Hello Andersoninfo - who writes the current WT ,mags?

by 1914BS 21 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • 1914BS

    Or is that top secret? I mean you probably have the connections but can't post these names because of a betrayal of trust even though you might be regarded as super apostate in the bethell circle of friends.

    I was a witness for the first 25 years of my life and I always thought that the WT mags were written by the FDS. Now I find these mags are written by non-annointed persons who wish to remain anonymous in order to portray the FDS as the actual author when in fact the WT writers are ghost writing for the FDS!!! If JWs really knew that the WT mags were written by average blokes then maybe we would see more leave.

  • Psychotic Parrot
    Psychotic Parrot

    They're written by idiots.

  • AllTimeJeff

    These questions are fascinating I know, as the GB wants to keep the writers as anonymous as possible.

    Ever wonder why? Because as plenty have noted, the GB rarely writes the material. If that got out as general knowledge, it would be sure to have a demoralizing effect on the flock, and the hypocrisy I am sure would be difficult to swallow.

    Bethel is a big political circuis. To be a writer of WT articles in particular is to be a fiction writer. Who does it isn't as important as the fact that the GB allows, promotes, and indoctrinates through these poorly written articles that are sourced to members of the "great crowd".

    As Lady Lee said, its the writing dept. I met several of those brothers, I knew several of the writers, and its not that big a deal. They have concepts given from the Writing Committee, write articles that are proofread, the overseers go to the GB members on the Writing Dept for their weekly meetings, and they are either approved as articles or sent back for more editing....

    There isn't one person responsible for this. It never has been, and frankly, its a rather disjoined effort when you get right down to it. Competition amongst the writers and politics frequently determine what goes into a magazine or publication.

  • AndersonsInfo

    Recollections From My Past in the Writing Department

    My experiences at Bethel agree with Ray Franz as he explained in his book Crisis of Conscience that it was the “other sheep” that did the bulk of the writing. Of course when he was in the Writing Department there were men who professed to be of the “anointed” that wrote. He was one of them and Karl Klein, Lloyd Barry and Ray Franz wrote while Franz was there. I don’t know if Dunlap or Reinhart Lingstat who collaborated on the Aid book were of the anointed.

    However, when I was in the Writing Department, some ten years later, there was not one of the anointed that did any writing. I can add some information to Ray's that might broaden the discussion although I was not privy to inside information on how the Writing Dept. operated except what I personally was involved with or what Harry Peloyan told me about.

    Evidence of How “Other Sheep” Provided Spiritual Food

    Senior writer, John Wischuk (primarily a writer for the Watchtower), kept a file for outside letters which came to Writing or Service that might lead to an article. There had to be five letters on the same subject to get into his file. During the weekly writer’s meeting that subject would be brought to everybody’s attention and after comments, a decision along with an assignment would be made, that is, if the subject was approved for an article. I believe that John would talk to Lloyd Barry before the meeting and Lloyd would introduce the subject.

    There were four senior writers who were Awake! compilers. And the same goes for the Watchtower. The job was on a rotation basis. I think it was every fourth issue that a man had to oversee the Awake! from start to finish. Compilers were Harry Peloyan, Sam Buck, Colin Quackenbush and Eric Beveridge. Probably, there have been changes to this group because these men are up in age now. Back then when they weren’t compiling, they wrote main articles for both magazines, books, bklts and talks.

    Names of writers back then: George Aljian, Eric Beveridge, Sam Buck, Steve Johnson, Syril Chan, David Iannelli, Dan Black, Eugene Smalley, Bob Pevy, Colin Quackenbush, Harry Peloyan, John Wischuck, Lee Waters, Manfred Vencebi, Circo Aulicino (infrequently except for the UN articles). I probably left out somebody, but these are the men I remember. I heard that Colin works in the Home Office now and Lee Watters is deceased. I have some names of others who are in the Writing Department since I left, but I don’t know if they are support people or writers. GB member, David Splane is in Writing as part of the Writing Committee, but I don’t know if he does any writing. He had been in the Service Department when I was at Bethel. A recent count indicated that there were about sixty people connected with the Writing Department. These are mostly support people.

    There was an Awake! team and a Watchtower team which operated basically the same way. All these men including junior writers were of the “other sheep” group. Junior writers wrote secondary articles, or maybe a cover series of articles, and if especially good writers, worked on major projects assigned to them by senior writers.

    I’m sure that wasn’t the only way magazine articles came to be. For instance, I can tell you about my personal experience in this regard and I wasn’t of the anointed. One time I made a suggestion to Awake! editor, Harry Peloyan, for an article; told him I had all the research material that one of his writers could use for the article since I had accumulated it while researching a subject for Proclaimers. Harry said the men were busy and told me to write the article, which I did. It was my first. But he knew I could do it because one day when I was making some copies at the copy machine he walked by and then turned around and came back and asked me to read copy from a branch writer and see if I would replace a few paragraphs being that the article was about women’s health issues. I was working for Karl Adams at the time so I did the work for Harry in the evening. My re-write made it into the article and into the magazine.

    One time, I heard that quite a number of phone calls came into Writing after one particular District Convention talk on Matthew 22:25-30 concerning the woman who married seven brothers, one at a time, after each husband died. The question was, “Consequently, in the resurrection, to which of the seven will she be wife?” Jesus replied: “…for in the resurrection neither do men marry nor are women given in marriage, but are as angels in heaven.”

    There were many questions about the Society’s interpretation of this point. At that time I was doing research for the Proclaimer’s book but I had the idea to see just how often the literature addressed these scriptures from 1879 onward. I then proposed to Harry Peloyan that I would give him the results of my research. He thought it was a great idea. When I finished I had a stack of loose pages that totaled up to about two inches in height. I also summarized what I found and gave everything to him. Harry and Colin Quackenbush discussed it and sent a letter to the GB with their input. It was about six months later when they received a letter from the GB stating that due to the ambiguous nature of Jesus words, they were going to stop discussing these scriptures henceforth. How about that for reverse “new light”?

    Another time when I was talking to Colin Quackenbush, I told him about the problems with ADHD and ADD kids. He listened and a few months later asked me to write a cover series of articles on the subject, which I did.

    The Anointed Governing Body’s Connection to Providing Spiritual Food

    The Teaching Committee, with much input from Service and Writing, plays an important part in GB decisions as to what topics should become books, booklets or convention talks. Different people in these departments are part of the process to make known to the GB organizational problems, etc.

    One time a manuscript about Jesus life was given to the Society written by a JW outside of Bethel. I was told that out of that came Jesus Life and Ministry book. To my knowledge the original author was not one of the anointed.

    Senior writers (none claiming to be anointed) read major NY newspapers every morning and would put a check mark next to articles for keeping. Barbara Adams and another woman cut out the checked articles and they were filed in a big cabinet named the “Source File.” The writers kept a look-out for secular subjects that grew bigger in importance as the days passed, and eventually that subject made its way to the Awake!” from the Bible’s viewpoint, of course. I often heard JWs comment as I toured them in the Writing Department that articles were right up to date and Jehovah’s Holy Spirit was responsible. They would say, “Even before a subject is big, the magazines are addressing the issue.” No, I’d tell them, informed WT writers were responsible.

    Branch writers were assigned to look for things to write about and would regularly submit articles that were filed in a special cabinet. These articles became the secondary articles in the Awake!. However they also wrote assigned cover series magazine articles. I never heard of one of these men being of the anointed, but of course, there might have been one.

    I never heard of anyone at Brooklyn that stepped into Freddie’s shoes as “oracle.” Although I’ve read late WT articles and books, they don’t have anything which slightly resembles Freddie’s writing mode. Most likely the GB doesn’t want any writer to have that kind of power anymore. To my way of thinking, they probably want writers to do what they do best, continue to write articles that are not sensational and out of this world like Freddie’s were, but just the same ole’ humdrum material that the Witnesses are accustomed to receive from the “Faithful and Discreet Slave Class.”

    “New Light” From the Top?

    “New light” has to work its way through channels. This is some of what I observed: Junior writers learn the channels, one of which is to go to a senior writer with an idea. Always, certain members like Henschel and Jaracz had to give the okay for “new light” to go forward or a “new light” item to go into a magazine. Certain senior writers had close friendships with GB members and discussed their ideas, feelings or research on a subject. A GB member can come up with an idea and introduce it to the other GB for approval, and if agreed upon, a senior writer is assigned to write an article or write or compile a book. Schroeder came up with the “Nethinim” or “Given Ones” idea and assigned Gene Smalley to write an article (April 15, 1992) which proved to be fallacious. There are numerous ways “new light” ideas get to the GB, but basically the brainchild has to be approved by them before it goes anywhere.

    One time Klein talked about something he came up with at morning worship before he told the other GB members. He explained to the Bethel family how we don’t vindicate Jehovah’s name, we vindicate his sovereignty. And, lickity-split that idea became “new light.” I remember, Karl was so excited about his brainchild that when he arrived at work that morning it was as if he had been given his youth back. He was kind of hopping and jumping around and running his idea by anybody who would listen, including me.

    There were many non-Witness commentaries in the library of the Writing Dept. I even bought some for myself when I was there. A commentary was very useful to someone trying to understand a Bible verse and see if he could figure out something that would agree with WT’s thoughts on the matter. If we were studying a particular doctrine as I was at one time, we looked at commentaries to see what they said. If the problem seemed to be that WT’s stance was under a microscope by outside JWs and the evidence was in a worldly scholar’s ballpark, then out came the commentaries. If WT was thought to be wrong then it might develop into “new light.”

    Researching Information

    I was in Writing’s library constantly and hardly ever saw a writer looking through the old literature on the shelves. Of course, most of the senior writers had been there for forty years or more and were probably very tired of it all. The apostate material was available in a closet. Who read the books and booklets is something I don’t know. I would expect they were curious about what Ray said, so read his books. I never heard any comments one way or the other.

    WT Indexes were definitely in use then but now the WT Library on CD-ROM makes everything so much easier for the writers and also for researchers. I really can’t offer any information about the Society publishing commentaries on Bible books except to say the best one for that job would have been Karl Adams but he’s dead. I guess it would go to a team of researchers, men and women, under the control of one writer who excelled at that kind of endeavor, but who it would be nowadays, I have no idea.

    A few people in Writing knew quite a bit of the past history of the WT, but from the revisionist point of view. Richard Abrahamson, then overseer of the Art Dept. (a dept. that fell under the control of Writing) was originally assigned to oversee the writing of the Proclaimer’s book, was very interested in the old history. Richard had no time for the book, so Karl Adams was assigned. Karl is dead now. Of course, he learned a lot on the job because he worked on Proclaimers, but prided himself as being a historian of the WT. Also, Iannelli, Black, and Potter (in research) could articulately discuss some parts of the history. I have no idea if any of them read Studies in the Scriptures. All the old literature was in the Library, but I don’t know who, if anybody, had really done an in-depth personal study or not. I know, like me, others used the old literature to find a good Russell quote to be used in something we were working on.

    Repetition for Emphasis

    Some readers of WT literature have suggested that WT recycles old articles for new. From what I see in the literature, I don’t think that they have any innovative thinkers; consequently, they are stuck in a rut. The boundaries imposed by the GB on topics are narrow and to stay within these boundaries is challenging. Hence, repetition for emphasis. They will repeat some subjects again and again because they really have nothing else to say. When is the last time there were any deeper doctrinal articles discussing hell, Trinity, and immortality of the soul? Maybe they’ve published such articles in the magazines and I just missed them. But from what I've read, it’s all about “Soon this world will end.”

  • Satanus

    'When is the last time there were any deeper doctrinal articles discussing hell, Trinity, and immortality of the soul? '

    That the wt drought is serious is shown by their propensity to write about what they DON'T believe, instead of going deeper into their actual beliefs.

    Btw, thanks barb for explaining the workings of wt writing.


  • daniel-p

    Good point, Barbara, that the WTS simply does not have, or allow, innovative, original thinkers in the Writing Department. The funny thing is, you'd think individual GB members would be chomping at the bit to don the Franz Hat and extol whatever insights they've collected over the years in the magazines. But because the GB is so entrenched in stale and conservative ideas, it seems they're afraid to let anyone speak out and say something actually interesting. You can see this with the occasional DC with an outspoken GB member (Losch) or higher-up (Ciro); that the eagerness to improvise exists, but that the GB has constructed this abstract "faithful slave" concept that doesn't dispense any real, substantive, or new information.

  • Room 215
    Room 215

    Excelelent Barbara, thanks. Re: Someone emerging to succeed Fred Franz as the Society's "oracle." In my view that will never happen. In the first case, nobody to date has demonstrated anything remotely the requisite imagination, flamboyance and brain power; secondly, and probably just as important, politically the present GB is more than unlikely to allow one of its peers to rise to that level of prominence and wrest a disproportionate level of attention (and prestige) from the pack.

  • 1914BS
    Schroeder came up with the “Nethinim” or “Given Ones” idea and assigned Gene Smalley to write an article (April 15, 1992) which proved to be fallacious.

    Hey I remember that even though I was out in 1985. That proves that these so called anointed are nothing more than hot air. I did not know that the art dept was under the writing dept.

  • AndersonsInfo

    Just for the record, Colin Quackenbush died. I thought he died in 2007, but then someone told me that he was alive and worked in the Home Office, but that wasn't true.

    1914BS: When I was in Bethel both Art and Graphics were under the direction of Writing (Lloyd Barry).


  • steve2

    Klein's "new lease of life" after he realized the power that accompanies new light is revealing but also a little sad:

    The organization has such a tight grip on the "truth" that when an indivdual with some authority scome up with new light all by himself, it must seem like a heady, exciting trip, as if God himself had used that individual!

    The sad part is about the flimsy illusion that holds the "truth" together. This is a good example of how easily humans can talk themselves into believing they have a special role to play in the divine scheme of things. Just like children who claim to have better toys than their friends!

  • stillajwexelder

    excellent information and thread - thanks

  • wha happened?
    wha happened?

    This is interesting but not surprising. I'm not at all surprised that those not claiming to be of the annointed are writing articals. Most of what seems to go on in NY is different than what the avg JW thinks.

  • cameo-d

    I think the writing has been directed by a very sophisticated group of social psychologists for a long time.

    I am curious to know if WT has any connection to a publishing house out of Bellefonte, Pennsylvania.

    It is called Strong Tower Publications and this scripture is part of it's logo. It just sounds like WT manipulation.

    Strong Tower Publications

    The name of Jehovah is a strong tower; The righteous runneth into it, and is safe.

    Proverbs 18:10

    Maybe someone could trace down the property location and the DBA's to see if WT is connected.

    The logo image is also a prominent watchtower foremost, but shows it is connected to a larger fortress structure.

    (subliminally---very telling!)

  • 1914BS


    So was it LLoyd Barry that removed the word's "20 th century" ?

  • AndersonsInfo

    1914BS: Here's some back ground information about the words, "20th century":

    Eugene Smalley wrote the article under discussion and when the copy went through editing, the words, "20th century" were not caught then but after the article was published.

    The Bethel family receives the magazines in their rooms before anybody else. That magazine was in the hands of Bethelites only a few days when the problematic words caused a bit of a panic in the Writing Dept. (I don’t know who caught the blunder but I never got the impression it was Lloyd Barry.) After the 1975 debacle, the rule in the Dept. was not to date-set in any way. However, Gene Smalley did his own thing. He was in hot water over this but he retained his "privileges."

    In 1989, the Writing Committee was made up of Barry, Barr, and Klein. They were part of the editing process, but too many times Barry and Barr were away on "Zone" visits to other countries and only Klein was there to edit. Because of his age and health, he was far from having the mental agility to do editing. So, if Barry and Barr weren't there to do the work, when they returned, they suffered from jet lag; Or day to day, they just had too much on their minds to stay focused enough to read and edit copy. That's the reasons, I was told, the words "20th century" were not red-lined by anybody on the Writing Committee.

    Inasmuch as the article seemingly had the approval of the Writing Committee whose hands the article or book went through first for review, it was unlikely that anybody else would question such a statement. All of the seventeen people in editing positions do not do the same thing with copy. Generally, it was up to only a few like the Writing Committee to question, evaluate, or analyze theological arguments. Others were expected to check source copies to see if statements were factual. First of all the premise is that an experienced senior writer had done his homework. Also, editors would assume that someone like Smalley had approval for a statement like the one we're discussing.

    After the "20th century" blunder, I was told the Writing Committee acknowledged they were too old and maybe too worn out, especially from travel, to be able to edit properly. So when the assistants to the Governing Body arrangement came into existence, the Writing Committee no longer reviewed each magazine; the job went to their specially appointed younger assistants.

  • daniel-p

    After the "20th century" blunder, I was told the Writing Committee acknowledged they were too old and maybe too worn out, especially from travel, to be able to edit properly. So when the assistants to the Governing Body arrangement came into existence, the Writing Committee no longer reviewed each magazine; the job went to their specially appointed younger assistants.

    So no GB members review the entire magazines before they are published?

  • AndersonsInfo

    daniel-p: I have no idea how it is now. I only can speak about the way it was when I was in the organization. I left in 1998 before all the new GB members were put in place. Perhaps Splane takes a more active role in this matter.

  • tornapart

    Btt..Found this really interesting! Thanks for the info as always Barbara. :)

  • Londo111


    Did the problem of 607 come up in your hearing? Obviously, since the early 80's until last year, there was no substantive material on the issue, and it seems the strategy was to just be quiet about it.

  • james_woods
    My experiences at Bethel agree with Ray Franz as he explained in his book Crisis of Conscience that it was the “other sheep” that did the bulk of the writing. Of course when he was in the Writing Department there were men who professed to be of the “anointed” that wrote. He was one of them and Karl Klein, Lloyd Barry and Ray Franz wrote while Franz was there. I don’t know if Dunlap or Reinhart Lingstat who collaborated on the Aid book were of the anointed.

    Barbara, Ed Dunlap told me before he left Bethel that he refused to partake of the emblems himself until the Society got their heads around the idea that the two-class system was unscriptural. He felt it would be hypocritical to partake under false pretenses, so to speak. This was a hot button issue with Ed - he had long thought that the whole "annointed only partaking" ritual was BS scripturally and was really the root of all that was wrong with WT doctrine. It was more important to him even than the various false prophecies and stupid chronology.

    So, no - in Witness viewpoint he was never annointed. He wrote a number of WT articles and also single-handedly wrote the book about James.

    He also told me that even the editorial review process was very seldom actually done by the governing body people. That may have changed for a time after he and Ray Franz got kicked out out of "apostacy paranoia" but I bet it has reverted back to the way it was pre-1980 by now.

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