Sep 032005

As with so many articles here, all this started with a post to the Jehovah’s Witness Forum on AOL. A Jehovah’s Witness there wrote:

The Society has never lied to us (the learners, the readers). A mistake is different, very different than a deliberate lie. The scripture says that imposters will advance from bad to worse, misleading and being misled. This is not the case with the WT Society. Mistakes have been discerned, they have been corrected in the proper light.

That is a wonderful sentiment, one that I held for many years. But on closer examination, it does not hold up. In the 8/15/1993 Watchtower, page 9, in the article ” Why You Need to Attend Christian Meetings”, the Watchtower made the following statement:

Jehovah’s Witnesses have consistently shown from the Scriptures that the year 1914 marked the beginning of this world’s time of the end and that “the day of judgment and of destruction of the ungodly men” has drawn near.

An examination of older Watchtower publications shows that Jehovah’s Witnesses (or Bible Students as they were previously known) did have NOT “consistently shown from the Scriptures that the year 1914 marked the beginning of this world’s time of the end…” Rather, the Watchtower pointed to another date for the beginning of the “time of the end.” In the Finished Mystery book, on page 239, the Watchtower Society says:

This is without question a fulfillment of the prophecy testifying to the “time of the end.” These physical facts can not be disputed and are sufficient to convince any reasonable mind that we have been in the “time of the end” since 1799.

Also, from the March 1, 1922 Watch Tower:

The indisputable facts, therefore, show that the “time of the end” began in 1799; that the Lord’s second presence began in 1874.

The book Creation, published by the WTS in 1927 has a very detailed explanation as to why they felt 1799 was the beginning of the time of the end. Here are a few quotes. Creation, page 293:

Napoleon began this Egyptian campaign in 1798, finished it, and then returned t.o France on October 1, 1799. The campaign is briefly, yet graphically, described in the prophecy, verses 40-44; and its being completed in 1799 marks, according to the prophet’s own words, the beginning of “the time of the end”.

Creation, page 294

Twelve hundred and sixty years from 539 A. D. brings us to 1799, which is another proof that 1799 definitely marks the beginning of “the time of the end “.

Creation, page 295

From shortly after 1799, the date of the beginning of  “the time of the end”, we should expect to find an increase of knowledge, particularly with reference to the Bible.

Going back just a few years to 1921, in the book The Harp of God says on page 236:

“The time of the end” embraces a period from 1799 A.D., as above indicated, to the time of the complete overthrow of Satan’s empire and the establishment of the kingdom of the Messiah. The time of the Lord’s second presence dates from 1874, as above stated. The latter period is within the first named, of course, and in the latter part of the period known as “the time of the end.”

Another example is from the 1/15/93 Watchtower, page 5 in the article “Caught Away to Meet the Lord’-How?”:

The Watchtower has consistently presented evidence to honesthearted students of Bible prophecy that Jesus’ presence in heavenly Kingdom power began in 1914. Events since that year testify to Jesus’ invisible presence.

The WT actually taught for many years that Jesus returned (invisibly, of course) in 1874 and that he took power in heaven in 1878. So, are these just “mistakes” that were corrected in due time, or were both statements from the 1993 Watchtower deliberate attempts to misead the readers of the Watchtower as to what the Watchtower taught in the past?

  7 Responses to “Has the Watchtower Society Ever Lied?”

  1. The quotes you refer to were written almost a century ago. As Jehovah has revealed the light, his organization has grasped the correct meaning. Even Jesus apostles thought Jesus was talking about earthly things when referring to his kingdom until the time came for them to have the correct understanding. Apostates dare not challenge the modern organization of Jehovah’s people as they know, we have the truth.

  2. Roper, the older quotes were there to show that what they wrote in 1993 Watchtower was not true. They, in fact had not “consistently shown from the Scriptures that the year 1914 marked the beginning of this world’s time of the end and that ‘the day of judgment and of destruction of the ungodly men’ has drawn near.”

    The older quotes from The Watchtower, Creation and The Harp of God show plainly that for many years they taught that the time of the end began in 1799. It’s not so much that they changed their view, but that they changed it and then tried to make out like they had always taught the latest “correct meaning.”

  3. My grandparents thought they would see armageddon and the ensuing paradise.They died. My parents thought they would see the same thing in their lifetime. My Daddy died in 1999 at the age of 82.
    I remember hearing and reading that 1975 was “it”….the big date when this would all happen. I was sitting in a kingdom hall in 1980 at the watchtower study when the article studied was the “societies” explanation for why we believed that 1975 was a milestone year……they denied that they had anything to do with that belief and that it was our (the witnesses all over the world) taking what they said out of context and believing that 1975 was the “year”.
    If you go back in the watchtower and other publications you will find the date and its importance……….they are the ones who planted that belief and later denied it.
    I remember sitting there in the kingdom hall with my daughter on my lap and my other child sitting beside me and feeling like something in my heart had died.
    It had…..the absolute confidence that we were being led by God thru the faithful and discreet slave and that we are obligated to follow their lead.
    I wonder if I would still be there with the JW’s if they had been honest?

  4. I had one (of many) experiences of a PO “making a mistake” with me as regards my his accusation that I was “being a lover of money” (I needed a job to pay for up-coming surgeries). When I tried to Matthew 18 him, he was not willing to be there for my loving council. He ran away. It is very interesting how a “lie” can quickly become a mistake, and a mistake can so quickly be swept under the KH library…7 times 70

  5. Roper, your argument has no validity or substance. the fact that those things were written so many years ago, doesnt change the fact that they were indeed written. Watchtower always finds subtle ways dismiss what they have taught in the past and then LIE about it. even though i wasnt alive anywhere near the 1975 fiasco, it has always intrigued me since you read it in the newspaper and see it on TV each time theyre talking about modern day false prophecies. When i asked my parents about it,who where around by the time, theyd just rubbed it of like Rebecca said, “it was the fault of the witnesses who believed what they wanted to believe”. Of course that doesnt make anysense, since why would millions believe something that was never taught? Doing some research on the Watchtower CD ROM (2010), even though the old books cant be found (for obvious reasons) you can still find old Watchtowers that did in fact point to 1975 as the beginning of Christ’s Thousand year Reign; and then in newer magazines completely shrug it off and make the rank and file seem like the guilty ones for believing it. The fact is that the WTBTS has done this in the past, does it now, and will still do it in the future.

  6. I was born into “The truth” as my parents were, and still are very devout JW’s. They are both in their late 70’s now and still very active. I myself as a young guy did what I was told, went to the meetings, went in service. I was even giving number 2 talks by the time I was 8. Over the years, I started to notice changes in doctrine, or would get different answers when asking a question. Anytime there would be a major shift it was always under the heading, “New Information has come to light!” Of course we all know that this was also the case with the 1914 thing and the “this generation will by no means pass away” reference. Ray Franz writes about that in his book “A Crises of Conscience” and how it bothered him as a Governing Body member, and he predicted what there doctrine shift would be. My point is that the Witnesses have consistently shifted directions and then covered it as Roper says above as “Jehovah revealing the light”. It’s an old cliche and no different to me than a Catholic priest I came across one time in service saying, “Some things are just not meant to be known.” I thoroughly believe all organized religion is flawed and it’s ones personal relationship with Jehovah and Christ that matters the most, not how many hours you went in service last month or if you commented at the Watchtower study last week.

  7. I was also born into JW’s. I agree with you David. I was raised in it doing what I was told but never felt an urge to be baptized. It
    haunts me to know that my father died believing full heartedly that he would see armageddon. Also devoting his life and suffering cut off ties between him and his parents for many years. Also because we fell apart just a few years before he died because of lies and false teachings made me stop attending meetings. Sorry for ranting. This is the first time I have been able to express this to other x JW’s. I’ve not even told my own siblings that aren’t in ‘the truth anymore these things. My e-mail is on here. It would be nice to discuss these things with others. I was only 20 yrs old when my father passed. Its been 8 yrs. And that religion still haunts me everyday!