The Watchtower Societys book: Jehovahs Witnesses: Proclaimers of Gods Kingdom
Proclaimers Answered Page by Page
David A. Reed
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by David A. Reed. Originally Printed in U. S. A.
|RELEASED at 1993s summer Divine Teaching District Convention, the book Jehovahs Witnesses-Proclaimers of Gods Kingdom is a new history of Jehovahs Witnesses. It replaces the 1959 history Jehovahs Witnesses in the Divine Purpose. A large volume of 750 colorfully illustrated pages, comparable only to the JW Bible dictionary Insight on the Scriptures in complexity and size, the new book is obviously the result of a major writing project. At JW conventions in the United Sates, where the book was first released, it was made||where the book was first released, it was made available only to district and circuit overseers, elders, pioneers, and Witnesses baptized for 30 years or more (20 years at some convention sites). With a first printing of only 500,000 copies, there would be enough for fewer than 1 in every 20 of the 11.5 million people attending JW meetings worldwide to receive a copy, so the Watchtower Society restricted the initial distribution to Witnesses with status or seniority. A larger printing was done later in 1993, resulting in more general availability. Major points of interest include:|
Divide and Hide
Although described in its Foreword as "objective" and "candid" Jehovahs Witnesses-Proclaimers of Gods Kingdom reads like a clever piece of propaganda. But perhaps the slickest trick of all is the very format of the book itself: unlike history books which present matters in chronological order, this one covers JW history topically. The result is that the accounts of embarrassing episodes, when not omitted entirely, can be fragmented into less embarrassing bits and pieces related in different parts of the book.
These bite-size fragments are easier to swallow that the whole truth presented clearly in one place. See, for example, how information about the Societys false prophecy for 1925 is broken up into separate discussions on pages 78, 425, and 632 -- each with a different excuse or euphemism to help JWs dismiss the episode as unimportant, or at least excusable.
Moreover, the topical arrangement allows the book to pull matters out of the context of surrounding events and to portray them differently in a topical context. For example, discussion of Charles Taze Russells religious affiliation during the decade following 1870 is broken up into separate discussions on pages 43-48, then 120-122, then 132-135, and finally page 204.
So, when the book says on page 204 that "The operation of the organization of Jehovahs Witnesses has undergone significant changes since Charles Taze Russell and his associates first began to study the Bible together in 1870," readers may have forgotten that Russell was still part of the Adventist organization until 1879, as revealed in the earlier material, and that therefore a separate "organization of Jehovahs Witnesses" was not operating at all in 1870.
Similarly, on page 147 the book presents a 1962 doctrinal change (on the interpretation of Romans 13:1) as "progressive understanding." But information presented separately on page 190 shows that the new view was already being taught by C. T. Russell back in 1904. The 1962 teaching was not really new at all, but was a return to an old viewpoint. It was actually a back-and-forth doctrinal flip-flop, but the book hides this fact by separating the different parts of the story.
The book Jehovahs Witnesses-Proclaimers of Gods Kingdom was obviously forged by the Watchtower Society as a powerful defensive weapon. But it can be turned against its owner in two ways:
As the evidence below will show, the writers of Jehovahs Witnesses-Proclaimers of Gods Kingdom can hardly say that they "have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God."-2 Cor. 4:2 KJV
Page-by-page response to the Watchtower Societys book:
The book Jehovahs Witnesses-Proclaimers of Gods Kingdom
NOTE: A response to every page or even to every error found in this JW book would produce another volume of equal size, with a lot of mostly trivial information. What follows is a discussion of the material most useful in discussions with Jehovahs Witnesses.
"Jehovahs Witnesses...Certainly, no one knows
their modern-day history better than they themselves
do." Although most groups certainly do know their
own history better than outsiders, this is not true of
Jehovahs Witnesses. Watchtower publications slant
their historical accounts so as to present the
organization in the best possible light, and Witnesses
are forbidden to read opposing viewpoints. Mere
possession of this booklet that you are reading right now
would be grounds for a JW to be summoned before a
judicial committee, where he or she would be put on trial
behind closed doors and questioned regarding loyalty to
the organization. The people who are best informed on the
history of Jehovahs Witnesses are usually ex-JWs
who left after investigating the matter, or Christian
counter-cult experts who have studied the sect.
PAGE 5 "The editors of this volume have endeavored to be objective and to present a candid history." As the information presented in the remaining pages of this booklet will demonstrate, the book Jehovahs Witnesses-Proclaimers of Gods Kingdom appears to have been designed to vaccinate JWs against more potent exposes by exposing them first to weakened, watered-down versions of the embarrassing episodes of Watchtower history. Now, when an outsider attempts to share information with a JW on the sects failed prophecies, doctrinal flip-flops, and political in-fighting, the Witness can turn a deaf ear, with the excuse, "I already know all about that. It was no big deal." No, the whitewashed version of events the Witness heard from the Society was no big deal, but the full story would be enough to send the Witness looking elsewhere for true religion.
PAGES 43-48 The book reveals that when Charles Taze Russell was 16 or 17 years old in 1869 he first attended a Second Adventist religious service conducted by "preacher" Jonas Wendell, and that he received "assistance...in studying the Scriptures" for a number of years from George W. Stetson, "pastor of the Advent Christian Church in edinboro, Pennsylvania." It also acknowledges that Russell "learned much" from Adventist George Storrs and served as "an assistant editor" (p. 48) of the Adventist magazine Herald of the Morning until 1879. But it fails to conclude from all of this that Russell was actually an Adventist for ten years. Also, it fails to present his departure from that sect to start his own magazine the same way it would present the departure of an assistant Watchtower editor to start his own. (In JW terminology he would be called an "apostate" for doing this.) As an Adventist, Russell had been taught that Christ would return in 1874 and, when this failed to occur, that He returned invisibly in 1874 and that He would rapture believers to heaven in 1878. ("...the spring of 1878...they would be given their heavenly reward at that time."-p. 632) When this rapture also failed to occur, Russell began questioning the doctrines of the groups leader N. H. Barbour. Instead of "waiting on Jehovah" as a JW would be advised today, he persuaded others to join him in leaving the organization to start his own. 9
PAGE 45 Russell eventually rejected the Adventist teaching that "all...except Second Adventists would be burned up." But JWs today believe that all except Jehovahs Witnesses will be destroyed.
PAGE 47 "...the pamphlet The Object and Manner of Our Lords Return. It was published in 1877." Compare this with the claim on page 36 of the 1975 Yearbook of Jehovahs Witnesses that, "in 1873 twenty-one-year-old C. T. Russell wrote and published at his own expense a booklet entitled The Object and Manner of the Lords Return." The Watch Tower Publications Index 1930-1985 (on page 916) also assigns it the 1873 date, some three years before Russell became affiliated with the Heralds publisher, N. H. Barbour. Interestingly, though, the Watch Tower Publications Index 1930-1960 (on page 306) gives the date as 1877. (See also a similar reference on page 718.)
PAGES 47-48 Page 47 calls Russell one of the "co-editors" of Herald of the Morning, whereas page 48 more correctly calls him "an assistant editor."
PAGE 48 "The expression Watch Tower is not unique to Russells writings or to Jehovahs Witnesses. George Storrs published a book in the 1850s called The Watch Tower: Or, Man in Death; and the Hope for a Future Life. The name was also incorporated in the title of various religious periodicals." Thus, even the Watch Tower name came from sources connected with the Adventists. Yet, in spite of this acknowledgement that the Watch Tower name predated Russells activities, the Watchtower Society in recent years has acted through its attorneys to block others from using it.
PAGE 52 "C. T. Russell penned six volumes of Millennial Dawn (1886 to 1904) as well as tracts, booklets, and Watch Tower articles over a period of about 37 years." This caption identifies a photo of the books and magazines Russell wrote-volumes that must appear foreign to JWs today who are not allowed to read them. Orders from headquarters resulted in such older materials being removed from Kingdom Hall libraries a decade ago. For information on these publications, see the book Jehovahs Witness Literature - A Critical Guide to Watchtower Publications by David A. Reed (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1993). 10
PAGE 62 "As October 1914 approached, some of the Bible Students expected" to be raptured to heaven at that time, according to a box on page 62 that prominently highlights the word some. Less prominently at the bottom of the page it becomes clear that Russell himself took the lead in "expecting the wrong thing in October, 1914." This is especially of interest in view of the trend in other recent Watchtower publications to imply that Russell and his followers correctly prophesied events for that year.
PAGE 64 "A brief biography of Russell along with his will and testament was published in The Watch Tower of December 1, 1916, as well as in subsequent editions of the first volume of Studies in the Scriptures." Compare this with the assertion on page 63 of Jehovahs Witnesses in the Divine Purpose that Jehovahs Witnesses "have never published a biography of Pastor Russell."
PAGES 66-68 "Four members of the board of directors of the Society went so far as to endeavor to wrest administrative control from Rutherfords hands." Since page 65 mentions in a footnote that there were a total of seven on the board of directors, the four opposed to Rutherford actually made up the majority of the Governing Body. The book Faith on the March by A. H. Macmillan details on page 79 how Rutherfords side called in the police to oust the majority Governing Body members. A skilled lawyer, Rutherford used a legal technicality to unseat them.
PAGE 69 "...the Watch Tower Society released the tract Kingdom News No. 1. Its message? ... Pastor Russells Followers Persecuted Because They Tell the People the Truth." The title of this tract is important, since in it the Society itself refers to the sects adherents as "Pastor Russells Followers."
PAGE 76 "House of the Princes...Beth-Sarim" The Proclaimers book indicates that this San Diego mansion, a photo of which is displayed at the top of the page, was built to give J. F. Rutherford a warm climate to winter in due to a bad lung. Next it quotes from the Societys 1939 book Salvation to the effect that "the purpose of acquiring that property and building the house was that there might be some tangible proof that there are those on earth today...who believe that the faithful men of old will soon be resurrected by the Lord, be back on earth, and take charge of the visible affairs of earth." Then it goes on to say in a footnote that "At the time, it was believed that faithful men of old times, such as Abraham, Joseph, and David, would be resurrected before the end of this system of things, and would serve as princes in all the earth, in fulfillment of Psalm 45:16. This view was adjusted in 1950..." But the book still leaves the reader wondering just what the connection was between the mansion and the princes. The answer is found in the Societys 1942 book The New World which says on page 104, "...those faithful men of old may be expected back from the dead any day now. ...In this expectation the house at San Diego, California...was built, in 1930, and named Beth-Sarim, meaning House of the Princes. It is now held in trust for the occupancy of those princes on their return." The 1930 deed to the property actually names king David, Gideon, Barak, Samson, and others as the intended residents of Beth-Sarim, with the Society holding it in trust for them. (See photostatic copy of the deed on pages 54-56 of the book Eyes of Understanding by Duane Magnani, Witness, Inc.) More than fifty years later we can say for a certainty that the Societys prediction that those men would be resurrected "any day now" was a false prophecy. And holding Beth-Sarim in trust for them was a graphic statement of that false prophecy. By saying simply that the house was constructed "for Brother Rutherfords use," the 1975 Yearbook of Jehovahs Witnesses falsifies the situation. The Proclaimers book now provides more information, but still falls short of telling the whole truth.
PAGE 78 "We may confidently expect, stated the booklet Millions Now Living Will Never Die, back in 1920, that 1925 will mark the return [from the dead] of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the faithful prophets of old..." JWs have often refused to accept photocopies of the now rare Millions booklet as genuine, and so refused to believe that the Society made this false prophecy. It is good to have this in print as confirmation. However, the Proclaimers book goes on in the next paragraph to dismiss the Societys false prophecy as similar to the apostles "misplaced expectations." What blasphemy! The 12 apostles hoped for Christs early return, but they did not set false dates. See also the discussions of pages 425 and 632 for more about the 1925 prophecy.
PAGE 83 "At that time the Jonadabs were not considered to be Jehovahs witnesses." The book explains that members of the earthly class were not considered JWs from 1935 to 1942. If that teaching had been retained there would be very few "JWs" today since more than 99% of the 4.5 million active JWs today believe themselves to be of the earthly class.
PAGE 84 "This revelation" is shown to be the term used in a JW Yearbook to describe Rutherfords new teaching on the great crowd. The concept of assigning believers baptized after 1935 to earth instead of heaven would indeed have to be a new revelation, since neither the doctrine nor the date is found in the Bible.
PAGE 88 "From 1917, when J. F. Rutherford became president, to 1941, the Watch Tower Society produced a flood of publications, including 24 books, 86 booklets, and annual Yearbooks, as well as articles for The Watch Tower and The Golden Age (later called Consolation)" This caption accompanies a photo of the colorful array of books produced during Rutherfords administration. (See note regarding similar illustration page 52 of the Proclaimers book.)
PAGE 89 "Brother Rutherford was survived by his wife, Mary, and their son, Malcolm. Because Sister Rutherford had poor health and found winters in New York (where the Watch Tower Societys headquarters were located) difficult to endure, she and Malcolm had been residing in southern California, where the climate was better for her health." This footnote admits in small print that Rutherford had a wife and child who lived apart from him for years. "Health" is given as the reason for their separation, but Witnesses should ask themselves whether a man who conducted himself that way toward his wife and who failed to share in bringing up his son would be eligible even to be an elder. Yet the Societys first and second presidents, Russell and Rutherford, both lived separately from their mates.
PAGE 100 "Board of directors of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, in mid-1950s. (From left to right) Lyman A. Swingle, Thomas J. Sullivan, Grant Suiter, Hugo H. Riemer, Nathan H. Knorr, Frederick W. Franz, Milton G. Henschel)" This caption accompanies a rare photo of what would today be termed the Governing Body of Jehovahs Witnesses. The last three names are the successive presidents from 1941 to the present.
PAGE 104 "The Witnesses had long shared the belief that the Thousand Year Reign of Christ would follow after 6,000 years of human history. But when would 6,000 years of human existence end? The book Life everlasting-In Freedom of the Sons of God, released at a series of district conventions held in 1966, pointed to 1975." This was a false prophecy. But the next two paragraphs attempt to dodge the issue by stressing that, when asked whether "the new book meant that by 1975 Armageddon would be finished," Fred Franz answered, "in essence: It could. But we are not saying." However, the JW leaders were saying in other places. The Proclaimers book acknowledges that "other statements were published on this subject, and some were likely more definite than advisable." Yes, those "definite" statements about 1975 were definitely false prophecies, in spite of the more cautionary statements referenced in a footnote on the bottom of page 104. For example, the article titled, "Why Are You Looking Forward to 1975?" (The Watchtower Aug. 15, 1968, p. 494) climaxed by stating matters this way (p. 499): "Are we to assume from this study that the battle of Armageddon will be all over by the autumn of 1975, and the long-looked-for thousand-year reign of Christ will begin by then? Possibly...It may involve only a difference of weeks or months, not years." For some 30 specific statements the Society made regarding 1975, see pages 106-110 of the book Index of Watchtower errors by David A. Reed (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1990). For more about 1975, see also the discussion of page 633.
|PAGE 106 footnote
"...beginning October 1, 1972, there would be a
yearly rotating of chairmanship within each
congregations body of elders. This arrangement was
adjusted in 1983, when each body of elders was asked to
recommend a presiding overseer who...would serve for an
indefinite period of time..." First each JW
congregation had a permanent presiding overseer; then in
1972 the light got brighter and an annual
rotation was introduced as Gods arrangement; then
in 1983 the permanent presiding overseer arrangement was
restored. For the implications of such back-and-forth
changes, see the comments on page 143.
PAGE 107 "During the next three years, Jehovahs Witnesses experienced impressive growth-over three quarters of a million persons getting baptized. But now they were facing the autumn of 1975. If all the expectations concerning 1975 were not realized, how would this affect their zeal...?" This is an indirect acknowledgement that the sects rapid growth resulted from the prediction of the worlds end in 1975. See also the discussions of pages 104 and 633.
PAGE 110 "...1977/78 reflected a decrease in the number sharing in the preaching work. Was the decrease at least partly due to disappointed expectations concerning 1975? Perhaps." Again, this shows that the Societys false prophecies about 1975 produced much of the JW zeal during the early 1970s, as demonstrated by what happened after the prophecies failed.
PAGE 111 "By 1980, a number of persons who had shared in the activities of Jehovahs Witnesses for some years, including some who had served prominently in the organization, had been in various ways trying to cause division and oppose the work Jehovahs Witnesses were doing. To fortify Jehovahs people against such apostate influence, The Watchtower carried such articles as..." Thus the Proclaimers book covers the headquarters purge resulting in the expulsion of Governing Body member Raymond Franz and other prominent JWs. For a detailed account of what really happened, read the book Crisis of Conscience by Raymond Franz (Atlanta: Commentary Press, 1983).
PAGE 111 "Frederick William Franz...president of the Society. He served faithfully as a member of the Governing Body down till his death, on December 22, 1992, at the age of 99." Interestingly, the book fails to mention that long-time vice president Milton G. Henschel, 72, was named president on December 30 to succeed Franz. On page 725 it gives statistics for Watchtower and Awake! copies printed per issue "by early 1993," but these figures would have been known late in 1992 since the magazines actually go to press well before the dates printed on them. So, Franzs death was the last event recorded in the Proclaimers book. Either it went to press during the week before Henschel was named president, or a conscious decision was made not to mention Franzs successor.
PAGE 112 "...the 32-page brochure Enjoy Life on earth Forever!...in 200 languages...the most widely translated of any publication of the Watch Tower Society. The Governing Body was keenly interested in reaching as many people as possible with the Kingdom message... To that end, arrangements were made to translate the literature into many more languages. ...increase the number of languages in which The Watchtower was produced. In October 1992, the number was 111." It is interesting to note that the Society boasts of translating its own publications into so many languages. The work of translating the Bible into most of those languages was left to Christendoms Bible societies. The Proclaimers book reports on page 613 that the complete JW New World Translation is available in only 12 languages.
PAGES 114-115 Here the Society reveals some important numbers: a total of 12,900 workers living at the various office/factory/farm complexes, and 3,900 circuit and district overseers in the field.
PAGE 116 Breaking with tradition, the Society displays individual full-color portraits of the twelve Governing Body members as of January, 1992. (In December, 1992, Frederick W. Franz died, leaving eleven on the Body.)
PAGE 123 "As Brother Russell and his associates studied the Scriptures, it did not take them long to see that the God portrayed in the Bible is not the god of Christendom." Actually, Russell fellowshipped primarily with trinitarian Adventists from 1869 through 1879. The book Three Worlds, or Plan of Redemption that he co-published in 1877 with N. H. Barbour attacked the Christadelphians for their non-trinitarian view of the Holy Spirit. (See Jehovahs Witness Literature, pp. 26-27.) even in 1879, when Russell began publishing his own Zions Watch Tower magazine, he took with him as assistant editor J. H. Paton, a trinitarian. It was only in 1882, after Paton left the magazines staff, that Russell first printed Watch Tower articles disputing trinitarianism.
PAGE 125 "...the doctrine of three Gods was invented..." The Proclaimers book here simply reproduces Russells misrepresentation of the Trinity doctrine.
PAGE 133 "...Russell explained in this pamphlet: ...Parousia...signifies...presence... ...In 1876, when Russell had first read a copy of Herald of the Morning, he had learned that there was another group who then believed that Christs return would be invisible..." The casual reader is given the impression that Russell came up with the "parousia" explanation and then later encountered N. H. Barbours publication. In actual fact, it was the other way around. According to Jehovahs Witnesses in the Divine Purpose (p. 18) it was "one of Barbours group" who came up with that interpretation, and then Russell learned it from Barbour. (A footnote on page 46 of the Proclaimers book indirectly acknowledges this, saying, "Then, in 1864, Benjamin Wilson had published his Emphatic Diaglott with the interlinear reading presence, not coming, for parousię a, and B. W. Keith, an associate of Barbour, had drawn it to the attention of Barbour and his associates.") Writers of the Proclaimers book do not actually lie about this on page 133; a careful reader may note that they begin the page with events of 1877 and then go on to events of 1876. This is a common Watchtower trick: a presentation that technically says one thing but that is worded so that most listeners will take it as meaning something else. Moreover, the most significant fact relating to "Christs invisible presence" is omitted entirely. This is the fact that JWs today believe Christ returned invisibly in 1914, but for decades before that the Society was proclaiming that he had already returned in 1874 and was "present" since then. So, even by JW standards, the Society was falsely proclaiming Christ had returned. (Comp. Matt. 24:23-27)
PAGES 134-136 "At first, they thought that by that date  the Kingdom of God would have obtained full, universal control. ... They expected the year 1914 to mark a significant turning point for Jerusalem...that their change might take place..." Here the Proclaimers book acknowledges that early Watch Tower publications contained several false prophecies for the year 1914: that Gods Kingdom would wipe out human governments by that date, that Israel would be restored, and that Russell and his followers would be raptured to heaven. But the acknowledgement is made in such veiled, obscure language that readers not already familiar with the facts would be kept in the dark as to what really happened. Moreover, the seriousness of what the sects leadership did in promulgating false prophecies is concealed by saying that they "thought," "expected," and "hoped" that certain things would happen in 1914. It would have been more truthful to say that the Societys publications taught these false prophecies to the sects adherents and proclaimed these false prophecies to the world.
PAGE 141 "Would God Restore the Jews to Palestine?" Under this heading the Proclaimers book attempts to smooth-over one of the sects major doctrinal changes. The discussion indirectly acknowledges that the Watchtower Society advocated "Zionism" until the 1930s, when prophecies about Israel were reinterpreted as referring to "spiritual" Israel.
PAGE 143 "...the idea that Russell himself was the faithful and wise servant...came to be generally held by the Bible Students for some 30 years." A major doctrinal flip-flop is documented here. First the Society taught that the faithful and discreet slave was "the whole body of Christ." Then the Society taught for decades that it was "Russell himself." And then in 1927 it resumed teaching that it was "the spirit-anointed body of Christ on earth." The Proclaimers book tries to blame on his wife Maria the 30 years of teaching that Russell was the servant, and then blames the Bible Students themselves for the view they "generally held." But the fact is that the Society itself taught this. "The Watch Tower unhesitatingly proclaims brother Russell as that faithful and wise servant.." (Mar. 1, 1917, p. 6049 Societys reprints) This back-and-forth change in teaching proves that the Society was lying when it said on page 27 of the December 1, 1981 Watchtower, "At times explanations given by Jehovahs visible organization have shown adjustments, seemingly to previous points of view. But this has not actually been the case." Yes, it has been the case, and this is a prime example. (For another example, see our discussion of Proclaimers pages 146-148.) This also proves that the organizations "light" is not "getting brighter." Rather, it is blinking on-and-off, changing with the winds of internal politics at Bethel headquarters, and according to the whims of the men in charge.
PAGES 144-145 "Beliefs of Jehovahs Witnesses" A box filling both pages purports to present the main beliefs of Jehovahs Witnesses, backed up by numerous scripture citations. However, the chief doctrine that truly separates JWs from others is omitted-their belief that the Watch- tower Society is Gods channel of communication. It is that belief that has allowed the Society to change or reinterpret the other beliefs at will.
PAGE 146 "Progressively, over the years, practices that might have the effect of drawing undue attention to certain humans in connection with the preparation of spiritual food have been eliminated. ...all credit is given to Jehovah God." In actuality, making the authorship of JW publications anonymous has had the effect of elevating the organization itself, giving its publications the appearance of having a super-human source. As in the story of "The Wizard of Oz" where a frail old man made a big impression by hiding behind a curtain and speaking through an amplifier, cloaking Watchtower writers with anonymity has allowed them to similarly impress their followers. Instead of what the May 1, 1989 Watchtower (p. 4) called "a personality cult that focused on Charles T. Russell," JWs now have a cult that focuses idolatrously on an organization. PAGES 146-148 "The Light Shines More and More...For example, in 1962 there was an adjustment of understanding regarding the superior authorities of Romans 13:1-7." The Proclaimers book here restates the "progressive understanding" excuse the Watchtower Society uses to cover its many doctrinal shifts. It explains that "For many years the Bible Students had taught that the higher powers (KJ) were Jehovah God and Jesus Christ....Years later, a careful reanalysis of the scripture was made...As a result, in 1962 it was acknowledged that the superior authorities are the secular rulers..." But what the Proclaimers book fails to tell readers here is that this was actually a return to the original interpretation. The Societys publications had originally applied Romans 13:1-7 to the secular authorities; then, after some 50 years, they reinterpreted the verses as applying to God and Christ; then in 1962 they went back to the original view. For example, Zions Watch Tower of September 1, 1892, outlines the same principle of relative subjection taught today (Societys reprints, page 1440), and the January 15, 1916, Watch Tower similarly says, "But while seeking to be thus law-abiding in every respect, Christians are to recognize that there is a still higher law...and are to be subject to the worldly powers only in the absence of a contrary admonition" from God (reprints, page 5840). In fact, on page 190 the Proclaimers book acknowledges that "in 1904" under Russells administration "At that time they understood that the higher powers, referred to at Romans 13:1-7 (KJ), were the secular rulers." So, what the Proclaimers book cites on page 147 as an example of "progressive understanding" was actually a back-and-forth doctrinal flip-flop. (See, also, our discussion of Proclaimers page 143 for another example.)
PAGE 157 "Any group or individuals that speak in the name of Jehovah put themselves under obligation to convey his word truthfully." This is a very important statement. It acknowledges that the Watchtower Society speaks "in in the name of Jehovah." Elsewhere, in regard to prophetic "dates that turned out to be incorrect" the Society says, "Never, in these instances, however, did they presume to originate predictions in the name of Jehovah." (Awake! March 22, 1993, p. 4) Yet, in a separate item on the same Awake! page the Societys current prophecy (of "a peaceful and secure new world before the generation that saw the events of 1914 passes away") is presented as "the Creators promise." Not the Societys promise, but the Creators -- i.e., the Society is prophesying in Gods name. The Watchtower Societys prophecies fit the description found in Scripture:
PAGE 160 "Chart of the Ages" Reproduced here is the chronology chart from Studies in the Scriptures, volume 1, that figured prominently in early Watchtower teachings. Visible features of the chart may be used to document the Societys early involvement with dispensational theology and pyramidology, (Regarding the latter, see also p. 201.)
PAGE 170 "...it was not up to them to tell people whether their hope should be a heavenly one or an earthly one. The Lord would direct matters..." Elsewhere the Societys publications have been more truthful in admitting that they taught new students a heavenly hope before 1935 and an earthly hope after that year: "...the heavenly hope was held out, highlighted and stressed until about the year 1935. Then as light flashed up to reveal clearly the identity of the great crowd of Revelation 7:9, the emphasis began to be placed on the earthly hope." (The Watchtower, Feb. 1, 1982, p. 28)
PAGES 174-175 "But among the Witnesses, there was never any question as to how homosexuality would be viewed." Thus the Watchtower Society asserts its moral superiority over "many churches" that had to debate the matter. However, the Societys statement is untrue. In actual fact there was a big question as to whether or not homosexuality would be viewed as grounds for divorce among JWs. Apparently JWs debated the answer, because the question was submitted to the Society, which ruled in the January 1, 1972 Watchtower that homosexual acts do not constitute ground for divorce: "While both homsexuality and bestiality are disgusting perversions, in the case of neither one is the marriage tie broken." (p. 32) However, even after the Society gave that answer, there was still a question among the Witnesses as to whether homosexuality would be viewed as ground for divorce. Nearly a year later the Society reversed itself and ruled in the December 15, 1972 Watchtower that homosexual acts do constitute ground for divorce, adding that "This clearly marks a correction in the view expressed on previous occasions in the columns of this magazine..." So the above statement on pages 174-175 of the Proclaimers book is a falsehood. Among Witnesses there was a question as to how homosexuality would be viewed, and it took a while even for the headquarters organization to settle on an answer.
PAGE 181 "...none who were still smoking were accepted for baptism from 1973 onward." If this were really "Scriptural counsel" as the Proclaimers book states, why did the organizations spiritual leaders miss it for nearly a hundred years? earlier leaders were correct in identifying tobacco use as a nasty habit, but they evidently realized that barring smokers from getting baptized would violate the advice of 1 Corinthians 4:6, "Do not go beyond the things that are written." (JW New World Translation)
PAGES 183-186 "Why Blood Transfusions Are Refused" Interestingly, the discussion totally ignores the sects earlier ban on vaccinations (during the 1930s and 1940s) and its ban on skin grafts, cornea, kidney, and other transplants (1967-1980). Watchtower teachings during those years made JWs feel just as strongly about refusing those medical procedures, yet the Proclaimers book pretends as if those episodes never took place. (For documentation of the ban on vaccinations, see Awake! magazines predecessor The Golden Age, February 4, 1931, page 293. Organ transplants were banned in The Watchtower, November 15, 1967, pages 702-704; also, Awake!, June 8, 1968, page 21.) PAGE 190 "At that time they understood that the higher powers, referred to at Romans 13: 1-7 (KJ), were the secular rulers. ...C. T. Russell, in the book The New Creation (published in 1904), stated..." Yes, this view was understood and taught for years under the Societys first president. Then, from 1929 onward, a different view was taught. Finally, in 1962, the organization went back to teaching Russells old view. But the 1962 change is presented on page 147 as if it were a new idea-"progressive understanding." By scattering in- formation like this the Watchtower Society deceives readers and avoids telling the whole truth.
PAGE 196 "...they do not dodge taxes or seek to evade inconvenient laws for their own profit." How can the Proclaimers book present this as being true of Jehovahs Witnesses when they continue to evade sales tax laws on materials they distribute in the United States and Canada? JWs thus dodge taxes that other distributors of religious literature have long been required to pay. For example, when Jimmy Swaggart lost a sales tax case before the U.S. Supreme Court in January, 1990, the Watchtower Society immediately altered its literature distribution policies to keep a step ahead of the law-by removing the 25 cents (U.S.) a copy" price tag from its magazines, among other things. See also the discussion of page 349.
PAGE 199-200 "Why they quit celebrating Christmas" During its first 50 years the Watchtower organization acknowledged that Jesus was not born on December 25th, but encouraged followers not to "quibble" about the date but rather to join "in celebrating the grand event on the day which the majority celebrate--Christmas day." (Watch Tower, Dec. 1, 1904, p. 3468 Societys reprints) Judge Rutherford did not later learn much new about Christmas; he simply decided to quibble. What was the real reason for the change? It was part of a long slow process of taking emphasis away from Christ and telling followers to obey the organization in everything. Also, stopping fellowship with family members outside a sect is a mind-control technique many cults employ; banning holidays had the effect of separating JWs from their relatives outside. The Watchtower ban on all holidays goes "beyond what is written" (1 Cor. 4:6 NIV, RSV) and directly contradicts the spirit of Romans 14:1-6.
PAGE 201 "For some 35 years Pastor Russell thought that the Great Pyramid of Gizeh was Gods stone witness, corroborating Biblical time periods." In order to be truthful on this matter, the Watchtower Society should have admitted that its second president Joseph F. Rutherford perpetuated the same teaching for another 12 years. The Proclaimers book also fails to admit the extent to which the Society used pyramidology to predict future events-something JWs today would view as a form of spiritism. For additional information and documentation, see How to Rescue Your Loved One from the Watchtower.
PAGE 204 "The operation of the organization of Jehovahs Witnesses has undergone significant changes since Charles Taze Russell and his associates first began to study the Bible together in 1870," Consideration of Russells religious affiliation during the 1870s is broken up into discussions on pages 43-48, 120-122, 132-135, 204, and 236-237. So, when the book says the above on page 204, readers may have forgotten that earlier chapters revealed Russell remained part of an Adventist organization until 1879; no JW organization existed prior to that date.
PAGE 212 "Then a director, or service director as he came to be known, not subject to yearly election, was appointed by the Society." Thus, in 1919, J. F. Rutherford began to bring democratic, locally-run congregations under Brooklyns control.
PAGES 212-221 Here are outlined the steps Rutherford took in gradually replacing democratic church government with a centrally-appointed hierarchy.
PAGE 219 "..."THe SOCIETY" is the visible representative of the Lord on earth, and we therefore request "The Society" to organize this company for service and to appoint the various servants thereof..." This statement, part of a resolution The Watchtower invited congregations to pass in 1938, gave the Brooklyn leadership status equal to that of the Pope, "the vicar of Christ," in the eyes of Jehovahs Witnesses.
PAGE 220-221 "Was Rutherford simply trying to gain greater control?" The Proclaimers book shoots down this charge simply by asserting that Rutherford "was not the leader of Jehovahs Witnesses, and he did not want to be." God was in charge, and Rutherford was merely serving as His "genuinely humble" human representative. Yet this is the same claim made by pagans and pseudo-Christians in pretend "theocracies" down through history.
PAGE 223 "...circuit overseers...district overseers..." A footnote on this page gives a brief history of these two positions in the Watchtower hierarchy, roughly equivalent to Roman Catholic bishop and archbishop.
PAGES 228-229 "The Societys charter set out a shareholder arrangement in which each aggregate contribution of $10 (U.S.) entitled the contributor to a vote in connection with the selection of members of the board of directors and officers of the Society." This was how "the governing body" was chosen until 1945, when the new corporate arrangement went into effect that allowed the board of directors to select individuals to be members of the corporation, after which the members would elect the directors. The name changes of the U.S. and British legal corporations are listed on page 229.
PAGE 232 "This is not a forced conformity; it results from education...they are free to leave the organization." The "education" that brings about total conformity among JWs is actually a subtle form of mind control accomplished through a combination of repetitive instruction, peer pressure, isolation from outside fellowship, breaking ties with non-JW relatives, and prohibition of against reading or listening to criticism of the organization. Followers of Jim Jones were "free to leave," but they conformed and took part in the mass suicide of some 900 members in the 1978 Jonestown disaster; followers of David Koresh were "free to leave," but they died in the burning Waco cult compound in 1993. JWs enjoy the same kind of freedom. See also the discussion of the quote about "forced unity" on page 251 of the Proclaimers book.
PAGES 233-234 "...the Governing Body itself. Its membership was enlarged beyond the seven who, as members of the board of directors of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, had been serving as a governing body for Jehovahs Witnesses." Developments in JW leadership during and since the 1970s are covered in much more detail-and more frankly-in former Governing Body member Raymond V. Franzs book Crisis of Conscience (Atlanta: Commentary Press, 1983).
PAGES 236-237 "Charles Taze Russell and a small group of associates in and around Allegheny, Pennsylvania, formed a class for Bible study in 1870." This is presented as the beginning of the history of JW meetings. However, this discussion omits the fact, obvious from discussion of the same time period in earlier chapters (pages 43-48, 120-122, 132-135), that Russell and his friends were meeting as Adventists rather than as Jehovahs Witnesses or as independent "Bible Students." Russell did not break from the Adventists until the middle of 1879.
PAGES 240-241 "Praising Jehovah in Song...Words have been updated in harmony with progressive understanding of Gods Word." These pages feature photos of the sects songbooks from 1879 to present. For more detail on how the songs were intentionally revised over the years-to reduce singing about Jesus, among other things-see Jehovahs Witness Literature: A Critical Guide to Watchtower Publications by David A. Reed (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1993).
PAGE 241 "...a full and free discussion of the study material." There may have been more of that in Russells day, but anyone who has attempted "full and free discussion" at JW meetings in recent times will testify that this is not permitted.
PAGE 242-243 "Memorial of Christs Death" A chart under this heading on page 242 illustrates graphically the rapid growth of the sect since 1935, both in terms of active Witnesses (shown to number approximately 4.5 million in 1992) and meeting attenders (11.5 million). The book explains that the vast majority of JWs assigned to the "great crowd" are "invited to be present" at the annual Communion ceremony "not as partakers, but as observers"-a thought contrary to anything found in the New Testament. PAGES 246-247 "Right down to the present, it remains the custom among Jehovahs Witnesses for the entire family to attend congregation meetings together." The Proclaimers book explains that J. F. Rutherford banned youth groups and Sunday school classes for children during the 1930s because they did "not contribute to unity." It does not admit here that the children of JWs have been largely neglected throughout most of the organizations history, with emphasis instead on converting strangers from house to house.
PAGE 247 "Bulletin (1919-35), Director (1935-36), Informant (1936-56), and now Our Kingdom Ministry in 100 languages-all have provided regular instructions for united field ministry by Jehovahs Witnesses." Very significantly the Society omits from this list two other titles this internal publication bore from 1956 to 1982. These two versions are also left out of the accompanying photograph on this page. The true story is that the publication was renamed "Kingdom Ministry" in 1956, because the Society taught that all JWs were ministers. In 1976 this teaching was reversed, so that only those appointed as elders, servants, and so on, were called ministers, and the members in general were not ministers. So, in 1976 the publications name was changed to "Our Kingdom Service." Then in 1982 after a shakeup on the Governing Body involving expulsion of Raymond Franz from the organization, the teaching was reversed again-back to the earlier point of view -- and the term ministers was again applied to all active Witnesses. Accordingly, the publications name was changed again, this time to the present form, "Our Kingdom Ministry." The illustration and text in the Proclaimers book evidently omit the 1956-76 "Kingdom Ministry" and the 1976-82 "Our Kingdom Service" to hide the facts about this embarrassing back-and-forth doctrinal flip-flop.
PAGE 248 "Jehovahs Witnesses are in no sense a secret society." Perhaps this is written in response to the book Behind the Watchtower Curtain --The Secret Society of Jehovahs Witnesses by David A. Reed (Southbridge, Mass.: Crowne Publications, Inc., 1989) While it is true that house-to-house preaching is a public activity and most JW meetings are open to the public, there is much about the organization that remains hidden from the public eye. Most outsiders have no idea of the extent to which the Watchtower Society controls its members-punishing them if they vote in elections, or hang an evergreen wreath on their door, or read forbidden literature (such as this booklet you are now reading!). Even most relatives and neighbors are unaware that JWs can be put on trial behind closed doors, without right to representation by an attorney, and that they can be commanded to shun a life-long friend without even being informed of the friends alleged offense against the organization. Another sense in which Jehovahs Witnesses are a secret society is that they are given their history through the Proclaimers book, but they are deprived of access to the original source materials. The Watchtower Societys publications produced prior to 1930 have generally been removed from Kingdom Hall library shelves. If available at all, they are kept under lock and key, and any JW requesting access to them is subject to interrogation as to his or her motives.
PAGE 251 "This was not to be a forced unity." No, it was intended that way by Jesus. But the Watchtower Society certainly does impose a forced unity upon its followers. Dissent brings swift punishment or expulsion and forced shunning by friends and family. Former members often compare it to living under the medieval Inquisition, and current members do not dare express any opinion other than the officially sanctioned view.
PAGE 252 "...progressive instruction that Jehovah was providing through his visible channel of communication. ...the various volumes of Studies in the Scriptures...What they contained was, indeed, spiritual food at the proper time." It is absolutely amazing that the Society would say this! The seven volumes teach that Christ returned invisibly in 1874. Volume 2 teaches that Armageddon had already begun and would end in 1914, with later printings changed to read 1915. (p. 101) Volume 3 has 63 pages in which Russell uses egyptian pyramidology to foretell future events. It also teaches that God resides on the star Alcyone in the Pleiades constellation. (p. 327) Volume 7 teaches that the departed spirit or ghost of Pastor Russell still runs the organization from beyond the grave. (pp. 144, 256) It also identifies "Michael and his angels" at Revelation 12:7 as "the Pope" and "the Bishops" of the Catholic church (p. 188) and declares that the great crowd that no man could number at Revelation 7:9 counts up to "approximate 411,840,000." (p. 103) even with the knowledge that JWs today are denied access to the seven volumes, it is still incredible that the Watchtower Society would refer to these falsehoods as spiritual food or instruction provided by God himself. For a discussion of each of the seven volumes, see Jehovahs Witness Literature: A Critical Guide to Watchtower Publications by David A. Reed (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1993)
PAGE 264 "In 1962, a series of talks on the theme Subjection to Superior Authorities corrected the understanding that the Witnesses had as to the meaning of Romans 13:1-7." This tells only half the story. The new understanding in 1962 was actually a return to an old view that had been rejected as false for decades. See the discussion of pages 146-148.
PAGE 264 "In 1964 [convention talks] broadened their appreciation of Jehovahs great mercy as manifest in the provision of the resurrection." The Proclaimers book here fails to mention that the Society later cut back somewhat on that mercy, deciding that some who it said in the 1960s would be resurrected would in fact not be resurrected. The most outstanding doctrinal flip-flop on the resurrection has involved the men of Sodom who the Society first said would be resurrected (Watch Tower July 1879, p. 8), then would not be (June 1, 1952, p. 338), then would be (Aug. 1, 1965, p. 479), and then would not be (June 1, 1988, p. 31). The most recent change apparently occurred in the midst of printing two books for release in the summer of 1988, so that one of them says they will be resurrected and the other, released at the same conventions, says they will not. (Insight on the Scriptures p. 985, and Revelation-Its Grand Climax at Hand p. 273)
PAGE 295 "Because of the way of life of the Bethel family, secular authorities in the United States, for example, view them as members of a religious order who have taken a vow of poverty." This interesting revelation evidently reflects a ruling of the Internal Revenue Service regarding the tax status of the "upwards of 12,900" live-in workers at Watchtower offices, factories, and farms. See also the discussion of page 351.
PAGE 298 "Worldwide, there are some 3,900 circuit and district overseers... In the United States, where 499 circuit and district overseers were serving in 1992..." These figures reflect the size of the Watchtower hierarchy, where circuit and district overseers correspond roughly to bishops and archbishops in Catholicism.
PAGE 315 "The relief efforts of the Witnesses are not meant to care for the physical needs of everyone in the disaster area. ...these are intended primarily for those related to them in the faith." This policy, admitted here, has often proved embarrassing to JWs.
PAGE 319 "It was known as the New Light Church because those who associated there felt that as a result of reading Watch Tower publications, they had new light on the Bible." This interesting footnote identifies one of the first buildings constructed by the sects followers for their own use in religious services. The "New Light" Church was built in Mount Lookout, West Virginia.
PAGES 347-348 "Is There a Profit From the Literature? ...none of this was done for commercial gain." Perhaps not for "commercial" gain, if the word commercial is defined to exclude religious activity, but the Society has certainly made a profit. How else did the organization come into possession of $186 million worth of real estate in Brooklyn alone? (New York Times Nov. 29, 1992, p. 46)
PAGE 349 "For many years they referred to their distribution of literature as selling. But this terminology caused some confusion, and so beginning in 1929, it was gradually dropped." Yet, the subscription price and the "25 cents (U.S.) a copy" price tag remained in place in Watchtower and Awake! magazines until 1990. Evidently it was just the terminology that was changed, not the practice.
PAGE 349 "Where the law construes any distribution of Bible literature as commercial if the distributor suggests a contribution for the literature, Jehovahs Witnesses gladly leave it with anyone who shows sincere interest and promises to read it." While that is the official position as stated for public consumption, the private word to Jehovahs Witnesses themselves is as stated in the December 1993 Our Kingdom Ministry on page 7: "At the same time, discernment is needed so that our literature is not wasted on rocky soil. (Mark 4:5, 6, 16, 17) Those who appreciate the good news we bring are glad to have the opportunity to contribute to its material support."
PAGE 349 "In 1990, because of highly publicized financial scandals in some of Christendoms religions, coupled with an increasing tendency by governments to classify religious activity as a commercial enterprise, Jehovahs Witnesses made some adjustments in their activity in order to avoid any misunderstanding." In order to avoid taxes would be a more accurate way of saying this. As documented in Comments from the Friends at the time, when Jimmy Swaggart lost a sales tax case before the U.S. Supreme Court in January, 1990, the Watchtower Society immediately altered its literature distribution policies to keep a step ahead of the law. Swaggart got stuck having to pay thousands of dollars in sales tax, but the Watchtower Society escaped untaxed.
PAGE 351 "Those who are accepted for special full-time service at the world headquarters of Jehovahs Witnesses all subscribe to a vow of poverty, as have all the members of the Governing Body and all the other members of the Bethel family there." Unlike the boys who shovel manure on the farms and box literature in the factories, Governing Body members have the wealth and power of the Society at their disposal for world travel, etc. Although Watchtower leaders today generally live Spartan lives-like political leaders in some lands where being identified with "the people" is important -- J. F. Rutherford was known for driving big cars and for his Beth Sarim mansion in San Diego. (See the discussion of page 76.)
PAGES 352-401 Fifty pages of full-color photos show Watchtower real estate in Brooklyn and upstate New York plus branch office facilities around the world. The Brooklyn properties alone are valued at $186 million according to the New York Times (Nov. 29, 1992, p. 46). And the sprawling factory, office, and residence complexes worldwide no doubt add up to a total value in the billions of dollars.
PAGE 405 "There were not enough Bible Students to do it all personally, so they hired others to help." This interesting aspect of how the tract distribution work was accomplished has seldom been documented elsewhere. See also the discussion of page 561.
PAGE 424-425 "...the number of Bible Students reported as having some share in preaching the good news to others during 1918 decreased by 20 percent worldwide when compared with the report for 1914." The book blames this on "harsh treatment meted out to them during the war years," but fails to acknowledge the possibility that some may have quit because the Societys predictions for 1914 proved false.
PAGE 425 "What an exciting message they proclaimed-- Millions now living will never die! ...It was also the title of a 128-page booklet published in 1920." This, of course, was more than just "an exciting message." It was also a false prophecy. The booklet by that title says on pages 88-90, "...we may expect 1925 to witness the return of these faithful men of Israel from the condition of death, being resurrected... Therefore we may confidently expect that 1925 will mark the return of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the faithful prophets of old." On page 97 it again affirms that "1925 shall mark the resurrection of the faithful worthies of old..." See also the discussions of pages 78 and 632.
PAGE 561 "...with the assistance of hundreds of young men who were paid for their services, they managed to have 300,000 copies of Food for Thinking Christians distributed in just a short time." See also the reference to paid literature distributors in the discussion of page 405.
PAGE 567 "Religion Is a Snare and a Racket...That wording was based on the understanding that the term religion embraced all worship built on the traditions of men, instead of on Gods Word, the Bible. However, in 1950...that the term religion could properly be used to refer to true worship or false." Strangely, it took JWs until 1950 to discover something the population as a whole knew all along. But this serves to demonstrate the control the organization has over members; it can even redefine common words for them.
PAGE 570 "It is only Jehovahs Witnesses who truly endeavor to reach all the inhabited earth with the Kingdom message..." What an affront such a statement is to the countless Christians down through the centuries and in modern times who have expended themselves for the sake of sharing the Gospel!
PAGE 576 "...Zions Watch Tower Tract Society was formed on February 16, 1881, with W. H. Conley as president and C. T. Russell as secretary and treasurer. ...In 1884, Zions Watch Tower Tract Society was legally incorporated, with C. T. Russell as president ..." This tidbit of Watchtower trivia -- that W. H. Conley was president of the Society before Russell, and before the Society was incorporated-is about as useful as the fact that George Washington did not become president of the United States until 1789, some thirteen years after the Declaration of Independence, and that other men presided before Washington and before the government took its present form. But it is useful to note that, although JWs today see Russell as the first in a succession of leaders, earlier Watchtower publications present him as the successor to Adventist leaders Miller and Barbour. Zions Watch Tower of November 1881 refers to Miller and Barbour as Gods "instruments" (pp. 288-289), and The Finished Mystery (1917 ed.) says on page 54 that "Pastor Russell took the place of Mr. Barbour who became unfaithful..."
PAGE 576 "...from 1887 to 1898, he made use of the Tower Publishing Company....This was a firm owned by Charles Taze Russell. In 1898 he transferred assets of the Tower Publishing Company by donation to the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society." This is another little-known piece of information, seldom documented elsewhere and worth making note of.
PAGE 613 "As of 1992 the printing of the complete New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, in the 12 languages then available, numbered 70,105,258 copies." By way of contrast, the Proclaimers book reports that Jehovahs Witnesses publish The Watchtower in 111 languages and distribute their 32-page brochure Enjoy Life on Earth Forever! in 200 languages (p. 112). The Watchtower Society apparently chose to focus its energies on translating its own writings, leaving the work of translating Gods Word to Christendoms Bible societies.
PAGE 621 "Was God Using a Visible Channel?...It certainly could not be expected that God would use C. T. Russell if he did not loyally adhere to Gods Word. ...Russell was, indeed, used by God..." How could a man be said to have adhered loyally to Gods Word, who falsely proclaimed that Christ was invisibly present from 1874 onward, who falsely prophesied this wicked world would end in 1914, and who held the Great Pyramid of egypt in equal awe with the Bible? (See also the discussion of page 252.)
PAGE 626 "Many who were sifted out at that time clung to the view that a single individual, Charles Taze Russell, was the faithful and wise servant foretold by Jesus... Particularly following his death, The Watch Tower itself set forth this view for a number of years." The 1975 Yearbook of Jehovahs Witnesses tried to shift blame for this view away from the Society itself by saying on page 88, "the idea adopted by many was that C. T. Russell himself was the faithful and wise servant." Here the Proclaimers book finally acknowledges that the Watchtower Society itself taught this false teaching. But by saying that it taught this "particularly following his death" the Proclaimers book ignores statements published well before his death in Watch Tower issues of March 1, 1896, page 47; April 15, 1904, page 3356 (reprints); June 1, 1905, page 3570; and July 15, 1906, pages 3811 and 3821. So, the Society is still unwilling to tell the whole truth.
PAGE 630 "They may have been right in some of the details that they taught in connection with the New Covenant, but did the Lord bless what they were doing?...Finally, during the 1930s...corrected state- ments of the matter appeared in The Watchtower... What joy this brought to those who had patiently waited!" When Russell went off on a tangent, applying the New Covenant to natural Jews, some of the Bible Students who realized that it applied to Christians broke off, calling themselves New Covenant Believers. Some time after Russells death the Society abandoned his view on the matter. But here the Society condemns those who held what turned out to be the "right" view, and instead praises those who "patiently waited" and stayed with Russell even while he was teaching the wrong view. The position advocated here-stick to the organization whether what it is teaching is right or wrong"-is the same position the Society condemns when patriots loyal to their country say, My country, right or wrong! So, the Watchtower Society is using a double standard: instead of patiently waiting for N. H. Barbour and the Adventists to correct their view, Russell left and started his own sect, but if someone does the same when the Watchtower is in error, they are condemned.
PAGE 632 "...they concluded that...the resurrection to spirit life of those already sleeping in death began then." This teaching that the resurrection already occurred in 1878 is significant in view of what 2 Timothy 2:17-18 says: "...Hymenaeus and Philetus are of that number. These very men have deviated from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already occurred..." (New World Translation)
PAGES 632 "...1925. This year was also associated with expectations for resurrection of faithful pre-Christian servants of God with a view to their serving on earth as princely representatives of the heavenly Kingdom." This is as close as the Proclaimers book comes here to admitting the Societys false prophecies for 1925. But see also the discussions of pages 78 and 425. Breaking up the discussion of 1925 into three parts like this has enabled the Society to avoid telling the whole truth of the matter, and to spoon-feed the bits and pieces it does provide in little bite-size doses easier to swallow.
PAGE 633 "This later led to the idea-sometimes stated as a possibility, sometimes more firmly-that since the seventh millennium of human history would begin in 1975, events associated with the beginning of Christs Millennial Reign might start to take place then." The firm statements were false prophecies. And those false prophecies made the Watchtower Society a false prophet such as the Bible warns against: "However, the prophet who presumes to speak in my name a word that I have not commanded him to speak or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet must die. ...when the prophet speaks in the name of Jehovah and the word does not occur or come true..."-Deuteronomy 18:20-22 New World Translation "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."-Matthew 24:24 All of the euphemisms and excuses the Watchtower Society offers still cannot change the fact that the organization is a false prophet condemned by Scripture. For more about 1975, see also the discussion of page 104.
PAGE 633 "But some of their time calculations and the expectations that they associated with these gave rise to serious disappointments. Following 1925, meeting attendance dropped dramatically in some congregations in France and Switzerland. Again, in 1975, there was disappoint- ment when expectations regarding the start of the Millennium failed to materialize. As a result, some withdrew from the organization." The Proclaimers book condemns those who left the organization after its prophecies proved false in 1925 and 1975. It also adds that people who spoke out about the failures "were disfellowshipped." But when Jesus said, "Beware of false prophets" (Matt. 7:15), that warning obviously implied the need to separate from them. And when God said, "But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, ...shall die....if the thing follow not, nor come to pass...thou shalt not be afraid of him" (Deut. 18:20-22), this certainly did not mean to remain under the authority of such a prophet. Moreover, the fact that the Watchtower Society would disfellowship those who objected to the false prophecies shows that the Society did not have the humble spirit of king David who accepted correction. It is more reminiscent of the situation "when king Jeroboam heard the saying of the man of God, which had cried against the altar in Bethel, that he put forth his hand from the altar, saying, Lay hold on him." (1 Kings 13:4)
PAGE 634 "Probably I look ridiculous to you because I did not go to Heaven, October 1st, 1914..." No, anyone can be fooled by a false prophet. But to continue following such a prophet after his prophecy proved false, that is a more serious problem.
PAGE 635-636 "The Lord did not say that the Church would all be glorified by 1914. We merely inferred it and, evidently, erred. "In this they were somewhat like Jesus apostles. The apostles knew and thought they believed the prophecies concerning Gods Kingdom. But at various times they had wrong expectations as to how and when these would be fulfilled. This led to disappointment on the part of some.-Luke 19:11; 24:19-24; Acts 1:6." Again the Watchtower Society, when caught making false prophecies, offers the excuse that they were just acting "somewhat like Jesus apostles." But is there really any similarity? Lets check the Bible verses they cite: First there is Luke 19:11-"And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear." Here the apostles were students who still had a lot to learn; their mistake is excusable. The Society, on the other hand, puts itself in the position of teacher, Gods spokesman, Gods channel of communication-a role far different from that of the apostles at Luke 19:11. Next, the Society cites Luke 24:19-24-"And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not." The Society needs to read the Bible more closely because this passage is not about the apostles. The context reveals in verse 18 that it is talking about Cleopas and another unnamed disciple, and that after this conversation they went to see the apostles. (vs. 30) Yes, the two disciples told Jesus, "But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel," and he then "expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself." (vss. 21, 27) But, again, these disciples were only learning, not pretending to be Gods spokesman to mankind. The Societys third citation is Acts 1:6-"When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?" Note that they were asking Jesus a question, not teaching the world. In each case there is a vast difference between what the apostles and disciples did in the verses cited and what the Watchtower Society has done in setting dates and falsely prophesying that certain things would happen in 1914, again in 1925, and again in 1975.
PAGE 645 "In 1879, Charles Taze Russell married Maria Frances Ackley...in November 1897 she left him...she was awarded, in 1908, a judgment, not of absolute divorce, but of divorce from bed and board, with alimony." While some opposers of the Watchtower organization may be too quick to believe every charge made against the Societys first president, writers of the Proclaimers book have, no doubt, been too quick to lay the blame for their divorce entirely at his wifes feet. Much has been written on the subject and, even after sifting out the more emotional and exaggerated charges and counter-charges, it would still seem that there was enough blame to go around, with both parties sharing responsibility for the marriage failure. So, it would be a valid question to ask, in view of his conduct toward his wife, whether C. T. Russell would qualify as a JW elder or as a pastor of a Bible-believing church.
PAGE 706 "When the world entered the last days in 1914, what group proved to be the one true Christian organization? Christendom abounded with churches that claimed to represent Christ. But the question is: Which, if any, among them was meeting the Scriptural requirements?" These questions are based on a wrong assumption. The Proclaimers book is assuming that there ought to exist some human religious organization that would qualify as "the one true Christian organization." But the Bible identifies the true church as one whose members are enrolled in the heavens-"the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven." (Heb. 12:23) The members of the true church are not those who are in some organization on earth, but "them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." (Rom. 8:1) They are not counted up as those who report service time to some earthly headquarters, "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." (Rom. 8:14) And they know who they are, not because some earthly organization has put its stamp of approval on them, but because "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God." (Rom. 8:16) But what of the Watchtower Societys claim, here, to be the only group "meeting the Scriptural requirements" when "the world entered the last days in 1914"? First, it should be noted that the Society was then teaching that the time of the end began in 1799, not 1914. As late as 1927 their book Creation was still offering "proof that 1799 definitely marks the beginning of the time of the end" (p. 315, early editions; p, 294, later editions). The sect nowadays attaches no significance whatsoever to the year 1799. Furthermore, among all the churches of Christendom, the Watchtower sect was the one loudly proclaiming for decades the message that Christ had already returned in 1874. Its magazines subtitle showed this to be its chief message: The Watch Tower and Herald of Christs Presence. It was heralding to every listener that 1874 began Christs invisible presence, and it was condemning those who argued that Christ had not returned in 1874. This false announcement that Christ had returned in 1874 is reminiscent of exactly what Jesus warned against: "Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." (Matt. 24:23-27) Thus, Jesus himself indicated that those who would falsely herald that he had come back invisible ("in the secret chambers" or "hiding in our midst"-C. V. Rieus translation) would not be "the one true Christian organization," but rather the "false prophets."
PAGE 708 "Those who make up the one true Christian organization today do not have angelic revelations or divine inspiration." Yes, this is what the Watchtower Society says when it is seeking to escape blame for "premature expectations" (p. 709) -- i.e., false prophecies -- but when it wants people to look to it for their salvation, the Society says the opposite: "Zions Watch Tower of March 1880 had declared: "The Times of the Gentiles" extend to 1914, and the heavenly kingdom will not have full sway till then." Only God by his holy spirit could have revealed this to those early Bible students so far in advance."-The Watchtower, July 1, 1973, p. 402 (emphasis added) So, here the Society is claiming divine revelation. Moreover, the Society does claim to be inspired whenever it claims to be "guided and directed by Jehovahs spirit" (Watchtower, June 1, 1965, p. 352) because that is, by definition, what "inspired" means. Funk & Wagnalls Standard Desk Dictionary (1983 edition) says inspire means "To direct or guide, as by special divine influence."
PAGE 709 "Jesus, when on earth, admitted that he did not know the day and hour that the present system of things would end. ...in the modern-day history of Jehovahs Witnesses, their zeal...led to premature expectations as to when the end of Satans wicked system of things would come." There is no valid comparison here. Jesus, in his humanity, admitted what he did not know. Jesus did not teach false dates. Nor did the apostles. The Watchtower Society is simply doing what people often do when caught committing a crime: (1) they are pleading not guilty of being false prophets, (2) they are making excuses for themselves (Our zeal made us do it!), and (3) they are pointing the finger at others (even at Jesus). Confession and repentance would have been preferable.
PAGE 709 "Well, does the fact that Jehovahs Witnesses have had some premature expectations mean that they are not being led by God? Not any more than the disciples question about the imminence of the Kingdom in their day..." This is not a valid comparison. There is a big difference between the disciples asking a question, and the Watchtower Society teaching false dates. Moreover, the men at Brooklyn Bethel have proclaimed their "premature expectations" so firmly and arrogantly that they have felt free to disfellowship godly men and women who questioned their false dates. At the same time, they have used their self-assumed authority to pressure millions of innocent people into circulating their false prophecies far and wide. Most JWs joined the sect because they honestly believed it was the way to God. As Jesus said, "false prophets...shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."-Matt. 24:24
PAGE 718 "1877...C. T. Russell publishes the booklet The Object and Manner of Our Lords Return, at the office of Herald of the Morning, in Rochester, New York." Compare this with the claim on page 36 the 1975 Yearbook of Jehovahs Witnesses that, "in 1873 twenty-one-year-old C. T. Russell wrote and published at his own expense a booklet entitled The Object and Manner of the Lords Return." The Watch Tower Publications Index 1930-1985 (on page 916) also assigns it the 1873 date, some three years before Russell became affiliated with the Heralds publisher, N. H. Barbour. Interestingly, though, the Watch Tower Publications Index 1930-1960 (on page 306) gives the date as 1877. (See also a similar reference on page 47.)
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