Watchtower Library

by Paul Bonanno 20 Replies latest jw friends

  • Paul Bonanno
    Paul Bonanno

    In the early 1980s together with my brothers we decided to started collecting Watchtower literature and have them neatly in a library at home. With the help of our father he gave us all the books bought during the years that he had stored in a big wooden box.

    After purchasing all the literature that we had missing from the Kingdom Hall we decided to write letters to the World Headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Brooklyn New York as well to the British and Australian Branch office.

    Unfortunately none of our requests bear fruit as they informed us: “it is doubtful whether they are available anywhere in the world….” (CA February 23, 1983); “unable to supply the old publications you request.” (SA: SG September 20, 1983) “we will keep your letter on our files….”(SA: SG January 22, 1983).

    During the years we managed to obtain many of these early books going back to 1879 when this religious organization was started.

    Through Barbara Anderson we learned that in 30 Columbia Heights Building New York they had a warehouse storage where they kept many old literature which Don Kommers the assistant of Vern Wisegarver was responsible for.

    Through these publications we learned what exactly was written by Charles Russell and Joseph Rutherford regarding predictions that never came to be.

  • Paul Bonanno
  • Paul Bonanno
  • GodBeliever

    Thank you very much for the hard work you've done. I have enjoyed reading most of that literature. I was always wandering who brought all those publications together.

    As for their predictions based on the Bible teachings many of them were true: The creation of the United Nations, the downfall of organised religion, the period of peace the western world has enjoyed after the second world war, the rise of evil slave that is in charge today at WT( see The man of sin 1930) and many others.

    As for the end of the world nobody can predict that, as the Bible states. Some milestones can be used to see at what point in time we are. We need to be patient. If it doesn't happen in our lifetime what is the matter?

    We can devout our life to God without making ourselves slaves to humans.

  • cofty

    Interesting post Paul thanks. I read a lot of Russell's and Rutherford's books during my transition out of the cult. The Berwick-upon-Tweed congregation had a good collection of old publications. It was so incredibly clear how phoney the whole organisation was right from its infancy.

    I remember reading Rutherford describe how many yards it was from the study where he had written his latest ramblings to the factory where it was to be printed and how this very measurement was a fulfillment of prophecy.

    He spent a lot of energy raging against Bible Students who opposed his leadership and the 'elective elders', calling them by all sorts of invectives. In the decades since then they haven't got any any more insightful just a lot more professionally managed.

  • TheWonderofYou

    If HopSHow many books, magazines, volumes does your library make up? How many shelves or rooms? I imagine that it needs a room for all this. Is the GB disencouraging to collect old literature privately? I knew one sister who posseded Russels books in German? So it was never forbidden to posses old light in private homes but only unwise to read them? Twisted. GB certainly trusts that more and more will throw the old stuff into the garbage. I assume if such a library would be in public, the brothers would lend the books and destroy them or cut out pages so like to protect Jehovahs name.

  • slimboyfat

    I have never seen or heard of JWs deliberately destroying old literature or cutting out pages or anything like that. The idea that JWs routinely destroy old literature is pure imagination. Of course it’s possible a few JWs have done this: there are millions of JWs, so all kinds of unusual behaviour undoubtedly takes place in individual cases. But I see no evidence this is common or typical JW behaviour. Many JWs throw away old literature because they don’t see any point keeping it. But lack of appreciation for old literature is not the same thing as attempting to suppress it. In fact the only official Watchtower letter I have read on the subject suggested that congregations send old literature to the branch if no one else wants it.

    There is one rare and unusual exception I recall in recent years. There was an instruction to destroy rather than offer an old brochure for either Muslims or Hindus, I can’t remember which. I suspect it may have been because the brochure contained harsh or outdated language, but I didn’t follow it up to find out. This brochure was not particularly old, and it wasn’t destroyed for doctrinal reasons, but probably motivated by legal considerations or public relations.

  • BluesBrother

    "I have never seen or heard of JWs deliberately destroying old literature"

    I have. When a cong. around here had a refurbishment the Bethel Building Team (whatever they call themselves) planned the backrooms and told the Elders to get rid of the extensive library. Loads of old and rare books were summarily dumped at the local tip....Tragic . I know some brothers that were furious.

  • slimboyfat

    Sorry, I was not clear.

    Yes I agree that many congregations have dumped old literature, and it is tragic, and some JWs would be annoyed that they were not offered them first. They are Philistines. What I am saying is, it is, for the most part, pure lack of care, not a concerted effort to destroy embarrassing old literature. To accuse JWs in general of suppressing old literature in most cases credits them with greater knowledge of its content that they actually possess.

  • Paul Bonanno
    Paul Bonanno

    The JWs do not “discourage” you from having a library in fact you are encouraged to have one. But when it comes to try to obtain these books it’s not easy and the Headquarters and Bethels (UK and Australia) at least from my personal experience did not help in this although every year they are donated with libraries of members who passed away or decided to hand them to the Branch.

    They told us that they will keep our request on their file but nothing ever materialize. We obtained our old books (Russell & Rutherford era) through asking directly old timers in UK and during holidays in England. As well buying them through second hand bookshops.

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