You may have notice in a recent Kool-Aid Watchtower, the announcement of its creation at headquarters of an archive of photos, objects, memorabilia, etc. I noticed that the lavishly upgraded Assembly Hall in Buckingham, Pa. now display in the lobby, glass cases with all sort of such objects. It wasn't long ago when they disparaged nostalgia as the preoccupation of spritually bankrupted wordlings who, bereft of any hope for the future, pitiably cling to memories of the "good old days"..... What's up with Jehovah's "forward looking" people?? Are they institutionalizing a longing for the past?
WT Indulging In Nostalgia, Soliciting Memorabilia; What's Up?
I suspect it is an attempt to control JWs natural curiosity.
If a JW wanted to know the history of the organization, what can he do? Reread the "Proclaimers" book for the 5th time?
The logical thing to do would be to do research online, and of course we know what horrors that would lead to.
So the Society has started to print the nostalgia articles, to in effect say "See? No need to research anything on the [evil] internet! We've got the history right here!"
The Proclaimers book is awful. The JW leadership has to draw a connection to Russell because of 1914-1919 but Russell and Rutherford/Franz had completely different religious views. The hoax that just keeps on running.
How interesting. Behind glass you say?
What an interesting way to get people to give up any old WT publications. Ask they to donate the old stuff so the WTS can put it on display behind glass. They get to create a "history" of sorts that no oner can access.
Sort of an attempt to squelch the accusation that they hide their past from present JWs. They could honestly say "We even have it on display" but ignore the fact that no one can use it.
Possibly a couple of reasons: like Sir82 said above, they want to control people's curiosity and they want to do it first before anybody else goes on the internet looking for information about the religion's past and gets disillusioned. This way they have a nice little "museum" that shows what they want to show and it may quench the curiosity of the last of the Mohicans.
Also, I wonder if they are trying to bring back that feeling of hope and zeal that many people had who came into the religion in those days. Sorry for them, but those days are gone.
I thought Barbara Anderson found a lot of WTS memoribilia when she was researching at Bethel. Based on the few articles they had in the past, the WTS has a great deal of those things but carefully selects out of them.
1959 Divine Purpose book
1993 Proclaimers book
selected articles in the publications
But a true historian goes to several sources not just one.
I agree with Sir82. If they seek out enough tame articles from the early 1900's and promote them.....those witnesses with curiosities will read them and be satisfied that the organization really wasn't that different back then. And that the articles back then were not crazy and very beneficial. And if they proudly display old literature in glass casings....well.....that does wonders to ease the minds of curious witnesses with questions. It'll be.....
"Surely if the society proudly displays these old pieces of literature......there must be nothing wrong with them, right? There is no way the society would put something that proves that they aren't God's sole channel of communication in a glass case right here in the assembly hall. Just the fact that they aren't afraid to display this is proof in and of itself that there is nothing wrong with the old literature. I mean.....what's the point in even reading it now?"
It is a classic aggressive bully move. It is similar to a man that is cheating on his wife. His wife has suspicions but not hard proof yet. So she asks him. He gets angry and feigns like he is deeply hurt that she would accuse him of such a thing. He asks her what he ever did to deserve this. He suggests marriage counseling because obviously she doesn't love him like she should. Just like that....she is guilted and in a way bullied into no longer having the suspicion that she rightly carried to begin with.
Years ago when my congo was remodeling the KH, I was asked to help 'decorate' the library/2nd school/back room. We had a lot of old timers and I thought why not display some of their memorabilia. I collected old pioneer cards, pictures of the sound car, the oversized old WT, even a old lapel pin with the cross. I made up a collage of these items and had them framed in a shadow box. Everyone including elders thought is was great to have a sort of mini JW museum of our own. Uh Oh....along came the CO and without a word to me it was taken down and never seen again. When I asked about it I was given a stern look of "it is not you place to ask questions" I never got an explaination but I certainly learned more Truth about the Troof.
Assembly halls in Austria have memorabilia from the Nazi period (purple triangles, photographs, clothes) in glass displays I noticed about ten years ago.
The Watchtower has an interest in promoting an antiquarian rather than a historical perspective on their past.
It's easier to manipulate your own history if u keep it a secret