PICTURE yourself as a member of the Brooklyn Bethel family on Friday morning, October 2, 1914. You are seated at your usual place at the breakfast table, awaiting the arrival of Brother C. T. Russell. Suddenly the door to the dining room opens and Brother Russell appears. He pauses for a moment, as is his custom, and greets the Bethel family with a cheery “Good morning, all.” But then, instead of immediately taking his place at the head of the table, he claps his hands and makes a thrilling announcement: “The Gentile Times have ended; their kings have had their day!” You can hardly contain your joy—you have been looking forward to this moment for a long time! Along with the rest of the Bethel family, you greet this exciting news with sustained, enthusiastic applause.
- Introductory excerpt from the publication, "God's Kingdom Rules!"
It was October 2nd 1914. My grandparents were yet young children, not old enough to be called adults. They were a decade or so away from converting to, first, the Bible Students (my maternal grandparents in the 1920s) and second, the JWs (my paternal grandparents, in the 1930s).
My parents were not yet born.
They are all now dead.
I read through the above except from one of the latest Watchtower publications and my eyes fixed on the declaration: "You have been looking forward to this for a long time".
Who was speaking and who to?
"Brother Charles Russell" in 1914. Forget what he said was supposed to have happened on that occasion. Zero in on that statement "You have been looking forward to this for a long time." He was addressing the Bethelites in Brooklyn New York. Untold numbers of those present had been waiting for decades for the end of the world in 1914. That year was to have been the furthest extent of the old world's existence to be replaced by the new. And good old Chuck Russell confidently told them what had happened (i.e., the Gentile Times had ended).
- Chuck Russell was about two years away from his own death on a train;
- Rutherford was not yet President of the Watchtower Society
- The predictions for the resurrection of the ancient worthies were not yet devised
- The new name, Jehovah's Witnesses was still years away (1931)
- The teaching about "this generation" was changed from 1799 to 1914
- JWs were taught - and in turn taught others - those alive in 1914 would also be alive when the end came
- The 1975 doctrine was not to percolate into hard print for another fifty years (the 1960s)
- 1975 came and went - an utter doctrinal fiasco, buried by the organization as the 1980s arrived and now officially forgotten
- The literal application of the generation teaching was dropped in the 1990s, 60 yeears after it was first promulgated, buried and officially forgotten
- The overlapping generation was yet 80-plus years away.
Next time you reflect upon the way you at one time may have been looking forward for a long time to "this" (i.e., the end), spare a thought for the generations of believers before you who had also held onto the hope of seeing the end...and value as never before now being able to think for yourself, free from the doctrinal rubbish spewing forth from jw.org.
Waking up can be very disturbing, disorienting, but ultimately, empowering and enabling you to break free from the stench of religion. Rutherford unintentionally got one thing right:
"Religion is a snare and a racket"