Discussion with my parents about WTS

by GBSJG 39 Replies latest jw friends

  • jstalin
    And they also believe that 1914 is a significant year because all historians agree so.

    But why is it more significant than 1492, 1776, 1779, 1789, 1861, 1913, 1917, 1929, 1939, 1945, 1989, 1991, or even 2001? Serious events which had as much or more effect on history happened in those years. Why is 1914 special?

    In addition, what scriptural basis is there for an invisible enthronement? See Matthew 24:30 and Revelation 1:7 - "every eye shall see him."

  • poppers

    Welcome to the board. It's nice to know that you can have such an open discussion with your parents. I was struck by what you said,
    "They said that as long as you believe the important doctrines and don't go talking about your doubts or alternative doctrines with others with the purpose to bring the WTS in a bad light it is not apostate or at least my parents don't consider it as begin apostate. They also said that they have discussed some other minor things with other JWs with who they feel they could talk about these things without undermining their faith in the WTS."
    Notice the tendency to tip toe around things, and the underlying fear. Honest doubts shouldn't generate fear, and having such doubts doesn't necessarily mean you are trying to undermine the WTS. But, I would be willing to bet that your parents wouldn't bring those honest doubts to the attention of the elders.

  • kristyann

    GBSJG - I am glad to hear about your conversations with your parents... keep researching and keep up the good work.

  • startingover

    I found the book "Captives of a concept" to be every helpful, and you can get a pdf version on the website.


  • ferret

    Welcome GBSJG. Your parents are truly concerned because right now they do not have an alterative choice to go to. Be patient with them the org. is the only life they know.


    One concept that really upset me was that in 1995...they CHANGED the meaning of generation (Matt.24:34). They had to because the generation that saw 1914 was all but dead! Here we are in 2006...how can anyone explain this one away? This religion is based on the 1914 date and that prophecy has FAILED. According to Deut. 13...a prophet is either true or false. There is no changing!!! Many at this point will quote Proverbs 4:18 about the light gettting brighter. First off, the way the WTS uses that scripture is totally out of context...(read the entire chapter)and it NEVER says the light CHANGES, but gets BRIGHTER, which would indicate that a point would be more fully understood. But again that is not even what that verse is talking about!!! I think you will find that by reading the entire chapters of the Bible you will find that the WTS has picked out verses to use for a point they want to make and have taken many verses out of context!!! That was very eye-opening for me also.

    Enjoy your journey of discovering the truth....


  • james_woods

    If I could just sugggest - my fist realization that something was amiss came after researching the case for substitution of the name Jehovah all through the New Testament. This was just done as a sort of "leap of faith". There are some good threads here on this subject. That happened for me way back in 1970 when I was a pioneer and assis. cong. servant where the need was great. I actually questioned a later GB member (Albert Shroeder) about it at KM school and got told not to be questioning the translation committee!

    Another point which is so obvious is the absurdity to suggest that the creative days were really exactly 7000 years - I mean really! If you are going to say they were symbolic, then OK - but why not pick an indeterminate time or else a time span which fits the archeological and scientific evidence? After all, I can't see where this 7000 year thing is really taught by the bible at all.

    Good luck; & Don't let the fear factor stop you from doing this research.

  • greendawn

    They had been exploiting that 1914 generation idea for 80 years to pressure their members into selling their books and magazines with a supposed end always being just round the corner.

    So it's not just a case of them just changing an erroneous concept but also of apologising for the way they were using it to exploit them.

    Also they claim the WTS is not inspired, they claim that they are spirit directed which is the same thing.

  • bebu

    If you are unfamiliar with the amazing admissions in a trial held in Scotland, your parents might have some more difficulty accepting that the WTS expects to follow them even if they are false prophets... which is contrary to the Biblical message, of course. You can order a copy from Scotland yourself-- a microfiche of the trial is around $100, while the whole huge manuscripte is closer to $1000. I have a letter from the court clerk somewhere.

    This trial occurred in 1954, and the head brass of the WTS came to testify in it. They wanted to support a JWs claim that he was a minister, and could be exempted from service (if I recall that point correctly). I don't think the JW won the case, but no matter; the bald statements about loyalty to the WTS over God really surprised everyone!

    ATTORNEY: Can you tell me this; are these theological publications and the semi-monthly periodicals used for discussion of statements of doctrine?

    F.FRANZ: Yes.

    ATTORNEY: Are these statements of doctrine held to be authoritative within the Society?

    F.FRANZ: Yes.

    ATTORNEY: Is their acceptance a matter of choice, or is it obligatory on all those who wish to be and remain members of the Society?

    F.FRANZ: It is obligatory. ..

    ATTORNEY: So that there will be in effect a new human society existing on earth as the result of that?

    F.FRANZ: Yes. There will be a new world society in a new earth under new heavens, the former heavens and the former earth having passed away in the battle of Armageddon.

    ATTORNEY: Then the population of this new earth, will that consist of Jehovah's Witnesses alone?

    F.FRANZ: Initially it will consist of Jehovah's Witnesses alone. The members of the remnant expect to survive that battle of Armageddon the same as a great crowd of these other sheep. The continuance of the remnant upon the earth after the battle of Armageddon will be temporary because they must finish their earthly course faithful in death, but the other sheep by continued obedience to the will of God may continue to live on earth for ever. ..

    ATTORNEY: And are these disciplinary powers in fact exercised when the occasion arises?

    F.FRANZ: Yes, they are.

    ATTORNEY: Well I will not ask you any more questions about that side of the matter but are there offences which are regarded as so grave as to warrant expulsion without hope of re-instatement?

    F.FRANZ: Yes. The fact is that ex-communication in itself can lead to the annihilation of the ex-communicated one, if that individual never repented and corrected his course of action, and he continued outside the organisation. There would be no hope of life for him in the new world, but there is a course of action which would result in ex-communication from which the individual could be certain never to return, and this is called the sin against the Holy Spirit. ..

    ATTORNEY: Is it not the case that Pastor Russell put that date in 1874?

    F.FRANZ: No.

    ATTORNEY: Is it not the case that he fixed the date prior to 1914?

    F.FRANZ: Yes.

    ATTORNEY: What date did he fix?

    F.FRANZ: The end of the time of the Gentiles he fixed as 1914.

    ATTORNEY: Did he not fix 1874 as some other crucial date?

    F.FRANZ: 1874 used to be understood as the date of Jesus' Second Coming spiritually.

    ATTORNEY: Do you say, used to be understood? F.FRANZ: That is right.

    ATTORNEY: That was issued as a fact which was to be accepted by all who were Jehovah's Witnesses?

    F.FRANZ: Yes.

    ATTORNEY: That is no longer now accepted, is it?

    F.FRANZ: No.

    ATTORNEY: Pastor Russell in so concluding posted the view, did he not, on an interpretation of the Book of Daniel?

    F.FRANZ: Partly.

    ATTORNEY: And in particular Daniel, chapter 7 Verse 7, and Daniel, Chapter 12, Verse 12?

    F.FRANZ: Daniel, 7:7 and 12:12. What did you say, he based some thing on these Scriptures?

    ATTORNEY: His date of 1874 as a crucial date and the date of Christ's Second Coming?

    F.FRANZ: No.

    ATTORNEY: What did you say he fixed it as; I understood that is what you said, I must have misunderstood you?

    F.FRANZ: He did not base 1874 on these Scriptures.

    ATTORNEY: He based it on these Scriptures coupled with the view that the Austro-Gothic Monarchy occurred in 539?

    F.FRANZ: Yes. 539 was a date that he used in the calculation. But 1874 was not based on that.

    ATTORNEY: But it was a calculation which is no longer accepted by the Board of Directors of the Society?

    F.FRANZ: That is correct.

    ATTORNEY: So that am I correct, I am just anxious to canvas the position; it became the bounden duty of the Witnesses to accept this miscalculation?

    F.FRANZ: Yes. ..

    ATTORNEY: So that what is published as the truth today by the Society may have to be admitted to be wrong in a few years?

    F.FRANZ: We have to wait and see.

    ATTORNEY: And in the meantime the body of Jehovah's Witnesses have been following error?

    F.FRANZ: They have been following misconstructions on the Scriptures.

    ATTORNEY: Error?

    F.FRANZ: Well, error. ..

    F.FRANZ: In order to become an Ordained Minister of a congregation he must come to an understanding of the things contained in these books.

    ATTORNEY: But, then, is baptism not the ordaining of a person as a Minister?

    F.FRANZ: Yes.

    ATTORNEY: Therefore at baptism must he know those books?

    F.FRANZ: He must understand the purposes of God which are set forth in those books.

    ATTORNEY: Set forth in those books, and set forth in those books as an interpretation of the Bible?

    F.FRANZ: These books give an exposition on the whole Scriptures.

    ATTORNEY: But an authoritative exposition?

    F.FRANZ: They submit the Bible or the statements that are therein made, and the individual examines the statement and then the Scripture to see that the statement is Scripturally supported.

    ATTORNEY: He what?

    F.FRANZ: He examines the Scripture to see whether the statement is supported by the Scripture. As the Apostle says: 'Prove all things; hold fast that which is good'.

    ATTORNEY: I understood the position to be - do please correct me if I am wrong - that a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses must accept as a true Scripture and interpretation what is given in the books I referred you to?

    F.FRANZ: But he does not compulsorily do so, he is given his Christian right of examining the Scriptures to confirm that this is Scripturally sustained.

    ATTORNEY: And if he finds that the Scripture is not sustained by the books, or vice versa, what does he do?

    F.FRANZ: The Scripture is there in support of the statement, that is why it is put there.

    ATTORNEY: What does a man do if he finds a disharmony between the Scripture and those books?

    F.FRANZ: You will have to produce me a man who does find that, then I can answer, or he will answer.

    ATTORNEY: Did you imply that the individual member has the right of reading the books and the Bible and forming his own view as to the proper interpretation of Holy Writ?

    F.FRANZ: He comes -

    ATTORNEY: Would you say yes or no, and then qualify?

    F.FRANZ: No. Do you want me to qualify now?

    ATTORNEY: Yes, if you wish?

    F.FRANZ: The Scripture is there given in support of the statement, and therefore the individual when he looks up the Scripture and thereby verifies the statement, then he comes to the Scriptural view of the matter, Scriptural understanding as it is written in Acts, the seventeenth chapter and the eleventh verse, that the Bereans were more noble than those of Thessalonica in that they received the Word with all readiness, and they searched the Scripture to see whether those things were so, and we instruct to follow that noble course of the Bereans in searching the Scripture to see whether these things were so.

    ATTORNEY: A Witness has no alternative, has he, to accept as authoritative and to be obeyed instructions issued in the 'Watchtower' or the 'Informant' or 'Awake'?

    F.FRANZ: He must accept those. ..

    ATTORNEY: Is there any hope of salvation for a man who depends upon his Bible alone when he is in a situation in the world where he cannot get the tracts and publications of your Incorporation?

    F.FRANZ: He is dependent upon the Bible.

    ATTORNEY: Will he be able to interpret it truly?

    F.FRANZ: No.

    ATTORNEY: I do not want to bandy texts with you, but didn't Jesus say, 'Whosoever believeth in me, liveth' and 'who believeth in me shall never die'?

    F.FRANZ: Yes. ..

    ATTORNEY: Is it not vital to speak the truth on religious matters?

    H.COVINGTON: It certainly is.

    ATTORNEY: Is there in your view room in a religion for a change of interpretation of Holy Writ from time to time?

    H.COVINGTON: There is every reason for a change in interpretation as we view it, of the Bible. Our view becomes more clear as we see the prophesy fulfilled by time.

    ATTORNEY: You have promulgated - forgive the word - false prophesy?

    H.COVINGTON: We have - I do not think we have promulgated false prophesy, there have been statements that were erroneous, that is the way I put it, and mistaken.

    ATTORNEY: Is it a most vital consideration in the present situation of the world to know if the prophesy can be interpreted into terms of fact, when Christ's Second Coming was?

    H.COVINGTON: That is true, and we have always striven to see that we have the truth before we utter it. We go on the very best information we have but we cannot wait until we get perfect, because if we wait until we get perfect we would never be able to speak.

    ATTORNEY: Let us follow that up just a little. It was promulgated as a matter which must be believed by all members of Jehovah's Witnesses that the Lord's Second Coming took place in 1874?

    H.COVINGTON: I am not familiar with that. You are speaking on a matter that I know nothing of.

    ATTORNEY: You heard Mr. Franz's evidence?

    H.COVINGTON: I heard Mr. Franz testify, but I am not familiar with what he said on that, I mean the subject matter of what he was talking about, so I cannot answer any more than you can, having heard what he said.

    ATTORNEY: Leave me out of it?

    H.COVINGTON: That is the source of my information, what I have heard in court.

    ATTORNEY: You have studied the literature of your movement?

    H.COVINGTON: Yes, but not all of it. I have not studied the seven volumes of 'Studies in the Scriptures,' and I have not studied this matter that you are mentioning now of 1874. I am not at all familiar with that.

    ATTORNEY: Assume from me that it was promulgated as authoritative by the Society that Christ's Second Coming was in 1874?

    H.COVINGTON: Taking that assumption as a fact, it is a hypothetical statement.

    ATTORNEY: That was the publication of false prophesy?

    H.COVINGTON: That was the publication of a false prophesy, it was a false statement or an erroneous statement in fulfilment of a prophesy that was false or erronious.

    ATTORNEY: And that had to be believed by the whole of Jehovah's Witnesses?

    H.COVINGTON: Yes, because you must understand we must have unity, we cannot have disunity with a lot of people going every way, an army is supposed to march in step.

    ATTORNEY: You do not believe in the worldly armies, do you?

    H.COVINGTON: We believe in the Christian Army of God.

    ATTORNEY: Do you believe in the worldly armies?

    H.COVINGTON: We have nothing to say about that, we do not preach against them, we merely say that the worldly armies, like the nations of the world today, are a part of Satan's Organisation, and we do not take part in them, but we do not say the nations cannot have their armies, we do not preach against warfare, we are merely claiming our exemption from it, that is all.

    ATTORNEY: Back to the point now. A false prophesy was promulgated?

    H.COVINGTON: I agree that.

    ATTORNEY: It had to be accepted by Jehovah's Witnesses?

    H.COVINGTON: That is correct.

    ATTORNEY: If a member of Jehovah's Witnesses took the view himself that that prophesy was wrong and said so he would be disfellowshipped?

    H.COVINGTON: Yes, if he said so and kept persisting in creating trouble, because if the whole organisation believes one thing, even though it be erroneous and somebody else starts on his own trying to put his ideas across then there is disunity and trouble, there cannot be harmony, there cannot be marching. When a change comes it should come from the proper source, the head of the organisation, the governing body, not from the bottom upwards, because everybody would have ideas, and the organisation would disintegrate and go in a thousand different directions. Our purpose is to have unity.

    ATTORNEY: Unity at all costs?

    H.COVINGTON: Unity at all costs, because we believe and are sure that Jehovah God is using our organisation, the governing body of our organisation to direct it, even though mistakes are made from time to time.

    ATTORNEY: And unity based upon an enforced acceptance of false prophecy?

    H.COVINGTON: That is conceded to be true.

    ATTORNEY: And the person who expressed his view, as you say, that it was wrong, and was disfellowshipped, would be in breach of the Covenant, if he was baptized?

    H.COVINGTON: That is correct.

    ATTORNEY: And as you said yesterday expressly, would be worthy of death?

    H.COVINGTON: I think-

    ATTORNEY: Would you say yes or no?

    H.COVINGTON: I will answer yes, unhesitatingly.

    ATTORNEY: Do you call that religion?

    H.COVINGTON: It certainly is.

    ATTORNEY: Do you call it Christianity?

    H.COVINGTON: I certainly do. ..

    ATTORNEY: In connection with mistakes, you were cross-examined at some length as to differences of view which might have taken place in the authoritative exposition of the Scriptures over the years since the foundation of the Society, and I think you agreed there had been differences?


    ATTORNEY: You also quite frankly agreed that persons who at any time are not prepared to accept authoritative exposition are liable to expulsion from the Society, with such spiritual consequences as that may entail?

    H.COVINGTON: Yes, I said that and I state it again. ..

    ATTORNEY: What is the position of a Company Servant in that respect?

    G.SUITER: He must have met the qualifications that have been previously testified to, of maturity and understanding and spiritual understanding, and in ability to read the Congregation. He must have that training previously mentioned in the Theocratic Ministry School, be a leader in the field ministry itself, be apt to teach, and otherwise have qualifications that the Scriptures laid down. Man cannot lay down qualifications that the Scriptures do not, you see.

    ATTORNEY: That is in general terms. But to come down to actual practice, he must attend the Theocratic Ministry School, must he not?

    G.SUITER: Yes.

    ATTORNEY: And there he finds the library?

    G.SUITER: Yes.

    ATTORNEY: Isn't he expected to familiarise himself with the publications of the Society?

    G.SUITER: He certainly is.

    ATTORNEY: Indeed can he in the view of Jehovah's Witnesses have an understanding of the Scriptures apart from the publications of Jehovah's Witnesses?

    G.SUITER: No.

    ATTORNEY: Only by the publications can he have a right understanding of the Scriptures?

    G.SUITER: That is right.

    ATTORNEY: Is that not arrogance?

    G.SUITER: No.

    ATTORNEY: You heard the evidence about 1874 having been found to be wrong as a material and crucial date, and about 1925 being a wrong date. On these two items, acceptance and absolute acceptance as Truth was imposed upon all Jehovah's Witnesses at the time?

    G.SUITER: That is right.

    {Pursuer's Proof, Ministry of Labour and National Service v. Douglas Walsh, Scottish Court of Sessions Nov 1954}

    Good luck with this one.


  • jwfacts

    Welcome GB, and all the best on your search for truth.

    That the WTS can be guided by spirit but fallible is impossible by definition. There are many quotes and some explanation about this concept at http://jwfacts.com/index_files/holyspirit.htm that may help your parents.

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