Andersonsinfo question: Who wrote them?
That's an interesting perspective Narkissos. How can people go on devoting their lives to the organisation if they believe the majority of its output is rubbish?
Of the publications published more recently during 'my time' I think the Creator book is one of the better ones. It talked about life and meaning rather than the mechanics of the evolution debate as they did in the old blue books. Mankind's Search for God is a similar sort of book. Most Watchtower literature tends to blur what options there are outside of the organisation, but in spite themselves these two books revealed that there are other ways of looking for answers.
I grabbed a French translation of Mankind's Search for God on a JW literature stand some time ago; it reminded me of another (yellow, I think) old book on world religions which I had enjoyed earlier.
Now about the mystery of consciences... the guy I referred to was one of the most brilliant minds in France Bethel. Very sarcastic in a cold, stiff-upper-lip way, and at the same time very nice with modest people, especially children. His comments at the "daily text" were dreaded by some. One I recall was a matter-of-fact summary of the Beth-Sarim episode, left without a conclusion (dead silence). He was from a rather old and wealthy JW family as I gathered; his brother was an occasional translator for the WT. But he asked to be a truck driver. Actually the truck drivers team included some of the brightest guys. They were out of Bethel most of the time and enjoyed considerable freedom.
I think I alluded to him in one previous conversation, as one case of the "too smart for apostasy" class...
I just remembered that credit for Mankind's Search for God went to writer Eric Beveridge, which surprised me when I found out. I would have thought Cyril Chan, not anointed, would have done all the work. I think he as well as many people from branches did the writing and Eric did mostly compiling. But that's an educated guess.
When I left Bethel there were around 35 people in the Writing Dept. including the men in Writing Correspondence. This figure included about 15 writers. The rest were support people. Nowadays, lots of writing is done by men in other branches such as 80% of one of the last books for children was written in another country.
The very fact that such reasoning must be resorted to of itself shows the strained nature of the claim made as to the application of the food-supplying aspect of Jesus' parable.
I knew a senior in translation dept, and he told me it was his impression the GB would send out "trial balloons" to sort of "see what happens". If no big reactions / question would come in, they would proceed along those lines.
Thanks CoCo and TheOldHippie.
Soooo.... 'food at the proper time' in this organization is really a meaningless WTS concept. There is no criteria for determining what food is to be given at what time. I am confused. What is the REAL purpose for this phrase?
I just remembered that Mankind's Search for God was written by Eric Beveridge which surprised me when I found out.
Someone on here claimed it was a sister that wrote it, and that was why it was never studied, in case she be construed as "teaching" men, to her eternal shame.
slimboyfat, it's possible that a woman outside of Bethel was assigned to write a part of the book, as well as many other people, but Eric took credit for it all. He personally told me that Cyril Chan was involved in the writing.
What part did Eric play? He would compile the book and that is a huge job. Completed assignments would come to him and then he would have to turn the material into a book. Plus, Eric would also do the research and writing as he joined everything together. This is the way with many of the very complicated books the Society has published over the years.
Thank you, Barb, for this information.
Earlier, Barbara, I asked if you knew certain ladies in proofreading circa 1970: Kirsten, Eunice, Mary and Ann.
Another brother and I "worked" on a very detailed tome, sending countless queries on dubious information, spellings, misquotes, etc. to writing. It took countless run-throughs to clean up the tedious details and make the whole work work. We ran the galleys by supposedly flawless master tape recordings.
It burned out my brain ...
CoCo Sees Double
CC: I knew a Eunice and Kirsten at Bethel, older gals married to men with lots of responsibility and power. When I left at the end of 1992, they weren't in proofreading and neither was Mary and Ann. Nancy Kommers and Marie Gibbard were senior proofreaders. Reena Molle and another young woman were junior proofers. Nancy and Marie were excellent at their jobs.
I'd like to add to my other post that Eric Beveridge also was of the other sheep. There wasn't one "anointed" writer in the dept. The only ones that professed that was the three GB that ran the dept. and they didn't write literature when I was there.
donut hole and others have asked some questions that I gave attention to this afternoon. I think I just about wrote enough to call it an essay of sorts, so here goes. If you get bored, I don't blame you. I wrote mainly for the new ones here and probably will turn this into a blog article for Freeminds.
donut hole: Experience tells me that it is just as Ray Franz explained in his book Crisis of Conscience that the “other sheep” writes everything. I'm speaking primarily about writers in Brooklyn. 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.
Here’s most of what I know:
Senior writer, John Wischuck (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.
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. 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.
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.
Senior writers read major NY newspapers every morning and would put a check 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, those who noticed that articles were right up to date, that Jehovah’s Holy Spirit was responsible. They would say, “Even before a subject is big, the magazines are addressing the issue.”
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.
“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 ok 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 discuss their ideas, feelings or research on a subject. GB 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. 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.
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 got 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 pages that totaled 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.
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.”
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.
There were four senior writers who were Awake! compilers. 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. I know that’s changed because all of these men are too old to cut the mustard now. Back then when they weren’t compiling, they wrote main articles for both magazines, books, bklts and talks.
There was an Awake! team and a Watchtower team which operated basically the same way. All these men were of the “other sheep” group.
Junior writers wrote secondary article, or maybe a cover series of articles, and if especially good writers, worked on major stuff assigned to them by senior writers.
I never heard of anyone at Brooklyn that stepped into Freddie’s shoes as “oracle” but it’s been quite a while ago since I was privy to anything on that subject. Although I’ve read late WT articles and books, they don’t have anything even slightly resembling Freddie’s writing mode. Most likely the GB doesn’t want any writer to have that kind of power anymore. They probably want writers to do what they do best, write articles that are not sensational, just humdrum.
I have no idea about the backgrounds of the majority of the men in Writing who were there when I was. I know that a few joined the religion as young adults, but other than that I don’t know anything more.
A few people in Writing knew the past history of the WT. One was Karl Adams who is dead now. Of course he knew because he worked on Proclaimers. 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 if anybody had made an in-depth 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.
As for WT recycling 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 have nothing else to say. When is the last time there were any deep articles on doctrine such as no 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 read, it’s all about “Soon this world will end.”