Thanks for the info. It was not my intent to write an essay or to delineate all the nuances of the Society's historical positions on Matt 25:31-46; just to present an overview of another doctrinal flip-flop.
I don't think I mispoke when I summarized the WT views thusly:
Prior to 1923: The separating of the sheep and the goats is a future event taking place after the tribulation.
1923-1995: The separating of the sheep and the goats began in 1914 and is currently taking place.
1995-current: The separating of the sheep and the goats is a future event taking place after the tribulation.
Imo, the bigger issue here is not (another) WT doctrinal flip-flop, but that the 1923 doctrinal position was attributed directly to God:
Stirring up increasing interest in them, Jehovah caused to be preached from 1918 onward the startling public message "Millions Now Living Will Never Die," and in 1923 he provided the interpretation of "the parable of the sheep and the goats." (Matt. 25:31-46) --WT, 11/15/1955, p.698.
The above is a very plain statement by the Society attributing what is now said to be DOCTRINAL ERROR to God.
It is my opinion that shifting doctrines (including even back-and-forth doctrinal flip-flops) are by and large readily accepted by individual JWs as they deem these to be examples of "the light getting brighter". However, attributing false doctrine - doctrinal error - to God is an entirely different issue which I consider to be far more damning to the Watchtower Society and much more difficult for individual JWs to reconcile.
Watchtower doctrine leaves no room for a God who provides doctrinal error to the JWs or anyone else for that matter: God is Truth. This means that the Society's claim to have received doctrinal enlightenment from God regarding Matthew 25:31-46 in 1923 is patently FALSE. This calls all other similar claims into question, for if the Society is demonstrably wrong(lied) about receiving new light from God in this case, why should any other such claim be believed?
Secondly, what of the ramifications of portraying God as a liar? Based on the Society's current doctrinal position regarding Matt 25:31-46 and their comments regarding their previously held view, God LIED to the Watchtower Society in 1923. By putting God "in the light of a liar", the Watchtower Society has sealed their own fate, according to their own teaching:
We may not tell untruths in his name, for that puts God in the light of a liar. "Let God be found true, though every man be found a liar." (Rom. 3:4, NW) In Jeremiah's day the false prophets prophesied lies in Jehovah's name and lied against his purpose, foretelling in his name what he had not foretold. Therefore Jehovah was against them. He executed judgment against them at Jerusalem's destruction in 607 B.C. (Jer. 23:25; 27:15) Religious liars like them today cannot escape a like judgment but will meet a like end at Armageddon. --WT, 2/1/1956, p.88.