Glossary: D

Glossary of American English Hacker Theocratese

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=== D ===

To work superficially at some pursuit; to putter around with it. It has become a cliché to speak of dabbling in spiritism, or sometimes in politics. <<Some persons have gained relief from demon harassment by burning letters from relatives who dabble in spiritism.>> [w66 12/15]
daily text, day's text, daytext
The scripture, and sometimes the associated comment, published for each day in Examining the Scriptures Daily. The Society urges all families to discuss this at a time when they come together each day, e.g., at a meal time. <<The {Bethel family} discusses the daily text before breakfast every morning.[62]>> <<There is a practical comment in the day's text concerning the conducting of {family studies}.>> Many persons use the elision daytext, but this is not found in the Society's publications.
[62] Ha! Almost no one eats breakfast together as a family anymore. I have the text {emailed} to me and read it along with other morning mail.
damn, damnation
1. To damn someone is to condemn him to Christendom's {hell}, a place of eternal fiery torment. Damnation is the state of being so condemned. Because this teaching is completely contrary to Bible teaching, it is not used in this sense by true Christians. Even people in Christendom find this teaching difficult to accept these days. <<``Churches are not emphasizing the old fire-and-brimstone sermons nearly as much as they have in the past.... Damnation isn't what it used to be,'' reports The Edmonton Journal.>> [g94 7/8 29] 2. Swear words commonly used in profane speech. Therefore not used in that way by Jehovah's Witnesses. (See {four-letter words}.)
The performance of rhythmic motions to music, a popular form of recreation in all cultures. The answer to the question of what styles of dancing are appropriate for Christians differs from area to area, and in the end is a {matter of conscience}. (See the article ``Is Dancing for Christians?'' in [g96 5/8].) Most agree that dancing that is sexually stimulating, either because of its gestures or from close physical contact, must be avoided. On the other hand, much of the dancing done by young people, though abandoned, is mostly aerobic exercise and not intrinsically offensive, even if it does not appeal to everyone's taste.

Some have wondered whether social dancing between married persons who are not married to each other is appropriate. Though standards vary, I have seen older Bethel elders dancing with other men's wives. This practice may be frowned on in other parts of the world. In any case, anyone whose own conscience permitted it would want to be sure that it was not a cause for stumbling by others. Various types of line dancing and square dancing are considered innocuous enough that few people in this country object to them on scriptural grounds.[63]

[63] But some people I know would sooner be bathed in molasses and rolled over an anthill than be caught doing the hokeypokey.

STORY: One reader observes that the dancing practiced by some young people has changed. Over the past year, a new style of dancing has come into vogue called ``freaking'', characterized by emulating sexual movements while dancing---both girls and boys. Some dances involve acting like dogs, crawling around on all fours.

At a party attended by young people being raised {around the Truth} it was necessary for the chaperones to stop several young people from dancing in that manner, and ultimately to stop the music and give a lecture. Meanwhile only a few of the kids bothered to admonish their peers who were not dancing appropriately. One wonders what might happened if 90 percent of them had spoken up. That they did not, and that adult chaperones had to get on the kids about it, speaks volumes.

dashboard dining
The practice of eating meals in a car between houses in rural territory or between return visits.
Jehovah's people have always been interested in pinpointing the dates of significant events as they patiently await the fulfillment of God's promises for a new world. Some important dates that should be on the tip of every Bible student's tongue are:
    Year      Event
    ----      -----
    4026 BCE  Adam's creation
    2370 BCE  The Flood
    1513 BCE  Israelites left Egypt
     607 BCE  Beginning of Babylonish captivity
     537 BCE  Restoration of remnant from Babylon
       2 BCE  Jesus born
      29  CE  Jesus began ministry
      33  CE  Jesus died as a ransom
      70  CE  Jerusalem destroyed
    1879  CE  Zion's Watch Tower began publication
    1914  CE  Jesus enthroned; beginning of {last days}[64]
    1919  CE  Remnant restored to activity
    1931  CE  Name ``Jehovah's Witnesses'' adopted
    1935  CE  Great crowd revealed

[64] Have you ever wondered how many Witnesses use 1914 as the code number on their automatic teller machines? I know of at least two Kingdom Hall security systems that use that number.

Charles Russell and his associates first identified the year 1914 as being of significance in Bible chronology in 1879, though they at first misunderstood its significance. It was neither the first nor the last time that some Christians have attached too much importance to future dates that the Bible seems to point to, leading them to {premature expectations} and disappointment. (See also {1975}.) Even Jesus' apostles were guilty of this. (Act 1:6, 7)

The practice of spending time and engaging in social activities with members of the opposite sex {one on one}. Jehovah's Witnesses consider dating a part of the process of selecting a marriage mate, and not as mere recreation. We enjoy social events as much as other people, including in mixed groups. But the practice of pairing up members of the opposite sex socially is strongly discouraged among young people who have not yet reached the age to consider marriage.
dawn patrol
Publishers who hit the bus stops and Laundromats at 6 AM and have all their time in for the day by 9 or 10 AM. Much good can be accomplished by these early risers if they are alert to start conversations with persons they meet. But it has been noted that because they don't have to face many people, their {return visit} and Bible study activity is often low. (See also {Laundromat publisher}.)
An officer in one of Christendom's churches, one who serves in an official capacity, but with less responsibility than a fully empowered clergyman. The word is derived from the Greek word di.a'ko.nos, translated in {NW} as {ministerial servant}, and also as ``servant'' and ``minister''.
The cessation of life. Things that are dead were once alive, such as humans, animals, and plants, whereas inanimate objects that never had any form of life in them are not described as dead, but merely lifeless. Human death is described in the Bible as an enemy. (1Co 15:26) Therefore it is normal to grieve when persons close to us die. Yet, because the Bible explains the truth about the condition of the dead, informed Christians do not go to extremes in expressing sorrow, as do those in captivity to Satan's false teachings, leading such persons to a condition of hopelessness and fear of death. (1Th 4:13; Heb 2:15) Outsiders who attend {memorial} talks at a Kingdom Hall are often surprised by the calm and dignity shown at such occasions.

STORY: A sister known for her ability to fracture the English language once said in a somber tone of voice: <<We've had so many deaths recently it isn't even funny.>> As if to say just one less would constitute a virtual laugh riot. Actually, we do take it a little more seriously than that.

1. The act of devoting someone or something to Jehovah's use and service. Most frequently it refers to a personal dedication, the step one takes that is later symbolized by {water baptism}. <<Sister Weakly requested the opportunity to be {rebaptized} because she never made a dedication.>> 2. A program that is presented in consequence of a new building constructed for Jehovah's worship. <<Brother Oldtimer is coming from Bethel to give the dedication for our new Kingdom Hall.>>
A representative to a {convention}, sometimes called a conventioneer. <<A sister I know will be a delegate to the international convention in Nairobi, Kenya, next year.>>

NOTE: Because all servants of Jehovah are commanded to be at conventions, not as representatives of someone else, who really is a delegate? The term is properly used to describe persons who travel outside their home areas to attend conventions, especially groups of such, or those sent there by the Society. These can be said to represent all the Witnesses from whence they came. They often publicly share {love and greetings} from their homelands as a part of the convention program. This understanding suggests that a person attending the convention closest to his home would not normally be thought of as a delegate.

The Flood that destroyed men and animals in the days of Noah. The word is normally capitalized to distinguish it as the greatest of all floods. For some reason we never refer to it as the Flood like the rest of the world. Why not? Because we just don't, that's why. If you look under FLOOD in the Insight book [it], it says: ``See DELUGE.''
Short for {demonstration}. <<Brother Nosho is not here yet; he is supposed to present a Service Meeting part with two demos on it!>>
A skit style portion of a meeting {part}, often an example field presentation. Sometimes meeting parts that are not straight lecture-style parts are called ``demonstrations'' even though they don't literally demonstrate anything, in the how-to sense of the word. In such cases the term demonstration is a misnomer, but it is used anyway. <<I have a demonstration on my part next week; it is to be given as two elders discussing the needs of the elderly.>>
The name of a religious organization. The word is used primarily to distinguish the many sects of Christendom that {profess} to be Christian. <<``What denomination are you?'' ``I'm a Methodist.''>> <<``What denomination are you?'' ``None. I'm one of Jehovah's Witnesses.''>> (See {Jehovah's Witnesses} for an explanation of our name.)
destiny, predestination
Destiny is a predetermined course of events one is powerless to change. Some religions, e.g., Calvinism, teach that God has an unchangeable master plan for everyone and that each one's entire future course has been determined in advance. This philosophy is known as predestination. It is patently bogus, scripturally speaking. On the other hand, Jehovah does have the power of selective foreknowledge, the ability to know in advance what will happen given certain conditions, and on occasion he utilizes this ability. See the Insight book [it] entry FOREKNOWLEDGE, FOREORDINATION for details.
Devil's advocate
Someone who reasons as an opposer might, usually for the sake of argument, helping to demonstrate by fully reasoning through a matter the fallacies of a contrary view. <<Lets say, playing Devil's advocate, that there really is no God. Then what?[65]>> I've heard some Witnesses say that they find the expression offensive because the very idea of even pretending to reason as the Devil would is unthinkable to them. Such people don't make challenging opposing {householders} in {demonstration} parts or {practice sessions}.
[65] Then we don't really exist, that's what. This is a bad example because even the Devil does not advocate this point of view, though many humans do. (Jam 2:19)
AMOOFL for {disfellowship}. The adjectival form is sometimes written as DFed or DF'ed. <<He used to be a brother, but now he is DFed.>>
Someone who resists against hopeless odds. The word is seen in combinations like: <<That man is a diehard Catholic.>> (Compare {born in the Truth}.)
A prescribed program of eating, usually intended to reduce body weight.[66] Jehovah's Witnesses are no different from anyone else in having to battle against the ravages of imperfection and aging. So a common topic of non-theocratic conversation, particularly among sisters, is diet and exercise. For some persons the only way to make a significant reduction in body weight is to get religion in connection with some diet scheme. Persons to whom this happens can be annoying to be around. <<Don't you know what you're having is one of the worst things you can eat!?>> They turn into vigilante food police. Fortunately their zeal usually lasts only until the inevitable time arrives when they apostatize on a whole bag of double-filled Oreos. (Compare {health fads}.)

[66] And rarely, to increase it.

NOTE: Some people rationalize: ``I'm only 25 pounds overweight. That's not too bad.'' Oh really? Try running two miles, then drop a couple of bowling balls in your shorts before doing it again and see whether it makes a difference.[67]

[67] I have to boast a bit. Since I first wrote this entry I lost nearly 50 pounds, 95 percent the result of exercise, and 5 percent because of improved diet, and now run marathons. (A marathon is 26 miles, 385 yards, i.e., 42,195 meters.)
director of the feast
A scripturally based term applied to a brother who accepts responsibility for supervising and coordinating activities at a large social gathering of Jehovah's people, such as a wedding reception. (Joh 2:1, 9)
An action taken by a {baptized} member of the {congregation} who deliberately repudiates his Christian standing, stating that he no longer wants to be known as one of {Jehovah's Witnesses}. Sadly, some wrongdoers, having been cornered by a {judicial committee} and sensing that their {disfellowshipping} is imminent, opt to self-destruct by spontaneously disassociating themselves. It's like saying: ``You can't throw me out, because I quit!'' Although the procedure followed with disassociation is a lot simpler than disfellowshipping, saving the elders a lot of work, people who resort to this cowardly action only harm themselves, and will find that if they ever repent of the decision and want to return, they will have to take up where they left off, and conclude the unresolved judicial matter before resuming life in good standing inside Jehovah's organization.

NOTE: Disassociation is frequently misunderstood. The word is reflexive, i.e., it is an action taken by a person toward himself. It is not taken by the congregation. <<It is inappropriate to say ``He joined the Army and so the elders disassociated him.''>> However, sometimes a person disassociates himself by his actions, not by a direct request. Such a person may not see his course as contrary to Bible standards, and may therefore regard himself as a faithful one. In cases where an individual does not evidence repentance over the course, however sincere he may be in it, it is necessary for the congregation, by means of a judicial committee, to take the action of disfellowshipping the one who has effectively disassociated himself. (Compare Pro 14:12.)

disaster relief
Assistance provided and organized through the {Society} when families in the {Truth} are affected by earthquakes, floods, and other natural disasters. <<When hurricane Andrew struck south Florida, the Society's disaster relief organization had full scale assistance in operation faster than anyone else, including the army.>> This is not surprising when you realize that Jehovah's Witnesses are trained to take over management of the whole world at the conclusion of the great tribulation.
A taught one; a learner; particularly a student of the Bible and follower of the teachings of Jesus Christ. Because Christian education is a continuous process, new ones and experienced ones alike are rightly dubbed disciples. <<Jesus' command to baptize disciples implies that the ones being baptized would be old enough to have begun Bible teachings on their own.>> (Mat 28:19, 20)
The original Bible language words translated as `1`discipline'' in NW convey the thought of training with the goal of correction. Hebrews describes the end result as righteousness. (Heb 12:11) Some people mistakenly think that discipline in connection with children means only punishment, including physical chastisement, such as by spanking. Thinking of it in Bible terms puts a different light on it. But receiving discipline is not the same as merely learning, because as Hebrews 12:11 adds, discipline is always {grievous}, and generally unpleasant, whereas ordinary learning is rarely so. So discipline carries a connotation of pressure or coercion on the one to whom it is being applied, not with the intent of vengeance, rather of providing added incentive to move him to follow a particular course. <<Although I'd like to stay out later, if I do my parents will ground me for the rest of the year, so I must go home now.>> That decision was an exercise of the easiest form of discipline to bear, namely self-discipline.

NOTE: In recent years physical discipline of children has become unpopular, and in some places even illegal. Even mild spanking administered in a loving way by a parent intent on correcting a child's wrong course may be interpreted as child abuse. Such laws impose restrictions on the responsibility God gave parents to `bring their children up in the discipline and mental-regulating of Jehovah.' (Eph 6:4) They must be taken into account, however.

disease of the month
An illness featured in a recent magazine. The publications, particularly Awake!, regularly present detailed articles on health problems. In recent times we have had series on AIDS, allergies, Alzheimer's disease, anemia, attention deficit disorder, cancer, carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, colitis, eating disorders, Epstein-Barr syndrome, lead poisoning, Lou Gehrig's disease, narcolepsy, obsessive compulsive behavior, post-traumatic stress disorder, temporomandibular joint syndrome, and Tourette's syndrome, to name just a few. Whenever the magazines feature some new malady, a wave of incidents of it follows, especially among sisters who seem to be prone to acquiring harmonic illnesses. This could be viewed as emanating from the foresight of the holy spirit directing the writing to anticipate our needs. It might also reflect a few cases of hypochondriacs falling victim to the power of suggestion. Some people shop around and pay large sums of money until they find a medical practitioner who will declare them to have an ailment that fits their needs and budgets. <<``Will your wife be joining us in service this morning?'' ``Naw, she's laid up with the disease of the month.''>>
disfellowshipped brother
A misnomer because there is no such thing, though sometimes people use the expression. A person who is disfellowshipped is not a brother. This is one of those ``we know what you mean'' phrases. The speaker means the one referred to used to be a brother. But in that case the term implies a redundancy, since no one is disfellowshipped who is not first a {brother}, (in the generic sense, including sisters. We stopped using the expression {unbaptized Christian} for similar reasons; no one who is a Christian in the full scriptural sense is unbaptized, therefore the term describes no one.
The action taken when a {judicial committee} finds it necessary to put an unrepentant {wrongdoer} out of the congregation. <<Disfellowshipping is an action the elders take as a last resort after all efforts to restore an erring one have failed.>> (Compare {reinstatement}.)
disfellowshipping announcement
A simple announcement that says: <<So-and-so has been disfellowshipped.>> No more than this is said, for legal reasons. (See {unchristian}.) When I was {new in the Truth}, judicial announcements would sometimes be accompanied by a long windup on the badness of some type of conduct. Things got tense as everyone gradually tuned in, anticipating the bad news that was coming. This is no longer done, with good reason.
disfellowshipping offense
A sin that, if not repented of, will normally result in a person's being {disfellowshipped} from the congregation. All sin, no matter how small is ultimately deserving of death in God's eyes. But the Bible recognizes degrees of sin, and is unambiguously clear about God's standards for his people in the {last days}. Certain grave acts cannot be cared for merely by an individual's expressing repentant sorrow in prayer before Jehovah and abandoning the wrong course, although those actions are required. Disfellowshipping offenses must be cared for by a {judicial committee} of elders who investigate matters and judge whether a {wrongdoer} is truly repentant, and what {discipline} needs to be administered. Sins such as murder, including abortion, {apostasy}, including the celebration of false religious holidays, {fornication}, lying, stealing, {blasphemy}, and alcohol or drug abuse, including use of tobacco, are examples of disfellowshipping offenses. <<Some people have said that although marrying an {unbeliever} is not a disfellowshipping offense, it ought to be.[68]>>
[68] Which is a whole new can of worms. Be assured that anyone expressing such a strong personal {opinion} is opening up what will certainly become a {controversial} topic. (Act 18:15)
Local congregations under each branch organization are arranged into {circuits} and a number of circuits make up a district.
district convention
A large {assembly} attended by persons from several {circuits}. Sometimes these are referred to as district assemblies but the {Society} does not use this term in print.
district overseer
An {elder} {appointed} to visit the {circuits} in his {district}, serve at {circuit assemblies}, and spend some time serving {congregations}, usually with a {circuit overseer} present.
district servant [obs]
Former term for {district overseer}.
district work
General term to describe the life and activity of brothers serving as {district overseers}. It is likewise properly applied to a district overseer's wife. <<Brother and Sister Sturdy have been in district work for over 35 years.>>
divided household
A home where at least one person is a {believer} and at least one is an {unbeliever} <<Persons who come from divided households sometimes have their faith severely tested on a daily basis.>>
AMOOFL for {district overseer}. <<Brother Roam was in Bethel for years, but currently he's a DO.>>
Do we not
At the beginning of a sentence it means ``We do, do you not agree?'' Note the example: <<Do we not love Jehovah's provisions such as this assembly?>> The thunderous applause that inevitably follows means ``Yes, we do'', not ``Yes, we do not''.
The address of a person who has been recorded as having asked, sometimes emphatically, that we not call again. I have never seen this expression in print, though it is in common use locally. The hyphenation follows the pattern of the similar term {not-at-home}. <<The Society has suggested that we tactfully revisit all do-not-calls on occasion to see if there has been a change of heart.>>
do-nothing elder
An elder who merely holds his office of appointment and does next to nothing to fulfill his responsibilities short of accepting a few obligatory assignments that are often executed routinely. It is much more difficult to remove a deficient elder from office than it is to recommend him for appointment. That is one reason why Paul recommended exercising caution in making appointments. (1Ti 5:22) Brothers who become incapacitated because of age, illness, or other mitigating circumstances are not do-nothing elders. The condition is a matter of attitude and quality of service, not quantity.

NOTE: Christians should be reluctant to use this term in seriousness because it implies that the one speaking it has examined the circumstances of the one to whom it is being applied and made a judgment. (Compare Mat 7:1; Mat 5:22.) The body of elders is normally aware when a brother is in need of help and will do what they can to help him.

A fundamental Bible teaching, e.g., the teaching about Jesus Christ's role as high priest. (Heb 5:10; 6:1) The Bible (NW) several places refers to doctrine, but never to {dogma}
A {doctrine} or body of doctrines defining fundamental tenets of a religious organization, especially those laid down as true and beyond dispute. Although the Bible definitely teaches doctrine, and expects true Christians to accept and conform to it, no form of the word dogma appears in NW. In almost all instances that it appears in the literature, it is in connection with Christendom's false teachings, particularly the {Trinity}. <<Today, Bible truth has set millions free from the dogmas of Christendom.>> [w92 1/1] The adjectival form dogmatic generally appears in a negative context; it is considered a bad thing to be dogmatic because it implies unreasoning belligerence. <<Hence, the true Christian congregation cannot rightly be accused of being harshly dogmatic, but it does highly value and work toward the unity encouraged in God's Word.>> ([w86 4/1 30, 31], the conclusion from an interesting {Questions From Readers} column on the question of why apostates are disfellowshipped.)
doing well
When Witnesses refer to someone as ``doing well'', or not doing well, we usually refer to his spiritual progress, not his physical or material welfare. Someone doing well is studying the Bible regularly, attending meetings, participating in congregation activities, and steadily growing spiritually. <<Although she has an unbelieving husband, she is a regular pioneer and has two sons who are doing well.>> <<Since her husband died she has not been doing well.>>
Individual anointed members of the composite {faithful and discreet slave}. (Mat 24:45)
See {contribution}.
donation arrangement
The policy of leaving {literature} with persons who show interest in the {Kingdom message} {without charge}, then explaining that the cost of the literature is supported by voluntary donations. A reader reports that this policy has been standard in a few places outside the United States for many years, e.g., in Denmark. It was implemented in the United States allegedly as a reaction to the government's changed policies on the issue of taxation on religious organizations, as brought to the fore by the activities of certain well-known religious crooks. The rumor is that the change was allegedly provoked in response to public comments made by one such individual famous for confessing his sins on TV. The practice is now followed in other countries as well.
See {house-over-house}.
door-to-door, house-to-house
Synonymous terms for {public witnessing} to persons in their homes. <<I have fresh territory, so am planning on doing some house-to-house today.>> Which one you prefer probably depends on whether you live in a city where there are many apartments, or where people live mainly in private homes. House-to-house is scriptural, without the hyphens in {NW}, but with them in many of the {Society's} publications, but door-to-door is more generic because not everyone lives in a house.
Douay Version
One of the standard Roman Catholic translations of the Bible in English. Sometimes referred to as the ``Do-away Version'' because it entirely does away with the use of Jehovah's name. <<According to the Do-away Version: ``The LORD said unto my Lord ...''>> (Mat 22:44)
double life
A course in life wherein a person behaves one way when with members of the congregation and at home, and in a way contrary to Bible standards when out of the sight of fellow Christians. This problem arises frequently among young people, especially teenagers, upon whom {peer pressure} exerts an unyielding negative influence. A district overseer reported on a circuit assembly that the question: ``Are you a double?'' has been used by some young people. If the one inquired of answers yes, then they can talk freely, but if he doesn't understand the question, the asker has to maintain his false Christian front.
[double, extra] [portion, measure] of holy spirit
In public prayers brothers sometimes ask Jehovah to supply some extra quantity of holy spirit to persons who particularly need it, e.g., those undergoing persecution, illness, or hard times. The intent of this phrase is certainly a great kindness, but it implies that Jehovah's spirit sometimes cannot get the job done. But Jehovah's holy spirit is perfect and always accomplishes the task that it is sent out to do completely. Asking for Jehovah to provide or to continue providing his spirit is all that is required. This expression may have arisen from a misreading of a paragraph in the book Let Your Name Be Sanctified. [ns 160, par. 63]
Symbolic term for Satan the Devil, used 13 times in the Bible, all in Revelation. It is not until the last occurrence, at Revelation 20:3 that the Bible itself identifies this dragon as <<the original serpent, who is the Devil and Satan.>>
A theatrical presentation with characters and dialogue that tells a story. Since 1966 the Society has featured dramas portraying Bible or modern-day events in light of Bible teaching as a highlight of {district assemblies} presented around the world. These productions are not intended to be great {art}, with emphasis on masterful scripts, stellar performances, or elaborate sets and costumes. They are more like medieval morality plays in that their purpose is to assist in conveying the truth of God's Word to appreciative hearts. <<Following the drama on Sunday morning's session there was hardly a dry eye in the house.>>
A way of calling on {return visits} and {not-at-homes}. Sometimes in the case of a person who is difficult to find at home, a {car group} will drive to the address, look for a sign that someone is around, e.g., an open window, or a parked car, and if there is none, keep on rolling. It is regarded as a way of using time efficiently, finding the greatest number of people in the least amount of time. The term's macabre humor comes from the contrast to its commoner use in the world, in reference to driveby shootings, wherein members of youth gangs drive down the street and indiscriminately shoot and kill someone from their car and then drive off. <<Let's do a driveby on the folks at the end of this block.>>
A neologism coined by a friend, derived from {happify}, meaning to take the edge off of something potentially exciting by a poor delivery. <<Brother Logsawer fell asleep listening to Brother R2D2's dullified demonstration.>>

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