Glossary: B

Glossary of American English Hacker Theocratese

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=== B ===

Babylon, Babylon the Great
Names given in Revelation to the world empire of false religion. (Rev 14:8; Rev 16:19; Rev 17:5; Rev 18:2; Rev 18:21) When just Babylon is used, it usually refers to Babylon the Great rather than the ancient city. Context should make it clear which is meant. <<Before a person is baptized, he should serve formal notice on Babylon that he is leaving it.>>
Characteristic of the religious practices of Babylon, or of pagandom in general. <<When people migrated from Babylon after Jehovah confused their language, they took their Babylonish religious beliefs and practices with them; they ultimately found their way into most God-dishonoring religions.>>
back issue
An out-of-date magazine. See {current magazine}. Sometimes publishers leave back issues at the doors of {not-at-homes} the last time they are visited before turning in a {territory}. Before the {donation arrangement} publishers would offer back issues to householders who were reluctant to fork over the exorbitant two bits per magazine, but who nonetheless manifested a degree of interest.
back-call [obs]
Former term for {return visit}. Note the hyphenation. This is how the {Society} spells it.
bad association
1. A scriptural phrase denoting persons whose beliefs and conduct are contrary to the Bible's standards, and who might influence Christians to follow a similar standard. (1Co 15:33)[33] Everyone who is not a servant of Jehovah is potentially bad association. It is also true that not everyone in the congregation is automatically {good association}. Note that Paul's words originally applied to some anointed Christians within the congregation in Corinth. (See {associate}.) 2. [obs] Formerly, unbaptized {associates} of the congregation who were {publishers} were treated in much the same way as those who are baptized. When such a person was found to be unrepentantly guilty of {wrongdoing}, he was dealt with in a manner essentially the same as {disfellowshipped} persons. Instead of announcing that the person was disfellowshipped, a notice would be read that he was to be regarded as bad association. When we realized that there is scripturally no such thing as an {unbaptized Christian}, we dropped this terminology along with the practice. A side benefit of correcting this has been a reduction in legal problems that resulted from publicly labeling someone ``bad''.
[33] This verse is like a mantra to every Christian parent of teenage children.
Bad Guys
A neologism that labels a distinctly unclassy {class} of loosely organized {apostates}, {Truth} {opposers}, and other clueless losers that inhabit the Internet. Their collective goal seems to be the harassment of any of Jehovah's Witnesses they can find on the Internet. I've taken to using the term Bad Guys in email so often that I've begun spelling it with capitals, and the practice has been catching on.

The Bad Guys sponsor various {Web} sites of their own, from which they make known their views. (They are obviously entitled to do so.) Certain individuals from among their number participate actively in Usenet news groups and Internet Relay Chat (IRC) debates, looking for opportunities to slam our Bible-based beliefs, and to make personal attacks on individual Witnesses.

Some collect and distribute the names and email addresses of Witnesses, and encourage others to send us invitations to visit their Web sites or to participate in spiritually degrading discussions. Often they send us unsolicited anti-Truth writings or hate mail. Many Witnesses have learned that the best way to dispatch such mail is by using mail filters and the delete key in their mail reading program.

The spiritual flatulence of what the Bad Guys publish is so obvious that even unbelievers who get wind of it sometimes recommend they just shut up, disappear, and go get a real life, advice which they consistently ignore. Author Kurt Vonnegut would probably call these goobers granfaloons, a word he created to describe a group of people who believe that shared participation in some cause means they share a ``soul bond'', when in fact it's an empty designation and they are not kindred spirits at all.

badge card
A label worn by conventioneers, usually in plastic holders that are pinned to clothing in a prominent place. Thus they are sometimes called ``lapel cards''. The Society supplies printed cards that advertise the theme of the convention. Space is provided for writing one's name and congregation. In former days some brothers wore attachments that said Administration. This was discontinued, probably because it appeared ostentatious. It might as well have said Really Important Guy.[34] Nowadays the only special badges are those that say Attendant.
[34] Meaning someone more important than you are.
A condition of steadiness caused by the equal distribution of opposing weights. The word is most often used figuratively in theocratic speech to indicate our need to give all life's priorities their just due without going overboard in any direction. <<Christian elders need to learn to balance their time in order to accomplish a large number of tasks adequately without sacrificing any.>> Or as one brother put it: <<Balance is the art of neglecting all of your responsibilities equally.>>

A good example of an issue requiring balance is what Paul said at 1 Timothy 4:8. A younger brother might emphasize the part of the verse that assures us that ``bodily training is beneficial'', and so will go all out for sports. Another person, perhaps an older sober-minded brother will focus on the second part that says such ``training is beneficial for a little'', and will use it to counsel the younger brother, saying that the Bible indicates here that such activity is worth very little, i.e., nothing at all from the counselor's point of view, so he shouldn't waste his time with it. A balanced person realizes that Paul said both things in the same sentence, and will encourage the younger brother to enjoy whatever benefit he finds in physical training, but not to let his spirituality suffer from being put in a lesser position.

Legal prohibition established by a government to hinder or stop the preaching work of Jehovah's Witnesses. (Compare Psa 94:20.) In English, ban is frequently preceded by the preposition under. <<The {work} in Malawi was under ban for many years.>>
A group organized together for a common purpose. Clusters of outnumbered Witnesses in hostile territory are sometimes referred to by this term. <<The small band of Bible Students, now known as Jehovah's Witnesses, that tried to help church members see the unchristian origin of many of Christendom's doctrines, has moved to rid itself of all Babylonish beliefs and practices received through {apostate} Christendom.>> [re 51] The phrase small band is used similarly five times in the Revelation Climax book alone.
The act of {water immersion} when one presents oneself in symbol of a previous personal {dedication} to do Jehovah's will. Baptism of many individuals on a single occasion is a customary part of {assemblies} and {conventions}. <<We invite all candidates for baptism to sit in the front three rows during Saturday morning's session.>>

NOTE: In submitting to baptism one does not merely express empathy for a religious abstraction. He becomes an active Witness of Jehovah. Before being led off for immersion, candidates are asked two questions which they answer publicly. The first is whether they have dedicated themselves to Jehovah. The second is: ``Do you understand that your dedication and baptism identifies you as one of Jehovah's Witnesses in association with his organization?'' Ones replying affirmatively confirm that they have confidently identified the faithful and discreet slave Jesus {prophesied} about in Matthew 24:45-47, and are now willing to subject themselves to the direction and authority of Jehovah's earthly organization, in the spirit of Zechariah 8:23.

baptismal candidate
A candidate is one who offers himself for office or membership. Thus we hear the usage <<There were over 100 baptismal candidates sitting in the front rows.>>
baptized unpublisher
A personal {neologism} for someone who is dedicated and baptized but does little or nothing in service; a play on the expression {unbaptized publisher}. <<The Society includes the number of unbaptized publishers counted in the annual {world report}, but not the baptized unpublishers.>> Were you counted last year?
Hacker AMOOFL for ``bulletin board system'', software that allows computer users to communicate with each other using modems and ordinary telephone lines. One example is a network of BBSs, that serves many of Jehovah's Witnesses around the USA. Local BBSs are considered by some to represent the low-rent district of hacker culture.
AMOOFLs for ``before the common era'' and ``common era'' respectively. The Gregorian calendar uses the abbreviations BC and AD to mean ``before Christ'' and anno Domini, year of our Lord. But the year of Jesus' birth was miscalculated, so it is not appropriate to designate dates on that time line as falling before or after Christ. But because the system has been in use throughout the world for many hundreds of years, it is pointless to change the scale. It is much easier to change the suffixes to show acknowledgment of the error. Many modern Bible scholars now agree that Jesus was born in about October of the year 2 BCE.
A prefix with a variety of meanings. Though still in use, it is in decline. However, certain ones appear regularly in the publications, e.g., bestir (rouse to action), besmear, besmirch (smear and stain respectively, especially one's name or reputation), betoken (give evidence of), and berate (scold). <<Bedeviled, befuddled, and bemused by the berative belittlement bestowed upon him by the besotted and belligerent householder, and besmeared with shame from the besmirchment, he befriended a wise benefactor who bedecked him with beneficial advice, bestirring him to return and bestride the befogged opponent's bedarkened accusations with benign counterarguments, befooling him with benevolence in a manner that bespeaks the dignity befitting a Christian.>>

One reviewer opines that the oft heard behoove is preeminently {somnitudinal}. <<In view of these things, brothers and sisters, it behooves us to ...>> That word is enough to put a colicky baby to sleep. Though it is heard in speech, it appears only 20 times in my online literature, the latest in 1989, but quoting an 1882 Watch Tower, and the next most recent in a May 1985 Watchtower.[35]

[35] A more useful definition for the word is: to put shoes on a horse. <<My horse threw a shoe and needs to behooved.>>
Male facial hair on the cheeks and chin, a sort of uncircumcision of the face. Rarely seen among Witness men in the USA, and only slightly less among Witness women. Therefore regarded with some suspicion, as though it were somehow unnatural. <<``Is the person you are talking about a brother?'' ``No, he has a beard.''>> This pairing of sentences should be regarded as a non sequitur. 8-)>[36] (See also {mustache}.)

[36] A {smiley face} with a pointy beard and professorial glasses.

NOTE: There is a growing consensus among brothers that: beards are now commonplace in the world, including among businessmen and professionals; beards are currently viewed negatively by virtually no one, as they once were; there is nothing whatever scripturally objectionable or unnatural about wearing a well-groomed beard, if the prejudice of others in the Truth is excluded from consideration. Despite these conclusions, almost no brothers in the USA have had the courage to grow one, knowing that doing so inevitably leads to controversy and ostracism for the grower. In contrast, in some parts of Europe beards are not uncommon on brothers, including servants.[37]

[37] I have no personal ax to grind on this topic; I have never had a desire to grow a beard, even when I was a worldly near-hippie with a pony tail.
A name given by Christendom to the initial declarations Jesus made in his Sermon on the Mount that each begin ``Blessed are ...'' in the {KJ}. (Mat 5:3-11 KJ) (Compare {-ed}.) In NW these begin ``Happy are ...'', so we refer to them as the nine {happinesses}.
befit, benefit
These two words are each often misread as the other. They mean completely different things. The commonest example is: <<doing works that benefit repentance.>> (Act 26:20) Bzzzt, wrong!
One who acknowledges the Bible's teachings as true. Among Jehovah's Witnesses it means someone who has {dedicated} himself and become {baptized}. (Jam 2:18)

NOTE: Sometimes two young people who have been {raised in the Truth} become romantically involved, but only one of them is baptized. When this happens, the baptized person becomes a likely subject of {counsel} for courting one who is not a believer, even though the unbaptized person may be widely thought of as a Witness. (1Co 7:39) My feeling on this has always been that if a person is not yet mature enough to have decided whether he will serve God, then how can he possibly be considered ready for Christian marriage? Some unbaptized individuals then feel pressured, possibly even by the believing objects of their affections, to rush into baptism when they are not ready for it, regarding it as a technicality, an obstacle blocking them from marriage. Far too many bad marriages have been formed on this basis.

People in Christendom use this word to explain what religious organization they are affiliated with. <<I belong to the Catholic Church.[38]>> But the {Truth} is a way of life, not a social club, and although congregations keep records of what Christians are associated with them, there are no formal membership enrollment forms or procedures. (Compare Act 19:23.)
[38] In more ways than one! One priest said ``When we get them we've got them for life.'' Actually, it's more of a death grip than anything related to life.
To defile, stain, sully. The object of besmirching is usually a name or reputation. This is a perfectly acceptable but somewhat old-fashioned word that appears in the Society's literature from time to time. <<The serpent besmirched God's fair name by claiming that God had lied to Adam and Eve.>> I found it ten times in my online literature collection, which is not many, but is about ten more times than I have seen it in secular literature written since WW II. (Compare {be-}.) <<Sister Faye Sucker became irate with her boyfriend when he stole a kiss at the congregation picnic, because she didn't want her reputation besmooched.>>
Bethel elder
Many brothers who reside at Bethel are elders in their local congregations, but not all are Bethel elders. Bethel elders have extra responsibilities in caring for the needs of the Bethel family, and also have the privilege of representing the Society on special occasions, such as at Kingdom Hall {dedication} programs.
Bethel family
1. All persons residing at a particular {Bethel} home. 2. All persons serving at Bethel homes collectively throughout the world. <<The Bethel family has its family Watchtower Study every Monday night.>>
Bethel home
See {Bethel}.
Bethel service
One's work and tenure at {Bethel}. <<Brother Franz was in Bethel service for 72 years.>>
Bethel speaker
A representative from Bethel sent to give featured talks at a convention or {Special Assembly Day}. <<Do we know yet who our Bethel speaker will be this year?>>

STORY: A brother in Ireland wrote to say that people in his area go to extraordinary lengths to attend an event where a member of the {Governing Body} will be present, as though they expect to see someone with wings and a halo. On one occasion a series of three conventions was arranged at a small facility where the anticipated numbers of attendees were finely calculated. When word leaked out that a brother from the GB would be at the second one, brothers all over Ireland started working out reasons why they had to attend the second convention. The result was that the first and third conventions were well under capacity, but at the second people were standing. Of course all the brother did was read the same manuscript talks given at the other conventions.

Bethel, Bethel home
The name for various homes for those who serve at {branch offices} around the world. <<That couple has three sons serving at Bethel. One is in Brooklyn, one is at {Watchtower Farms}, and one is in the Philippines.>>
One who works and resides at {Bethel}. <<How many Bethelites does it take to change a light bulb?>> Fill in your own favorite response.
The acquired name for Jehovah God's holy written word of truth. The name, meaning ``little books'', comes through Latin from Greek. It does not appear in the work itself, but came into use many years after its canon was complete. See {Word of Jehovah}.
Bible game
A low-key competition with simple rules and a theme based on Bible topics, played mainly at organized {gatherings}. If the spirit of competition is kept to an absolute minimum, these diversions can be entertaining and even upbuilding, because they call upon participants to recall and enlarge their Bible knowledge. Typical examples are games that require some to act out Bible events while others attempt to guess what is portrayed, and those that concentrate on naming Bible characters based on clues. One challenging exercise is to select two Bible verses at random and then attempt to improvise a field presentation from them.[39]

[39] Have you ever looked up and read the wrong scripture but made it fit anyhow? The fact that this is often not difficult to do demonstrates that this game is not too far-fetched.

NOTE: Games are competitive by nature, and some persons who are more reserved or {easygoing} may feel self-conscious about being required to participate. (Gal 5:26) Hosts proposing to play Bible games at gatherings should always be alert so as to avoid imposing anything embarrassing upon their guests. (Compare {singing}, {dancing}.)

Bible highlights
Second talk on the {Theocratic Ministry School} program, covering highlights of the {Bible reading} for the week.
Bible languages
The first 39 books of Bible, according to the modern sequencing of them, were originally written in Hebrew, with a few short pieces in Aramaic, and the remaining 27 were written in Greek. Today almost no one except specially trained scholars knows these languages, so there is a need for persons desiring to peer into God's Word to use the abundant Bible translations that have been made available in many languages. But some people argue that one cannot really understand the Bible accurately unless he is an expert in these languages. Persons who present such objections rarely have any knowledge whatever of these languages themselves, or of the Bible. In some cases the claim is probably a veiled excuse to beg off putting forth the effort to study it.

This claim is unreasonable. Consider an example: I don't know Spanish, but I know what a sombrero is,[40] I know that mañana means tomorrow, and I know dozens of other Spanish words and expressions, and believe I know them accurately. Similarly, Bible students learn over the course of time to understand a great many original language Bible words, and the concepts behind them, e.g., sheohl and nephesh and kosmos. We have every reason to believe that we understand them clearly enough to convey the Bible's teaching about them to others.

[40] A big hat.
Bible literature
Synonymous with {literature}, i.e., Bible study aids published by the {Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society}.
Bible names
The names of most individuals and places mentioned in the Bible have not been included in this Glossary. See the Insight book [it] for information on these.
Bible reading
Third talk on the {Theocratic Ministry School}, the reading of about a chapter of the Bible. Although third on the program, it is often called the {number two talk}, because the {Bible highlights} is not considered a {student talk}. But neither is the {instruction talk}, which is nonetheless still referred to as the {number one talk}. I have never been able figure this one out.
Bible student
Every true Christian is expected to be a student of God's Word. In the early days of the modern organization, our brothers often referred to themselves as Bible Students, and starting in 1910, they used the name International Bible Students' Association. [jv 151] But many others also study the Bible, some with questionable motives. The organization that had formed around the {anointed} at that time was more than just a group of Bible students, so in 1931 the distinctive scriptural name Jehovah's Witnesses was adopted to distinguish these students from others who likewise claimed be Christian.
Bible study
1. Personal activity in studying God's word. <<I need to catch up on some Bible study tonight.>> 2. A regular study of God's word that is carried on with someone who is not yet a dedicated, baptized Christian, or with someone who is newly such, but has not yet completed studying the material the {Society} recommends for new ones. <<Last month I was able to report four Bible studies.>> 3. A person with whom the Bible is being studied. <<The man who lives in the next house is my Bible study.>>
Bible study report
See {study report}.
Bible terms
Most Bible terms that can be found in the Insight book [it], the Reasoning book [rs], or some other readily locatable source, have not been explained in this Glossary, except for a few that have special interest in the context of the purpose of the Glossary.
Bible's Viewpoint
The column ``The Bible's Viewpoint'' has been a frequent feature of Awake! magazine since 1985. (The first one appeared in [g85 7/8].) It discusses issues of contemporary life in light of the Bible. <<The July 8, 1994 Awake! contains ``The Bible's Viewpoint'' article ``Was the Apostle Paul Against Women?''[41]>>
[41] He wasn't, in case you didn't know that already.
A detachable cover to store collected magazines. For many years the Society supplied bulky blue ones with wires that got lost easily to put down the center of each magazine. Recently we switched to brown binders of a better design. These days the majority of people get {bound volumes} each year as they become available and trash the last year's used magazines. Others still prefer to use the binders because they don't like to throw out their valuable study notes.
biological circumstances
A euphemism for pregnancy caused by bad timing, carelessness, or product failure. The cause of an undecision[42] to have a child. [fl 85 par. 12] <<Brother and Sister Fruitful left the missionary work because of biological circumstances.>> Oops. Some would say she caught the Egyptian flu.[43]
[42] An undecision is a personal {neologism} for a decision that one was not able to make because it was made for him by circumstances or by someone else.
[43] She became a mummy. A very ooooold very baaaad joke.
biological relative
Because Jehovah's Witnesses enjoy a spiritual relationship as brothers and sisters that is stronger than that of literal {fleshly} relatives, a relationship that is not appreciated or understood by those outside the {brotherhood}, it is sometimes necessary for us to distinguish explicitly what kind of relationship we are talking about. If I said <<My brother who smokes>>, Witnesses would know without clarification that I am talking about a biological relative who is not {in the Truth}, since none of Jehovah's Witnesses smoke.[44] However, if I said <<My brother who lives in Los Angeles>>, depending on the circumstances, I might need to add some words of explanation. <<My brother is not a brother.>> This sentence is plausible among Witnesses, and would be understood without further comment. (Compare {fleshly}.)
[44] The example is not very good, because when talking to other Witnesses, there is a commonality between them, such that the speaker, when referring to another Witness would likely say the brother rather than my brother, because he is the brother of both of them.
The anniversary of one's birth. Because the Bible mentions birthdays only twice, both times in a bad light, Jehovah's Witnesses don't celebrate them. Some Witnesses even avoid trying to say the word birthday as though it were a naughty word, so others don't think they mean they regard it as something to celebrate.[45] <<``Oh say, I just remembered![46] Today is my ... ummm, ... errr, ... I mean today is the anniversary of ... ummm, ... errr, ...'' ``You mean it's your BIRTHDAY!?''>>>

[45] Others always say ``December 25th'' rather than ``Christmas''.

[46] As if he didn't think of it the moment he woke up.

STORY: I used to work in a small office in midtown Manhattan where every few days someone would look for an excuse to have a little party. My colleagues knew that whenever the occasion was someone's birthday I would not participate in eating a piece of cake or whatever was being dished out. One day when they failed to think of a good reason to have a party, they declared it an unbirthday and sent someone out to buy an ice cream cake. They couldn't understand why I still declined to participate. I never told anyone that on this particular day it just happened to be my ... ummm, ... errr, ...

AMOOFL for ``Burger King'', the former favorite place in my congregation for Saturday morning {pit stops}. Other locales each have their own favorite watering holes. Since I first wrote this entry our congregation has migrated to Wendy's.
Injurious or abusive speech, especially that directed against God, one of the most serious of all sins. Israelites were punished with death by stoning for calling down evil upon God. (Exo 20:7)
blood card [obs]
Former term for the {Advance Medical Directive} card.
blood issue
Conflicts with medical and legal authorities over the Bible teaching about blood are so common with Christians who need medical treatment that these difficulties have earned their own term. <<Someone better talk to Sister New before she goes into the hospital so she will be well prepared to deal with the blood issue when she gets there.>> (Gen 9:4; Lev 17:12; Act 15:20)
blood transfusion
The act of feeding on blood by injecting it into the veins. Although this is an accepted and common medical practice, it is clearly prohibited in the Bible, resulting in frequent conflicts between Christians and medical and legal authorities.
bloodless hospital
A hospital where bloodless surgery is normally performed, or where arrangements have been made to perform it for the sake of those who request it, mainly Jehovah's Witnesses. Several of these have sprung up in the United States. There is one in the city where I live.
Sometimes used as a shortened term, mainly by elders, but sometimes by others, for ``body of elders'' or ``body of older men''. <<I think your idea is a good one, but we'd better check with the body before acting.>>
body of elders
Scriptural term for the entire group of elders in a given {congregation}. (1Ti 4:14) Viewing them as a single entity emphasizes the unity of these brothers working together. <<The body of elders would like to encourage all to reserve the first Saturday of next month as a special day of service.>>
book bag, service bag, meeting bag, witnessing bag
Book bag is a generic expression referring to a container to carry books or supplies in the field or to meetings. A service bag is a brief case or purse of a convenient size and design for carrying in {field service}. It is sometimes called a witnessing bag. Some persons have separate carriers for service and meetings, and so some call the latter a meeting bag. <<Although my witnessing bag is silent, I myself have quite a bit to say.>>
book study
Short name for the meeting called the {Congregation Book Study}. <<Next week the book study will be at the Kingdom Hall because of the circuit overseer's visit.>>
book study conductor
The brother who presides over a {Congregation Book Study}, normally an elder. He not only conducts the meeting, but leads the group in {field service}, and is responsible for {shepherding} families that attend the meeting he oversees. Before the elder arrangement the job of conducting the book study was frequently given to a relatively new brother as a training experience. It was one of those policies sort of like allowing men to have multiple wives: an essentially bad idea, but somehow for as long as the arrangement existed things worked out, provided they were carefully managed. Once it was realized that as a combination teaching and shepherding assignment it is really an elder's job, and a very important one, the procedure changed.
A paper cover {publication}, distinguished in the {Society's} publications from a {brochure} by being smaller. <<He took copies of the booklet Jehovah's Witnesses and the Question of Blood and the brochure How Can Blood Save Your Life? to his doctor.>>
born again
An illustrative term used by Jesus at John 3:3, 7 to describe those who would be anointed as God's spiritual children, and given the hope of living as spirit creatures in the heavens, there to rule as kings and priests. (Rev 20:6) In the USA many people we encounter in the ministry claim to be born again Christians. These folks are not organized as a sect. I sometimes wish they were, because then there might be a greater chance for consistency in what they say. Many of them have apparently had some kind of a religious experience that led to their ``finding the LORD'', making unreasoning fanatics out of them. They are generally among the most belligerent and scripturally ignorant of {professed Christians} we meet. <<Why do born again people so often make you wish they'd never been born the first time?>>

STORY: I once met a person at a mall who said to me as I went by ``I've been born again. Tell me, do you know Jesus?'' I replied ``I'm on a first name basis with his father!''

born in the Truth
Sometimes persons whose parents were {Witnesses} when they were born say <<I was born in the Truth.>> Ha! The Bible says we are all born in sin. (Psa 51:1; Joh 9:34) True Christians do not inherit their religion from their parents, as is the case with most other religions, because the Truth is not a mere matter of tradition or culture. We sometimes hear expressions in service like <<I was born a Baptist, and I'm going to die a Baptist!>> (A likely possibility.) In contrast, each servant of Jehovah becomes one as a result of a personal decision. Of course, having godly parents who train a child in God's ways from infancy is a great aid to making the right decision, so many children of dedicated parents do {make the Truth their own}. (Compare {raised in the Truth}.
bound volume
Annual reprints of {The Watchtower} and {Awake!}, issued in hard cover for {library} storage. <<My library has all the bound volumes back to 1960 except for Awake! from 1961.>>
Branch Committee
The body of three or more elders who oversee the preaching work in one or more countries assigned to a {branch office}.
branch coordinator, branch overseer
The member of a {Branch Committee} who serves as its {chairman}. The term branch overseer is not found in the Organization book [om], and may therefore be technically incorrect, but it is sometimes heard.
branch office
A {Watch Tower Society} headquarters office. <<The Society's world {headquarters} offices in Brooklyn, NY, USA, serve also as the branch office for the United States.>>
branch organization
The combined structure of the {branch office}, the {Branch Committee}, the {districts}, the {circuits}, and the {congregations} organized under a branch office's jurisdiction.
A less metaphorical term for {pit stop}.
bring out
To highlight; a cliché used to cite a source of enlightenment. <<This verse brings out that Christians should keep close in mind the day of Jehovah.>> <<The speaker brought out the point that husbands should love their wives.>> These are good reminders, but they are badly brought out.
A Watchtower size paper cover booklet, usually 32 pages, distinguished from {booklet} and {tract}. <<She placed ten copies of the brochure Should You Believe the Trinity? with her classmates.>>
The location of the {world headquarters} of {Jehovah's Witnesses}, i.e., Brooklyn, NY, USA. As is often true in business, using the name of the city where its center of operations is located can suggest the authority of the organization itself. <<Today I received a letter from Brooklyn in response to an inquiry concerning a judicial problem.>>
1. A baptized male member of the congregation. 2. All baptized Christians are brothers scripturally speaking, regardless of sex, in the same way that the word mankind covers the entire human race, females included. (Compare 1Pe 2:17.) The Insight book [it] says:

Generally ``brothers'' was the accepted greeting to mixed groups and was not restricted to males. (Act 1:15; Rom 1:13; 1Th 1:4) The term is used in this sense in all but three of the inspired Christian letters (Titus, 2John, Jude) and in the works of early church writers.

(See the article BROTHER in the Insight book, volume 1.)

NOTE: Sometimes virtually anyone attending the meetings at the Kingdom Hall is addressed as Brother, whether baptized or not. The ``Question Box'' in [km 3/80] says that in calling on new unbaptized persons at meetings, conductors should not use Brother or Sister, but might instead use the first and last names together or preface the last name with the more formal Mr., Mrs., or Miss. Notice {Ms.} was not recommended. It is considered appropriate to use Brother or Sister with one who is approaching dedication and considers himself a Witness, and it is often acceptable to address children by their first names. Even though there has been no change in this suggestion, some persons presiding over meetings find it nearly impossible to bring themselves to use any form of address from the platform other than Brother or Sister regardless of to whom it is being applied.

It was proclaimed in a resolution at an assembly a few years ago that Jehovah's Christian Witnesses as a whole constitute the only true worldwide brotherhood in existence. The statement was acknowledged with sustained applause. It later appeared in print, but I could not find the reference so as to quote it exactly.[47] (1Pe 5:9)
[47] If any reader sends me a reference I will include it in the next edition.
AMOOFL for ``before the Truth''. <<My attitude BT was that all religions are equally bad.>>
Hacker AMOOFL for ``by the way'', seen almost exclusively in writing, e.g., in {email}. <<BTW, have you read the new Watchtower series on reasonableness?>>
build up, upbuild
To strengthen, encourage and refresh, or deepen the spirituality of oneself or another person. The opposite is to tear down, to discourage. We upbuild and tear down others by what we say and do, and upbuild or tear down ourselves by things to which we allow ourselves to be exposed. All of a Christian's activities should be actions that strengthen one's relationship with Jehovah God and that help him and those around him to make advancement in the Truth. (Compare 1Co 14:4, 26; Phi 4:8; 1Th 5:11.)
bulletin board
See {information board}.
bumper crop
A very large harvest, often of a figurative sort. I find this to be a peculiar idiom. One dictionary says that the adjectival form of bumper describes something unusually large. In actual use, it seems always to be applied to crops. One never hears <<My, that's a bumper book bag you're carrying! It must be heavy.>> Of the twenty times bumper appears in my online literature, five refer to car parts, and the remaining fifteen all describe crops of mostly bad products. <<It is in Christendom today that we find a bumper crop of immorality, divorce, broken families, drug abuse and crime of every kind.>> [w83 3/15 19]
bumper sticker
A stick-on sign seen on the back of a motor vehicle. In the USA you can sometimes tell a great deal about a person by looking at the rear end of his car. Frequently these stickers advertise rude and immoral sentiments. <<My brat was student of the month at Adobe Mountain Correctional Facility.>> Once I saw a bumper sticker that said <<Honk if you believe in one God, not three.>> I considered doing so, but given Phoenician drivers' proclivity for acknowledging honks with a wave of the middle portion of their hands, I opted not to. Fortunately, bumper stickers of any type are notably rare on vehicles belonging to Witnesses, and it seems to be tacitly understood that there is something intrinsically low-class and undignified about them. Witnesses, who are known for being vocal about their beliefs, don't even advertise the things they endorse in that way, i.e., I have never seen anyone sporting a ``Jehovah'' or ``Read the Bible'' sticker. (Compare {T-shirt}, {Jesus fish}, {mezuzah}.)

STORY: A reader wrote to point out that things were not always so. He recalls that his family traveled across the country to the 1958 assembly in New York City with a Society-provided bumper sticker that advertised the convention. Some friends told of receiving quick assistance on the road from other brothers when their cars broke down because of their bumper stickers. The writer's memory is confirmed by a similar experience related in [w76 3/15 171].

STORY: When I went out for exercise today I ran through a park where a large church picnic was taking place. On the cars in the parking lot I counted three ``Jesus is Lord'' bumper stickers, three {Jesus fish}, and one bumper sticker that proclaims that cowboys perform sexually better than other persons.

burden, load
Both burden and load refer to a weight that must be carried, but they are different. A burden is a load that is excessive, more than a person can comfortably bear. Thus the Bible says, without contradicting itself, both <<Go on carrying the burdens of one another>>, and just a few verses later <<For each one will carry his own load.>> (Gal 6:2, 5) The terms are most often used figuratively, to represent one's duties and responsibilities as a Christian, in the congregation, the family, at work, at school, and in everyday life. <<Loads are responsibilities; burdens are problems.>>
bus stop work
A form of {street work} wherein Witnesses approach and attempt to start conversations with persons waiting at bus stops.

STORY: One interesting variation of this activity was carried on for many years by a pioneer brother in New York, who had a virtual concession stand inside the Port Authority terminal at the George Washington Bridge. He worked it every weekday morning from very early through rush hour. The daily commuters all got to know him, and many stopped regularly for the latest magazines. Some would bring him fruit and vegetables from their gardens and other goodies in exchange for the magazines. The brother rarely went from door-to-door or conducted Bible studies, but he placed several hundred magazines a month working at the terminal. (Compare 1Co 12:5.)

business territory
Many congregations in urban areas have large portions of their assigned territory where there are mostly businesses. In many cases these have been mapped as such and {territory cards} designated as business territory may be checked out by publishers wishing to work it.
A fastener that holds clothing together. Some brothers believe that all buttons are meant by divine providence to be fastened and even get indignant when they see one that is not, particularly on the coat of a brother who is on the {platform}. In {Kingdom Ministry School} the instructor told us that in the military they have a saying: If you've got a button, button it. Then, after pausing, he added: ``Jehovah's organization is not the military!''

blue line

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