November 15, 1995
Mr. Milton G. Henschel, President
Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc.
25 Columbia Heights
Brooklyn, NY 11201-2483
Dear Mr. Henschel:
Thank you for indirectly responding to the suggestion in my letter of July 8, 1995 (enclosed copy, see page 6, fourth paragraph) via your November 1 1945 Watchtower magazine and your November 8, 1995 Awake!
These two publications verify the observation in my letter (page 6, paragraph 4) that, in fact, the Governing Body had concern for the fading credibility of the Watchtowers speculative theology advanced regarding the “Generation of 1914”. Without admitting having made conjectured promises in the name of God (Awake October 22, 1995 p. 4), as the Watchtower had also sidestepped it’s conjectures of 1914, 1925 and 1975, the organization has once again been forced, by the passage of time, to change it’s long held TRUTH and speculation regarding the “generation of 1914”. It is certainly wiser to make this change now, in 1995, when the Generation of 1914 is 81 years old at it’s youngest, than to advance this “new light” in another 20 years when the generation is 101 years old, and then face a far more obvious “time of truth”. It would have been far more wise and courageous to have announced this “new light” 15 or 20 years ago, when the 1914 speculation was seriously being questioned by members of the Governing Body and other spiritual elders of your organization in Bethel and around the world.
What about the harm done to former members of Jehovah Witnesses who have been dis-fellowshipped for not accepting Watchtower teachings of TRUTH “lock, stock and barrel” (good, learned and intelligent people like Carl Olof Jonsson and hundreds of others.---Not even a hint of an apology! Great harm has been inflicted of thousands of ex-members by the shunning policies of the Watchtower, alienating them from long time friends and even family members.
The November 1, 1995 Watchtower , with some evasion and ambiguous discussion, has redefined the meaning of “generation” to be the era or generation of “faithless and twisted” people. If judged by Watchtower teachings, “faithless and twisted” people have been of this Earth long before Constantine called the First Council of Nicene in 325 CE when the “twisted” belief in the Trinity was decreed as part of the theology of the Holy Roman Empire. The “Trinity” remains today as a belief for most of the 2 billion members of “Christendom” on earth. If you throw in the (by Watchtower standards) of another 3 or 4 billion non-Jehovah Witnesses, Atheists and Agnostics, there is an ample supply of “faithless and twisted generation of people in this world of humans to last indefinitely. This then essentially removes a time limit on the beginning of the Watchtower’s Armageddon and the time of occurrence of this dreadful event becomes indefinite.
The Watchtower is now free to use your old and time-worn phrases “about to”, “shortly”, “soon” and “just around the corner” to instill fear and hope in the faithful or new recruits without being in a time bind-----however you cannot escape the incredulous predicament your organization faces when one applies rational thought, reason, and objective logic (not subjective) to many of the Watchtower’s, so called, TRUTHS. These old and time worn phrases concerning God’s War of Armageddon have been used by apocalyptic sects and cults for over 2000 years, giving the Watchtower no particular uniqueness in this regard. Some of the other apocalyptic religions of the world (such as the Essene, and Jim Jones cult) separate their members from the real world by confining the members physically to a commune where members actions and thoughts may be efficiently controlled by the by the sect or cult leaders and the elders. Though physical communes are not used, the Watchtower has created a mental commune for it’s faithful members by restricting their independent thinking, their access to literature (such as Crisis of Conscience by ex-member Raymond Frenz) and worldly people who do not agree with the theological conjectures of the Watchtower. There is always the threat of disciplinary action by the elders, including des-fellow-shipping. Incidentally, the 60, 400,000 copies of the ‘Live Forever’ book, copyright 1982, published in 109 languages, now contain at least one untruth on page 154---Jesus did not mean the Generation of 1914, He meant, “the faithless and twisted generation”---At least until new “new light” is advanced by the Watchtower.
Watchtower publications are typically loaded with messages of judgment, fear and guilt, combined with vivid imagery such as members of the clergy of Christendom running with extreme terror on their faces, followed by toppling church steeples with the Christendom cross. Or images of Jehovah inflicting total destruction of world religions and world governments (i.e. selective slaughter of those who do not “exercise faith in God’s Kingdom promises”, according to the Watchtower’s present interpretation of the Bible.
Alternately “You can Live forever in Paradise of Earth” is reinforced by the typical beautiful image of meadow with a clear stream, having an abundance of flowers and fruit and god things to eat and occupied by beautiful smiling, youthful looking men and women, ( the aged become young after Armageddon), and little children playing with lions and tigers. This beautiful wonderland fantasy is supported through a biblical interpretation by the Watchtower as were the 1914, 1925, 1975, and the Generation of 1914 conjectures which were done in by time. In addition this mental commune is supported by 5 weekly meetings in the Kingdom Hall, hours of door to door mission work, and numerous bible studies expounding the Watchtower’s latest new light to recruit member candidates.
Why has the Watchtower, since the time of Russell and Rutherford been so compelled to dictate complex and ever changing theological speculations and conjectures? Are these biblically based conjectures intended to demonstrate the Watchtowers “accurate knowledge of God? Does this continuing and ever changing theological and supernatural speculation indicate a lack of prudence, reason, wisdom and good judgment on the part of the Governing Body? Or is there an obsessive need and addiction by the organization to control the lives and very thoughts of its members in order to hold them captive.? Or all of the above?
When examining the teachings of the great sages of history—Gutama Gandhi and other wise men with calm judgment---the message conveyed is very simple yet profound, not a lot of complex theological and supernatural speculation about things of which we have no knowledge, only mythical belief to obtain an answer to mysteries of the natural world. A sage will embrace the mysteries of the natural world we live in with awe and wonder.
A lot of complex theological speculations alienate one sect from another having differing speculations. This ultimately leads to dis delief, especially when an organization continues to frail about, each time proclaiming they have the truth. Ah!, by Jove, I think I’ve got it, I’m certain I’ve got it this time!
Regarding the “Live Forever on Paradise Earth” theology began by Rutherford, at best this is conjecture based of a biblical interpretation, as was the failed “Generation of 1914” conjecture. At worst this is a deliberate deception promoted as part of Rutherford’s “Millions Now Living
Will Never Die” recruitment campaign and was, and continues to be, a somewhat effective tool, playing on ones propensity to fear and deny death. The lack of truth in this “live forever’ theology has been realized with the passage of time, and will continue to be realized on an individual-by- individual basis.
As individuals in the Watchtower, their children, grandchildren and great- grandchildren reach an age of 70 or 80 years, each individual may come to realize that death is a natural part of life for all living things, plants and animals, humans included, and no exceptions. With wisdom they may also learn that an authorative organization’s biblical interpretation will not circumvent the laws of nature. And will come to realize that love is nature’s way of giving, a reason to be living. The only hope for peace on earth will come from love, compassion, understanding and knowledge, not through. ignorant and superstitious beliefs indoctrinated by power seeking and mind controlling organizations.
mystical trend of our time, which shows itself particularly in the rampant
growth of the so-called Theosophy and Spiritualism, is for me no more than a
symptom of weakness and confusion. Since our inner experiences consist of
reproductions, and combinations of sensory impressions, the concept of a soul
without a body seem to me to be empty and devoid of meaning.
The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. The religion which based on experience, which refuses dogmatic. If there's any religion that would cope the scientific needs it will be Buddhism....
If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed.
The further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge.
Immortality? There are two kinds. The first lives in the imagination of the people, and is thus an illusion. There is a relative immortality which may conserve the memory of an individual for some generations. But there is only one true immortality, on a cosmic scale, and that is the immortality of the cosmos itself.“
Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
German-born American theoretical physicist whose special and general theories of relativity revolutionized modern thought on the nature of space and time.
The Watchtower continues to be saddled with Joseph Rutherford’s live forever on Earth conjecture only because of fear and lack of courage. Why not face up to this conjecture now, rather than have your members chance disillusionment and anger in their later years? The “anointed members of the Governing Body” have accepted that they will die. Some of the members of the Governing Body certainly must know in their heart and through rational thought, common sense, objective logic and reason that they are no different than the thousands of sheep that they lead. Think about it!
A free-lance seeker of truth.
cc. Members of the Governing Body
Post Script to the Watchtower
January 30, 2006
Mr. Milton Henchel, President of the Watchtower,
Time is moving on. Science continues. The time may soon arrive, perhaps in your or my lifetime, when Science will have obtained such abundant evidence and verification that the conjectured theology of the Watchtower, concerning Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and the speculation that humans have existed on Earth for only a little longer that 6000 years, (based on the book of Genesis of the Bible), that “New Light” will be advanced if the Watchtower wishes to maintain any credibility in a modern world. The Watchtower may again reach “a time of truth” as it did in 1995, and as the Church of Rome did in the time of Galileo Galilei (1564-1642, Astronomer and Physicist), when Science verified that the Earth was not the center of the Universe. Rome put Galileo under house arrest, at the time, for catching the Pope with his pants down.----Fortunately the Watchtower will not be able to arrest Science in this day and age..
“Truth is the Daughter of Time, not of Authority”.
Sir Francis Bacon, (1561-1626)
Peter Retzinger, January 30, 2006