(Investigator 12, 1990 May)
Hans Ossa's varied life has included studying acupuncture in China; travels to Lebanon and Iran; attendance at the world's largest religious convention in the USA; practicing alternative medicine; going door to door for Jehovah's Witnesses for 30 years; speaking at meetings of the Church of God Australasia; and organizing his own Bible study group.
I caught up with Mr Ossa and his wife Rosa at his Bible meeting in Glenelg. He had just returned from Holland where he attended the World Congress for Complementary Medicine. "I presented a paper to 450 physicians about Alternative Therapies in Immune Deficiency Syndrome," said Mr Ossa.
About ten persons attended the meeting in Durham Street, Glenelg. Additional meetings are held at Waikerie and Murray Bridge.
"I'm not trying to start a new religion," explained Mr Ossa. "I'm too old for that.
"About four people a week respond to my advertisements in The Advertiser. That's 200 a year. Two-thirds are general questions about what I believe. 10% ask theological questions. Most write once and then no more.
"I started the ads in Townsville, Queensland. The reason was to learn from others, help them with Bible understanding, and preach.
"Other religions distribute leaflets from house to house or appear on television. My way is newspaper ads.
"My other main interest is my work. I'm a naturopath. I practice complementary medicine. Some people call it alternative medicine but I don't like that term."
Hans has spent a total of three years in Asia. After getting a university degree in economics he worked for a consortium in the Middle East. Later he studied medicine and as part of his medical education he studied acupuncture in China.
One of Hans' specialities is Iridology – the attempt to read the functional state of different parts of the body from markings in the iris.
Hans Ossa comes from Wuppertal Germany, where he was an "Elder" in the Jehovah's Witnesses for 20 of his 30 years with them. In 1958 he attended the Witness International Convention in New York where 253,000 people pondered the question, "Is the World's End Near?" The answer, basically, was Yes.
Explained Hans, "I left the Witnesses in 1977 because of their false prophecies."
The Ossas' 35-year-old son remains a JW. He rarely communicates with his parents because JWs must shun ex J Ws or be excommunicated themselves.
"For two years I spoke at the Church of God Australasia. They have about 20 people led by Charles Orr. I left them because Charles began preaching about politics.
"I don't see myself as the only one who's right. I don't attend at other churches, but only because I don't have the time. I feel close to the Worldwide Church of God but the church I would join is the Assemblies of Yahweh – except they're in the U. S. and not here."
Mr Ossa has written about 30 booklets on topics of "true worship" and he publishes them himself.
Rosa was brought up as a Jehovah's Witness amidst the hardships of Nazi Germany where JWs were banned. She and Hans married in 1953.
At that time they did not know about the many failed JW prophecies such as for 1915, 1918, 1925, 1942, etc. They came to Australia in 1983, lived four years in Tanunda, one year in Queensland and then came to Adelaide.
Said Hans, "We left Queensland because the medical profession opposed complementary medicine.
"The next international congress for complementary therapies will be in Perth. I'll be speaking on organotherapy."
Mr Ossa is still answering Bible questions by letter. Anyone who wants to stump him could try the one that I asked which was, "Why does Moses often switch from singular to plural and back again (especially in Deuteronomy) when using the pronoun ‘You' in addressing all Israel? The English New World Translation puts 'YOU' plural in large letters and 'you' singular in lower case letters."