[This article was contributed by Apollos]

I had an epiphany. This one was not recent, but struck me many years ago. I finally figured out what it really meant to be “in the truth”. I won’t bore you with all of the details. Besides, if I did so I would give away quite a bit of my personal history, and while I would love to share that with you, it would not be in my best interests, nor that of this site.

The condensed version is that I came to a realization that unwittingly I was interpreting being “in the truth” as set of parameters that I should follow. If I believed certain doctrine, attended all the meetings, went on field service, “reached out” to progress in the congregation, etc, then I was “in the truth”.

Then, during personal prayer, the penny dropped.

None of this mattered a jot in relation to the most important thing – having a relationship with my heavenly Father. For me it was profound, and yet for you perhaps it seems obvious. Nevertheless, when we step back and consider the ten year olds getting baptized at our assemblies, what does “being in the truth” really mean in their heads? Are they being baptized because of the depth of their relationship with their Almighty Father, or is it religion by the numbers? I cannot answer that. No one can do so on behalf of someone else. The new baptism questions that dedicate converts to an organization notwithstanding, there is still no way for you or me to judge what dedication and baptism means to another person.

And yet, what is it that we teach, or encourage members of the congregation to think? Was I just slow in taking my time to realize that my relationship with God was the prime thing, and that the congregation and the associated routine was a means to an end?

Consider a Theocratic Ministry School assignment presented a couple of weeks ago. The theme was “Is having a personal relationship with God the really important thing?

Now there’s an interesting question. It caught my eye. I looked up the source material in the Reasoning Book page 327. What a carefully worded segment. Please read it for yourself and determine the answer that the writer is leading you to.

Whilst the wording of the section somewhat dances around the issue, it is not possible to read it and answer “yes” to the question. It would seem that the really important thing is attending meetings. A relationship with God, although stated to also be important, can apparently only be achieved as a by-product of our attendance at those meetings.

I was somewhat reminded of the question that Satan posed to Eve.

“Is it really so that God said … ?“

It was not phrased so as to be a direct dispute with the truth of the matter, but rather to subtly guide the mind in a different direction despite that truth.

“Is having a personal relationship with God the really important thing?”

You decide.