Editorial Reviews. Review. “The book goes far beyond recounting Franz's personal crisis. RAYMOND FRANZ. Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Translation of the Holy Scriptures, published by the Watchtower Bible. 𝗣𝗗𝗙 | Objective: This paper examines the crisis of conscience as portrayed in the biblical story of Abraham and Isaac. Conclusion: The.
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yesterday to copies of "Crisis of Conscience" in several languages and then deleted their I for one own a book version as well as kaz-news.info Crisis of Conscience is a biographical book by Raymond Franz, a former member of the . Print/export. Create a book · Download as PDF · Printable version. for those who've never read these incredible books by our friend ray franz.. here are links for both.. happy reading!.
He moved to Alabama where he took up farm laboring work and was expelled from the religion in November for breaching an edict that Witnesses shun individuals who have formally resigned from the religion. His expulsion was reported by Time magazine in February Franz claimed he declined repeated requests over the next two years for further media interviews about the workings of the Watch Tower Society, but in decided to end his silence after a number of Watchtower articles criticised the motives, character and conduct of former Witnesses who conscientiously disagreed with the organization.
One article described dissidents as being "like Satan," "independent, faultfinding," "stubborn," "reviling," "haughty," "apostate" and "lawless". Franz claimed that many Jehovah's Witnesses who choose to leave because they cannot "honestly agree with all the organization's teachings or policies" are subsequently disfellowshipped , or formally expelled, and shunned as "apostates". He wrote that he hoped his book might prompt Witnesses to consider the conscientious stand of defectors with a more open mind.
He hoped that a discussion of deliberations and decisions of the Governing Body during his term would illustrate fundamental problems and serious issues within the organization: The book provided an abject view of Watch Tower Society leadership and its requirements of members, gave Franz's perspective on failed expectations among the Witness community that Armageddon would take place in and his views on fundamental Witness teachings on the significance of and continued expectations of Armageddon.
It also gave his account of the events surrounding his expulsion from the religion. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Crisis of Conscience
James Apocalypse Delayed: The Story of Jehovah's Witnesses. University of Toronto Press. Counting the Days to Armageddon. Crisis of Conscience. Atlanta, Georgia: Commentary Press. In the end, it became evident that it would have taken a virtual conspiracy on the part of the ancient scribes—with no conceivable motive for doing so—to misrepresent the facts if, indeed, our figure was to be the right one.
Again, like an attorney faced with evidence he cannot overcome, my effort was to discredit or weaken confidence in the witnesses from ancient times who presented such evidence, the evidence of historical. In many respects, what we learned through our experience did more for us than it did for the publication.
Still, the Aid to Bible Understanding book did serve to quicken interest in the Scriptures among many Witnesses. Perhaps its tone, its approach, the effort put forth by most of the writers to avoid dogmatism, to acknowledge that there might be more than one way of seeing certain matters, not to make more of something than the evidence honestly allowed—these things may have been of principal benefit, though in these too we certainly fell short at times, allowing preconceived ideas to control, failing to hold as firmly as we should have to the Scriptures themselves.
But ingrained beliefs some- times overrode our efforts to hold to that standard. Up to that point it had been composed of seven members who were identical with the seven members of the Board of Directors of the corporation called the Watch Tower Bible and Tract So- ciety, a corporation founded originally in Pennsylvania by Charles Taze Russell, the first president.
On October 20, , along with three oth- ers, I was appointed as a member of the now expanded Governing Body. This circumstance, perhaps more than any other, brought me face to face with some realities that I had never expected to encounter. The Time reporters evidently wrote what they did because they found it extremely difficult to ob- tain any comment from the international headquarters about the situ- ation described in the first chapter of this book.
They do not know how decisions as to doctrinal teachings are reached, how the Governing Body that directs all their activities worldwide conducts its discussions, whether decisions are consis- tently unanimous or what is done if there is disagreement. All this is cloaked in secrecy as the Governing Body meets in closed sessions. I can only recall two or three occasions in the nine years that I was a part of the Body when persons other than appointed members were allowed to be present at a regular session of the Body.
And on those occasions their presence was simply to give a report requested by the Governing Body, after which they were dismissed and the Governing Body then carried on its deliberations in private—the importance of their reports did not qualify those persons to share in the discussion.
Even on the Governing Body, few members knew much about the nature of the financial holdings of the Society. Beyond doubt, the present-day assets far exceed this amount.
Yet the decisions made by the small group of men forming that Body can, and often do, affect their lives in a most intimate way and are supposed to be applied globally. Which brings me to the final reason for writing, the most important since without it the previous ones are of little consequence.
That principle stated by Jesus Christ binds any of us claiming to be Christian, in whatever we do. No honest person can claim to carry out those words perfectly and I make no such claim.
But I believe I can say that what is here written owes to a sincere desire to follow that principle. If someone else had knowledge of facts that could be of value to me in making vital decisions, I would want him to make these available to me—not to make my decision for me, but to supply the information, leaving it to me to weigh its value or significance.
If he were a friend, a genuine friend, I believe he would do that. The nine years spent on the Governing Body had great impact on me and particularly on my conscience. I found myself facing a major crisis in my life, a crossroads situation I had never expected to encounter.
The decision I made was my own and the resulting cost was considerable. But I do not regret it nor do I regret having gained the information that contributed toward it. Others might decide differently; some have. That is their privilege, something between them and God. After I resigned as a member of the Governing Body in May, , I received numerous calls from newspapers and magazines wanting information about the situation existent within the organization. I consistently directed the inquirers to the headquarters in Brooklyn.
The inquirers, in turn, consistently said that they had tried that avenue with no success: I maintained that position for nearly two years. What happened in those two years, not merely as regards myself but as regards others, caused me to reassess that position. During those two years, the motives, character and conduct of persons who conscientiously disagreed with the organization were portrayed in the worst of terms.
No allowance was made for the possibility that any of them acted out of sincerity, love of truth or integrity to God. Any misconduct or wrong attitude on the part of some who had left the organization was attributed to all who have left. For those who did display a wrong attitude, no effort was made to appreciate the part that frustration, disappointment and hurt may have played in that conduct.
An enormous amount of rumor and even gutter-level gossip circu- lated among Witnesses, internationally. Faithful Christians with high standards of morality were spoken about as being wife swappers, homosexuals, hypocrites, egoists interested in establishing their own personal cult. Thus, in one paragraph, persons are described as like Satan, independent, faultfinding, stubborn, reviling, haughty, apostate and lawless. What had they actually done to earn this array of charges? Could these things of themselves place a person in the Satan-like category described?
Nothing is said to indicate otherwise and, incredible as it may seem, in the minds of many Witnesses, including elders and traveling representatives, this has been considered enough to so categorize them and to deal with them accordingly. Compare this blanket condemnation with articles in the June 22, issue of Awake! Re-read the Watchtower material on the preceding page and compare it with this statement. The thrust of the Awake! Yet Witnesses are expected to apply it to any member who may disagree with positions taken by the leadership.
The reasons why people separate from the Witness organization are many and varied. And the number who do leave on a yearly basis is remarkable. Tabulating the world reports for the years through one finds that a total of 6,, persons were baptized worldwide.
Figuring this out year by year, it would mean an estimated , members were lost through death. What do we find? The year previous to this year period the report showed a total of 1,, persons actively associated. Adding 5,, to that number gives a total of 6,, that should be associated in But the report for that year shows only 5,, associated.
That means that during the year period some , persons left the organization or ceased activity. Specific examples from the world report illustrate graphi- cally the situation currently prevailing in many countries, particularly the industrialized nations.
For the 12 major western European countries and for the British Isles the report provides the following figures: Baptized in Particularly since, aside from Japan and Korea, they represent the countries that figure earliest in the history of the Watch Tower Society, the countries of its initial development and growth. The reasons for persons leaving or ceasing activity are multiple.
I have no illusions that all of the nearly one million persons who left the organization during the thirty-year period from to did so for reasons of conscience or that every one of them is nec- essarily a humble, rightly motivated person, more concerned about truth than about self. Many quite evidently are not; some have pur- sued a course of immorality either before or after leaving; some who left because of disagreement have become guilty of the same wrongs they objected to, expressing vindictiveness, using ridicule, half-truths and exaggerations.
But I know personally many, many persons who are not like that, who give every indication of being decent, God-fearing, com- passionate persons.
If viewed from a selfish standpoint, they had everything to lose and nothing to gain from the stand they took and the course they have followed thereafter. In many cases it was not some unkind treatment they them- selves experienced that disturbed them; it was seeing such treatment meted out to others, seeing people suffer because of the rigidity, narrow-mindedness, even arrogance of men in charge, elders and others, or recognizing the hurtful effects of certain edicts of the organization that did not rest on a solid Scriptural foundation.
This feeling for others is, I believe, a decisive factor as to the genuineness of motive. I feel an obligation toward such persons. Later a brief disfellowshiping announcement was read to the congregation that presented none of the testimony and none of the evidence in support of the disfellowshiping action. After the reading of that announcement no Witness was supposed to talk with the persons disfellowshiped, thereby shutting down any possibility of their expressing themselves by way of an explanation to friends and associates.
But when the cri- sis reached a decisive point I found I had only a few.
Still, I count those few precious, whether they said little or much on my behalf. Because of past prominence, people inquire about me. However, almost no one ever inquires about the others who lack such promi- nence, although they have suffered through the same experience with essentially the same costs and agonies.
What must it mean to a mother, who has seen a baby daughter come forth from her own body, has nursed that baby, cared for it through illness, has trained the young girl through the formative years of life, living her problems with her, feeling her disappointments and sadnesses as if they were her own, shedding tears along with her tears—what must it mean to that mother to have her daughter, now.
This is not imagination. Consider here just one example, from a mother in Pennsylvania who writes: I have children in the organization, married, who at the time of my disassociation even offered for me to come to their home, for a rest, and their opinion of me as a person was not altered.
I make no move lest it be a wrong move and alienate them further. Perhaps you share this experience. I do not know how I am going to handle the loss of my children and future grandchildren. The loss is monumental. If my past prominence could now contribute in some way to the conscientious stand of such persons being considered with a more open mind and could aid others to revise their attitude toward per- sons of this kind, I feel that such prominence would thereby have served perhaps the only useful purpose it ever had.
What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain in your conscience. We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. Make room for us in your hearts. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have exploited no one. It is evidently necessary in order to get at the root of what is a heartbreaking problem for many, on both sides of the issue.
Their presentation is because they illustrate and exemplify very fundamental problems, very serious issues. Names along with times and places will generally be cited because that seems necessary for a credible, factual presenta- tion. I am quite sure that without these many would doubt or deny the factualness of what is said. Where these features seem unnecessary and where they could, by their use, cause needless difficulty for individu- als involved, names or other identifying factors will not be stated.
I have sought to be fair in whatever quotations are made, not taking them out of context, not seeking to give them a meaning that is not there. I believe the quotations made are typical of the persons quoted, not something out of character with their usual outlook, approach and personality.
Nonetheless, I have kept a few quotations anonymous, because of wishing to avoid unnecessary difficulty for the individual or those closely related to that person. It is, obviously, impossible to do this in all cases or the account would become meaningless.
For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned. But we are still responsible for them. But they feel that what happens within their own religious organization should not be discussed outside its confines. Since the information cannot be discussed within, and if it is not to be discussed outside the structure, that means that it must be left undiscussed, ignored. Some, of course, would like it to remain that way, but is it right that it should?
It is true that the Christian rightly relies on God to see all things and to be the true and final Judge of all matters. Undeniably, He alone can fully and finally right all wrongs committed. There is never any justification for angry retaliation, spiteful recrimination. Does it require keeping silent when error is propagated in the name of God?
That what has been, and is being, done is in full harmony with the Scrip- tures, in fact that the Scriptures require such action to be taken. If that is so, then there should be no objection to a frank discussion of things. Only persons truly responsible for injustice prefer silence and seek to impose it, as has long been the case with dictatorial governments and authoritarian religions in past as well as recent times.
Do Scriptural examples themselves urge against disclosure of wrongs where these involve those in high places of authority? It does not seem so, since the work of the Hebrew prophets frequently focused on such ones, those prophets making known the ways in. Obviously, no one today has a divine commission as a prophet or an apostle. One does not have to be an apostle to fol- low the example of the apostles, nor does he have to be, or pretend to be, a Messiah in order to walk in the footsteps of Jesus Christ.
But it would seem that the principle of open disclosure that God ap- proved in the above examples has force in this present-day situation, gives some indication at least that He is by no means averse to having injustice and misrepresentation uncovered, provided that the motiva- tion is that of helping, of alerting people to realities that can aid them in arriving at right conclusions. Regardless of the seriousness of the matters here made known, they alone did not lead me to a decision. Others, however, face a serious crisis of conscience and do so with uncertainty, with a sense of confused anguish, even of guilt.
My hope is that what is presented in this book may be of help and I feel it is owed to them. Not that we are the masters over your faith, but we are fellow workers for your joy, for it is by your faith that you are standing.
I could wish that all Witnesses might have the experience of participation. Perhaps then they could under- stand what words alone cannot convey. To clarify what the Governing Body is: Of these eleven men, I am the only person surviving.
But the matters to be discussed were determined by the corporation president, Nathan Knorr. Whatever he considered advisable for the Body to discuss he brought to the meeting and generally that was the first time we had any knowledge of the matter under discussion. In the vast majority of cases these were no more than names to us; we seldom knew any of the individuals involved.
So after listening to such readings of lists from Suriname or Zambia or Sri Lanka, we would vote on the appointment of these men. He repeatedly would give in to sleep during these sessions and it seemed a shame to wake him to vote on things he knew little about.
At times the entire meeting lasted but a few minutes; one that I recall lasted only seven minutes including the opening prayer. During that period and on up until all decisions were expected to be unanimous. After discussion, a motion would be made, seconded, and then the Chairman called for a show of hands. If a unanimous vote was not obtained, as occasionally different ones would not vote 4 Some Witnesses doubtless had the idea that appointment of congregational elders is done by the Governing Body itself.
Initially, a couple of Governing Body members did sit with a staff member of the Service Department and review and pass on all appointments of elders in the United States. This practice was discontinued after a relatively short time, however, and appointments were thereafter left up to the Service Department staff members.
The only appointments made since by the Governing Body, in the U. As is but natural in those circumstances, there was a certain sense of pressure to go along with the majority rather than take a lone stance on matters and thus appear as independent or out of harmony. There were votes where I did not raise my hand, but as a rule I conformed. It appeared necessary to conform if matters were to be decided and expedited rather than stalemated.
However, issues began arising that made this more and more difficult for me. This policy has changed. Governing Body These are only a partial sampling of things discussed during the first two years or so of my being on the Body. The effect of our decisions was considerable in its impact on the lives of others. In matters of divorce, for example, the congregation elders serve as a sort of religious court and if they are not satisfied as to the validity of a divorce action, the individual who goes through with such a divorce and then later remarries becomes subject to disfellowshiping.
A matter, not among those just mentioned, but which brought considerable discussion involved a Witness couple in California. Someone had seen in their bedroom certain literature and photographs dealing with unusual sex practices.
Investigation and interrogation by the local elders confirmed that the couple did engage in sexual relations other than simple genital copulation. Until the correspondence was read to us that morning, none of us aside from the president had had any opportunity to think about the subject. Yet within a couple of hours the decision was reached that the couple was subject to disfellowshiping.
This was thereafter set out as a formal published policy, applicable to any persons engaging willfully in similar practices. The published material was understood and applied in such a way that marriage mates generally felt obliged to report to the elders if any such practice existed or developed in their marriage, whether mutually agreed upon or done solely at the initiation of one of the mates.
In the latter case the noninitiating mate was expected to come forward and convey this information to the elders if the initiating mate was unwilling to do so.
To fail to come forward generally is viewed as indicative of an unrepentant attitude and as weighing in favor of disfellowshiping.
A Crisis of Conscience
The belief that disfellowshiping cuts one off from the one organization where salvation can be found, as well as from friends and relatives, exercises heavy pressure on the person to conform, no matter how difficult confession or reporting to the elders may be.
Many marriages where one of the mates was not a Witness underwent a turbulent period, with the non-Witness mate objecting strenuously to what he or she considered an unwarranted invasion of bedroom privacy. Some marriages broke up with resulting divorce. The principal portion of Scripture relied upon was Romans, chapter one, verses , dealing with homosexuality, and those writing to the Society pointed out that they could not see how it could rightly be applied to heterosexual relations between man and wife.
Wives have refused to allow such husbands to stimulate them in this way or to stimulate the husbands in this way. As a result marriages have broken up. I know you will tell me what to do. Often they endeavored to provide some limited clarification saying without exactly saying as to what sexual foreplay fell within the bounds of condemned actions, other foreplay thereby being exempt.
The memo relates that the Instructor had phoned about an elder attending the seminar who confessed to certain disapproved sexual practices within his marriage. The memo states: Brother [here giving the name of the Instructor] closely dis- cussed the matter with him to determine whether it was really oral copulation that was involved. Now [the Instructor] was wondering what else should be done.
It was suggested to [him] that he write a full report on this to the Society so that in the future when he has any such case come up he will have direction on how to handle the matter and he will not have to call. This illustrates the extent to which interrogation went in intimacy and the extent to which the headquarters organization supervised the whole situation.
Letter after letter revealed that the persons involved felt positively responsible before God to report to the elders any deviance from the norm established by the Governing Body. Some elders endeavored to take a moderate approach to the matter. Consider the letter on the following page.
A letter sent by an elder in the United States says: Some of the older brothers felt that the Governing Body could have gone even further in condemning unnatural practices among married couples to include assuming certain positions when perform- ing the sexual act.
Later this elder expressed his own feelings saying: Since Jehovah went into great detail in this chapter  of Leviticus as well as other chapters on sexual behavior, why is there no statement made to married couples as to acceptable or unacceptable forms of copulation? Would it not be likely that Jehovah would have done so if he wanted this personal and private 12 This copy is of the carbon copy of the letter and hence bears no stamped Watch Tower signature.
One such person who had become impotent in this way, had, during the years that followed, been able to perform a sexual role through one of the means now condemned by the organization. Now, he wrote saying that he could not see the Scriptural proof for the stand taken in the Watchtower magazine but that his wife felt duty bound to obey, and because he loved her he acceded.
He said he knew that he was the same as before, yet emotionally he was crumbling since he feared their marriage would be seriously affected. At the conclusion of the earlier-mentioned letter from one elder, that elder states: I truly want to continue believing as Paul admonished the Thessalonians in the second chapter, verse 13, to accept the word of God, not as of men, but as it truthfully is, as the word of God. His position is notable. I frankly doubt that many elders today would feel free to express themselves in this manner, declaring their position in such clear, frank terms.
Though I find the sexual practices involved to be definitely contrary to my personal standards, I can honestly say that I did not favor the disfellowshiping decision made by the Body.
But that is all that I can say. For when the vote came I conformed to the majority decision. I felt dismayed when the Body assigned me to prepare material in support of the decision, yet I accepted the assignment and wrote it as was desired by the Body, in conformity with its decision. Thus I cannot say that I acted according to the same fine outlook expressed by the elder just quoted. Again the Body assigned me to prepare material for publication, this time advising of the change.
I found it person- ally satisfying to be able to acknowledge, even though rather obliquely, that the organization had been in error. The February 15, , Watchtower, pages 30 and 32, carried the material and included the following points:.
Actually, I felt that way about a whole host of matters that came before us, that there was really no basis in Scripture for taking dogmatic stands on the vast majority of things we were ruling on. I expressed that same view again and again in the future but it was rarely accepted. Looking over the letters at hand, some of which have been presented, whatever satisfaction it brought to write that corrective material seems rather hollow.
None of it needed ever to have occurred. The problem was that he said that the relations were of the kind involved in the issue earlier described, in this particular case anal and not genital copulation.
The existing rule of voting required unanimity of decision and I conformed. I felt genuinely disturbed, however, at thinking about this woman and her being told that she could not Scripturally choose to become free from a man guilty of such an act. Since he headed the Writing Department and oversaw the production of Watchtower material, his influence may have contributed toward this shifting back to much of the earlier position.
Whatever the case, this material did not produce the great surge of judicial hearings that accompanied the initial announcement of that policy in , perhaps because that earlier experience had produced sufficient bad fruitage to restrain the zeal for inquiry on the part of elders. A Watch- tower magazine earlier that year had, in fact, specifically ruled this way. I say to you that whoever divorces his wife, except on the ground of fornication, and marries another commits adultery.
Searching through the many translations, Bible dictionaries, commentaries and lexicons in the Bethel library, the reason became obvious. The conclusive point to me, however, was realizing that in the Bible itself porneia is used at Jude, verse 7, to denote the notorious homosexual conduct of people in Sodom and Gomorrah.
I prepared fourteen pages of material containing the results of the research and made copies for each member of the Body. Later she remarried. I could only write her that the articles published were themselves a vindication of her course.
Fred Franz, however, was the only one with sufficient knowledge of the Bible languages to attempt translation of this kind. He had studied Greek for two years at the University of Cincinnati but was only self-taught in Hebrew. But it was not an administrative body in any sense of the word.
The administrative authority and responsibility rested exclusively with the corporation president, Nathan H. I had not expected this because the same year of my appointment Vice President Franz had given a speech, later carried in the December 15, , Watchtower, in which he described the role of the Governing Body, contrasting this with that of the corporation, the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society.
Rather, it governs such corporations as mere temporary instruments useful in the work of the great Theocrat. Hence it is patterned according to His design for it. It is a theocratic organization, ruled from the divine Top down, and not from the rank and file up. The dedicated, baptized members of it are under Theocracy! Earthly legal corporations will cease when the man-made governments that chartered them perish shortly.
They recognize that the Society is not the administrative body, but is merely an agency for administering matters. The problem was that they presented a picture that was completely contrary to fact.
The Governing Body did not control the corporation, not at the time that the aforementioned talk was given by the vice president, nor at the time the material was published, nor for some four years thereafter.
The picture presented eventually did come to be true, but only as the result of a very drastic adjustment, one unpleasantly fraught with heated emotions and considerable division. I will explain why I make such a statement and why it is factual.
The corporation called the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society was formed in and incorporated in Charles Taze Russell personally started the Watch Tower as his own magazine and was its sole editor; during his lifetime all those associated with the Watch Tower Society accepted him as their one and only Pastor.
But that Board was not viewed as a governing body nor did it serve as such. Yet the Watchtower of December 15, , pages and , had made this statement: That Russell clearly did not view the Directors or any others as a governing body along with himself is obvious from the course he con- sistently followed. The Watch Tower of March 1, , page 68, says:.
Russell resigned as associate editor of the Watch Tower in October, , due to disagreement with her husband and on November 9, , she separated from her husband.
She remained a Director of the Society, however, until February 12, In she obtained a divorce. In answer to a question from some Watch Tower readers, C. Russell wrote in Since nothing illustrates more clearly the total control Charles Russell exercised over the Watch Tower magazine, the full text of this will is presented in the Appendix.
We may here note what is said in the second paragraph of this published Will:. Although he donated the Watch Tower magazine to the corporation at its incorporation in , he clearly considered it his magazine, to be published according to his will even after his death.
He directed that, upon his death, an Editorial Committee of five men, personally selected and named by him, should have entire editorial charge of the Watch Tower magazine. That continued to be the case during the presidency of his successor, Joseph F. One might assume that the members of the Editorial Committee, along with the Board of Directors, would compose such a governing body.
But the facts show that that assumption would be wrong. At the annual corporation meeting in January, , Rutherford was elected to replace Russell as president of the Watch Tower corporation. Early in his presidency, four of the seven Directors a majority took issue with what they viewed as arbitrary action on the part of the president. He was not recognizing the Board of Directors and working with it as a body but was acting unilaterally, taking actions and informing them later of what he had decided to do.
Their J. Rutherford expressing objection led to their swift elimination. Russell as Directors for life, the directorship of these four had never been confirmed at an annual corporation meeting. Woodworth and George H. This distorts the facts, since Rutherford announced the dismissal of these four men as Directors the same day July 17, that he presented the book The Finished Mystery to the headquarters staff.
The announcement of the dismissal of the Directors was, in fact, made before the book was presented. MacMillan, then a prominent member of the headquarters staff, Rutherford conferred with an outside lawyer who agreed that this allowed for dismissing the men—on a legal basis, that is.
He could acknowledge the objections of the majority of the Board and seek to make amends. Or, he could avail himself of the legal point mentioned and use his presidential authority to dis- miss the Directors who disagreed with him.
He chose the latter course, appointing Directors of his own choice to replace them. What of the Editorial Committee? The Watchtower states the result to those who disagreed with the president: The Editorial Committee was now eliminated. Rutherford had effec- tively excised any opposition to his full control of the organization.
Prentice-Hall, Inc. The Foreword to the book is by N. The issue was quite clear. Rarely has appeal to human authority been more strongly stated. The Watchtower of December 15, , page , says of it:. It is difficult to explain such fickle, unstable, erratic course. Yet this was supposedly the channel the Lord Jesus Christ had found so worthy of being made his sole means of direction to people on earth. In actuality, by J.
Rutherford exercised unquestioned direction of the Society and the years that followed only strengthened his control over all organization functions. MacMillan in Faith on the March, p.
Rutherford wanted to unify the preaching work and, instead of having each individual give his own opinion and tell what he thought was right and do what was in his own mind, gradually Rutherford himself began to be the main spokesman for the organization.
That was the way he thought the message could best be given without contradiction. Afterward, he said, President Rutherford personally assigned him to prepare material in support of this new view, although he, Fred Franz, had made clear that he did not consider it Scriptural.
For that reason a period of years passed in which articles on subjects such as love, kindness, mercy, longsuffering and similar qualities simply did not appear in the magazine. Thus, during the nearly sixty-year period of the presidencies of Russell and Rutherford, each man acted according to his own prerogative in exercising his presidential authority, with no hint of a governing body.
Certain facts are admitted for the first time in this new his- tory book, perhaps with a view to muting the effect if members were to become aware of them through other sources. The operations of the central authority structure or of the men forming that inner authority structure are likewise unknown to them.
As but one illustration of presenting information already made available by another source, this book, on page , presents a picture of the Brooklyn headquarters staff celebrating Christmas in That photo was published in in the book In Search of Christian Freedom, page Two years later the new history book presented it for the first time in a Watch Tower publication.
Yet that photo had been in their possession for 67 years. Its depiction of organizational history and policy paints a picture that differs measurably from reality. This is the case in its discussion of the presidencies of both Russell and Rutherford.
Rutherford, sought to gain full and total control of the organization. I was actively associated with the organization during the last five years of his presidency and know the clear effect the man had upon me and the viewpoint that others expressed. Most Witnesses today have not had that experience.
Deprecating, even harsh language is employed against any who dared to question any position, policy or teaching that came forth from the organization of which he was the head. The words are there but the facts are not. Consider the following photos and captions from The Messenger, a Watch Tower convention report, of July 25, , describing large conventions held that year in major European cit- ies.
The captions shown underneath are the original captions found in The Mes- senger. There is no reason to believe that Rutherford was not aware of the way he was actually viewed by Watch Tower adherents throughout most of his presidency and he clearly did nothing to change that image. The evidence, including the whole history of his administration, makes his dis- avowal of that image—made when nearing death—seem hollow.
Knorr was unanimously elected president by the Board of Directors. Not a writer nor particularly a student of Scripture, Knorr relied on Fred Franz the vice president as more or less the final arbiter on Scriptural matters and the principal writer of the organization. Questions such as those discussed at Governing Body sessions related earlier in this chapter were, for decades, submitted to Fred Franz for decision.
As has been noted earlier, this basic relation- ship continued up into the s as illustrated in the decision to return to having bodies of elders in the congregations. That particular decision hinged largely upon the view and opinion of one person, the vice president, and when he changed his mind and favored the return to bodies of elders, the president acceded.
The same was basically the case with all published material.
COMMENTARY PRESS ♦ ATLANTA ♦
The president selected the main articles for the Watchtower from material submitted by various writers and he then passed these on to the Writing Department for proofreading and any necessary editing or polishing. Then these were finally read by the vice president and the president and, if approved, were published.
Karl Adams, who was in charge of the Writing Department when I entered it in , explained to me that the president by then had given the department considerable latitude as to the reworking of such material. Likening those 6, years to six days of a thousand years each, he had written:.
As Knorr told Karl Adams, when he received this material he went to Fred Franz and asked why the sudden change. The argument endeavored to show that the count of time set out in the new book was off one year as to the time of the Flood and that one more year needed to be added, with the result that the end of 6, years would come up one year earlier, in instead of Each of the three of us respectfully wrote that we did not think the material should be published, that it would have an extremely unset- tling effect on the brothers.
During the years since the Lord came to his temple the visible governing body has been closely identified with the board of directors of this corporation. Four directors wanted a reorganization. As things stood the president was the administration. He was not consulting them. He was letting them know what he was doing only after it was done. He 31 In the letter I submitted, I pointed out that the argument rested heavily on a portion of Scripture that is difficult to be definite about, and that the reasons given for the change were, at best, tenuous.
Vantage Press, Cole wrote the book as if he were a non-Witness writing an objective account. The idea was that by having the book published by an outside publishing firm it might reach persons who normally would not take Society literature. Thus it was a form of public relations tactic. The Pastor made decisions.
Then, in a footnote, Cole states: That the president of the Society thereafter continued to exercise such unrestricted freedom may be seen by the following account of N.
It reveals that the Directors of the Board were first informed by the president of the existence of the New World Translation probably one of the biggest projects ever engaged in by the organization only after the translation of the Greek Scripture portion had already been completed and was ready for printing.
Sometimes months went by without any meetings, the most frequent agenda evidently being such corporate matters as the download of property or of new equipment. As a rule, they had nothing to say about what Scriptural material would be published, nor was their approval sought.
Vice President Franz made this clear when testifying before a court in Scotland in in a case known as the Walsh Case. In matters spiritual has each member of the Board of Directors an equally valid voice? The president is the mouth- piece. He pronounces the speeches that show advancement of the understanding of the Scriptures.
Then he may appoint other members of the headquarters temporarily to give other speeches that set forth any part of the Bible upon which further light has been thrown. Tell me; are these advances, as you put it, voted upon by the Directors?
How do they become. They go through the editorial commit- tee, and I give my O. Does it not go before the Board of Directors at all? Someone suggested that Lyman Swingle, who was present as one of the writers, broach the matter to Knorr. He said: What can I do?
The situation remained the same even after the enlargement of the Governing Body to include more than the seven Directors. In during one session some material the vice president had prepared for use as a convention talk came up for discussion.
One member of the Body who had read the material felt unconvinced by the argumentation. After discussion, of the fourteen members present only five in- cluding Knorr and Fred Franz voted in favor of using the material as a convention talk, the other nine did not. So it was not used—as a talk—but the material appeared in a book released at the convention and within a few months also appeared in the Watchtower magazine.
Whatever the Gov- erning Body discussed or did not discuss in any of these areas was strictly as the result of his decision and at his discretion. Unfortunately the picture presented simply was not true.
It was an impressive-sounding picture presented but it was illusory, fictional. That the first president was benign, the next stern and autocratic, and the third very businesslike, in no way alters the fact that each of the three presidents exercised monarchical authority.
Those in positions close enough to the seat of authority knew it to be the case; the closer they were the more they were aware of the facts. Most of the members felt that it was time that the facts finally started matching the words being spoken and published.
So never make mere men a cause for pride. There is nothing to boast about in anything human. T HE information the book Aid to Bible Understanding presented about elders doubtless began the process. It is almost certain that at the same time these articles were meant to send out a signal to voting members of the corporation that they should not try to express themselves through vote to effect some change in the headquarters structure or to express themselves as regards the membership of the Governing Body and its administration.
The year of that talk, , President Knorr decided to allow the Governing Body to review and pass judgment on a book entitled Organization for Kingdom-Preaching and Disciple-Making, a form 1 President Knorr was sitting on the platform at the time and expressed no disagreement with the description.
The Governing Body was not asked to supply the material for the book. When certain points relating to this came before the Body, they provoked rather heated discussion. Governing Body members in First row: Second row: Back row: At certain points in the discussion I expressed my understanding that other matters of a spiritual nature were likewise the responsibility of the Body.
Each time I would explain this to him, making plain that what was said was never meant as any kind of personal attack, that I did not feel that ANY one individual should take on the responsibilities under discussion, but rather that my understanding from the Bible and from the Watchtower was that they were matters for a body of persons to deal with.
I said again and again that if it were a matter of one person handling everything, then he would be my choice; that I felt he had simply been doing what he felt he should do and what had al- ways been done in the past; that I had no complaint about his doing so. This did not seem to make any impression, however, and, realizing that anything I said along this line would simply provoke anger, after a few attempts I gave up. On these occasions the remainder of the Body members sat, observed and said nothing.
What happened a few years later therefore came as a surprise. Nothing further developed until the year Internal Upheaval and Restructure All the men who were on the Governing Body at that time know that this picture is not true. It neither gave rise to the issue nor was it a factor in the Governing Body discussions and decisions.
There is a clear lack of candor in the picture presented. What then did happen? Most of the applicants were young men, 19 and 20 years of age. Four years equalled one-fifth of the life they had thus far lived.
I could not help but think of the way men serving a prison sentence often follow a similar practice of marking off time.
Generally it was difficult to get these young men to express themselves about their service at headquarters. Job insecurity resulted from knowing that they could be shifted at any time to another work assignment without any previous discussion and often with no explanation for the change made.
The monthly allowance of fourteen dollars often barely covered and in some cases was less than their transportation costs going to and from Kingdom Hall meetings. Those whose family or friends were more affluent had no problems as they received out- side assistance. But others rarely could afford anything beyond bare necessities. Those from more distant points, particularly those from the western states, might find it virtually impossible to travel and spend vacations with their families, particularly if they came from a poor family.
Yet they were regularly hearing greetings passed on to the Bethel Family from members of the Governing Body and others as they traveled around the country and to other parts of the world giv- ing talks.
They saw the corporation officers driving new Oldsmobiles bought by the Society and serviced and cleaned by workers like them- selves. The letters by the two Bethel Elders touched on these areas but without going into detail.
The president again seemed to feel, unfortunately, that this constituted criticism of his administration. He expressed himself to the Governing Body as wanting a hearing to be held on the matter and on April 2, , this was done. A number of Bethel Elders spoke and many of the earlier-mentioned specifics were there aired. Those speaking did not indulge in personalities and made no demands, but they stressed the need for more consideration of the individual, for brotherly communication and the benefit of letting those close to problems share in decisions and solutions.
Dixon, related that he frequently received visits from married couples dis- tressed due to the inability of the wives to cope with the pressures and keep up with the demanding schedule, many of the women break- ing into tears when talking to him.
Comments were made on the relationship of the Governing Body and the corporations and what was published in the Watchtower of December 15, It was agreed that a committee of five made up of L. Greenlees, A. Schroeder, R. Franz, D. Sydlik, and J. Booth go into matters concerning this subject and the duties of the officers of the corporations and related matters and take into consideration the thoughts of N.
Knorr, F. Franz and G. Suiter who are officers of the two societies, and then bring recommendations. The whole idea is to strengthen the unity of the organi- zation. At a session three weeks later, April 30, President Knorr surprised us by making a motion that thenceforth all matters be decided by a two-thirds vote of the active membership which by then numbered sev- enteen. I think it quite possible that Knorr and Fred Franz felt it unlikely that such a decisive majority of members would vote for a change.
The committee feels that today the Governing Body should be directing the corporations and not the other way around. The corporations should recognize that the Governing Body of seventeen mem- bers has the responsibility to administer the work in the congregations throughout the world. There has been a delay of putting the arrangement into effect at Bethel as compared to the congregations.
There has been confusion. We do not want a dual organization. There followed a lengthy discussion of questions relating to the Govern- ing Body and the corporations and to the president, with comments by all members present. At the close of the day a motion was proposed by N. Knorr, followed by a comment by E. Greenlees also presented a motion.
It was agreed that the three should be Xeroxed and copies given to all members and meet again the next day at 8 a. There would be time to pray over the matter which is so important. The Xeroxed motions referred to read as follows: Chitty said: I believe for my part the responsibility stays as it is. Greenlees said: In particular the vice president who had written the Watchtower 5 It was President Knorr who had nominated the five of us serving on this committee.
This brought to mind, and was in harmony with, his remarks to me back in that he thought Jesus Christ would direct the organization through a single person on down to the time when the New Order came.
He made no comment on the evident contradiction between the presentation made in the Watchtower articles and their bold statements about the Governing Body us- ing the corporations as mere instruments and the three motions made, each of which showed that the makers including the president himself recognized that the Governing Body did not at that time supervise the corporations.A dozen incompetent men name themselves the "Governing Body", also known as the "Faithful and Discrete Slave", and they call all of the shots.
I found it person- ally satisfying to be able to acknowledge, even though rather obliquely, that the organization had been in error. I was deeply impressed with the importance of the organization as essential to salvation, also that the work of witnessing must take precedence over, or at least militate against, such personal interests as marriage and childbearing. On leaving the courthouse, the defense attorney a Witness named Victor Schmidt and his wife were violently assaulted by a mob and were forced to walk, in a driving rain, the entire distance to the city limits.
Friend Reviews. The totalitarian combine is going to get control of England and America. Later the Society changed its policy on marriage and, thirteen years after ar- riving in Puerto Rico and now ap- proaching 37 years of age, I married. The memo states: The three Theban plays. If I ever had a brother among the JWs, surely you were he.