Thank you Velta. Love and hugs to you too!
Why Guess About Dates At All?
“You Can Live Forever In Paradise on Earth”, Chapter 3, Your Religion Really Matters, Page 32
Published by THE WATCHTOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY.
“There cannot be two sets of truth when one does not agree with the other.
One or the other is true, but not both.
Sincerely believing something, and practicing that belief, will not make it right if it really is wrong.
20 How should you feel if proof is given that what you believe is wrong?
For example, say that you were in a car, traveling for the first time to a certain place.
You have a road map, but you have not taken time to check it carefully.
Someone has told you the road to take.
You trust him, sincerely believing that the way he has directed you is correct.
But suppose it is not.
What if someone points out the error?
What if he, by referring to your own map, shows that you are on the wrong road?
Would pride or stubbornness prevent you from admitting that you are on the wrong road?
Well, then, if you learn from an examination of your Bible that you are traveling a wrong religious road, be willing to change.
Avoid the broad road to destruction; get on the narrow road to life!”
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See table of contents in pdf doc for sections of the transcript.
The Douglas Walsh Trial
The Watchtower under oath.
TO THE READER
This court case, Douglas Walsh vs. The Right Honorable James Latham Clyde, M.P.C., etc., was held in the country of Scotland in the year 1954. During the trial, officials of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society attempted to establish that Jehovah’s Witnesses were a “religion” with “ministers” who should be exempt from military conscription in Scotland.
The trial produced testimony of a most controversial and enlightening nature which gives the reader a look at the Inside of the Watchtower Society’s policy-making process. Douglas Walsh, A JW congregational overseer, and the Society’s highest officials, including the Vice-president (later President), Fred W. Franz, give revealing testimony proving that Jehovah’s Witnesses live under a religious dictatorship which denies independent thinking to its adherents, and forces JWs to accept and preach “false prophecy” to their neighbors.
In November 1954, a trial was held in Scotland, in which the Watchtower Society tried to establish before the British court that certain of its members were ordained ministers. High ranking leaders of the Society testified, including vice-president Fred Franz and legal counsel for the Society, Haydon C. Covington. Covington's testimony before the attorney for the Ministry of Labour and National Service included the following:
Q. Is it not vital to speak the truth on religious matters?
A. It certainly is.
Q. Is there in your view room in a religion for a change of interpretation of Holy Writ from time to time?
A. 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.
Q. You have promulgated -- forgive the word -- false prophesy?
A. 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.
Q. 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?
A. 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.
Q. 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?
A. I am not familiar with that. You are speaking on a matter that I know nothing of.
Q. You heard Mr. Franz's evidence?
A. 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.
Q. Leave me out of it?
A. That is the source of my information, what I have heard in court.
Q. You have studied the literature of your movement?
A. 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.
Q. Assume from me that it was promulgated as authoritative by the Society that Christ's Second Coming was in 1874?
A. Taking that assumption as a fact, it is a hypothetical statement.
Q. That was the publication of false prophesy?
A. That was the publication of a false prophesy, it was a false statement or an erroneous statement in fulfillment of a prophesy that was false or erroneous.
Q. And that had to be believed by the whole of Jehovah's Witnesses?
A. 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.
Q. You do not believe in the worldly armies, do you?
A. We believe in the Christian Army of God.
Q. Do you believe in the worldly armies?
A. 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 Organization, 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.
Q. Back to the point now. A false prophesy was promulgated?
A. I agree that.
Q. It had to be accepted by Jehovah's Witnesses?
A. That is correct.
Q. If a member of Jehovah's Witnesses took the view himself that that prophesy was wrong and said so he would be disfellowshipped?
A. 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.
Q. Unity at all costs?
A. 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.
Q. And unity based upon an enforced acceptance of false prophecy?
A. That is conceded to be true.
Q. 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?
A. That is correct.
Q. And as you said yesterday expressly, would be worthy of death?
A. I think - - -
Q. Would you say yes or no?
A. I will answer yes, unhesitatingly.
Q. Do you call that religion?
A. It certainly is.
Q. Do you call it Christianity?
A. I certainly do.
Q. In addition to these regular publications do you prepare and issue a number of theological pamphlets and books from time to time?
Q. Can you tell me this; are these theological publications and the semi-monthly periodicals used for discussion of statements of doctrine?
Q. Are these statements of doctrine held to be authoritative within the Society?
Q. Is their acceptance a matter of choice, or is it obligatory on all those who wish to be and remain members of the Society?
A. It is obligatory.
Q. Did [Pastor Russell] not fix 1874 as some other crucial date?
A. 1874 used to be understood as the date of Jesus' Second Coming spiritually.
Q. Do you say, used to be understood?
A. That is right.
Q. That was issued as a fact which was to be accepted by all who were Jehovah's Witnesses?
Q. That is no longer now accepted, is it?
Q. But it was a calculation which is no longer accepted by the Board of Directors of the Society?
A. That is correct.
Q. 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?
Q. So that what is published as the truth today by the Society may have to be admitted to be wrong in a few years?
A. We have to wait and see.
Q. And in the meantime the body of Jehovah's Witnesses have been following error?
A. They have been following misconstructions on the Scriptures.
A. Well, error.
A. These [Watchtower Society] books give an exposition on the whole Scriptures.
Q. But an authoritative exposition?
A. 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.
Q. He what?
A. 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".
Q. 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?
A. But he does not compulsorily do so, he is given his Christian right of examining the Scriptures to confirm that this is Scripturally sustained.
Q. And if he finds that the Scripture is not sustained by the books, or vice versa, what does he do?
A. The Scripture is there in support of the statement, that is why it is put there.
Q. What does a man do if he finds a disharmony between the Scripture and those books?
A. You will have to produce me a man who does find that, then I can answer, or he will answer.
Q. 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?
A. He comes - - -
Q. Would you say yes or no, and then qualify?
A. No. Do you want me to qualify now?
Q. Yes, if you wish?
A. 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.
Q. 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"?
A. He must accept those.
Hi Pickled! Your posts are really awesome, beautifully expressed and insightful. You have some great reasoning, I love it. :-)
So, yeah, why WOULD they guess about dates at all? This question is one that has run through my head a lot, and in many ways I think it is the biggest clue to a major failing of the FDS. I was thinking about the Professor you mentioned, who could never admit "I don't know". It's easy to see that he had a problem with pride. And this is the scary bit. The more WT quotes I read on these predictions, the greater the impression that there is a pride issue. To claim direct understanding from God is a pretty big call. Personally, if I was making this claim and asking my followers for complete submission, I would want to be sure that I had it right. There is a link between making these claims and pride, as this scripture shows:
"Do not go beyond the things that are written, in order that you may not get puffed up individually in favor of the one against the other. For who makes you to differ from another?" - 1 Cor 4:6-7
I've also noticed is when an understanding or prediction is reversed, it always seems to;
1. Be written in third person:
WT 95 Nov 1 - "Eager to see the end of this evil system, Jehovah's people have at times speculated about the time when the "great tribulation" would break out, even tying this to calculations of what is the lifetime of a generation since 1914."
or 2. Pass blame:
WT 76 - "But it is not advisable for us to set our sights on a certain date, neglecting everyday things we would ordinarily care for as Christians, such as things that we and our families really need. We may be forgetting that, when the "day" comes, it will not change the principle that Christians must at all times take care of all their responsibilities. If anyone has been disappointed through not following this line of thought, he should now concentrate on adjusting his viewpoint, seeing that it was not the word of God that failed or deceived him and brought disappointment, but that his own understanding was based on wrong premises."
Which only confirms the pride issue in my humble opinion.
Hi Hotchocolate! That's an interesting observation about using the 3rd person when assigning blame to those who believed them. I hadn't noticed that. Is that like in the movie Silence of the Lambs where the crazy guy said "It will put the lotion on the skin" or something like that? LOL It's interesting that, in their literature, they too present a Trinity...The Father, The Son, and The Faithful and Discrete Slave...these three are one, with the Faithful and Discrete Slave as the 3rd person.
You can't know the Father without the Son and you can't know the Son without the Faithful and Discrete Slave, and you can't even understand the Bible at all by going directly to the first 2. It is only through the third part of this Trinity that you can receive understanding. The Father is unmistakably direct with the son, and the son is quite clear when handing a message to the faithful and discrete slave, but for some reason the faithful and discrete slave has random moments of inserting statements that neither of the first two ever said at all. Is that meant to test the sheep? How could they ever pass that test by figuring out if it was an actual message from the son or not if they are trained to never listen for his voice directly? Since "chain of command" and "channel of communication" mean the same thing in this religion, wouldn't the members commit an act of treason by failing to take any one of the words handed to them as a direct order? Why, in all the years, have they never bothered to offer any type of literature at all that explains to the members how to filter and sift what they are reading from the faithful and discrete slave? Wouldn't that require a certain amount of independent thinking? Oh, I feel a big circle coming on.
More of the transcript from the Douglas Walsh Trial. Please pay close attention to how questions are answered when the "Witness" does not want to give a straight answer. Then compare the loops, turns, vague wording, and evasiveness to articles that have appeared in the Watchtower explaining why they got a date or a doctrine wrong....
1954 Walsh Trial
Hayden Cooper Covington/CROSS
Pages 81 – 92 of Transcript
Q. Each of these bodies has its own Charter or, as we say, Memorandum and Articles if Association?
Q. Are you a Vice President of both the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Societies?
A. Yes, the Pennsylvania Corporation, and the New York Corporation.
Q. Are you also a Director on the Board of Directors of both Companies?
A. Yes, as Vice President of each I am on the Board of Directors.
Q. Are you on the Board of Directors of the International Bible Students Association?
Q. To become the Director of, if I may call them, the two Watch Tower Societies, is there a form of election?
A. There is a form of election at the annual meeting.
Q. Is that the Annual General Meeting of the Company?
A. That is the annual meeting of the membership of the Society, and all who want to are privileged to attend.
Q. But all who want to attend, I suppose, must be shareholders in some way of the Company?
A. No, the members of the Corporation attend either personally or by proxy, but the annual meeting is announced by law in the columns of the Watchtower, and whoever want to attend this annual business meeting can attend and see the proceedings.
Q. At one time members of the Companies were shareholders, weren’t they?
A. Whoever had given a contribution of 10 Dollars is entitled to one share.
Q. That was originally in the Articles of Association, was it, of the Incorporation?
Q. And in return for his contribution of 10 Dollars did the member get a Share Certificate?
A. He was notified, a receipt of his contribution was given to him, sent to him, and he was informed that he was entitled to one voting share, and therefore, when the election of the organization of the Society was to take place he was informed that he was privileged to be present, or to have his vote cast by proxy.
Q. Privilege to be present wasn’t really a privilege, but a right in virtue of his shareholding?
A. Yes, certainly, but he could be there by proxy.
Q. Quite, so that the member didn’t require to vote himself, but could provide a proxy?
Q. Had the proxy, the person who voted in place of the member, to have any special qualifications to do so?
A. He must be one also who was a voter.
Q. That is to say when there was a contribution of 10 Dollars, or whatever it may be, the voter, the member of his proxy, must be a shareholder?
A. Yes, he must be a shareholder.
Q. Was that true of both Societies?
A. No, the New York Corporation was a different Society, but it was a membership corporation.
Q. Do you mean that the New York Society never had a contribution basis of membership?
Q. What was the basis of membership of the New York Society?
A. Well, the member of the Corporation was appointed by the Society and there was one thousand dollars put to his credit.
Q. The member was appointed by the Society?
Q. And instead of paying anything, do you say he was credited with a thousand dollars?
A. If he was not possessed of that himself. For instance, I was made a member of the New York Corporation and there was a credit made to my account.
Q. Was that simply a book entry or did cash in some way pass to the credit of the Company?
A. Well, it was credited, as I say. There was a book entry.
Q. Was a pure book entry, or was it represented in any form by cash or capital?
A. Well, I never handled the cash.
Q. You cannot tell us about that?
Q. Did you have to pay up your thousand dollars in any way?
A. No. I was already a member of the headquarters family.
Q. By that do you mean that you were already a director?
Q. Well, I am just a little adrift to know what you mean by the phrase, a member of the headquarters family?
A. A member if the family that operates at 124 Columbia Heights. That is the headquarters staff.
Q. Is that something different from the Incorporation?
A. Different from the Incorporation.
Q. From the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, New York?
A. Different from the Incorporation? The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society was incorporated in 1909 in New York City and that was before I was a member of the Bethel Family at headquarters.
Q. Where was thus Bethel Family located? Not in the registered office of the Company, was it?
A. No, but they had their main office there at Brooklyn. New York. But they had a registered office in Pittsburg, none the less, and we always held our annual meetings – you mean, of the New York Corporation?
A. Yes. In the New York Corporation the offices are there in the Bethel Home.
Q. I am sorry, but I just wanted to get this clear. You said that you were credited with one thousand dollars?
A. Yes, that is my recollection.
Q. To make you a member if the New York Corporation?
A. That accompanied it.
Q. That is so though, isn’t it?
A. That is my recollection of it.
Q. But you said that you were already a member of the headquarters family?
A. That is right.
Q. Is the headquarters family something distinct from the New York Corporation?
A. Yes. The membership of the New York Corporation does not include all the family members.
Q. What is the headquarters family and who are its members?
A. Well, the headquarters family to day comprises some 430 men who are engaged in the various operations of the organization there, the office work and the legal work and the printing work and the shipping work, and all the housekeeping that requires to be done.
Q. There are, are there not, big printing presses operated by the New York Company?
A. Yes, at 117 Adam Street, Brooklyn.
Q. Do the employees who, among other things, operate these printing presses live in the headquarters family?
Q. Is that a kind of hostel so far as the building is concerned?
A. No, it is a home for the lodging of the members if the family, to keep them together, and also to provide for their sustenance at the most economic rate.
Q. Are they sustained from the physical point out of the resources of the New York Incorporation?
A. They are sustained by contributions that are made to the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society.
Q. Would you answer the question? I am trying to keep apart the Brooklyn Incorporation and the Pennsylvania Incorporation. Are those who are in the headquarters family sustained from the physical point of view by the New York Incorporation?
A. The New York Corporation holds the properties there in New York.
Q. Who pays the people living in that headquarters family?
A. Specifically you will have to ask the Secretary-Treasurer, who knows directly about that.
Q. In addition to being a Director of both Incorporations, I think that you said that got in on the editorial capacity with a Committee?
Q. Am I right that you are chiefly responsible for the books and tracts and other publications of the Incorporation?
A. I have to examine them and carefully check them, and nothing is passed without my O.King them.
Q. At the present moment what size is the Committee which assists you?
A. That is something that is not disclosed. We do not disclose names.
Q. I am not asking at the moment for names, but I am asking for numbers?
A. Well, it consists of a number of men.
Q. How many?
A. That may vary according to the amount of work that is to be done.
Q. How many at the moment?
A. Well, there are a number who contribute and the number is not static.
Q. Pardon me, but I am asking you a very simple and direct question. How many serve on your Editorial Committee at present?
A. Well, I will have to compute them. I will say seven.
Q. Plus yourself?
A. Including myself.
Q. At meetings of the Committee do you preside?
A. No, the President presides.
Q. Mr. Knorr?
Q. Is that Committee convened prior to the issue of each tract or book?
A. No, but the Editor (myself) and Mr Knorr have to put the final O.K. to the material that is submitted for publication.
Q. By the Committee?
A. By the Committee.
Q. Does that Committee perform functions of translation as well as interpretations in English of Scripture?
A. No, it does not perform matters of translation. We have translators there who translate the material that has already been published in English.
Q. In so far as translation of the Bible itself if undertaken, are you responsible for that?
A. I have been authorized to examine a translation and determine its accuracy and recommend its acceptance in the form in which it is submitted.
Q. Are the translators members of the Editorial Committee?
A. That is a question which I, as a member if the Board of Directors, am not authorized to disclose, because when the translation was donated to the Society at a meeting of the Board of Directors there, the Translation Committee made it known that they did not wish their names to be disclosed, and the Board of Directors, acting for the Society, accepted the translation upon that basis, that the names would not be revealed now or after death.
Q. Are the translators all members of Jehovah’s Witnesses?
A. That again is part and parcel of the agreement that their names shall not be revealed. They are consecrated men as the forward to the translation discloses.
Q. It is awfully important, isn’t it, to beware of false prophets?
A. That is right.
Q. Is it the view of your theocratic organization that the qualifications of the translators and interpreters of the Scriptures should be kept secret?
A. That is the business of the Translation Committee. They can make a donation on their own terms and we can accept it. The Society can accept it on their terms.
Q. You are speaking now of donations?
A. Yes. The translation was donated to the Society on the understanding that it would be published.
Q. But surely by arrangement with the Editorial Committee. People don’t come forward and say “I wish to donate you a new translation, for example, of the Book of Daniel”, do they?
A. A Committee can do that.
Q. The Committee must arrange with somebody, mustn’t they, to come forward with a translation, if the Committee decides that translation is desirable?
A. Well, it was the President of the Society who presented this translation to us, the Board of Directors, and he had it examined there, and then the Board of Directors was the one that voted to accept the translation.
Q. The Committee and the Board of Directors discussed beforehand the desirability of having a translation?
A. The matter was presented fresh to the Board of Directors and the President of the Society, as it has already been published in the Watch Tower and stated in the public meeting in Yankee Stadium, had portions of the translation read to the assembled Board of Directors as instances of the style or translation and of its accuracy and of its modernity, and it is on that basis the Board of Directors signified their wish with regard to the translation.
Q. Did the Editorial Committee itself, that is by its individual members, know the qualifications of the persons who were giving translations?
A. No, that is something that that the Editorial Committee is not concerned with. The Editorial Committee does not determine for the Society whether a translation shall be accepted or not. It is the Board of Directors who are the advisory and governing body who determine that.
Q. In fact it is the Board of Directors in both the Pennsylvania and New York Incorporations which decides upon and authorizes the issue of either translations of the Scriptures or books or pamphlets interpreting the Scriptures?
A. In this case the Board of Directors voted to accept the translation.
Q. I am now asking you a general question, if I may. (Question repeated)
A. No, the Board of Directors of the New York Incorporation do not decide on those matters.
Q. Well then, which body decides?
A. It is the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania that decides in these matters.
Q. Is there any difference in personnel between those who are Directors of the New York Incorporation and those who serve the Pennsylvania Corporation?
A. Some of our members are members of both Corporations and Directors of both Corporations.
Q. The president and vice-president are members of the Board of Directors of both Corporations?
Q. And the same with the secretary and the treasurer?
Q. You yourself are multilingual?
Q. At what age did you go to Cincinnati University?
A. I entered the University in 1913 after graduating from Woodward High School and I continued there until 1914.
Q. When did you go to University?
A. In 1911, and I continued there until April 1914.
Q. Did you graduate?
A. No, I did not. I left the University in 1914 because I realized according to Scriptures that that was the crucial year which was to be marked by the outbreak of a great trouble, and I realized that the ministerial work was the most important thing in the world to do and I wanted to get into the ministerial work before the great trouble broke, and so I wanted to get in earlier but my father refused to permit me to leave the University because I was still under 21. In April of 1914 he acceded to my wishes and allowed me to leave the University, and I immediately entered full time ministerial service as a pioneer.
Q. What subjects were you studying at Cincinnati University?
A. I was studying in the Liberal Arts College and among other things taking up Chemistry, English, Latin, Greek and German.
Q. Had you done any Hebrew in the course of your University work?
A. No, I had not, but in the course of my editorial work my special research work for the president of the Society, I found it was very necessary to have a knowledge of Hebrew, so I undertook a personal study of that.
Q. What subjects did you hold passes in when at Cincinnati University?
Q. I do not know whether you work there the same as we do here, but after the anguish of examination you got a certificate saying you have passed certain subject. Do you work that was in America?
A. Well, I passed the junior year of the University, and I did not complete the third year. I left in April and the term terminated at the beginning of June.
Q. What subjects did you have passes when you left the University?
A. I had passed through Greek and Latin and I had also taken two terms in German.
Q. Did you do Helennic Greek?
A. Yes, as well as ocined(sp?) Greek, the Greek of the New Testament.
Q. Were you yourself responsible for the translation of the Old Testament?
A. Again I cannot answer that question, in harmony with the gentlemen’s agreement made by the Board of Directors and the Translation Committee.
Q. Why the secrecy?
A. Because the Committee of Translation wanted to remain anonymous and not seek any glory or honour at the making of a translation, and having any names attached thereto.
Q. Writers of books and translators do not always get glory and honour for their efforts, do they?
A. But I believe translators are generally acclaimed and go down in history as the translators.
….see page 93 of transcript for further testimony.