Watchtower Bible and Tract Society
I have been doing a lot of reading over the last year or so and this has raised a few questions in my mind that only you can answer. These are genuine questions. I have been one of Jehovah’s Witnesses for 27 years and my local congregation is the XXXXX Congregation in XXXX.
I read some of our literature regarding the early Bible Students. Here are the quotes that I found:
ka 209-10 11 "Here Is the Bridegroom!" ***
55 In the year 1943 the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society published the book "The Truth Shall Make You Free." In its chapter 11, entitled "The Count of Time," it did away with the insertion of 100 years into the period of the Judges and went according to the oldest and most authentic reading of Acts 13:20, and accepted the spelled-out numbers of the Hebrew Scriptures. This moved forward the end of six thousand years of man’s existence into the decade of the 1970’s. Naturally this did away with the year 1874 C.E. as the date of return of the Lord Jesus Christ and the beginning of his invisible presence or Parousia. The millennium that was to be marked by the detaining of Satan the Devil enchained in the abyss and by the reign of the 144,000 joint heirs with Christ in heavenly glory was therefore yet in the future. What, then, about the parousia (presence) of Christ? Page 324 of the above book positively says: "The King’s presence or parousia began in 1914." Also, in the Watchtower issue of July 15, 1949 (page 215, paragraph 22), the statement is made: " . . . Messiah, the Son of man, came into Kingdom power A.D. 1914 and . . . this constitutes his second coming and the beginning of his second parousía or presence."
So we can see that the early Jehovah witnesses believed that Jesus Parousia began in 1874. The truth book states this above and it is in all the old books. It was not until 1925 that the doctrine was changed. Before 1925 we as Jehovah’s witnesses believed that 1914 was the END of the Gentile times and Christ parousia (which had started in 1874) and the START of Armageddon. This is what Russell and Rutherford believed. The Witnesses back then were not knocking on people’s doors and telling them that Christ presence was GOING TO START IN 1914 but that it had started in 1874 and would last 50 years and would culminate in Armageddon. Then in 1925, we changed it.I have pasted the bit out of the “proclaimers” book that deals with this:
jv 138-9 10 Growing in Accurate Knowledge of the Truth ***
A real milestone was reached, therefore, in 1925, when The Watch Tower of March 1 featured the article "Birth of the Nation." It presented an eye-opening study of Revelation chapter 12. The article set forth evidence that the Messianic Kingdom had been born-established-in 1914, that Christ had then begun to rule on his heavenly throne, and that thereafter Satan had been hurled from heaven down to the vicinity of the earth. This was the good news that was to be proclaimed, the news that God’s Kingdom was already in operation. How this enlightened understanding stimulated these Kingdom proclaimers to preach to the ends of the earth!
Then recently I came across this Watchtower.
w87 3/1 15 'Upon the Watchtower I
Am Standing' ***
Each article in both The Watchtower and Awake! and every page, including the artwork, is scrutinized by selected members of the Governing Body before it is printed. Furthermore, those who assist in writing articles for The Watchtower are Christian elders who appreciate the seriousness of their assignment. (Compare 2 Chronicles 19:7.) They spend many hours in researching the Bible and other reference material to make sure that what is written is the truth and that it faithfully follows the Scriptures. (Ecclesiastes 12:9, 10; 2 Timothy 1:13) It is not unusual for one magazine article—that you may read in 15 minutes—to take from two weeks to over a month to prepare.
The quote is self-explanatory. So then why do we print stuff like this?
g73 1/22 8 Who Can Accurately Predict Man's Future? ***
Of all men used by God to prophesy, Jesus is outstanding. Based on what he said, along with the words of Daniel and John, Jehovah’s witnesses pointed to the year 1914, decades in advance, as marking the start of "the conclusion of the system of things."
w54 6/15 370 The Revelation of Jesus Christ ***
4 Why, then, do the nations not realize and accept the approach of this climax of judgment? It is because they have not heeded the world-wide advertising of Christ’s return and his second presence. Since long before World War I Jehovah’s witnesses pointed to 1914 as the time for this great event to occur.
w65 7/15 428 Jehovah's Advancing Organization ***
19 As we look back over the years, we can clearly see how God’s organization in modern times has progressed in understanding. For example, it learned that Christ’s second presence was to be in the spirit, and not in the flesh as many professed Christians believe. His rule would be from the heavens. This was a new revelation of great importance to God’s people who had been anxiously awaiting his second presence toward the end of the nineteenth century.
w88 5/1 22 Jehovah Does Not Forsake His Servants ***
At the back of our house in Tojo-cho, Osaka, there was a house with a sign: "Osaka Branch of the International Bible Students Association." Assuming it to be a Christian group, I visited the house.
"Do you believe in the second advent of the Lord?" I asked the young man who came to the door.
"Christ’s second advent was realized in 1914," he answered.
In astonishment, I told him that was impossible. "You should read this book," he said, handing me The Harp of God.”
Get hold of a copy of the "Harp of God" and look at page 235.If you cant get a copy, I have typed it here for you:
"This date, therefore, when understood, would certainly fix the time when the lord is due at this second appearing. Applying the same rule, then, of a day for a year, 1335 days after 539 A.D brings us to 1874 A.D, at which time, according to Biblical chronology, the Lords presence is due…The searcher of truth can find an extensive treatment of this question in volumes 2 and 3 of "studies in the scriptures"".
This is the account of Jack H Nathan
w90 9/1 11 Trusting in Jehovah Brings Happiness ***
After the war ended in 1918, there was no work available in England, so I rejoined the army and went off to India as part of the peacetime garrison. In May 1920 the malaria flared up again, and I was sent up into the hills to recuperate. There I read all the books I could get my hands on, including the Bible. Reading the Scriptures intensified my interest in the Lord’s return.
Months later, down in Kanpur, I started a Bible study group, hoping to learn more about the Lord’s return. It was there that I met Fredrick James, a former British soldier who was now a zealous Bible Student. He explained to me that Jesus had been present since 1914, invisible to man. This was the most thrilling news I had ever heard.
This account is not supported by our chronology. This account places the experience around the 1920’s, around 5 years before the official doctrine had changed.
So my first question is why are we printing untruths regarding our early history. If everything is “scrutinized” by a member of the Governing Body, who to my knowledge, are well along with years and some of them personally knew Brother Rutherford and most certainly would have known our early history? I am annoyed, as I used to tell people on the ministry that one of the ways we knew we were right is that we have been preaching Christ’s return since last century. But most importantly, how can we, who claim to speak the truth, publish such untruths?
Then I was reading the “proclaimers” book and came across this point:
jv 111 9 Jehovah's Word Keeps
Moving Speedily (1976-1992) ***
Frederick William Franz was born in Covington, Kentucky, U.S.A., on September 12, 1893. In 1899 the family moved to Cincinnati, where Frederick graduated from high school in 1911. He then entered the University of Cincinnati, taking a liberal arts course. He had decided that he would become a Presbyterian preacher, so he vigorously applied himself to the study of Bible Greek. At the university Frederick was chosen to receive a Rhodes scholarship, qualifying him for admission to Oxford University in England. However, before an announcement could be made, Frederick lost all interest in the scholarship and asked that his name be dropped from the list of contestants.”
Also in the Douglas Walsh trial in 1954, Brother Franz again stated that he was awarded a Rhodes scholarship but turned it down. This was stated in court and under oath. However I wrote to the Rhodes scholarship and asked them about Brother Franz. They stated that he was DEFINITELY NOT offered a scholarship. They told me that he had started the process by taking two exams, but then he pulled out before the results were published and that was the first stage of a five-stage process. Again I ask, why are we printing untruths?
So Brothers I have come across a few “discrepancies” but these are the ones that worry me the most. I await your comments with anticipation.
Your Brother in Jehovah’s service.