Glossary: F

Glossary of American English Hacker Theocratese

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=== F ===

Abbreviations for {faithful and discreet slave}. I have been using the first myself for over 20 years, in the spirit of {WTB&TS}, and just recently saw the other, a usage I don't personally care for. No doubt someone somewhere uses FDS, but I've never seen it.
A practice, e.g., a style of dress or grooming or a type of music, that is followed eagerly by some significant number of people for a short period and then dies out. <<Jehovah's Witnesses are never the first to follow some new fad, nor are they the last.>>
Many people without Bible training incorrectly understand faith to be credulity, i.e., willingness to believe things without basis, which is really blind faith. (Compare 2Co 11:4.) But Hebrews 11:1 explains that faith is based on provable evidence. Therefore the Bible, in encouraging Christians to build strong faith, is not teaching people to be gullible, but to get a good education in spiritual matters.
faithful and discreet slave
An expression used illustratively by Jesus to describe the entire composite body of {spirit-anointed} Christians on the earth at any given time. (Mat 24:45-47) This term is frequently invoked to emphasize the respect for the authority Jesus has bestowed upon this class. <<How grateful we should all be that the faithful and discreet slave has published {The Watchtower} for so many years!>>

NOTE: The faithful and discreet slave is not any single individual, and it is not the {Governing Body}, which is only a mouthpiece of the greater composite slave.

family study
A {Bible study} regularly conducted by the spiritual head of a household with other members of his family. <<Most people in our congregation have their family study on Monday night, except during football season.>>
A person who is excessively and uncritically devoted to something. A {CO} once said that we are fanatics for Jehovah. If fanaticism implies blind faith, lack of reason, and excess, then I disagree, because Christian faith is based on knowledge and reason, and Christians are moderate in habits rather than given to excesses. (Compare Joh 4:22; 1Ti 3:2.)
See {destiny, predestination}.
favorable letter
When a brother moves from one congregation to another the secretary of his original congregation sends a letter to the elders in the new congregation introducing him and his family. If the moving brother is a servant the letter is expected to state whether his local body of elders recommends that the brother is qualified to continue serving in an appointed capacity. If so the letter is dubbed a ``favorable letter''.

NOTE: Often the secretary will write what appears to be a favorable letter, stating how much loved and respected everyone in the family is, that the brother has served well for umpteen years in some appointed capacity, is a fabulous public speaker, and that everyone will miss them all, but forgets to make an explicit statement saying that they recommend he continue serving. When the time comes to consider his recommendation for appointment in the new congregation, it is necessary to phone or write the original secretary to confirm that his note was intended to be a favorable letter. (See also {unappointed elder}.)

favorite titles
Here are a few of my favorite {magazine} article titles from recent times. These titles by themselves tickled me and made me laugh, even though the articles themselves were serious:

[80] American tabloid journalism at its worst.
fear of man
An unhealthy dread of the actions or opinions of others, to a degree that influences persons to behave contrary to the way of the Truth in order to avoid conflict. (Compare Luk 12:4, 5.) A well-known Bible example is the account at Galatians 2:11-14 where Peter was guilty of putting on a pretense because he feared the reactions of visitors sent by James. Fear of man can manifest itself in embarrassment about being recognized as a Witness by coworkers, neighbors, or schoolmates. <<I don't want to work on this street; my friend Hammer from school lives in this block![81]>> (See also {peer pressure}.)
[81] Say what!? What is this boy doing with a ``friend'' from school with a name like Hammer in the first place?
field overseer [obs]
Former term for {service overseer}, no longer officially used.
field service report
The monthly accounting of field activity that each person turns in to the {secretary} using the S-4 form, counting the time spent, the literature placed, and the number of {return visits} and {Bible studies} for the month.
field, field ministry, field service
The field is the entire {world} of non-Christians. (Mat 13:38) The metaphor brings to mind a place where seeds of {Truth} are sown, and from which there is a potential harvest to be reaped. The terms field ministry and field service are synonymous expressions for the work that Christians do in preaching to and teaching others about the Kingdom and God's will.
finger quotes
A gesture used to emulate written {quotes} in oral speech. The speaker holds up both hands by the side of his head, palms out, with the ring and pinkie fingers clamped under the thumbs and the index and middle fingers extended which he wiggles once or twice. Sometimes the speaker will add the words ``quote'' or ``quote unquote'', or possibly even ``quote quote'', short for begin quote, end quote, to emphasize the gesture. (Try reading the previous sentence out loud, quoting the quotation marks!)
first day of the week
Which day is first day of the week? The Bible record shows that the Jews observed the sabbath, which means the seventh day, from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday night, by divine decree. Most people in Christendom who believe in observing the sabbath, except Seventh Day Adventists, and a few others for whom the question of which day of the week the now-obsolete sabbath should be observed seems to be virtually the only doctrine, do so on Sunday, making Saturday the sixth day. Jesus' ransom relieved Christians of the obligation to regard certain days as more holy than others. (Col 2:13, 14; Gal 4:9-11)

Today the activities of the New World Society cycle around Monday as the first day of the week. Each week's Watchtower schedule, and the schedules for the {school} and {Service Meeting} are always listed for the week of a date that falls on Monday. Most secular calendars, and also the WTB&TS calendar, are laid out to show Sunday as the first day, in the column on the left, and Saturday as the seventh day. Saturday and Sunday together are regarded as the weekend, but does that mean the seventh and first days respectively, or the two tail-end days?

first initial
Sometimes at assemblies brothers are introduced by their first initial and last name. It has been my experience that the style of introduction is adopted consistently throughout a given assembly. Sometimes it is just the last name: ``Brother Blunt''. Rarely it is the full name: ``Brother Hieronymus Hoopenpfeffer''. But frequently it is <<And now Brother W. Noname will speak to us on ...>> Urk! What kind of a name is Double-U!? Whenever I hear that, in my head I hear Ed McMahon following the introduction with: <<``And now ... heeeeere's W!''>>
first talk
The occasion of giving one's first talk is frequently a time of great nervousness for the student.[82] A Bible study of mine, a well-educated man who is now an elder, was so nervous when giving his first talk that he dropped his Bible twice. But nervousness quickly fades following the first couple of successful talks.[83] In the USA, and probably elsewhere, when someone gives his first talk ever on the school, it is traditional to render the student a round of applause in commendation for the effort, regardless of the quality. When I gave my own first talk, in 1970, I was still unaware of this, and so was astonished when I found myself applauded, since I didn't think it was that great. My moment of glory lasted only until I heard someone else give a first talk, when I realized it was done for everyone. Another brother tells me he was quite disappointed when he gave his second talk and no one applauded. He hadn't caught on to the routine yet. The custom is a loving gesture that helps new students overcome their inhibitions about getting up to talk about God in front of others who already know way more than they do.
[82] Not to mention the parents of first-timers.
[83] For some elders the only thing they fear is giving a public talk with their fly open. I conducted a whole Watchtower that way once. Oops. Fortunately my sartorial sin of omission did not show.
flag salute
A ceremony wherein participants render homage to a national image, such as a flag, signifying allegiance to that nation. Scripturally, it constitutes an act of idolatry. <<The children of Jehovah's Witnesses have been expelled from school for loyally refusing to participate in flag salute ceremonies.>> (Compare {national anthem}, also {nationalism}.)
A hacker verb meaning to send a hostile message intended to insult, provoke, or severely criticize. Of course, true Christians never do this in seriousness or deliberately, but sometimes it happens inadvertently. One place that things can get out of control is when zealous Christians begin engaging in public discussions on public news groups such as Usenet's talk.religion.misc. (See {electronic witnessing}.) Some persons who participate in these discussions are bigots to begin with, and some are waiting for an opportunity to flame Jehovah's Witnesses. When that happens, it can take considerable restraint to keep things from getting ugly by retaliating. (Rom 12:17)
1. Having to do with things of the flesh. 2. Often used to distinguish literal relatives from spiritual ones, because we normally refer to spiritually related persons by their fleshly analogues. <<My fleshly brother owns a used car lot.>> <<My fleshly sister is also a spiritual sister.>> (See {biological relative}.) 3. Having a physical outlook, showing no appreciation for spiritual matters. (1Co 2:14) <<Fleshly thinking leads inevitably to fleshly conduct.>>

NOTE: Don't confuse the word fleshly with fleshy. The latter means ``marked by abundant flesh, corpulent (fat)'', and is found only four places in the Bible (NW), once in James, and three times in Revelation.

The term more commonly used by non-Witnesses for what we usually call the {Deluge}.
A hostile enemy, or one who opposes on principle. To my ear the word sounds old-fashioned. I believe it is not used much in modern spoken language. In NW the word is found in only seven verses of the Psalms. Remember that the Psalms are poetic writing. But I find it 227 times in my online literature collection. Also, the following sentence appears in [outline #109]: <<Jehovah will rescue Kingdom advocates, the King Jesus Christ destroying their foes at Armageddon.>> Fine, but would you get up and use the word foes in a talk? Would you use it in daily speech? <<Say, Ralph, have you had any hassles from your foes recently?>> Most people would just say enemies.
To nurture into activity; to instigate. A perfectly good word, but it appears in the Society's literature with unusual frequency. It is used exclusively in connection with encouraging others in a course of badness, never to perform something good. A search of my online literature found it 43 times. By far the most frequent case speaks of fomenting war. Other things spoken of as being fomented are riots, mob action, persecution, atheism, trouble, fear, hatred, rebellion, an international plot, revolt, divisions, carnal warfare, violent hostility, heartaches and troubles, human strife, distrust and suspicion, religious zeal (the misdirected type seen during the Crusades), bloodshed and cruelty, provocations, political unrest, opposition, civil disobedience, and apostasy. One never hears: <<The Service Overseer fomented a desire in many to sign up for auxiliary pioneering next month.>> Whoops.
food at the proper time
A scriptural phrase taken from Matthew 24:45 that appears in connection with the work the {faithful and discreet slave} class does in making spiritual food available to one another according to a planned schedule. <<People often remark that the information in certain lessons is both spiritually rich and remarkably timely.>> (Compare {meat in due season}.)
footnote Bible
Another term for the {Reference Bible} because it includes extensive footnotes. <<One of our most precious possessions is Dad's Reference Bible. Practically every page is covered with notes {gleaned} from his studies.>> [w95 8/1 23]
foreign, foreign [language, service, speaking]
From a place or country other than one's own. In the publications of the {Society}, probably because our {world headquarters} is in the USA, anything ``foreign'' often seems to English readers to be slanted toward using the USA as a reference point. Foreign service is used especially in connection with missionary work, for which persons leave their countries of birth to serve elsewhere, although one does not have to be trained at {Gilead} to do this. The person who is ``foreign speaking'' is a person who is not a native speaker of your own language.

NOTE: I am assured by persons who regularly read the {literature} in languages others than English that the {Society} is meticulously careful in translating to retain the international flavor, and to avoid giving the impression that things ``foreign'' refer only to things outside the USA, or that Jehovah's organization is an ``American religion''.

former Soviet Union
That big collection of countries in eastern Europe and Asia that used to be referred to as the USSR. Nobody knows what else to call it since it shattered like glass. This expression has become so widespread that some newscasters have taken to using the abbreviation FSU. If the USA were to suddenly break up into 50 countries, how would it be referred to? ``The brothers in that area of North America between Canada and Mexico plus Alaska and Hawaii'', or ``the brothers in Alabama, Arizona ... (and 47 more) and Washington''? And if someone brought ``greetings from the brothers in Kyrgyzstan'', how many people would have a clue where that is?[84]
[84] A part of the former Soviet Union that touches the northwest border of China.
Sex relations outside of marriage. Fornication is a general term that encompasses all forms of immoral sexual acts involving use of the genitals, including sex between two or more unmarried persons, adultery, homosexuality, and bestiality, i.e., sexual union between a human and a beast. (Compare {adultery}.) Sadly, fornication is the most common cause of {disfellowshipping} among Jehovah's Witnesses. This fact bears strong testimony to the indomitability of the sexual drive that our Creator has built into us, and to the perversity of Satan's demons, who indulged their penchant for such acts early in man's history, and who evidently have much to do with planting desires for immoral sex in the minds and hearts of mankind. (Gen 6:1-4)
See {luck}.
four-letter words
By coincidence almost all of the standard words in American English that are considered profane, blasphemous, obscene, vulgar, or swear words, happen to have four letters in them.[85] This vocabulary is notably absent from the speech of Jehovah's Witnesses, even when they are upset or under stress. Witnesses even avoid the use of derivatives such as darn, heck, gosh, and gee, because these are blatant substitutes for their obvious stronger counterparts. One can attend a whole assembly several days in length surrounded by thousands of people, and never hear even one of these otherwise too familiar words. This is no surprise in view of the inappropriateness and stupidity of such language (Ecc 7:6) and the counsel to Christians found at Colossians 3:8 and Ephesians 5:3, 4. In contrast, a popular sentiment in this part of the world is the proverb that states: <<Love is a four-letter word.>>
[85] Perhaps none of the habitual users of these words can count any higher.
An improper substitute for the term {without charge} in localities where {literature} is paid for by optional {donation}. The literature is not free!
free moral agency, free will
The capacity Jehovah built into man to obey him by personal choice, rather than by instinct, as the animals do. <<Man could not truly have been created in God's image if he were not a free moral agent.>> [it-1 852]
freeness of speech
1. A scriptural phrase meaning the ability to speak openly about God and his will and purposes. Feelings of shame about this emanate from guilt over sins or a general sense of sin, but if one works hard to cultivate a good relationship and clean conscience toward God, he can speak without inhibition. (1Ti 3:13) 2. Openness in speaking to God himself in prayer. Again, because Jehovah knows the kind of person we are at heart, a clean conscience is essential in approaching him freely. (1Jo 3:21)
fresh territory
A piece of {territory} that has not yet begun to be covered since it was most recently checked out, or one that is currently checked in. <<We're expecting a large turnout for the CO's visit, so we need to set aside some fresh territory for him to use during the week.>>
A generic term for one who is an {associate} among {Jehovah's people}, whether baptized or not, e.g., a {Bible study}; someone who regularly associates with the {congregation}. An elder from Portugal informed me that in his country friends is distinct from baptized Witnesses. He often opens the public meeting with the words: <<Welcome brothers, sisters, and friends.>>
frowny face
See {emoticon}.
fruit, fruitage
These two words are similar in meaning, and sometimes interchangeable, but there is a subtle difference. Fruit is that which is produced, e.g., what a tree actually bears, but often used figuratively.[86] <<Produce fruit that befits repentance.>> (Mat 3:8) <<By their fruits you will recognize them.>> (Mat 7:16) Fruitage refers to the condition or process of bearing fruit, including figuratively, or to a quantity of fruit. The best-known Bible example is: <<On the other hand, the fruitage of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, self-control.>> (Gal 5:22, 23) The individual fruits of the spirit are love, joy, peace, etc., but the fruitage relates to the degree we cultivate those fruits in our lives.[87] Interestingly, a search failed to find fruitage in several standard dictionaries used in the UK. The conclusion was that it must be an Americanism. It is probably in the Oxford English Dictionary, which was not consulted.
[86] No pun intended. (Hee hee hee ...)
[87] Got it? If you can explain it better, I would love to hear from you.
Old-fashioned or conservative. Not a term in general use in {theocratic} speech, but I use it a few times in this Glossary in defining other expressions. Yes, it suggests that the user is making a subjective evaluation of that to which he applies it. You are free to disagree. (Compare {stuffed-shirtedness}.)
In connection with prophecy, to become reality by the occurrence of some event. <<The prophecy of Micah 5:2, which foretells that the Messiah would come from the tiny town of Bethlehem Ephrathah, was fulfilled when Jesus was born there in the year 2 BCE.>> <<The Bible's theme, the vindication of Jehovah's sovereignty and the ultimate fulfillment of his purpose for the earth by means of his Kingdom under Christ, the promised Seed, was wrapped up in the first prophecy concerning `the seed of the woman.'>> [it-1 310] (See also {major fulfillment}, {minor fulfillment}.)
full range
The Society's literature frequently includes exhortations to accept and apply the full range of Bible truth. It refers to the realization that the whole truth, not just the bits and pieces we like and feel like applying, is important to continuing to grow in our relationship with Jehovah, and has impact upon our lives. The sign that a new Christian has matured is the evidence that he has fully accepted that fact of life and is endeavoring to live in harmony with it.
full-time service
Any form of Christian service that occupies the bulk of the servant's time, energy, and resources, including {pioneering}, {special pioneering}, {missionary service}, {Bethel service}, {circuit work}, and {district work}.
The {Protestant} religious movement that teaches that the Bible is literally true. Whereas loyal devotion to the truthfulness of God's word is commendable, accurate knowledge is also important. Fundamentalists overlook the Bible's use of figurative and prophetic language, and thereby make many mistakes in their understanding of basic Bible doctrine, and in the process undermine confidence in the truth of the Bible. Otherwise, Fundamentalists differ little in their beliefs from other mainstream sects of Christendom. Fundamentalists are often more vocal about their beliefs than most Protestants. Because Jehovah's Witnesses base all their religious beliefs entirely on the Bible, and because they preach to others about what they believe, misinformed people sometimes make the mistake of saying we are a Fundamentalist {sect}. We are not. We have nothing whatever to do with Protestantism, nor with any other -ism, for that matter. Nor are we a sect.
A meeting to memorialize one who has died. Outsiders attending the funerals of Jehovah's Witnesses readily notice how different they are from the tragic affairs presented by false religion, where no satisfying explanation is given for mankind's dying condition, and no hope is offered for the future of either the one who has died or for those in attendance. Instead, they see people who, though grieving, are in control, even smiling, and hear a Bible talk centered on the belief the dead one had in God's promises of a {resurrection} and {everlasting life}. (1Th 4:13)
Hacker AMOOFL meaning ``for your information''.

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