WTS Smoking in the 1940's

by cantleave 16 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • cantleave

    I went to meeting today. During the public talk it was mentioned that as far back as 1942 the society pointed out the dangers of smoking tobacco and that it wasn't appropriate for Christains. As usual there were no references given. Does anyone here know what was written and what publication it was written in?

  • designs

    There were Awake articles back in the 40s and 30s against tobacco and smoking, check the Index or CDs, they have them listed. It became a dfing issue in the late 60s.

  • cantleave

    Unfortunately the CD only goes back to the 1970's

  • BluesBrother

    I only know that as far back as I can remember, which is the late 50's, it was always understood that J W's did not smoke. I can recall seeing one or two husbands of the "sisters" having a puff outside the K H on the step....I heard stories recalled by an old P O who was severely chastised by the Circuit Overseer for smoking, back in the 40's - but he was then a newly appointed 'Servant' in the cong..

    I do recall the time when was made a d/f offence..one or two were known to have to give it up. As an elder later on, it was the most common reason for calling a judicial committee. Nowadays, with the prevalence of smoking reduced and more of them being born-ins, it may be less of a problem.

    I recall that Freeminds had a detailed life story account of a couple of tobacco farmers who had to give up and sell their farm in the sixties, that may have some background..

  • blondie

    While it may not be on the CD, references to articles are in the Index part.



    Bible view: ; w42 205-6


    ***w502/15p.60WhyChristiansShunTobacco***They might also remember that it was Jehovah’s visible organization that God used to rid their mind of false religious doctrine, that He used it to teach them Kingdom truths, to picture for them new-earth blessings, and to train them in the gospel-preaching work that leads to such joys and eternal life. They trusted the organization in those matters, certain that God was and still is using it. Is it not reasonable that God also uses it to cleanse His people of such filthy habits as smoking? After the novice becomes a witness through the organization’s aid, does he suddenly become wiser than his visible teacher on the subject of cleanliness and on explaining scriptures relating thereto? On different occasions in times past TheWatchtower has discussed the use of tobacco. Note the following comments taken from the Watchtower magazine of July 1, 1942, after it quoted 2 Corinthians 7:1.

    "Any filthiness, whether it be of the flesh or of the spirit, is abominable in His sight. Cleanliness of the flesh and spirit is the very opposite of filthiness, and means that the creature must be clean in body and in mind and use the natural faculties with which he is endowed to the glory of God. Having taken his position on the side of Jehovah in the great issue, and having been granted by Jehovah the great privilege of being associated with his Theocratic organization, he must deport himself in keeping with that holy organization.

    "The armies [of this world], and the religious organizations with them, are seeing to it that those fighting for world domination are amply supplied with tobacco. The EncyclopædiaBritannica (Vol. 26) says: ‘As the continent of America was opened up and explored, it became evident that the consumption of tobacco, especially by smoking, was a universal and immemorial usage, in many cases BOUND UP WITH THE MOST SIGNIFICANT AND SOLEMN TRIBAL CEREMONIES.’ That means the use of that herb was associated with demonism, to bring its dupes under the power of the demons. Is the use of tobacco, then, clean or filthy within the meaning of the Scriptures? The use of tobacco is extremely filthy, regardless of the form in which it is used. It befouls the body and dulls the mental faculties. It makes the user offensive to those with whom he comes in contact, and works great injury to the user and is a dishonor to God and Christ. The use of tobacco has greatly demoralized the human race. It creates an appetite for other impure and filthy things. Under no condition is the use of tobacco approved by God’s Word, although not mentioned by name.

    "It, therefore, does not seem consistent for anyone of God’s organization or those who have been privileged by His grace to enter the ‘cities of refuge’, to use tobacco. . . . Those who persist in the use of the harmful weed cannot be considered as proper examples in word, in charity, in spirit, in faith, or in purity, and by their course of action the example they are setting forth works ill to their neighbor. They are rebelling against a reasonable requirement of the Lord’s organization . . .

    "If a man chooses to injure himself by the use of tobacco, no one has the right to say he shall not use it, but certainly no person has the right to blow tobacco smoke into the nostrils of another person. The habit of tobacco-smoking is one of the most selfish that is exercised by human creatures; and, being selfish, it is the very opposite of love. The smoker fails to give any consideration to the rights and privileges of others about, to whom tobacco may be offensive. There is every reason against the use of tobacco; there is not one reason that supports its use. . . .

    "Tobacco is the Devil’s weed employed for the purpose of demoralizing human creatures, particularly in the ‘time of the end’. The use of tobacco having originated with demonism, it should be expected that the ‘prince of the demons’ would introduce its use into Christendom by religionists and popularize it there among religious practitioners. The contaminating influence thereof has spread to all parts of the earth. Imagine the ‘great multitude’ of Armageddon survivors, under the righteous rule of the visible ‘princes in all the earth’, with cigarettes in their lips and trying to carry out the divine mandate to fill the earth with a healthy-blooded righteous race!" (Pages 205, 206)

  • designs

    Mmmmm the Devil's Weed, especially those Cuban Cohiba's

  • restrangled

    "If a man chooses to injure himself by the use of tobacco, no one has the right to say he shall not use it, but certainly no person has the right to blow tobacco smoke into the nostrils of another person. The habit of tobacco-smoking is one of the most selfish that is exercised by human creatures; and, being selfish, it is the very opposite of love. The smoker fails to give any consideration to the rights and privileges of others about, to whom tobacco may be offensive. There is every reason against the use of tobacco; there is not one reason that supports its use. . . .

    When I was df'd it was the winter of either 74 or 75....the same night a fellow was df'd for smoking. He was furious because although it had been frowned upon, and no smoking was allowed inside the KH, they suddenly decided you could be ousted for it. He had been a life long JW and always smoked. I think they had given him 6 months to quit and he couldn't.

    Blondie, there has to be an article where they finally pulled the rug out from under smokers.

    Thanks. r.

  • cantleave

    Thanks Blondie

  • No Apologies
    No Apologies

    Yes it was somewhere in the early 70s where they finally made it a DF-ing offense, any JW who smoked was given 6 months to quit, no one who was a smoker would be qualified for baptism. I'm sure Blondie will find the actual article that stated this change in policy. I remember one older 'sister' in our hall who was DFd over this.

    No Apologies

  • blondie

    *** w73 6/1 pp. 340-343 Keeping God’s Congregation Clean in the Time of His Judgment ***


    20 For decades the publications of Jehovah’s witnesses have warned against the use of such addictive products as tobacco. Persons associated with congregations of Jehovah’s witnesses in almost all cases recognize the wrongness of these habits. Newly interested ones, then, should take a firm stand and not postpone matters by asking to be baptized and accepted into the congregation, or to share in presenting information from the platform in their Kingdom Halls, while still in the grip of nicotine or other harmful addiction. As the new order now draws very near, it is assuredly in harmony with God’s Word to take the position that those unwilling to abandon any such harmful addictive practices do not qualify for our baptizing them and recognizing them as approved members of Jehovah’s Christian congregation.

    21 Actually, to accept such ones into the congregation could prove a disservice to them, salving their consciences. Refusal to accept them can prove a blessing, aiding them to feel seriously the need for decisive action and for preparing themselves for life in God’s new order. By facing up to such challenges one gains a moral victory that brings true strength and confidence in God’s power and willingness to help.

    22 What, then, of those who in the past were baptized while still using such addictive products as tobacco, other drugs, or who are on some treatment such as the “methadone program” and who continue in such practice? They may now be given a reasonable period of time, such as six months, in which to free themselves of the addiction. So doing, they will show their sincere desire to remain within Jehovah God’s clean congregation of dedicated servants.

    23 Surely if one can go through the agonizing experience of withdrawal from “hard”-drug addiction in order to become a true disciple of God’s Son, then those addicted to tobacco or similar products should have no sound objection to undergoing the lesser suffering of withdrawing from their addiction. Refusal to do so would certainly set a very poor example for the person striving to overcome a “hard”-drug habit who faces a much more difficult challenge.

    24 If persons already baptized are not willing to abandon their addiction to damaging and enslaving products, what then? Then they show that, like Esau, they do not ‘appreciate sacred things,’ preferring such habits to the privilege of being part of Jehovah’s clean people. They should therefore be removed from the congregation due to such conduct unbecoming a Christian.—1 Cor. 5:7; Heb. 12:15, 16.

    25 Would there be need for rebaptism on the part of those abandoning their addiction to tobacco or other harmful product? No, this does not seem necessary. Knowledge brings responsibility and educates the conscience. (1 Tim. 1:13) The congregation gave them to understand that their practice did not ‘prevent them,’ and they were baptized in accord with that understanding. (Acts 8:36) Of course, if an individual feels that he presented himself for baptism with a ‘bad conscience’ due to such practice, he may decide to be rebaptized. That would be his personal decision.


    26 These rulings with regard to spiritual and moral matters of the Christian witnesses of Jehovah may appear to some to be very strict. But this represents no effort to act in an arbitrary, dictatorial manner. The strictness really proceeds from God, who expresses himself through his written Word. In view of the time in which this generation of mankind is living, it is the time for careful attention to cleanness of conduct by those who desire to please God and to enter into his approaching righteous new order.

    27 Nineteen centuries ago the apostle Peter was a member of the Governing Body of the Christian congregation of the first century C.E. As such, he wrote letters of counsel and instruction to the congregations of Jehovah’s people. Peter realized that the Christian congregation was then living in the final period of the Jewish system of things that centered around Jerusalem and its temple. His Master, Jesus Christ, had foretold that such culmination would occur within that generation. (Matt. 23:36; 24:34) It was a very serious time, especially for Christianized Jews, and also in view of the fact that persecution of Christians by the Roman Empire was about to break out. So Peter felt moved to write to his fellow Christians.

    28 His first letter was written about 62-64 C.E., just a short while before the Jewish revolt against the Roman Empire in 66 C.E., this to be followed by the end of Jewish Jerusalem and its temple in 70 C.E. Peter knew that his death was approaching, and he sensed his obligation to warn his fellow Christians against running with the unchristianized worldly people in their “course to the same low sink of debauchery.” To emphasize the urgency of avoiding such a ruinous course even at the cost of persecution, Peter showed the lateness of the time by writing: “But the end of all things has drawn close. Be sound in mind [not drugged into an escape from reality], therefore, and be vigilant with a view to prayers.” (1 Pet. 4:4-7) The matter was made all the more serious, because the process of expressing divine judgment was already begun with reference to the Christian congregation. Who would stand approved under the divine examination and scrutiny? Not the easy-going ones, not those who conformed to the debauched ways of the world, not those who willfully indulged in unchristian things that gave pleasure to the depraved, fallen flesh. (Prov. 1:32, 33) Wrote the apostle Peter:

    29 “If he suffers as a Christian, let him not feel shame, but let him keep on glorifying God in this name. For it is the appointed time for the judgment to start with the house of God. Now if it starts first with us [the house of God], what will the end be of those who are not obedient to the good news of God? ‘And if the righteous man is being saved with difficulty, where will the ungodly man and the sinner [inside the Christian congregation] make a showing?’ So, then, also let those who are suffering in harmony with the will of God keep on commending their souls to a faithful Creator while they are doing good.”—1 Pet. 4:16-19.

    30 Even while remaining “righteous” within the Christian congregation, a faithful follower of Jesus Christ is “being saved with difficulty.” For a baptized Christian to imitate the “ungodly” and the “sinner” to any extent it would make his salvation all the more difficult. Or would he make a showing of worthiness of salvation at all? This is something for Christians to remember today. Certainly with regard to our generation it can truthfully be said: “The end of all things has drawn close.” God’s rendering of judicial decisions toward his own “house” of worshipers is now in progress. This was referred to in the prophecy of Malachi, chapter three, which tells of Jehovah’s coming to his spiritual temple, accompanied by Jesus Christ as the “messenger of the covenant.” Against whom will the divine Judge, Jehovah, bear witness as against lawbreakers and sinners? He tells us, in Malachi 3:5:

    31 “‘And I will come near to you people for the judgment, and I will become a speedy witness against the sorcerers [phar?ma?kous′—according to the Greek Septuagint], and against the adulterers, and against those swearing falsely, and against those acting fraudulently with the wages of a wage worker, with the widow and with the fatherless boy, and those turning away the alien resident, while they have not feared me,’ Jehovah of armies has said.”

    32 Note that the first ones whom Jehovah mentions as the targets of his speedy witness regarding their wrongdoing are the “sorcerers.” The Greek Septuagint Version, as translated by Alexandrian Jews before Christ, rendered “sorcerers” by the Greek word phar?ma?kous′. This is the same word used in Revelation 21:8, where some translators render it as “sorcerers,” but the New World Translation renders it as “those practicing spiritism.” The ancient sorcerers indeed practiced spiritism. The Greek word applied to them literally means “druggers,” not “druggists” such as “pharmacists.” The ancient sorcerers were the drug pushers of their day.

    33 The pre-Christian Greek Septuagint Version uses the related Greek word phar′ma?kon (meaning literally “drug,” but translated as “sorcery”) at least five times. Idolatrous Queen Jezebel of ancient Israel practiced such phar′ma?kon (in the plural number) or “sorcery.” (2 Ki. 9:22, LXX) She was executed by King Jehu acting as Jehovah’s executioner. Those who patronized the professional “sorcerers” or practicers of spiritism also participated in spiritistic practices and were condemned.

    34 It is little wonder, then, that, in these days of widespread addiction to drugs and the growing use of tobacco, those indulging in such things should come under judicial observation. Jehovah God, the Supreme Judge, is at his spiritual temple and is specially scrutinizing those who profess to worship him in that holy place. He has promised to be a speedy witness against the sorcerers or the practicers of spiritism, which from ancient times onward had a connection with habit-forming, enslaving drugs.

    35 Do we want to have Jehovah God be a speedy witness against us as addicts to drugs or other habit-forming injurious weeds, things that expose us to the influence of the spirit demons? Jehovah’s judgment against such addicts during the oncoming “great tribulation” will mean their destruction. (Rev. 21:8) Most assuredly, Jehovah God does not want such addicts among the congregation of his Christian witnesses now in this “conclusion of the system of things.” Of the promised “New Jerusalem,” Revelation 22:15 says: “Outside are the dogs and those who practice spiritism [the druggers, Kingdom Interlinear translation] and the fornicators and the murderers and the idolaters and everyone liking and carrying on a lie.”

    36 Therefore, with a feeling of a deep sense of responsibility to Jehovah God, these instructions are issued. It is accordingly the duty of the elders, as spiritual overseers of God’s flock, to see to it that such undesirable elements are not accepted as approved, baptized members of congregations of Jehovah’s Christian witnesses.

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