The purpose of this article is to test the honesty of the Watchtower Society, as demonstrated by numerous statements made in Watchtower publications. But consider first the following advice from "Mother":1
It is obvious that the true God, who is himself "the God of truth" and who hates lies, will not look with favor on persons who cling to organizations that teach falsehood. (Psalm 31:5; Proverbs 6:16-19; Revelation 21:8) And, really, would you want to be even associated with a religion that had not been honest with you? –Is This Life All There Is?, 1974, page 46.view
With this notion firmly in mind, consider the following statements:
The book then raises the logical question. "Is it reasonable to assume that the religion imposed at one's birth is necessarily the whole truth?" Thus, every person is encouraged to examine other religions with an open mind. –The Watchtower, April 1, 1991, page 17.
A very noble sentiment from "Mother" - but how true is it?
Why do Jehovah's Witnesses decline to exchange their Bible study aids for the religious literature of people they meet? ... it would be foolhardy, as well as a waste of valuable time, for Jehovah's Witnesses to accept and expose themselves to false religious literature that is designed to deceive. ... it is out of wisdom and respect for God's counsel that Jehovah's Witnesses do not make a practice of exchanging valuable Bible study aids containing Scriptural truth for religious literature that disseminates error or apostate views. –The Watchtower, May 1, 1984, page 31.
Doesn't sound very 'open minded' to me.
Yes, the international society of Jehovah's Witnesses is living proof that hatred can be abolished. ... It is a foreglimpse of a worldwide program to eliminate hatred and it's causes. –The Watchtower, June 15, 1995, page 8.
Living proof that hatred can be abolished? Sounds great. Just don't try leaving the organization:
We must hate in the truest sense, which is to regard with extreme and active aversion, to consider as loathsome, odious, filthy, to detest. –The Watchtower, October 1, 1952, page 599.
It really makes one wonder how they plan to go about 'eliminating hatred and it's causes.'
Jehovah's Witnesses, in their eagerness for Jesus' second coming, have suggested dates that turned out to be incorrect. Never in these instances, however, did they presume to originate predictions 'in the name of Jehovah'. Never did they say 'These are the words of Jehovah'. –Awake!, March 22, 1993, page 4.
They never said 'these are the words of Jehovah', huh?
Jehovah's prophetic word through Christ Jesus is: "This generation [of 1914] will by no means pass away until all things occur." (Luke 21:32) And Jehovah, who is the source of inspired and unfailing prophecy, will bring about the fulfillment...2 –The Watchtower, May 15, 1984, page 6-7.view view
For years, one of the core tenets of the Watchtower religion was that of the "1914 generation". The organization taught that the generation of people who were living during the year 1914, and who were old enough to discern the events of that year, would still be alive (i.e. not "pass away", Luke 21:32) - when Armageddon struck. Eventually, after stretching a generation to its maximum conceivable length (and then some), the leaders of the Watchtower religion finally abandoned the doctrine altogether. But not before pinning their false prophecy on God and Jesus Christ many, many times.3
We need to examine, not only what we personally believe, but also what is taught by any religious organization with which we may be associated. Are its teachings in full harmony with God's Word, or are they based on the traditions of man? If we are lovers of the truth, there is nothing to fear from such an examination. –The Truth That Leads To Eternal Life, 1981, page 13.
I think they must have meant, examine any religious organization except Jehovah's Witnesses:
Jesus' disciples wrote many letters to Christian congregations, to persons who were already in "the way of the truth." But nowhere do we read that those brothers first, in a skeptical frame of mind, checked the Scriptures to make certain that those letters had Scriptural backing, that the writers really knew what they were talking about. –The Watchtower, February 15, 1981, page 19.
But in Jehovah's organization it is not necessary to spend a lot of time and energy in research, for there are brothers in the organization who are assigned to that very thing, to help you who do not have so much time for this, these preparing the good material in The Watchtower and other publications of the Society. –The Watchtower, June 1, 1967, page 338.
If we have love for Jehovah and for the organization of his people we shall not be suspicious, but shall, as the Bible says, 'believe all things,' all the things that The Watchtower brings out, in as much as it has been faithful in giving us knowledge of God's purposes... –Qualified to be Ministers, 1955, page 156.view
After being nourished to our present spiritual strength and maturity, do we suddenly become smarter than our former provider and forsake the enlightening guidance of the organization that mothers us? "Forsake not the law of thy mother." –The Watchtower, February 1, 1952, page 80.
Truly amazing. No examination necessary. No 'checking the scriptures'. No need to 'spend time and energy in research'. Just 'believe all things the Watchtower brings out'. Well that's what the Bible says... doesn't it?
What do you think of a man that lifts articles from one magazine and has them published in another magazine? What do you think when he attaches his name as author of the stolen articles? What do you think of him when he continues to do it after he has been caught and has promised to quit? And does the fact that he claims to be a minister of religion shock you still more? –The Watchtower, January 15, 1954, page 38.
This is an interesting one. This quote comes from a Watchtower article titled, "Do You Respect Plagiarists?", wherein the Watchtower Society levels accusations of plagiarism against a religious minister. Ironic, since the Watchtower Society was later proven to be plagiarists themselves, having stolen artwork from a Johnny Walker Red Label Scotch advertisement. Click here for all the sordid details.
Why, then, do the nations not realize and accept the approach of this climax of judgment? It is because they have not heeded the world-wide advertising of Christ's return and his second presence. Since long before World War I Jehovah's witnesses pointed to 1914 as the time for this great event to occur. –The Watchtower, June 15, 1954, page 370.
Here we have one of the favorite lies of the Watchtower organization - that prior to the year 1914, the Watchtower Society was pointing forward to that year as the date for the return and "second presence" of Christ. The Watchtower Society currently teaches that Jesus Christ returned invisibly in 1914, and they desperately want their membership to believe that the organization was anticipating (and in effect, predicted) this supposed return. Nothing could be further from the truth, however. The Watchtower Society originally taught that Jesus Christ returned invisibly in 1874 - not 1914. (And, in fact, this only after the failed visible return of Christ in 1874, which they had been anticipating.) Not only did they teach this "before World War I", but also well after World War I, as the following quote from a 1922 Watchtower Society publication proves:
Bible prophecy shows that the Lord was due to appear for the second time in the year 1874. Fulfilled prophecy shows beyond a doubt that he did appear in 1874. Fulfilled prophecy is otherwise designated the physical facts; and these facts are indisputable. –The Watchtower, November 1, 1922, page 333.view
As this quote demonstrates, the previous statement from the 1954 Watchtower magzine is an outright lie.
As far back as 1879, the publishers of this magazine pointed to the year 1914 as a marked year in Bible prophecy, as the starting point for what the Bible calls "the time the end." –Awake!, October 8, 1972, page 15.
Similar to case 6, above. Here the claim is that "as far back as 1879," the Watchtower Society pointed to the year 1914 as the "starting point" for the "time of the end." Again, examining Watchtower publications from the era in question reveals something different:
There are two important dates here that we must not confuse, but clearly differentiate, namely, the beginning of the "time of the end" and of "the presence of the Lord". "The time of the end" embraces a period from A.D. 1799, as above indicated, to the time of the complete overthrow of Satan's empire and the establishment of the kingdom of the Messiah. –The Harp of God, 1921, page 231.view
"As far back as 1879"? Well, this quote comes from a 1921 Watchtower publication, and demonstrates the Society was at that time still teaching that the year 1799 marked the start of the "time of the end" - not 1914. As such, the 1972 statement is yet another outright lie.
Throughout the 1960s and 70s, the Watchtower Society often referred to a Bible translation by a former Catholic priest named Johannes Greber. This translation was used numerous times, in an attempt to show "scholarly" support for the Watchtower Society's own attempt at translating scripture, the New World Translation.
The fact of the matter is that Johannes Greber claimed that the "spirit world" guided him in his translation of the Bible. Greber used a spirit medium to "convey" to him the "correct" translation. The Watchtower Society claims to be a bible-based religion, and therefore professes an abhorrence of this practise, so when it began to be publicized by former members that the Watchtower Society was using a "spiritistic" translation of the Bible, Watchtower publications stopped appealing to this translation. Note the following statement, published in 1983:
Why, in recent years, has The Watchtower not made use of the translation by the former Catholic priest, Johannes Greber? This translation was used occasionally in support of renderings of Matthew 27:52, 53 and John 1:1, as given in the New World Translation and other authoritative Bible versions. But as indicated in a foreword to the 1980 edition of The New Testament by Johannes Greber, this translator relied on "God's Spirit World" to clarify for him how he should translate difficult passages. It is stated: "His wife, a medium of God's Spiritworld was often instrumental in conveying the correct answers from God's Messengers to Pastor Greber." The Watchtower has deemed it improper to make use of a translation that has such a close rapport with spiritism. –The Watchtower, April 1, 1983, page 31.view
Case closed, right? Leaders of the Watchtower religion learned of Greber's spiritism in the forward to the 1980 edition of his New Testament translation, and therefore admirably ceased consulting this spiritistic book. Not quite. Unfortunately for the Watchtower organization, they had already acknowledged Greber's spiritism nearly thirty years earlier:
It comes as no surprise that one Johannes Greber, a former Catholic clergyman, has become a spiritualist and has published the book entitled "Communication With the Spirit World, Its Laws and Its Purpose." –The Watchtower, October 1, 1955, page 603.
Says Johannes Greber in the introduction of his translation of The New Testament, copyrighted in 1937: "I myself was a Catholic priest, and... never as much believed in the possibility of communicating with the world of God's spirits. The day came, however, when I involuntarily took my first step toward such communication,... Very plainly the spirits in which ex-priest Greber believes helped him in his translation. –The Watchtower, February 15, 1956, page 110,111.view view
Yes, the Watchtower leaders knew of Greber's spiritism from the introduction to the 1937 edition of his Bible translation. Yet they relied upon his spiritism to support their own "translation" for nearly thirty years (in stark contrast to their professed abhorrence of spiritism, and in defiance of Deuteronomy 18:10-12). They then tried to play dumb, claiming that it was the 1980 edition of Greber's bible that revealed his practise of spiritism!
If the obvious deceit of this matter isn't enough to convince you of the true nature of the Watchtower religion, you might also consider the following counsel offered by the hypocritical leaders of this religion:
The 12 prophetic books also highlight how much God desires that we be truthful in our dealings. ... What may be more of a challenge, though, is adhering to truth in daily speech with our family and spiritual brothers, conversation that covers a wide variety of topics and situations. Why may that be so? Who of us has not said or done something unkind and then later been confronted about it? We likely felt embarrassed or somewhat guilty. Such feelings can lead a person to deny an error or offer some "explanation" that twists the truth in order to excuse the wrong or make it appear correct. Or in an uncomfortable situation, we might be tempted to mention only selected details, editing them to color the facts. Hence, what we say might technically be true yet give a totally different impression. While this may not be flagrant lying, such as is common in the world today, is it really 'speaking truth each one with his neighbor,' or brother? (Ephesians 4:15, 25; 1 Timothy 4:1, 2) When a Christian phrases things in such a way that he inwardly knows is leading brothers to a wrong conclusion, to believe something that is really not true, not accurate, how do you think God feels? –Live With Jehovah's Day in Mind, 2006, page 114-115.
Indeed, how does God feel about Watchtower leaders intentionally leading "brothers" to a wrong conclusion, to believe something that is really not true? Moreover, how does God feel about Watchtower leaders hypocritically counselling others against the very dishonest tactics they themselves employ?
No creature or organization on earth can truly presume to sit as the supreme tribunal of interpretation of the holy bible. –The Watchtower, July 1, 1943, page 202.view
Here we have the Watchtower response to the claims of the Roman Catholic Church. But what of the Watchtower "organization"?
Only this organization functions for Jehovah's purpose and to his praise. To it alone God's Sacred Word, the Bible, is not a sealed book. –The Watchtower, July 1, 1973, page 402.
The Bible is an organization book and belongs to the Christian congregation as an organization, not to individuals, regardless of how sincerely they may believe they can interpret the Bible. For this reason, the Bible cannot be properly understood without Jehovah's visible organization in mind. –The Watchtower, October 1, 1967, page 587.
We all need help to understand the Bible, and we cannot find the Scriptural guidance we need outside the [Watchtower] organization. –The Watchtower, February 15, 1981, page 19.
Yes, besides having God's spirit of illumination, a Christian needs Jehovah's theocratic organization in order to understand the Bible. –The Watchtower, June 15, 1951, page 375.
All who want to understand the Bible should appreciate that the "greatly diversified wisdom of God" can become known only through Jehovah's channel of communication, the faithful and discreet slave [i.e. the Watchtower Society]. –The Watchtower, October 1, 1994, page 8.
Yes, another fine example of Watchtower "truth".
As "Mother" puts it, "the true God, who is himself 'the God of truth' and who hates lies, will not look with favor on persons who cling to organizations that teach falsehood."4 And how much more so when that lying organization goes so far as to claim to be speaking for the True God.
1. Jehovah's Witnesses are trained to view the Watchtower Society as their "Mother", in the same way that God is said to be their Father. This is stated as a requirement in order to "walk in the light of truth":
If we are to walk in the light of truth we must recognize not only Jehovah God as our Father but his organization as our mother. –The Watchtower, May 1, 1957, page 274.
2. Note that the bracketed "of 1914" appears in the original text.
Most important, this magazine builds confidence in the Creator's promise of a peaceful and secure new world before the generation that saw the events of 1914 passes away. –Awake!, January 1, 1995, page 2.
Remember, Jesus said of those living through the last days, starting in 1914: "Truly I say to you that this generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur." –The Watchtower, April 15, 1991, page 7.
And Jesus has told us to rejoice at seeing the dark storm clouds of Armageddon gathering since that time. He has told us that the "generation" of 1914-the year that the sign began to be fulfilled-"will by no means pass away until all these things occur." –The Watchtower, March 1, 1984, page 18.
But Jesus added something very significant about the generation of 1914. What was it? He said: "When you see these things occurring, know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I say to you, This generation will by no means pass away until all things occur." –The Watchtower, May 15, 1984, page 4.
Jesus showed, in fact, that it would last for only a short time. He foretold concerning those living in 1914 who would see the fulfillment of the 'sign of his presence': "Truly I say to you that this generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur." –The Watchtower, May 1, 1984, page 6.
Of the generation that observed the beginning of the "last days" in 1914, Jesus foretold: "This generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur." –Awake!, May 22, 1969, page 15.
4. Is This Life All There Is?, 1974, page 46.view