I was df'd and then reinstated in the early eighties. The announcement was made after 1985 because I remember very clearly sitting at the KH with my husband when the request was made. I paid very careful attention at every meeting because I was still in my "trying to prove how repentant and good I can be" phase. Anyway, the reason given in our congregation was "there is a wealth of historical information and knowledge in these older books and we should cooperate with this request so that they can be kept in the library where everyone in the congregation, including newer ones can have access to them and enjoy them." Sounds great! And they were kept in the library for a number of years. Then a request was made that no one should just go and help themselves to the books on their own but they should sign them out with an elder so they could keep track of them. Then it was requested that they only be researched in the library and not taken out at all as some were not being returned. Still, sounds innocent enough. Later the books quietly disappeared out of the library, no announcement or explanation given. I asked my husband where they had gone because I was bored sitting in the library with my very noisy baby every meeting and I wanted something to read and he told me they had gotten rid of them to make room during the renovation. I had no idea this was going on in every KH and so thought nothing sinister was afoot.
Now, I am inclined to believe this was a very gradual reclaiming of the old information to take it out of circulation. I have a real love of history and old books and literature and decided on my own to add to my classical collection by collecting all the society's old books on e-bay. I found a first edition of Russell's Divine Plan of the ages on the internet. The one with the pyramid on the cover and the chart in side.
When I showed it to my closest friend she told me that we were not supposed to read those old books. I asked her why not as it was a part of our history. She told me her father, who is also a PO in the cong told her the society had told the elders not to encourage the publishers to read them as too many people were becoming confused about their faith. This was news to me, but sure enough, anytime I showed an elder my "rare find" they would get this surprised look on their face and show a definite lack of interest in looking at the book. This was just a couple of years ago. Now I am more determined than ever to collect some of the earlier writings. If I could only get my hands on all those bound KM's and mags my father used to keep. Although, I am sure he has dutifully turned them all in. He does love to follow the rules.