Along with Musky's 1975 post I've just seen another so I wanted to try and reach Musky again and reach others who wonder about the reality of the Society's 1975 speculations. AF and others have done an excellent job documenting what was actually said by the Watchtower Society through their own official publications and spokesmen. As a person who was actually there in those heady times of the late 60's and early 70's these official documents confirm what my memory tells me I knew all along, that of course the Society actively promoted 1975 as a "marked date" or a date of "great significance" at the very least.
In fact, as I recall, the closer 1975 came the more they shifted it from being the possible start of Christ's 1000 Year Rule into being a "marked year" or a turning point in World history. This was due only to the fact that nothing was really happening near to 1975 that could be seen as Armegeddon-like so of course the Millinium couldn't already be in place by then. The Cold War, the riots of hippy/racial radicals, the Viet Nam War, Nixon's resignation, the Arab-Isreal conflict, Oil Embargo, and resulting Energy Crisis were all settling down by 1975 instead of getting worse and the Society was getting nervous. WWI had been a "lucky" accident which kind of saved their ass in 1914 by giving them something to point to but 1975 would come and go as a completely uneventful year and as such a complete and utter failure for the Watchtower Society's doomsayers.
I think that many JWs want to forget the real significance of 1975, which is, that the specific date itself was not nearly as important as the general time frame promoted by even the "moderates" in the Watchtower Society. The evidence is very clear, despite all JW denials, that even if certain Elders in individual congregations didn't believe in 1975 they certainly were convinced that the general time frame promoted for years by the Watchtower Society through all official study materials that "The End of This System of Things" was very near was a reality. That is what being a JW was all about, our one singular reason for being was preaching that the End was near. If "good and faithful" JWs didn't believe the big "A" was near then what was the whole point of what they/we were doing? To claim that only a few "overzealous" Brothers pushed the date 1975 is a red herring argument since evey active JW I knew believed that the big "A" could start at any time near this date. Why else would there have been such a frenzied pace and rapid growth during this period?
Todays JWs would have you believe it was no big deal but all evidence and common sense says likewise. If nobody really believed the mid-70's weren't special then why all the hubbub? After the turbulant 1960's many people besides JWs thought that the World was on the brink of destruction. Just look at the popular books and movies from this time. Apocolyptic themes were rampant in films like Omega Man, Soilent Green, Planet of the Apes, The Illustrated Man not to mention all the Hal Lindsey books. These movies were extra frightening to us JWs because they confirmed what we had been told. In The Omega Man I remember seeing a calender in the post-apocolyptic world stuck on 1975, the year the World as they had known it ended. This general feeling was widespread and very real folks. Any of you who were there and old enough know it.
Real JW disappointment lethargy didn't set in until the very late 1970's when the reality that the World was getting better instead of worse started to sink in. The few years after 1975 were still very hopeful that the End would come and relieve us of both our disillusionment and the harsh realities of continuing to live for a very long time in a world where education and money really were important afterall. Living on dreams and false hopes just became impossible after such a long time and the hard core believers started to make up the myth that they had never been fooled by 1975 and never believed it would be the End afterall. They had to, or face the fact that they had been idiots and believed in a liar Organization and had sacrificed for a false dream. I think it is this late 70's early 80's era and attitude that the younger folks remember when faithful dubs said they never believed in 1975. Before 1975 you would have been DFed for claiming that the big "A" was years off in the future but after this failed date this began to slowly change and you were allowed to be against "date setting" and to bad mouth those "faithless" nameless "overzealous" Brothers who promoted 1975, how dare they! Thus the myth of how the "time watchers" were cleaned out by Jehovah due to them putting faith in a date. The reality was that these "overzealous", "running ahead of the Organization", "datesetters" were all from the highest ranking officials in the Watchtower Society and not the nameless mythical scapegoat congregations out there somewhere.
It is no myth however that many dubs were waking up and smelling the coffee by the late 70's & early 80's as thousands did leave. Can you blame them? It's been almost 30 years since the mid-70's. No big "A" in sight. Many who left or stayed are now dead from old age and all of the 1914 Generation are gone. Do any of you still really believe the End is near after all this? Would it really be arrogant to say you were a fool if you did?