My 1970s story on chronology

by Doug Mason 10 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Doug Mason
    Doug Mason

    This is a snapshot of activities I am personally aware of during the 1970s relative to the WTS’s neo-Babylonian chronology. It is not a discussion about the inaccuracy of their chronology.

    I joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church in 1964. Later in the 1960s, we were regularly visited at the door by Jehovah's Witnesses. I wanted to know what was true and, as a new Adventist, I wanted to know how to answer them.

    I was very fortunate to find a study written in the mid-1960s by Geoff Rogerson, an SDA living in the small country town of Western Australia called Denmark. A scan of his paper is available at I understand that a piece written in 1959 by SDA Arthur Patrick inspired Geoff to make his enquiries. It is very parochial, and is available at I then found another study on the subject, which was even more detailed. This was written by Max Hatton from Albany, near the town where Geoff lived. Max had been a JW for 5 years but had been affected by Geoff's work. Max became an SDA and now lives in retirement, following life as a Pastor in the SDA Church. Geoff died just a short time ago.

    I thought that their works were too complex for the average person, so I started to write simpler studies on the subject. At least, I think they were simpler. A copy of my 1973 paper is available at When the WTS released its "Aid" book, I discovered that the author of the article on “chronology” was misquoting and misrepresenting his sources.

    So next time the JWs came to my door, I showed them what the Aid book's "chronology" article claimed the authorities were saying, and then I showed them what the original articles actually said. I was so pleased with myself!

    But I was totally dumbfounded when the evidence meant nothing to them! I could not believe my eyes. I told them that this was not a question of interpretation but of deliberate deception. They just looked me straight in the face and said that the brothers were human and they made mistakes.

    It took me a while to work out that JW's believed anything the WTS said because of whom the leaders claimed to be, regardless of what they said. So I wrote “What the Watchtower Does Not Tell You”. A scan of that paper is available at .

    When I moved to Melbourne, I was able to help Bruce Price a bit with his “Witness” magazine. He also wrote a book that has been translated into several languages, and he also wrote, “Our Friends the Jehovah’s Witnesses” (available by Googling).

    An example of Bruce’s “Witness” magazine is available at I think that as a result of the magazines, we were contacted by COJ and RP in Sweden. Their advantage lay in being multi-lingual and having ready access to resources, such as museums in London and Berlin. Quite independently, they had come to the same conclusions as we had about the WTS’s chronology.

    Tom Robinson in New Zealand gave me a letter by Philip Couture, in which Couture said he was a Jehovah’s Witness. A scan of that letter is available at In the Preface to his book, “The Crime of Claudius Ptolemy”, Newton acknowledged Couture, so I was able to expose him.

    William MacCarty released his study on chronology Couture wrote his treatise ( f=0eab1b007369573fa234dd4f3bde7d3e ) in response to MacCarty. Although the author of the treatise does not disclose his name, it is known that Couture wrote it.

    COJ responded to Couture’s treatise. ( f=3864ad92ef3b07baa95f043e58f35c2d ).

    At the same time, COJ was involved in heavy correspondence with the WTS. ( ) The correspondence shows that the WTS were fully aware of the work being done by SDAs.

    During this period, I would often say that my study into the WTS was trimming the fat from my own beliefs. It was a great help, since it made me know what I believed, along with the reasons. I left the SDA Church in 1980, and am no longer affiliated with any human religious organisation. Nevertheless, my interests in the WTS's activities that were kindled during the 1970s continue unabated.

    I am pleased that I have been able to continue calling these great people my friends, although sadly, Geoff died recently and Max is now almost totally blind.

    This brief account glances across the story about the chronology in the 1970s as I know it. Others produced excellent material during that period, and I would be interested to hear about them.

  • lilyflor

    thanks for the downloads, looks like it well be an interesting read.


  • Doug Mason
    Doug Mason

    I have been asked for a scan of Max Hatton's material from the 1960s. I will have a look to see if this is feasible.

    In the meantime you can read his more recent material (remembering that he spent probably about 30 years or more an an SDA pastor and also that it is not realistic to communicate with him by email, given that he is almost blind).

  • Doug Mason
    Doug Mason

    I found a good copy of the notes that Max Hatton wrote during the late 1960s. My only problem is that the pages are foolscap size, so I will need to reduce them to A4 so that I can scan them. Give me a couple of days, and when I have done it I will provide them in this thread, to keep them in this context.

    During my search, I located a copy of Bruce Price's "Witness" magazine where I revealed that the person acknowledged by Newton in his book, "The Crime of Claudius Ptolemy" was a JW. I have uploaded the magazine (see page 14).

  • cabasilas

    Thanks, Doug, for this fascinating look at the development of the expose of the Watchtower's faulty chronology in the 70s. The work you and Bruce and others did back then was foundational for later research. And thanks for scanning these historical articles for all of us!

  • Black Sheep
    Black Sheep

    Thank you Doug

  • Bangalore

    Thanks Doug.


  • Doug Mason
    Doug Mason

    I said I would provide Max Hatton's 1960s treatise on the WTS's chronology at this thread, but I have been urged to make it the subject of a separate thread:

    The WTS was clearly very aware during the 1960s of the problems with their neo-Babylonian chronology.

    As a final offering on this particular thread, I provide a certificate sent to me in 1972 by the WTS of Australia. It's available at:

  • whereami


  • jaydee

    Excellent Doug,....

    thanks so much

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