Glossary: L

Glossary of American English Hacker Theocratese

Back Top Forward

blue line

=== L ===

The general masses of people who profess a religious faith as distinguished from that religion's class of self-appointed leaders known as the {clergy}. <<Since early in the {apostasy}, the brand of Christianity practiced by {Christendom} has been recognized by its division of people into an elite {clergy} and the general laity that the clergy has kept in ignorance.>> Jehovah's Witnesses have never made such distinctions, in obedience to Jesus' words at Matthew 23:8-11.
A realm or domain, especially a country ruled by a particular government. We often hear: <<Jehovah's Witnesses are active in 232 lands around the world.>> [yb96] To me the word has a fairy tale quality to it. <<``Where are you from, Brother?'' ``I come from the land of Oz.''[118]>>
[118] Which is what most Australians call their stomping grounds.
land mine
Canine excrement sometimes unpleasantly discovered while walking down the street in {field service}, occasionally referred to as ``urban organic gardening''. <<When Brother Stinkenfuss stepped on a land mine we all heard ``unutterable words which it is not lawful for a man to speak''.>> (2Co 12:4)
large print Bible
The {New World Translation} has been published in various formats that could be called ``large print''. The original edition was in six separate volumes with extensive footnotes and cross references. The 1984 revision, which we now call the {Reference Bible}, was published in medium-large print. Since then we have also published it in several volumes in large print for those with failing eyesight, or for study purposes. There is more room for marginal notes in a large print edition.
last days, time of the end
Scriptural expressions for the time period beginning with Christ's {parousia}, the final period of time for this system of things, before the {great tribulation} and {Armageddon}, until the beginning of the {Millennium}. We have been living in that period of time since 1914. (Act 2:17; 2Ti 3:1; Jam 5:3; 2Pe 3:3) <<The stress of daily living increases as we go deeper into the last days.>>
See {humor}.
laundromat publisher
One who spends much of his field service activity dropping magazines in laundromats during the early morning hours, and occasionally stopping to talk to someone if there are no other people around. (Compare {dawn patrol}.)
law of theocratic inertia
The rule of conduct that says ``If in doubt---don't!'' It is the humble desire of thoughtful Christians to avoid stumbling others by their conduct. Unfortunately, no matter what we do, someone is bound to be stumbled by it. I knew a mother who wouldn't let her children see the Disney movie Bambi---too much violence! Bambi's mother dies.[119] <<Hmm ... should I buy this Christian Brothers brandy? Someone might see me and think I am an alcoholic making a contribution to the Catholic church. Better not do it!>> That's the law of theocratic inertia in action. Or inaction, {as it were}. (Compare Rom 14:22.)
[119] Of course, we respect the consciences of our brothers in such matters.
The preferred term for the desk that brothers stand behind to give talks from. It is used to prop up notes, Bibles, and other materials, and sometimes the speaker as well.[120] It is often called the {speaker's stand}. (See more at {podium}.)
[120] Leaning on the lectern for support is a bad habit that even many experienced speakers have.
legal corporation
Since 1881 {Jehovah's people} have used legal corporations in countries around the world to facilitate the carrying out their work. In most parts of the world {Caesar's law} requires organizations to incorporate in order to own and make use of property to further the cause of the organization. The earliest corporation was called Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society. In 1955 it was renamed {Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania}. A second corporation was formed when the Society moved its principal offices to Brooklyn, New York. In 1956 it became known as {Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc.} Although these and other corporations in many parts of the world have been maintained in order to meet legal requirements, we remain a single united global brotherhood.
An often-told {experience} that has circulated among Jehovah's Witnesses and been embellished with so many variations that its veracity could be called into question. Stories of Witnesses accidentally bumping a door with a book bag when inside someone about to commit suicide was praying for help, priests angrily tearing pages out of their Bibles when shown that God's name is in it, and angry letters from clergymen with the street address 666 Diablo Way are legion. Especially remarkable is encountering multiple persons who claim that they are the person to whom the original experience happened.
Let us pray
Some brothers say this when inviting the congregation to join in prayer. It sounds like they think we are in church.
Let us rise
Some brothers say this when inviting people to stand up for song and prayer. It has a churchy flavor to it. Bread rises. So does the sun and the price of gas. People just stand up.
letter-writing territory
An address list made up of persons who live in inaccessible territories, e.g., guarded apartments and communities, or who have No Trespassing signs on their homes, or who are repeatedly not home when visited in person. In most cases the addresses are taken right off their houses, and their names from mailboxes. Personal contact is by far the best method of sharing the {good news}, but when all efforts to confront people directly have failed, {telephone witnessing} or writing letters to them may work.
See {conservative}.
A collection of the Society's publications found in every {Kingdom Hall}, including {bound volumes} of {The Watchtower} and {Awake!} magazines and whatever other materials can be acquired. Every individual Witness is also encouraged to keep a personal library. Some Kingdom Hall libraries include reference books and other works not published by the Society. Each congregation that inhabits a hall maintains its own library. In most halls the room that houses the library doubles as a room for the second Theocratic Ministry School and for elders' meetings and other occasions requiring privacy, such as judicial meetings and giving personal counsel. <<Don't you hate it when you get to the hall and an elder taps you on the shoulder and points with his thumb over his shoulder, saying ``Library!''?>> Some people mispronounce it LIE-ber-ry like Fonzie on the old sitcom Happy Days.
The range of electromagnetic radiation that is visible to the human eye, the opposite of darkness. The Bible speaks of light in a figurative sense frequently to represent divine truth. Jehovah is the source of all of light. (Isa 45:7) It is he who makes it possible for his creatures to see light. (Psa 36:9) Knowledge of Jehovah is increasing today as never before. The Bible compares the trek of his people along this way to the increasing light of a new day. (Pro 4:18) Accordingly, Jehovah's people frequently speak of newly understood and recently revealed truths as ``new light''. <<Paragraph ten of last week's Watchtower Study shed new light on our understanding of Jehovah's great love.>>
Walking unsteadily, as when one leg is injured or weak. The expression is commonly used figuratively, as at 1 Kings 18:21, where Elijah criticizes the people for ``limping upon two different opinions''. The image well describes one who seemingly cannot decide whether to serve Jehovah {whole-souled} or just remain in the world and put an end to the pretense of being a servant of Jehovah. One circuit overseer gave a memorable service talk entitled ``Limping, ... Limping, ... Limping'', wherein he repeated the title in a limping fashion with about a one-second pause between each word, saying it several times throughout the talk.
literature counter, magazine counter
A supply depot found in every Kingdom Hall where magazines and other literature may be obtained. Frequently, {territories} may be checked out from this location as well. In most halls there is one long counter that handles all three functions. The default name seems to be ``literature counter''. <<I'm going to the literature counter to pick up my magazines and check out a territory.>>
literature, literature servant
Anything written. Although many forms exist, the plain designation literature without further identifying descriptor usually refers to {publications} of the {Watchtower Bible and Tract Society}, used by Jehovah's Witnesses in preaching and teaching the Bible. <<I lack sufficient literature supplies for the weekend.>> The speaker is not voicing a need to stop by a library or book store to pick up a Hemingway novel. He needs to pick up {magazines}, the {current offer}, and some {tracts}. Some brothers pronounce it LIT-i-cher. The literature servant' is the brother, usually a {ministerial servant}, who has charge of ordering, stocking, and distributing literature, except for the magazines, before and after meetings. (See also {magazine servant}.)
Small, not much. The reason I included this entry is because a circuit overseer pointed out at a recent assembly that some people apparently don't know the meaning of the word. For instance, Paul said: <<Bodily training is beneficial for a little.>> (1Ti 4:8) But when some young brothers spend more time on a single weekend playing basketball than they spend in service in a whole year, it appears they fail to {appreciate} the meaning of little.
See {burden}.
local needs part
An open-ended {Service Meeting} slot that comes up every two or three months. The elders may use it to present information that is of importance to the local congregation. It is sometimes called a ``special needs'' part. There is a part given by the {circuit overseer} on most {circuit assemblies} entitled ``Giving Attention to the Needs of Our Circuit''. This too could be classified as a local needs part.
look and feel test
The old ``looks, walks, and quacks like a duck'' rule,[121] used to determine whether a stranger is one of Jehovah's Witnesses. Normally this is not difficult. If someone appears at the Kingdom Hall and introduces himself as a Witness, we take it for granted that he is telling the truth. It is not difficult to assess a person's {spiritual credentials}, except by persons who are themselves not well-grounded in the Truth, because of the rule of thumb Jesus spelled out in Matthew 7:15-20 that says false Christians are discernible by their fruits. If one claims to be a servant of Jehovah, acts like one, and consistently encourages me and others to pursue a course of faithfulness to Jehovah and his organization, it's highly unlikely that he is in reality an underground apostate. The ancient Israelites too were given a type of look and feel test for prophets. (Deu 18:20-22; 13:1-4)

[121] For {foreign speaking} readers who may be unfamiliar with it, it goes: It looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck. What is it? (You get one guess.)

The Internet experience is still very new to many persons. Some inexperienced ones have been seen to behave as though the rules for identifying fellow believers are different when a computer is involved. If they encounter another person on the net who introduces himself as a fellow believer, they are immediately suspicious, and require multiple proofs before they will even reply with a simple greeting.

Personally, I have met many hundreds of Witnesses on the Internet.[122] In all the years that I've enjoyed this form of communication I have never yet had the experience of meeting someone claiming to be one of Jehovah's Witnesses who later turned out to be otherwise. Which is not to say that it could never happen. For me, the look and feel test has proven to be quite effective in selecting electronic association.

[122] Before you write and ask, the answer is No, I will not share their names and email addresses with you.
A way to avoid fulfilling a legal obligation. <<Persons who don't want to change their lifestyles try to look for loopholes in the Bible's requirements.>> <<In summer, mothers begin looking for loopholes in their children's birth certificates.>>
In more English translations of the Bible than not, Jehovah's holy name, represented in the original {Hebrew Scriptures} nearly 7,000 times by the {Tetragrammaton}, is eliminated by substituting the expression ``the LORD'', with LORD set in all upper case letters, the second through fourth slightly smaller than the first, as shown in the typeset version of the Glossary. Thus it is distinguished from the ordinary use of the title Lord, meaning ``master'', which can refer to anyone, including humans, who has ownership or authority and power over others. The subtlety may be noticed by the discerning eye, but cannot be heard by the ear; so the name of the Bible's author is effectively eliminated from these translations. Because Christendom worships a nameless God, Jesus' words to a Samaritan woman can truly be applied to them: ``YOU worship what YOU do not know; we worship what we know.'' (Joh 4:22)
Lord's Bible
The {New World Translation}. The Bible was written originally mostly in Hebrew and Greek. NW is just one of many English translations.[123] Other translations also have merit. The fact that NW was produced by and for the use of {God's people} lends it an extra measure of importance to Jehovah's Witnesses. <<He read the verse from his copy of the {Authorized Version}, and then I showed it to him from the Lord's Bible.>>
[123] And it has been retranslated into other languages.
Lord's Evening Meal
Another term for what is more frequently called the {Memorial} of Christ's death. <<This weekend's field service will focus on making calls on those who might be willing to attend the annual Lord's Evening Meal.>>
Lord's prayer
See {model prayer}.
lost and found
The place to retrieve items left at the Kingdom Hall. {Sheol} for songbooks, Bibles, and notebooks. <<I forgot my songbook, so I'll go get one of several in the lost and found belonging to the Butterfingers family.>> Every assembly and convention has a lost and found department. The legendary honesty of Jehovah's Witnesses is sometimes validated by the inventory of items that can be found there.
The concept of love as taught in the Bible is muddled to English-speaking people because we have only one word to describe an array of complex feelings. The Greeks have several. Discussion of them is beyond the scope of this Glossary. See the Insight book [it] article on LOVE for more details.

NOTE: The reason love is included as a headword is to point out a common misconception held by persons not well-trained by the Bible. Some feel that administering discipline is unloving, and that one should always overlook others' faults no matter how serious they may be. But real love seeks the best interests of others. Is it really loving to fail to hold children accountable for rebellious behavior when they have embarked on a course that could permanently ruin their lives? Bible love will not blind one to the point of causing him to ignore or condone conduct that he knows Jehovah hates.

love and greetings
It is a virtual tradition for visiting speakers to relate and carry back ``love and greetings'' between their home and visited congregations. This is a fine practice. Note that it is never ``salutations'' or ``best wishes'' or ``a big howdy-do'', but always ``love and greetings''. <<First I'd like to say that the members of the Bethel family all send their love and greetings to those of you gathered in sweet assembly today.>> <<Would the congregation like to have Brother Dove carry our love and greetings back to the Deluge Heights congregation?>> Followed by applause in agreement.
love of money
The Bible twice warns that the love of money is a danger that demonstrates lack of contentment which could ultimately lead one away from the Truth. (Heb 13:5; 1Ti 6:10) It is a temptation that affects people of all economic levels. <<Love of money has led some brothers to send their wives out to work full time, when the income they bring in themselves would adequately care for their families' economic needs.>>

NOTE: In these verses Paul was not talking about materialism, but about the destructiveness that attachment to money itself can have on a person. Money is an abstraction, especially these days when cash is becoming rare, and wealth is represented by numbers in various electronic accounts. Money represents a potential, namely the power to buy. The moment money is spent, even if on something worthwhile, that power is converted, and its potential no longer exists. Thus a perceived need arises to replace it, leading to an unsatisfying vicious circle of working to acquire money followed by more spending. (Compare Ecc 5:10.)

low-hour publisher
A publisher who reports a small average amount of time in the field service. The usual figure cited by circuit overseers for low-hour publishers is 1-5 hours per month. It takes hard work to cultivate skill and appreciation for the preaching work. Hence one sister once commented about <<people who put in only three to five hours per month---they go in service just enough to hate it.>> An astute observation.
luck, lucky, fortunate
Luck is an accidental set of circumstances. Witnesses in the USA avoid using expressions such as: <<Good luck to you!>>, or <<With any luck traffic will be light and I'll get home early tonight>>, or <<You're a lucky guy to have such a healthy family.>> Some believe that saying such things might send a message we have an idolatrous faith in a ``god of Good Luck''. (Isa 65:11) But do any of us really believe that? Surely no one I personally know really thinks that way, either in or out of the Truth. These are phrases that have unscriptural roots, but have come to mean something other than originally intended over time. (Compare {evolve}.)

NOTE: Readers report that in some other countries Witnesses are not as squeamish about such phrases. An elder in Sweden tells me that the last thing the brothers say before leaving the meeting for field service is <<Good luck in the service today!>> There is clearly a difference between the kind of luck Isaiah spoke about and the de facto luck that arises as a result of ``time and unforeseen occurrence''. (Ecc 9:11) Our lives unfold unpredictably from our own point of view. (Jam 4:14) As creatures unable to tell the future, we see the coincidence of simultaneous events as a chaotic mass of virtual randomness. When they turn out favorably for us, even if it is all the doing of Jehovah and the angels personally directing the flow of every physical molecule in the universe and influencing every thought we have, as Calvinists believe, we are still blind to it. Even though we thank Jehovah for every good thing, we sometimes tend to say we are fortunate because we really do not know at the outset how things will turn out for us.

blue line

Back Top Forward