Watchtower Custom Prints Bibles for Babylon (1992)

by cabasilas 31 Replies latest watchtower scandals

  • cabasilas

    I started a thread on this many years ago but did not have the documentation ready. I recently unearthed the documentation and have put it into a PDF.

    Back about 15 years ago my best friend worked for a Christian Book Store. He used to order foreign Bibles for the store and one evening I was thumbing through a Thai Bible on the shelf and was dumbstruck. The endsheets and some of the maps where identical to the NWT except they were in Thai. But, it wasn't the NWT in Thai. It was published by Thailand Bible Society. We decided to contact the Thailand Bible Society and got a reply admitting that yes, the Bibles had been printed for them by the Watchtower Society. It was not the NWT but some version the JWs liked because it uses "Jehovah" in the Old Testament. This version is known as Thai Bible OV83.

    I've made a PDF of the correspondence between my friend and the Thailand Bible Society. The initial queries were not too pointed because we were not sure if we were dealing with a JW organization. It turned out that this was a regular Bible Society of Christendom. The official from the Thailand Bible Society said the Watchtower received permission in 1992 to publish the Thai Bible OV83. There were 2 different editions printed by the Watchtower Society. The first print run was for JW use. But, what we had found was one of the copies from the second print run which was a custom edition the WT Society did for the Thailand Bible Society. This custom edition removed "Watchtower" from the publisher's page (the page after the title page) and only listed the Thailand Bible Society. In other words, the Society did a special custom print job for one of the Bible Societies of Christendom!

    Page 5 of the PDF file shows that the Watchtower edition's publishers page compared with the publisher's page of the Thailand Bible Society. The WT edition had 4,500 copies and clearly mentions it was printed by the Watchtower. The 2,000 copies printed by the Watchtower for the Thailand Bible Society omitted the Watchtower imprint and only lists the Thailand Bible Society as the publisher. The Watchtower Society did a custom imprint for the Thailand Bible Society! Page 17 of the PDF file contains a statement by the Thailand Bible Society that they ordered 2,000 copies of the Thai Bible OV83 from the Watchtower Society "following the normal procedures of buying and selling."

    Let me be clear. There was nothing illegal or unethical involved here. Custom imprinting is done all the time in the publishing business. My guess is that the Watchtower Society contacted the Thailand Bible Society for permission to print the Thai Bible OV83 and the Thailand Bible Society asked if they could get some copies for themselves to use also. On one level, I want to say "Bravo!" to the Watchtower Society for working with another religious organization. That would be a step forward for them. However, the Watchtower Society has not renounced its separtist stance regarding other religions. What is clear is that the Watchtower Society violated its own principles in doing a custom print job for a Bible Society of what they think is Babylon the Great. The brothers at Brooklyn Bethel produced 2,000 Bibles as a print job for the Thailand Bible Society. Mind you, these Bibles were a special print run that removed the word "Watchtower" from them and only contained the name of the Thailand Bible Society as the publisher.

    Can you imagine what would happen if a JW were to do a job for a church? Say, a JW roofer contractor taking a contract for re-roofing a church? Or, a JW working in a factory which specialized in making religious items? Or, a JW working in a Christian bookstore? That would not be allowed and they'd face disfellowshipping and shunning. But, here the Watchtower Society does custom printing for another religious organization!

    The PDF (about 2.5 MB) of the correspondence with the Thailand Bible Society can be downloaded from this filesharing site:

    The file contains copies of pages from both the Watchtower version of the Thai Bible OV83 and the Thailand Bible version as well as a picture of the Bible itself.

  • James Free
    James Free

    A Bible is a bible. The WT would not consider it as anything special. They sometimes quote from other translations if it suits them. Good research, but this is a non story.

  • cabasilas

    There certainly is nothing wrong with the Watchtower printing another Bible translation. They've done that for years. They've printed the King James, American Standard, Emphatic Diaglott and the Byington Bibles (among others).

    But, can you imagine the presses in Brooklyn printing up thousands of Bibles for the American Bible Society with the American Bible Society imprint and no indication they were produced by the Watchtower? That's what this situation is about. The Watchtower contracted to print Bibles for another religious organization. It did a custom print job for them. It printed these Bibles without any indication they were published by the Watchtower and put the name of the religious organization on the publisher's page.

    I checked the ISBN of the Thailand Bible edition of OV83. The Thailand Bible Society says they had the Watchtower ship 1,000 copies to the American Bible Society in New York. Those copies are out of stock now:

    edited to add:

    Looks like the link above doesn't work. The ISBN for the Thai Bible 0V83 printed by the Watchtower for the Thailand Bible Society is 9748183009.

  • AlmostAtheist

    I understand James' point, but how would the congregation react if a brother's publishing company produced Bibles for a local church's bible giveaway? "While the idea of distributing Bibles is noble, Brother Printer, do you really believe Christendom won't be misusing these Bibles by promoting false religious ideas?"

    I seriously doubt Brother Printer would get away with it.


  • cabasilas

    Another example: Brooklyn Bethel has an excellent hand bindery which restores many books for the various libraries inside Bethel. Can you imagine the brothers in the Bethel hand bindery doing restoration work of pew Bibles for local churches in the New York area, including imprints of the name of the church on the Bible?

    If the Society had just sold 2,000 copies of the Watchtower edition of this Thai Bible to the Thailand Bible Society that would not be objectionable. Instead, they made a special edition for the Thailand Bible Society without the name "Watchtower" as publisher and replaced that with "Thailand Bible Society, Bangkok Thailand" as the publishers. In short, by contracting to print these Bibles for the Thailand Bible Society they ended up promoting the work of the Thailand Bible Society who no doubt sold them to the public at the normal markup from printing costs.

  • stillajwexelder
  • stillajwexelder
  • stillajwexelder
  • candidlynuts

    are we sure the " thailand bible society" isnt one of the watchtowers newer company names?

  • journey-on

    They ARE in the publishing / printing BUSINESS. I'll bet they do a lot of custom printing with all those high-powered

    high tech printers they have. You know, a little extra $$ on the side, and who's the wiser?

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