have an invisible opponent. I will take my leave.”

The Jehovah’s Witness was left with just a few pawns and two knights that traveled in crooked paths and jumped over obstacles rather than confront them directly.

Something was wrong, and he wasn’t quite sure what it was. Then he realized his mistake. He had allowed an apostate to confuse him with twisted reasonings. His queen didn’t represent a presumptuous sister who had to be put in her place. The queen was the organization. The queen was “Mother.”

He reached over and reverently restored his queen to her rightful place. He had been thinking too hard. Mother would tell him which moves he should make. In any case, victory was certain. The invisible king would come sometime soon to sweep all the enemies from the board. He only had to wait a little while longer.