Delineating the shameful story of the Jehovah's Witnesses failed apocalypse saga

by mankkeli 7 Replies latest jw friends

  • mankkeli

    One of the most firmly established new religious movements which bases its mission on apocalyptic predictions is jehovah’s Witnesses. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that we are living in a ”harvest period”, the end days of the present world, and should dramatically change our lives accordingly.

    The movement can be traced to the 1830s, when a Baptist leader named William Miller announced that the Bible is full of secret numerical clues. According to his interpretation of scriptural passages, he wrote of his prediction that christ would return to earth some time between March 21, 1843 and March 21, 1844. An estimated 100,000 people accepted his message and formed an informal network to anticipate the second coming, often leaving their mainstream christain churches in the process. When March 21, 1844 came and went without anything notable happening, Miller hopefully submitted that Jesus appear by October 22 of the same year. This predicted great event also failed to happen. From the ensuing confusion, two major new movements sprouted: seventh-day Adventist and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Both continued to anticipate the end time and the Witnesses continue to anticipate the end time.

    Charles Taze Russel was the founder of the Jehovah Witnesses movement. He was a businessman who had become disillusioned with his mainstream Presbyterean protestant christain Church. When he encountered Miller’s ideas, he became convinced that the population of the world would be burned up in 1873 or 1874, except for Adventists. When that did not happen, Russel concluded that Christ had actually arrived but was invisibly present. Only the faithful who came to be known as jehovah’s Witnesses would recognize his presence. His people should thus be prepared for the end of the current world, which would happen in 1878, when believers would be lifted to meet up with christ . Russel began publishing his views in the journal entitled The Watchtower and the herald of Christ’s presence. He worked so hard and had such charisma that he eventually built up a movement of over three million believers with headquarters in Brooklyn, New York. When nothing happened in 1878, Russell changed the deadline for the harvest of believers to 1881, and hence to 1914, then 1925 and then 1975. Each time, followers of this belief lived in anticipation prediction, approximately one million disillusioned jehovah’s Witnesses left the fold. Nonetheless, the movement is still strong.

    How do people keep the faith in the face of several failed predictions? Sociologists have observed that after the world does not end as it was expected to, believers are first dissapointed then confused. Then, partly because they year for salvation, they may find some way to rationalize the temporary failure and return to a state of waiting for the prophecy to come true in some fashion, perhaps soon. At the dawn of the twenty-first centruy. Jehovah’s Witnesses are again anticipating apocalypse.

    The firm doctrines of the movement may also offer a sense of certainty amid contemporary social complexities. Jehovah’s Witnesses have an extensive set of beliefs, some of which are clearly divergent from mainstream christainity, the original source of their faith. They maintain that righteous people chosen by God will eventually inherit the earth forever, living in a state of physical immortality in an earthly paradise which humans and animals will peacefully share. Another 144,000 of the faithful will live in heaven, ruling the earth alongside God and Jesus. Membership in the Wathctower Society is the only means of salvation: all others will perish in the battle of the final days between god’s army led by Jesus and Satan’s army, People should have nothing to do with churches other than the jehovah’s Witnesses, for other churches are agents of satan. They should also dissasociate themselves as far as possible from the secular world since the final apocalypse is about to come.

    For instance, they should not become involved in politics, military service, displays of patroitism, use or manufacture of weapons, sports, civic organizations, pornography, belief in evolution rather than divine creation, christmas or easter celebrations(because these are seen as adaptations of pagan festivals), or birthday celebrations because they are not mentioned in the bible). Higher education is not encouraged, for it fosters secular values. Rather, families are encouraged to study the bible and watchtower together, so that they may become strictly moral and convincing missionaries for the faith. With their strong patriarchial families, dedicated lay participation in the work of the movement, and conviction that theirs is the only way to salvation in the coming apocalypse, Jehovah’s Witnesses remain one of the most popular new religious movements in the world.

    Their intensely committed missionaries go from door-to-door, attempting to engage people in conversations about the evil state of the world, the coming millennium, and their vision of salvation. The Watchtower is published in 110 languages and over 15 million sopies of each issues are distributed arround the world by these missionaries.

    Mankkeli Makkerere

  • ProdigalSon

    Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that we are living in a ”harvest period”, the end days of the present world, and should dramatically change our lives accordingly.

    Actually, all of the above JW "beliefs" are for the most part true, in a figurative sense. Problem is, like all other fundies, they worship a misleading book that twists divine truths to the opposite of what they originally conveyed. Like most ancient writings, it is an allegory, and it teaches what a person needs to do in order to "ascend", namely, to serve humanity as a whole in the best way possible. When read literally, it leads one to believe in eternal annihilation rather than the evolution of the soul, and leads one to regard the true Divine Wisdom as "demonic". It has served the mammon well, but in this day and age, there's simply no excuse to continue being fooled by this Bronze Age Bullshit.

  • theBibleResearcher

    you have several errors in your post, just in case you wanted to change it to actual facts, some things you may want to reconsider:

    Seventh day adventists sprouted MANY years before JW's, and including the baptist saga into the "JW" story is totally irrelevent, unless you are saying the Baptists started the apocalyptic movement, which would be insane, since actually it was started by the teachings of Christ & his foloowers in the 1st century.

    one, Seventh Day Adventists grew out of the Millerite movement of the 1840's. The bible students began in 1870's. so your story is misleading, which is ironic considering you are big on "DATES". : )

    also, the first publication of the WT was July 1, 1879. you say he began publishing his views in the WT before that time.... just saying.

    Also, you say Russell changed the dates, throughout time.... how old did this guy live to be anyway??? Russell died in 1916 so how could he have been around to change the dates??? You also have a misconception of the dates you printed, The Witnesses knew that 1914 would be a significant year, and be a turning point of somekind, they just did not know WHAT EXACTLY would happen that year, some did "think" they would be called to heaven but we do know what happened in 1914 don't we, even those who are not witnesses know, historians call 1914 a turning point in history, also,....1925 was the year that the meaning of the "other sheep" was truly understood, then...1975 was a sifting period, SOME JW's believed that the end of the world was literally going to be that year, but that is NOT what the society was TEACHING. It was a great thing that happened because those that were thinking their OWN thoughts and not GOD's thoughts left in 1975!! AWESOME!!

    As far as JW's teaching once again that an apocolypse is at hand....


    It was the same message that Jesus & his followers taught! Good Grief, you are not all that brilliant are you?? jus sayin....

    And dissassociate ourselves from the secular world?? We all WORK our butts off everyday at a secular job...AND.... go out and preach about the Kingdom, so we are MORE involved with people & the secular world than MOST!! Some of us are LAWYERS, some of us are DOCTORS, some of us are FIREMEN, etc... We do not isolate ourselves as some religions do, we just do not take up worldly pursuits, such as WORKING as much overtime as we can get to accumulate material things. Not that having material items are wrong, many are neccessary in the times we live in, we just not PURSUE a "materialistic lifestyle" to "keep up with the jones" so to speak.

    As a JW we do not believe that you have to be a JW to be saved, that would be thinking mans thoughts, not Gods thoughts, he can preserve alive anyone he wants to, and some who think they are "saved" may not survive, so there again you are mistaken. Yes, our beliefs are somewhat different than the mainstream, but when Jesus came to the earth his teachings were considered "different" too, and the other Jeligious clergy of the day HATED him for it!

    some differences in the mainstream....for instance: we do not believe in a burning hell. The bible does speak of a lake of fire that brings destruction to the wicked, but just like the people of Sodom & Gommorah were destroyed by fire, they were destroyed quickly, just like the people of the flood, the death was quick not an eternal torture. When researching hell, you have to get past MANS idea of what hell is, but what the literal meaning is, for instance Sheol & Gehenna, were TRANSLATED into the word HELL, so get out a strongs concordance and look up the original meaning. That is one point that we differ than most churches on, so why would we ever want to attend a church that teaches such a lie, that God would burn mankind just to torment them, in Deut, he says that the very idea had not come up into his heart. ...there are so many un-truths to your story im not going to waste any more time pointing them out, you obviously have no clue to what Jehovah's Witnesses are totally ridiculous.

  • Listener

    What years did the JWs (Russell and Ruderford) teach that the end would come? It sounds like you are saying that they predicted no dates for the GT.

    As for 1914 and your comment "The Witnesses knew that 1914 would be a significant year, and be a turning point of somekind, they just did not know WHAT EXACTLY would happen that year, some did "think" they would be called to heaven but we do know what happened in 1914 don't we, even those who are not witnesses know, historians call 1914 a turning point in history". Does that mean they went around simply saying the 1914 was going to be a significant year - end of story or is there more to it than that? Didn't many leave after 1914 and 1925 because they felt they had been mislead? So how did that occur and what were they being mislead by?

  • Ucantnome

    "1975 was a sifting period, SOME JW's believed that the end of the world was literally going to be that year, but that is NOT what the society was TEACHING. It was a great thing that happened because those that were thinking their OWN thoughts and not GOD's thoughts left in 1975!! AWESOME"

    An interesting comment

  • Resistance is Futile
    Resistance is Futile

    Welcome to the forum BibleResearcher. "As a JW we do not believe you have to be a JW to be saved,"

    I have to respectfully disagree with this statement. The Governing Body most certainly does teach that you have to be a JW in order to be saved. How long have you been one of Jehovah's Witnesses? Because I'm suprised that you don't know such a core belief.

  • mrquik

    So Researcher; 1914 was a turning point? Another world war? There have been many that classify. Unleashing of Satan? This is the best he can do after a century? Jehovah's Holy Spirit poured out on the GB? Do you think it reasonable that Holy Spirit would even remotely lead a people to join any part of the UN, flip flop on major issues, constantly encourage it R&F to expect an imminent Paradise? Tell you they make mistakes, but unlike the candor of the early Christians never admit to them? And whose responsible for those mistakes? The Holy Spirit? Sorry, this organization does not now nor ever had Holy Spirit. If you're in, get out now. Oh, I forgot. My background. Was a Witness for 50 years. Father-in-law of the anointed. Actually knew Rutherford. Was an MS, Elder, Pioneer. Routinely gave DC parts. Served on RBC. I know this organization very well. It's not the Truth.

  • Bungi Bill
    Bungi Bill

    Further to theBibleResearcher's comments, C.T. Russell adopted the date 1874 from the Second Adventists - but after the event, and by which time they had modified its significance to beginning the "invisible return" of Jesus Christ. (The meeting between Russell and the Second Adventist's N.H. Barbour occurred sometime in 1876). The Second Adventists were a result of the wreckage of William Miller's Adventist movement. The JWs, however, were only very indirectly so.

    However, both Russell and Barbour both believed that 1914 would mark the end of the "last days", and definitely see the end of the world. (Barbour later abandoned this idea, but Russell never did - until 1914 came and went, after which he amended it to 1915, according to his The Time is at Hand of that same year).

    Likewise, in the early 1920s, the Witnesses did predict that the end would happen in 1925 (WT 7/15/24, p.211). This was the thrust of J.F. Rutherford's bombasts that "Millions Now Living Will Never Die." (Incidentally, the "understanding" about the Other Sheep came about ten years after that, in 1935).

    Once again, the JWs were expicit about expecting the end to happen in 1975. While they may not have anywhere in writing said precisely that "Armegeddon will happen in 1975", that thought was left hanging there repeatedly:

    - so as to leave the reader with no doubt that this is what the WTS believed; and furthermore, what it wanted its readers to believe. (Either that, or the WTS made an abysmal job of communicating what they did believe!).

    Just a few examples of many include Life Everlasting in Freedom of the Sons of God (1966). Around about page 29, after extensive discussion about 1975 marking the 6000th anniversary of human creation, the expression "appropriate" was used to describe the sequence of events should God pull the pin on "This System" during that same year.

    Further to that, a series of Watchtower articles in 1968 added fuel to the 1975 fire :

    - WT 5/1/68 p.271 spoke of the "gap" as being "less than one year."

    - WT 8/15/68 p.499 talked of "weeks or months - not years."

    During those years, I was an avid reader of everything that the WTS printed, and I saw first hand how their writings about 1975 were interpreted:

    - both by Witnesses and non-Witnesses alike.

    In addition to what was written, much more was said from the platform - much of it quite specific that the end would be in 1975.

    So what Mankelli says concerning JW predictions about the date of "Armgeddon" are quite correct - and it would take a great excercise in weasel talk to try and talk their way out of that one (particularly the 1975 date). Not to say it hasn't been tried, however!


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