(experience of Rudolf Kalle - pgs 160 & 163 of the 2009 Yearbook)
*I thought this story was a really powerful reminder of how there may be times in life when we have to be a 'lone soldier' by standing up for what's right, even if our own friends & family or others in the congregation, aren't standing strong when they should be. It reminded me a little bit of how the apostles "scattered" when Jesus was first arrested because they were afraid. Which is why experiences like this are so important to remember (especially in the coming days ahead) so that we don't allow "fear of man" deter us from sticking to our principles -come what may. (Proverbs 29:25, John 12:43) While at the same time, encouraging and building up confidence in our brothers & sisters to do the same, if we see them start to waver.
Choosing Between Tolstoy and Jehovah
"As the world teetered on the verge of war, a split occurred in one of the largest congregations in Yugoslavia. Some had begun to advocate the views of the Russian writer and religious philosopher Leo Tolstoy. Once a member of the Russian Orthodox Church, Tolstoy became convinced that all Christian churches were corrupt institutions that had thoroughly falsified Christianity. Some of the brothers adopted this mistrust of all religious organizations and became dissatisfied with Jehovah's organization. Abusing the trust given to him, the brother taking the lead in the Zagreb Congregation succeeded in persuading most of the publishers to accept Tolstoy's views. So strong was this brother's influence that the majority of the congregation, more than 60 members, adopted a resolution to renounce Jehovah's organization. When Rudolf Kalle heard of this, he hastily traveled from Belgrade to Zagreb to meet with the whole congregation. He discussed basic Bible truths that Jehovah had revealed through the faithful and discreet slave class. (Matthew 24:45-47) He then asked: "Who taught you these truths? Tolstoy or Jehovah's organization? Quoting Joshua 24:15, Rudolf asked those who wanted to stay with Jehovah's organization to raise their hands. Only two did so.
"It was inexpressibly painful," said Rudolf. It looked as if all the good that had been accomplished in the congregation was about to be lost. Rudolf then invited the two faithful ones to come up to the platform and said: "Only three of us remain. We now represent Jehovah's people in this city. I would like to ask all others to leave the room and go their own way. Please, leave us alone! We want to serve our God, Jehovah, and you can go serve your Tolstoy. We do not want to associate with you any longer." For a few seconds, there was complete silence. Then, one after another started to raise their hand and say: "I also want to serve Jehovah." In the end, only the apostate congregation servant and a few of his followers left the room. This test of loyalty fortified Jehovah's faithful servants for the far more severe trials they would soon face."