1961 1962 higher authorities

by Marcial 11 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Marcial

    Are there among you, dear friends, a specialist in American associations from around the 1950s -1970s and a little more? To find out from what years in the USA the first subsidies were granted to religious congregations and other non-profit or charitable associations? Why this question is that I just thought that there is perhaps a link between doctrinal clarifications over the years and government innovations to support or subsidize these supposedly charitable religious organizations or certain qualified NGOs? Thanks if you have some clues. I have just formulated a theory which links the end of the higher authorities existing since Rutherford and Knorr who denied what CT RUSSEL taught to place Jehovah and Christ as higher authorities then in 1961 having removed them to put back what RUSSEL taught - I am referring to the French-language TDG 01 05 1996.

    . From this hypothesis I am convinced but I could be wrong that the state subsidies to the associations have made it possible to modify this false doctrine that they Rutherford and Knorr) taught for those which are much more certain coming from the higher authorities than those of the two deities named above to obtain a more substantial profit from them Marcial

  • vienne

    In the United States Constitutional law prevents government subsidies to religions. The most a church can legally expect is property tax relief, or if incorporated as a cherty, some tax relief. Your theory is wrong..

  • vienne


  • Marcial

    Thank you for this clarification, Here in France religious associations are also exempt from certain taxes. What I wanted to check if under the associative cover of congregations did not use certain possibilities to rush in and benefit from material advantages in the sixties to the example in relation to the doctrine of the higher authorities which as luck would have it was let's say "clarified". The 1996 tdg seemed to justify this turnaround according to the reading I had made of it but according to your answer perhaps this did not concern the USA but other states? Sincerely. Marcial;

  • slimboyfat

    My impression is that Fred Franz was never sold on Rutherford’s teaching on the “superior authorities” in Romans 13 and that he was eager to change it once Rutherford died. Why he had to wait until 1962 is a bit of a mystery to me. I can only imagine there was resistance from Knorr or from someone else in a powerful position, or perhaps that Franz himself saw some use in waiting.

    I think it’s interesting that the NWT in 1950 already inserted the phrase “relative positions” in Rom 13.1 which lends itself to the new understanding that the “superior authorities” are governments rather than Jehovah and Jesus. This makes me suspect the new light was already in the pipeline as early as 1950. It still leaves the question why wait until 1962 though?

  • dropoffyourkeylee

    Good comment SBF,

    I came to the belief some time ago that many, if not most, of the doctrinal changes post JFR were based on legal maneuvering around two issues:

    1) the US draft. Getting the brothers the Minister classification was front and center. Creation of the Ministry School, invention of "pioneer', 'Qualified to be ministers', all this stuff was invented to present to the courts that JW men were 'ministers'.

    2) missionary status for JWs being sent overseas , which Knorr started post WW2. Hence the Gilead school which purported to be missionary training.

    The 'superior authorities' 180 degree turn probably fit into one of these two strategies. 'We're not opposed to governments, we are subject to the laws of the country our missionaries are sent into' etc. It was all legal maneuvering

    my two cents

  • Beth Sarim
    Beth Sarim

    Then they'll turn it 90 degrees somehow so the shoe fits on both feet.

  • blondie

    The understanding of the “Superior Authorities” of Romans 13:1 is a teaching where Watchtower doctrine has flipflopped back and forth in clear violation of the principle of the light getting brighter.

    Up to 1929

    1929 to 1962

    1962 onwards

    “Evil as these Gentile governments have been, they were permitted or “ordained of God” for a wise purpose. (Rom. 13:1)” Studies In the Scriptures Series I - The Divine Plan of the Ages p.250

    “The Superior Authorities are the Most High God Jehovah and his exalted Son Jesus Christ.” This Means Everlasting Life (1950) p.197

    “The Expression “superior authorities” means the political governments or authorities.” Life everlasting in Freedom of the Sons of God (1966) p.189

  • NotFormer

    It goes to show that they are not above pandering to government when it suits them. Which makes it all the more puzzling to me as to why they don't pander further and give the governments what they want on CSA, the blood doctrine and shunning. The latter is easy: don't allow baptism until 18+. Or if they want to follow Jesus's example, 30+. 😇

  • Earnest

    slimboyfat : It still leaves the question why wait until 1962 though?

    I believe that one of the primary motivations for the change in understanding of Romans 13:1 in 1929 (that the "higher powers" referred to Jehovah God and Jesus Christ) was to do away with the ambivalence during World War I whether it was necessary to obey the government in a time of war.

    In the Watchtower of April 15, 1929 there is an article "God of Battle" with a section "The Christian and War" where it asks (para.21) :

    But suppose the nation in which the Christian has his earthly domicile enacts a law compelling all persons within certain ages to perform military service, put on the uniform and go to war and use the instruments of destruction to kill. What shall he do ?

    Of course the answer given is that the true Christian obeys the law of God, and six weeks later in the June 1 & 15 Watchtowers it was made clear that the "higher powers" did not refer to governments (and thus no compulsion to obey them). This meant that during the Second World War there was no confusion as to whether the governments had to be obeyed in time of war as there had previously been.

    So while Fred Franz may have been eager to change the teaching once Rutherford died, there was a Korean War going on from 1950 - 1953 which meant the draft continued with the Selective Service Act being continually extended to 1953, 1955, 1959, 1963, 1967, 1971 and 1973. By 1962 the Eisenhower doctrine of "massive retaliation" demanded more machines and fewer foot soldiers. The Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962 demonstrated beyond doubt that foot soldiers were obsolete on the international stage. The articles in the Watchtower in the following months (November 1 & 15, December 1) reverted the understanding of the "superior authorities" to refer to governments.

    This is all just conjecture on my part, but I think it is reasonable that some or all of this was a consideration in the timing of the articles on Romans 13:1.

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