How did 1975 affect you?

by AK - Jeff 45 Replies latest jw friends

  • Dustin

    I'm glad the end didn't come, or I wouldn't be here.


  • jeanniebeanz

    I was in highschool. Remember very clearly having to explain the end not coming to my classmates after 75, and I choked on the words. We were instructed to take the blame and say that the society never said the end would come and that we had made the mistake. Made me sick.


  • Golf

    Good thinking Dustin.


  • garybuss

    I was 30 in 1974 and when I saw the year text I knew the Watch Tower Publishing Corporation didn't belive Armageddon was coming in 1975. "If the fig tree fails to bloom . . . " It didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what that meant.

    I didn't get upset that Armageddon didn't come in 1975. I was glad it didn't. I was upset at how the Watch Tower Publishing Corporation was handling the fact that they had clearly taught error. They denied it. That pissed me off. The Witness people who stayed, denied it too and decided to shun me because I didn't deny it. That pissed me off. Then they decided to shun me because I was pissed off. Lol! I couldn't win.

    When they directed my sons to shun me, they crossed a line with me that they can't un cross.

    I have given up on them to ever do any good. They can happily pedal their denials door to door without me:-)

  • Liberty II
    Liberty II

    Hi scootergirl,

    In answer to your question the W.T. Society didn't know what to say after Fred Franz's blunder. He pushed the date the hardest disregarding the warnings of more cautious Watchtower big-wigs. Fred could get away with it because he was their best & really only resident "prophet" and was "co-annointed" by the Judge(Rutherford) himself along with Knorr to rule the Watchtower Kingdom after the Judge's death.. These guys were the top commanders in those days so no one could veto them. Knorr went along with Fred because the growth rate was so huge starting with Fred's ravings in the mid 1960's promising only "a few short years left" until the "end of the 6000 years" of whackey W.T. timetables. This, after years of post WWII stagnation in growth and unfullfilled promises, was like a breath of fresh air for the average Dub. It also helped that the 1960's were so turbulant and filled with changes that it looked to many (even the "worldly" experts at the time) that all Hell was breaking loose anyway. "How could this Old System even last another 10 years at this rate?", was a common JW expression in those days.

    Fred clearly promised in numerous writings and speaches that the mid 1970's would mark the end of 6000 years since Ol' Jehover rested from his creations. Though not exact, he promised Eve was created within "only a matter of months" of Adam so we could be assured that the mid-1970's would bring huge changes as it marked the start of the last thousand years of God's seven thousand year "day" left for the millinial reign of Christ in the "New Order". In common Dub understanding this meant the big "A" was due some where around 1975 and Fred knew exactly what to say so we could decode it out that way. Any JW who says this wasn't so is either self-deluded, a liar, or doesn't know what they are talking about.

    Also, don't forget how well this date (1975) fits into the whole 1914 Generation notion. People old enough to "understand" the importance of Christ's Second Coming were said to be at least in their mid-teens by 1914 and would be around 75 years or older by 1975, a mature biblical generation by Fred's calculations and the big "A" had to happen before they started dying off. Yeah...Right!

    As had happened on numerous occasions with crazy Watchtower "spirit guided" predictions, Fred & the JW's were wrong, AGAIN!. The mid 1970's dissolved into a real non-event time. All the Doom & Gloom predictions by the 1960's wordly "experts" also sputtered into over-alarmist non-history. We survived and the world went on just as usual with crisis after crisis solving itself. Those hippie kids didn't kill everybody while high on drugs, race riots didn't turn into a civil war, no nukes fell, and Rock music and dirty movies didn't undermine the foundations of Western Civilization.

    We rank & file Dubs were just stunned because nothing was really happening. And the Society was suddenly very quiet about nothing happening. We waited hopefully a little longer into''76, then''77. We got Star Wars, Mork & Mindy, and Disco but other than that no big "A" in sight. The Society started backing off the big "A" talk. Soon it was the unnamed "Over Zealous Brothers's" fault that so many were disappointed. Then it was the Rank & File JW's fault for being "time watchers" and "fair weather Christians". Then yet again unnamed Elders in distant congregations pushing dates for their own selfish needs had caused the 1975 thing. Let's get real folks, the Society would not tolerate any JWs or especially elders pushing a date unless Fred Franz & Knorr encouraged it. These mysterious Date Pushers would have been DF'ed if they were really making up the 1975 thing. Yet, this JW explaination myth still survives, especially for Dubs too young to know any better.

    How could it be the Watch Tower Society's fault since they are "Spirit Directed"? They hoped that the average JW would be too stupid to remember where they got their ideas about 1975 and by and large they were right. Ask an active JW today about 1975 and they will swear that the W.T. Society never made such an error. Most of them won't even know who Fred Franz was even when nearly everything they believe was made up by this one man.

  • The JellyBaby
    The JellyBaby

    Like a lot of others..that was the year that my single parent, vulnerable mother, with 3 young children, was reeled into the whole such a young age, I was not to realize the pain and suffering we would all experience as the years ticked by....Fond memories?...nope!

  • Swan

    I feel that it did change the religion, and certainly we changed too.

    I remember the camaraderie of before; and the impersonalization after 1975. We used to open our homes to complete strangers assigned to us by the Rooming Department. We used to pick strawberries in the summer to donate to the convention. The refreshment stands had homemade pies and cakes donated. We were happy to see our school bus driver, who was an elder, and we felt a special bond with him or any other JW we happened to meet. We implicitly trusted anyone who said they were a JW.

    After 1975 the changes started becoming more pronounced. The elder arrangement of the early 70's seemed to get into full swing. We no longer had the pastor-like figure of a PO, as new elders were rotated into the position. Was this a bit like idolatry? Probably, but we were also comfortable with certain brothers in certain roles. Many of them were also uncomfortable in their new roles. Besides, it works. People want that pastor-like father figure in their local congregation. They feel comfort in knowing he is there, whether or not you always like everything he directs you to do.

    These changes didn't happen overnight. The "new arrangement" was slow but sure in coming. The death of Knorr around that time started a downhill decline of the top management. The change of leadership passed for the first time to a real governing body. Prior to that the perception was that Knorr was in charge, assisted by the GB. Slowly things were added that changed the old country colporteur type of religion into the impersonal McReligion it is today.

    Other changes started happening. A chop chop chopping at all of the things that were familiar. Some changes were for the better, but not all of them. I perceived some of them as a streamlined factory approach to religion. Certainly getting rid of eight-day assemblies was an improvement. But then three day circuit assemblies were whittled down to two and then to one a year with a one-day special talk. It sent the message to us, "This isn't as important as it was before. We don't need to spend extra days telling you about it."

    "Your nutrition isn't that important either!" was the message when they discontinued meals at the district convention. So we had just snacks. Then it was just fast food snacks. The orange juice was still frozen. The cheap soda tasted like swill. We couldn?t ask for anything special. We paid for it ahead of time by guessing how much we would eat and buying food tickets. Didn't use all your tickets? Too darn bad! Then came the elimination of dinners at the circuit assemblies. All that work we did to build a kitchen in the assembly hall seemed wasted, as we used after this change to serve MuffinEggs and pudding cups. But of course, if we were to go to a real restaurant or even a real fast food place, it was considered disloyal.

    ?And we don?t care how much you contributed!? was the other message. No matter how high the thermometer went they wouldn?t turn up the air conditioning at the convention in the blazing heat of summer. Nor would the turn up the heat in the Kingdom Hall in the winter. The brothers and sisters started to be treated not like sheep, but like cattle, and herded here and there as efficiently as crowds at Disneyland. ?One towel only!? ?Keep moving!? ?Cover the mirrors with paper so the cows won?t dawdle in the restrooms.?

    With these changes came discontent. The word "apostate" became an every day word not too long after 1975. So the disfellowshipping and disassociation rules had to change too, especially to deal with those at Bethel who disagreed with the direction things were now headed. This was the best way to control the spin of information during this post 1975 era. That is, until the Internet came along.

    I guess it has become even worse since I left. Their getting involved in politics is one example. I remember book studies that started having heated political ?discussions? but now they vote. There?s no more food at all at any assembly. Sack lunches are the norm, but only in small coolers. There is still no leaving between sessions, probably to keep people from forgetting to come back after having a decent restaurant meal.

    There are no magazine subscriptions any longer. I hear that soon the Awake will only come out once a month. Cheaper paper and other materials are used. Vital spiritual truths are now suited to paperback. Things have been dumbed down even more. I?m really looking forward to the day they do comic books.


  • glitter

    I wasn't born in 1975, and my mum wasn't a JW, but I remember how I felt when I found out about it.

    I was in the school library, sitting out of RE, and I don't know what reference book I was leafing through, but there was something about JWs (just a paragraph - may have been an encyclopedia) and 1975 and there was a b/w photo of lots of cars and a caption that said "JWs sell homes and businesses and leave San Diego".

    (Was there an exodus from cities other than "going where the need is greatest"?)

    I remember thinking "What idiots to do that!". I'd never heard 1975 mentioned before, I wasn't sure if I even believed it, and I'd never heard it said it was the R&F dubs' fault for thinking that (though I did later - that those who DA'd after were the bad ones!)... yet as a good little JW that's what I immediately thought!

    I didn't hear anything again (or even think anything) about 1975 until I came on here.

  • AK - Jeff
    AK - Jeff
    How could it be the Watch Tower Society's fault since they are "Spirit Directed"? They hoped that the average JW would be too stupid to remember where they got their ideas about 1975 and by and large they were right. Ask an active JW today about 1975 and they will swear that the W.T. Society never made such an error.

    Liberty II - how right you are. Just recently, though most of the dubs in my area have long since put me on the 'shunning list', my sis in law, whose only real virtue is that she took good care of my brother in his declining years before his death, told me that exact thing. That 1975 was never a highlighted date. Of course she was not in the 'truth' then. I was, and my recollections are precise to yours.

    Of course, now the cat is out of the bag that I am an apostate, so I have not had a follow up blow up with her.

    Nice summary of things too - I appreciated that.


  • AK - Jeff
    AK - Jeff
    There are no magazine subscriptions any longer. I hear that soon the Awake will only come out once a month. Cheaper paper and other materials are used. Vital spiritual truths are now suited to paperback. Things have been dumbed down even more. I?m really looking forward to the day they do comic books.

    Tammy - LOL

    Your whole picture is well presented for those who have not seen it. I remember that our hall had the 'one paper towel' rule in the restrooms. And we were expected to wipe the sink with that after wiping our hands, so that we didn't have so much cleaning to do. I don't know why, since we were all denied an education, most of us were janitors anyway!!!


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