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A study of Jehovah's Witnesses 
by Alan %ogerson <& 

A Constable London 

First published in 1969 

by Constable & Co Ltd, 10 Orange Street, WC2 

Copyright © 1969 by Alan Rogerson 

All rights reserved 

Printed in Great Britain 

by The Anchor Press Ltd, Tiptree, Esses 

sbn 09 45 594° 6 



page 1 


The Founder - Charles Taze Russell 



The Second President - Judge Rutherford 



The Modern Organisation, 193 2-1968 



The Witnesses' View of History 



The Basic Beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses 



Doctrines for the End of the World 



Life as a Jehovah's Witness 



Beyond the Congregation 



The International Organisation of Jehovah's Witnesses 154 


The People Who Believe 




Appendix A. Further Details of Pastor Russell's 

Chronological Beliefs 


Appendix B. Russell's Time Chart 









Who are Jehovah's Witnesses? My impression is that most people 
outside the movement and many in it are unable to answer this 
question satisfactorily. For most people the only contact with the 
Witnesses seems to have been a brief encounter on the doorstep 
where they may have politely or impolitely closed their door, 
engaged in some furious and fruitless argument or perhaps 
bought two Witness magazines (never to read them). I have 
questioned many outside the movement about their impression 
of the Witnesses and it seems to be one of a 'cranky' but sincere 
people who persist in calling from house to house at the most 
awkward times; their history is shrouded in mystery and their 
beliefs appear to be very peculiar* Whether the Witnesses like it 
or not (and they do not!) this seems to be their public image in 
Britain. National newspaper coverage of their movement is small 
and only concerns the sensational aspects - conscientious objec- 
tion, mass baptisms and, of course, their refusal to have blood 
transfusions. While it is true that the Witnesses capture a limited 
amount of good publicity with their massive conventions, the news- 
papers on the whole confirm the image of a 'weird religious sect*. 
The situation is different in the United States where the move- 
ment began. America does not have anything akin to our national 
church and the religious atmosphere there is more personal and 
less institutional. America has been the melting-pot for all the 
religions of the West and it has given birth to many sects of its 
own - in particular Jehovah's Witnesses who are a part (albeit a 
small one) of the American way of life. In that land of unusual 
sects the Witnesses have made their mark by their highly organ- 
ised methods of preaching and their 'fringe' beliefs such as 
baptism of adults by total immersion. The Witnesses have points 
in common with the Christadelphians, the Mormons, Unitarians, 
Seventh Day Adventists and Pentecostals: they are a non-con- 
formist group who have not yet achieved the respectability of the 
Methodists or Congregationalists. Despite resemblances with 


other sects, the Witnesses do not believe in interfaith but regard 
themselves as the sole possessors of the truth. They are fond of 
referring to the 'jangling* creeds of the rest of Christendom but 
as far as outsiders are concerned Jehovah's Witnesses are just one 
more jangle that adds to the din* 

In addition to the prevalent ignorance outside the Witness 
movement - there is much ignorance within it. It will soon become 
obvious to the reader that the Witnesses are an indoctrinated 
people whose beliefs and thoughts are shaped by the Watchtower 
Society whose headquarters are in New York. This is not meant 
to be a melodramatic statement: most modern sects do not thrive 
on a diet of reason and logic, and the Witnesses are not unique in 
being told what to believe by those in charge of their organisation. 

The result of this mutual ignorance is a huge mental impasse 
between Jehovah's Witnesses and the rest of the public. In this 
book I have tried to remedy both of these states of ignorance. 
For the non-Witness I have presented the facts of the Witnesses* 
history from its beginnings in 1874 through the periods of office 
of the three presidents of their Society: Charles Taze Russell, 
Joseph Franklin Rutherford and Nathan Homer Knorr. This is 
followed by a detailed discussion of the beliefs of Jehovah's 
Witnesses and finally (and perhaps most important) I have 
devoted four chapters to the organisational and personal frame- 
work of the Witness movement today. For the Witnesses them- 
selves I have quoted numerous facts concerning their history of 
which most of them are unaware. Many Witnesses, although they 
do not know it, are in a real state of ignorance about the origins 
of their organisation and are also in a state of mistaken knowledge 
about their place in the world and what exactly the world thinks 
of them. This book is an attempt (as far as I have read the only 
attempt) to dispel this mutual ignorance and to present to the 
world and to the Witnesses a complete answer to the question: 
who are Jehovah's Witnesses? 

In order to do this I have consulted all the original records 
available - especially the books and Watcbtowers printed from 
1874 onwards. The testimony of these sources is often contra- 
dicted by the Witnesses (as well as their opponents) and where 
possible I have cited and quoted my source of information. I have 
tried to make my viewpoint unbiased as I have no strong personal 
feelings for or against the Witness movement. My aim throughout 


has been to present a full and complete account of the Witnesses 
incorporating all the significant incidents and facts; where I have 
discussed certain events or ideas the factual basis for the discussion 
is also presented so that readers are free to draw their own con- 
clusions* At least one inevitable bias is present in the text- 
certain writers have distorted the facts either for or against the 
movement and it has been necessary to emphasise points that have 
been deliberately misused in the past. 

Consultation of primary sources has revealed that most of the 
full-length books previously written about the Witnesses are un- 
reliable or at best inadequate. There is a need for an authoritative 
work in this field and this gap has encouraged me to try to fill it. 
Of the books written about the Witnesses special mention must 
be made of four (see the Bibliography for brief details of the 
others): Jehovah's Witnesses in the Divine Purpose is the Witnesses* 
own account of their history and although it suffers from the 
strong bias present in all the Witnesses* literature, it contains a 
lot of useful factual information. The Jehovah's Witnesses by H. H. 
Stroup is an interesting and impressive book from which I have 
occasionally quoted - unfortunately the book is now quite out- 
of-date. Jehovah's Witnesses: The New World Society at first sight 
appears to be a valuable source of information but the author, 
Marley Cole, highly favours the Witnesses and gives a very mis- 
leading account of the movement in which journalistic jargon 
abounds. The fourth book is the notorious Thirty Years a Watch- 
tower Slave by W. J. Schnell which gives a unique (!) picture of 
the events during the presidency of Rutherford. I have quoted 
some interesting parts from this work but I believe Schnell is 
wrong both in his conception of the Society as it is and in his 
peculiar theories about its past. More could be said on this subject 
but I hope that readers of Schnell will take many things he says 
with a pinch of salt. 

The above has, I hope, illustrated the sort of literature the 
Witness movement attracts: objective but sometimes badly in- 
formed works, highly favourable accounts written by Witnesses 
and virulent attacks written by ex-members of the movement! 
For myself, I was brought up as a member of this sect but found 
it impossible to accept the Witnesses* beliefs and left the move- 
ment, I believe former membership, however, is a vital pre- 
requisite for adequately describing the Witness movement. 

i. The Founder - Charles Taze Russell 

Jehovah's witnesses have their origin in the life and 
beliefs of one man - Charles Taze Russell. In his lifetime 
Russell was well known as an author, as a preacher and as 
the 'Pastor* to a group of people known as 'Bible Students'. 
Many of his followers virtually worshipped him and at his death 
there was no one who could adequately replace him. Several 
rival organisations grew up - each claimed to be his successor. 
One of these groups retained control of his magazine and legal 
corporation and became the Witness movement of today. 

Russell was born of Scottish-Irish parents in Allegheny, Pitts- 
burgh, Pennsylvania, on iSth February 1852. Little is known 
about his childhood. He was educated first in the state schools 
and then by private tutors. He did not attend college. His mother 
died when he was nine and this may have deepened Russell's 
already keen religious sense. The story is often quoted of his 
chalking up Bible texts in the street to warn men of the serious- 
ness of Hell - this at the age of fourteen. He was brought up a 
Presbyterian but changed to the more liberal Congregational 
Church; he was active there and in the YJM,GA. At the age of 
fifteen he went into partnership with his father, a draper, and 
together they expanded their business and formed a chain of 
stores later valued at a quarter of a million dollars* But Russell 
became dissatisfied with the Congregational Church, He recog- 
nised the four attributes of God to be love, justice, wisdom and 
power and he sought a creed that would harmonise with such a 
God. He left the Congregational Church and examined in turn 
the creeds of Christendom and the Oriental faiths. None satisfied 

Thus during the years 1868 and 1869 Russell was in a state of 
doubt and perplexity. In his own words: 

Brought up a Presbyterian, indoctrinated from the Catechism, and 
being naturally of an enquiring mind, I fell a ready prey to the logic 

B 5 

Millions Now Living Will Never Die 

of infidelity, as soon as I began to think for myself. But that which 
at first threatened to be the utter shipwreck of faith in God and the 
Bible was, under God's providence, over-ruled for good, and merely 
wrecked my confidence in human creeds and systems of Bible 
misinterpretations. 1+ 

Then in 1 870 came a turning point. One dark night in Allegheny 
as Russell walked along the streets he heard singing from a 
nearby hall. It was a small group of Second Adventists gathered 
to hear Jonas Wendell speak. 2 'Is it possible/ thought Russell, 
'that the handful of people who meet here have something more 
sensible to offer than the creeds of the great churches? * Russell 
listened with them and his faith was revived. According to the 
Witnesses Russell now 'returned to the Bible' and searched for 
what it really taught. He gathered together social and business 
friends of like mind and they formed a Bible Study Group. Russell 
was eighteen and for the next ten years he was to expand his 
father's business on the one hand and continue his Bible Study 
Group on the other. Both flourished, but it was the latter that 
was to occupy his life. In October 1876 he was elected Pastor of 
his 'congregation' of Bible searchers. 3 During these years of Bible 
study and contact with Adventist theology Russell came to 
believe that several primary doctrines of the established Church 
were not substantiated by Scripture - in particular he believed the 
Scriptures did not teach a fiery hell. It would, however, be quite 
wrong to say that these views alienated him from the established 
Church. He lived in a time of feverish investigation and doctrinal 
change. Faiths and creeds were bandied about and many new 
ideas were promulgated within the Church. Russell was simply a 
Bible Student at this time - he represented no creed or sect but 
was willing to discuss Biblical ideas with anyone. 

There was one thing, however, that Russell was certain about 
at this time -the imminent Second Advent of Jesus Christ. 
Speculation on this subject was rife and the latter half of the 
nineteenth century saw a continual succession of people prophe- 
sying a date for Jesus' return and the end of the world. The 
popular idea was that the few faithful expectant ones would be 
'caught up in the clouds' at Jesus* return (r Tbess. 4 : 17). Russell 
was interested in Second Adventism and he believed that even 
the unsuccessful prophets had a place in God*s plan. The most 
*Notes and references begin on p. 193, 


The Founder- Charles Ta%e Russell 

prominent of these was William Miller who had taught that Jesus 
would return in 1843 ot l8 44- Despite the incorrect prophecy 
Miller and his followers (Millerites) sparked off a whole chain of 
new guesses. Russell maintained that while Miller was obviously 
wrong his movement served a useful purpose, and he wrote in 

While, as the reader will have observed, we disagree with Mr. 
Miller's interpretations and deductions, on almost every point - 
viewing the object, as well as the manner and the ttme y of our Lord's 
coming, in a very different light - yet we recognise that movement 
as being in God's order, and as doing a very important work in 
the separating, purifying, refining, and thus making ready, of a 
waiting people prepared for the Lord. 4 

Russell even went as far as to interpret the parable of the ten 
virgins (Matthew 25:1,2) as referring to the Miller movement and 
later developments: 'The movement noted by our Lord in this 
parable corresponds exactly to one which began with the "Miller 
movement*' and which is still in progress/ This parable and its 
interpretations were to figure often in Russell's writings. He be- 
lieved he lived in the crucial age for the return of Christ but he 
disagreed with Miller and the Second Adventists concerning the 
manner and object of Christ's return. Russell explained his views in 
a booklet published at his own expense in 1873: The Object and 
Manner of Our Lord's Return. These differences will be discussed 

In the Witnesses* 'official' history Jehovah's Witnesses in the 
Divine Purpose and also in Faith on the March the authors evidently 
wish to emphasise the differences between Russell and the Adven- 
tists - how they were wrong and he was right. In fact nearly all 
of Russell's beliefs, and certainly all the important ones, were 
thought up by other people - most of them Adventists, This will 
become plain as we study Russell's religious development. 5 

Russell was still carrying on his father's trade and it was on a 
business trip to Philadelphia in the close of 1875 that he read 
a copy of the magazine Herald of the Morning in which the editor, 
N, HL Barbour, claimed that Christ had returned invisibly in 
1874. Russell's interest was aroused; he wrote to Barbour, who 
was in Rochester, New York, and suggested that they meet. 
Barbour came to Philadelphia (expenses paid by Russell) and con- 

Millions Now Uving Will Never Die 

vinced him that Jesus had returned invisibly in 1874. Barbour's 
strange opinion was based on the translation of the Greek word 
parousia in Matthew 24 : 3 where the disciples asked Jesus: 'What 
shall be the sign of thy coming [= parousia]. 7 Barbour had been 
convinced that Jesus' return was due in 1874 and when this 
apparently did not happen another Adventist, B, W, Keith, 
pointed out that parousia might be translated presence and not 
coming, Barbour seized on this idea and inferred that Jesus' 
invisible presence had started in 1874, Russell accepted this ex- 
planation and both he and Barbour expected that Jesus would 
shortly collect together the faithful few and take them up to 
heaven. Russell was keen to publish these findings and inform as 
many people as possible, telling them of the second presence. 
Barbour pointed out that his own printing press in New York 
was worn out and he had little money. Also he said: 'The sub- 
scribers to the Herald of the Morning are discouraged because 1874 
has passed and the Lord didn't come. Some of them lived in 1844 
with Miller and the Lord didn't come then, and now they've 
become discouraged/ 6 

Russell was at an important turning point. Up to then his 
religious beliefs had been a 'spiritual hobby* but now he decided 
to use his substantial fortune to finance the advertising of the 
Second Advent* He gave Barbour money to print a book The 
Three Worlds or Plan of Redemption which set out their beliefs - 
this was published in 1877. Russell paid for new printing equip- 
ment and threw himself wholeheartedly into the printing and 
publishing of Herald of the Morning as associate editor to Barbour. 
As Russell said: 

I at once saw the special times in which we live have an important 
bearing upon our duty and work as Christ's disciples; that since we 
are living in the time of the Harvest the Harvest work should be 
done. 7 

By 'the Harvest work' Russell meant spreading the message that 
Jesus' second presence had begun in 1874. Those who accepted 
this belief were the 'saints* who would be carried off to heaven 
in glory. It is interesting to note that the pattern of the Second 
Advent was the same for all the Adventists* Russell and Barbour 
differed only in the date and the significant matter of an invisible 
presence instead of a visible coming. The other matters - the 'harvest 


The Founder - Charles Ta%e Russell 

work' preceding the setting up of the Kingdom of Heaven, and 
the glorification of the saints - were derived from Miller. Russell 
and Barbour felt certain that the 'glorification' would occur on a 
particular date (this was also Miller's belief) and they searched the 
Bible to find a clue to this date. They believed that at Jesus' first 
Advent he had preached for three and a half years after baptism 
and then he had returned to heaven (after the crucifixion). It 
therefore seemed 'logical' that jesus* second Advent, or presence, 
should last exactly three and a half years, at the end of which time 
the Kingdom of God would be set up and the faithful ones 
changed to heavenly glory in the twinkling of an eye (i Corin- 
thians 15 : 51, 52). As Jesus had returned in the autumn of 1874 
(according to Barbour's calculations) they felt sure that the 
glorification must occur three and a half years later, in 1878. 8 

The critical year, 1878, came and went despite the suspense 
suffered by Russell, Barbour and their followers. The disappoint- 
ment took the two leaders in different ways. According to A. H. 
Macmillan, Russell 'did not for a moment feel cast down* and he 
'realised that what God had so plainly declared must some time 
have a fulfilment*. Some gathered in white robes on the crucial 
night expecting to be taken to heaven, but Russell was not 
amongst them. 9 What A. H. Macmilian fails to say is that Russell 
did believe the kingdom had been set up - but invisibly. Instead 
of the saints being changed immediately, Russell concluded that 
they would be changed on their natural death after 1878* Those 
saints who were already dead before 1878 were 'spiritually 
resurrected' and invisibly transferred to heaven in that year! 
Russell wrote: 

The year 1878 being thus indicated as the date when the Lord began 
to take unto himself his great power, it is reasonable to conclude 
that there the setting up of his Kingdom began, the first step of 
which would be the deliverance of his body, the Church, among 
whom the sleeping members are to take precedence. . ., Our Lord, the 
appointed King, is now present, since October 1874, and the formal 
inauguration of his kingly office dates from April 1878 A.r>.: and the 
first work of the Kingdom, as shown by our Lord, in his parables 
and prophecy (the gathering of 'his elect'), is now in progress. 10 

Russell held to this interpretation of 1878 to his death but 
Barbour was disappointed and discouraged when 1878 passed 


Millions Now Living Will Never Die 

with no visible heavenly sign. A rift grew between the two men 
and in that same year Barbour wrote an article for the Herald in 
which he denied the doctrine of the ransom sacrifice, as Russell 
knew it. This was a great shock to Russell, for this doctrine was 
central to his faith. He promptly wrote an article in reply in a 
later issue of the Herald and the readers were confused by a series 
of contradictory articles for and against the ransom. The situation 
became intolerable and Russell withdrew his support for the 
Herald of the Morning. He did not in fact make any claim for the 
printing equipment which he had paid for; instead he purchased 
new printing presses in 1879 and decided that henceforth he 
would devote all his time and money to explaining his doctrines 
and the return of Christ without the aid of Barbour. In July 1 879 
Russell printed 6,000 copies of the first edition of Zion's Watch 
Tower and Herald of Chris fs Presence 11 - his new mouthpiece, with 
himself and five others as contributors. In the same year, at one 
of his Bible Study Groups, Russell met Maria Frances Ackley and 
three months later they were married. Charles Taxe Russell now 
began a new life. 


In 1879 Russell was at the beginning of a long and turbulent 
career. What exactly did he think? He believed that there was no 
trinity and no immortal soul, that hell was no more than the 
grave - a completely insensible state. More important he believed 
that the Bible pointed to the age he was living in - and ipso facto 
was pointing to him as the chief advertiser of these truths. Russell 
believed that he and his Bible Student followers were being led 
by God to the rediscovery of Biblical truths. This caused many 
people to accuse Russell of 'appalling egotism', 12 but was he really 
conceited? In appearance, behaviour and attitude he was anything 
but a braggart. Despite the hero-worship that was lavished on 
him he did not vaunt himself, even through his own magazine. 
This much is obvious from reading through the Watch Towers; in 
Ziotfs Watch Tower, ist September 1900, Russell wrote: 

We have frequendy been urged to publish the Editor's picture 
either in the Dawns 13 or in these columns: but have as persistently 
refused. It is the truth rather than its servant that should be honoured 
and proclaimed. 


The Founder -Charles Ta%e Russell 

A hint as to why so many people have accused Russell of conceit 
and egotism is contained in the above quotation. Russell assumes 
he is the 'servant of the Truth' and hence in a privileged and im- 
portant position. Even though Russell 'claimed nothing of him- 
self' he claimed a great deal for the message he preached; not 
unnaturally his opponents called him conceited when he claimed 
divine authority! 

This apparent paradox has led to much controversy. In 
Jehovah's Witnesses in the Divine Purpose the Witnesses say: 'He made 
no claim of a special revelation from God but held that it was 
God's due time for the Bible to be understood- 14 

Not only is this rash statement contradicted by Russell himself 
on several occasions but the apologia seems extreme even by 
modern Witness standards. Presumably their intention in that 
book is to paint the best possible picture for newcomers - certainly 
their other books (for mature Witnesses) claim a little more for 
Russell. I quote below a key passage that Russell's enemies seized 
on to 'prove* his egotism. Russell wrote: 

Not only do we find that people cannot see the divine in studying 
the Bible by itself, but we see, also, that if anyone lays the 'Scripture 
Studies' [his own works!] aside, even after he has used them, after 
he has become familiar with them, after he has read them for ten 
years - if he then lays them aside and ignores them and goes to the 
Bible alone, though he has understood his Bible for ten years, our 
experience shows that within two years he goes into darkness. 
On the other hand, if he had merely read the 'Scripture Studies' with 
their references and had not read a page of the Bible as such, he 
would be in the fight at the end of two years, because he would 
have the fight of the Scriptures. 15 

Russell also compared himself to a 'Combination Timelock' which 
opens up the divine secrets - only in his time and by himself; and 
he referred to his writings as *the Divinely provided light upon 
God's word', 16 We are therefore forced to conclude that Russell 
was not personally conceited but the sincere claims he made for 
his beliefs were anything but modest. 

In 1879, however, he had but a small following in a country 
full of 'Pastors', sects and cults, in addition to the major Churches. 
At this time Pastor Russell and his Bible Students were still 
searching for the complete truth. They were not an established 
organisation, their magazine was founded to discuss Biblical views. 


Millions Now Laving Will Never Die 

The other five regular contributors were A, D. Jones (an em- 
ployee in Russell's store), J. H. Paton, W. I. Mann, B. W. Keith, 
and H. B. Rice. In addition, Mrs. Russell frequently contributed 
articles. At first the magazine was published monthly, but in 1892 
it changed to twice-monthly as it is today. 

In the early i88o's Ziotfs Watch Tower was just one of many 
similar magazines being printed and distributed in America. 
There was rivalry and often controversy between their editors - 
many attempted to increase their own circulation at the expense 
of the others. Before joining Russell, H. B. Rice had been editor 
of a magazine called The Last Trump which lack of money closed 
down. Russell shrewdly took on Rice and at the same time sent 
the new Ziorts Watch Tower to the former subscribers of The Last 
Trump. Of the original contributors, several eventually 'defected*. 
For instance, J. H, Paton was at first a prolific writer to Ziotfs 
Watch Tower but finally he wrote a book contradicting Russell and 
the latter was forced to warn his readers not to have anything 
more to do with Paton. 17 'Brother 7 A. D. Jones moved to New 
York in 1881 and there started his own paper Ziotfs Day Star. 
Russell magnanimously recommended this magazine at first 
but was hastily obliged to reverse his opinion when Jones 
denied the ransom doctrine and actually set up in opposition to 

In fact Pastor Russell had the unpleasant task of holding his 
own in a series of running fights with neighbouring periodicals. 
In 1883 there began a long dispute with The World's Hope and in 
the following year The Milknarian began a controversy with 
RusselL This was particularly regrettable as Pastor Russell's 
object was not petty strife but to inform as many people as 
possible of the Second Advent. In this he was not unsuccessful, 
during 1 879-1880 thirty congregations (or ecclesias as they were 
called) were set up in the States of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, 
New York, Massachusetts, Delaware, Ohio and Michigan. These 
ecclesias were not founded by Russell. They grew out of groups of 
people who had read Zion's Watch Tower, agreed with it, and 
decided to meet together for further Bible study and mutual 
benefit. They were in touch with Pastor Russell, of course, and 
there was a strong bond between him and them. He was their 
'honorary Pastor' although each ecclesia elected its own 'elders' 
who were the spiritual and administrative heads. This system was 


The Founder - Charles Ta%e Russeti 

modelled on the Congregational Church and was in operation up 
to the time of Russell's death. 

Members of these ecclesias addressed one another as 'brother' 
and 'sister 5 , a practice still followed by Jehovah's Witnesses today. 
They held regular meetings, read and discussed Zion's Watch 
Tower and distributed tracts. Those who travelled abroad often 
took the * Towers and tracts with them to give to interested 
people -from this grew early centres of interest outside the 
United States. From 1 880 to 1 884, for instance, one million copies 
of the tract Food For Thinking Christians were distributed in 
America and London. 

In 1884 Russell formed a legal corporation to handle the in- 
creased amount of work that stemmed from his new following. 
The corporation was called Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society 
and it was granted its charter on 13th December 1884. 18 Pastor 
Russell was the President (a post he held until his death), his wife 
was Secretary/Treasurer. Altogether seven directors and three 
officers were elected. Gradually Russell and his followers were 
becoming more rigid in their beliefs and organisation. In Ziotfs 
Watch Tower of October 1883, Russell admitted that his move- 
ment could be called a sect, unlike the modern-day Witnesses who 
deny that they can be described as a sect, cult or religion* 19 Most 
of Pastor RusselFs supporters were keen students of the Bible, 
but they had no criterion of activity. They believed in dissemin- 
ating their message but they thought their primary duty was 
individual character development. Each Bible Student, as one of the 
saints, was concerned with preparation for the heavenly calling 
by Bible study, prayer, meditation and the improvement of his 
character in everyday life. 

While Russell approved of this spiritual procedure his business 
sense led him to examine the most efficient ways of spreading his 
message. He had advanced as an ideal that all should help in dis- 
tributing his literature, but in the April 1881 edition of Zion's 
Watch Tower he took more practical steps with an article entided 
'wanted - 1,000 Preachers*. Those responding to the article were 
the first of the colporteurs (now called pioneers) who worked almost 
full time preaching and distributing Ziotts Watch Tower, By the 
late i88o*s Russell himself was devoting all of his time to the 
study of the Bible and the administration of his fast-growing 
movement. In 1889 a new building was finished in Pittsburgh to 


Millions Now Uving Will Never Die 

house the printing works and to be the office centre for Zion's 
Watch Tower Tract Society. 

Russell was an astute businessman. By the time he was thirty 
he had expanded his father's one store into a chain of five which 
he then sold for a quarter of a million dollars (present equivalent, 
about a million dollars). This business acumen was useful to 
Russell not only in business; read his instructions for selling his 
Bible literature in 1887: 

These circulars can be sent out by the hand of trusty boys or girls, 
whom you can employ. And if you cannot visit all your neighbors 
yourself to show the book and take their orders, these same boys or 
girls could do it (Girls would generally succeed best). You could 
pay them a commission out of each day's sales ~ so much on each 
copy disposed of, . . . Do not spend more than 2 or 3 minutes at each 
house^ and if they do not readily subscribe say to them: I do not 
accept the money now, but merely take your orders, but be sure 

to have the money ready by ? day - fixing a time when your 

canvass of the town will be complete. . . * You can safely say too, 
'When this book is in the hands of all your neighbors and they are 
talking about its contents, you will have more than 2 5 cents worth 
of curiosity to know as well as they, of its teachings and explanations. 
Then I will be gone and you will feel ashamed to borrow when you 
can now purchase for the paltry sum of 25 cents. You can sell the 
book for waste paper after reading it and surely not lose much. 20 

Practically every major device of modern advertising is hinted at 
in the above paragraphl Russell was not slow to utilise every 
means to disseminate his message. In 1891 he set off on the first 
of many overseas tours to this end. He travelled through Ireland, 
Scotland, Russia, Turkey and so on, giving lectures and talks in 
each country. In 1893 he organised the first large National Con- 
vention for his followers at Chicago from August 2o-24th. There 
were 360 colporteurs present at this Convention - a far cry from 
Russell's '1,000 wanted'. Their numbers were not always on the 
increase (in 1896 Russell commented on a decrease in the col- 
porteur ranks). 

As well as colporteurs Russell conceived the idea of 'Pilgrims* - 
paid representatives of the Watch Tower Society who visited the 
local ecclesias to help and encourage the brethren (these are now 
called circuit servants). Three Pilgrims were sent out in 1897, 
twenty -five in 1905 and by 191 7 there was a total of ninety-three 


The Founder - Charles Ta%e Rusteff 

Pilgrims travelling from congregation to congregation. 21 In these 
ways Pastor Russell laid the organisational foundation on which 
Jehovah's Witnesses have built their modern 'New World 

Up to the close of the nineteenth century Russeirs personality 
and beliefs had attracted a small band of adherents, most of them 
in the United States. Incomplete figures for the Memorial gather- 
ing to commemorate Christ's death suggest that Russell's follow- 
ing in 1899 was about 2,500. What was it that attracted these 
people? Certainly Pastor Russell himself inspired confidence: 

His natural charm, his seeming broad-mindedness, his devotion 
to the Bible, his extreme claims, all won him devotees in the early 
years. Russell was always willing to meet people and to talk with 
them. On his lengthy speaking tours about the country he willingly 
posed for photographers, and thus left behind him a group of 
photographs which date the various stages of his life and career. 
He was a smallish man, 28 thin and saintly in appearance, His de- 
meanor, according to all available reports, was ascetic. In later life, 
his long white hair gave him the appearance of a modern patriarch. 
In speech, both public and private, his professionalized style marked 
him as a 'spell-binder*. 23 

Russell attracted admiration and worship from many of his 
supporters . One of them, P. S. L. Johnson, said: 

He certainly was a SCHOLAR in the true sense of that term He 

was deeply versed in history. . . . His writings show that he was at 
home in the perplexing questions of industry, economics, sociology, 
capital and labour. The realms of philosophy were deeply explored 
by him, and he was an expert in theoretical and practical psychology 
and phrenology. . . and when other theologians will have been dis- 
carded, he will be recognised as a standing authority in this the 
greatest of all sciences [theology]. 24 

While in Ziotf& Watch Tower 1st May 191 7 it was said that 'Not 
since the Apostle Paul has there lived in the world a greater and 
better man than Pastor Russell 7 . 

Most of Russell's followers, however, would claim that it was 
his message that attracted them. Many described their feelings of 
joy and satisfaction on first reading Russell's works, akin to the 
immediate and complete conversion of Paul on the road to 
Damascus, Although Russell's writings hardly seem to be ad- 

Millions Now hiving Will Never Die 

mirable today, it is quite credible that his direct prose style, his 
forthright beliefs and his detailed discussions of Politics and 
Economics impressed his contemporaries. Russeirs chief mouth- 
piece was Zion's Watch Tower, but he also wrote an important 
series of six books - starting in 1886 with The Divine Plan of the 
Ages. Previous to this Russell had written several tracts, and two 
books: Three Worlds or Plan of Redemption (1887) and Tabernacle 
Shadows of the * Better Sacrifices\ The latter was written in 1881 as 
a reply to Barbour's interpretations of the Hebrew Tabernacle, 
which Russell regarded as misleading. 

'the millennium dawns' or 'studies in the 

In order to clarify his position, and set out his beliefs in full, 
Pastor Russell published The Divine Plan of the Ages in 1886. Six 
million copies of this book were sold during the next forty years. 
Russell proceeded to write a series of books of which this was 
just the first. Originally called The Millennium Dawns, the name of 
the series was changed in 1904 to Studies in the Scriptures. The 
complete series was: 

1. The Divine Plan of the Ages (1886) 358 pages 

2* The Time is at Hand (1889) 371 pages 

3. Thy Kingdom Come (1891) 384 pages 

4. The Battle of Armageddon (1897) 660 pages 

5. The Atonement between God and Man (1899) 498 pages 

6. The New Creation (1904) 738 pages 

The name of Volume 4 was later changed to The Day of Vengeance 
(the reason was that people thought the original title was that of 
a novel!). Russell intended to write a seventh volume (seven was 
a Biblical number for completeness). This would uncover the 
mysteries of Revelation. Later in life he came to the conclusion 
that he had not got 'the key to unlock the secrets of Revelation' 
and it was left to his successors to publish the seventh volume* 

What were the books like? On the whole their tone is one of 
reason and restraint although there is no hiding Russell's con- 
viction that he and his followers were the chosen of God. There 
are few attempts at grandiloquence and the style is factual and 
down to earth if not a litde tedious. This cannot be said of 
Russell's conclusions, for the greater part of all his books is 


The Founder - Charles Ta%e Russell 

taken up with two things: extensive and elaborate Bible chrono- 
logy applied to Russell's time, and the interpretation of Biblical 
events also to apply to his time. Russell was much concerned 
with times and dates and charts - his books are full of them* In 
addition to all this, he discussed at length social and political 
issues (tying them in with Bible prophecy) and he was fond of 
debating the exact meaning of the original Greek and Hebrew 
words in the Bible. It was later publicly revealed that he had no 
expert knowledge in this field. 

The most surprising thing about the six volumes was their lack 
of discussion of basic doctrines - less than sixty of the 3,000 pages 
were devoted to discussing the trinity, immortality of the soul 
and hell-fire. The second volume contained no doctrinal material 
at all; typical chapter headings in this book were; 'The Seventy 
Weeks of Daniel's Prophecy - Events Foretold to Transpire 
Within that Time ~ The Time of Messiah's Advent Indicated - 
What are Gentile Times? ™ "The Times of Restitution of All 
Things" Foretold by Moses -The Date of Their Beginning 
Indicated' - and so on. (One last example: in the first volume 
Russell devoted only two paragraphs in the whole book to 
showing that the idea of eternal torment was unscriptural.) I wish 
to discuss in detail the two main themes in Russell's life and 
literature, these were the real core of his beliefs and were the 
dominating topics of conversation for Russell and all his fol- 
lowers. Knowing these two aspects of Russell's world-view we 
are better equipped to understand the development of the move- 
ment after his death, and indeed much of present-day Witness 

Pas for Russell and Bible Chronology 

Most Jehovah's Witnesses today know little or nothing of the 
'prophecies* of Pastor Russell but all of them are convinced of one 
thing: they believe that Pastor Russell correctly predicted the 
heavenly establishment of the Kingdom of God in 191 4. In their 
own account Jehovah's Witnesses in the Divine Purpose 2 * they say this 
about Russell's opinion of 1914: 'Although this was still decades 
before the First World War, it is surprising how accurately the 
events that finally took place were actually foreseen/ This is 
nonsense. Below are details of Russell's opinions on 1914 and 
other dates. I have quoted at length from the original sources as 


Millions Now Uving Will Never Die 

they are not easy to obtain, and this lack allows statements such 
as the above to go unchallenged. 

As we have already seen, Russell believed that Jesus* second 
coming, or presence, had occurred invisibly in 1874 and that the 
Kingdom of God had been set up, also invisibly, in 1878, Russell 
used two lines of argument to substantiate the date 1874. 

(1) Russell believed that the Jewish nation would be restored 
to God's favour in 'the last days*. This view was based on certain 
texts such as Matthew 5:18: 'For verily I say unto you, Till heaven 
and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the 
law, till all be fulfilled* (See also Hebrews 10 : 1 ; 8 : 5 , Colossians 2:17 
and especially A.cts 3 ; 19-21.) The Israelites had been enjoined to 
celebrate every fiftieth year as a Jubilee Year (Lepiticus 25 : 10, 
15). Russell was captivated by the idea of a greater fulfilment which 
involved a period of waiting, leading up to the greater Jubilee 
Year, which Russell thought must be the Millennium. 26 The 
Israelites worked out their Jubilee Year so that it occurred after 
7 x 7 =49 years, giving a cycle of fifty years* In the higher fulfil- 
ment Russell multiplied cycles together to obtain the waking 
interval. Thus the time between Jubilee Years in the higher (anti- 
typical) fulfilment is 50x50 = 2,500 years. Russell now had to 
determine when this period of 2,500 years started - the date when 
it finished would then give the beginning of the antitypical 
Jubilee Year, the Millennium! Here, in Russell's own words, is 
the argument: 

Fifty times fifty years gives the long period of twenty-five hundred 
years (50X50 equals 2,500), as the length of that great cycle , which 
began to count when Israel's last typical Jubilee ended, and which 
must culminate in the great antitypical Jubilee. We know that such 
a cycle must have begun to count where the type ceased; because, if 
not one jot or tittle of the Law could pass away without a fulfilment 
at least commencing, then the Jubilee type, which was far more 
than a jot or tittle, indeed a large and important feature of the Law, 
would not have been permitted to pass away until the right time 
for its antitype to begin . . . the last of the typical Jubilees, occurred 
just nineteen years before the beginning of the seventy years of 
desolation of the land while they [the Jews] were in captivity in 
Babylon, and nine hundred and fifty years after entering Canaan. 27 

There, then, just nineteen years before the 'seventy years of 
desolation' of their land> at the close of their last Jubilee - the nine* 
teenth- the great cycle of 2,500 years began to count; and it becomes 


The Founder - Charles Ta%e 'Russell 

a very simple matter to reckon where those 2, 5 00 years terminated, 
and consequently where the twenty-five hundredth year, the begin- 
ning of the great antitypical Jubilee, began. . , , Thus, the year 
which began October 1874 was the 2,500th year, but since the 
antitype is larger than the type™ 1,000 years instead of one year - 
1 87 5 (beginning Oct, 1S74), instead of being a Jubilee year was 
the first of the 1,000 years of Jubilee. 28 

The whole of Chapter 6 in Volume 2 is taken up with an involved 
and prolix 'proof that 1874 has this Biblical significance. Russell 
goes on to infer what should happen in 1874: 

But what are the reasonable conclusions from these Bible teachings? 
Let us consider what must follow, from the standpoint of reason, 
and then see if any other scriptures either warrant or contradict 
those conclusions. First we infer that when the 'Times of Restitution' 
are due to begin, the presence of the Great Restorer is also due. This 
would be a very reasonable inference, but it amounts to much more 
than inference when it is endorsed by the Apostle's positive inspired 
statement, that When the [appointed] times of refreshing shall come from 
the presence of the Lord [Jehovah] ... he shall send Jesus Christ, 
which before was preached unto you, whom the heaven must 
retain until the times of restitution of all things > which God hath spoken 
by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. - 
Jlcts 3 : 1 9-2 1. 29 

Russell is saying, at great length, that Jesus must return in 1874. 
This is the first major justification for the date; the second arrives 
at 1874 by an even more roundabout method. 

(2) It was, of course, Barbour and not Russell who first ex- 
pounded the above justification for 1874. Similarly the second 
line of reasoning was not originated by Russell but by a Mr. 
Bowen in England. 30 He noticed that using the exact chronology 
of the Bible it was possible to calculate how many years had 
passed since the creation of Adam. Bowen took the Bible figures 
literally and arrived at 4,129 B.C. 31 for this event. He believed that 
each of the creation 'days 1 were not literal twenty-four-hour 
periods but lasted 7,000 years. The significance of this is that the 
last 'day* (on which God rested) actually lasts for 7,000 years 
starting from the creation of Adam. The last 1,000 years of this 
'day' Bowen thought must be the Millennium. This is, of course, 
almost pure conjecture (although Bowen and Russell offered 
tenuous Biblical support). It sounds as though it was worked out 


Millions Now Living Will Never Die 

by hindsight - as 6,000 years from Adam's creation brings us to 
the date 1872! Russell believed that the Millennium therefore 
started in the year 1873 -in his own words: 

In this chapter we present the Bible evidence that indicates that 
six thousand years from the creation of Adam were complete with 
a.d. 1872 and hence that, since a.d. 1872, we are chronologically 
entered upon the seventh thousand or the Millennium - the forepart 
of which, the 'Day of the Lord*, the 'day of trouble', is to witness the 
breaking into pieces of the kingdoms of this world and the estab- 
lishment of the Kingdom of God under the whole heavens. 32 

The apparent discrepancy between 1872, the end of the 6,000 
years > and 1874, the date of Christ's second presence, is conveni- 
ently explained by Russell: 

How is it that the exact Bible Chronology points to October 1872 
as the beginning of the seventh thousand year, or Millennium, 
while the Jubilee Cycles show October 1874 to be the date of our 
Lord's return and the beginning of restitution times? ... It will be 
remembered that the reckoning of chronology began with the 
creation of Adam, and that some time was spent by Adam and Eve 
before sin entered. Just how long we are not informed* but two years 
would not be an improbable estimate, . . . The six thousand years 
in which God has permitted evil to dominate the world, prior to 
the beginning of the great seventh or sabbatic thousand, or Times 
of Restitution, dates from the entrance of sin into the world. And 
since the Times of Restitution began with October 1874, that must 
be the end of the six thousand years' reign of Sin; and the difference 
between that and the date shown in the chronology from Adam's 
creation represents the period of sinlessness in Eden, which really 
belongs to the reign of righteousness. 33 

Russell never changed his opinion that Jesus had returned in 
1874 and this remained the major time-prophecy as far as he was 
concerned, I quote in Appendix A his beliefs concerning five 
other dates in the late nineteenth century. 

Pastor Russell and the Year i$i$ 

As early as the iSSo's Pastor Russell came to the conclusion that 
the year 1914 marked the end of the 'Gentile Times' - his reason- 
ing was almost identical with that used by Witnesses today (see 
the doctrinal section). Despite what the Witnesses say, however, 
Russell did not believe that 1914 marked the establishment of the 


The Founder - Charles Ta%e Russell 

Kingdom of God in heaven (for that had happened in 1 878) and 
he certainly did not believe that 1914 would be followed by 
another generation of conflict without any intervention by God. 
What then did Russell think would happen in 1914? He expected 
that, at last, the saints would be glorified, they would be carried 
up to heaven to rule with Jesus. At the same time God would 
cause the break-up of all earthly kingdoms and would substitute 
theocratic rule during the rest of the Millennium. Russell believed 
that God would restore mankind on earth to perfection - he would 
not destroy them in a "Battle of Armageddon': 

. . . but when God's Word and plan are viewed as a whole, these 
will all be found to favour the view . . , that Christ comes before 
the conversion of the world, and reigns for the purpose of converting 
the world. * * * They believe that God will do no more than choose 
this Church, while we find the Scriptures teaching a further step 
in the divine plan ~ a restitution for the world, to be accomplished 
through the elect Church. 34 

In 191 6 Russell wrote a series of Forewords for the 'Studies' in 
which he admitted that his prophecies concerning 19 14 had not 
been fulfilled, for example: 

The author acknowledges that in this book he presents the thought 
that the Lord's saints might expect to be with Him in glory at the 
ending of the Gentile Times. This was a natural mistake to fall into, 
but the Lord overruled it for the blessing of His people. 35 

Russell's thoughts concerning 1914 are clearly set out in The 
Divine Plan of the Ages. The Elect would be glorified to heaven, 
other faithful ones would occupy subsidiary heavenly positions, 
while the remainder of mankind on earth with the resurrected 
millions would revert to Edenic perfection. It is quite clear from 
the quotation below that Russell thought in 1889 that the Battle 
of Armageddon (Revelation 16) had already begun and that it 
would end in 191 5: 

In view of this strong Bible evidence concerning the Times of the 
Gentiles, we consider it an established truth that the final kingdoms 
of this world, and the full establishment of the Kingdom of God, 
will be accomplished near the end of A.D. 191 5. . . » True, it is ex- 
pecting great things to claim, as we do, that within the coming 
twenty-six years all present governments will be overthrown and 
dissolved- ... Be not surprised, then, when in subsequent chapters 

c 21 

Millions Now Living Will Never Die 

we present proofs that the setting up of the Kingdom of God is 
already begun, that it is pointed out in prophecy as due to begin the 
exercise of power in a.d. 1878, and that the 'battle of the great day 
of God almighty* (Revelation 16 : 14), which will end in a.d, 191 5 , 
with the complete overthrow of earth's present rulership, is already 
commenced. . . . The beginning of the early phase of the Kingdom 
in the end of a.d. 19 14 will, we understand, consist wholly of the 
resurrected holy ones of olden time, -from John the Baptizer 
back to Abel, 36 

There are many similar quotations from Russell's works. See 
Appendix B for a time chart summarising his 'prophetic' dates* 
The main conclusion one can draw from all this is that Russell 
(obviously) was obsessed by time prophecies, most of which were 
wrong. Modern opinion amongst Jehovah's Witnesses is that he 
was right about 1914, but this is based on ignorance of his 

Pastor Russell and Biblical Interpretation 

Jehovah's Witnesses have inherited Russell's predilection for 
elaborate interpretations of all the Bible stories. Russell and many 
of his contemporaries assumed that most of the Bible had a 
'higher fulfilment* and they spent much of their time looking for 
this and debating who or what was represented by a Bible charac- 
ter or incident. Russell's conclusions were reasonably consistent 
and often very complicated. They were, nevertheless, arbitrary, 
and many of the present-day Witness interpretations differ from 
Russell's. Here are five examples: 


(2 Kings 9) Jezebel = The Roman Catholic 

Church Vol. 2, p, 256. 

{Matthew 25) The Five 

Foolish Virgins = The Miller movement Vol, 3, p. 91, 

{Daniel 8) The Little 

Horn = The Roman Empire Vol. 3, p. 27. 

{Revelation 20) False 
Prophet = The Protestant Church 

Federation Vol. 4, p. viii, 

(Luke x6) Rich Man = The Jewish Nation Vol, % p. 376. 

These, and many more stories, are interpreted differently by the 
Witnesses today. For instance, both Jezebel and the rich man 


The Founder- Charles Ta%e Russell 

now picture the clergy class. It has been said of Russell that he 
took a drop of doctrine and diluted it to a sea of verbosity - not 
only was he long-winded in his books, but he was proved wrong 
on many issues* The Witnesses, who have adopted a new set of 
dates and Bible interpretations, claim that the 'light was shining 
but dimly* in these early years. They would also like us to believe, 
however, that Russell was amazingly right about predicting 
World War i in 1914! As Russell's works are difficult to obtain 
outside the movement, and discouraged inside, this incorrect 
assertion is not easy to disprove, 37 


At the turn of the century Russell and his Bible Students were 
patiently awaiting their glorification in 1914. 38 Pastor Russell was 
now emerging from relative obscurity, as the leader of a small 
and radical religious sect, to quite a prominent place in American 
religious affairs* Russell's sermons had nationwide newspaper 
publicity as the ideas in them were alien to the other Christian 
denominations. He had always been opposed to the Catholic 
church but at the start of the new century he found himself in 
opposition to all the Protestant churches too. His own failure to 
find satisfaction amongst the established churches led him to 
believe that they were actually instruments of the devil. Russell 
was never a vindictive man but he believed the churches were 
wrong and it was his duty to say so. Nearly all the 660 pages of 
Volume 4 of Studies in the Scriptures are used by Russell to fulfil 
this duty. First he defines the area of his attack: 

As we proceed to set forth our understanding of the symbols of 
the Revelation* we wish to state most emphatically that we are 
saying nothing whatever against godly Christians anywhere, at any 
time, whether in any church or out of any church. We have nothing 
to say respecting people. We discuss PRINCIPLES, DOCTRINES, 
ALWAYS; individuals, NEVER1 God has not commissioned us 
to discuss people; it is ours to discuss His Word. 2 ® 

and then he gets down to details, for example, discussing 
Revelation 16 : 13: 

The Dragon, then, symbolises the Roman power, represented by 
the civil power in the world. The Beast is the Papal system of 
government. . . . The False Prophet, or Image of the Beast, we 
understand to mean the Protestant Federation of Churches, etc. 40 


Millions Now Living Will Never Die 

While this verbal battle was getting under way, Russell con- 
tinued to put his money into the Watch Tower Society to help 
expand its influence. In 1900 the first 'foreign' branch office was 
opened in London* Branches in Germany (1903) and Australia 
(1904) followed. Pamphlets were now being printed in seven 
languages and this widespread publicity inevitably had its effect. 
More and more people left the churches to join up with Russell: 

To assist them in their resignation and to provide a further testi- 
mony to those in the Church systems responsible for removing 
their names from the Church rolls, specially printed 'Withdrawal 
letters' were provided. 41 

Three successive conventions were held in the U.S.A. in 1903 
and Russell set off on his second tour of Europe in the summer. 
On his return he engaged in a debate with Dr. E, L. Eaton - the 
champion of the Protestant Evangelical Alliance. The debate 
started on 18th October in Carnegie Hall, Pittsburgh, and accord- 
ing to the Witnesses £ on the whole Pastor Russell came off best'. 
Russell was a reasonable and convincing speaker with a great 
depth of Biblical knowledge. He thought of himself as waging 
a war against the rising forces of Evolution, Spiritualism and 
Higher Criticism, in addition to his batde with the clergy. His 
opponents, however, believed he was 'being used of the evil one 
to subvert the Truth of God'. It was said that 'no infidel writer, 
such as Hume, Voltaire or Ingersoll ever suffers such ruthless 
attacks as have been made against Pastor Russell', Certainly 
Russell was a celebrated, or notorious, figure of his day. 'Un- 
doubtedly he was photographed more times than any American, 
save perhaps Mr. Coolidge' (the President of the United States)* 

russell's tribulations 

It is misleading to give the impression that at this time Russell 
was striding forward from success to success. There was an over- 
all increase in his following but this itself brought difficulties. The 
people who associated with him were often ambitious, and many 
lacked his saintly demeanour. There was always a certain amount 
of quarrelling and dissension within the organisation and some- 
times this was even directed against Pastor Russell. From 1892 to 
1894 four prominent members of the movement, Von Zech, 


The Founder - Charles Ta%e Russell 

Bryan, Rogers and Adamson, tried to infiltrate ideas that Russell 
disagreed with. Eventually they conspired against him and tried 
to undermine his influence amongst the Bible Students. Russell 
was forced to rebuke them in a specially printed ninety-page 
booklet appropriately called ^4 Conspiracy Exposed. This was 
published in 1894, Another 'revolt' exposed in 191 1 involved a 
group of very influential Bible Students including the Vice- 
President of the Society -J. H, Giesey, Branch Leader E* C 
Hennings and Russell's private secretary A. E. Williamson. The 
last named left the movement with his supporters after having 
charged Russell with "caressing sisters' I 42 

Apart from this internal opposition, Russell's enemies outside 
the movement were only too glad to attack him on personal 
grounds. They usually accused Russell of using the Bible Students 
to sell his literature so that he could make a big profit. In 1906, 
however, Russell suffered an embarrassing and humiliating ex- 
perience that was seized upon by his enemies to discredit him in 
the eyes of his followers and the rest of the world. His wife was 
the cause of the scandal* In the early years of marriage Maria 
Frances Russell had been an able and loyal supporter of her 
husband. She had often written articles for the Watch Tower. 
Russell claimed that she desired more control in the running of 
the magazine and this, and her interest in women's suffrage, led 
to an estrangement* 

In Zion*s Watch Tower for 15 th July 1906 Russell explained to 
his readers his side of the story - he had heard so many malicious 
rumours and received so many enquiring letters that he felt 
obliged to do this. He said that his wife had tried to take over 
the running of the magazine and had insisted that her articles be 
printed in it. Russell refused and he discontinued her as Associate 
Editor in 1896. In 1897 Mrs. Russell (influenced, so Russell 
thought, by her female relatives) took active steps to try to 
usurp him; at first she tried to win over two local brothers to her 
side by attacking Pastor Russell, and when this failed she began 
organising separate meetings for the sisters in the ecclesias. She 
stirred up opposition against her husband at these meetings* On 
jth September 1897 a meeting of Elders was convened to in- 
vestigate the sisters' complaints - and Mrs. Russell was publicly 
reproved. She finally separated from her husband in 1897 and six 
years later she filed an application in the Court of Common Pleas 


Millions Now Living Will Never Die 

at Pittsburgh for legal separation (a divorce). Then followed, in 
April 1906, a much publicised and sensationalised court case. 

Mrs. Russell's plea was based on the charge of mental cruelty 
and ultimately this was the reason the jury decided in her favour. 
Unfortunately, however, she tried to suggest that Pastor Russell's 
behaviour towards the opposite sex was compromising. She 
quoted numerous trivial instances which were open to a far more 
reasonable interpretation - cases where the Pastor had comforted 
female members of the household and so on. No account was 
taken of these in the open court. Worse than this, however, were 
her allegations concerning the Pastor and their adopted daughter, 
Rose Ball She alleged that 'the Pastor had remarked to the girl 
slyly: "I am like a jellyfish; I float around here and there. I touch 
this one and that one, and if she responds I take her to me, and if 
not I float on to others." * 43 Pastor Russell denied having said such 
a thing and Mrs. Russell admitted to her own lawyer that she did 
not mean that her husband committed adultery! H. H. Stroup 
summed up the case as follows: 

Mrs. Russell brought suit for divorce on fout grounds: 'That his 
conceit, egotism, and domination were such as to make life in- 
tolerable to any sensitive woman; that his conduct in relation to 
other women was improper; that on one occasion he was silent to 
his wife for four weeks and only communicated with her by letters 
of a reproachful character; and that he sought by most despicable 
means to isolate his wife from society, and designed to get her 
pronounced insane in order to put her away/ In reviewing the case 
today, an observer may perceive that the evidence of the prosecution 
was not as conclusive as the jury considered it to be. . . . Most of 
the testimony was highly suggestive but never conclusive. Addi- 
tional evidence indicates that Mrs. Russell was generally suspicious 
of her husband's relations with other women and that at some point 
in their relationship she failed to understand completely the religiously 
inspired person's disregard for appearances. 44 

The jury were out for about two hours and returned with a 
verdict granting the divorce on the grounds that: 'His course of 
conduct towards his wife evidences such insistent egotism and 
extravagant self-praise that it would be manifest to the jury that 
his conduct towards her was one of continual domination that 
would necessarily render the life of any sensitive Christian 
woman a burden and make her condition intolerable.' 


The Founder- Charles Tat(e Russell 

Objectively the divorce was perhaps the best solution* Both 
husband and wife were strong-willed, and there had evidently 
been a clash of personalities resulting in incompatibility. RusselFs 
preoccupation with religious matters made him anything but a 
perfect husband. The divorce was disastrous for him, however. 
Many of his followers became disillusioned or hostile, believing 
that a divorced man could never be the inspired servant of God* 
'Thousands of his disciples left the movement' according to 
Stroup. Russell tried to counter the bad publicity by offering i ,ooo 
dollars to anyone who could prove he had been guilty of immoral 
conduct* 'He made public a "vow" in which he declared his in- 
tention never to enter any room in which one member of the 
opposite sex was alone, excepting a relative of the family* Until 
his death he required all of his followers to sign similar state- 
ments/ 45 Several newpsapers, including the Washington Post and 
the Chicago Mission Friend, libelled Russell in citing the 'jellyfish* 
story. He sued these two and forced them to pay the costs of the 
case and settle out of court. It is said that Russell appealed 
against his divorce five times, each time without success. 46 

There were other attacks on Russell based on his ignorance of 
Latin and Greek. He was fond of quoting and discussing Greek 
and Hebrew words and explaining exactly what they meant. His 
fine judgements were culled from Greek and Hebrew diction- 
aries and polyglot Bibles -Russell was not familiar with the 
original tongues. The Rev. J. J. Ross published a pamphlet en- 
titled Some Facts about the Self-Styled 'Pastor 7 Charles T« Russell in 
which he ridiculed Russell The latter sued for libel and not only 
lost the case but perjured himself during the trial. He was asked 
if he knew the Greek alphabet and he replied 'Yes', but when 
shown a Greek Testament and asked to read the letters at the top 
of a page he failed to do so and was forced to admit that he did 
not know the language, 47 Finally Russell was involved in a con- 
troversy concerning 'Miracle Wheat' - a new strain that appeared 
in the garden of a Virginian farmer in 1904. It bore 142 heads and 
thus yielded more than three times that of normal wheat per acre. 
Russell mentioned this wheat in Ziotfs Watch Tower, March 1908, 
and suggested that it was one of the signs of the Millennium 
restoration. In 191 1 two Bible Students made a gift of thirty 
bushels of Miracle Wheat to be sold in aid of the Watch Tower 
Bible and Tract Society, Russell obtained 1,800 dollars for the 

Millions Now Living Will Neper Die 

sale of the wheat and the Brooklyn New York Daily Eagle printed 
articles and cartoons concerning this sale. One cartoon caption 
was: 'If Pastor Russell can get a dollar a pound for Miracle Wheat 
what could he have got for Miracle stocks and bonds as a director 
in the old Union Bank?* Russell sued for libel and lost his case 
after another sensational trial. 

Despite the divorce and the lawsuits there was a slight overall 
increase in Russell's following from 1900 to 1910. In 1908, for 
instance, the Bible Students numbered about 8»ooo. In 1909 the 
headquarters of the Society was moved from Allegheny to 
Brooklyn, New York, where a former 'Plymouth Bethel' at 
13-16 Hicks Street was converted to office premises and a meeting 
hall. It was renamed 'The Brooklyn Tabernacle*. Living quarters 
for the Tabernacle staff were provided at a large building called 
"Bethel* at 122-124 Columbia Heights. In 1909 Russell formed a 
new company called the People's Pulpit Association and he 
started issuing a series of monthly tracts called People's Pulpit, 
each 'issue appeared with a powerful new salvo released against 
Protestantism, false religion and apostasy'. 48 

Russell was now travelling yearly to Europe and increasing his 
North American tours. From December 1911 to March 1912 he 
went on a world tour, starting in Hawaii. The year 1914 was 
drawing near and a keen air of expectancy prevailed. As part of 
a new venture Russell commissioned the production of an eight- 
hour colour film called The Photo Drama of Creation. It was made 
in four parts of two hours each and was 'the story of the World 
as told from the Bible** It consisted of stereoscopic stills and 
motion pictures with synchronised gramophone records to ex- 
plain the film as it was being shown. Russell intended that this 
mammoth venture be ready in 191 2 but it was not finished until 
1914, when it was shown to audiences in homes, schools and 
halls all over the world, free of charge. 

At last 1914 was nigh. What would happen? Most of Russell's 
followers were still convinced that 19 14 would end the Gentile 
Times , see the glorification of the saints, and so on, Russell, however, 
had grown more and more cautious as the year drew nearer. Hints 
of his doubt appear as early as Volume 3 of Studies in the Scriptures \ 

That the deliverance of the saints must take place very soon after 

1914 is manifest Just how long after 1914 the last living members 

of the body of Christ will be glorified, we are not directly informed. 49 


The Founder - Charles Ta%e Russell 

In 1907 Russell contradicted his early certainty about 1914 by 
playing down the time-prophecy: 

We have never claimed that they [the time calculations] were know- 
ledge, nor based upon indisputable evidence, facts, knowledge, our 
claim has always been that they are based on faith. . . . But let us 
suppose a case far from our expectations: suppose that a.d. 191 5 
should pass with the world's affairs all serene and with evidence 
that the Very elect' had not all been 'changed* and without the 
restoration of natural Israel to favour under the New Covenant. 
What then? Would not that prove our chronology wrong? Yes, 
surely! . . . What a blow that would be! One of the strings of our 
"harp 1 would be quite broken! However, dear friends, our harp 
would still have all the other strings in tune and that is what no 
other aggregation of God's people on earth could boast. 50 

When the year 19 14 arrived Russell capitulated: c If later it 
should be demonstrated that the Church is not glorified by 
October, 1914, we shall try to feel content with whatever the 
Lord's will may be. . . .' It was too late to convince most of his 
followers that 1914 might be a disappointment. They had accepted 
his prophecies when he himself was sure of them and they were 
not going to be deterred now. A. H. Macmillan was with Pastor 
Russell at this time and he relates how Russell remained ominously 
calm amidst the excitement and speculation: 

That was a highly interesting time because a few of us seriously 
thought we were going to heaven during the first week of that 
October. . . . Quite a number of the conventioners stayed at Bethel, 
the home of the headquarters staff members. Friday morning 
(October 2) we were all seated at the breakfast table when Russell 
came down. . . . But this morning, instead of proceeding to his 
seat as usual, he briskly clapped his hands and happily announced: 
'The Gentile Times have ended; the kings have had their day.' We 
all applauded. 51 

But Macmillan gives a false impression of what was happening. 
More than c a few' of the Bible Students thought they were going 
to heaven and for the very good reason that Russell had been 
preaching this for many years - with later reservations it is true. 
Some of the Bible Students left him because nothing happened in 
1 914, and those who remained were confused and uncertain as to 
what was going to happen. All sorts of new and strange ideas 
arose - most of the Bible Students felt that something ought to 


Millions Now Living Will Never Die 

happen, if not in 1914 then soon afterwards. A. H. Macmillan 
blandly passes off this confusion when he says "some partially 
inaccurate public expressions were made'. The Witnesses today 
claim that in some way Russell predicted World War I, but as far 
as Russell was concerned the beginning of a war in far-off Europe 
was little consolation for heavenly glory. Pastor Russell, and his 
successor Rutherford, saw no great significance in World War I 
at the time and it was some years later that Jehovah's Witnesses 
attributed this 'prophecy' to Russell. 

Russell was still convinced, however, that the things that did 
not occur in 1914 were therefore due to happen soon after that 
date* In 191 6 he wrote with a sense of expectancy that soon 'all 
would be fulfilled': 

We could not, of course, know in 1889, whether the date 191 4, so 
clearly marked in the Bible as the end of the Gentile lease of power 
or permission to rule the world, would mean that they were fully 
out of power at that time or whether, their lease expiring, their 
eviction would begin. The latter we perceive to be the Lord's 
program; and promptly in August, 19 14, the Gentile Kingdoms 
referred to in the prophecy began the present great struggle, which, 
according to the Bible, will culminate in the complete overthrow of 
all human government, opening the way for the full establishment 
of the Kingdom of God's dear son ... we anticipate that before a 
very long time - perhaps a year or two or three - the full number of 
the Elect will be completed, and all will have gone beyond the Veil 
and the door will be shut, 52 

Amidst the turmoil, both mental and physical, Russell's health 
deteriorated* His organisation had received a severe shock from 
which It might have recovered had Russell been fit and well. As 
it was much of the work fell to one of Russeirs key men - Joseph 
Franklin Rutherford - since 1 907 the Society's legal representa- 
tive. Rutherford was a qualified lawyer (of whom there were few 
amongst the Bible Students) and had represented Russell on trips 
to Europe. Rutherford became prominent during the war years 
as the man who fought for the legal rights of Bible Students who 
would not take up arms, and for those who were attacked and 
mistreated as "pacifists' by mobs of Americans. In the autumn of 
1916 Pastor Russell was very ill; in the previous year Rutherford 
had had to deputise for him at an important debate with J. H. 
Troy. On 16th October 1916 Pastor Russell set out on one of his 


The Founder- Charles Ta%e Russell 

long speaking touts with his personal secretary, Menta Sturgeon. 
They travelled via Canada to Detroit and then on to Chicago in 
RusselPs personal Pullman car. On the evening of 24th October 
at San Antonio, Texas, he delivered his last public talk. At their 
next stop Russell was too weak to speak for any length of time 
and on 29th October he decided to cancel the rest of the tour and 
return to New York. He died en route from Los Angeles at 
Pampa, Texas, on Tuesday, 31st October. 

Menta Sturgeon, his companion^ described the last hours: 

I called In the Pullman porter and the conductor and said, 'We want 
you to see how a great man can die/ The sight deeply impressed 
them, especially the porter. , . . At one o'clock all were dismissed 
from the room, the door was locked, and we quietly watched over 
him until he breathed his last, , . . His quiet breathing became less 
frequent, his drooping eyelids opened like the petals of a flower and 
disclosed those eyes - those wonderful eyes > in all their magnificence 
- that we will never forget. Presently he breathed no more; we 
pressed our lips upon his noble brow, and knew that he had gone 
to be forever with and like the Lord, whom he loved so well, 53 

The cause of RusselPs death was cystitis. A. H. Macmillan 
describes the reaction of the New York Bethel to the news: 

At seven o'clock the next morning (November 1) I entered Bethel 
dining room with a telegram just delivered. Members of the family 
were all seated in their customary manner and did not know anything 
about Russell's serious illness or death. I read them the telegram and 
a moan went up all over that dining room. Some wept audibly. 
None ate breakfast that morning. All were greatly upset. At the 
end of the meal period they met in little groups to talk and whisper, 
'What is going to happen now?' 54 

What indeed was going to happen? 

3 1 

2. The Second President - 
Judge Rutherford 



acmillan's statement that those in the Bethel 
headquarters met in little groups to talk and whisper 
. is perhaps more revealing than he intended. There 
were numerous rival factions within the organisation. During 
Russeirs lifetime he had been able to hold them together, but 
once he was dead there was a fierce struggle for power. A full 
account of what happened during the three years after the death 
of Russell would fill more than one book - at least three have 
been written solely about this period. 1 My intention, therefore, is 
to discuss only the important changes that occurred and only 
when they directly concern Jehovah's Witnesses (as opposed to 
the many other movements that formed after Russell's death), I 
have consulted as many different sources as possible in order to 
get a clearer view of what happened in this confused time - it soon 
becomes apparent that the 'official' Witness accounts are strongly 
biased and omit much useful information. Their desire seems to 
be to draw a veil over what actually happened and to replace the 
facts with a few generalisations that favour themselves. The real 
story of what happened is very interesting, however. 

Russell had been the unchallenged spiritual leader up to 1916 
and he had appointed other Bible Students to positions of re- 
sponsibility under him. After his death the Society affairs were 
handled by the board of directors of the Watch Tower Bible and 
Tract Society, while The Watch Tomr was run by a three-man 
editorial committee consisting of J. F. Rutherford, R. H. Hirsch 
and W. E. Van Amburgh. The seven directors were: A. L Ritchie 
(vice-president), W* E. Van Amburgh, J, F* Rutherford, A. N. 
Pierson, J. D. Wright, I. R Hoskins, H. C Rockwell (later re- 
placed by R. H« Hirsch), Also prominent in the movement were 
A. H, Macmillan (who had been associated with Russell for 


The Second President - Judge Rutherford 

several years and had sometimes been placed in charge in Russell's 
absence), Menta Sturgeon (Russell's private secretary) and 
P. S. L. Johnson. The last named was a former Lutheran Pastor, 
a Greek and Hebrew scholar, who had joined the Bible Students 
in 1903* Johnson believed he was a figure of prophetic signifi- 

Rutherford and Johnson were away from the Bethel when 
news came of Russell's death. They both hurried back to join in 
the controversy about who would take Russell's place. Johnson 
claims he was asked to become President but refused at that time. 
Several of the prominent Bethel members were, however, hoping 
for this prize. A. H> Macmillan says: 

As the day for election of the Society's officers approached tension 

began to mount. A few ambitious ones at headquarters were holding 
caucuses here and there doing, a little electioneering to get their men 
in. However, Van Amburgh and I held a large number of votes. 
Many shareholders, knowing of our long association with Russell, 
sent their proxies to us to be cast for the one whom we thought best 
fitted for office. , . * We were still faced with the question, Who 
would be put up for office? Van Amburgh came to me one day and 
said, 'Brother, who do you think we should put up for president?* 
I answered, 'There is only one man who is competent and qualified 
to take charge of this work now, and that is Brother Rutherford.' 
He took me by the hand and said, Tm with you/ That was all that 
was said about it. 

Rutherford did not know what was going on. He certainly didn't 
do any electioneering or canvassing for votes 2 * , . 

Macmillan manages to skirt by the truth and miss out several 
important facts. While there is little doubt that Rutherford was 
legally elected, he did know all about his chances before the 
election, and with Macmillan and Van Amburgh he contrived to 
prearrange motions that would enhance his power as president 
when elected; Johnson has this to say about the situation: 

After my return from Europe I learned that J.F.R. [Rutherford], 
W. E. Van Amburgh and A. H. Macmillan conspired to gain for 
the first Bro. Russell's full power and authority in the work and 
business of the Society. They began this conspiracy before the 
election. They pre-arranged every detail of the voting shareholders' 
meeting Jan. 6. At Brooklyn J.F.R. prepared and W. E. Van Am- 
burgh approved the resolutions that, among other things, were to 


Millions Now Uving Will Never Die 

secure for the President executive and managerial authority. These 
W. E, Van Amburgh gave I. L. Margeson (this I state on the 
latter's authority), the chairman of the Resolutions Committee, for 
which they also arranged. A week before the election J.F.R. 
furnished a brother with an account of the proceedings of the voting 
shareholders* meeting for publication in the press of the country, 
telling of his election by the Secretary casting the ballot of the con- 
vention and of the unanimity of his election, and giving some of his 
speech of acceptance. The Editor of the New York Herald commented 
on the prophetic gifts of 'those Bethel people* in being able to 
fortell just what would happen at the election! In this account 
J.F.R. failed to state that by his prearrangement the nominations 
were so closed, that there could be no other Presidential candidates 
for whom thousands of voting shares were instructed, and that he 
prepared the resolution recommending that he be made Executive 
and Manager, . . . Certainly the remark that he made to me in July, 
when he explained how he arranged for the election of R. H* Hirsch 
to the Board applies to the proceedings of the Jan. 6 meetings. 
'Of course, Bro. Johnson, you know all things of that character 
are arranged beforehand, just like matters connected with a poli- 
tical convention!' 3 

It is doubtful whether Pastor Russell himself would have 
endorsed the support of Macmillan and Van Amburgh for 
Rutherford. In the event of his death, Russell had nominated five 
people who were to form an editorial committee, naming also six 
reserves - Rutherford was one of the reserves. 4 On 15 th January 
191 7* however, at the Pittsburgh convention, Joseph Franklin 
Rutherford was elected President of the Watch Tower Bible and 
Tract Society of Pennsylvania. A. N> Pierson was Vice-President 
and Van Amburgh Secretary/Treasurer (A. I. Ritchie, the Vice- 
President under Russell was therefore not re-elected to office), 
Rutherford was forty-seven years old when elected to office. He 
was born on 8th November 1869, on a farm in Booneville, 
Missouri. He was one of five children and his parents were 
Baptists and strict disciplinarians. Rutherford decided, at sixteen, 
to become a lawyer but his father was opposed to the idea and 
insisted that he pay for a man to take his place on the farm w T hile 
he attend college* Rutherford was fortunate to obtain a loan to 
do this, which he repaid when he qualified as a lawyer. At twenty- 
two he was admitted to the Bar and he later served as a Special 
Judge in the Fourteenth Judicial District of Missouri. 5 In 1894 


The Second President - Judge Rutherford 

Rutherford bought some of Russell's books from two lady Bible 
Students; he became interested in the Pastor's ideas and twelve 
years later he was baptised into the faith, 

Jehovah's Witnesses today wish to give the impression that 
Rutherford was more sinned against than sinning. It is impos- 
sible, however, to escape the conclusion that he was directly 
responsible for many of the later troubles. He was a dogmatic 
and insensitive person, obsessed with his own importance. Had he 
the desire to serve rather than command the Bible Students there 
would have been a good prospect for the future, despite the 
doctrinal and administrative difficulties. From the very begin- 
ning, however, Rutherford was dissatisfied with the Board of 
Directors and wished to be in absolute control. Unfortunately 
for him the legal authority of the Society resided in the Board of 
seven directors but Rutherford set about scheming and con- 
niving to alter the laws and accumulate more power. 6 At first the 
other directors were unaware of his ambitions but the matter 
came to a head over the "rebellion* of P. S. L. Johnson, 

Before his death, Russell had instructed A. H* Macmillan to 
send Johnson to Britain. Despite what Macmillan says in his book 
Faith on the March the purpose of Johnson's visit was not just 'to 
preach to the troops' but to check on the Society's branches in 
Europe. In order to clear Johnson through war-time immigra- 
tion authorities Rutherford granted him plenipotentiary powers 
on behalf of the Society. On arrival in Britain Johnson discovered 
that some of the Bible Students there were plotting to break away 
from American control and set up the International Bible Students 
Association (founded by Russell in 1914, to handle foreign 
branch affairs) as an independent corporation in Britain. Johnson 
dismissed two of the London managers, H. J. Shearn and William 
Crawford, and used his plenipotentiary powers to reorganise the 
British branch, Rutherford had already erred in giving Johnson 
more power than was intended, he now made another mistake; 
alarmed by the changes Johnson was making he cabled him to 
stop and suspended him from further action. Johnson obeyed at 
first but then came to the conclusion that only the Board of 
Directors (and not Rutherford alone) could suspend him. He 
therefore resumed control of the British affairs - to the consterna- 
tion of Rutherford. The situation now got out of hand. Johnson 
tied up the Society's bank account in London but was harassed 


Millions Now laving Will Never Die 

by British Bible Students loyal to Rutherford* At one stage 
Johnson was barricaded in his room but managed to escape out 
of the window! Rutherford sent numerous cables trying to recall 
Johnson, who he thought was insane and trying to lead a re- 
bellion in Britain. Eventually Johnson returned to the U.S.A. 
where a Bible Student board of enquiry decided that he had been 
justified in his actions. Rutherford brusquely ignored these 
findings and continued a hate campaign against Johnson. Under 
these circumstances the latter obtained the sympathy of four 
Directors: Wright, Hoskins, Hirsch and Ritchie, and all five began 
to oppose Rutherford in his attempts to dominate the Society. 7 

Both sides were evidently at fault in this affair. Johnson later 
admitted that he had grandiose illusions about his position in the 
Society. He had believed that he was Russell's spiritual successor 
and was the 'steward* of Matthew 20 : 1 -16. Rutherford, of course, 
made two mistakes but refused to admit them and threw all the 
blame on Johnson. (The Witnesses today still accept only Ruther- 
ford's side of the story, which is far from the truth.) The British 
disaster over, a new bone of contention arose at the New York 
Bethel. Rutherford and the four directors were opposed as to 
who should run the Watch Tower Society. Both sides tried to 
remove the other from Bethel and then gain control, but these 
attempts failed. Rutherford realised that the only way to win was 
to dispose of the four directors legally, and he obtained the 
written opinion of a Philadelphia corporation lawyer that the four 
were not in fact legal members of the Board! Russell had elected 
them life members but a later law had been passed (which Johnson 
claimed was not retroactive) requiring an annual re-election. The 
four directors had not been annually re-elected - therefore, said 
Rutherford, their directorships had lapsed. Rutherford claimed 
that he, Van Amburgh and Pierson were the only legal members 
of the Board because they had been elected to an office in January 
1917. There are all sorts of objections to this opinion; as Johnson 
remarked, if Rutherford, Van Amburgh and Pierson were not 
'legally' directors before the election how could they be elected 
as officers? Only directors could be elected to office. 

A tremendous controversy followed on from Rutherford's 
bombshell announcement, but before the four directors had time 
to prepare any defence he had physically forced them out of the 
Bethel and appointed in their place: A. H. Macmillan, W. E. Spill, 


The Second President - Judge Rutherford 

J. A. Bohnct and G* H, Fisher (all yes-men as far as Rutherford 
was concerned). Rutherford cruelly disposed of Johnson (des- 
cribed by the latter): 

he [Rutherford] ordered me to leave Bethel that day, and the four 
Board members to leave the following Monday. I was denied a 
respectful and repeated request for the privilege to make a state- 
ment to the family > . ♦ , Bro. Hirsch asked to read a letter that Bro. 
Pierson wrote, to the effect that he disapproved of J.R.F/s ousting 
the four brothers from the Board, and that he would firmly stand 
for and by the old Board. J.F.R. fairly shouted that he was induced 
by Bro. Johnson's 'falsehoods' to write that letter. . , . Still more 
wrathful, he ordered me to leave Bethel on pain of legal proceedings. 
I replied that I had appealed to the Board from that decision; and 
that since I recognised the Board as in control* and, in the case of 
an appeal, as having the right to decide the question, I awaited its 
decision; that if it ordered me to leave, I would do so at once. At 
this he completely lost self-control. To enforce his order he rushed 
at me crying out 'You leave this house.' Grabbing me by the arm, 
he almost jerked me off my feet 8 . . . . 

Both A. H. Macmillan and R. J. Martin were involved in this 
unpleasant scene, and the former in particular comes out very 
badly from the whole business, Johnson was forced to leave the 
Bethel that evening. 

Rutherford now began a two-fold aggression campaign. He 
staged a purge in Bethel of all those who were not wholeheartedly 
on his side (twenty-five left). He required everyone who stayed 
to sign an oath of allegiance. Secondly Rutherford used The Watch 
Tower as a propaganda medium to attack the four ousted direc- 
tors and discredit them in the eyes of the Bible Students. Ruther- 
ford knew that a split in the movement was inevitable and he 
used every means to win over the majority of the Bible Students, 
and particularly those who had voting shares in the Society, This 
was necessary to ensure his re-election at the shareholders* 
meeting in January 191 8. As far as Rutherford was concerned 
there was little choice in his actions now. It had become a battle 
for survival and as long as he controlled the legal organisation 
he could win through in the end. In 191 8 the Vice-President, 
Pierson, wrote: 

When a rearrangement of the Board of Directors was announced 
on July 1 7th I deeply regretted that such a proceeding was deemed 

» 37 

Millions Now Lwittg Will Never Die 

necessary. ... In the early part of August, the final endeavor to 
establish peace proved of no avaiL 9 

Pierson had wanted a reconciliation but the rift was too wide for 
that. Rutherford had gained control, but could he maintain it? 

His four opponents made a last important effort to unseat him 
at the 191 8 shareholders' meeting but Rutherford had astutely 
outmanoeuvred them before the meeting was even convened! 
They had claimed that he had the most powerful shareholders 
behind him, but not the brothers in general, and that the office of 
President should be decided by a democratic vote amongst all the 
Bible Students* Rutherford put this claim to the test by calling 
for such a vote and in December 191 7 more than 800 congrega- 
tions in the United States supplied the following figures: 10 






J. R Rutherford 





W. E< Van Amburgh 





G. H. Fisher 





J. A. Bohnet 





A* PL Macmillan 





W. E. Spill 




A. N. Pierson 





C J. Woodworth 





M. Sturgeon 





A. I* Ritchie 





R. H. Hirsch 





I. F. Hoskins 


. — 



J. D. Wright 





H. C. Rockwell 





R. J. Martin 





W. F. Hudgings 





A* E. Burgess 





P. S. L. Johnson 





E. W. Bienneisen 





89 more with less 

than 100 votes 










According to the vote the first seven were those chosen by 
Rutherford. His opposers were ioth, nth, 12th and 13th with 
Johnson even lower. This was in no way a legally binding vote 
but it was a good omen for the shareholders* meeting. On 


The Second President - Judge Rutherford 

jth January at the Pittsburgh convention Rutherford was safely 
returned to office. The voting for directors was as follows: 11 

*J, F. Rutherford 


M. Sturgeon 


*A. H. Macmillan 


R. H. Hirsch 


*W. E. Van Amburgh 


I. F. Hoskins 


*W. E, SpiU 


A. I. Ritchie 


*J. A. Bohnet 


J. D. Wright 


*C. H. Anderson 


H. C. Rockwell 


*G. H. Fisher 


P, S. L. Johnson 


A. N. Pierson 

57>7 2T 

W. J. Hollister 


The first seven were directors; surprisingly, Pierson failed to 
make the Board, although this may have been due to Rutherford's 
trying to squeeze him out. After the election of the seven direc- 
tors Rutherford was unanimously re-elected President, C. H. 
Anderson was Vice-President and W. E. Van Amburgh was 
Secretary/Treasurer, Rutherford admitted at the convention that 
he 'was aware he had made many mistakes* but there is a rather 
ironic note in The Watch Tower , 15th January 191 8: 

Just preceding the love feast a motion was made and duly seconded 
requesting Bro. R. H. Hirsch to resign as a member of the Editorial 
Committee of the Watch Tower. This motion was unanimously 
carried by the convention. [My italics*] 

Rutherford was now legally secure, but he had to sit out the 
aftermath. A considerable number of Bible Students left him and 
formed their own organisations: The Standfast Movement, Paul 
Johnson Movement (later called the Layman's Home Missionary 
Movement), Elijah Voice Movement, Eagle Society, Pastoral 
Bible Institute of Brooklyn, Dawn Bible Students Association, 

Thus modern-day Jehovah's Witnesses are not necessarily the 
direct successors of Pastor Russell. It is true that they have 
control of the legal corporations he founded - but the pattern of 
Russell's control has been completely altered by Rutherford, 
Several other groups claim to be Russell's true followers - 
possibly the one with the strongest claim is the Dawn Bible 
Students Association. For better or worse they still stick to 
Russell's doctrines and they still print and advertise his Studies in 
the Scriptures (two things the Witnesses do not do). The Dawn 


Millions Now Living Will Never Die 

Bible Students hold conventions, call each other 'brother 7 and 
'sister', and their ecclesias are independently governed by elected 
'elders* - as at the time of Russell. Their central publishing body 
exists as a servant to the ecclesias, unlike the strong central control 
that Rutherford inaugurated. 12 

Throughout 191 8 and for many years afterwards Rutherford 
was plagued by these rival groups, The Watch Towers of the time 
must have been very confusing to outsiders - many articles were 
written expressly to combat internal dissensions and warn the 
ecclesias of the 'bad sheep*. For example: 

We take this occasion to call attention to the brethren everywhere 
to the fact that P. S. L. Johnson and R, G* Jolly do not represent 
the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society in any manner whatsoever, 
and are wholly unauthorised to represent it or the International 
Bible Students Association or the People's Pulpit Association. 13 

and in the rst May 191 8 edition J. A, Bohnet wrote: 'Instances 
are brought to my attention where members of the opposing 
faction are endeavouring to confuse and mislead the Lord's 
saints into believing that there is a split in many of the classes/ 

It was at this time that Rutherford had published the seventh 
volume of Studies in the Scriptures, calling it The Finished Mystery. 
The book was written by two Bible Students, C J. Woodworth 
and G, H« Fisher, who had incorporated some of the material left 
behind by Russell. Rutherford tried to reassure the Bible Students 
that although Russell had not actually written Volume 7 - it was 
nevertheless all about him! 'Brother Russell himself is the key, 
and his modesty and humility prevented him from seeing it. He 
is the prominent figure foreshadowed both in Revelation and 
Ezekiel/ 1 * 

The seventh volume caused a sensation in and out of the 
Society. The four directors opposed to Rutherford refused to 
accept it, while the civil authorities suspected that it contained 
seditious statements. The book was an immediate best-seller, was 
being translated into half a dosen languages and was serialised in 
The Watch Tower. Rutherford still thought that the earthly king- 
doms were due to be stopped by God. The war in Europe con- 
firmed his opinion that soon theocratic rule would be established 
on earth and the saints would be glorified. In October 1917 he 
wrote: 'If this be true, and the evidence is very conclusive that 


The Second President - Judge Rutherford 

it is true, then we have only a few months in which to labour 
before the great night settles down when no man can work/ and 
in January 191 8: 'The Christian looks for the year to bring the 
full consummation of the church's hopes.' 15 

Believing that the end was nigh, Rutherford set out on a vast 
advertising campaign which featured *a work of exposing to all 
the world the unrighteousness of the ecclesiastical systems, their 
acts and their unholy alliances with the beastly governments of 
the present evil order of things'. 18 Not surprisingly the 'beastly' 
governments did not take kindly to this, nor to the fact that 
Rutherford had refused to advise Bible Students to be con- 
scripted if they conscientiously objected to war. 17 There was 
enough evidence available to indicate that the religious and civil 
authorities 'had it in for Judge Rutherford'* On 12th February 
191 8 The Finished Mystery and other publications were banned in 
Canada. The Winnipeg Tribune said: 'Excerpts from one of the 
recent issues of the Bible Students Monthly were denounced from 
the pulpit a few weeks by Rev. Charles G. Patterson. . . . After- 
ward Attorney General Johnson sent to Rev. Patterson for a 
copy of the publication. The censor's order is believed to be the 
direct result/ 

In February 191 8 the government twice interfered with the 
Bible Students in America, first investigating the Society's 
offices at Brooklyn and then taking over the Los Angeles head- 
quarters and confiscating literature. A. H. Macmillan thinks it 
significant that between these dates Rutherford made one of his 
many public attacks on the clergy. He spoke in Los Angeles on 
24th February on the subject: 'The World Has Ended - Millions 
Now Living Will Never Die'. Rutherford pointed out that the 
*old world* had ended and God would soon intervene on the 
earth; he also claimed: 'As a class, according to the Scriptures, the 
clergymen are the most reprehensible men on earth for the great 
war that is now afflicting mankind/ 18 The fat was now in the fire. 
On 7th May 191 8, warrants were obtained for the arrest of Watch 
Tower Bible and Tract Society officials including J. F. Ruther- 
ford, Van Amburgh, R H. Robison, R. J. Martin, C. J. Wood- 
worth, G. H. Fisher, Giovanni De Cecca and A. H. Macmillan. 
They were arrested on 8th May and bail granted at 2,500 dollars 
surety each. Rutherford accused P. S. L. Johnson and the four 
ex-directors of 'betraying' them to the authorities and, according 


Millions Now Living Will Never Die 

to Johnson, Rutherford tried to get R. H. Hirsch incarcerated 
with them. 

At this time the United States was at war and unpopular 
minorities at home were amongst the first to suffer from war 
hysteria. The trial of Rutherford and his 'henchmen' began on 
3rd June; they were charged with: * 

The offence of unlawfully, feloniously and wilfully causing and 
attempting to cause insubordination, disloyalty and refusal of duty \l 

in the military and naval forces of the United States of America, in, i| 

through and by personal solicitations* letters, public speeches, if 

distribution and public circulation throughout the United States 
of America of a certain book called * Volume Seven - SCRIPTURE 
STUDIES - The Finished Mystery', and distributing and public- 
ally circulating throughout the United States certain articles 
presented in pamphlets called 'BIBLE STUDENTS MONTHLY*, 
'THE WATCH TOWER/ 'KINGDOM NEWS' and other pam- K 

phlets not named, et cetera: 1 

The Offence of unlawfully, feloniously and wilfully obstructing the | 

recruiting and enlistment service of the United States when the " 

United States was at war- 
Unknown to the defendants, the Judge who tried the case was 
strongly against 'religious pacifism' and his conduct during the f r 

trial revealed this. The case lasted fifteen days and, say the Wit- 
nesses^ contained at least 125 errors of procedure by the Judge or 
prosecution. On 22nd July they were all sentenced to eighty years 
imprisonment except De Cecca, who got forty years- Judge Howe 
said, in passing sentence: 

The religious propaganda in which these people are engaged is 
more harmful than a division of German soldiers [1,200 men]. They 
have not only called in question the law officers of the government 
and the army intelligence bureau but have denounced all the 
ministers of all the churches. The punishment should be severe. 19 

Far from being dismayed by this sentence, Rutherford said: 'This 
is the happiest day of my life. ... To serve earthly punishment 
for the sake of one's religious belief is one of the greatest privileges 
a man could have/ His attitude is hardly surprising when we 
know that he and his followers expected the Kingdom of God to 
be set up on earth at any moment. In Ziotfs Watch Tower \ 1st July 
1918, we read: 


The Second President -Judge Rutherford 

Bro. Russell stated that the work of the harvest would end in the 
summer of 191 8, that the door would close and the dark night would 
settle down. , . t Take courage, beloved in the Lord, the kingdom 
is here; and soon by his grace we shall be forever with him and with 
each other. . . ♦ We all hope in a little while to be in the presence of 
our king. 

After sentence the defendants were kept for a week in Brook- 
lyn's Raymond Street Jail. 'It was the dirtiest hole I ever got 
into/ said Macmillan. Finally they were transferred to Atlanta 
Federal Penitentiary. Before going there Rutherford made 
arrangements for The Watch Tower to be printed and he advised 
that the Bethel and Brooklyn Tabernacle be sold if pressure was 
brought to bear by the government (only the latter was sold). 
The Bible Students found in the prison yet another place to 
preach - many of their fellow inmates and the guards heard about 
their beliefs and hopes. Early in 1919 the elections for officers of 
the Watch Tower Society were due and Rutherford, in prison, 
was worried that the opposition group might gain control in his 
absence. A. H. Macmillan describes an interesting conversation 
that occurred at this time between himself and Rutherford: 

Rutherford said, 'Mac, I want to talk to you/ 
'What do you want to talk to me about?' 

'I want to talk to you about what's going on at Pittsburgh. . . . Aren't 
you interested in what's going on? Don't you know it's the elec- 
tion of officers today? You might be ignored and dropped and we'll 
stay here forever/ 

"Brother Rutherford/ I said, 'let me tell you something perhaps 
you haven't thought of. This is the first time since the Society was 
incorporated that it can become clearly evident whom Jehovah God 
would like to have as president/ * . * 

Next morning he rapped on the cell walls and said, 'Poke your hand 
out/ He handed me a telegram saying that he had been elected 
president and C. A. Wise vice-president. He was very happy to 
see this display of assurance that Jehovah was running the Society. 20 

This was, of course, a peculiar (and egotistical!) inference to 
draw from a perfectly straightforward election result. Later that 
day Rutherford made a more revealing comment to Macmillan: 

We got down to the corner and he said, C I want to tell you something. 
You made a remark yesterday that is working in my mind; about us 
being put in Brother Russell's place. It might have influenced the 


Millions Now Uving Will Never Die 

election and then the Lord would not have had a chance to demon- 
strate whom he wanted in. Why, brother, if I ever get out of here. 
by God's grace Til crush all this business of creature worship if 
I have to get kicked out for doing it.' 21 i 

Rutherford was certainly to stamp his own personality on the 
organisation in a way that was contrary to Pastor Russell's wishes 
and;, many thought, also to Christian love. His attitude to the 
'brothers' sometimes approached terrorism and to his avowed i 

enemies, the clergy, he showed pure unadulterated hatred. | 

Russell had also attacked the clergy, but 'always principles - never j 

personalities*, he had recognised that many clergymen were ; 

sincere people. Rutherford had no such tolerant feelings for he f 

had had a hard apprenticeship, and had seen corruption within | 

the Society and outside it* The difference between him and f 

Russell was that while the latter fought evil without tainting him- t 

self, Rutherford waded in and tried to show his enemies he could 
beat them at their own game. In addition to this, however, 
Rutherford's character and way of life were far from saintly. 22 

Once the war was over and feelings hadMied down it became 
obvious that the charges and sentence of Rutherford and the 
others were exaggerated* They were released on bail in March 
1919, after an appeals court had decided they had been wrongly 
convicted. In May 1920 the government admitted that all charges 
against them had been dropped. 23 During the imprisonment of 
the Society leaders the situation amongst the brethren outside 
had deteriorated. Many left in disgust or disappointment and | 

many more became inactive through fear of the civil authorities. 
The Witnesses were later to refer to this situation as a 'death-like 
condition of the faithful'* Rutherford's following had fallen to 
about 4,000, a lot of the Society's equipment had been lost and 
all that remained was in store on the top floor of a building in 

This was the situation facing Rutherford on his release. He still 
felt that they might be taken to heaven at any moment, but until 
then they had to do something with their time. A, H. Macmillan 

In the meantime Rutherford, in California, decided to try a test to 
see if the work could be revived, or if it might be indicated that 
our work was already done. Some of us were still ready to go to 
heaven right away. We thought our characters 'should be developed 


The Second President - Judge Rutherford 

just about right after we had, in a way, spent 'eighty years' in the 
perutentary. We thought we would surely be ready then, if we had 
not been in 191 4, 

However, Rutherford was anxious about the work. He was just in 
his prime, and he could not figure out why the Lord would make 
such extensive preparations in starting a great work of this kind 
and then letting it stop without accomplishing any more than had 
been done up to this time. If matters had come to a climax after 
World War 1, and Armageddon had really been due to begin then, 
we would have been satisfied. We would have said, This is the end. 
But the war was over. The nations had patched up an armistice and 
it looked as if they were going to have peace. Now what were we 
going to do about it? 24 

As something of a test, Rutherford advertised that on Sunday, 
4th May 1919 he would deliver a talk in Los Angeles. About 
3,500 people came to hear him and Rutherford interpreted this as 
a good omen. The next day, however, he fell ill and contracted 
pneumonia. Although the illness was short it nearly cost him his 
life and permanently weakened his constitution. In the summer of 
1 919 Rutherford held a seven-day convention at Cedar Point, 
Ohio, where more than 7,000 people attended the concluding 
public talk. This was the first post-war convention and became a 
landmark in the modern history of Jehovah's Witnesses, At this 
convention Rutherford announced the release of a companion 
magazine to The Watch Tower. It was called The Golden Age and 
was to serve as a forerunner of the imminent 'Golden Age' upon 
the earth. In 1937 the name of this magazine was changed to 
Consolation and in 1946 to Awake!, its present title. Although the 
number of loyal Bible Students dropped alarmingly during 1918 
there was a revival the following year* Figures given in the Watch 
Towers for the Memorial attendance in 191 7 and 19 19 respectively 
were 21,274 and 17,961. 


The period from 1919 to 1932 can be viewed on three levels. 
First, there are the actual events and incidents marking the 
gradual expansion of the Watch Tower Society, secondly the 
doctrinal changes that occurred and thirdly the important ad- 
ministrative battle that was fought - the structure of the move- 


Millions Now Living Will Neper Die 

ment was changed from independent ecclesias to Society-ruled 
congregations. These three aspects are discussed below. 

Doctrinal Changes 

According to Jehovah's Witnesses today Rutherford had a clearer 
light on the Scriptures than Russell and as time went by he 
evolved better interpretations and more exact doctrines than 
Russell had achieved. The Witnesses do not like to admit that 
Rutherford directly contradicted Russell on many points (as in 
fact he did) but they believe the light of truth was getting pro- 
gressively stronger and therefore Rutherford was 'making 
changes for the better*. An examination of the changes that 
Rutherford did make, however, suggest that if anything his view 
was less consistent than Russell's. Russell was an ardent student 
of the Bible and however bizarre his theories, they were inevitably 
'supported' by a host of Bible citations. Rutherford's knowledge 
of the Bible was nowhere near so deep and it soon becomes 
obvious that his own interpretations are little more than personal 
whims with very little Biblical support* As P. S. L. Johnson 
points out, Rutherford's Biblical education was sadly lacking. 25 
Inevitably Rutherford lost followers with each major doctrinal 
change. I list below the important changes that occurred during 
his presidency: 

(a) Russell encouraged the keeping of the Sabbath, which was 
not enforced under Rutherford and the idea was eventually 
discredited. 26 

(b) Gathering of the Jews: this formed a basic part of Russell's 
system. He thought the restoration of the Jews to Palestine would 
be one of the signs of the Millennium and he devoted chapters of 
his books to proving the re-gathering was due* When world 
affairs did not fit this prophecy Rutherford abandoned it in 1932. 27 

(c) Russell fell prey to the 'Great Pyramid* excitement follow- 
ing the discovery of a huge and remarkable pyramid at Gketu 
The reader is referred to Studies in the Scriptures \ Vol. 3, chapter 10, 
where Russell spends sixty-eight pages proving that the Pyramid 
was put there by God to corroborate the Bible. The exact lengths 
of the Pyramid's internal passages were supposed to signify the 
prophetic years 1874, 1S81 and 1910, The whole elaborate theory 
was dropped by Rutherford who condemned attempts to look for 
the truth outside the Bible. In 1929 he openly attacked and re- 


The Second President - Judge Rutherford 

pudiated Russell's Pyramid theory with the result that some 
adherents left the movement. 38 

(d) Possibly the most important doctrinal change was that 
concerning prophetic dates* At first, as we have seen, Rutherford 
held to RusselFs eschatology. Towards the end of his life, how- 
ever, Rutherford began to think 1914 was a more important date 
than 1S74. Also Rutherford feed on the date 1925 to see 'the 
completion of all things', but when this year passed he refused to 
be specific and regarded the end as due at any time - known only 
to God. 

With regard to 1925 there is the usual confusion as to who 
believed what about this year. Schnell points out that the Watch 
Tower Society was inconsistent in preaching that 1925 would see 
the setting up of the Kingdom of God on earth and at the same 
time making plans to expand the printing works (in Germany) 
after 1925. 28 In the Witnesses' own history they admit: 'The view 
had been somewhat general among the anointed that the remain- 
ing members of the body of Christ would be changed to heavenly 
glory that year.* 30 Certainly the anointed got that belief from the 
Watch Towers and Judge Rutherford. 31 

(e) Rutherford conceived the modern Witness view of the 
Battle of Armageddon: 

... it was not till the Watch Tower magazine's issue of July 15, 1925, 
that Jehovah's modern Christian witnesses got better understanding, 
that this final war would be, not a mere anarchistic human struggle 
for domination here on earth, but a universal war. 52 

Russell had not believed that there would be a wholesale slaughter 
of all but the faithful, he was a more tolerant man and he held 
out hope for everyone. Unlike Russell, Rutherford thought there 
would be only one class of heavenly glory and that many of the 
'faithful' on earth would have to be content with eternal life there 
after God had destroyed the wicked and the ignorant at the Battle 
of Armageddon. This change in interpretation arose in the fol- 
lowing way: when Rutherford's following became appreciable it 
was felt that many of these newly recruited Bible Students were 
too ignorant of the Bible and spiritual matters to expect to be 
glorified as saints in heaven. What then would happen to these 
people - variously designated as 'the great multitude', 'the other 
sheep' and 'the Jonadabs*? Rutherford solved the problem by 


Millions Now hiving Will Never Die 

suggesting that their reward must be eternal life on earth - this 
would not be a reward if (as Russell had said) this was the fate of 
most of mankind, so Rutherford was led to the conclusion that 
those outside his organisation would be destroyed at the Battle of 
Armageddon, Until Rutherford arrived at this explanation in the 
nineteen-thirties there was some confusion in the movement as 
to the status and fate of 'the great multitude' and the 'Jonadabs*. 33 

(f) Rutherford expanded Russell's ideas concerning the 
'ancient worthies*. These were the faithful men of the Old 
Testament who had died before Jesus* time: Abel, Abraham, 
Isaac, etc, Russell believed that these men were the 'princes in all 
the earth' (Psalm 45 : 16) and that they would be resurrected to 
earth as one of the early signs of the Millennium. 34 Rutherford 
accepted this belief so literally that he provided a mansion in 
California called Beth Sarim where the ancient worthies could 
live when they returned* 35 In the meantime, Rutherford explained, 
he would live in the house as its 'caretaker*! Outsiders naturally 
laughed at this and thought that Rutherford was either mad or a 
trickster - some of the Witnesses themselves were doubtful about 

Beth Sarim displeases many Witnesses who consider it an extravagant 
waste of money which should have gone into more productive 
work and who are not yet convinced by a debatable biblical inter- 
pretation that the expense is justified. Some have told me that they 
wondered why Mr. Rutherford had not simply built himself a 
West-coast headquarters 'and let it go at that'. 36 

While they still believed this theory the Witnesses tried to bluster 
the matter out: 'The most recent facts show that the religion- 
ists of this doomed world are gnashing their teeth because of the 
testimony which that "House of the Princes" beats to the new 
world/ 37 It is doubtful whether the Witnesses had any evidence for 
this statement and it proved to be rather hollow as the mansion 
was disposed of in 1948 and the doctrine of the return of the 
ancient worthies was quietly dropped in 1950. When the mansion 
was sold the local paper, the San Diego Union, tartly remarked that 
'Daniel and the rest when they arrive will have to arrange their 
own domicile'. 

(g) After the splitting of the Bible Students in 1916-1917, 
Rutherford deduced that a series of prophecies in the Bible fore- 


The Second President - Judge Rutherford 

told this break-up. In fact, he plotted out the whole history of the 
movement in Bible prophecies. In particular it was important to 
show from the Scriptures that he and his followers, and not 'the 
other lot*, had the truth. For example, Rutherford applied the 
parable of the good and bad servants {Matthew 24) to the events 
after 1916. Naturally the 'good servant* pictured the Watch Tower 
Society while the 'evil servant' pictured the dissenters. Up to . 
1927 all the Bible Students accepted that the 'good servant* of 
Matthew 24 referred to Pastor Russell. Thus Rutherford took a 
bold step in re-interpreting the parable to rub out Russell. Many 
Bible Students resented and protested about this change and it 
was several years before it was fully accepted* 

Rutherford also abandoned Russell's chronology by claiming' 
that Jesus had set up his heavenly kingdom invisibly in 191 4. The 
World War then brought his Witnesses on earth to a deathlike 
condition, but three and a half years after 1914 Jesus symbolically 
'returned to cleanse the Temple' and stopped the World War in 
191 8 to prevent his Witnesses being wiped out! (Compare 
Russell's ideas about 1874 and 1878.) Just as Jesus' first earthly 
ministry had lasted three and a half years before Jesus came to the 
literal temple at Jerusalem to cleanse it, so his heavenly second 
presence started in 1914, three and a half years before the anti- 
typical 'cleansing of the Temple' occurred in 191 8. 

Administrative Changes 

Russell had built up his movement along the lines of the Congre- 
gational Church - as far as administration was concerned. The 
ecclesias were independently governed by elected elders while the 
Watch Tower Society simply published and printed their litera- 
ture. This system did not suit Rutherford's desire for absolute 
control and he set about changing it. It was an extremely long and 
painful process but he was adamant about its necessity. Today the 
Witnesses (with hindsight) look on the doctrinal and adminis- 
trative changes made by Rutherford as further light bringing them 
nearer the complete truth: 

Now from the year 1919 a glorious new outlook presented itself. 
These dedicated servants began to recognise their mistakes and 
make a public confession of their wrongdoings in their effort to 
seek Jehovah's forgiveness and be restored to his favour. . . . There 
was some resistance from those who were not progressive and who 


Millions Now Uving Will Never Die 

did not have a vision of the work that lay ahead. Some insisted on 
living in the past, in the time of Pastor Russell, when the brothers 
in general had viewed him as the sole channel of Scriptural 
enlightenment. 38 

The above quotation could describe many a communist purge! 
The resemblance in outlook to that of totalitarian states, in 
particular China today, is quite marked. The above view is, of 
course, an attempt to veil the real nature of the changes made by 
Rutherford at this time. Hardly anyone thought of his adminis- 
trative battle as 'a glorious new outlook*, nearly all the Bible 
Students were puzzled by the changes at first, many of them 
opposed Rutherford on this issue alone. He was attempting to 
change every congregation from the old self-governing pattern 
to the new method where the congregation leaders and activities 
were all directed from headquarters. He believed God was using 
the Watch Tower Society as His one and only channel of com- 
munication and therefore if anyone remained independent of 
God's organisation it could only mean that they were not faithful 
Christians. These and other lines of argument were used by 
Rutherford to start the long campaign somehow or other to 
dominate the ecclesias. It is a moot point how far Rutherford 
believed his own reasons for this change-over - there was cer- 
tainly more of an element of power-grasping behind the change 
than he was willing to admit. There was also the vow he made to 
Macmillan while in prison which revealed a deep-rooted antagon- 
ism towards the elective elder system. This last reason was perhaps 
more primary, suggesting that Rutherford decided to make the 
changes before finding Biblical reasons for doing so. Much of his 
published rhetoric in support of central control may therefore be 
seen as rationalisation of a selfish motive* 

In many ways the era 1919-1945 was marked by tension, sus- 
picion and hostility within the movement. The rate of growth of 
the organisation under Rutherford was small partly because he 
was determined to alter its whole administrative structure. The 
change-over to central control began in Germany (according to 
Schnell). 39 Some of the German ecclesias were willing to be 
centrally controlled; they agreed that the Society was better 
suited to decide their leaders . Those ecclesias who wished to re- 
main independent, however, were ruthlessly treated by Ruther- 
ford and his supporters in their efforts to make the administrative 


The Second President - Judge Rutherford 

set-up 'theocratic' (that is, governed by Jehovah through the 
Watch Tower Society). Representatives of the Society often pre- 
sented the ecclesias with an ultimatum: be centrally controlled or 
damned! Sometimes the Bible Students who agreed with Ruther- 
ford left the original ecclesia and set up a new congregation 
(boosted by Society representatives from outside) in competition 
with the old one: c In many places we had to line up the broth- 
ers literally on two sides, for and against the Society/ 40 
Schnell describes in detail the techniques used in Germany: 

In similar fashion this purge was carried out ruthlessly throughout 
the land and finally a new concept of congregation emerged* The 
Service Director, who represented the Society, gradually attained 
first place in the congregation as the Society's instructions multiplied, 
with the Elders being relegated more and more to the back seat to 
take care of spiritual matters only. Gradually the Elders lost that 
responsibility too, as the Society through their mouthpiece, the 
Waicht&wer magazine, became the teacher for the classes. Finally 
the Society in one stroke, through a Waichtower article, eliminated 
the position of Elder in the congregations. That was done, so they 
said, because election of Elders was unscriptural. Actually it was 
done to end control of congregations from the local level, and to 
usher in a top down Theocratic arrangement from the control 
tower in Brooklyn. 

However, in some congregations, especially in the larger ones, 
it was not so easy to make the Elders toe the line or to push them 
into a back seat. But the Society could handle them. In such cases 
they were surrounded with unwanted assistants (who invariably 
were Society boys), and then, gradually they would be superseded 
in the carrying out of many details contrary to their wishes and under 
special instructions from Magdeburg. Since the Society gave these 
assistants prerogatives and placed its stamp of approval on putting 
Headquarter' s dictated policies and practices publicly into effect, 
the assistants were brought favourably to the attention of the 

But Schnell later admits 'the Society had reason for complaint. 
Those of the Mordecai-Naomi class were almost all delin- 
quent. . . / 41 

In conjunction with the organisational change Rutherford 
began to stress personal preaching or advertising of the message 
rather than prayer, meditation and Bible Study. The latter were 
important, said Rutherford, but no Bible Student was entirely 


Millions Now Living Will Never Die 

sincere unless he felt it was his duty to disseminate the truth. In 
practice this meant walking from door to door trying to sell 
Watchtower magazines and other Society literature. Rutherford 
introduced this as a criterion for membership; it was not enough 
for a person to claim he was a Bible Student, he had to go out 
and prove it by telling other people of his beliefs* Only then was 
he 'registered' as a 'publisher' of the Society's message. In order 
to put this idea across Rutherford appealed to the urgency of the 
times and the necessity for as many people as possible to hear of 
the truth. This fitted in with his belief that the wicked and ignor- 
ant would all perish at the Battle of Armageddon. Russell had not 
thought that ignorant mankind would perish and he and his 
followers had been content with more 'respectable* ways of 
preaching. There is some evidence, however, that Pastor Russell 
had not been entirely satisfied with the status quo. In 1 88 1 he had 
returned the view that, 'We believe that none will be of the little 
flock except preachers.' And throughout his life he advocated the 
preaching work and distribution of literature. He had not been 
completely satisfied with the Elective Elder system either. In 
Zion*s Watch Tower, 15 th March 1906, he wrote: 

We do not deny growing in knowledge, and that we now see in a 
slighdy different light the will of the Lord respecting elders or 
leaders in the various little groups of his people. Our error in 
judgement was in expecting too much of the dear brethren. 42 

Even within his own administrative hierarchy Rutherford was 
faced with opposition and human weaknesses. In distant Branch 
Offices there were brothers only too ready to appropriate funds 
to their own use or to preach some doctrine not sanctioned by 
the Society. Sweden, Germany, Canada and other countries had 
their branch offices 'cleansed* by the Society's representatives, 
and by 1932 Rutherford had brought all the congregations to his 
viewpoint - those who disagreed had left the movement. 43 It is 
not entirely clear exactly how many did this. Schnell claims that 
three-quarters of the Bible Students associating in 1921 had left 
by 193 1. Rutherford appeared to agree with this; he regarded the 
losses as further proof that God was 'sifting' the faithful. In the 
book Jehovah he wrote: 'Of the great multitude that left the world 
to follow Jesus Christ only a few are now in God's organisation.' 44 
The figures available suggest that Rutherford's active following 

^^ m§m 

The Second President - Judge Rutherford 

increased from about 18,000 in 1919 to 25,000 in 1932* Certainly 
Rutherford's main task during these thirteen years was 'cleansing' 
rather than 'expanding'* 

EVENTS FROM 1919-1932 

In 1919 Rutherford revived the colporteur work; 507 were active 
in this work by the end of the year. In 1920 he took the first 
important step in organising the preaching activity of the Bible 
Students. Weekly reports of each person's activity were intro- 
duced in which each Bible Student was asked to report the 
number of hours spent preaching and the amounts of literature 
'placed' with the public. By 1922, 980 of the 1,200 American 
congregations were 'converted' to this method of weekly re* 
porting, 45 Those handing in weekly reports were called 'class 
workers*. Rutherford did not neglect the overseas field, and 
began an extensive tour of Europe on 12th August 1920. During 
this tour he 'reorganised* the branch offices - this required 
changes in personnel and some purging, Rutherford was admir- 
ably suited for this task and not only was he capable of throwing 
people out but he had the personal power to retain those he 
wanted. In a different way he possessed Russell's ability to win 
people over to his side. This ability was particularly evident in 
his public speeches: 

To those who lived with him, Rutherford appeared 'more like a 
senator than most senators'. He stood and walked with a measured 
dignity not without impressiveness. He wore winged collars and 
bow ties, and held his glasses which he used for reading and for 
effective gesturing, on a long black ribbon. His voice was an excel- 
lent one for public speaking, occasionally reaching a low-pitched 
fortissimo that deeply thrilled his audience. 4 * 

Rutherford's publicity-like conception of the organisation led 
to his expansion of the 'conventions'. Originally they had simply 
been opportunities for brothers to 'get together' and strengthen 
each other in the faith. Rutherford began to stage them as pub- 
licity campaigns to attract attention. The number and size of the 
conventions were increased despite what Russell had said in Ziotfs 
Watch Tower 15 th August 19 16: 'After all, it is not numbers, but 
soul fellowship which makes a convention a success.' Rutherford 
knew that it was numbers and soul fellowship that counted, but 

E 53 

Millions Norn Uving Will Never Die 

most of all - just numbers. Starting in 1922, seven bam-storming 
international conventions were held beginning with an eight-day 
Assembly in Cedar Point, Ohio. Significantly, the title was 
"Advertise the King and Kingdom' - and it was at this Assembly 
that Rutherford began to hammer out his new chronology. This 
is how the Witnesses themselves think of Cedar Point: 

Truly a feast of stimulating new truths was spread before Jehovah's 
people on this occasion. . . . Brother Rutherford delivered a historic 
lecture on the subject 'The Kingdom'. He said: 'The physical facts, 
then, clearly show that the day of preparation was from 1874 for- 
ward; . . . that the day of preparation ended in 1914; and that in 
19 1 8, or thereabouts, the Lord came to his temple.' 47 

Notice the playing down of the date 1874 which is eventually 
dropped. The second of the international Assemblies was held at 
Los Angeles in August 1923 and the third at Columbus, Ohio, in 
July 1924. At the latter, 20,000 were present for the week and 
they heard Rutherford hit out again at the clergy: 'We present 
and charge that the clergy have yielded to the temptations pre- 
sented to them by Satan and, contrary to God's Word, have 
joined in said conspiracy,* 

A further shock was in store for both Rutherford and his 
supporters. Basing their views on a dubious rehash of Russell's 
Greater Jubilee dates they were literally expecting the 'end of all 
things* in 1 92 5 . When the year passed with no heavenly or earthly 
sign, some of Rutherford's supporters left him. According to the 
Witnesses there had been a steady increase in their numbers up 
to 1925 when (they claimed) there were 90,434 in attendance at 
the Memorial service. 46 Early in 1926 the attendance had dropped 
to 89,278: 'The year 1925 especially proved to be a year of great 
trial to many of Jehovah's people.' 49 From then on Rutherford 
refused to be specific about the date of God's take-over and he 
continued to preach his doctrines with the accent on clergy 

Rutherford had by now expanded the Society's printing 
facilities in order to manufacture millions of books and maga- 
zines that were distributed by his 'class-workers* as part of the 
advertising campaign. The Society had been printing its own 
literature since 1920 and in 1927 the printing equipment was 
moved to Its present site at 1 1& Adams Street, New York, Ruther- 


^^ mmgsm ^ mmm mmmm mtmas ^ gj g 

The Second President - Judge "Rutherford 

ford's first book, The Harp of God, was published in 192 1 and he 
proved to be a more prolific writer of books than Russell. 60 
Altogether twenty were published, all but the first with one- word 
titles such as Creation (1927), Jehovah (1934) and Children (1941). 
Although Rutherford was an effective speaker he had no merits 
as a writer. His books were a strange hegemony of invective, 
Biblical exegesis and dogmatic prose. He had a tendency to use 
too much legal terminology and to state, rather than attempt to 
reason, any conclusions that he wished to make. Consider for 
instance Rutherford's definitions of the word 'religion', A typical 
dictionary definition is 'belief in supernatural power that governs 
the universe: recognition of God or gods as objects of worship: 
any system of faith or worship*. Rutherford thought differently; his 
definition illustrates some of the faults in his writing; his verbosity, 
dogmatism and lack of even elementary reasoning or logic: 

'Religion' is therefore properly denned as a belief in and indulging 
in a form of worship of some higher power, and which belief is 
based on the teachings of men handed down by tradition from one 
generation to another, and which system of belief or teaching is 
induced and put forward by God's adversary the Devil in order to 
turn men away from God. For this reason religion is a snare of the 
devil. 51 

Rutherford later dispensed with all preliminaries and simply 
said: * "Religion" is doing anything contrary to the will of 
Almighty God/ 53 

On the whole Rutherford's works were inferior to those of 
Pastor Russell but they were 'pushed' by a much bigger and 
better-organised advertising force which resulted in millions of 
copies being sold to members of the public. To assist the adver- 
tising by printed page Rutherford bought land on Stratten Island 
in 1922 and set up a radio station there in 1924* This was well 
known by its code webr and eventually it was one of six stations 
owned and used by Rutherford for broadcasting locally. A net- 
work of independently owned stations was gradually linked with 
these to broadcast fifteen-minute talks by Rutherford, Four 
hundred and eight stations were in use at the height of this work 
and they ensured that Rutherford was well known to the public 
and notorious in the eyes of the clergy. 53 The latter were further 
scandalised by Rutherford's efforts to disrupt the Sabbath. He 


Millions Now Living Will Never Die 

realised that one of the best times to call at people's homes was 
on Sundays. Unfortunately for the Bible Students, however, the 
Sabbath was still held rather strictly as a day of rest, and any 
attempt to 'sell' literature from house to house was viewed as a 
commercial, if not sacrilegious, enterprise* Rutherford countered 
this objection by claiming that the Bible Students were calling at 
houses for a religious purpose. The Bible Students began the 
Sunday work in 1927 and they Immediately ran into trouble with 
the civil authorities. The first arrests were made in New Jersey 
in 1928 and for the next ten years a war of words and legal battles 
was fought throughout the United States* 

It was not enough for Rutherford to win one case over the 
'house to house work on Sunday* issue. Every state and township 
in America had its own ordinances and by-laws governing the j 

observance of the Sabbath, Rutherford had to contest hundreds \ 

of cases in New Jersey alone. He based his defence on the claim j 

that the Bible Students were not actually 'selling* anything - they - 

were distributing Bible literature on receipt of a fixed money I 

contribution to their Society's funds. Of course this was, in effect, \ 

selling - but the legal arguments were based more on the causes ! 

than the effects. If the cause of this distribution could be proved \. 

to be religious, beneficial and non-profit making, then it was I 

legally justified. The outcome of these legal battles will be j 

mentioned later. - I 

In 1931 came an important milestone in the history of the s 

organisation. For many years Rutherford's followers had been ] 

called a variety of names: 'International Bible Students*, 'Russell- 
ites', or f Millennial Dawners\ In order to distinguish clearly his 
followers from the other groups who had separated in 191 8 
Rutherford proposed that they adopt an entirely new name - 
Jehovah* s witnesses. In 1931, at an Assembly in Columbus, Ohio, 
the 1 5,000 in attendance were the first to be presented with their 
new name. It is significant, however, that Rutherford and the 
Witnesses today insist on spelling their name with a small f w' - 
Jehovah's witnesses. They believe they are not just a new cult or 
sect (Jehovah's Witnesses) but they are simply God's servants, 
God's present-day witnesses to His name and glory. Thus Abel, 
Abraham, Paul and all the other faithful men had been Jehovah's 
witnesses. This terminology is very convenient as far as the 
Witnesses are concerned, constant reference to Biblical characters 


msmmsmmm ^^ MMja|-ajiiMaBl| 

The Second President - Judge Rutherford 

as ' Jehovah's witnesses' can only impress themselves and out- 
siders. Not unnaturally they are sometimes guilty of slipshod 
argument in ascribing actions to * Jehovah's witnesses' that are 
certainly true of the Biblical 'witnesses of God' but not true of 
'Jehovah's Witnesses', the modern sect. This ambiguous use of 
their name is apparent throughout the literature of the Society 
from 193 1 onwards* 

By this time Rutherford had by and large succeeded in changing 
the organisational pattern at congregation level* Most of the 
congregations had changed to Society control, and the personal 
witnessing of the Bible Students was now controlled by, and re- 
ported to, the Brooklyn Headquarters. To complete the formal 
statement of his ideal organisation Rutherford published a two-part 
article in the Watchtowers of 1 5th August and 1st September 1932. 
In the words of the Witnesses: 

This exposed the system of 'elective elders* as being an unclean 
practice of this world and not according to the principles of the great 
Theocrat, who rules his sanctuary from the top down. 54 

It took Rutherford several more years to completely eradicate the 
support for the "elective elders* but it was an inevitable process 
and by the year 193 S the organisation was considered *clean\ 

During the 'thirties Rutherford continued the drive for expan- 
sion by using every means available. The output of literature was 
increased every year and, in addition, Rutherford advocated the 
use of sound cars and portable phonographs. The latter became the 
trade-mark of the Witnesses in the 'thirties. They deposited a 
phonograph on people's doorsteps and invited them to hear a 
five-minute recorded talk spoken by Rutherford. After this the 
Witness produced some literature and offered it for a fixed 'con- 
tribution' to the Society's funds. Rutherford extended this work 
to calling back on people who were interested (back-calls), and if 
these were a success then an hour-long weekly book study was 
started in the home of the interested person. The statistics of 
personal witnessing - number of back-calls and book studies, 
amount of literature placed, etc. - were recorded and sent to the 
Society's headquarters where a complete record was kept. In 
spite of these administrative 'improvements', the Witnesses in 
general were woefully ignorant of the Bible -it was left to 
Rutherford's successor to remedy this situation, 


3. The Modern Organisation, 1932-1968 

The world had moved on from the phrenetic 'twenties 
to the anxiety-ridden 'thirties. America was hit by the 
depression and Europe by Fascism. In one respect the 
unsettled conditions favoured the Witnesses. Many distressed 
people turned to them - and their membership increased drama- 
tically. But another characteristic of a fearful nation that was not 
so favourable was its sublimation of fear into persecution of 
unpopular minorities, who were treated as scapegoats. This 
happened to the Witnesses in the United States, in Germany and 
in many other countries. There were two main reasons for the 
unpopularity of Rutherford and his organisation. The first was 
his antagonism towards the civil and religious authorities. Not 
only did this brand him as an outsider but it directly aroused the 
opposition of the clergy and police who encouraged persecution 
of the Witnesses. The abuse that Rutherford heaped on the clergy 
is illustrated by the following quotations: 

The greatest racket ever invented and practised is that of religion, . . . 
During the World War many young men were compelled to join 
the army and fight. They saw daily the religious clergymen swagger- 
ing about, sometimes sober and sometimes not . . . who always 
mingled with the soldiers at the rear* 1 

In his book Deliverance Rutherford devoted nearly every one of 
its 379 pages to attacking those in authority, including the clergy: 

That unfaithful preachers ♦ , . have yielded to temptations presented 
them by Satan and used their spiritual powers to gratify their own 
selfish desires . . . clothed themselves in gaudy apparel, assumed a 
form of godliness while denying God's Word . , . failed to preach 
the kingdom. The clergy as a class have constituted themselves 
the fountain of doctrines which . . . they have set forth to the people 
claiming such doctrines to be the teachings of God's Word, well 
knowing the same to be untrue. 8 


^ Hgggl 

The Modem Organisation^ i$}z~i$68 

The second point, that involved the Witnesses all over the 
world, was their insistence on political neutrality. Although 
usually good citizens, they refused to join any army or render 
allegiance to the state. Rutherford argued that Christians were 
God's representatives on earth, part of Jesus' army, and hence 
dedicated and responsible only to him. The Witnesses thought of 
themselves as spiritual aliens. Not surprisingly the chauvinistic 
nations of the 'thirties failed to understand such an attitude. In 
Germany the Witnesses were interned in concentration camps 
while in the United States, Canada, Australia and Great Britain 
they were imprisoned as conscientious objectors. 

The cycle of events from 1930 onwards was ominous. Through- 
out the United States, for instance, arrests, trials and persecutions 
continued on a scale greater than that of 191 8. Undoubtedly the 
Witnesses themselves contributed to these attacks by persistent 
provocation. One of their characteristic actions when a township 
threw out some of their 'publishers' 3 was to gather hundreds of 
Witnesses from the neighbouring territories and stage a mass 
'witness' in the town in question. They regarded the persecution 
as further proof that they were the true servants of God in a 
hostile world* Rutherford's books of this period describe his 
opponents as 'the enemy' » he seems to imagine that he and his 
'army' of followers were arrayed in spiritual warfare against the 
rest of the world. In the booklet Freedom of Worship, Witnesses 
are advised how to conduct themselves in the face of legal and 
other opposition. The closing remarks of the booklet illustrate the 
feeling at the time: 

This booklet is an abbreviated statement of suggestions to enable 
all publishers of the Theocratic Government to pursue the proper 
course in the witness work. It is confidential and should not be 
carried from house to house or shown to the enemy. 

In 1933 the Catholics in the United States launched a campaign 
to drive Rutherford off the air. According to the Witnesses this 
failed - but by a strange coincidence Rutherford ceased broad- 
casting soon afterwardsl In 1937 he gave up broadcasting on 
commercial channels altogether and concentrated on the phono- 
graph work and sound cars instead; in April 1938 the first arrest 
was made of a Witness using a phonograph - he was charged and 
convicted for 'disturbing the peace'. The Witnesses showed 


Millions Now Uving Will Never Die 

courage and foolhardiness in persisting with their beliefs in the 
face of threats, mobbings and violence. They were literally 
prepared to die for their beliefs: 

I am confident that the Witnesses demonstrate one of the most 
sacrificial ways of living which has been seen in many decades. . . . 
They ate willing to give up friends and family, to work indefatigably 
in their spare hours, to give unstintingly of their money, to with- 
stand bitter persecution, and even in certain European countries, 
to remain loyal to their convictions unto death - all for f the cause'. 4 

In June 1935 Rutherford took issue over the flag salute that was 
compulsory in schools throughout the United States. As a sign 
of their spiritual neutrality the Witnesses refused to salute the 
flag; but this was an affeont to the sensitive and aggressive 
patriotism of many Americans. Numerous court cases and an 
increase in persecution followed this controversy. 

The same pattern of events was evident in other countries. On 
the one hand the Witnesses were converting to the new centrally 
controlled organisation and personal ministry while on the other 
external opposition was mounting. As early as 1932 the Italian 
branch office was closed by the government. In Germany the 
situation was chaotic; the Witness movement had drawn in 
literally thousands of new members from the many affected by 
unemployment and the breakdown of social order. Their number 
was certainly increasing at a phenomenal rate until stopped by 
Hitler's complete ban in 1936. At that time there were almost 
20,000 Witnesses active in Germany. Meanwhile progress in 
Britain was slow. In 193 1 there were about 4,000 publishers and 
196 pioneers, eight years later there were only 5,000 publishers 
but the pioneer figure had increased to 1,500. In 1938 a large 
assembly was held in London and the talks were relayed by radio 
to fifty other assemblies world-wide. At these gatherings about 
12,000,000 copies of the booklet Face the Facts were released - it 
exposed the many persecutions suffered by the Witnesses through- 
out the world. 

Rutherford's 'ldeaF organisation was completely established in 
the year 1938; 'It was not until 1938, however, that the final 
change to strictly Theocratic order took place.' 5 All congrega- 
tions were asked to surrender their authority to the central office 
and thus Rutherford achieved the goal he had set out for in 191 8. 



The Modem Organisation^ i?j2-i?68 

From 1938 onwards the Society became the supreme judge of what 
was right and wrong as far as every Jehovah's Witness was 
concerned. This unity was incidentally helpful in weathering the 
storm of the Second World War. 

This was a violent time. In June 1939 Rutherford was scheduled 
to deliver a talk entided 'Government and Peace* at Madison 
Square Garden, New York* It was widely advertised and was to 
be radio relayed to numerous Assemblies in the United States 
and abroad. A. H. Macmillan recounts what happened: 

Soon we discovered a concerted effort was being planned to prevent 
this talk's being given, both in New York and elsewhere. The 
police were notified days in advance of threats that had been made 
that the meeting would be broken up, so when the day for the talk 
arrived they were present in force. In the course of the actual 
delivery of the lecture in New York a mob of Coughlin's 'Christian 
Front' men and women, who had planted themselves in the 
Garden at the last minute, began to boo and shout [Coughlin was 
a Roman Catholic priest]. Their object was to start a riot and thus 
break up the meeting. When the interruption actually began, the 
police made no effort to stop it or assist the staff of Jehovah's witnesses 
assigned as ushers who attempted to quell the disturbance. Eventu- 
ally our own ushers had forcibly to eject the troublemakers* 6 

Macmillan does not mention that at that time the ushers were in 
the habit of carrying stout canes to meet any violent emergency: 

The fervour of the Witnesses was doubdess increased by the various 
'props' employed during the meetings. The defensive canes which 
Mr, Rutherford, his assistants, and the ushers have generally carried > 
caused a certain tenseness, 7 

Jehovah's Witnesses were one (they say the only one) religious 
group to be persecuted by all combatant, and some non-com- 
batant, nations during the Second World War. While the Wit- 
nesses feel that this persecution was because they were God*s 
chosen people and was simply one method of attack by Satan, the 
evidence indicates that it was due to their neutrality stand and 
incitement of the authorities. Some of the Witnesses thought of 
themselves as martyrs - others cracked under the strain and left 
the movement. For most of them, however, the persecution was 
a test of their faith. Whether right or wrong, the Witnesses proved 
beyond all doubt that they were not hypocrites. In Canada a total 


Millions Now hiving Will Never Die 

ban was placed on their activities while Witnesses in Japan 
suffered imprisonment and torture. In Germany the Jehovah's 
Witnesses were sacked from their jobs and reviled and attacked 
by the state and the public for refusing to support conscription 
and the war effort. Eventually about half the German Witnesses 
were imprisoned in concentration camps where they were so 
numerous they had their own insignia and barracks. Witnesses 
were imprisoned in camps at Buchenwald, Dachau, Bergen- 
Belsen, Sachsenhausen, Oranienburg, Ravensbruck, Lichtenburg, 
Auschwitz etc. I quote below from two sources of information 
dealing with conditions in these camps. 

In his book The Informed Heart Bruno Bettelheim describes the 
Witnesses in Buchenwald. It is interesting that the passage below 
was quoted in The Watch tower, ist August 1963, but with the 
italicised parts omitted: 

As conscientious objectors, all Jehovah's Witnesses were sent to the 
camps. They were even less affected by imprisonment and kept 
their integrity, thanks to rigid religious beliefs. Since their only 
crime in the eyes of the S.S. was a refusal to bear arms, they were 
frequently offered freedom in return for military service. They 
steadfastly refused. 

Members of this group were generally narrow in outlook and 
experience, wanting to make converts* but on the other hand exemplary 
comrades, helpful, correct and dependable. They were argumenta- 
tive, even quarrelsome* only when someone questioned their religious 
beliefs. Because of their conscientious work habits, they were often 
selected as foremen. But once a foreman, and having accepted an 
order from the S.S., they insisted that prisoners do the work well 
and in the time allotted. Even though they were the only group of 
prisoners who never abused or mistreated other prisoners (on the 
contrary, they were usually quite courteous to other prisoners), S.S. 
officers preferred them as orderlies because of their work habits, 
skills and unassuming attitudes. Quite in contrast to the continuous 
internecine warfare among the other prisoner groups, the Jehovah's 
Witnesses never misused their closeness to S.S. officers to gain 
positions of privilege in the camp. [My italics.] 

The picture painted by a woman prisoner in Ravensbruck is 
similar but not as straightforward, Margaret Buber in Under Two 
Dictators had this to say about the women Witnesses: 

All of them were model prisoners ... I soon found that without 
exception they were women of little or no education. Each of the 


jmmm ^^ mm 

The Modern Organisation », i$}2-i$68 

women was not only highly conscientious personally, but held 
herself responsible for the well being of the group as a whole. 
During the two years I was with them as their Block Senior nothing 
ever happened to mar the relation of absolute confidence which 
existed between us. . . . They fled from the burden of responsibility 
this life placed on them and sought refuge in the role of martyrs. 

Meanwhile in America the Witnesses were being vilified as 

In Britain there was little official interference with Jehovah's 
Witnesses, Assemblies were held regtdarly and a great deal of the 
Society's printing was now being done in London. Witnesses 
liable for the call-up were allowed to register as conscientious 
objectors and were brought before tribunals where they were 
usually imprisoned for six months. Altogether 1,593 convictions 
of British Witnesses were made, 334 of them were women. 

In the United States there were two major problems for the 
Witnesses: the conscription and the flag-salute laws. The latter 
issue culminated in the Gobi f is case in 1940 when the Supreme 
Court decided 8-1 that the Witnesses' children must salute the 

The results of the Gobitis case were disastrous for the Witnesses. 
Shortly after the Supreme Court's decision was handed down, local 
school boards passed resolutions requiring the saluting of the flag 
as a condition for receiving public education. The Witnesses ex- 
perienced in many parts of the country, mainly in small towns and 
rural areas, a form of persecution which only made most of them 
even more determined never to cooperate with government in 
any matter. 8 

There is some confusion as to how many of the Witnesses were 
exempted from military service in the United States under the 
*4D classification*. In Qualified to be Ministers published by the 
Witnesses it says 'most male Witnesses', but in their recent history 
Jehovah V Witnesses in the Divine Purpose they say: 'only a few 
Jehovah's Witnesses were given ministerial exemption'. Perhaps 
Marley Cole was right when he disagreed with both these 
verdicts and said 'about half were exemptedl 

From 1940 to 1944 about 2,500 mob attacks were made on the 
Witnesses. They were beaten, tarred and feathered, mutilated, 
castrated and some even killed. 

At this time Rutherford became ill and spent the last two years 


Millions Now Living Will Never Die 

of his life out of the centre of things, in California. His deputies 
kept the organisation functioning although in 1940 the phono- 
graph work was discontinued and 'street work' introduced. The 
latter involved publishers standing on street corners displaying 
copies of The Watchtomr and Consolation for those who wished to 
purchase them. In 1940 another series of Assemblies were held; 
the biggest was at Detroit, Michigan, where 3 5 ,000 were present 
at the release of Rutherford's latest book Religion. The following 
year another large assembly was held at St. Louis where Ruther- 
ford's book Children was released. This contained a lengthy 
elaboration of his doctrines communicated through a 'conversa- 
tion' between two young people, John and Eunice. 9 Rutherford 
had arranged for 15,000 children to be present in the centre of 
the crowd to help advertise the book. The opposition to his 
movement reached a climax in this year and the Society recalled 
all travelling representatives and refused to involve itself in cases 
of individual Witnesses who wished to remain politically neutral 
during the war, 

Rutherford's death 

Rutherford died on 8th January 1942 at the age of seventy-two. 
The cause of his death is not revealed, but apparently he was 
aware of the malignant condition some eighteen months before 
he died. He wanted to 'die fighting with his boots on* according 
to the Witnesses. During his lifetime Rutherford had effected a 
tremendous change in the organisation. A loose conglomeration 
of ecclesias worshipping one man had been altered into a centrally 
controlled and unified system of congregations. Rutherford had 
introduced most of the methods and devices used by Jehovah's 
Witnesses today - house-to-house work, back-calls, big Assem- 
blies, etc. Rutherford thought big, he liked the grand gesture to 
advertise his message and show the world that the organisation 
it despised and ignored was not so unimportant. 10 

What sort of person was Rutherford? Mention has already been 
made of his dogmatism and powerful personality, but Rutherford 
was unusual in other ways. Although he made his life's work the 
elimination of 'personality development* he himself displayed 
more personal egotism than Russell and demanded more obedi- 
ence from his followers than his predecessor had done. Ruther- 
ford installed a microphone by his seat at mealtimes so that any 


mSiimm ^ — ^g^^gj^jg^ 

The Modern Organisation, 193 2- 1968 

words he might utter could be heard through loudspeakers for 
the spiritual edification of all those present. As far as personal 
traits were concerned Rutherford appeared to be a more rational 
man than Russell; unlike him he had no fancy for herb cures or 
the like. Certain details about the life of Rutherford appear to 
have been suppressed by the Witnesses* Former members of the 
Brooklyn Bethel home have sworn that Rutherford lived in 
luxurious quarters compared with the other brothers and that he 
maintained, and used, various homes throughout the country. 11 
He was also ruthless with anyone who contradicted him: 

The Judge sends a note stating whom he wants elected, or rejected, 
or what he wants done, and that is immediately done unanimously. 
Woe be unto that one who opposes. Anyone who opposes slightly 
gets a tongue lashing at the dinner table, and if the opposition is 
serious, or such one has too much independence of mind he is 
liquidated from the organisation, 12 

It is said that Rutherford encouraged drinking and dirty jokes in 
the Bethel home and actually ejected one of the brothers who 
protested at this. Rutherford's opinion of women was very un- 

The women make monkees or dupes of men. . . . The men remove 
their hats upon entering an elevator, if a woman is present; and these 
things are said to be acts of respect and to show man is a gentleman. 
But it is subde, and the real meaning is much different from that. 
It is a scheme of Satan to turn men away from God and from his 
announced rule of the proper position of man and woman. The 
Lord has declared that no effeminate man shall inherit the kingdom 
of heaven. 13 

Perhaps the most reprehensible of Rutherford's ideas was his 
approval of the segregation of Negroes. The Bible Student 
ecclesias were sometimes segregated, even in New York. 14 Stroup 
mentions that segregation existed in the later years of Ruther- 
ford's presidency: 

Once in the history of the movement the Society's leader specifically 
asked colored Witnesses not to apply for positions as Pioneers: 'The 
reason is that as far as we are able to judge, colored people have less 
education than whites - many of them quite insufficient to permit 
them to profit by reading our literature. Our conclusion, therefore, 
is based upon the supposition that reading matter distributed to a 



Millions Now Uving Will Never Die 

colored congregation would be more than half wasted, and a very 
small percentage indeed likely to yield good results/ The Watchtower 
August 1928. 15 

One cannot help but feel that many of those near Ruthetford 
were somewhat relieved when he passed on. They had endured 
his 'tongue-lashings', and while they respected - if not feared - 
him, they did not love him in the way Pastor Russell was loved. 
This was perhaps one reason why his death caused so little con- 
sternation within the organisation, A new president, Nathan 
Homer Knorr, was elected and he immediately got down to con- 
tinuing the work of the movement. Unlike Russell and Ruther- 
ford, Knorr had no great personality appeal. He had become 
prominent as an able administrator and a business-minded man. 
The days of great leaders and orators were evidently past, for 
whereas Russell and Rutherford had combined the tasks of 
doctrinal and administrative leadership, Knorr was only fully 
responsible for the latter. The doctrinal lead often came from his 
vice-president, F. W, Franz, who is believed to be responsible for 
much of the Society's present doctrinal exegesis. 

Nathan H. Knorr was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, on 
23rd April 1905. He became associated with the Witnesses at the 
age of sixteen and started as a member of the New York Bethel 
staff in 1923. He was trained in the business and management side 
of the Society's affairs under the manager, C. J. Martin, and when 
Martin died he was appointed general manager of the publishing 
office and printing plant in 1932. Two years later Knorr was 
elected a director of the New York corporation of the Watch 
Tower Bible and Tract Society. He was then thirty-four years 
old and second in command to Rutherford. Calm and reflective 
in appearance Knorr could easily be mistaken for an American 
businessman. He is a capable and powerful speaker, although 
perhaps somewhat uninspiring (particularly compared with 
Franz). When Knorr took over in 1942 the Witnesses were en- 
during the worst time of the war. He nevertheless pressed ahead 
with his plans, confident that times would get better. 

The opposition did begin to abate from 1943 onwards, 
although the Witnesses were involved in legal battles in the 
United States up until 195 5. In May 1943 twelve out of thirteen 
pending court cases to do with house-to-house work were de- 
cided in their favour and this began a trend of favourable 



The Modern Organisation i$}2-i96S 

decisions. The Gobitis Case ruling was finally reversed from which 
time on the children of Jehovah's Witnesses were exempt from 
saluting the flag. The overall effect of the Witnesses 7 legal 
struggles was so impressive that the American Bar Association's 
Bill of Rights Review had this to say: 

Seldom, if ever, in the past, has one individual or group been able 
to shape the course, over a period of time, of any phase of out vast 
body of constitutional law. But it can happen, and it has happened, 
here. The group is Jehovah's Witnesses. Through almost constant 
litigation this organisation had made possible an ever-increasing 
list of precedents concerning the application of the 14th amendment 
to freedom of speech and religion. 16 

In 1943 the ban on the Witnesses was lifted in Australia and 
Canada and at the end of the war the heat of persecution 
had cooled. The organisation had survived this trial and they 
were now ready for the greatest chapter in their history to 


In most respects the organisation envisaged by Rutherford came 
into being in 1938 and it was only after this date that the increase 
in their numbers became significant. They have been (unjustifi- 
ably) called the fastest growing religion in the Western world. 
This increase was evidence to the Witnesses that they possessed 
the truth {Matthew 7 : 19, 20), and they counteracted the claims of 
other religions with a larger membership by suggesting that the 
criterion was not membership but increase in membership. One 
may ask, if their movement had the Truth, why there was no 
comparable increase in the years 1 874-1945? The Witnesses' reply 
to this is that the truth was seen but dimly up until 191 8 and that 
only after the 'sifting* had occurred was the Society free to 
develop as God wished. Those who prefer a more mundane ex- 
planation, however, can see that Rutherford's establishment of a 
unified body of followers, all disseminating literature produced 
by a central authority, obviously contributed to the increase that 
occurred after the Second World War. 

During the last twenty years the Witness movement has been 
untroubled by serious internal strife. Despite occasional defec- 
tions the influence of the Society has been strengthened to the 



Millions Now Living Will Never Die 

point where it now directly controls the life of every Jehovah's 
Witness. In post-war years there have been few major doctrinal 
changes, no disturbing events and no radical personalities in 
power* The story of these years is essentially statistical and it has, 
of course, been a success story. Since 1945 the Witnesses have 
become entrenched in the belief that 1914 marked the invisible 
setting-up of Christ's Kingdom and that the final Battle of Arma- 
geddon is due within a generation of that year. With this urgent 
message to tell to the world Jehovah's Witnesses, under their new 
president, set out on their last publicity campaign. 

After his inauguration Knorr set about 'improving* the 
administrative structure by appointing the "overseers' of the 
congregations directly from headquarters. Travelling representa- 
tives, called 'Circuit Servants', were sent out to visit and check 
the congregations in a 'Circuit'. Similar 'Servants' were put in 
charge of larger areas called 'Districts' and part of their task was 
to check on the Circuit Servants! Also it seemed regrettable to 
Knorr that many of the Witnesses were unable to explain their 
beliefs to outsiders so he began an educational drive to remedy 
this situation. At that time the congregations met at least twice a 
week for Bible study and discussion of the 'service work', but in 
1942 Knorr introduced an additional two-hour meeting. The first 
hour was called the Service Meeting and was wholly concerned 
with improving the Witnesses' techniques of advertising their 
beliefs; the second hour was the Theocratic Ministry School, a 
speech-training course open to all brothers in the congregation. 
The overall effect of these meetings was that all the (male) Wit- 
nesses became reasonably capable of giving talks in public and 
arguing for their beliefs on people's doorsteps. Every Jehovah's 
Witness began to think of himself as a 'minister* - a line of 
thought initiated by the Society. 

In 1945 Knorr opened a new 'school' to train missionaries. It 
was called Gikad and was built by the Society on their 800-acre 
farm at South Lansing, New York State. The students at Gilead 
were expected to help on the farm, which in turn helped to feed 
them. Classes of about 100 students 'graduated' every six months; 
about half of these Witnesses were from the United States. 
Although extremely small, Gilead was a pleasant school situated 
in beautiful surroundings. On 1st February 1943 Knorr said this 
to the first student class: 'This is a school dedicated to the highest 



The Modern Organisation^ 1232-1968 

learning, theocratic learning concerning the Most High God, 
Jehovah. The Watchtower Bible School of Gilead is established 
solely for the purpose of training men and women to be more 
efficient ministers/ 17 

During that year Knorr released the first of a series of "text- 
books' to educate the congregation publishers in their role as 
effective ministers. The book was entitled Course in Theocratic 
Ministry and was used in the Ministry School until replaced by 
Theocratic Aid to Kingdom Publishers (1945) and Eqmppedfor Every 
Good Work (1946), 

Now that the war was over, a relief campaign was begun by 
the Witnesses in aid of the war victims; more than a million 
pounds' weight of clothing, three-quarters of a million pounds* 
weight of food and a million dollars were collected. The first 
large post-war assembly was held in 1946 at Cleveland, Ohio. 
About 20,000 Witnesses lived in a nearby 'trailer-city' for the 
duration of the assembly while thousands more lodged in the city 
itself. On the final day there was an attendance of 80,000 to hear 
the main talk The Prince of Peace'. In 1947 Knorr emulated 
Rutherford by holding a world-wide series of assemblies that 
stretched from Hawaii and New Zealand to Milan, Zurich and 
London. In conjunction with these Knorr made a trip around the 
world as a follow-up to his tour of South and Central America. 
In this way the new president saw the work at first hand and in 
some places he reorganised the branch office activity, which had 
lapsed during the war. 18 

The Witnesses' novel way of preaching brought an avalanche 
of legal actions against them all over the world* The most spec- 
tacular legal battle was in Canada, in particular amongst the 
French Canadians in Quebec. Catholic violence in Quebec took 
the form of mobs, imprisonment and various other ways of 
silencing the Witnesses. Canada is the only country where 
Jehovah's Witnesses achieved the national recognition they have 
always claimed for themselves - their movement was well known 
throughout the country and their fight with the Catholics was a 
national issue* At one time 1,300 cases against the Witnesses were 
pending in Quebec courts. The authorities indicted Witnesses on 
two counts: they were seditious, and they disseminated 'licentious 
propaganda without a pedlar's licence'. The Witnesses hit back 
by publishing a tract that exposed the persecution they were 

f 69 

Millions Now Living Will Never Die 

enduring. It was called Quebec* s Burning Hate for God and Christ 
and Freedom is the Shame of all Canada*, 1,000,000 English copies, 
500,000 French and 75,000 Ukrainian were printed and distri- 
buted in Canada. Throughout 1947 pitched battles were fought 
in Quebec which were to "free the streets of Jehovah's Witnesses' 
according to the Quebec City Chief of Police. In 1948 the Wit- 
nesses in Canada obtained more than half a million signatures to 
a petition for a written Bill of Rights which would enable them to 
seek protection in the written letter of the law instead of being at 
the mercy of local courts and police officers. Eventually the tide 
turned in their favour and in the Canadian Supreme Court they 
won freedom from persecution for sedition (Boucher v. King 
1950) and freedom to disseminate their literature (Samur v. City 
of Quebec and Attorney General of Quebec 1953). On 6th 
October 1953 the radio and newspapers headlined this latter de- 
cision and at last the whole of Canada knew that the long bitter 
fight was almost over. Since the War the Witnesses have estab- 
lished their legal rights in most Western countries with the 
exception of Spain, Portugal and Greece. In Britain the only 
difference of opinion was over military conscription and the test 
case (Walsh v. The Lord Advocate 1955) was taken to the House 
of Lords where the Witnesses lost their case. It was established 
that they were members of a religion, but one with no regular 
ministers according to the conscription exemption requirements. 
Additions to the printing plant in New York were made in 
1950 and 1956 and in 1950 the Society organised a mammoth 
Assembly in New York. It was staged in Yankee Stadium and 
lasted eight days; 75,000 delegates were housed in New York and 
15,000 lived in a nearby trailer city. On the final day 123,707 
attended Knorr's address 'Can You Live Forever in Happiness on 
Earth?' (Compare Rutherford's strident 'Millions Now Living 
Will Never Die!'). Several important literature releases were 
made at this Assembly, notably the New World Translation of the 
Greek Scriptures. This was the Witnesses' own translation of the 
New Testament, its language was American English and its 
merit - accuracy. This Assembly was followed in 195 1 by a chain 
of overseas assemblies in London, Paris, Brussels, Frankfurt, etc. 
These were a considerable success. The Witnesses also made 
several films about themselves. The first was an impressive colour 
film produced in 1954 and called "The New World Society in 


The Modern Organisation , i$}2-i$68 

Action*. It dealt in part with a large New York Assembly that 
had been held in 1953, and was shown to congregations of Wit- 
nesses all over the world. In 1956 another hour-long colour film 
was produced called 'The Happiness of the New World Society*. 
These films are interesting and enjoyable; even a non-believer 
cannot fail to be impressed by their restrained but powerful 
message. In 1953 Knorr announced a new aid in the house-to- 
house work - the three- to eight-minute 'sermon* consisting of a 
short Biblical talk quoting three or four texts from the Bible, In 
addition there were ten- to fifteen-minute sermons for use in 
calling back on interested people. These sermons were memor- 
ised and used by Witnesses all over the world in calling at 
people's houses and, in a modified form, they are still used 

In Eastern Europe the Witness movement has been banned 
since 1950, In East Germany more than a thousand Witnesses 
were sentenced to imprisonments averaging seven years. Despite 
this very active hostility the Witnesses function as best they can, 
meeting secretly in homes and even doing the door-to-door work 
as unobtrusively as possible. News of their progress filters out to 
the West while Waichtowers and other literature is smuggled in. 
The Witnesses have not been unsuccessful in their progress 
behind the Iron Curtain; in 1958 Knorr announced that the third 
largest national group of Witnesses (after the United States and 
West Germany) was communist Poland. There are more than 
100,000 Witnesses in Russia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, 
Rumania, etc. The situation in Russia is described by Walter 

Russia is a fertile ground for Jehovah's Witnesses, not only because 
they fit so well into the whole historical pattern of Russian sec- 
tarianism but also because they thrive in the grim circumstances 
created by the Soviet regime. . . . The mass arrest of all members 
followed in March and April 1951 throughout the six Western 
Soviet Republics where the Witnesses had supporters . . . In short, 
the Russian branch of the Jehovah's Witnesses may be regarded as 
one of the strongest in the world and there is certainly no branch 
anywhere which receives so much adverse publicity from the 
secular power. , . . Indeed, no other group in Soviet Russia, whether 
of religious or political inspiration, has ever thought of embarking 
on such extensive illegal propaganda and publishing work. ig 


Millions Nq& Uving Will Neper Die 

The African continent is another part of the world where the 
Witnesses' numbers have rapidly increased. They have become 
so well known that they have caused some Africans to start a 
hybrid native cult, Kitawala, *an offshoot of the American Watch 
Tower Movement'* Apart from this undesirable effect the Wit- 
nesses have had great success with the somewhat oppressed 
African peoples: 

To the Africans this version of Christianity appeared to be far more 
acceptable and understandable than the doctrines preached and 
practised by the missionaries* . , , Among the movements which 
have expanded far and wide in Africa is the Watch Tower which 
had its start in Nyasaland in 1906 or 1907. It was introduced by 
Joseph Booth, a former Baptist missionary who abandoned his 
church to preach native religious autonomy throughout British 
Central Africa. 20 

The Society sold the radio station wbbr in 1957 and the follow- 
ing year they installed two new printing presses at Brooklyn, 
bringing the total there to thirteen rotary presses* A new thirteen- 
storey factory addition had been built in 1956 to cope with the 
continually rising circulation of The Watchtower and Awake! In 
1958 Knorr started a new educational project that concerned the 
'servants* of the Society appointed to positions of responsibility 
within the organisation. A Kingdom Ministry School was organised 
in the United States to give the Circuit and District Servants an 
intensive month's 'refresher course** At first the school was 
situated with Gilead at South Lansing until the missionary school 
was moved to the Brooklyn Bethel in i960. The Kingdom 
Ministry School remained at South Lansing providing month- 
long courses for batches of Congregation Servants. Similar 
schools have now been set up in Great Britain, Germany and 
other countries. Ultimately the Society hopes that all the Wit- 
nesses in responsible positions - in the congregations and up- 
wards - will have had a thorough direct training at the Society 
schools* The servants who have attended these courses almost 
invariably claim to have had a marvellous time, and encourage 
others to attend - despite the fact that the course is physically and 
mentally exacting. Servants have to rise early every day and are 
kept fully occupied with 'lessons* and manual labour on the 
Society's farm or in the printing works. 


The Modern Organisation, 19 32-1 96 8 

The major events of the 'sixties have followed the same pattern 
as before: world-wide and bigger assemblies, more printing and 
distributing of their books and magazines, and so on. The dy- 
namic message introduced by Rutherford is still being preached, 
using Rutherford's methods* The Witnesses have become shrewd 
in the printing and administrative fields - every avenue of litera- 
ture propagation has been explored and exploited. Were it not for 
the Biblical emphasis the Watchtower Society would be big- 
business - slick, sound and successful. It is worth while examining 
in detail the statistics of success as far as the Witnesses are con- 
cerned and the remainder of this chapter will be devoted to a 
closer look at the rate of growth of the movement. 


During Russell's Presidency no roll-call was kept of faithful 
believers - in fact the ecclesias were independent and hence not 
obliged to submit their membership figures to Russell. Usually, 
however, the ecclesias reported the attendance at the Memorial 
service held each year at about Easter time. This figure gives, I 
think, a fairly accurate estimate of the number of Russell's fellow- 
believers. The only other figure available to Russell was the 
number of subscribers to Ziotfs Watch Tower which vasdy ex- 
ceeded the Memorial attendance figure and is perhaps a better 
indication of the number of people interested in his beliefs. 

The Memorial attendance figures indicate a slow steady in- 
crease in the movement up to 191 8. When Rutherford enforced 
his criterion of activity rather than just belief 011 the Bible Students 
it became possible to estimate his following from the returns 
made of 'class workers' in the congregations. This procedure has 
been fully In force since 1938 and the Society Yearbook quotes the 
average number of publishers for the year. 

There does not seem to be logical reason for questioning the 
Yearbook statistics after 1945 and they provide a record of the 
number of active Jehovah's Witnesses - the hard core of the 
movement. There are probably an equal number again of people 
half way in (or out) of the movement as exemplified in the 
Memorial attendance figure which is roughly double the number 
of publishers. The chart and graph below illustrate the growth 
in the publisher figure since 1938: 


Millions Now Living Will Never Die 





















&d thousands 

1 million 



































I93S I940 I942 I944 I946 i948 I960 I952 I954 I956 J958 I960 I962 I964 I966 

Graph illustrating annual increase of active Witnesses, 


The Modern Organisation, 1932-1 $6 8 

Up to 1 91 8 the number of Bible Students was small and the 
movement largely based in the United States. There was a steady 
but unspectacular increase during the period 1 918-1 939 and despite 
the fact that Rutherford claimed to have some two million fol- 
lowers this was at least twenty times exaggerated. The Witnesses 
themselves have issued contradictory figures for the period prior 
to the Second World War but it is only after 1945 that their 
numbers began to expand rapidly until today they have more than 
a million active followers. It is interesting to note that every 
branch of their activity expanded in the same way. The annual 
Yearbook is crammed with statistics of how many books, booklets, 
magazines, tracts, etc., they have printed, how many hours the 
Witnesses have spent in the preaching work, how many public 
meetings held, how many new subscriptions to The Watchtomr, 
how many Bible Studies, etc., etc. The Yearbook also contains 
reports from each country prefaced by the number of Witnesses 
in the country and the ratio of Witnesses to non-believers. For 
example, in the U.S.A. the ratio is 1 to 587, in Britain 1 to 1,007 
(these are the 1967 figures). The chart below, quoted from the 
1968 Yearbook, illustrates the overall expansion of the movement 
in every respect: 





























49,832, 205 

I 7>°3 1 ,9 01 













143,5 57,479 


Much more emphasis is placed on magazines now and this 
explains the relative decline of the books and booklets figure. 
This apart, the above figures are most impressive; there is no 
sign yet of a levelling off in their increase. The Witnesses are 
acutely aware of their membership figures and make every effort 
to keep them on the increase. 

The tag of 'the fastest growing religion in the world 5 seems to 
have attached itself to the Witness movement. It is, however, 
probably no more than a journalistic device to enhance the 


Millions Now Uving Will Never Die 

reputation of the Witnesses. Of the four major cults listed by 
Hoekema the Witnesses appear to come third as far as growth of 
membership is concerned* The Mormons, for example, were only 
3,000 strong in i860 but in 1962 there were nearly two million of 
them. Also the Seventh-Day Adventists seem to have out- Wit- 
nessed the Witnesses - they started about i860 and their mem- 
bership in 1 96 1 was 1,194,070* In addition they have more 
missionaries than any other Christian denomination except the 
Baptists and they run forty-four publishing houses which print 
309 publications in 218 different languages. Thus although the 
growth of Jehovah's Witnesses is impressive considered in isola- 
tion, it is more than matched by the expansion of other sects and 
therefore cannot be used, as the Witnesses use it, as proof that 
they have the Truth. 


4* The Witnesses' View of History 

The previous chapters give the relevant facts necessary 
for an understanding of the historical development of the 
Witness movement. These facts are unknown to many 
Jehovah's Witnesses because during the last twenty years the 
Watchtower Society has developed and taught its own interpre- 
tation of history. The Society believes that the most important 
reason for the existence of mankind, as revealed in the Bible, is 
the vindication of Jehovah God over Satan. They say that 
originally Adam and Eve were led astray by Satan, who set him- 
self up as an opposer to Jehovah; in effect Satan challenged 
Jehovah that he could prove himself more powerful than God by 
corrupting all of mankind. Instead of destroying Satan, Jehovah 
decided to accept the challenge to prove to the rest of creation 
that Satan was a liar (John 8 : 44). The Society believes that 
Jehovah set a time limit of 6,000 years for this challenge. 1 He 
allowed Satan every opportunity to turn mankind from true 
worship and if at any time Satan succeeded in corrupting every 
human being then he would have won. According to the Society 
there has always been at least one faithful human being on earth 
since the time of Abel and the continuous presence of these 
'faithful witnesses of Jehovah' has proved Satan a liar and vindi- 
cated Jehovah. The Bible says that Abel was the first 'true wor- 
shipper' {Genesis 4 : 4) and he was followed by Enoch, Noah, 
Abraham, Isaac and many more, forming an unbroken chain 
until the time of Christ. 

The Society claims that its interpretation of history as a global 
drama between Jehovah and Satan is supported by the Bible, For 
example, the 'great crowd of witnesses' mentioned in Hebrews 
(chapters n and 12) is none other than the unbroken chain of 
faithful men who preserved true worship before the time of 
Christ. These are the people referred to when we read in Jehovah's 
Witnesses in the Divine Purpose-. 'Jehovah's witnesses axe the most 
ancient religious group of worshippers of the true God, the 


Millions Now Living Will Never Die 

people whose history runs back further than any religious de- 
nomination of Christendom, or even of Jewry* (p. 8). Although 
the Bible traces a succession of faithful men on earth from Abel 
down to the restoration of Jerusalem there are still about 300 
years to be accounted for until the coming of Jesus. The Society, 
however, assumes that there must have been some faithful men 
living during that time - otherwise Satan would have won the 
challenge, which is clearly unacceptable to the Witnesses. 

This far their theory can be corroborated by the Bible but the 
Society's view of what happened after the time of Christ is dia- 
metrically opposed to the opinions of secular historians. The 
orthodox view is that after the time of Christ the new Christian 
religion expanded and grew powerful despite persecution. Then 
the Christian religion became embodied in the Roman Catholic 
Church which has continued to the present day with offshoots 
such as the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Protestant faiths; 
today Christianity is represented by all these churches, collec- 
tively called Christendom, Contrary to all this the Watchtower 
Society believes that after 100 a.d, the Christian beliefs became 
controversial and were subsequently amalgamated with pagan 
ideas. Gnostics, Syncretists and numerous other sects were 
causing dissension even at the time of Paul but after bis death, 
says the Society, the truth was lost and pagan philosophy and 
ritual took its place. Since the first century Christendom has ad- 
vanced false teachings - and only here and there, claim the Wit- 
nesses, has a glimmer of truth shone forth. They believe that 
movements such as Arianism, Waldenses, Lollards, etc., were 
attempts to reach the original truth and all were eventually 
squashed by the established Church. Such movements were 
sufficient, however, to maintain the unbroken thread of faithful 
men who continued to vindicate Jehovah God, 

When the 6,ooo years end in 1975 God can justifiably arrange 
the destruction of Satan, having answered his challenge. The 
Witnesses believe that they are the last in the long chain of faith- 
ful men: they are God's present representatives on earth and 
hence they are helping to vindicate God's name and proving 
Satan a liar* They describe themselves as follows: 

Consequently it became necessary for Jehovah, in fulfilment of his 
own prophecy, to raise up his witnesses in these modern times, not 
as a new religion, but as a climax to the long succession of witnesses 



The Witnesses 9 View of History 

that he has had down through the past milleniums all the way back 
to Abel 2 

The Witnesses point out with pride their place in the divine plan. 
In Marley Cole's book we are presented with a flow of eloquence 
which raises the Witnesses to the heights of historical importance: 

Jehovah's Witnesses feel that when their immediate predecessors, 
the Bible Students, plunged into an "objective examination* of the 
doctrines of Christianity they were taking the biggest single step 
since the days of Jesus towards restoring 'doctrinal teachings origi- 
nating in the Bible', . . * Here was a movement that would collide 
dramatically with the whole body and soul of Christendom. 3 

Marley Cole expresses admirably the Witnesses' view of them- 
selves, but this view is not in accord with the facts. We have 
already seen that the Bible Students had little to do with 'objec- 
tive examination* of anything and we should also look a little 
more closely at the Witnesses' claims to be connected with 
reformers such as Wycliffe, Waldo, Luther, etc* 

The Witnesses are, of course, at liberty to express their admira- 
tion of religious figures of the past; both Russell and Rutherford 
admired the 'heretical' movements that had opposed the Catholic 
Church. In Ziorfs Watch Tower ist April 191 9 the seven messengers 
of Revelation are said to be (1) Paul, (2) St. John, (3) Arius, 
(4) Waldo, (5) Wycliffe, (6) Luther, (7) Charles Taze Russell, 'But 
the greatest of these are Paul and Charles Taze Russell'. 4 The 
Witnesses may well feel that there is a connection between these 
seven, but there is very little evidence to link Russell with the 
others. Marley Cole claims that the Witnesses have preserved 
'numerous Lollard practices' and 'retained a number of features 
of Waldensian Christianity', but this is both exaggerated and mis- 
leading. Of the 'numerous' Lollard practices, the only one 
peculiar to Jehovah's Witnesses appears to be 'a personal and 
individual ministry* - the others are common to most other 
Protestant religions. Doctrinally the Witnesses are no nearer the 
Lollards than modern-day Church of England. The Lollards dis- 
agreed with Roman Catholic practices (such as indulgences) and 
with a few 'Roman' doctrines (such as transubstantiation) but 
they believed in Hell-Fire, the Trinity and Immortality of the 
Soul -which means they have more in common with other 
Protestant faiths than Jehovah's Witnesses. A similar comparison 


Millions Now Living Will Never Die 

with Waldo, Wyclifle, Luther and so on, indicates that the estab- 
lished Protestant churches are their successors and not The 
Watchtower Society. 

It might be argued that the Witnesses want to be connected 
with these people not just to fit in with the global drama in which 
they are helping to vindicate God* In the past their radical 
doctrines have often caused them to be despised and while the 
Witnesses are proud of persecution they do not like contempt; to 
avoid this they try to enhance their reputation with grandiose 
historical theories which they hope will impress both their own 
members and outsiders. This theme of inflated self-importance is 
evident in what the Witnesses think of their own history since 
the time of Pastor Russell. There are many ways of looking at the 
facts, but the Witnesses adopt an attitude that can only mislead 

They believe that Pastor Russell 'rediscovered' the basic 
Biblical truths and during his lifetime came to a 'clearer under- 
standing* of many scriptural prophecies. The Witnesses say this 
happened because God had chosen him to accomplish the task of 
warning the whole world of the imminent second coming of 
Jesus. God had not intended that the complete truth should be 
revealed immediately, but that as time went on the 'light of truth 
would get stronger*. Nevertheless Pastor Russell clearly recog- 
nised the importance of the year 1914 and for forty years he 
preached that 'this date would usher in the greatest trouble the 
world had ever seen*. In 1914 Jesus fulfilled the prophecy in 
Revelation 12 by casting Satan out of heaven to the 'spiritual 
vicinity' of the earth. This precipitated the First World War which 
Jesus stopped in 191 8 in order to save the lives of the very few 
faithful ones who remained (Rutherford and the others were im- 
prisoned and the rest of the movement was virtually inactive). A 
separation of the Bible Students had also occurred at this time in 
fulfilment of Matthew 25. In 191 8 then, say the Witnesses, Jesus 
'cut short the days of tribulation* {Matthew 24: 22) and from this 
time on the organisation was blessed with a brighter 'light of 
truth'. Particularly since 1932 it has been free of 'unclean prac- 
tices and beliefs' and has informed the whole world of the coming 
Battle of Armageddon. 

I should like to stress that the above is the Witnesses' view of 
their history; as we have seen, it is far from the truth in many 


The Witnesses' View of History 

respects. For example, the Society uses the collapse of the move- 
ment in 191 8 as further evidence for its being the true religionl 
This is evidently the result of years of indoctrination under 
Rutherford when the above interpretations were thought up to 
account for inconvenient facts - it is certainly an after-the-event 
ad hoc argument. It is possible for the Society to teach these mis- 
leading historical generalisations because the Witnesses accept 
without question what is taught by the Society; in any case the 
Society discourages independent investigation of the historical 
facts. Most Witnesses would accept the Society dogmas even in 
the face of contradictory documentary evidence - they simply 
think up some 'explanation' for the 'apparent discrepancy'. 5 

Until recently the Society did not admit that any mistakes were 
made by Russell or Rutherford - just that the light of truth was 
getting stronger. It is possible that the Society is now changing 
its attitude slightly: admitting that some mistakes were made in 
the past while remaining certain that they are God's chosen 
organisation. This is succinctly summed up in a statement by 
A. H. Macmillan: With the passing of the years I have had many 
trials and have had to make a number of adjustments in my 
understanding of God's Word, but I saw no reason to permit 
such things to disturb my faith/ 6 This attitude is typical of the 
Witnesses; somewhere in the back of their minds is the certainty 
that the Society is right - whatever doctrinal contradictions 
(Macmillan calls them 'adjustments') or unfulfilled prophecies or 
inconvenient facts, the Witnesses remain certain that the Society 
is right, and they are proud of this unshakable faith! I quote 
extensively from the 1st June 1967 Watchtomr to illustrate the 
current Society line: 

Today on earth there is a people numbering more than one million 
who are in complete unity. . . . All the more amazing is it that these 
people are located in 199 lands, are of all colors and nationalities 
and speak different tongues. . . , We see changes taking place in the 
organisation to make it at all times more clean, , . . For instance, 
what father would sit his baby down before a big steak and tell him 
to eat it? The baby would not even understand what the father 
said, , > . However as the baby grew up he could eat heavy food. 
He could take training and learn to do difficult tasks. . . . Sometimes 
he would come across things he had never handled before, and 
might try to go ahead on unfamiliar ground and make a mistake. 


Millions Now Uvtng Will Neper Die 

But, if obedient, when corrected in a loving manner, he would 
change and from there on proceed to do the job in the right way. 
It is this way with Jehovah's people, his organisation. Some have 
called Jehovah's witnesses 'false prophets* because, in times past, 
they have viewed things a certain way and, later, have made a 
change through the official publications* Or, there may have been 
practices by some members in the organisation that have been 
permitted to continue for a time for lack of knowledge as to how 
to handle these things, but later they have learned from God's 
Word what his will is and have gone ahead and made the necessary 
corrections. False prophets do not correct themselves. God's people 
do. And it is noticeable even to the people on whom they call that 
Jehovah's witnesses as an organisation are growing to maturity, 
becoming ever kinder, more loving and tactful and more effective 
in their preaching work. ... A glimpse at the history of Jehovah's 
witnesses will illustrate its progressive advancement. In 191 8 they 
had gone into a state of inactivity due to an unclear understanding 
of their Christian position. . . . Since 1938 there have been further 
refinements as the theocratic organisation continues to grow toward 
perfection. . . . Before 1938 Jehovah was not bringing great in- 
creases of new members into his organisation, for it was not ready 
to care for them in the proper way. 

This massive apologia concludes with a glowing description of 
the New World Society today. 

The above explanations are clearly preferable to the previous 
Society line that they had always been right. Nevertheless the 
Society is still not telling the whole truth. They do not say that 
up to now they have not admitted their mistakes, no wonder they 
were called 'false prophets*. They are also very coy about how 
much they confess; my impression is that they only admit to 
errors that are blatant and liable to cause individual Witnesses to 
fall away; if possible they sweep most of their past errors under 
the carpet of soothing historical generalisations. It is typical of 
the Society to use even their errors as evidence that they are right: 
'False prophets do not correct themselves*. They are making a 
virtue out of their repentance, forgetting about the fact that they 
were wrong\ Of course it is better to repent of error than not to 
repent, but I should have thought it was more typical of God's 
organisation not to make errors at all. The Witnesses* reply to 
this is that human beings are fallible and even those in God's 
organisation are not immune from error. It seems to me, however, 


The Witnesses* View of History 

that this makes it difficult to decide which is God's organisation if 
that too is prone to error, and the New World Society has made 
so many errors in the past that they do not appear to be the likely 

The above quotation from The Watchiower is the 'official' 
Society line but the Witnesses in fact spend very little time 
dwelling on errors in the past, they prefer to emphasise the 
continuity of belief since Russell rather than any changes that have 
occurred* The following quotations from the 1968 Yearbook are 
typical of the Society's desire to do this: 

We would like to review with you a bit of history to see how great 
a witness to all the nations about God's Kingdom has been given, 
and who is giving such witness. As far back as December of 1888 
the Watch Tower magazine stated: 'Notwithstanding that fact that 
sectarianism has blinded the hearts of the vast majority of those who 
own Christ's name, so that they cannot appreciate the real good 
tidings of the coming Kingdom of God and the blessed work it is 
to accomplish, yet God has so arranged that the gospel itself is 
being preached (declared), as a "witness", for use in the coming age/ 
Even then in iB8S, the Watch Tower Society saw the need for 
declaring the good news of God's kingdom. 7 

The nest twenty-two pages of the Yearbook emphasise in detail 
that Rutherford recognised the same 'need for declaring the good 
news of God's kingdom*, the conclusion being: 'So you see, 
Jehovah's witnesses had not changed their message about God's 
kingdom after so many years.' 8 

Not only do the Witnesses believe that they have consistently 
taught the same true doctrines since the time of Russell, they also 
believe their role in world history is of vital importance. Through- 
out their literature the words 'historic', 'epoch-making', 'momen- 
tous', etc., are used to describe their history. This is consistent 
with their theory that God and Satan are the heavenly protagon- 
ists for the minds of men and that the only thing of importance 
in the world today is the presence of witnesses to Jehovah who 
continue to vindicate His name. Thus the Society sees all world 
history in terms of this idea (for example, their explanation of the 
First World War) and in Jehovah's Witnesses in the Divine Purpose 
they often exaggerate their role in world affairs: 

the evidence had been mounting to identify this body of Christians 
[themselves] as having a singular place in the divine purpose . . . nor 


Millions New Uving Will Never Die 

could anyone realise how the comparatively small voice emanating 
from the modest quarters of the Society could one day fill the earth 
with such power and strength that the very foundations on which 
the massive structures of Satan's entire world rested would be 
shaken. t . . Had it not been for the mercy and loyal love of Jehovah, 
the next few months would have been ratal for the Watch Tower 
Society. 9 

They go as far as to claim that Satan's demons guided German 
bombers to attack the London Bethel (the Witnesses' head- 
quarters in England) during the last war; 

To show how the demons made the London Bethel a target, in 
three months 29 high explosive bombs have fallen within a few 
hundred yards of the Society's office, the nearest being across the 

street 30 yards away. 10 

While this attitude might be justified by the Witnesses' overall 
conception of history, they sometimes assume that people in the 
outside world see life in the same way: they evidently wish people 
to regard them as important emissaries of God rather than an 
obscure sect. Rutherford introduced the idea of passing resolu- 
tions at international assemblies indicting the clergy, business* 
men or some other powerful group; recently the Witnesses went 
as far as distributing millions of copies of a public address 
specifically to clergymen and businessmen throughout the 
world. 11 While it is easy for unbelievers to laugh at the Wit- 
nesses' aspirations, their attitude is consistent with their sincere 
belief that there are only two important groups of people in the 
world today ~ those for Jehovah and those against Him. We have 
seen that logically the Witnesses should not expect their history 
to substantiate this idea (although of course they believe it does) 
so the crux of this discussion lies in the credibility of their doc- 
trines. If the Witnesses can build a convincing case from the 
Bible then they may well be justified in overlooking the dis- 
crepancies and contradictions inherent in their historical de- 


5. The Basic Beliefs of Jehovah's 

The movement started by Pastor Russell was not 
characterised by its doctrines. The primary concern of 
Russell was Biblical chronology and the salvation of 
himself and his followers. Jehovah's Witnesses today claim that 
Russell effected a 'doctrinal revolution* but as we have seen this 
is not really true. He borrowed most of his beliefs from the 
Adventists and devoted a comparatively small part of his books 
to doctrines. Even the schism of 191 8 essentially concerned 
personalities; all the differing parties accepted the beliefs of 
Russell concerning God, Jesus, Man and so on. The present-day 
doctrines of the Witnesses consist of these 'time-independent' 
beliefs and also the eschatological and interpretive ideas intro- 
duced by Rutherford, Knorr and Franz. 

How can we effectively discuss these beliefs? The subject of 
theology is a vexed one and suffers from an unpopularity and 
irrelevance to the rest of the world, academic or otherwise. It 
might be as well to mention, however, that as far as most theo- 
logians are concerned the Witnesses (and most other modern 
sects) are talking doctrinal rubbish. There is, nevertheless, one 
very good reason for not discussing the Witnesses from a 
rigorous theological viewpoint: both sides start off from entirely 
different assumptions and have little or no common ground for 
a meaningful comparison. Thus I feel it would give an incorrect 
view of the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses to judge them on the 
beliefs of the established Church. They have developed outside 
conventional Christianity and their doctrines stem from radical 
nonconformist ideas prevalent in the nineteenth century, I have 
therefore taken the doctrinal development of this modern sect 
along its own lines ; by which it must stand or fall. The Witnesses 
have created their own criterion for belief, it involves the one 
basic assumption or premiss: the Bible \ from first to last y is the 

G 85 

Millions Now Living Will Never Die 

inspired word of God* It follows that their doctrines are, of necessity, 
nonsensical judged on other premisses (for example, those of 
conventional theologians)* To understand what the Witnesses 
have to say (right or wrong) we must judge their ideas on the 
basis of the above assumption. 

It will later become evident that in practice the ultimate 
criterion for them is the opinion of the governing body of the 
Watchtower Bible and Tract Society - more commonly referred 
to as "the Society'. In his book The Four Major Cults Hoekema 
devotes eleven pages to establishing that the Society and not the 
Bible is their source of authority, nevertheless the Witnesses will 
deny this. They believe their message can be supported directly 
from the scriptures, and their beliefs consist simply of a list of 
Bible references and the logical conclusions to be drawn from 

To the general public Jehovah's Witnesses are a doctrinal 
enigma. They could be described as a fundamentalist noncon- 
formist group having something in common with the Baptists, 
Seventh Day Adventists, Unitarians, etc. Despite these similari- 
ties it is misleading to associate them with any other modern 
belief. In a sense they are fundamentalists: they regard all sixty- 
six books of the Protestant canon as divinely inspired but they do 
not take all the Bible literally. The exceptions are the recorded 
visions (in Daniel, Revelation, etc.); the rest of the narra- 
tive they regard as historically accurate. Hence they believe the 
creation story (with a slight modification!), that the Flood actually 
occurred and that Jonah really was swallowed by a whale. In 
what follows it should be borne in mind that each of their doc- 
trines is examined in the light of their own criterion. The justi- 
fication for that criterion is examined later. 


Jebovah God 

Jehovah's Witnesses' teachings about God are essentially simple, 
some would say naive. Their God is the God of the Old Testa- 
ment (or Hebrew Scriptures as they prefer to call it) 1 - an an- 
thropomorphic spirit, all-powerful, all-knowing and from ever- 
lasting to everlasting. Many scriptures substantiate this, 2 The 
Witnesses are at pains to point out to the rest of Christendom 


The Basic Beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses 

that God has a personal name - Jehovah, which should now be 
made prominent. This apparently small matter is very important 
to the Witnesses* They quote Exodus 9 : 16 to justify the adver- 
tising of this name: ' And in very deed for this cause have I raised 
thee up, for to show in thee my power; and that my name may 
be declared throughout all the earth/ 

God's name is given as Jehovah four times in the King James 
version of the Bible* In the original Old Testament manuscripts, 
however, it occurs 6,823 t i mes as the Hebrew tetragrammaton 
YHWH but it was generally replaced with 'the Lord* or 'God* by 
superstitious scribes. The Witnesses have reinstated the word 
Jehovah all 6,823 times in their New World Translation of the Hebrew 
Scriptures? They view the actual word Jehovah with almost super- 
stitious awe themselves, and they generally ignore other English 
versions of the tetragrammaton such as Yahweh, Jahwah, etc. 
The Witnesses go so far as to say that God's enemies are trying 
to detract from His glory by repressing His personal name. They 
say: 'The t eligious leaders have kept them [the people] in ignor- 
ance of this holiest and greatest name in all the realm of the 
living/ 4 The Witnesses have come to the conclusion that the 
vindication of God's name is the most important theme in the 
Bible (this will be fully discussed in the next chapter). 

The Trinity Doctrine 

At this point the Witnesses part company with most other 
Christian religions in declaring the Trinity doctrine unscripturah 
The Bible, they say, presents us with a God in whose image man 
is made - there is no mystery about him. He is a single person- 
ality, as is his son Jesus, and they bear a relation to each other 
analogous to that of father and son. For their individual view of 
God, Jehovah's Witnesses rely on the scriptures that directly 
emphasise that God is unique and that Jesus is His son or first 
begotten spirit (1 Corinthians 11:3). Jesus himself pointed out his 
inferior position when he said: 'My father is greater than I' 
(John 14 : 28) and further confirmed: 'Not my will, but thine be 
done* (Luke zz : 28). In Let God be True the Witnesses argue 

The truth of the matter is that the Word [John 1:1] is God's Son 
who became Jesus Christ and who did have a beginning. At Reve- 


Millions Now hiving Will Never Die 

lation 3 : 14, he distinctly says he was the beginning of the creation 
by God. That is why he is spoken of as the 'only begotten* of the 
Father, at John 1 : 14, 'And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt 
among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten 
of the Father*) full of grace and truth\ The aposde Paul sustains 
this truth when he speaks of Jesus as *the firstborn of every creature' 
{Cokssians 1:15). So again the trinity teachers must defend them- 
selves by stating, It's a mystery I' 5 

To Jehovah's Witnesses the scriptural evidence is clear, logical 
and indisputable. This view is unfortunately encouraged by those 
who claim allegiance to the Trinity doctrine and yet know 
nothing about it. Even clergymen are sometimes touted or 
silenced by Witnesses who have the essential scriptures at their 
fingertips. Nevertheless, Jehovah's Witnesses are not really 
justified in assuming that this proves they are right and that the 
Bible does unequivocally teach a non-Trinity doctrine. Here, and 
later, it becomes obvious that the scriptural evidence is at best 
ambiguous, at worst hopelessly contradictory. In Make Sure of All 
Things the Witnesses list twenty-two texts that they claim are 
'misapplied' to prove the Trinity doctrine. One of these they 
show to be spurious (1 John 5 : 7) and several others to be wrongly 
translated, but if they examined the remaining ones carefully they 
would find substantial evidence for the Trinity doctrine* They 
might ask themselves why the Bible has so many texts that can 
be 'misinterpreted'! 

The problem of the divinity of Christ is a great deal older than 
the superficial explanations of the Witnesses - the Bible appar- 
ently tells us Christ is God and the early church fathers resolved 
this paradox in the Trinity doctrine, quoting John 14 : 9: 'he that 
hath seen me hath seen the father . . .' which they did not interpret 
figuratively as the Jehovah's Witnesses do today. 6 In his book 
Into the Light of Christianity William Schnell provides a detailed 
and very forceful argument in support of the Trinity. He points 
out that the Watchtower Society gives the impression that only 
a few scriptures actually support the Trinity and that even these 
are explained away by careful study. In fact Schnell produces 
more than 150 pro-Trinity texts to prove that this is not so, 7 

What becomes apparent is that a case can be made for both 
sides based solely on scripture texts. The King James Version 
was translated with a bias favouring the Trinity and the New 


The Bask Beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses 

World. Translation of the Bible is equally biased against the 
doctrine. It appears that the Bible does support the Trinity, in 
certain texts, but also denies the Trinity, in certain other texts. 
Pouring scorn on trinitarians, as the Witnesses do, is both unfair 
and unjust. Jehovah's Witnesses attack the doctrine on another 
front by tracing it back to Babylonian, Hindu and Egyptian 
myths. The Hindus, for instance, have a 'trinity* consisting of 
Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver, and Siva the Des- 
troyer, 8 The Witnesses claim the Christian doctrine of the Trinity 
springs from these pagan sources and ipso facto is not of God, 
This deep distrust of all things paganly derived is characteristic 
of them. They do not mention, however, that monotheism, the 
doctrine they advocate, also has a celebrated pagan history dating 
from Akhnaten 'the first monotheist\ Secular historians believe 
monotheism to be a relatively recent belief, but nevertheless from 
'pagan' origins. 

Jesus Christ 

Jehovah's Witnesses firmly believe that only Jehovah God is 
eternal and hence at some point in time Jesus was created. The 
Bible certainly teaches that Jesus was not just an ordinary man - 
he was in fact the Son of God and 'the firstborn of all creation'. 9 

Jehovah's Witnesses accept the life of Jesus as recorded in the 
Gospels, including the miracles. In common with most Christians 
they believe that Jesus was the Messiah. 10 While on earth, they 
argue, Jesus was a perfect human being {Hebrews 7:26), and with 
respect to his birth they have this to say: 

God's principal Son in heaven, God's 'only-begotten Son', emptied 
himself of his heavenly form and glory, that God, his heavenly 
Father, might miraculously transfer his life to the womb of Mary 
the Jewish virgin, and have a human birth and come to be 'in the 
likeness of men*. Thus God's Son came down from heaven. 11 

The Witnesses do not accept the Catholic doctrine of Immaculate 
Conception and believe Jesus to have had no superhuman 
physical form while he lived as a man on earth. In discussing the 
nature of Jesus they say: 'The virgin Mary, being human and 
able only to produce a body of flesh and blood from her womb, 
could never bring forth Jesus as a spirit creature.' 12 This sounds 
plausible, but the whole point is that being human Mary shouldn't 


Millions Now Living Will Never Die 

have been able to conceive Jesus in the first place! If God could 
cause a virgin birth then we might logically expect any amalgam 
of flesh and spirit to result from it. The scriptures tell us what 
happened - it's not necessary to spoil the case by shady argu- 
ment. 13 

Tie Holy Spirit 

What of the mysterious third member of the Trinity - the Holy 
Spirit? The Witnesses say it is simply the active force of God, and 
refer to the many texts that attest to the 'spirit* or 'holy spirit* 
from God activating or inspiring men, 14 This is akin to the 
paraclete or helper promised by Jesus at John 14 : 16, 17, 26. This 
view is not accepted by the orthodox churches who ascribe a more 
complex nature to the Holy Spirit. 15 

Satan the Devil 

Together Jehovah God and Jesus brought into existence a great 
number of perfect spiritual beings all of whom were in possession 
of free-will. The Witnesses believe Satan was originally one of 
these loyal spirits: 

The one now the Devil was not always such. Time was when he 
enjoyed a high position in God's family. He was a spirit son of 
God. . * . In keeping with his being a son of God, he was given a 
position of great trust and responsibility: that of overseer of human- 
kind. The designated term for this office was, as stated in the Bible 
at E^ekiel 28 ; 14, 'the anointed cherub that covereth\ . . . For a time 
all went well in the universe and there was perfect peace throughout 
that righteous world. But it did not last. Greed and avariciousness 
entered in* The covering cherub had great visions. He rebelled 
against the theocratic arrangement. . . . His self-admiring, self- 
seeking heart condition was first manifested by his cunningly and 
stealthily introducing sin into the world. God had told the perfect 
human pair not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil 
that they might not die. The covering cherub, however, induced 
Eve to disobey. Through his visible mouthpiece, the serpent, he 
said to her: ' Ye shall not surely die*. That was the first lie. It branded 
the cherub as the 'father of the lie* - John 8 : 44 nw. 16 

Since the deception in the Garden of Eden, Satan has continued 
to mislead the world (1 John 3:8). Many scriptures describe him 
as the ruler or god of this system of things and significantly he is 


The Bask Beliefs of Jehovah* s Witnesses 

the source of all pain and sorrow. 17 Thus the Witnesses believe 
in a personal devil and not an eternal force of evil. In this context 
the story of Job Is significant. In Job, chapter i, Satan is described 
as a 'Son of God* who comes into His presence 'from going to 
and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it 5 
(Job 1:7)* Satan challenges God to allow His faithful servant Job 
to be tested. Jehovah's Witnesses see this as a picture of the 
global drama, in which God has allowed sinful man to live on 
earth to be tested, ultimately to vindicate God's name and prove 
Satan a liar* This is why God did not immediately destroy Adam 
in the Garden of Eden. 18 

To obtain a detailed picture of Satan the devil the Witnesses 
refer to E^ekiel chapter 28, where the prophecy against the king 
of Tyre is thought to apply to Satan also: 

Thou hast been in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone 
was thy covering. ♦ . t Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; 
and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God . * . 19 

From this the Witnesses deduce that Satan was the angel ap- 
pointed by God to oversee the earth. He was thus in a unique 
position to know exactly what happened there and to interfere as 
he did. The Bible also refers to a great host of angels, demons and 
forces whom Satan has led astray and who form his spiritual 
organisation (Ephesians 6 : 11, 12) - some of these materialised in 
human form before the flood (Genesis 6). The Witnesses believe 
that spiritualistic phenomena are caused by evil spirits imperson- 
ating dead human beings. The Bible, they say, supports this 
conclusion as it identifies mediums and spiritualism with demon 
activity. 20 


Jehovah's Witnesses accept the account of the Fall as recorded 
in Genesis. They believe man was originally perfect but lost that 
perfection when he sinned and became subject to death. 21 Since 
then, say the Witnesses, man has been mortal and the doctrine of 
the immortal soul is not supported by the Bible. Their arguments 
are thorough and convincing: 

. ♦ , we find that in the King James Version of the Bible the English 
word 'soul J is used to translate the Hebrew word nephesb and the 
Greek work psuche. The word nephesh occurs 750 times in the 

9 1 

Millions Now Living Will Never Die 

Hebrew Scriptures and the word psuche occurs 102 times in the 
Greek Scriptures (Westcott and Hort Greek Text), By using an 
analytical concordance, such as Young's, a person can trace each 
occurrence of these two original words. The result of such a thorough 
search will be that you cannot find a single text in which either of these 
original words for 'soul' is connected or associated with such words 
as 'immortal, everlasting, eternal or deathless*. There is not one 
Bible test that states the human soul is immortal Let us abide by 
the facts of God's Word, and not by the philosophies of men* 22 

They point out further that there are fifty-four texts where the 
soul (either nephesh or psuche) dies, as for example at E^ekiel 1 8 : 
4, 20. In fact the Bible appears to support the conclusion that the 
word 'soul* simply means 'living human being' when applied to 
man. It may surprise some to know that the Bible refers to 
animals having (or more precisely being) souls, 23 

How do the Witnesses account for the origin of the doctrine 
of the immortal soul? Their simple solution is in Let God be True: 

The only text in the Bible that states that disobedient man would 
not surely die is found at Genesis 3 : 4: 'And the serpent said unto the 
woman, Ye shall not surely die,' Thus it is seen that the serpent 
(the Devil) is the one that originated the doctrine of the inherent 
immortality of the soul. This doctrine is the main one that the 
Devil has used down through the ages to deceive the people and 
hold them in bondage to religion. 21 

The same problem unfortunately arises here as with the Trinity 
doctrine. Having presented their scriptural evidence the Wit- 
nesses now have to interpret (or explain away) the texts that do 
not fit in - texts that are used by their opponents to establish the 
contrary case. Consider for instance Eeclesiastes 12:7: 'Then shall 
the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return 
unto God who gave it', and Matthew 10:28: *And fear not them 
which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather 
fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell/ 
These and other scriptures are discussed at length by J, E. 
Forrest in Errors of Russellism while W. J. Schnell in Into the Eight 
of Christianity devotes three chapters to proving the soul is 
immortal. His arguments are sometimes convincing, mostly not. 
As one might expect, proving the soul immortal by picking out 
a few dozen texts is a lot easier than disproving the Witnesses by 
reinterpreting the texts they quotel 


The Bask Beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses 

Hell -Is It Hot? 

One of the first definitive beliefs of Charles Taze Russell was 
the denial of a fiery hell. Russell came to the conclusion that the 
Bible did not support a hell of everlasting torment and that the 
indiscriminate translation of the Hebrew sheol and Greek hades 
as 'hell-fire' was simply begging the question. An examination of 
the sixty-five references to hell (—Sheol) in the Old Testament 
establishes that it simply means the common grave of mankind 
where 'there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wis- 
dom, . , .' (Ecclesiastes 9 : 10). In moments of depression both 
Jacob and Job wanted to enter Sheol, This suggests that it was 
nothing more than a completely insensible state. 25 The New 
Testament picture, however, is not so clear* There are three 
Greek words that are rendered 'hell' or 'hell-fire'. The most 
common is hades which is the Greek equivalent of sheol Jehovah's 
Witnesses claim that hades cannot mean a place of fiery torment. 
As evidence they quote Acts 2: 24-7, 31 and Romans 10 : 6, 7 
which mention that Jesus himself was in hades. This, they argue, 
no Christian could accept if hell were a place of eternal torment. 
Jehovah's Witnesses have this to say about the second Greek 
word gehetma (translated 'hell' or 'hell-fire'): 

'Gehenna' is translated 'hell' but literally means 'valley of Hinnom', 
as named at Jeremiah 7:51 and 19 : 5 , 6 .... It was originally a valley 
outside Jerusalem's southwest wall and where the Israelites, falling 
into the snare of religion, set up an image of the demon-god Molech 
and sacrificed their children alive in the fire to the Devil. Therefore 
faithful King Josiah destroyed that religious system of torment and 
defiled the valley of Hinnom, 'that no man might make his son 
or his daughter to pass through fire to Molech' (2 Kings 25 : to). 
Thereafter the valley of Hinnom, or Gehenna, became Jerusalem's 
dump or incinerator, where the city's refuse was dumped and 
destroyed by burning. To increase the destructive power of the 
flames of the fire the Jews added brimstone of sulphur. Occasionally 
the dead bodies of criminals, who were considered too vile to have 
any hope of resurrection, were not buried in a grave but were cast 
into the fire of Gehenna to be burned to ashes. If any carcases failed 
to reach the fire and were left to corrupt, then the worms which 
spread rapidly in the heat consumed the body and did not die until 
they had thus disposed of it. Hence the valley of Hinnom or Gehenna, 
became a symbol, not of eternal torment, but of the place or con- 


Millions Now Living Will Never Die 

dition of everlasting condemnation ('damnation'), and the flames 
of Gehenna symbolised the everlasting destruction, from which 
there can be no recovery or resurrection. 26 

The third word tartaros is mentioned only once in the New 
Testament, and the Witnesses say it applies to *a condition of 
condemned ignorance for disobedient spirits (see z Peter 2:4). 
So far so good. Now the Witnesses have to explain those scrip- 
tures that apparently contradict their conclusions - Revelation 
20 : 10; Mark 9 : 47, 48; Matthew 23 : 33; Ijtke 16 : 19-3 1, etc. 

Consider for instance the Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man 
vxljuke 16 : 19-31: 

t . . And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by 
the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was 
buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth 
Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, 
Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may 
dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am 
tormented in this flame. . . . 

This would appear to uphold unequivocally the idea of a fiery 
hell but the Witnesses try to escape this conclusion by saying that 
the parable is wholly allegorical - that it applies in a symbolic 
way to a later time. Their view of exactly what it applies to has 
not always been the same. Pastor Russell believed the Rich Man 
was symbolic of the Jewish Nation. 27 Rutherford thought the 
Rich Man, as a figure of evil, pictured the clergy of Christendom 
while Lazarus 'represented* modern-day Jehovah's Witnesses* 
There is at least one serious objection to this interpretation: if the 
story is symbolic, is it possible that Jesus used symbols that 
Jehovah's Witnesses believe to be completely untrue? A charac- 
teristic of the other parables is that the literal story embodies an 
elementary truth. Yet in this parable Jesus appears to give 
credence to the idea of a 'heaven* and a *helT! 

These and other objections are discussed by W. J* Schnell who 
spends forty-six pages of his book Into the Ugbt of Christianity 
trying to disprove Jehovah's Witnesses* doctrines on hell. 
Schnell' s arguments are partly based on a variable meaning for 
the word sheol: 'In many places in the Hebrew Bible we see the 
context limit the meaning of this remarkable word Sheol just to 
the grave. But in far more places the context gives its full meaning 


The Basic Beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses 

much broader play as the place of the unseen dead/ 28 Schnell goes 
on to argue that the scriptures quoted by the Witnesses to suggest 
complete unconsciousness in the grave, for example Ecclesi- 
astes 9:5, ro, merely refer to bodily sense perceptions and not to 
the soul. Both these points seem more debatable than decisive* 
There is some justification, however, for his objection that the 
scriptures quoted by Witnesses are torn out of context. For 
example, in Make Sure of All Things they quote only the latter half 
of Luke 12:5m support of themselves when verse 4 of that chapter 
would seem to contradict them. The whole passage reads: 

And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill 
the body, and after that have no more that they can do* But 
I shall forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him 7 which after he hath 
killed hath power to cast into hell [Gehenna]; yea, I say unto you, Fear 
him. (Luke 12:4, 5 .) 

(I have italicised the part that appears in Make Sure of All Things.) 2 * 
It is perhaps apparent to everyone but the combatants that the 
Bible's testimony is ambiguous. To try to categorically force 
one's opinion on all the relevant texts seems rather absurd. The 
Witnesses should recognise that there are grounds in the Bible for 
believing in hell-fire - this was one good reason why the doctrine 
was advanced by the established Church, not just because they 
were importing Greek and other pagan ideas into Christianity; 
some of these 'pagan' ideas are already in the Bible! Pastor 
Russell had a personal abhorrence of the doctrine of a fiery hell. 
He said: 'If the Bible does teach that eternal torture is the fate of 
all except the saints, it should be preached, yea thundered from 
the housetops weekly, daily, hourly; if it does not so teach, the 
fact should be made known, and the foul stain dishonouring 
God's holy name removed/ Russell also found it necessary to 
advance four reasons why there was no fiery hell. Apparently it 
was not enough that the doctrine was (1) unscriptural, it was 
also (2) unreasonable, (3) contrary to God's love, and (4) repug- 
nant to justice. 30 In view of the somewhat inconclusive nature of 
the Biblical evidence it may be just as well that the Witnesses have 
other reasons for not believing in hell-fire. 

The Ransom 
We now come to one of the thorniest doctrinal problems of the 
Christian Church - that of Jesus' Ransom Sacrifice. Certainly at 


Millions Now Living Will Never Die 

the time of Pastor Russell this belief was fundamental to him and 
his followers, many of whom joined him, stayed with him or left 
him solely because of this one doctrine. Since the time of Russell 
the official Society view has changed considerably* Russell held 
that even the lawless dead would be resurrected to earth under 
Jesus' ransom sacrifice but his successor Judge Rutherford dis- 

It has been contended by some that this text of psalm [Psalms 9 : 17] 

means that the lawless shall be brought forth from the grave, during 
the 1,000 years. (See Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 5, p. 361.) But 
the contest does not support that conclusion, neither does the text 
mean anything of the kind . . . 31 

The w T heel has now come full circle and present Witness theology 
agrees with Russell and not Rutherford* 

The Witnesses now believe that Adam's disobedience led to 
sin and death inherited by his offspring. Romans 5:12 and Genesis 
2:17 tell us that sin entered the world because a perfect human life 
(Adam's) was forfeited. The Witnesses believe there is no re- 
demption from that inherited sin unless the balance is redressed* 
If a perfect human life can be offered to God it will redress the 
balance and expiate man from his sinful inheritance. This primi- 
tive idea is the basis of the Hebrew sacrifices - an offering is made 
to God which bears the sins of the people. 32 

The Bible, say the Witnesses, uses the Hebrew sacrifices (and 
the near sacrifice of Isaac at Genesis chapter 22) as foreshadow- 
ments of that of Jesus, a sacrifice that ransomed mankind. As 
Matthew 20 : 28 says: 'Even as the Son of man came not to be 
ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for 
many.' This ransom frees mankind from the penalties of in- 
herited sin and provides the opportunity of eternal life (Romans 
6 : 23). The Hebrew sacrifices were temporary, and only applied to 
the wilful (as opposed to inherited) sins of the people. Jesus' 
sacrifice, however, is permanent and applies to inherited sin. As 
Hebrew 9 : 24-6 explains: 

For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, 
which are the figures of true; but into heaven itself, now to appear 
in the presence of God for us: Nor yet that he should offer himself 
often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with 
blood of others: For then must he often have suffered since the 


The Basic Beliefs of Jehovah* s Witnesses 

foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world 
hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 

Jesus' death once was sufficient for all men and this is confirmed 
at Hebrews z : 9, John 1 : 29 and Romans 5:19* The Hebrew sacrifices 
were effective only for Hebrews but Jesus ransoms all mankind, 
Jews and Gentiles (Galatians 3:13). John 3 : 36 warns us that Jesus* 
ransom may be offered to all but it does not automatically redeem 
us all - we must have faith in it, 'He that believeth on the Son 
hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not 
see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him/ This idea is re- 
pugnant to some conventional theologians. It is true that 
Jehovah's Witnesses* doctrine of salvation is completely alien to 
that of the Church; it is not, however, inherently irrational. 33 

Jehovah's Witnesses believe that Jesus, being conceived in a 
virgin, was not subject to inherited sin (see Psalms 51:5). He 
remained free from sin during his time on earth so that at his 
death he could offer up a perfect human life to God (Hebrews 
5 : 8, 9). The Witnesses hold that there is a parallel between the 
sacrifice of Jesus and the sacrifices under the Mosaic or Law 
covenant. They quote Jeremiah 31 : 31, 32: 

Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new cove- 
nant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not 
according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day 
that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; 
which my covenant they break, although I was an husband unto 
them, saith the Lord. 

There are also New Testament references confirming that this 
promised New Covenant was brought in to supersede the Mosaic 
Covenant. The New Covenant has for mediator Christ Jesus 
whose own blood validates it, 34 The atonement sacrifice des- 
cribed in Leviticus chapter 16 is believed to typify Christ's sacri- 
fice under the New Covenant. 35 For those who object that the 
Mosaic Covenant is described as 'perpetual* in Exodus 31 : i6 > 17 
the Witnesses point out in their New World Translation that the 
Hebrew word here is *ohlahm\ They believe it means 'time 
indefinite' and not 'perpetual*. 

The Church or Congregation of God 

Certain texts in the New Testament mention with approval a 
body of people known as the Church or Congregation of God. 


Millions Now Living Will Never Die 

Who make up this Congregation? Until now we have been 
looking at theological ideas that do not directly concern the 
believer as a participant* The idea of a Congregation of God makes 
the individual believer important in a way that previous doctrinal 
issues did not and this emphasis on the believer is characteristic 
of much Witness theology. The role of participant in Biblical 
prophecy is attractive to Jehovah's Witnesses - for naturally 
their view of the Congregation of God concerns none other than 
themselves. The Witnesses first dispose of rival claims, in par- 
ticular that of the Roman Catholic Church. They maintain firstly 
that Catholic doctrines are in error and secondly that the Roman 
Catholic Church was not founded by the apostle Peter* 

The main scripture used by the Catholics to support their claim 
is Matthew 16 : 18, 'And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, 
and upon this rock I will build my Church; and the gates of hell 
shall not prevail against it/ The Witnesses use the fact that Peter 
(=petros in Greek) is masculine and rock (=petra) is feminine. 
This suggests, they say, that Jesus did not mean Peter was the 
rock. An examination of the context, however, lends support to 
the Catholic view. On the subject of the apostolic succession the 
Witnesses continue: 

Peter wrote the first of his two epistles from Babylon, but there is 
no evidence that Peter even so much as visited Rome, although 
the Holy Scriptures definitely say Paul did (i Peter 5:13)- nor did 
the 1 2 apostles have any successors, for Jesus revealed at Apocalypse 
(or Revelation) 21:14 that there are only 'twelve apostles of the Lamb' 
(Dy). Hence the claim that the Pope as successor to Peter is the head 
of the Church is without any foundation in Scripture or in fact. 36 

Some Catholics believe Peter's mention of Babylon is symbolic 
of Rome - one presumes they are equally free to believe it is 
symbolic of Timbuctoo. 37 Having disposed of their chief rival 
the Witnesses substantiate their own claim. They believe Christ 
to be the chief cornerstone of the Church or Congregation of 
God and the head of the Congregation. 38 They refer to Revela- 
tion 14: 1, 3: 

And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with 
him an hundred and forty and four thousand, having his Father's 
name written in their foreheads. And they sung as it were a new song 
before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and 


The Bask Beliefs ofjehovoh*s Witnesses 

no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four 
thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. 

This indicates that the final heavenly Congregation of God 
consists of Jesus, 'the Lamb of God', and 144,000 'redeemed 
from the earth'. Hence this is the true Congregation - the few 
who have perceived the truth and have obeyed God's will since 
the time of Jesus. The Witnesses do not say that only 144,000 will 
be saved, but they do say that only 144,000 will gain heaven and 
there form the Congregation of God. Other faithful humans will 
live for ever on earth. The number 144,000 assumes a special 
significance for the Witnesses and is mentioned often in their 
literature and conversation. The Witnesses believe the 144,000 
have been chosen by Jesus since his death and resurrection and 
that there are still such chosen ones - 'the remnant of the 144,000' 
(abbreviated to 'remnant' in Witness parlance) - living on the 

The Kingdom of Heaven 

Jehovah's Witnesses identify the Congregation of God with the 
Kingdom of Heaven mentioned many times by Jesus. They say 
this kingdom will be victorious in destroying Satan and in 
vindicating God's universal sovereignty. 39 They believe the 
Kingdom of Heaven has a concrete existence and is not a state 
of mind, 40 Their opinions can, however, become vague and 
amorphous as in Make Sure of A.U Things under the heading 
'Kingdom: Definition': 

At times the term 'kingdom' is applied to the one (in the Scrip- 
tures, Christ) who has the rank, quality, attributes and authority of 
the king. The term also is used to refer to the realm over which the 
Kingdom government exercises control. 41 

This conveniently widens the interpretive significance of the 
Kingdom. On this somewhat dubious point they interpret 
Matthew 3 : 2; 4 : 17 as follows: 

If the kingdom is to be heavenly, why did both John the Baptist 
and Christ Jesus proclaim: *The kingdom of the heavens has 
drawn near? It was because the anointed King was personally in 
their midst proclaiming the thrilling Kingdom message, 42 

There is really no justification for their saying this - how many 
people would accept this alternative interpretation of a perfectly 


Millions Now Living Will Never Die 

straightforward text? They arc faced with the usual problem: 
having assumed the Bible non-contradictory, the 'awkward' texts 
have now to be interpreted. For when Jesus says 'The Kingdom 
is at hand* he does not say 'the anointed King is personally in your 
midst proclaiming the thrilling Kingdom message*, he does not 
even say 'The King is at hand'; surely if he meant those things he 
would have said them. Similar aberrations occur with other 
quotations and I emphasise this point because the Witnesses 
themselves are the first to denounce others for straying away from 
the strict letter of the text* For instance, Luke 17: 21 reads, 
'Neither shall they say, Lo herel or, lo there! for, behold, the 
kingdom of God is within you \margin: in your midst]/ The 
Witnesses again say the kingdom means the king. This is even more 
arbitrary when we know that Pastor Russell had a completely 
different idea, he said: 'In a word, he [Jesus] showed that when 
his kingdom should come, it would be everywhere present and 
everywhere powerful, yet nowhere visible/ 43 A second example 
is their interpretation of Matthew 8:11, 'And I say unto you, That 
many shall come from east and west* and shall sit down with 
Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven/ The 
Witnesses claim that this does not mean in the kingdom of 
heaven, but under the kingdom of heaven! 

It is almost true to say that the doctrines we have examined so 
far have been bequeathed to the Witnesses by Pastor Russell and 
have remained basically the same since he founded the movement 
in 1 881. In the next chapter we will examine in more detail the 
eschatological ideas introduced by Rutherford which characterise 
present-day Witness theology, and finally we will discuss in a 
much broader context the basis for their doctrines. 


6. Doctrines for the End of the World 

So far the doctrines of Jehovah's Witnesses we have 
examined were ostensibly based on the Bible and were 
capable of being derived at any time since the compilation 
of the New Testament. The beliefs that really differentiate the 
Witnesses are not timeless, however, but are based partly on the 
Bible and partly on the evidences of the age we are living in* 
Jehovah's Witnesses believe that the incidents and events of the 
twentieth century have a scriptural significance, and that certain 
Biblical prophecies find their fulfilment in our time. 

The Return of Christ 

In particular the Witnesses have much to say concerning the 
Second Coming of Jesus Christ, During his lifetime on earth 
Jesus promised he would come again; Paul and other New 
Testament writers often referred to their expectation of this. It 
seems impossible in reading Paul's words not to believe that both 
he and his readers expected Jesus to return in their time. 1 This is 
accepted by most Christians today but not Jehovah's Witnesses, 
who say that the above passages were written under inspiration 
for a later time when Jesus would return. The Witnesses start from 
the assumption that the Bible is one hundred per cent accurate and 
hence the fact that Jesus did not return in Paul's time implies that 
Paul could not have expected such a return. The Witnesses will 
not accept that Paul made a mistake in this respect: he was a 
faithful Christian whose writings were inspired and hence true. 
This is obviously a 'being wise after the event' argument. 

Before mentioning when exactly Jesus was expected the Wit- 
nesses make clear the nature of that return. The Greek word 
parousia translated 'coming* or 'return' actually means 'presence' 
according to them. The significance of this is that Jesus need not 
visibly appear but he will simply be present, even invisible, to 
mankind. The Witnesses quote John 14:19 where Jesus says: 'Yet 
a litde while and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: 



Millions Norn 'Living Will Never Die 

because I live, ye shall live also/ Thus they believe Christ will 
return invisibly and not with the power and destruction that 
many feel will herald his second coming. Serious objections can 
be raised here on the basis of certain scriptures that categorically 
state that Jesus' second coming will not be invisible. 

Firstly Acts x : i r : f . . . this same Jesus, which is taken up from 
you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen 
him go into heaven*. The Witnesses explain this text by saying 
that only the manner of Christ's return will be similar: 

The manner of his going away was quiet, thieflike, without sound 
of trumpet or public display, yet with the message, 'You will be 
witnesses of me ... to the most distant part of the earth,' ringing in 
the disciples 5 ears (Acts i : 8,11 nw). His witnesses alone saw him 
leave. Logically, only his faithful witnesses would promptly recog- 
nise his return* 2 

Notice the illogical replacement of € sa& him leave' with 'recognise 
his return*, this is rather a glib interpretation of a difficult text. 
More serious objections stem from the passages at Revelation 1 : 7, 
and Matthew 24 : 30 which reads: 'And then shall appear the sign 
of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the 
earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the 
clouds of heaven with power and great glory/ 

It is rather illuminating(S) to see how the Witnesses casually 
pass off this text as symbolic, when it appears to scream out the 
opposite of what they believe. In The Truth shall make You Free 
amidst a long proof that Jesus* return is invisible they explain the 
above text, quoting Revelation 1 :j in support] 

All facts considered, then, the only way in which men on the earth 
will see him at his glorious coming is with the eyes of understanding 
or powers of discernment. This is further supported by the words 
at Revelation 1 : 7 in a vision to the apostle John: 'Behold, he cometh 
with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they which pierced 
him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even 
so. Amen/ As at his ascension, when he disappeared from his disci- 
ples' eyes behind the cloud, so here the clouds render him invisible, 
but at the same time they stand as a symbol of his invisible presence, 3 

We may well ask if Jesus is not visible what purpose is served 
by his presence - in fact what change occurs, since Christ remains 


Doctrines for the End of the World 

on the spiritual plane* Jehovah's Witnesses say that Revelation 12 : 
7-1 2 describes what happens in heaven at Jesus* second coming: 

And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against 
the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels. And prevailed 
not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the 
great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and 
Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the 
earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud 
voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and 
the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the 
accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before 
our God day and night, . . . Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye 
that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the 
seal for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, 
because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. 

Satan has had a 'spiritual jurisdiction' over this world since the 
time of Eden, Christ's second corning will displace Satan from 
this position to be 'cast out into the earth*, i.e., his sphere of 
influence will bq confined to the earth. Christ will now be the 
spiritual ruler- 'now is come the kingdom of our God'. So far 
so good, but when will this happen? 

Jehovah's Witnesses claim that on the basis of two prophecies 
in the Bible they identify the time of Christ's second coming, and 
the casting down of Satan, to be October 1914. The first prophecy 
occurs at Matthew 24 when the disciples asked Jesus: 'What shall 
be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?* He 

And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not 
troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not 
yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against king- 
dom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, 
in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. . . . And this 
gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a 
witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. 4 

The Witnesses say this scripture describes the world since 1914, 
testifying to the fact that Satan is now causing more pain, suffering 
and death as foretold in Revelation 12 : 12. In particular, there is a 
class of people preaching c this gospel of the kingdom' throughout 
the earth: Jehovah's Witnesses have been doing this since 1914 
and their 'world' now encompasses 197 lands! The Witnesses 


Millions Now Living Will Never Die 

frequently use these 'signs of the last days* in their conversation 
and literature; they are entirely convinced that world events since 
1 914 are a complete fulfilment of Biblical prophecies. They say: 

The 'last days' are the last days of Satan's rule over the earth and 
mankind* The sign is composed of happenings foretold as visible 
evidence that the consummation of Satan's system of things has 
begun. ... It is visible evidence that Christ Jesus has been enthroned 
in heaven as King. , t . Occurrence of one or even several happenings 
together is not sufficient to constitute evidence; all must occur 
concurrently upon one generation. ... At least 39 happenings com- 
prise the sign: 1. Many False Christian Religions. 2. World Wars. 
3. Widespread Famines* 4. Unusual Numbers of Earthquakes etc. 5 

Of course it is easy to argue that most of the happenings 
mentioned by the Witnesses are not peculiar to our time; even 
though World Wars I and II were much greater in every respect 
than previous wars this did not stop people before 1914 inter- 
preting Matthew 24 to apply to some war of their time, particularly 
as wars started getting uniformly bigger from about the fifteenth 
century* Should a yet bigger world war overwhelm us then 
Jehovah's Witnesses would not have any grounds at all for their 
interpretation. In addition to these objections we might note that 
Pastor Russell believed that Matthew 24 applied to the whole of 
secular history from the time of Jesus up to the nineteenth 

Thus briefly did our lord summarize secular history, and teach the 
disciples not to expect very soon his second coming and glorious 
Kingdom. And how aptly: surely the world's history is just this on 
an account of wars, intrigues, famines and pestilences on little else. 6 

Although it may appear extremely convincing to some that the 
prophecy at Matthew 24 now applies to 1914 it is interesting to 
note that as late as 1927 in the Watchtower Society book Creation 
(p. 321) verses of Matthew 24 were applied, not to 1914, but to 
the period 1874-1914. One of the first full statements of the 
change in interpretation was made in the following year in the 
book Government? 

The second prophecy quoted by the Witnesses to substantiate 
1 914 is again Jesus* references to events at the time of his second 
coming, in Luke 21 : 24: *And they shall fall by the edge of the 
sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusa- 

j 04 

Doctrines for the End of the World 

lem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the 
Gentiles be fulfilled,* 

What were the 'times of the Gentiles'? Russell believed that 
this referred to a time when the Jewish nation was in disfavour 
with God* He reckoned it began with the fall of Jerusalem to the 
Babylonians which terminated God's special favour for the Jews: 
secular historians put this date as 586 or 587 B.C. but the Wit- 
nesses, following Russell, place it at 607 b,c, 8 Having fixed the 
starting point Russell turned to Daniel 4 : 10-17 for a clue as to 
the length of the period. There Daniel prophesies that 'seven 
times' shall pass over Nebuchadnezzar during which time he will 
become insane - only when the 'seven times* are fulfilled will he 
return to normal. According to Daniel this literally happened. 
But what was the period of time? Revelation 12 : 6, 14 implies that 
'three and a half times' are equal to 1,260 days (three and a half 
years of 360 days each). Therefore 'seven times' was 2,520 days. 
These seven times were fulfilled on Nebuchadnezzar in the form 
of seven years of madness, Russell believed there was a higher 
fulfilment to this story applying to the 'times of the Gentiles', The 
next clue was E^ekiel 4 : 6: 'I have appointed thee each day for a 
year.* So the 'times of the Gentiles' lasts 1,520 years starting at 
607 B.C. and hence ends in 1914! This date was consistently ad- 
vanced by Russell since 1887, although he misunderstood its 
significance. 9 

Despite the extremely tenuous nature of the above 'proof the 
Witnesses today are convinced that 1914 saw the beginning of the 
'time of the end*. Referring again to the prophecy at Matthew 24 
they find many convincing signposts to this generation: 'When ye 
therefore shall see the abomination of desolation . . . stand in the 
holy place, Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the 
mountains: . . . And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man 
in heaven/ 10 The Witnesses believe the 'abomination' to be 'the 
League of Nations revived as the United Nations* 11 . The 'sign of 
the Son of man' being 'the evidence appearing from God's word 
and from its fulfilment that the Kingdom of God has been born'. 13 
Assuming therefore that we are living in the time of the end, what 
is in store for us? Matthew 24 : 34 reads: *. * . this generation shall 
not pass, till all these things be fulfilled' and 'all these things* 
include the 'end of the world' (verse 3)* This means the end of 
the present world organisation (with Satan as overlord) and the 


Millions Now Living Will Never Die 

setting up of a righteous government by God on earth* Taking 
the Biblical generation to be "three score years and ten" the 
Witnesses deduce that the year 1914 ushers in at most seventy 
years of trial before the final intervention by God. 

Jehovah's Witnesses do not expect the literal destruction of the 
planet earth at this final showdown which the Bible refers to as 
the Battle of Armageddon. 18 They also stress that no one on 
earth will know exactly when it will happen: 'But of that day and 
hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my 
father only' {Matthew 24: 36). In 1966 through the books and 
magazines the Society delivered a new truth according to their 
calculations, 6 5 ooo years from the creation of Adam ended in the 
year 1975. We have already seen that the Witnesses think each 
creation day was 7,000 years long and that we are still living in 
the 'seventh day* when God rested; also the Witnesses believe the 
last 1,000 years of this seventh day must be the promised Mil- 
lennium when God will restore perfect conditions to the earth. 14 
The implication is that the Millennium starts in 1975 and hence 
the Battle of Armageddon must occur before then! 15 

The Bible does not say a great deal about what will happen at 
Armageddon but the Witnesses have published a detailed and 
highly interesting account of what they believe will happen just 
prior to the battle. In the book Your Will be done on Earth (pub- 
lished in 1958), amidst a long and complicated interpretation of 
Daniel the Witnesses say that Daniel 1 1 : 40-45 is symbolic of future 
events in which the 'king of the north* represents Russia and the 
'king of the south* America {Daniel 12:1-4 certainly sounds like 
the Battle of Armageddon and its aftermath!) * Briefly the Wit- 
nesses think that just before Armageddon America will 'push' at 
Russia who will retaliate (possibly with limited nuclear war) and 
gain control of much of the world. Then, according to the 
Witnesses, Russia will be terrified by reports issuing from the 
Watchtower Society! Russia (backed by Satan) will initiate an 
attack against the Witnesses but now Jesus and his spirit forces 
will step in and battle against Satan and his angels and all the 
armies of the earth. Jesus* spiritual opponents will be defeated 
and imprisoned {Revelation 20 : 1-3) while the billions of human 
beings on earth who are not Jehovah's Witnesses will be des- 


Doctrines for the End of the World 

troyed in the holocaust. Many of the Witnesses' publications give 
full and often gory details of this horrible battle; 18 the Society 
seems to take a grim satisfaction in the thought of justice meted 
out to the unrighteous in this way, although they say 'of course 
we are only telling you what the Bible, and hence God, has 
decreed, it is up to you to join us In order to survive'. At the 
eight-day international Assembly held in Yankee Stadium, New 
York, in July 1953, the president of the Watchtower Society said 
this to the 91,562 in attendance: 

Armageddon will be the worst thing ever to hit the earth within 
the history of man. * . * Contrary to the usage of the name by politi- 
cians, military men and clergymen, Armageddon is no mere stormy 
conflict between two political parties within a nation; it is no mere 
atomic war between blocs of nations for the domination of the 
earth - the much feared World War III* . . . Armageddon is what 
the sacred scriptures of divine prophecy call it 7 'the war of the great 
day of God the Almighty'* the war in which the creator of heaven 
and earth will face all his foes and will fight as he did in the days of 
old. God the Almighty foresaw the necessity for that war in due 
time and he foretold its coming. That war is therefore unavoidable. 
The facts of modern history prove we are in the May of God the 
Almighty' and his war is near, 17 

Naturally the Witnesses regard it as their duty to warn as many 
as possible of the impending battle. Up to a few years ago they 
believed that every individual would have the opportunity to 
know of 'the Truth' and be able to choose whether or not to join 
the Witnesses. This now seems an impossibility (for instance, in 
China) and the Witnesses say the governments of the countries 
concerned are held responsible if they will not allow their people 
to hear of Armageddon (by banning the Society's missionaries). 18 

The Millennium and the New World 

Many illustrations in the Society's literature picture the Arma- 
geddon survivors (of all nationalities) joyfully marching forward 
into the New World governed by Jesus and Jehovah God. Their 
first task will be the gathering of the bleached bones of the 
billions slain and burying them (E^ekiel 39 : 12-16). Perfect con- 
ditions will be restored to the earth and the idyllic promises in 
Isaiah 11 and Revelation 21 will be fulfilled: there will be no more 
pain, sickness or old age, everyone will be young and healthy. 


Millions Now Living Will Never Die 

Death from natural causes will not occur after Armageddon but 
God may destroy humans who are disobedient. Not only the 
survivors of Armageddon will be present on earth; just after the 
battle there will be a resurrection. First to come forth will be 
those 'who have done good' -those who died before Arma- 
geddon but were not chosen to be of the 144,000 in heaven. 19 
Then a general resurrection will take place of all those who died, 
from Abel onwards, in ignorance of God's plan for mankind; 
these are brought forth 'for judgement' and they are judged 
solely on their conduct in the New World* Revelation (chapter 20) 
is thought by the Witnesses to imply that Satan will be imprisoned 
for exactly r,ooo years (the anticipated Millennium beginning in 
1975) at the end of which time he and his angels will be released 
as a final test for those who have lived through the Millennium, 
There is no guarantee of eternal life for Armageddon survivors 
until the 1,000 years and the final testing are over -only then, 
say the Witnesses, will there be peace and everlasting life for 
mankind on earth (Micah 4 : 1-4). 

Although the Society disapproves of conjecture as to how 
eternity will be spent in this perfect world they have come to a 
definite conclusion about the future of marriage. They say that 
under perfect conditions the sexual urge will be entirely subject 
to our control and that after reproduction has populated the earth 
to its optimum capacity 'the perfect married couples would 
exercise perfect self-control and refrain from producing further 
children. According to God's will and arrangement, their power 
to reproduce would also reach its limit and would cease function- 
ing.' 20 Also a recent Watchiower confirmed that those resurrected 
after Armageddon will not be reunited with their former marriage 
partners, or with anyone else: 

It is understandable that Christians might be concerned about 
marriage prospects in the resurrection. . . . While not being callous 
to their sincere feelings, we must admit that apparentiy Jesus' 
words [at Luke 20 : 34-36] apply to the earthly resurrection, and 
they indicate that those resurrected will not marry or be reunited 
in a marriage relationship with former mates, 21 

Many people may therefore feel a little disappointed about their 
prospects in the New World, The alternative, however, is ever- 
lasting oblivion and the Witnesses are in no doubt as to their 


Doctrines for the End of the World 

destination - they have named themselves The New World Society 
in anticipation of their survival of Armageddon. I summarise 
below the present-day beliefs of the Witnesses concerning pro- 
phetic dates. 22 

" i 

' 4°^6 

Creation of Adam and Eye 


The Flood 

B- 1 ^^ 

Law Covenant made with 


Jews are God's 


Fall of Jerusalem. God 

Chosen People 



rejects the Jews 

6,000 years * 


Jesus sets up His Kingdom 
War in Heaven 

» 'Times of the Gentiles* 


Jesus stops war to save 
the faithful 


Battle of Armageddon, 

Satan imprisoned 

f J 975 


End of 6,ooo years. 

Beginning of Millennium 



Satan released for final test 

on mankind 

Relationship with the World 

The Witnesses' doctrines have the effect of separating them from 
the rest of the world - which they refer to as 'the old world* (i.e. 
it is soon to pass away). They adopt the attitude of the early 
Christians who were actually in a hostile world and believed they 
were God's ambassadors carrying the 'good news of the King- 
dom' to the rest of the world. 23 The Witnesses apply to themselves 
Jesus' words at John 15 : 17-19; 17 : 16, 17: 'If ye were of the 
world, the world would love his own; but because ye are not of 
the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the 
world hateth you. . ♦ .' They believe that the primary obligation 
of a Christian is to God and not to his country. They render to 
the government only those things due to it - taxes, good social 
behaviour, etc. They claim exemption from military service, 
quoting John 18:36, c Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this 
world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants 
fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my 
kingdom not from hence,* 
The Witnesses do not believe that modern-day Christians are 


Millions Now Living Will Never Die 

required to keep the Sabbath, God gave an elaborate covenant to 
the Hebrews which included the Ten Commandments, This 
covenant law, the Witnesses argue, was solely for the Israelites 
and has since been replaced by the New Covenant. 24 Jesus and 
Paul set out the guiding principles for the New Covenant and the 
latter definitely states that there is no necessity for the Sabbath to 
be kept in the Jewish or any other way, Colossians z : 16 reads: 
'Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in 
respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath 
days*; 25 (Pastor Russell, however, did believe in keeping the 
Sabbath). 26 Since December 1928 the text quoted above has also 
been used by the Witnesses to justify not celebrating Christmas 
or Easter in the conventional sense. In addition the Witnesses 
remind us that these customary festivities are derived from pagan 
feasts - and that the evidence indicates that Jesus was born in 
October and not December. (Secular sources agree with the 
Witnesses about this.) They are not so adamant in condemning 
birthday parties but, nevertheless, they disapprove. 

In common with the early Christians and with certain other 
modern sects, Jehovah's Witnesses believe in total immersion as a 
baptism symbolising a dedication of one's life to God. Many 
people are not aware that infant baptism was only introduced 
into the Christian Church in the second century a.d. The baptism 
of Jesus and his disciples was most probably by total immersion 
and signified a solemn endeavour on their part to serve God 
(Mark 1:9-11). The Witnesses have reverted to this early pattern 
which they believe is the only genuine form of baptism. 27 Witness 
mass baptisms are usually held in conjunction with their con- 
ventions* 28 

Jehovah's Witnesses share the nonconformist rejection of 
formality in worship. There are, however, two aspects of their 
worship that are formal: the first is baptism by total immersion 
and the second is the commemoration of the "last supper* in 
memory of Jesus' sacrifice of his life. Their justification for the 
latter is Luke iz : 19, 'And he took bread, and gave thanks, and 
brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is 
given for you: this do in remembrance of me/ The actual 
Memorial -is it is called -is an extremely simple ceremony in 
which a glass of wine and a tray of unleavened bread is passed 
amongst those attending. The Witnesses who have an inner con- 


Doctrines for the End of the World 

viction that they are members of the 'remnant' may sip the wine 
and taste the bread. Those present who do not believe they will 
be taken to heaven do not partake. An explanatory talk precedes 
this ceremony and the meeting is opened and closed, as usual, 
with a song and prayer. 

Type and A.ntitype 

Jehovah's Witnesses hold many beliefs based on the principle of 
type and antitype, that is, they believe that certain people, nations 
or incidents in the Bible are foreshadowments or types of things at 
a later time ™ these are the antitypes. This is not a new or un- 
common view of the Bible, and it has been carried to the extreme 
of complete allegory by some Christians (notably Origen). From 
the very beginning the Witnesses have felt that God has portrayed 
many significant truths and prophecies by means of types and 
that much of the Bible has a greater fulfilment at a later time; 
they believe that God has provided these foreshadowments 
specifically for this time of the end (Daniel 12:8, 9), Needless to 
say, there is no direct scriptural proof for these interpretations. 
The Witnesses are assured, however, that the leading members 
of the Society who conceive these antitypes are guided by God. 
Although there are one or two vague 'rules' that are sometimes 
used in the interpreting, it seems on the whole as if 'anything 

An example of one of their 'rules* is the treatment of the 
'symbolic' numbers 7, 10 and 12 (and multiples of these) as 
representing completeness or perfection in either an earthly or 
heavenly sense. For instance, in Babylon the Great has Fallen! God's 
Kingdom Rules! they say: 

the Revelation abounds with fifty-two occurrences of the number 
seven, using it as a symbol of perfection. The Number six comes 
short of seven by one. . . ♦ Since a 'man's number' is here concerned, 
six stands for fallen man's imperfections and shortcomings. ... As 
the number ten is used in the Bible to stand for earthly completeness 
or perfection, the expression 'ten horns* would symbolise, not ten 
literally, but all or the complete number of kings or national rulers 
on earth. 29 

To prove that the Witnesses are not consistent even with these 
rules we read on p. 507 of the same book that the seven heads 
(of the same beast with ten horns) are symbolic of seven empires, 


Millions Now Living Will Never Die 

seven being taken literally and not to mean perfection. How the 
Witnesses harmonise this with the above 'rule' is a mystery. 
Another 'rule' that they claim to use is quoted in The Watchtower 
15th March 1963^, 175: 'Did you notice that Paul linked those 
two women with two cities? This is important. When a woman 
is linked with a city in prophecy, it indicates that what is sym- 
bolised thereby is something far greater than a creature. ... It 
indicates an organisation? 

Despite these so-called 'rules* there seems no rational connec- 
tion the Witnesses will not break in their search for antitypes. 
They claim that individuals in the Bible foreshadow nations (and 
vice versa), then that two individuals signify the same group, 
then that one individual signifies two diiFerent groups, and so on. 
An example, in You may Survive Armageddon into God y s New World, 
p. 326: * Joseph typifies primarily Jesus Christ. But in the latter 
part of the drama he is represented in a subordinate way by the 
original remnant of his body members who faithfully endured the 
tests from 1914 to his coming to the temple in 1918/ 

Almost all the Bible has been treated in this fashion. For 
example, in You May Survive Armageddon into God's New World one 
of the main themes is to establish that two classes of people will 
survive Armageddon: the 'remnant of the 144,000* will go to 
heaven, while members of the 'other sheep' class {John 10 : 16) 
consisting of Armageddon survivors and resurrected ones will 
live on earth. A total of forty-two types of the 'other sheep' are 
discussed, ranging from the Queen of Sheba, Jonathan, King 
Hiram's woodcutters and, most bizarre of all, 'the very great 
multitude of fish that come to life in the healed waters of the Salt 
Sea\ 30 Similarly in The New World the complete book of Job is 
discussed and shown to typify events in this the twentieth 
century, 31 

The Witnesses mislead themselves when they believe these 
'foreshadowments' verify their doctrines. Firstly, many of their 
type-antitypes bear no detailed relation or connection with each 
other. Secondly, of the few types that do bear some resemblance 
to their antitypes it appears as if the Society have simply chosen 
them to fit modern events and any details that do not appear to 
have a modern counterpart are dubbed 'symbolic' and defined to 
have a meaning that does fit in* Rutherford's books provide many 
examples of type and antitype that in wealth of detail and aston- 


Doctrines for the End of the World 

ishing connections beggar description. In the book Jehovah he 
devoted more than thirty pages to expounding the modern-day 
fulfilment of the ten plagues on Egypt, Each plague was made to 
represent apparently arbitrary events or attitudes of the Wit- 
nesses from 1924 onwards: the third plague of lice represents the 
'result of the preaching that "nips" the clergy', the seventh plague 
of hail signifies the 'hail of truth* from August 1928 on, the ninth 
plague of darkness refers to the darkness of clergy ignorance, 32 etc. 

The modern tendency is the large-scale interpretation of 
Biblical books in relation to the history of Jehovah's Witnesses* 
In Your Will be done on Earth chapters 8, 10, it and 12 are con- 
cerned with a verse-by-verse analysis of the visions given to 
Daniel. 33 The Witnesses' antitypes cover a period of more than 
2,500 years and include historical anachronisms, omissions and a 
constant change of identity. Daniel describes a person called 'the 
king of the north* and the Witnesses set about finding later anti- 
types for this prophetic figure. They say that he is first prophetic 
of Syria, but this is only in Daniel 1 1 : 6-1 9, for suddenly inverse 20 
this same 'king of the north' no longer represents Syria: 'Hence 
after Daniel 11:19a change in person and nationality of the king 
of the north must occur. Historical facts establish that the change 
began in the next verse, Daniel 11 : 20. The King now becomes 
Roman/ 34 On p. 290, after a hectic charade, this same king of the 
north appears 'both in nazi and communist guise*. 

The book explains that this method is prompted by Jesus - but 
just where and when the identity changes are made is left to the 
Witnesses. Even with this amount of freedom, however, they run 
into difficulties and we read the rather lame comment on p. 225: 
c So the angel condensed history by passing over the succeeding 
reigns of the seven remaining Persian kings. . . / (My italics.) 
Another naivete appears at the beginning of the book in relation 
to the text at Revelation 4 : 4, 'And round about the throne were 
four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty 
elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their 
heads crowns of gold.' On p. 14 they comment on this: 

Who are these 'elders', these twenty-four persons of advanced age, 
enthroned around God's own throne? . . . those crowned and en- 
throned 'elders* whom John saw sitting around God's throne 
could not picture the twelve aposdes of Jesus Christ, for they were 
twenty-four in number, or twice the number of the twelve apostles. 


Millions Norn Uving Will Never Die 

Very logical, twenty-four is not equal to twelve! But two pages 
later they forget about this and say: 'What these twenty-four 
"elders" say and do in this vision to John further proves that they 
symbolise the 144,000 who make up the final congregation/ 
Hence the twenty-four symbolise 144,000 -but the reader now 
objects that twenty-four is not equal to 144,000! Pastor Russell 
had perhaps a more logical view when he claimed that the twenty- 
four elders represented the 'personified testimonies of the twenty- 
four prophets'. 85 

In The Four Major Cults Hoekema dubs this 'absurd typology' 
which more or less sums up the Church's attitude to it. In an 
otherwise impartial book Hoekema's comments here seem to be 
very much from the standpoint of 'historical Christianity': 

To see Noah as a type of Christ, and Noah's family as a type of the 
church is, of course, quite in harmony with Biblical typology. But 
by what stretch of the imagination are we justified in segregating 
Noah's wife from Noah's children, as standing for two different 
groups within the church? 36 

He is surely exaggerating his case here. One would think that if 
it is acceptable to separate Noah and his wife it is a relatively 
small step to separate his wife and children in prophecy. Pre- 
sumably by 'Biblical typology' Hoekema means 'our Biblical 
typology' and that he approves of types only up to bis standard. 
Anything else he calls absurd, which is unjust to the Witnesses 
and seems to mean nothing more than the fact that their types 
are not those of conventional Christianity. This is hardly the 
right criterion to apply in this already uncertain field. Rather, the 
types and antitypes should be judged in the light of reason and 
Biblical compatibility. Are they appropriate? Are they incon- 
sistent, confusing or irrational? Only on this basis should we 
judge them absurd or not. 

This particular use of the Bible accounts for a large proportion 
of the literature of Jehovah's Witnesses. It has a strong effect on 
the Witnesses themselves — it impresses and reaffirms the beliefs 
which they already hold on the basis of more direct scriptural 
evidence, and their own position in the world is confirmed and 
enhanced. As more and more types from the Bible are shown to 
refer to the Witnesses, to the 'remnant*, to the "other sheep', etc., 
the effect is psychologically reassuring. The point at issue is not 


Doctrines for the End of the World 

that the Witnesses are wrong in using this method, or that they 
do not firmly believe their doctrines. Rather , by constant repe- 
tition, and by the use of arguments that are not arguments and 
proofs that are not proofs, they become entrenched and con- 
vinced that they are right. The means of conviction appears to be 
dubious and the state of mind reached undesirable. 

The Witnesses* Clash with Science 

The twentieth century has been described as a technological age 
or a scientific era in which the centre or apex of human endeavour 
is thought to be the scientific or empirical method - in contrast 
with medieval times when theology occupied this position. Need- 
less to say, Jehovah's Witnesses do not regard scientific research 
as the apex of human effort and their attitude, as revealed in their 
publications, is both interesting and significant. They have a 
curious old-fashioned view reminiscent of the church at the time 
of Darwin and the humanistic/socialist upheavals. 

The Witnesses admit that in many ways science is a good and 
useful thing - in medicine, civil engineering, etc. - this part they 
call 'true science*. They believe, however, that most scientists are 
materialistic atheists and that the so-called scientific revolution is 
merely part of Satan's world. Discussing science was beneath 
Pastor Russell while Rutherford used to dismiss it with casual 
side-s wipes. 37 Jehovah's Witnesses today take this matter more 
seriously; they share the popular misconception of scientists as 
powerful, 'cold and calculating* automata. (See the book What 
has Religion done for Mankind? where the Society displays incredible 
scientific ignorance in berating science and scientists.) In their 
attempts to 'explain' science the Witnesses commit numerous 
errors of fact and logic. For instance: 'The more the scientists 
study the universe the more they can see that there is an intelli- 
gence behind it, and that the master mind behind it is a great 
mathematician.' 38 Some scientists may well think this (but there 
are many who do not) and there is no reason to suppose that their 
scientific observations warrant such a non-scientific conclusion (in 
the sense that it does not belong to science). The book goes on to 
quote Einstein and Millikan who both believed in a 'divine in- 
telligence', but the Witnesses are not justified in arguing a general 
case from particular instances, as they try to do. Quoting Einstein 
and Millikan proves nothing. One of Britain's most prominent 


Millions Now Uving Will Neper Die 

scientists, Fred Hoyle, who is more of an astronomer than either 
of these two, does not come to this conclusion in his book The 
Nature of the Universe. 

The Witnesses reassure themselves that scientists are 'forced' 
to conclude that the universe presages a God. The next step is for 
them to say: 

However, wise persons do not need these modern scientists to 
prove to them that there is a living intelligence behind visible and 
invisible creation and that He is all-powerful, all-wise, supreme and 
just, and harmonises all things. 39 

This is, of course, just not so! Yet in the book This Means Ever- 
lasting Life they say, without preamble: 'All the investigations by 
modern science into the heavens, the earth and the atom prove 
that the entire universe was created by a great scientist of depth- 
less wisdom.' 40 

There is no doubt that the Witnesses are in some ways afraid of 
science on their fear is that of ignorant men who see in science a 
powerful rival. This is exemplified in The Watch tower of ist 
December 1966: 

Feeling their power, the scientists try to subject others to a slavery 
to the scientific group, subjecting even the political governments to 
a dependence upon secular science. The scientists would make 
themselves a priesthood of this new idolatry. ... So the question 
arises, Does Democracy face a takeover by the scientific technolo- 
gists of today? 11 

A long acquaintance with the literature of the Witnesses leads 
one to the conclusion that they live in the intellectual 'twilight 
zone'. That is, most of their members, even their leaders, are not 
well educated and not very intelligent. Whenever their literature 
strays on to the fields of philosophy s academic theology, science, 
or any severe mental discipline their ideas at best mirror popular 
misconceptions, at worst they are completely nonsensical. One 
possible exception is their opposition to the theory of evolution 
which has been well thought out and is backed by a host of facts 
(not all of them relevant). 

The theory of Evolution is probably the Witnesses' biggest 
scientific bogey; they are, after all, fundamentalists who accept 
literally the story of direct creation in the Garden of Eden. In 
their minds the Bible's testimony establishes that the theory of 


Doctrines for the End of the World 

Evolution is wrong but this reason is not sufficient for most other 
people - including Evolutionists. The Witnesses have therefore 
done some research on this subject and incorporated their findings 
in a recent book called Did Man get here by Involution or by Creation?* 2 " 
It is clear that the Witnesses are worried by the fact that their 
children are taught the theory in schools, and this book presents 
an extremely strong case against evolution* The book begins a 
little dubiously in quoting a variety of sources to illustrate the 
chaotic nature of the theory of Evolution; "selective quotation' of 
'prominent evolutionists' can be used to *prove' many things. In 
the later chapters of the book, however, evolutionary theories are 
examined in detail and shown to be inadequate. Unlike most of 
the Society's publications, the tone of this book is reasonable and 
there are few errors of logic and reasoning. Personally, I found 
this book presented the most convincing case ever for the Wit- 
nesses' beliefs and I sincerely hope it heralds a new trend in the 
Society's literature. 


Jehovah's Witnesses' beliefs are based on the primary assumption 
that the Bible is directly inspired by God, They are also firmly 
convinced that the presence of order and harmony in the heavens, 
in nature and in the microcosm of atoms indisputably points to 
the existence of a God, a creator. They believe this God inspired 
men to write and compile the Bible which has survived for 
thousands of years and whose internal harmony bears witness to 
divine authorship. Any reasonable person, they feel, when faced 
with this evidence cannot avoid the conclusion they have come to* 
On this foundation they establish their doctrines and through the 
Bible derive all their important beliefs* 

How justified are they in doing this? Firstly, as to the existence 
of God, the rational attempts to justify His existence were not 
new at the time of Socrates but they were expressed in more 
modern terminology by Catholic scholars and apologists - 
notably Thomas Aquinas. Such rational arguments have never 
been wholly acceptable, however, and the decision has inevitably 
rested with faith and personal conviction rather than reason. This 
is not to say that the proofs of God's existence are not reason- 
able - it is just that they are not proofs. 43 Nevertheless the Wit- 
nesses persist in the strong view that the existence of God is a 

I 117 

Millions Now hiving Will Never Die 

rational necessity, they are fond of quoting Psalms 14:1 in this 
context: 'The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God/ Most 
of their literature does not even discuss this point but assumes 
that the reader cannot deny God's existence* When they do at- 
tempt to 'prove' atheists wrong it is usually a matter of a few 
sentences pointing to all the harmony and order around us, 
finishing with a 'therefore no reasonable person can deny that God 
exists', etc. They obviously do not take atheism seriously and in 
this they copy exactly the attitude of Pastor Russell. 44 

The most important question is how much reliance can be 
placed on the Bible. The Witnesses believe that both external and 
internal evidence prove it is authentic and divinely inspired. They 
quote the archaeological advances that have confirmed Biblical 
history (for example, see The Bible as History for explanations of 
the Flood, crossing of the Red Sea, etc, also the booklet Basis for 
Belief in a New World)* This is only evidence for the accuracy and 
usefulness of the book - what of the divine authorship? Firstly, 
there is the external evidence of fulfilled prophecy. In both the 
Old and New Testaments there are examples of prophets who 
foretold incidents in the future. For example > Daniel foretold that 
Nebuchadnezzar would become insane and live as the beasts of 
the field, Jesus foretold that Jerusalem would be encompassed 
and destroyed. Unfortunately, however, none of the original 
manuscripts exist and there is no way of telling whether or not 
the prophecy was written before the event, or that the text was 
altered by copying scribes. Thus the Witnesses cannot offer these 
prophecies as evidence when there is no proof that they are 
genuine. This applies equally well to the 'prophecies* fulfilled by 
Jesus during his life on earth. Some suggest that he deliberately 
'acted out* the prophecies to prove he was the Messiah, but we 
still have no complete evidence that Jesus did these things at all! 

There is therefore not one Biblical prophecy which may be 
used as external evidence* In fact some Bible scholars tend to 
assume that if a prophet 'foretold' an event that occurred, he must 
have lived after the event. This is not to say that the Bible is a 
fake - the issue is that there is no independent check on Biblical 
prophecy and therefore it cannot be used as factual evidence. It 
is all very well for the Witnesses to criticise the 'higher critics' for 
denying the authenticity of the prophecies but until they can pro- 
vide concrete evidence they cannot themselves prove divine 


Doctrines for the End of the World 

authorship. The Witnesses also advance as an argument the ful- 
filment of prophecies in our day. Unfortunately most of these are 
couched in symbolic terms that the Witnesses themselves inter- 
pret. Often when they try to find the modern counterpart of a 
symbol they are looking at what has already happened. It appears as 
though they look around for a modern peg on which to hang the 
prophecy, Hoekema calls this 'rear view exegesis*. 45 

The second argument advanced for their case is the 'internal 
harmony' of the Bible. They say: 

The only way to explain its existence and what it teaches and how 
and why it has survived till this perplexing day is that it is the divine 
revelation* There must be some providential reason why it has been 
translated into mote than 1,125 languages and is the most widely 
published, circulated and read book on earth today. 48 

and this is followed (on p. 28 of the same book) by an incredible 
statement that even the Witnesses have contradicted on other 
occasions: 'Notwithstanding this, their writings are all in agree- 
ment from first to last/ 47 Although the Bible may in general give 
a clear picture, there are discrepancies and contradictions. In 
some of their publications the Witnesses have been forced to 
admit this: in Equipped for Every Good Work (p. 166), talking about 
the Biblical records: 'Many of these genealogies had become con- 
fused following the fall of the kingdom of Judah. , . . Parts of the 
genealogies may appear contradictory to what appears elsewhere/ 
The fact is that the records do contradict each other* The Wit- 
nesses published a chronological table in The Truth shall make You 
Free based on 2 Chronicles but were then forced to publish a 
corrected table in The Kingdom is at Hand where they said: 
'Measured by 2 Chronicles, the period of kings from Saul to 
Zedekiah was 513 years. Measured by the more precise and 
detailed books of Kings* the period was actually 5 1 1 years, or two 
years less/ 48 In itself this is a minor error but combined with others 
it makes nonsense of the claim that 'their writings are all in 
agreement from first to last*. It is difficult to convince a Witness 
that any two texts contradict each other, he will simply interpret 
the texts until they harmonise. The Witnesses argue in a circle: 
they assume the Bible is non-contradictory and thus 'harmonise' 
the texts by interpretation, they then use this 'harmony* to 'prove 9 
that the Bible is non-contradictory! Probably Rutherford, in his 


Millions Now Living Will Neper Die 

own straightforward, no-nonsense way, was more honest when 
he said 'It [the Bible] is consistent with itself. It is not contra- 
dictory when understood^ 

It is inevitable that the Witnesses should come into conflict 
with the conclusions of the higher critics* 50 This started in the 
1890's when these critics were expounding new and 'ungodly* 
views of the Bible - sometimes treating it purely as a literary 
work* Most people might feel that the higher critics do useful 
work but the Witnesses feel nothing but scorn; discussing the 
book of Isaiah they say; 

Of course* the Bible's higher critics who delight in straining at 
gnats that do not even exist conjure up questions concerning this 
book over which to vainly babble . . , vying for attention [they] 
spout forth an unending torrent of theories. 61 

The Witnesses seem to have a latent fear of the higher critics, 
again the fear of ignorant men towards those who have influence. 
If only the Witnesses would look into books of Biblical com- 
mentary or higher criticism (as few of them do) I am sure their 
view would soften somewhat. 

Where do they differ from the higher critics? One controversy 
concerns the book of Isaiah. Hebrew scholars have noticed that 
sections of the book are written in different literary styles. This 
has led them to conjecture that the one book consists of three 
parts, each written by a different author. Similarly the style of the 
New Testament book of Hebrews differs so much from that of the 
Pauline epistles that higher critics believe Paul did not write it 
(it is attributed to Paul in the Bible), The Witnesses do not accept 
either of these conclusions - they say that the authorship through- 
out the Bible is as stated in the text. Thus only one person, the 
prophet Isaiah, wrote the book of Isaiah, and so on. Here the 
Witnesses disclose a regrettable ignorance of the history of the 
compilation of the New Testament and, to a lesser extent, that of 
the Old Testament. They feel they can ignore all this, however, 
by saying that God is directly responsible for the Bible as we have 
it and therefore everything in it must be correct. 

In a sense these are not crucial points. Only in the compilation 
of the New Testament was Hebrews ascribed to Paul and to deny 
his authorship does not contradict what Hebrews contains. To be 
fair it must be said that in the Witnesses' books on the text of the 


Doctrines for the End of the World 

Bible Equipped for Every Good Work and All Scripture is Inspired of 
God and Beneficial they adopt a dogmatic but often reasonable and 
informative attitude. They can, however, rival the higher critics 
in the realm of conjecture. In the former book they say: 

How did Moses come to know the history of man back to Adam, 
doubtless by word of mouth, five human links connect Adam and 
Moses. As a potent memory-helper the infallible spirit of Jehovah 
God would cause those men to remember correctly. 52 

This is a plausible explanation and the Witnesses at the time 
believed it implicitly. Yet several years later they changed their 
minds (or rather the Society changed their minds for them). The 
present Society belief is that Moses received the facts by writings 
made by Adam and others: 'Moses, Under Inspiration, Compiled 
Genesis Largely from 1 1 Previously Written Documents of Clay 
or Stone'. 63 What has happened to the 'infallible spirit of Jehovah 
God? Of course it is not wrong to change one's mind, but the 
Witnesses persist in being certain of everything they believe, even 
on the slenderest evidence (the Society is always right). When the 
Society changes its mind, as above, the Witnesses then stay just 
as certain, but now of the opposite thing. 

In the final analysis Jehovah's Witnesses will not admit defeat. 
Despite their claim to hold the Bible as their criterion they will 
believe almost anything the Society wishes them to believe. This 
is understandable because the Witnesses believe they are now 
God*s sole channel of communication and - having accepted this - 
how can one then criticise the word of God? In effect they believe 
the Bible is not enough, it is necessary to obey the edicts of God's 
organisation on earth - the Society. As we have seen above, the 
Society can create plausible Biblical reasons for believing most 
things, and when they decide to change their minds they can look 
up another set of reasons to justify their new position, Russell 
held that the Bible had to be supplemented by his own writings, 
describing them as 'the Divinely appointed light upon God's 
Word'. 54 Jehovah's Witnesses still feel that they have this 
'Divinely appointed light' and any interpretation or belief con- 
trary to theirs must be inspired by Satan and hence not supported 
by the Bible; faithful Witnesses believe this before consulting their 
Bible. Their attitude to the Scriptures is therefore quite rigid and 
any claim they make to examine the Bible without bias is merely 


Millions Now Living Will Neper Die 

for the benefit of outsiders. The ultimate source of authority for 
Jehovah's Witnesses is not the Bible but the Society. j 

The Witnesses have evoked much criticism for apparently I 

using the Bible as a compendium of texts, all of equal merit with- | 

out regard to the part of the Bible they come from. In other words j 

it is said that the Witnesses ignore the special problems of author- 
ship, time of writing and circumstances of writing that conven- 
tional theologians feel are important. Here we are face to face 
with the criterion that the Witnesses apply to the Bible in order 
to deduce their beliefs. The point I wish to make is that pouring 
scorn on the Witnesses' apparent indiscriminate use of texts (as 
Stevenson does in Year of Doom 197 f) does not help us to under- 
stand why they do it. First let it be said that the Witnesses are not 
unaware of the authors, dates, and circumstances of writing of the 
sixty-six books in the Bible and on occasion they take these factors 
into account. (It is, however, doubtful if Rutherford, and to a 
lesser extent Russell, had this enlightened view.) The Witnesses 
claim that the Bible is no ordinary book, each part of it was 
written under direct inspiration from God and hence the idio- 
syncrasies of the various authors are irrelevant; God made sure 
that the finished product was correct in every respect. This, then, 
is the assumption made by the Witnesses and it clearly follows 
that the Bible has a serious purpose transcending any aesthetic, 
lyrical or literary merit. One of the Witnesses' favourite texts 
(in fact it is used as the title of one of their books) is that in 
2 Timothy 3 : iS: 'All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial 
for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for 
disciplining in righteousness' (New World Translation). With 
this attitude it is not surprising that the Witnesses are quite 
happy to quote texts from all parts of the Bible and accept them 
at their face value. 

Granted that this assumption underlies the whole theology of 
the Witnesses, how justified are they in making it? We have seen 
that the internal and external evidence for the authenticity of the 
Bible is somewhat lacking and it is indeed difficult to read the 
Bible without coming to the conclusion that most of the authors 
wrote from their own viewpoint. The homogeneous effect of 
God's inspiration is conspicuously lacking. Conventional theo- 
logians start from this fart and object strongly to the Witnesses' 
treatment of the Bible as a vast crossword puz2le to be solved by 


Doctrines for the End of the World 

picking out the right scriptures. Kurt Hutten, for instance, calls 
this selection procedure e knight-jump exegesis', likening it to the 
knight's move in chess -it is unstraightforward and ignores 
obstacles by leaping over them. 

The Witnesses have produced their own translation of the Bible 
which sacrifices brevity, beauty and style for the sake of accuracy. 
The intention of the translators was to reproduce the clear sense 
at all costs - a noble enterprise that inevitably results in ugly and 
cumbersome passages. Of course some orthodox scholars believe 
the Society has not succeeded even in being accurate, in which 
case their translation has nothing to recommend it. These criti- 
cisms of the New World Translation can only effectively be dis- 
cussed in relation to the original Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic 
manuscripts. Suffice it to say that the Witnesses have definitely 
incorporated some of their beliefs in certain texts and in many 
other cases their choice of words is obviously biased to favour 
their interpretations and present-day nomenclature. The Wit- 
nesses in general are not aware of these criticisms and, now that 
the Society has decreed that they should use the New World 
Translation of the Bible in preference to other versions, they are 
convinced their translation is the best* (Some years ago the Wit- 
nesses used to justify their use of the Authorised Version by saying 
that it was the one most commonly used -it still is, but the 
Witnesses have forgotten this reason.) 


7. Life as a Jehovah's Witness 

The witnesses believe that God has chosen them out of 
the world to vindicate His name and they therefore refer 
to their movement as 'the Truth' or 'the organisation'. 
These two expressions are generally used amongst Witnesses 
while to outsiders they usually call themselves 'the New World 
Society*. A sharp distinction exists in Witness conversation be- 
tween the movement as a whole (described by the above titles) 
and the governing body of the movement - called 'the Society'. 
The term 'the Society Vis used to designate those unnamed Wit- 
nesses who are directing the doctrinal aSairs of the organisation 
through their mouthpiece, The Watchtower - the term is not used 
of a group of particular individuals but rather of the directing 
force that is transmitted by God himself through men. To all 
intents and purposes the Society is represented by the code of 
doctrines and decisions laid down in The Watchiower but should 
this magazine cease to exist then the Society would be the com- 
bined testimony of the several hundred Witnesses scattered 
throughout the world who make up the governing body of the 
Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. 

The Society directs the ministry of every Jehovah's Witness - 
it has printed a 224-page book called Your Word is a Lamp to my 
Foot 1 which is issued to every baptised Witness. This book out- 
lines the 'theocratic* pattern that every individual and congrega- 
tion of Jehovah's Witnesses must follow (similar instruction 
booklets are issued to Witnesses in more responsible positions). 
A person becomes a Jehovah's Witness by spending some time 
every month in propagating the Society's beliefs - such an active 
member is called a publisher or a minister. 2 Apart from the physi- 
cally isolated, every Witness belongs to a local congregation 
which may number up to 200: 

A congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses is one composed of a group 
of ministers* All these ministers, by Jehovah's undeserved kindness, 
are determined to preach the good news of the Kingdom in all the 


Life as a Jehovah* s Witness 

world for a witness. , . , When a congregation is organised and en- 
rolled by the Society it is given a definite territory to work in.* 

The congregation meets regularly at the 'Kingdom Hair which 
is usually a hired schoolroom, parish hall or the like, in the back 
streets of a town or city. The Society encourages congregations 
to build their own halls if possible as these provide permanent 
and more presentable meeting places* In common with other non- 
conformist religions the Witnesses meet in a strictly functional 
room - there are no stained-glass windows, pews or altars, simply 
rows of chairs faced by a table and reading stand for a speaker. 
No collections are taken but a box is provided for voluntary con- 
tributions. The walls of the hall are usually unadorned except for 
the Year Text and charts noting and explaining the monthly 
progress of the congregation in its preaching work: 4 

The Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses is the center of pure 
worship in the community. It is the principal location where meetings 
of the congregation are held, and it provides a central place from 
which the field ministry can be conducted. 5 

The Kingdom Hall (unless built by the Witnesses) can hardly fail 
to make a bad impression on strangers and to counteract this the 
Society suggests the following: *At every meeting in the Kingdom 
Hall there should be a brother who serves as an attendant, and he 
ought to be a person who has a friendly personality. . . . Then, if 
you are assigned, keep in mind that it is your job to greet new- 
comers and to make them feel welcome/ 8 

Each congregation is under the overall supervision of the 
congregation servant or overseer who is a local Jehovah's Witness 
appointed to this post by the Society but his position entitles him 
to no special benefits and there is no salary. 7 The congregation 
servant is usually the most mature Witness in the congregation 
and his appointment lasts as long as he is able and willing to 
discharge his duties: 

The congregation servant is the presiding minister, and he has 
general oversight of the congregation. . . . His duties include 
making provision for all the meetings of the congregation and 
seeing to it that they are conducted properly. He arranges for 
capable brothers to deliver the public talks that you enjoy. , . . All 
correspondence from the Society having to do with congregation 
matters is sent to him. ... As you become well acquainted with your 

Millions Now hiving Will Never Die 

congregation servant, we believe you will find that, in many respects, 
he is like that early Christian overseer the apostle Paul. 8 

The congregation servant has an extremely busy time if he is to 
do his job properly: the Society recommends that in addition to 
the preaching work (in which he should take the lead) he should 
continually check and participate in all the various activities in 
the congregation - we shall see how numerous these are! 

The Society also appoints five administrative servants in the 
congregation to assist the congregation servant - each is respon- 
sible for some aspect of the congregation's work. Firstly, there is 
the assistant congregation servant who stands in for the overseer 
when necessary; in addition he collects and collates the records 
of the preaching activity of all members of the congregation: 

As to his specific duties, he will tabulate field service reports 
weekly, post the totals on the progressive report sheet, keep the 
congregation servant advised of weekly progress, keep a check on 
all publishers to aid them in the field service, and in general be an 
assistant to the congregation servant," 

The next most mature servant in the congregation is the Bible 
study servant whose special function is to supervise, record and 
encourage the follow-up preaching work of the Witnesses in the 
congregation. The publishers record the number of back-calls and 
Bible studies they hold each week and these records are collected 
and analysed by the Bible study servant. A magazine-territory 
servant is appointed to distribute copies of The Watchtower and 
Awake! to publishers and also to keep maps of all the territory 
allotted to the congregation. This territory is divided into smaller 
areas suitable for coverage by one publisher, the magazine-territory 
servant will give the publisher the map of the small territory and 
the publisher will do his preaching work regularly in that area, 
systematically calling at every house. In this highly organised way 
each congregation ensures that all members of the public in the 
locality have been visited by Jehovah's Witnesses. The literature 
servant is responsible for all literature (other than magazines) that 
is used in the congregation and door-to-door work and finally the 
accounts servant 'keeps the books* for the congregation (that is, is 
the treasurer for the congregation). The accounts servant uses a 
system furnished by the Society and the accounts are audited 
every three months. Other servants are appointed to be in charge 


Life as a Jehovah* s Witness 

of the meetings held in the Kingdom Hall but the above five, with 
the congregation servant, run the affairs of the congregation. 

The three most mature servants in the congregation, the over- 
seer, assistant congregation servant and Bible study servant form 
what is called the congregation committee. This committee will meet 
when necessary to discuss internal matters such as a dispute 
between two brothers, recommending new servants, choosing 
public speakers, a brother accused of misconduct and so on: 

Other matters may be discussed by the committee and then sub- 
mitted, not to the Society, but to the local congregation. Changing 
meeting times to make them convenient to the majority of the 
publishers is one of these. ... At times the committee is called on to 
act in a judicial capacity in handling difficulties that arise and in 
keeping the congregation clean and acceptable to Jehovah. 10 

The committee has the power, subject to the Society's approval, 
of disfellowshipping any member of the congregation or putting 
him on probation. Disfellowshipping involves a complete cutting 
off from the other Witnesses and it occurs when a member of the 
movement has seriously violated Christian principles: 

Being disfellowshipped is a serious matter. It means that one is 
expelled from the congregation. . . . The faithful members of the 
congregation therefore 'quit mixing in company' with such a 
person. . . . Disfellowshipped persons will not be recognised by 
anyone in the congregation and the right hand of friendship will 
not be extended to them, 11 

Disfellowshipment lasts for at least a year and usually longer, but 
if sincere repentance is shown by the offender then it is possible 
for him to be reinstated into the congregation. Similarly a Witness 
may be placed 'on probation' by the congregation committee for 
a lesser offence during which time the Witness is unable to hold 
any servant position. 

Although the most important activity of the Witnesses is 
preaching to other people, a great deal of their time is taken up 
with meeting together in the Kingdom HalL All together five 
one-hour meetings are held each week and every Jehovah's 
Witness in the congregation is expected to attend them all: 

A word might be said concerning the importance of the congregation 
meetings. If anyone claims to be one of the Jehovah's witnesses 


Millions Now Uving Will Never Die 

and of the New World Society, the only way he would be able to 
prove it would be by associating with Jehovah's witnesses and the 
New World Society. 12 

Meetings of Jehovah's Witnesses have no ritual - each meeting 
is opened and closed with a song and an extemporaneous prayer 
(the latter is usually given by one of the servants). Singing at 
meetings was encouraged by Russell but discontinued under 
Rutherford apparently because it took up f too much time in these 
crucial times'* Singing is now in favour again and the congrega- 
tion use their own songbook Singing and Accompanying Yourselves 
with Music in Your Hearts. 1 * The main reason for meeting together 
is intensive indoctrination or, as the Witnesses put it: 'To help to 
protect His people today from the false course of mingling with 
the nations and learning their works, Jehovah has made arrange- 
ments through His organisation for His people to spend five 
hours each week at congregation meetings.' 14 Of the five weekly 
meetings, four are held in the Kingdom Hall: these are The Watch- 
^'^^^^J^^S^^M ^^^ Ministry School and Public Talk . 

The Watchtower Studyls field on Sun day afternoon or evening 
and consists of a question-and-answer discussion of part of the 
current Watchtower magazine. Each semi-monthly edition has one 
or two main articles with numbered paragraphs and footnote 
questions for each paragraph. The Society allocates half the 
Watchtower material for each week. The tone of this meeting is 
restrained and unemotional; a mature brother is appointed Watch- 
tower study servant to be in charge of this important meeting* He 
supervises the meeting by asking the written questions and calling 
for comments from the audience, who are expected to have read 
and assimilated the Watchtower articles. When the presiding 
brother feels that the question has been adequately answered from 
the audience he calls upon another brother sitting by him to read 
out the paragraph. At the end of this he asks the question for the 
next paragraph and so on through the article; the questions are 
invariably very simple and with a little preparation most of the 
Witnesses can answer them. The questions are so phrased that the 
answer involves only the reading out of a sentence or two from 
the paragraph. Of course many Witnesses put the answer in their 
own words, but nevertheless the whole process involves no active 
thought on their part - they simply repeat what The Watchtower 
says. Thus the obvious purpose of the Watchtower study is to 


Life as a Jehovah 1 ' s Witness 

thoroughly acquaint the congregation with the Society doctrines 
and impress them on their minds. 

Throughout the Watchtower study the accent is on participa- 
tion: *We should each endeavor to make at least one comment 
during the study. Making comments will help us to improve our 
ministry and to show love and consideration for others by build* 
ing them up spiritually through hearing the truth.' 15 Even young 
children are encouraged to answer or read out the key sentences 
from the paragraph. The Watchtower study is the most important 
meeting held each week, but it can tend to be boring or mono- 
tonous particularly if (as often seems to happen) it overruns 
the allotted hour. Fortunately the meeting is not held in an 
atmosphere of funereal seriousness - the occasional humorous 
comment is made. 

The congregation often holds publicly advertised talk s in con- 
junction with the Watchtower study: this hour-long discourse is 
usually given before the Watchtower study and is advertised 
locally by handbills. These talks may be given by visiting repre- 
sentatives of the Society but more often they are given by local 
brothers or brothers from nearby congregations. All talks are 
scheduled by the Society who send out speech outlines from 
which the speakers build up their talks. There is little room left 
for individual preferences but here, as always, the directive of the 
Society is obeyed willingly and completely. The Watchtower study 
an d Public Talk are ideal meetings for newly interested people to 
attend - people of 'good-will* as the Witnesses call them. 

The other two meetings held in the Kingdom Hall are the 
Service Meeting and the Theocratic Ministry School . Personally I 
believe the former to be the most vital meeting held by the 
Witnesses; I certainly enjoyed it far more than the others. The 
function of this meeting is as follows: 'Service meetings provide 
the opportunity for Jehovah's Witnesses to learn the most prac- 
tical and efficient way of carrying on their preaching work.' ]6 At 
one time the Service Meeting was planned by the congregation 
servant who nevertheless stuck to material provided by the 
Society. Now the Society sets out in detail the schedule for each 
meeting and these are printed in the four-page pamphlet Kingdom 
Ministry (previously called Informant) which is distributed in- 
ternally to every active Witness every month. The Service 
Meeting consists of a miscellany of talks, demonstrations, dis- 


Millions Now Laving Will Never Die 

cussions and so on, all having a beating on the preaching work* 
For instance, in the Kingdom Ministry July 1965 the schedule for 
the first meeting in August was as follows: 

5 min: Introduction, text and comments. 

10 min: 'Maintaining Unity in Faith and Work\ Discussion 
between two publishers who emphasise how this service 
theme fits their activity for the month. 

15 min: 'Contemplate Their Conduct, Imitate Their Faith'. Ques- 
tions and answers. Key paragraphs can be read if time 

20 min: "Give Encouragement To One Another/ It would be 
appropriate for this talk to be given by the overseer based 
on The Watchtower of March 1 1965, pages 131 and 132, 
and The Watchtower of July 15, 1963. In conclusion he 
should take a few minutes to give warm commendation 
to all in the congregation for the good work being done. . . . 

10 min: Concluding comments. Song 67. 

(Titles in inverted commas refer to articles in the Kingdom Ministry) 

The Service Meeting is primarily fo r the Witnesses who have 
unequiv ocally accepted the Society's judgem ent. Hence all ad- 
monition, encouragement and criticism is made in the name of 
the Society. If the congregation is failing in some aspect of its 
preaching work then the congregation overseer may discuss this 
with them, pointing out the faults and suggesting improvements 
*as advised by the Society*. I believe most Witnesses enjoy the 
Service Meeting because of its variety and the fact that different 
members of the congregation participate each week. Even young 
Witnesses are encouraged to deliver short talks and take part in 
demonstrations. For those zealous in the faith the admonition in 
the Service Meeting is a real incentive to progress. 

The Theocratic Ministry School w as founded in 1942 as a 
meeting to train the Witnesses to speak to the public and to 
educate them with respect to the Bible. This two-fold purpose 
was effected with the help of the 'textbooks' Theocratic Aid to 
Kingdom Publishers (published 1945) and Equipped for every Good 
Work (1946). The former set out a detailed speech training course 
while the latter was a book-by-book explanation of the Bible. 
These were later replaced by Qualified to be Ministers (1955 and 
revised 1967) and All Scripture is Inspired of God and Beneficial (1963), 
Although the Ministry School has changed in several ways during 


Life as a Jehovah's Witness 

the last decade the basic pattern is that individual brothers and 
sisters prepare and deliver a short talk based on some Society 
literature and an appointed brother then counsels them on their 
talk. He commends the good features and comments on things 
that the speaker should improve - gestures, sense stress, use of 
Scriptures, modulation, etc. 

The Ministry School servant will mark the speaker's Ministry 
School Counsel sheet (see overleaf) to the effect that certain of 
these things are Good (G), some are improved (I) from some 
that were weak (W), In this way, week by week, a steady improve- 
ment is maintained and eventually even the most inarticulate 
Witness becomes capable of speaking in public. Since 1958 sisters 
in the congregation have also been allowed to give talks and the 
present structure of the meeting is as follows: First there is a five- 
minute oral review of the previous week's main talk followed by 
the fifteen-minute main talk on a Biblical topic. After this four 
other talks are given by students in the Ministry School -usually 
two brothers and two sisters. Each talk lasts about six minutes 
and the Ministry School servant counsels the speakers after their 
talks. This schedule is modified every four weeks when half an 
hour of the meeting is given over to the written review which is a 
question paper on the material discussed in the Ministry School 
in the previous four weeks. Students mark their own papers 
when the answers are read out and discussed. At the beginning of 
each year the Society sends out an Instruction Sheet to each 
congregation listing the talks for the coming year. The Service 
Meeting and the Ministry School are almost invariably held 
consecutively on the same evening. 

The fifth weekly meeting called the Cong re gation Book Study 
in fact is not attended by all the congregation at one time. The 
Witnesses in the congregation are divided into a number of 
groups which meet separately during the week for an hour-long 
study of one of the Society's books. There are about ten Wit- 
nesses to each study group which meets usually in the home of 
one of the Witnesses - such a home is called a service centre because 
the group often tends to meet there before and after door-to-door 
work at other times during the week. The concept of the service 
centre is a relatively recent development but it is clearly important 
in the congregation* Each Witness is attached to a service centre 
which provides closer and more personal contact with other 





(FiU mm) 

Maricit W-Weok 
I - Improved 
G-Good | 


1. Informative material 

2. Clear, understandable 

3. Main point* made to stand out 

4. Subject them* emphasized 

5. Illustrations fit material 

6* Illustration! At audience 

7* Convincing argument 

8. Use of outline 

9. Coherence through connective* 

10. Logical, coherent development 

1 1 , Material adapted for field ministry 

12, Introduction roused Interest 


13* Introduction appropriate to theme 

14. Introduction of proper length 

15. Conclusion appropriate, effective 

16* Conclusion of proper length 

17. Timing 

18. Personal appearance 

NOTE: Each talk the counselor will check the student on a toUl of two or three points, takfne 
them la the order In which they appear under each main heading on the slip. If further 
attention is needed, he will mark one or two "WV and show sUdent how to correct tbe 
weaknesses When mastered, the student will be encouraged to work on one or two more points, 
■till taking them In the order lo which ther appear under each mala beading on tbe slip 
Bcme point difficult to master {after serend 'Vs T ') mar h* entered In space 'VMaln points oa 
which tu work bo the student est) go on to other paints. 11m blank spaces at bottom for 
counseling advanced students on points not listed, ex: accuracy or statement, articulation, 
bearing, choke of words, grammar, mannerisms, relannqr, rolce quality 

S-48 &/61 

Printed in England 

Ministry school counsel sheet 

Molfl points on which to work 

<Make these notations In pencil) 



1, Scriptures property Introduced 

2. Scriptures read with emphasis 

3. Scripture application made clear 

4. Audience encouraged to use Bible 

5, Repetition for emphasis 

6. Audience helped to reason 


1. Volume 

2. Use of pausing 

3. Gestures 

4* Audience contact, use of notes 

5. Sense stress 

6* Enthusiasm 

7. Warmth, feeling 

6, Modulation 

9. Confidence and poise 

10. Fluency 

11* Conversational quality 

12- Pronunciation 

Millions Now hiving Will Never Die 

Witnesses and this gives a greater incentive to go out on the 
door-to-door work. If a Witness is failing in meeting attendance 
or in his field ministry then he is usually admonished or en- 
couraged through the service centre. A responsible and mature 
brother is appointed as Congregation Book Study servant in each 
study group and he conducts the weekly meeting which consists 
of a discussion of one of the Society's books by question-and- 
answer similar to the Watihtower study method. This meeting is 
obviously more informal than the other four and proceeds at a 
more leisurely pace - in fact any current Society literature may be 
studied at this meeting as long as it has questions on each para- 
graph at the foot of the page. The Congregation Book Study is 
a good meeting for 'good-will' people to attend. 

We have seen that a person is not considered a sincere Jehovah's 
Witness unless he attends the five weekly congregation meetings. 
The Society also recommends that all the members of the family 
attend the meetings - this includes babies and young children. 
Hence most meetings of the Witnesses are characterised by the 
presence of young children and several babes in arms, the former 
are very often bored and fidgety while the latter disturb the 
meeting with fits of crying. The Society believes in early indoc- 
trination of the young, but it is debatable whether long, late and 
unintelligible meetings are good for them* Some parents have 
evidently thought this too because the Society has reacted by 
issuing statements to the effect that children must attend meetings 
and must pay attention while there: 'Just having our children 
with us at the meetings however is not adequate. Here they will 
be expected to pay attention and not play, draw pictures or have 
side attractions.* 17 Although the Kingdom Hall is intended to be 
(and very often is) a warm social centre for the Witnesses where 
they can meet each other and strengthen their faith, a growing 
number of Witnesses find attending five meetings a week a some- 
what irksome duty. According to the Society non-attendance is 
equivalent to repudiation of God's channel of communication 
and they periodically issue reprimands of this nature: 'And still 
what happens to meeting attendance when the weather suddenly 
turns bad? And that even in large cities with adequate transpor- 
tation. Think of our brothers behind the Iron Curtain* . . . And 
yet some stay away because of snow and rain. Truly brothers, 
these things ought not to be/ 18 


Life as a Jehovah* s Witness 


Each congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses is a highly organised 
mechanism geared to door-to-door preaching. Calling at houses 
is a familiar if not characteristic aspect of their work but there is 
much more involved. The ultimate aim of their work is to inform 
as many people as possible of their message and get them to 
believe and act on it. The Witnesses do not expect to convert the 
world but to inform it of the coming Battle of Armageddon. This 
other-worldly object is achieved by very down-to-earth methods. 
The number of hours spent by every Witness in spreading the 
message is carefully tabulated - but the Witnesses do not stop at 
leaving literature in people's homes; this is just the first stage in 
developing interest. Those who think they can 'get rid of* the 
Witnesses by buying literature are really encouraging them to 
call again! 

The Witnesses' activity is called, amongst themselves , 'the 
work'. The territory allocated to each congregation is sub- 
divided and the sections are given to the care of individuals or 
groups of Witnesses. It is intended that during each year the 
territory should be systematically 'covered' at least once (i.e. all 
the homes marked on it should be visited). The initial call at any 
house is usually one of two kinds. On Magazine Work the Witness 
will deliver a short speech introducing current issues of The 
Watcbtower and Awake! magazines which he hopes the house- 
holder will accept on donation of a 'contribution' of ]d. per copy. 
No price is marked on any of the Society's literature so that legally 
they do not 'sell* anything. The publisher makes a record of all 
magazines 'placed' and the houses where they were sold. Maga- 
zine work is more often done on Saturday, although service 
centres often organise an hour's magazine work before or after 
the book study in the evening. 

The most common method of door-to-door preaching is called 
sermon work and it is usually done on Sundays (and any con- 
venient weekdays - but this is less likely). The Witness delivers 
a five-minute sermon, which is a talk on a Biblical topic quoting 
three or four texts from the Bible in the process. The Society has 
recendy printed a thirty-two-page booklet listing 244 sermons 
under sixty subject headings which can be used by the Witnesses. 
What usually happens is that the Witness memorises the texts (or 


Millions Now 'Living Will Never Die 

writes notes in his Bible to remind him) and then at the door he 
fills in the gaps with his own words, linking up one scripture to 
another in terms of the theme of the sermon. Suppose for in- 
stance the Witness knocks at a door and after introducing him* 
self as *a minister of the Gospel* or 'a Bible student' proceeds to 
speak for five minutes on the very important subject of the Bible 
itself. Below is a typical sermon outline on this theme which I 
used to use myself and found particularly appropriate for leading 
up to an offer of literature (which is the inevitable climax of every 

The Bible is important -it offers everlasting life: 

John 17 : 3 
How can we get everlasting life? The Bible tells us that the words 
of God are life-giving: 

Matthew 4 : 2-4 
Evidently the way to everlasting life is contained in God's Word, 
the Bible, but we need help to understand it: 

Acts 8 128-31 
Such help is provided now in this book . . * . published by the 
the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society etc. 

The above is, of course, the bare outline of a sermon which when 
expanded by the publisher's own words becomes a very effective 
means of convincing a householder that at the very least there is 
something in the literature offered. The training received in the 
Ministry School is invaluable for sermon work as the Witness is 
then prepared to depart from the set sermon at any stage, if the 
householder raises an objection or asks a question. Witnesses will 
discuss any Biblical point with the householder as long as they 
feel they are able to prove their point by quoting texts and as long 
as they can bring the conversation round to the literature they 
wish to sell - usually a subscription to The Watchtower or Awake t 
(costing 8x. 6d.) or three of their books. If this is refused the publisher 
will try to settle for less - a half-yearly subscription or perhaps 
just one book. In any event he will try to leave some literature in 
every home. 

The sermon work is the most important type of initial call and 
each month the sermons and literature to be used are announced 
in the Kingdom Ministry. Of course the Witnesses do not always 
handle the sermons perfectly: many of them are still stereotyped 


Life as a Jehovalfs Witness 

Name - _ - 

Street and Number . 

County . ..... 

p NEW \ 1 TEAB Q 


Town _ _ Postal No, 

Enter the above name as a subscriber for 

The WATCHTOWER (check V) 

Published semimonthly 

Obtained by „ 

Check V which: Congregation publisher „. Pioneer 

Name of Congregation 

(If eent in by congregation) „ „ „ „.„„ 

Scud original only to this office. Subscriber should KEEP duplicate as receipt. 

Subscriber's own initials, verifying this slip as correct ( ) 


THE RIDGEWAY, LONDON N.W.7 . 3/6 six months 

M-I 13/58 Printed In Britain. 

Subscription Slip 

in their approach and a well-informed person can often put them 
out of their stride. For the great majority of people, however, 
who do not think about religion very much, the Witnesses are 
more than able to dominate the conversation and put over their 
message. At one time the door-to-door work was supplemented 
by sound-cars but the loudspeaker approach was found to be too 
impersonal, and now the Society concentrates on what it feels is 
the best method for propagating its beliefs: 'There are many 
methods of doing service work, but the most effective way of 
preaching the good news is for each dedicated person to go from 
house to house and talk to the people living in their own homes. 
. . . Jesus Christ and his apostles set the example for us in this. n& 
Whatever form the initial call takes the Witness notes down 
the result on a specially printed form called the House to House 
Record. This enables him to proceed with stage two of the Wit- 
nessing work which he hopes will eventually lead to a new 
convert. The Witness calls back at homes where Interest was 
shown or literature placed - if possible within a fortnight of the 
initial call. This 'back-call* may take the form of a discussion of 
the literature left although the Witness usually memorises an 
appropriate back-call sermon quoting about eight scripture texts 
and lasting ten to fifteen minutes. The purpose of the back-call is 



STREET ., „ . ...**...♦. Terr. No. 

PUBLISHER'S NAME ..,,.., *..,....,, 


CA — 


Call Again 
Not Horn* 

B — Buty M — Man 
C — Child W — Woman 

House or 
Apt. No. 



Name, Placement and Remarks 

8-8 10/53 

Field service form 

obviously to develop the person's interest to the point where he 
will agree to hold a Bible Study in his own home. Here the pub- 
lisher calls each week and studies one of the Society's publications 
for an hour (or less) with the interested person. The thing that 
characterises a Bible Study is that it is held regularly and the 
householder studies with the publisher. Any Society literature 




Name , Monday 

, to Sunday , 

< Datft) (Date) 



Hours of 
Field Venice 

New Subs 












S-* 6/55 

Field service form 

that has numbered paragraphs with footnote questions may be 
studied, and this includes several booklets, The Watchton>er y and 
most of the books printed by the Society. The publisher asks the 
questions and encourages the householder (and his family too if 
possible) to work out the answers from the paragraphs. By now 
the householder is genuinely interested and is being brought to 
a knowledge of 'the truth* in his own home. In fact, most new 
members are brought into the faith through Bible Studies: 

If you are diligent in the field service, showing keen interest in 
those to whom you preach, in time you will probably have the 
joy of conducting a home Bible study. This is the foremost means 
by which persons are aided to come to an accurate knowledge of the 
truth. . . . Make it your goal to conduct at least one home Bible 
study each week, 20 

The title e Bible study' is something of a misnomer as the 
Society's literature (which is the thing studied) never features an 
objective look at the Bible itself but tries to indoctrinate the 
reader in the Society's beliefs. Thus a Bible study, while it con- 
tinues for several months, is intended to bring the person of 


Millions Now Living Will Never Die 

'good-will* into a frame of mind where he accepts all of the 
Society's doctrines. When this stage is reached the Witness 
holding the Bible study will encourage him to attend meetings 
and suggest that they go out on the service work together- 
initially the person of good- will will be an observer on the door- 
to-door work but eventually he will deliver his own sermons and 
begin to attend all the meetings regularly. The long process of 
initial call ~ back-call ~ Bible study has been justified and a new 
convert will have appeared in the Witness movement. Finally this 
new member will dedicate his life to Jehovah and symbolise this 
by water baptism- from then on he will be a Jehovah's Witness 
in to to. 

It is quite clear from all this that Jehovah's Witnesses have a 
great deal to do to maintain themselves as faithful members of 
their organisation. In addition to the five weekly meetings they 
usually sp end S u n d ay ^ morning Saturday afternoon and at leas T 
one edging a week on the service work. Any other time left over 
frora_their secular work is usually tak en up with reading Ihe * 
W^cht ower and preparing for t he congregation m eeting s. Of 
course not all Witnesses measure up to the Society*7expectations > 
but I would say that most of them do, and all the servants in the 
congregation usually do. The servants have a very busy time of it 
for they have their duties to fulfil in addition to the above schedule 
and, of course, they are expected to take the lead and set an 
example in the congregation activities. 

To ensure that the servants (and all the Witnesses) hav e some- 
t hing tangible to aim f or the Society has worked out quotas for 
congregation publishers in every branch of the preaching work* 
The Society is acutely conscious of figures, averages and in- 
creases and they suggest that every publisher spend at least ten 
hours every month in field service, and that he should teach the 
quotas of six back-calls, twel ve magazines and one Bible stud^ 
every month 7 (The national and world averages are invariably 
below these quotas.) The Society also suggests that the Witnesses 
aim for a ten per cent increase in their numbers e ach year - re- 
flected in the average number of publishers over the year in each 
congregation. Publishers are not obliged to meet the quotas, 
but if they are noticeably lagging in their field service then they 
are usually admonished by one of the servants. Much of the 
Witnesses* conversation is permeated with this statistical outlook 



Pu blisher ^ — 

Add ress — _.„. 

Date of birth -....- 

Date immersed Anointed or Other Sheep - 

Single or Married Telephone -»■. — 

Identification card ,... 

(Date Issued) 

Active in service since . 

Languages spoken .,. 

Car owner 

Serves In \ 

congregation as ) .. 














JAN. *6 










.. . T 


i "~ I 


S-21 5/59 

Printed in Britain 

Individual's record card kept 
by assistant congregation servant 

Millions Now Living Will Never Die 

on their religion and they are constantly aware of their personal 
monthly averages, the congregation average and the national 
figure: they are expected to hand in weekly reports of how many 
hours' preaching they have done, how many books and maga- 
zines sold and so on. In this respect I think the Witness movement 
is unique in the emphasis it places on numerical totals and we 
shall see in the next chapter some of the difficulties that follow 
from this attitude. 


8. Beyond the Congregation 

In this chapter we will look more closely at the people in the 
congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses and also see how the 
congregation is linked to the rest of the Witness movement. 
Firstly we might note that most Witnesses are members of the 
'other sheep' class who hope to live eternally on earth after 
Armageddon. Those claiming to be members of the 'remnant' or 
'anointed* decrease in number year by year; they are nearly all 
elderly brothers and sisters. Their status in the congregation is 
something of a problem for the Society: the 'remnant* belong to 
the privileged class who will live for ever in heaven and the 
Society naturally feels that they should be respected by the others 
in the congregation. On the other hand the members of the 
'remnant*, being old, tend to be the least active in the congrega- 
tion - and the Society has trained the Witnesses not to respect 
inactivity! The Kingdom Ministry (July 1965) mentioned this 

How often in recent months have you stopped for a moment to 
observe the mature, older brothers and sisters and spend a Httle time 
with them? . . . The share they have in the ministry may be a large 
one or it may be a small one due to physical infirmities. , w . It may 
be also that you are in a position to help one of the older publishers 
to get to the meetings or out into the service regularly. 

Recent articles in The Watchiower and Awake! have established the 
rationale for respecting the older, more mature Witnesses on the 
grounds of their large past service and that they are doing their 
best now although objectively it may not be a lot. 

Most publishers in the congregation are part-time preachers - 
either housewives or men with a full-time job - and many of the 
servants in the congregation fall into one of two categories: 
mature middle-aged family men and zealous young brothers. 
Members of the latter group tend to be Society-mem they have 
enthusiastically absorbed the Society's view on all aspects of life 

x 43 

Millions Now Living Will Never Die 

and they ardently repeat this at every opportunity. They appear 
to have lost their power of free-will and nearly all their remarks 
begin with the words: 'The Society says . . .\ I feel, however, that 
the real strength of the congregation lies with the former class of 
servants. The family men may lack the zeal of the younger 
Witnesses, but their regular and stable employment is often of 
more use to the congregation in the long run -they can, for 
instance, contribute money and skilled labour for building the 
Kingdom Hall. In addition the older servants are usually the 
more respected members of the community at large. 

There are more women than men in the movement but they 
are not allowed to play an important part in the congregation and 
are virtually excluded from all higher positions of responsibility 
within the organisation. The Society usually quotes i Timothy i : 
12 and other scriptures as justification for not permitting sisters 
to be servants in the congregation or to occupy any position 
above a capable male Witness: *But I suffer not a woman to teach, 
nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence/ The 
only occasion when sisters are allowed authority in the congre- 
gation is when there is an actual shortage of male Witnesses to 
occupy the servant positions. Although sisters are now allowed 
to give talks in the Ministry School these are not directed towards 
the audience (this would be too much like teaching) but to an- 
other sister who sits with the speaker at the front of the meeting 
hall. Sisters are allowed to attend the missionary school, Gilead, 
and they qualify as missionaries, but this is as far as it goes, and 
they still have no authority over any male Witness. 

Tehovah's Witnesses are mainly young people. In Britain, for 
example, t more than 10,000 of the ^o»ooo Witnesses are unde r 
fifteen years of agel Thus children are important in the New 
World Society r ana young Witnesses are encouraged to progress 
as fast as they can and are soon going out on the work and giving 
talks in the Ministry School. While it is true that many children 
never really accept their parents* beliefs and soon slide into in- 
activity, some exceed the adults in their enthusiasm - sometimes 
sincerely and sometimes for the praise it elicits. Many of these 
children graduate to servant positions and become young 
p ioneers. 

Those who wish to devote the majority of their time to the 
preaching work may enrol in th e pioneer service: 


Beyond the Congregation 

This privilege of service is open to all regular publishers who have 
been preaching the good news of the Kingdom since the date of 
their immersion, and they should have a favourable recommendation 
from the local congregation* Pioneers are required to meet a mini- 
mum quota of 100 hours a month. 1 

Usually it is the young independent people who take up the 
pioneer work and they get a part-time job to support themselves 
while they devote the rest of their time to the preaching work. 
The Society does not pay a salary but can assign pioneers to a 
certain part of the country or even abroad where 'the need is 
great*. Pioneers have been described as the 'shock troops' of the 
organisation and in the early days they travelled thousands of 
miles opening up new territories for the Watchtower Society. 
Then as now they are zealous and hard-working with an implicit 
faith and trust in God and the New World Society. Life as a 
pioneer is usually arduous: time and money having to be carefully 
budgeted. It is certainly not the life for the unenthusiastic or 
weak-willed and nowadays many who join are forced to leave as 
the life and quotas prove too difficult for them to maintain. 
Nevertheless they speak wistfully and proudly of their time in 
the pioneer ranks and the sacrifices they had to make. Rutherford 
was particularly fond of the pioneers; Tor example, he would 
occasionally send each of them a whole carton of books free of 
charge so that, as he put it, "they could buy a pair of shoes and 
walk well-shod on the earth".* 2 

An analysis of pioneer membership figures and their average 
preaching hours per month confirms the conclusion that it can be 
a precarious existence. The number of pioneers in Britain and in 
the world has increased overall during the period 1952-1964 but 
there was a decrease in the world figures in 1953, 1954, 1955* 
1956 and 1962. In Britain the figures dropped in 1953, 1954, 1955 
and 1962* With regard to the average hours of field service per 
month it is interesting to note that during the period January 
1964 to December 1964, for instance, th e highest monthly average 
wa s gS-2 hours and the average for the year was onlv o ?-? hours 
(these are the British figures)." The conclusion is martaany 
pioneers must find it difficult or impossible to spend 100 hours 
every month in the field service (the Society withdraws pioneers 
whose averages are too low). As far as the membership numbers 
are concerned, the Society has attempted to increase the number 


Millions Now Uving Will Never Die 

of pioneers by an intensive publicity campaign within the organi- 
sation* Frequent letters to the congregations and large articles in 
the Kingdom Ministry are used to stress the importance of pioneer- j 

ing - families as well as young people are encouraged to take up j 

this work. 

From the ranks of the pioneers the Society chooses suitable 
Witnesses to be Special Pionee rs. These are full-time workers who 
receive a living allowance from the Society. Their work may be s 

starting a new congregation, straighteHSgout one that has gone 
wrong or simply Witnessing in a previously untouched part of the 
world. Special Pioneers can be used by the Society to maintain 
order within the movement, they are usually more mature and 
more dedicated than the pioneers and they are certainly mote at 
the disposal of the Society. Their allowance is paid subject to 
their fulfilling the requirements of 140 hours in the field service 
every month, making at least fifty bac k-calls. Further bonusesjare 

fifty back-calls. S pecial Pioneers posted abroad are called the 
"missionaries ' of the Watchtower Society, although this usually 
implies they have completed a course at the Society's missionary 
school, Gilead. 

To help the Society administration, each country is divided 
into Districts which are subdivided into Circuits - these conta in 
about fifteen congreg ations. A 'fuU-tJtnfT ^ rgaf ' r ™ appointed by 
t he Society for each District and Grcuit . At present each congre- 
gation in a circuit is visited at least once every four months by 
the Q rpuit Servant who stays a week at each place. He and his 
wife, if he is married, are usually accommodated in the home of a 
local brother. The purpose of his stay with the congregation is to 
observe, check and help the preaching activity of the brothers. A 
detailed programme of field service is drawn up giving as many 
publishers as possible the chance to go from door to door with 
the Circuit Servant . The latter is then able to help them in im- 
proving their sermon work and he also sets an example of how 
things ought to be done: 

The circuit servant's work is twofold. First and most important he 
is to teach others how to carry on house-to-house witnessing in 
an effective manner. Second, he will check on the congregation 
organisation. In ordet to accomplish his first work he should 
devote at least 100 hours every month to preaching from house to 


Beyond the Congregation 

house, making back-calls and visiting and conducting home Bible 

studies, 3 

Every week the Circuit Servant has a new congregation to 
examine, people to meet and a host of new problems to solve. As 
part of the Society's policy, Circuit Servants are switched around 
at intervals. Few spend more than two years in one circuit before 
they are transferred to another part of the country. They tend to 
develop a sharp, businesslike approach to the preaching work. 
Publishers often wryly joke about the Circuit Servant's visit as 
'shaking people up' or 'putting people on their toes' and so on. 
Circuit Servants are usually zealous but not unfriendly men, yet 
they can be almost ruthless in demanding better results from 
backward congregations. Circuit Servants have few personal 
commitments and none of the local distractions that prevent the 
ordinary publisher preaching. They are therefore in an ideal 
position to encourage other Witnesses. They live their whole 
life, week by week, amongst Jehovah's Witnesses and they 
represent (to the publisher at least) the completely zealous and 
dedicated servant of the Society and of God* 

The District Servant has much the same job with respect to 
the Circuit Servant as the latter has to the publisher: 'Every six 
months the district servant will spend two weeks in each circuit. 
During the first week he will generally work with the circuit 
servant as he goes through his routine of serving a congregation, 
including house-to-house service, and will give him counsel on 
improving his work/ 4 The District Servant organises a Circuit 
Assembly to be held during the second week of his visit and as 
many Witnesses as possible from the congregations in the circuit 
are expected to attend. Notice is given several months in advance 
so that the forms requesting accommodation and those volun- 
teering help can be dealt with in time. The money needed for the 
Assembly is partly contributed by the Witnesses attending. 

Circuit Assemblies are held at week-ends - usually in a fairly 
large hall and ante-rooms which are hired for the occasion. On 
the Friday afternoon various volunteer workers move in and set 
up the sound equipment, kitchens and cafeteria, buffets and a 
host of posters, signs and slogans. The Witnesses have their own 
equipment which is moved around from Assembly to Assembly* 
Later the main body of Witnesses arrives to attend the first 
session on Friday evening. Sessions consist of a series of talks and 


Millions Now Uving Will Never Die 

demonstrations: rather like a Service Meeting except there is no 
audience participation. Most of the Witnesses live some distance 
away and they are accommodated in local homes for the duration 
of the Assembly. They are expected to do some field service when 
sessions are not being held but it is possible to stay in the hall 
from early morning to late at night as meals and snacks are pro- 
vided. Even when no talks are being given there is still a lot of 
activity in and around the hall and this is part of the interest and 
enjoyment of the Assembly. A special programme is printed 
giving the times of the talks and other details (see pp. 1 5 0-1). Apart 
from the Circuit and District Servants the speakers are local 
brothers, usually servants in the congregations. On Friday even- 
ing a model Ministry School and Service Meeting is staged while 
on Sunday morning a baptism ceremony is carried out in a nearby 
swimming pool where those wishing to dedicate their lives to 
God are baptised by total immersion* The climax of the week- 
end is the one-and-a-half-hour Public Meeting on Sunday after- 
noon to which the public are invited. The District Servant 
delivers this talk and sessions continue up to six o'clock. 

In discussing the Circuit Assembly the question arises as to 
how necessary are such gatherings. It is true that the Assembly is 
useful in giving the Society publicity: it impresses the 'locals* 
with large numbers of Witnesses - *I never realised before how 
many of you there are!* one lady remarked. In this way it gives 
a shot in the arm to the local congregation and also recharges the 
spiritual batteries of the Witnesses attending. On the debit side, 
however, they cost money to run and take up a lot of time. The 
Society claims to hold Assemblies in order to follow a Biblical 
precedent and to provide valuable 'spiritual food* presented in the 
talks. But I suspect they hold them for the reasons quoted above 
as this 'food' serves equally well delivered through the pages of 
The Watchtower and few Witnesses expect, or indeed receive, 
anything very new or important from the discourses. 

For those attending, a Circuit Assembly is both an enjoyable 
and encouraging experience. There is the comforting presence of 
400 fellow-believers, most of whom are kind, helpful and polite, 
and there is hardly any quarrelling or violence, just a genuine 
feeling of comradeship and love. No attempt is made to heighten 
the emotional power of the Assembly: the talks are delivered in 
a reasonable and restrained way; yet the experience is very 


Beyond the Congregation 

moving. The Witnesses ate aware that congregation meetings can 
become boring and insipid - but few feel this way about Circuit 
Assemblies. There may well be an element of escapism about 
these gatherings but who wouldn't want to escape to a temporary 
(but real) gathering where everyone lives in harmony? The Cir- 
cuit Assembly provides an opportunity of renewing contact with 
the other brothers and sisters in the Circuit and they are successful 
as social occasions - especially for the young Witnesses. The 
Society constantly issues reprimands (albeit mild ones) to those 
who do not pay enough attention to the talks, and too much to 
the opposite sex. In The Watchtower of ist June 1964 under the 
heading * Showing Christian Love at Assemblies* the Society said: 
'In this connection young persons especially should exercise care 
that they do not become more interested in associating with one 
another than in what is being said and done on the platform.' In 
the eyes of the outside world the behaviour of young Witnesses 
is remarkably restrained, and natural, but judged by the strict 
moral code of the Society it needs correcting. This is just one of 
several problems that the Society is concerned about at congre- 
gational level. Periodical articles in the Kingdom Ministry and The 
Watchiower and Awake I indicate that these problems are as yet 

Meeting attendance is a typical case; as the Witnesses increase 
in number and the attitude of Western society grows more per- 
missive the New World Society finds complacency and apathy in 
its ranks. In the November 1964 Kingdom Ministry the Witnesses 
are advised; 

To enjoy the meetings fully we should be on time for them. Are 
you there to sing the song and to join in the prayer or do you find 
yourself coming in late, causing heads to turn and minds to wander 
from instruction as you move about finding a seat? ... If you are a 
servant, do you try to be on hand at least twenty minutes before 
each meeting to care for your duties and to assist the publishers? 
Not only is this an evidence of maturity, but think of the good 
example it sets for all in the congregation. 6 

More direct advice was given in the July 1965 Kingdom Ministry: 

'But what can you do about low meeting attendance? 1 one of the 
group asked. An overseer spoke up and said: 'This was a problem 
in our congregation a few months ago; so we asked our study 

L 149 

SUNDAY, May 18, 1958 
9: 00 a.m. Dedication and Baptism E. J, Courtney 
9 : 30 a.m. To Immersion 

9: 35 a.m. Fulfilling Our Comis- 
sion to Preach 

10: 00 a.m. To the Field 

A. Westfield 




3:00 p.m. PUBLIC MEETING Chairman 

N. Yenn 


Facing the Future 
Without Fear E. J. Courtney 

4 : 30 p.m. Summary of 

The Watchtower W. Owens 

5: 00 p.m. Safeguard the Heart 

with Wisdom El Sindrey 

5 : 30 p.m. Keep Watching the Ministry 

That You Fulfil It E. J. Courtney 

6 : 00 p.m. Concluding Announcements 
and Song 


Memorial Hall 

May 16, 17, 18, 1G58 


"A* for in*, In my integrity I shall walk/' 
—Psalm 26: 11 



FRIDAY, May 16, 1958 

6 : 45 p.m. Songs and Experiences K, Robertson 

7: 00 p.m. Fulfilling Our Ministry E. J. Courtney 

E. J. Courtney 
Ij. Merrick 

7: 15 p.m. Ministry School 
Instruction Talk 
Geography of the Promised 
Land L. B. Rees 

Student Talks 

The Holy City Revived and 
Cast Off (to par. 9) H. Robinson 

The Holy City Revived and 
Cast Off (from par. 10) A. Rogerson 

2 Chron. 3: 1 to 4: 18 T. Harries 

Interpretative Points 

8:15 p.m. Service Meeting K. Sindrey 

"Preaching Together in Unity" 

Preaching With an Aim W, Radcliffe 

Attending Meetings T. Rogerson 

Preaching with Magazines W. Burton 

9 : 15 p.m. Concluding Announcements 
and Song 

SATUBBAT, May 17, 1W» 

9 : 00 a.m. Faithful Ministers J. Roach. 

9: 30 a.m. To the Field 

1 : 45 p.m. Willing Ministers X Muller 

2: 00 p.m. To the Pield 

2: 10 p.m. District and Circuit Servants' 

Meeting with Congregation Servants 

6: 45 p.m. Songs and Experiences P*Routledge 

7 : 00 p.m. Examining Our Ministry E. J. Courtney 

7: 20 p.m. Why Make Back-Calls? K. Sindrey 

7 : 35 p.m. More Can Make 

Back-Calls J- Williams 

7: 47 p.m. Need of a Record N.Yenn 

8: 02p*nu Song 

8 : 05 p.m, Preparing for 

a Back-Call W. Hopkins 

8: 17 p.m. Meeting and Overcoming 

Objections B, F.. Houghton 

8 : 37 p.m. An Effective Back-Call K. Sindrey 

8: 52 p.m. Make More Back-Calls E. J. Courtney 

9 : 02 p.m. Concluding Announcements 
and Song 

A typical circuit assembly programme 

Millions Now Living Will Never Die 

conductors to bring up questions on Tuesday evening that would 
be answered at the Watchtowr study on Sunday. Then we asked them 
to make calls on those who were not attending meetings and tell 
them a little bit about the coming meeting and invite them to come. 
The brothers did well in picking up these individuals or walking 
with them to the Kingdom Hall and sitting with them during the 
meetings; and our attendance at the Watchtower study increased 
from 6 1 percent to 84 percent in six months.* 

The Witnesses can be painfully direct and unsubtle in their efforts 
to help erring publishers 1 

A more serious problem is the number of disfellowshipped 
Witnesses, which appears to be increasing year by year. In 1958 
the Society vice-president, Franz, commented on this increase: 

Pointing up the need of constant prayerful vigilance, Franz told 
his hearers that for each of the five years from March, 1952, to 
April, 1957, there had been an average of 500 persons disfellow- 
shipped from congregations in the United States. 'However 1 , he 
said, 'during the past year, from April 1 9 5 7, to April 1958, the number 
rose sharply above the yearly average to 1,334 delinquent members, 
or more than two and a half times as many/ 

Whether by disfellowshipment or falling away, the Society is 
faced with thousands of members leaving the organisation. In a 
letter to all congregations in Great Britain in September 1963 
they wrote: "Earlier this year every overseer in Britain aided the 
Society in making an analysis of the reasons why many publishers 
fell away from the faith during the last year/ 

In the Kingdom Ministry, July 1965 (p. 4), mention is made of a 
campaign to reclaim those who have left: 


There are tens of thousands of persons who at one time associated 
with Jehovah's organization, attending meetings and sharing in 
the field service ... in the August 1 and August 15 issues of The 
Watchtower are heart-searching and encouraging articles concerning 
the parable of the prodigal son, entitled 'Recovery Still Possible/ *A 
Young Man Goes Astray/. « * If those who were once associated 
with Jehovah's people could be encouraged to read these articles, 
it might stir in them a longing to be back in the house of our Father, 

An article in the 1967 Wat chtomr entitl ed * Were y o u once a 
Kingdom Publisher^ aclmitte'd7uat'about 1067000 W itnesses had 


Beyond the Congregation 

left the movement during the last fivg^ears despite the many 
ways in wtiich the Society has tried to remedy this loss. 6 It is 
difficult to see what will happen now; if the Society is willing to 
compromise (in their nomenclature - 'get a clearer light on 
things') on certain issues then this may help to keep people in the 
movement. If the present trend continues then they may soon be 
faced with a unique and unpleasant experience - an actual 
decrease in their membership figures. 


9- The International Organisation of 
Jehovah's Witnesses 


There were 1,094,280 Jehovah's Witnesses scattered 
throughout 197 countries in 1967. Unlike the Quakers 
and other non-conformist sects, the organisation of the 
Witnesses is directed from a central headquarters from which the 
literature, doctrines and decisions proceed through direct channels 
to the individual members. The result is that Jehovah's Witnesses l 

are at all times kept aware not only of their local activity but of 
the work of their brothers throughout the world. Effective ad- 
ministration is one of the most striking features of the New 
World Society, The Witnesses make use of three legal corpora- 
tions - the Watchtower Bible and Tract Societies of Pennsylvania 
and New York, and the International Bible Students Association. 
The first two are responsible for organisation in the United States 
and the last named for Canada and the United Kingdom. Of the 
three corporations the Pennsylvanian one is most important; in 
1967 it had 407 voting members who live in all parts of the world 
and are usually Witnesses of long standing. The voting members 
meet each year and elect or re-elect the seven directors of the 
corporation who in turn elect the officers. Thus the President of 
the corporation is not elected by popular vote but by the direc- 
tors who choose one of their members for the post. In 1968 the 
officers of the Pennsylvania corporation were: N. H. Knorr 
(President), F. W. Franz (Vice-President) and G* Suiter (Secre- 

The original Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society was founded 
in 1884, its name was changed in 1896 and the headquarters 
moved from Pennsylvania to New York in 1909* A further cor- 
poration, the People's Pulpit Association, was founded in 1909 
but its name was changed to The Watch Tower Bible and Tract 
Society Inc. of New York in 1939* This corporation owns some 
of the property used by the Pennsylvania Society and is generally 


The International Organisation of Jehovah* s Witnesses 

responsible for the Witnesses* activities throughout the United 
States. The third corporation, the International Bible Students 
Association, was set up in London in 191 4. It owns property in 
Britain and is responsible for British affairs. 

Although the three corporations are legally distinct their 
officers tend to be the same people - the President of the Penn- 
sylvania corporation is automatically President of the other two. 
At the time of Rutherford ambitious and astute legal manoeuvring 
attended the election of the President, but there is no evidence of 
such today. Much of the superb organisation of the Witness 
movement is due to this concentration of responsibility and 
administrative power in the hands of one man. The President's 
job is certainly no sinecure: in addition to his door-to-door 
Witnessing work he travels extensively to check on the progress 
of the organisation throughout the world. The President is not, 
however, wholly responsible for the doctrinal edicts of the 
Society. The control comes from a larger body of Witnesses, all 
of whom are members of the * remnant class' - this 'spiritual com- 
mittee' certainly includes Knorr but the exact details of member- 
ship are not disclosed, even to the rest of the Witnesses. Never- 
theless there is no doubt that Knorr and his board of directors 
are in complete administrative charge of the Witnesses: their 
decisions govern the lives of all Jehovah's Witnesses on a world- 
wide scale. For instance, in Britain the congregations receive 
many of their instructions from the branch office at Mill Hill, 
but the ultimate responsibility for these lies with the New York 
Head Office. It is there that the American affairs, the Gilead Bible 
School, International and National Assemblies, Presidential tours, 
literature releases, The Waithtomr and Awakel editorial policy, 
etc., are decided. 

The Watchtower Society has an extensive printing factory at 
Adams Street, Columbia Heights, New York, which consists of 
four large interconnected buildings where millions of copies of 
the Society's literature are printed. Every few years some addition 
is made to the factory to cater for the continually rising circula- 
tion of the Watchtower and Awake! magazines. For example, in 
1965 two new rotary presses were installed, while in October 
1967 a new ten-storey building was completed to house more 
presses and printing equipment. The Witnesses' literature appears 
in more than eighty languages (and in Braille) and most of this 


Millions Now Living Will Never Die 

is printed in New York. The workers in the factory are all 
Jehovah's Witnesses (selected for their various skills) and they 
live with the Society officials at the Bethel Home: two twelve- 
storey buildings on Columbia Heights. 'Bethel* means "house of 
God* and is the name the Witnesses give to their 'homes for 
officials* throughout the world. The Bethel in New York at 
present houses about 800 Witnesses although it could accommo- 
date 1,100: 

All of these witnesses of Jehovah have come from different parts 
of the United States, Canada and Central America, and the islands 
of the Caribbean. They have decided to make Bethel their home* 
They are all volunteers and they have filed applications requesting 
the privilege of working at the headquarters of the Society, We 
still have many applications on hand, but those between the ages 
of seventeen and thirty-five who are in good health, dedicated and 
baptized for at least a year and anxious to serve willingly in Jehovah's 
organisation may file an application. 1 . 

Bethel residents live in comfortable single or shared rooms and 
have the use of dining rooms, a laundry, barber's shop, library 
and so on, inside the building. In fact the Bethel is made as self- 
contained as possible - even shoe repairs and tailoring are done 
by trained Witnesses inside the home. Each Bethel member 
receives full board and a rather meagre personal allowance of 
fourteen dollars a month. The Witnesses are fond of claiming 
that the President of the Society (and the other officials) receive 
the same monthly allowance and are treated in the same way as 
other Bethel members. While this is not exactly true, it is a fact 
that the Witnesses place little emphasis on distinctions of rank - 
they claim there is merely a difference in delegation of responsi- 
bility. The Witnesses' publications inevitably describe life at the 
Bethel as joyous and rewarding, but in Faith on the March the 
depressing photographs of brothers in the New York Bethel do 
not give this impression! 2 

Much of the food eaten by the Witnesses at Bethel is obtained 
from three farms owned and run by the Society: 

The Society has obtained a number of farms, which are also operated 
by ordained ministers. There are usually forty-five persons working 
at Kingdom Farm, nineteen at our Watchtower Farm and about 
five at Mountain Farm, All of these farms provide the Bethel 
family with many necessary food products. Usually Mountain 

M 6 

The International Organisation of Jehovah's Witnesses 

Farm provides us with fruit and some vegetables. Kingdom Farm 
provides us with a great amount of vegetables and large crops of 
potatoes, wheat, peas and corn. They also make our butter and cheese 
and supply us with quite a bit of beef, pork, chicken, turkey, etc. 3 

Mountain Farm is situated about fifty miles from New York Gty, 
in the state of New Jersey. The other two farms are in New York 
State, Kingdom Farm being the largest and comprising 800 acres. 

Mention has already been made of the Watchtower Society's 
missionary training school, Gilead. Until 1959 the school was 
situated on Kingdom Farm in South Lansing, but it was then 
moved to the New York Bethel Gilead courses now last five 
months, at the end of which time 100 or so new 'missionaries* 
graduate to be sent to all parts of the world (including the United 
States and Britain). The curriculum at Gilead is based on the 
Bible with lecture courses on Bible prophecy, Bible law, Bible 
chronology, etc. Students are also given basic instruction in a 
foreign language. Gilead is registered in the United States as an 
institute of further education, but the amount of knowledge that 
can be imparted in five months is obviously very small (despite 
the exaggerated claims made by the Society). Gilead is important 
in the Witness movement because from it emerge those Witnesses 
who will later occupy positions of responsibility in the organisa- 
tion - in fact the only other way of 'getting on' is by serving in 
the Bethel In addition to Gilead, the Society since 1959 has been 
running a Kingdom Ministry School in the United States and in other 
countries such as Canada, England and Germany. This school 
provides a fortnight's refresher course for the various grades of 
'servants' throughout the Witness movement - District, Circuit 
and Congregation Servants from all over the United States have 
attended the school in turn. The Society attaches great import- 
ance to the Kingdom Ministry School as it makes it possible for 
them to instruct and mould all the Jehovah's Witnesses who hold 
responsible positions in every congregation. The U.S.A. King- 
dom Ministry School was originally sited at South Lansing but 
has recently been moved to New York. 

The Society has about 200 missionary homes throughout the 
world which serve as living quarters, and nuclei for Witness 
activity. In countries outside the United States the administrative 
control comes from New York via the Branch Offices, of which 
there are ninety in places as far apart as Alaska, Burma, Korea, 


Millions Now Living Will Never Die 

Nicaragua, Thailand and Zambia. Each Branch Office is built on 
the pattern of the New York Headquarters: there is a Bethel 
home to house officials and workers and the larger Branch Offices 
have printing equipment. 

In Britain a new Branch Office at Mill Hill, London, has been 
in use since 1958. It incorporates a Kingdom Hall seating 200 
people, a printing factory which produces a million magazines a 
month and extensive living quarters for the sixty-odd residents 
and those attending the British Kingdom Ministry School. The 
Bethel, as it is called, has its own bakery, carpenter's shop, kitchen 
and laundry, while food is grown on the adjacent farm to help 
feed the Witnesses. For those living and working in Bethel the 
working day usually starts at 6.30 a.m. when they rise; breakfast 
is at 7 a.m. and the Witnesses work through from 8 a.m. to 
5*40 p.m. with a break for lunch. Witnesses who live at the 
Bethel usually agree to stay for four years, after which a new 
agreement is reached. The Bethel home at Mill Hill is an ex- 
tremely pleasant place in beautiful surroundings, in contrast with 
its predecessor at Craven Terrace by Paddington Station. The 
Branch Office in Britain is in charge of the Witness movement 
here and in Aden and Malta, but it in turn is directly controlled 
by the New York headquarters. Although magazines are printed 
in Britain from printing plates cast in Mill Hill, the matrix im- 
pression is sent over from Brooklyn. For administrative conveni- 
ence the country under the Branch Office is divided into districts 
(five in Britain) which are further subdivided into circuits (sixty in 
Britain). 4 In these ways the New York headquarters is able to 
shape and control the Witnesses in all parts of the world. 
Naturally the administrative structure is only the framework for 
carrying out the Society's instructions - the most important 
factor is their careful choice as to who should occupy the positions 
of power and responsibility within this framework. 


Jehovah's Witnesses have no ordained clergy, they refer to all 
their dedicated members as 'ministers*. As we have seen, how- 
ever, there is a hierarchy of responsibility: mature and zealous 
workers in the congregations are chosen for special work and 
they may be picked to attend the Watchtower missionary school. 
In fact, Gilead is responsible not only for training missionaries 


The International Organisation of Jehovah's Witnesses 

but also those whom the Society wishes to promote to District or 
Branch Servants (these are the Witnesses directly in charge of 
Districts and Branches respectively). The Society naturally picks 
out the more intelligent, experienced and mature Witnesses for 
these posts and there is a graduation of responsibility upwards 
from Pioneer - Special Pioneer - Circuit Servant - District Ser- 
vant - Branch official, etc. There are about 8,000 missionaries and 
special pioneers throughout the world, and also about 1,500 
Bethel workers and z,ooo Circuit and District Servants . The 
complicated chain of command and promotion is illustrated in 
the chart on page 160. 

One unusual aspect of all positions of responsibility within the 
organisation is that they are usually viewed as positions of service 
to other Witnesses: there is no exalting of individuals within the 
movement. Personal popularity is inhibited by the Society, 
personal details and photographs of officials (even the President) 
rarely appear in the literature. The only way that many Witnesses 
discover such details is by reading newspaper reports about their 
own movement! 6 One obvious advantage of this policy from the 
point of view of the Society is that no individual Witness can 
amass a following and rebel against the movement. The develop- 
ment of the organisation in this way is almost a fulfilment of 
communist ideology. The purpose of a totalitarian system is often 
to eliminate 'real personalities' from the organisation so that the 
death or defection of any individual does not adversely affect the 
progress of 'the Party*. For the Witnesses 'the Society 5 replaces 
*the Party* as an anonymous but omnipotent object of worship. 
No individual Witness is in a position to know (or want to know) 
the personal thoughts of other Witnesses throughout the world 
except in so far as they praise the Society. The Society is his only 
source of information on this subject and hence the Society's 
pronouncements are never questioned. 

At every level of the organisation those in authority make out 
detailed personal reports on those in the rank below them. Thus 
Circuit Servants report to the Society on each congregation while 
District Servants complete a dossier on each Circuit Servant: 

The system by which the Society decides whether to promote an 
individual from one grade to another is an interesting one. When a 
district servant visits a circuit, or a circuit servant visits a congre- 
gation or a group of special pioneers, he is required to fill in a 

Millions Now hiving Will Neper Die 



six directors 

Branch servant 

frf *|AwS*« tt\ **«4r*j (ftO) 

Missionary u ' r 

Congregation -*-+- Pioneer 





* Publisher 

Hierarchy of responsibility in the Witness movement 

Arrows indicate ways of progressing in the movement. (Dotted lines 
less usual paths of progress.) 

The International Organisation of Jehovah* s Witnesses 

'Personal Qualifications Report' on the person or persons he has 
visited. . . . This 'Personal Qualifications Report* is a printed form. 
On it each person is rated or graded by scoring so many points out 
of a maximum of one hundred. There are fifty questions on the 
individual which his superior must answer. . . . The fifty questions 
ate in five groups each of ten. The first group relates as might be 
expected to his house-to-house work (Is he meeting all his quotas? 
How much literature is he selling?) There follow ten questions on 
his organising ability, ten on his relationships with others (Is he 
a good mixer? Is he respected by others?) ten on his knowledge of 
scripture and mental attitude, and ten on his disposition, physical 
characteristics (Is he truthful? Is he neat and clean in appearance?). 6 

The situation does not seem to have greatly changed from the 
time when Rutherford maintained a highly efficient 'spy system' 
throughout the organisation! Since the last war the Society have 
in many ways increased their grip on the individual. The pro- 
gramme for every congregation meeting is decided in New York; 
the Kingdom Ministry School ensures that every servant in the 
congregation has been directly instructed by the Society, and 
finally every official in the movement is under surveillance. 
Although the Society would probably justify this tight control 
on the grounds that they are God's mouthpiece and that such 
control makes the movement stronger, they are nevertheless not 
eager to tell the Witnesses this - most publishers are unaware of 
the extent of Society control. The irony is that most of them 
would calmly and faithfully support the Society over this if they 
did discover it. 


The most important Witness literature is undoubtedly the semi- 
monthly magazines - The Watchtower and Awake! The former is 
printed in a total of seventy-four languages and each issue 
averages about five million copies (these are the 1968 figures)* 
Both these magazines are distributed by the Witnesses - as far as 
I know the magazines are never sold through newsagents or other 
commercial channels. Neither magazine contains any advertising 
other than that for Watchtower Society publications and it is 
questionable whether the magazines would sell in the normal 
way. In this sense the large circulation figures are not a true guide 
to the popularity of the literature. At least a million copies of each 


Millions Now Living Will Never Die 

issue are bought by the Witnesses themselves > while the remainder 
are distributed by a colossal volunteer force to people who would 
otherwise probably not buy them. 

The Watchtower is recognised to be the primary doctrinal 
mouthpiece of the Society - Biblical interpretations, changes in 
doctrine and Society pronouncements initially appear in The 
Watchtower and for this reason the Witnesses spend an hour each 
week carefully discussing the main article of the current edition. 
The thirty-two pages of The Watchtower are taken up with articles 
that directly concern the Bible, or Jehovah's Witnesses, or both. 
It is presentable in appearance although the illustrations inside 
are usually inferior; the magazine is written in American English, 
serious in tone while relatively easy to read but somewhat dog- 
matic and unimaginative. The two main articles in The Watch- 
tower usually discuss some important doctrine or they comment 
on the code of conduct for 'Christians' (i.e. Jehovah's Witnesses) 
today* Typical article titles are the following: 'Why do men die?', 
'Beware of toying with sexual immorality^ 'Will sincerity alone 
please God?', etc. The Watchtower has several regular features 
including 'Questions from Readers* and a series of autobio- 
graphical articles written by Witnesses who have been members 
for many years. Apart from these autobiographies, articles are 
never signed and no editor or editorial staff are named. As the 
main articles are almost invariably concerned with the Witnesses 
and their internal affairs they are irrelevant to the general public - 
the major part of some issues is unintelligible to outsiders. 

This is certainly not true of The Watchtower*% companion 
magazine, Awake! which was originally founded to 'point to 
the physical evidences of the Millennium' but now: 

presents vital topics on which you should be informed* It features 
penetrating articles on social conditions and offers sound counsel 
for meeting the problems of everyday life. Current news from every 
continent passes in quick review. Attention is focussed on activities 
in the fields of government and commerce about which you should 
know. Straightforward discussions of religious issues alert you to 
matters of vital concern. Customs and people in many lands, the 
marvels of creation, practical sciences and points of human interest 
are all embraced in its coverage. Awake! provides wholesome, 
instructive reading for every member of the family. [See any Awake! 


The International Organisation of Jehovah* s Witnesses 

Awakel conforms to present 'popular' journalistic practice - in 
some ways it resembles The Reader's Digest The articles in the 
magazine are usually interesting and informative and, like The 
Watchtower y they are unsigned* Two regular features are 'Watch- 
ing the World', a miscellany of short news reports from many 
countries (almost invariably they are about disasters or other de- 
pressing items of news), and 'Your Word is Truth*, a common- 
sense discussion of various Bible beliefs* Awake! is printed in 
twenty-six languages with 5,000,000 copies per issue. 

Next to the magazines the most important literature output is 
in bound books; the early success of the movement was closely 
linked to book sales and both Pastor Russell and Rutherford 
disseminated millions of copies of their books. This inevitably 
and effectively increased their following and the Watchtower 
Society today also periodically 'releases' millions of copies of 
a new book for distribution amongst the Witnesses and the 
general public. Since Rutherford's death the books have borne 
no authors name, and although the style of all the Society's litera- 
ture is similar certain differences suggest the obvious conclusion 
that different individuals are responsible for the compilation of 
each book. In fact the Society has disclosed that each book is the 
work of more than one Witness and that no book is published 
until it has passed through the hands of several brothers on the 
governing body of the Watchtower Society. 

On the whole the Society's books lack any literary merit 
and they are only concerned with bare statements of 'facts' 
and scripture quotations - the gaps between these being filled 
with pages of rhetoric and quasi-logical arguments* The main 
outlet for the books is again the Witnesses themselves* most of 
whom buy a copy of each book on publication. Pastor RusselFs 
works are no longer printed by the Society and in any case are 
not recommended - few Witnesses ever read them. Copies of 
Rutherford's books are usually available for reference in King- 
dom Halls but they are not printed or distributed at present - 
again few are read by Witnesses today. Since Rutherford's death 
twenty-eight books have been published by the Watchtower 
Society but only the more recent of these are used and recom- 
mended by the Witnesses. 

As to the contents of the books - many of them are written to 
a set pattern which recurs in book after book with different 


hWiQns Now Living Will Never Die 

wording under a new title* The pattern consists of tracing the 
events of the Bible, as the Witnesses see them, from the Garden 
of Eden to the time of Jesus. This is supplemented by their 
doctrines and the story concludes with their present-day pro- 
phecies and the imminence of the Battle of Armageddon. Ruther- 
ford wrote Creation and Deliverance to this pattern and since 1942 
three other examples are The Truth shall make You Free (1943), 
The Kingdom is at Hand (1944) and Let Your Name be Sanctified 
(1961)* Other books recendy published by the Society include 
doctrine primers (Let God he True and Things ift which it is Impossible 
for God to Lie), instruction books used by the Witnesses in the 
Ministry School (Qualified to be Ministers)^ a surrey of world 
religions (What has Religion done for Mankind?) and so on. 

At the New York International Assembly of 1958 a new book 
was released: 'New Large Size! Bold Type! Many Illustrations!' 
was the convention-guide description* Entitled From Paradise 
Lost to Paradise Regained it was designed to tell the Bible story to 
young people and those new in the movement: 'This book wastes 
no time and space discussing false doctrines of worldly religions, 
but simply explains the God-honouring truths of the sacred 
Bible/ 7 This trend continued with the publication of three other 
large-size books: All Scripture is Inspired of God and Beneficial (1 963), 
a book-by-book Bible commentary. Watch Tower Publications 
Index listing references to all the Society's publications since 
1930 - addenda are published each year. The third and most im- 
portant book was Jehovah 9 s Witnesses in the Divine Purpose; written 
in the form of a conversation between a Jehovah's Witness and 
an interested couple it explained the history of the Watchtower 

The standard of writing in these books has improved since 
Rutherford's time -his books were written as shapeless and 
meandering essays. The present Society books are still crippled 
by bad writing but they are better organised and written in un- 
pretentious if unimaginative prose. As far as the Witnesses are 
concerned the books contain the words of truth - hence their 
literary merit (or rather demerit) is irrelevant. Unfortunately, 
however, the books contain many errors of fact and reasoning, 
although the Witnesses seem unable to recognise this. For in- 
stance, in You may Survive Armageddon into God's New World we 
read this concerning 'the coming of Jesus to the temple' in 191 8: 

1 64 

The International Organisation of Jehovah's Witnesses 

'Being a Spirit whom no man could see, Adonay's coming was 
necessarily with the invisibility of a Spirit Person.' 8 This kind of 
reasoning precludes the possibility of any angels ever being 
visible - which flatly contradicts the many materialisations des- 
cribed in the Bible. Other examples of slipshod argument were 
given in Chapter 4 and there is an unending source of them* The 
ones I have given are not just petty faults culled from their vast 
output of literature; an analysis of most of their books will reveal 
many examples of begging the question, prejudicial and emotive 
arguments, illogicaUreasoning and so on. 

The Witnesses, as I have said, are generally unaware of the 
mistakes in their literature. Many of them are incapable of seeing 
such mistakes, but even if they could then the fact that they 
believe (or want to believe) the conclusion to be established 
means that any line of argument is justified in their eyes. This is 
why there is no howl of dismay over a book as bad as What has 
Religion done for Mankind? - on the contrary the Witnesses lavishly 
praised this and all their other books. In fairness it must be said 
that those books which directly describe the Bible or give a 
speech training course (particularly Qualified to be Ministers) are 
relatively free from error and are extremely useful and in- 

In addition to the many books, the Society publishes a large 
number of booklets which usually contain the text of main talks 
at large assemblies; otherwise they discuss one specific doctrine 
such as Evolution {Evolution versus the New World) or Jesus* nature 
(The Word) or they may be brief doctrinal summaries (such as 
This Good News of the Kingdom). There are about ninety booklets 
in circulation and they are often given as supplementary literature 
with magazine subscriptions or books. The Society prints and 
publishes a number of Bible translations, including the King 
James Version. Some Witness beliefs hinge on the exact transla- 
tion of certain Greek and Hebrew words and for this reason the 
Society has for many years used the Emphatic Diaglott, an inter- 
linear Greek version by the Chris tadelphian, Benjamin Wilson. 9 
The Society places the greatest emphasis on its own New World 
Translation of the Bible. Their translation of the New Testament, 
or Greek Scriptures, was released in the grand fashion at the New 
York International Assembly of 1950. This was followed by five 
more volumes covering the Old Testament, or Hebrew Scrip- 

m 165 

Millions Now Uvitig Will Never Die 

tures, in 1953, 195 5, 1957* 1958 and i960. The whole version was 
then revised and reprinted in one book in 1 961 . Although the trans- 
lation is up-to-date it reads like a legal document; in striving to 
be exact the translators have made the text sound clumsy and 
sometimes ludicrous, Jehovah's Witnesses now use their own 
translation in preference to the King James Version -they 
believe it is the most accurate and therefore the best. The Wit- 
nesses are food of quoting experts who have praised the New 
World Translation, but many have found fault with it. Despite 
this opposition the New World Translation remains the Gospel 
by which the Witnesses swear* 

Finally the Watchtower Society publishes one very important 
book every year. This is the hard-back 400-page Yearbook which 
contains an introductory report by the President of the Society 
followed by a detailed analysis chart of the number of active 
Witnesses j congregations, Bible Studies, literature sales, etc, 
throughout the world. This is followed by about 250 pages of 
reports and experiences from each country in turn. The book 
concludes with about a hundred pages containing 365 Bible texts, 
one for each day of the year (a short comment follows each text). 
This book is used in the Service Meeting: the text for the day is 
always read and discussed at the beginning of the meeting and 
other talks often include experiences from the Yearbook, The 
intention of the Society is that the day-text be read and discussed 
at breakfast every morning -most Witnesses try to do this. 

From the very beginning the Watchtower Society has been 
dogged by the charge that they make vast fortunes out of selling 
their literature. Russell fought several court cases over this issue 
and Rutherford, of course, was continually accused of using the 
Bible Students to sell his literature to make money (this led to 
Rutherford's countercharge that 'religion was a snare and a 
racket'). Nowadays the Society coyly claims that it is supported 
by voluntary contributions, but while it is true that they receive 
large sums of money from this source there is no reason to believe 
that their printing business is unprofitable. The Society's books 
and magazines are economically produced (very few overheads, 
very poorly paid workers) and there is, as we have seen, a guaran- 
teed market. The attractive and well-bound books usually sell at 
4J\ $d. to the public, but publishers are supplied copies at 3^ io*£ 
each while pioneers pay only lorf. per book. The latter figure the 


The International Organisation of Jehovah* s Witnesses 

Society claims is below cost price (whatever that is) but not by 
much , I would say* Evidently the Society makes a clear profit on 
every book supplied to the publishers and this applies also to 
magazine subscriptions (8j\ 6a 1 . to the public and to publishers, 
4J\ 3*/. to pioneers)* There is quite obviously a lot of money in the 
organisation at the higher levels: the large assemblies are expen- 
sive to run, new branch offices are spacious, impressive and costly 
(the Canadian branch office cost about a million dollars) and 
executives of the Society travel the world, sometimes on month- 
long tours. This is in contrast with the situation at congregation 
level; there is no aura of financial prosperity about most Kingdom 
Halls and it is difficult to avoid the impression that the congrega- 
tions work hard and send up their money to be liberally used on 
Watchtower Society projects* But I think it is quite wrong, how- 
ever, to imply that officials in the movement benefit financially 
from this situation - the money is ploughed back into the organi- 
sation at the higher levels and the Watchtower leaders appear to 
lead busy lives devoted to the movement. 


The Society has always had a somewhat ambivalent attitude 
towards publicity. The organisation under Rutherford took on 
the appearance of a secret society but nowadays the reverse seems 
to be true - not only do the Witnesses welcome publicity but they 
take steps to get as much as possible. In their booklet Preaching 
Together in Unity the Society defines the position of the 'Public 
Relations Servant* in every circuit: 

The Society appoints a capable brother to serve as public relations 
servant in each circuit. He will co-operate closely with the circuit 
servant in carrying on public relations work in the circuit. Primarily, 
his work will involve public relations work at the circuit assembly. 
Local congregations will co-operate with him at the assembly 
time, but in connection with other publicity work the local servants 
will arrange for their own publicity, 10 

The Society recommends that congregations attempt to 
publicise their faith in the local newspapers. In 1963 the Society 
sent out a series of letters to all congregations in Britain in con- 
nection with the Twickenham Assembly that was held in the 
summer. One letter consisted of a questionnaire designed to 
obtain newsworthy items for the Press. Later letters enclosed 


Millions Now Uving Will Never Die 

specimen 'statements' or Tress releases 1 to be completed by 
certain members of the congregation, retyped, and then sent to 
the local papers. When the right names have been filled in the 
statements are sent to newspapers although the person's words 
were dictated by the Society. In a further letter the Society men- 
tioned how to avoid the danger of two congregations sending 
the same release to the same newspaper - thus betraying the 
artificiality of the 'local* news storyl The Witnesses also run a 
News Service Department which is responsible for promoting 
publicity for the movement. For example, the internal instruction 
sheet Kingdom Ministry contained the following advice for 
Witnesses attending large assemblies in 1965: 'All overseers are 
requested to call at the News Service Department immediately 
after the final session on Sunday to collect their congregation's 
final news release. These will be typed out complete and ready in 
every respect for placing with the editor concerned.* 11 

A rather paradoxical situation now arises as the Witnesses 
would like people to believe that all the publicity they receive is 
not of their own doing but stems from the merits of their organi- 
sation which itself attracts the publicity. In other words, the 
Witnesses feel that their best public image is that of a movement 
unconcerned about its public imagel For instance, J. W. Felix 
writes in his introduction to the British edition of Jehovah's 
Witnesses - The New World Society. \ . . publicity is something they 
evidently do not seek, . , . They do not seek the limelight, but if 
they get it they accept it almost without appraisal, with indiffer- 
ence/ This is nonsense, of course: not only do the Witnesses 
initiate the publicity, but they vicariously enjoy the results - by 
buying the newspaper editions featuring themselves and storing 
up the Press cuttings to impress outsiders. For some time it has 
been the custom in Britain for some local newspapers to print 
special editions containing several pages of photographs and 
coverage of local assemblies. This special edition is then sold at 
the assembly grounds to the Witnesses. Thus the paper makes 
more money but the Witnesses get something out of it too. The 
Society knows that assemblies are their main source of favourable 
publicity and they are therefore 'plugged* quite hard. 

The Society has printed a useful and comprehensive booklet 
entitled Manual of Theocratic News Service Information for use within 
the organisation. On page 1 it explains the Society line on pub- 


The International Organisation of Jehovah's Witnesses 

licity: 'Good or bad, welcome or unwelcome, as long as the 
present system of things lasts, there will always be publicity. 
Since that is so the sensible attitude is not to allow it to be hap- 
hazard but to do everything possible to guide it.' Many publicity 
aids are printed by the Society in the form of "reports' of large 
international assemblies - the report of the New York 7958 
Assembly contained 120 copiously illustrated pages. In fact I 
believe the larger assemblies are held primarily for their publicity 
effect on both the Witnesses and non-believers. It is difficult to 
justify the expense of these gatherings on any other basis - 
especially when the Society has to appeal to every congregation 
for money to finance them. 12 


The assembly trend was started by Pastor Russell and now forms 
an integral part of the Witnesses' activity* As well as the smaller 
circuit and district assemblies there are the major international 
assemblies which are usually held in large football or baseball 
stadiums hired exclusively for this purpose. The 1958 New York 
Assembly described below is typical of all the big assemblies, be 
they in Twickenham, Chicago, Frankfort, Tokyo or Rome. 
Called the 'Divine Will International Assembly of Jehovah's 
Witnesses* it was held in New York City from 27th July to 3rd 
August -jointly at Yankee Stadium and the nearby Polo Grounds. 
Both are huge open-air stadiums and both were needed as this 
was to be the largest gathering ever held there by anyone. 
Quotations below are from the printed 'Report' of the Assembly: 

Preparing for this immense assembly required months of hard 
work by thousands of our brothers. The biggest task was rinding 
accommodations for the more than 125,000 persons who requested 
them. . . . On Saturday, April z6, 1958, a meeting of New York 
publishers was held in Yankee Stadium. This was the kick-off 
meeting for the big task of finding accommodations in private homes. 
The thousands who gathered there received detailed instructions 
on how to do rooming work. 

The many signs and the speakers' platforms to be used during 
the Assembly had to be made in advance. In addition the vast 
amount of equipment needed for the loudspeaker system, the 
kitchens and the cafeteria had to be installed. By the opening day 
of the Assembly the Witnesses had cleaned the stadiums, posted 


Millions Now Living Will Never Die 

up hundreds of direction and information notices and set up a 
large number of departments under the stands and these handled 
everything from first-aid and language difficulties to the supply 
of literature in more than a hundred languages. Six thousand 
volunteer Witnesses acted as attendants to direct and help the 
conventioners. Adjacent to the stadiums were cafeterias , staffed 
by Witness volunteers, capable of feeding up to 70,000 persons 
per hour. Many foreign delegates attended the Assembly -4,822 
from Europe, 106 from Asia and 263 from Africa. They arrived 
by plane and ocean liner and special buses were hired in New 
York and a voluntary taxi service set up to transport the Wit- 
nesses to their accommodation. The Yankee Stadium and the 
Polo Grounds across the river were used simultaneously - im- 
portant talks given at one were either relayed directly across or 
given later at the other stadium. Two orchestras, each of more than 
a hundred musicians, werepresent to accompany the hymn-singing. 
There were 180,291 in attendance on the opening day, 
27th July, which was named ^Faithfulness Day*. Sessions were 
held in the morning, afternoon and evening of the first seven 
days and in the morning and afternoon of the last day. On the 
second, third, fifth and sixth days foreign language talks were 
given at both stadiums in the morning. There were breaks 
between talks for meals and door-to-door work in New York. 
Most of the talks were given by members of the governing body 
of the Watchtower Society. At every large international Assembly 
it is usual for some minor doctrinal change to be announced, 
often incorporated in a new book which is then released at the 
Assembly. This occurred on the fourth day of the 1958 Assembly 
when Volume IV of the New World Translation of the Hebrew 
Scriptures was released by the President, Nathan Homer Knorr, 
who then delivered the 'new truth*: 

Following the close of this remarkable lecture, Knoir made the 
announcement of the release of Volume IV of the New World 
Translation. He said this volume includes the books Isaiah* Jeremiah 
and Lamentations. ♦ . * Who is it today that has been commissioned 
like faithful Jeremiah of old? Let recorded history answer, said 
Knorr. It was Jehovah who appointed Jeremiah to do the preaching 
work when a most heart-rending thing was about to happen, the 
destruction of the holy city of Jerusalem, For forty years Jeremiah 
prophesied. Part by part his predictions came to pass. Today the 


The International Organisation of Jehovah's Witnesses 

clergy have no forty-year record of preaching God's judgements, 
nor have they drawn fire of opposition as did Jeremiah. None other 
than the anointed group of Jehovah's witnesses has a forty-year 
record of preaching Jehovah's Judgements since 19 19. No indivi- 
dual today is the modern Jeremiah. Rather, the anointed remnant as a 
group make up the modern 'wonder* prophet pictured by Jeremiah. 18 

Also on this day, 50th July, the customary baptism ceremony 
was held in the morning. The amazing total of 7,136 were 
baptised at nearby Orchard Beach: 

It was 10:30 when the immersion began at Orchard Beach, . . . The 
instant they stepped off the buses, candidates were funneled into 
separate queues according to sex, and channelled through the public 
dressing rooms. Gty policemen, assisted by the convention's 
attendant staff, staggered the crossnow of public traffic so as to 
keep the streams of candidates flowing across 200 yards of sand 
to a reserved bay 416 feet wide. Thousands of people watched. 

There were thirty immersion lines marked off by human links, 
leading the candidates two abreast some seventy-five feet into the 
water- At the end of each line waited three immersers. ... At 12:45 
the last one of the group was dipped under water and raised again. 1 * 

The most surprising item of the New York Assembly came on 
Friday evening when Knorr announced that women, as well as 
men, would in future be admitted to give talks in the Ministry 
School. The Assembly Report says: 'Brother Knorr surprised the 
vast audience Friday evening when he announced thrilling new 
changes in the theocratic ministry school/ 15 On the last day of 
the New York Assembly Knorr delivered the main talk - ' God's 
Kingdom Rules - Is the World's End Near?' - to an audience of 
253,922. After the talk half a million booklets of the printed text 
of his discourse were distributed to those at the stadiums. The 
Assembly, inevitably, was a success* There were many members 
of the public who were not pleased by a saturation 'witness' in 
New York but as generally happens the civility and good be- 
haviour of Jehovah's Witnesses won people over. The New 
York Assembly of 1958 won for itself a special mention in the 
United States Congressional Record which had this to say: 


New Yorkers are unanimous in agreeing that the Witnesses' conduct 
has been exemplary* . , . Their cleanliness is now almost legendary. . . . 

Millions Now Living Will Never Die 

Courtesy has been their watchword. . . . Executive vice president 
of the New York Convention and Visitors* Bureau called the 
Witnesses 'an asset to the community*. He described their behaviour 
as 'out of this world*. 16 

In my experience the large Assemblies are clean, friendly and 
a good example of 'New World living' to the rest of the world. 
The experience is a marvellous one for the Witnesses and an 
impressive one for outsiders, but unfortunately the Witnesses are 
not shy about pointing out these facts. Their convention reports 
always give an exaggerated picture of what happened; it is always 
stated that the Witnesses are 'thrilled* /pleased' or 'interested* by 
the proceedings, no word of adverse criticism is ever heard. These 
Assemblies have become showpieces and the Society appears to 
be determined that even if the delegates do not all behave per- 
fectly the convention report shall say they did. The following 
quotation from the July 1965 Kingdom Ministry is typical: 

Dear Publishers: 

Our thrilling *Word of Truth* assemblies at Dublin and Edinburgh 
are now just a memory; but what a wonderful memory! From young 
and old alike, from new and mature publishers all over the British 
Isles, we have been receiving letters of heartfelt appreciation. . , , 
Yes, all of us are overflowing with deep gratitude to our Pleavenly 
Father. . . * This was a grand attendance, . . . And what a peaceable 
assembly it was. Our brothers got a fine reception from the people 
of Dublin and were able to give a wonderful witness. Our larger 
assembly in Edinburgh also made a tremendous impact on this 
capital city of Scodand. . ♦ ♦ What a thrill it was. . . . How uplifting 
it was, . . . How strengthening to hear. . . . And how stimulating to 
see. * , , How thrilling it was to be told. . . . With this wonderful 
uplift from the assemblies we shall all want to get busy right away 
distributing the new book. • . , How marvellous if each publisher 
could start one brand new study in the new book* 17 

The Witnesses are strongly encouraged by the Society to 
attend assemblies, which ate regarded as obligatory for zealous 
members of the faith, and while at the Assembly delegates are 
expected to attend all the sessions. In his address of welcome to 
the 1958 New York Assembly the chairman said: 'During sessions 
concentrate your mind on taking in what the speakers say, as 
from Jehovah through his organisation/ Hie Society also advises 
that 'Where a publisher is living in a private home he should take 


The International Organisation of Jehovah's Witnesses 

advantage of the opportunity to present the literature to his host. 
Give him a witness and try and start a Bible Study. Above all, be 
certain to invite him to the meetings during the week and especi- 
ally the Sunday public meeting.* Since 1958 major Assemblies 
have been held at roughly two-year intervals in countries all over 
the world. They are getting progressively bigger, or longer, or 
more international The Society is pouring thousands of pounds 
into the staging of these immense gatherings to prove something 
to itself, to its members and to the outside world; perhaps they 
wish to prove that the Witnesses can congregate in huge numbers 
peaceably and happily, or perhaps more simply that they are a 
numerous people, a fast-growing religion, the happiest religion 
and, dare they say it, the best religion? 


io. The People Who Believe 

IN this concluding chapter we set out to discover more 
about the men and women who are Jehovah's Witnesses - 
their social background, reasons for conversion and their 
outlook on social and moral issues. The social background of 
modern sects has been the subject of a certain amount of research 
but information concerning the Witnesses is scanty. 1 Early re- 
searches into the social origins of the Witnesses met with little 
success, particularly during the Presidency of Rutherford who 
withheld details of the movement and its members from enquirers. 
This was apparently in line with his 'separatist' policy towards 
the rest of the world. 

Despite these difficulties Milton R. Czatt (in the early 'thirties) 
and H, H. Stroup (in the 'forties) tried to determine the social 
background of individual Witnesses. Oatt's conclusions were 
embodied in his work: The International Bible Students: Jehovah's 
Witnesses as quoted by Stroup: 

Mr. Czatt writes in his dissertation that he discovered few Witnesses 
with college degrees. Although some are professional men, most 
have Very limited education'. He unearthed litde worthy of mention 
about the economic level of the Witnesses, but got the 'impression' 
that they are 'predominantly laborers, mechanics, factory-workers, 
and farmers, with an occasional mention of semi-skilled or skilled 
workers.' He came upon a few 'retired farmers' or 'older retired 
people* in the movement. 

Stroup's opinion was somewhat lower: 

Although Stanley High states that the 'Jehovah's Witnesses look 
like average Americans, — as, in fact, they are/ my own observations 
lead me to think that the preponderant majority of them are not 
even 'average', but noticeably under average in terms of social and 
economic privilege* • ♦ . I have found that the greater number of 
Witnesses whom I have studied fall into. . . 'relief cases, poverty' 
and 'working-men'. Naturally I have found some witnesses who 

x 74 

The People Who Believe 

rank above 'average* on such a scale, but these, often Company 
leaders, 2 are few in number. My findings, however, were not of 
such a nature that they can be accepted as statistical evidence, 3 

These personal impressions are not wholly reliable as the 
'sample* of Witnesses was not large and Stroup does not appear 
to understand what 'average' means; we should also bear in mind 
that both surveys were taken in times of overall economic de- 
pression. A strictly statistical survey has been made, however, by 
the United States Department of Justice during World War II, 
At that time about 8,000 Witnesses applied for exemption from 
military service and this number was sufficient to give an overall 
picture of the Jehovah's Witnesses in the United States* It seems 
they were 'pretty average* in most respects: that is the Witnesses 
reflected the percentage norms for the whole population (for 
example, about one per cent had had college education, which 
was about the national percentage at that time). This appears to 
be the situation in Britain - there ate some professional men 
amongst the Witnesses and some who have been to University 
but no more than the overall percentage for the population of the 
country. It seems generally true, however, that while poor people 
ate still common there are few, if any, layabouts left in the move- 
ment. Poverty is not looked down upon by Jehovah's Witnesses, 
but laziness is (Proverbs 6:6). There are few rich men in the organ- 
isation, just as Jesus predicted, say the Witnessesl 'Jehovah's 
Witnesses are not the moneyed men of the earth, not the com- 
mercial men, nor politicians, and certainly not the religionists, 
but they come mainly from the common walks of life/ 4 Occa- 
sionally, however, well-known people create a stir by joining the 
Witnesses or, in the case of Mickey Spillane, flirting with them. 
In Britain the list of converts includes former flying squad 
detective 'Tug* Wilson, British and Empire Wrestling champion 
Ken Richmond, and some members of the 'Shadows* pop-group. 

What sort of people choose to become Jehovah's Witnesses? 
One answer to this is that the chief field for converts appears to 
be amongst disillusioned church members - people with a 
'religious* outlook searching for the answers to the questions: 
Why is there evil? Why are we here?, etc. The relatively sophisti- 
cated orthodox churches feel there is no definite answer to these 
queries, but the Witnesses provide an answer to all such ques- 
tions - their remedy is no less than a universal panacea! Hoekema 


Millions Now hiving Will Never Die 

recalls the expression: 'the cults are the Unpaid Bills of the 
Church*; and it often seems as though the Witnesses have set out 
to accomplish what the established churches have failed to do. 
They ate certainly fond of saying that the churches have 'failed 
the people* and 'led them astray*. Thus many Witnesses are, in 
fact, ex-church members who found in the Witness movement 
qualities which were lacking in their own church; 

Boerwinkel suggests what some of these qualities may be: (i) People 
find in the cult a warm and brotherly fellowship which they have 
failed to find in a church. (2) People find in the cult a centre of inte- 
gration, a place where each member plays an important role and 
fills a necessary function, a place where each one is known and 
needed. (3) People find in the cult a certain sense of security, since 
the cult provides not only what is thought to be an immediate 
contact with God and God's will, but also an organisation which 
will never forsake them and will stand by them in time of trouble. 
(4) The cult provides an outiet for the drive toward greater in- 
tensity and radicalness [sic\ in one's religious life* Whereas the 
churches are inclined to look askance at these radical tendencies, 
the cult welcomes them and satisfies them. * . (5) The cult answers a 
need for specific instruction in the techniques of various religious 
practices and for specific advice on various types of moral problems. 5 

We can see these qualities evident in the Witness movement. For 
example (2) is particularly applicable to the Witnesses, many of 
whom may feel insignificant in their social and secular environ- 
ment, but in the Witness movement they are automatically 
ministers of the Gospel, they are members of God's chosen 
organisation and, as we have seen, there is a strong likelihood 
they occupy some position of responsibility in the congregation 
such as Accounts Servant, Group Study Conductor or perhaps 
Assistant to one of the Servants. 

The Witnesses themselves offer a variety of reasons for their 
conversion, the most common being that they were convinced 
that the doctrines were correct. How much of this is true and how 
much rationalisation is difficult to say, but obviously there must 
be some rational co-operation on the part of the convert before 
he can embrace the doctrines of the Witnesses. 8 Here is a typical 
personal account of conversion: 

Last August while homeward bound on the train I sat beside a lady 
who quietly handed me a folded magazine asking me that I read 


The People Who Believe 

it and pass it on to others. Simply because her quiet manner attracted 
me, I said, 'Yes', I did not think of the paper for several days and 
then felt too busy to take the time. This occurred several times until 
finally I remembered my promise to the woman and read the article, 
'Where are the dead?* aloud to my companion. 

From the beginning our hearts and minds accepted all from cover 
to cover because the Bible was clearly proving them. O, the years of 
heart hunger and never to have heard of these writings nor the truth, 7 

The movement offers genuine comfort and a new hope to the 
bereaved and suffering* It is possible to attribute the increase in 
the Witnesses' numbers just after the Second World War to their 
promise that those who had died in the war would shortly be re- 
united with their loved ones and that 'millions now living will 
never die'* Below is a typical experience of this kind: 

Were it not for one of the Jehovah's Witnesses I would today be 
in the depths of despair. I buried my dear little three year old 
daughter one year ago; and after three months of grieving, with no 
minister able to give me real comfort, one of these Witnesses 
stopped at my door and with a beautiful smile told me of God's 
wonderful purpose. And to think that I had been searching for the 
truth for twenty years in the churches* 8 

Other people, too, make a direct emotional plea and almost 'wish* 
themselves into an organisation that can give them peace of mind. 
In the Report of the 1958 New York Assembly there is the 
following account: 

Brother Gordon Salisbury of Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, was in a 
taxicab when the cabdriver commented that he was raised a Catholic 
but as he became more mature, he could not accept the beliefs of 
his church. Now, he said, he is very mixed up. He asked about the 
New World Society, wanting to know the hope of Jehovah's 
witnesses. The brother told him the new world hope and asked if he 
would like one of Jehovah's witnesses to call on him. The cabdriver 
replied that Jehovah's witnesses had never contacted him before. 
He added: 'I wish someone would give me peace of mind in this 
troubled, wicked world/ 9 

Whatever the reason that prompts a person to become a 
Jehovah's Witness, once in the movement a certain conformity 
occurs. New converts are recognisable by their enthusiasm which 
often exceeds that of the older, established Witnesses. This is easy 


Millions Now Living Will Never Die 

to understand in view of the dynamic and apocalyptic nature of 
the Witnesses' theology. New members are struck by the prox- 
imity of the Battle of Armageddon and the consequent useless- 
ness of ' the old world*; they feel a keen desire to talk to everyone 
they meet about the new world (after several months, or perhaps 
years, this zeal diminishes and the believer settles into a mood of 
calm acceptance). In addition to this a new convert's conversation 
conspicuously lacks the 'stock phrases' used and sanctioned by 
the Society: 

A newly converted Witness can be distinguished by the infrequency 
of these cliches in his speech; he may have trouble in expressing his 
ideas, but the older Witness knows by rote most of the special 
vocabulary of the dogmas of his faith. 10 

The Witnesses themselves approve of such a 'special vocabulary' 
which they feel helps to ensure their loyalty to the Society - a 
situation similar to that in George Orwell's novel 1984 where the 
creation of Nempeak eliminated the possibility of thoughtcrime\ A 
Witness speaking at the 19 j 8 New York Assembly said this about 
a new publication: 'What I like about this new aid is that it gives 
Bible education along with its instruction. The brothers and 
good- will persons will not only be learning to read and write but 
they will be learning theocratic terminology at the same time.' 
'Good- will persons' is a typical Witness stock phrase, indicating 
members of the public who have shown some interest in the 
movement. Similarly the words 'theocratic', 'the organisation', 
'out on the work*, 'examine our heart-condition' (i.e, our inner- 
most desires), 'the Society', etc., have a special significance to the 
Witnesses, who use them frequently. The New World Transla- 
tion of the Bible has provided numerous new stock phrases which 
I am sure must sound very odd to outsiders (one example is 
'heart-condition* above). 

In addition to mastering the terminology the newly converted 
Witness must conform immediately to the doctrines of the 
Watchtower Society, thus whatever individuality of mind he 
possessed before conversion is liable to be eradicated if he stays 
in the movement: 

Immediately upon conversion, the neophyte declares himself in 
harmony with all the beliefs of the organisation whether he under- 
stands them or not — and often he has not even heard of some of them. 


The People Who Believe 

If a Witness is unable to 'see* a particular belief which the organi- 
sation cherishes* he is taken aside by other Witnesses and persuaded 
that he has not made a complete surrender to the will of Jehovah, 
or that Satan has managed to creep into his life, 11 

The effect of this dogmatism can be most distressing when a 
Witness decides to leave the organisation - he or she is thought 
to have been led astray by Satan. This situation is particularly 
unpleasant if it concerns members of the same family - if children 
fail to accept the Society's beliefs they may be emotionally and 
mentally rejected by their Witness parents: love of the Society 
comes before love of one's family. This to me seems to be one 
of the truly regretful and distressing aspects of the Witness move- 
ment at the personal level; there are so many families split in this 
way. 12 An insurmountable barrier is set up which can only be 
removed by one party or the other changing sides. At one time 
the Society favoured the idea of married couples separating if 
only one was in the faith, but now they believe that husband and 
wife should stay together and maintain the marriage. Neverthe- 
less this should not prevent the faithful partner from rendering 
due service to God and if there is any clash of interests then God 
must come before their marriage partner. 

In contrast to this the Witnesses display kindness and friendli- 
ness to newcomers typical of many modern sects. If anything, 
their approach is too friendly; their warm offers of help, and 
enquiries as to the newcomers' name and address, can be off- 
putting. My own feeling is that there is still an air of furtiveness 
about the Witnesses which does not fit in with their 'happy image* 
but is probably a hangover from Rutherford's time. As long as 
the Witnesses feel a stranger is 'good-wilT or actually a Witness, 
however, then he is warmly welcomed and made to feel at home. 
This kindness has been abused by criminals and the Kingdom 
Ministry occasionally contains warnings of the following kind: 

Brothers are advised to be on their guard against a young man, 
about sis feet tall, slim, dark, in the early twenties, who claims to be 
a brother and calls on brothers whose address he often obtains from 
local tradesmen. His usual story is that his new car, belonging to 
his father, has broken down and after paying for repairs he has no 
money left for petrol to get home. He steals money from handbags 
and makes a plausible excuse to leave, or obtains money on the 
false pretence that he will later return it, but he never does so. 13 

J 79 

Millions Now Living Will Neper Die 

The Witnesses do, in fact, have a strong community spirit; 
during the last war they were welded into a resistant and almost 
fanatical body of believers by the heat of persecution. The 
Witness congregations were re-named 'companies* by analogy 
with war-time troop units. The terminology of that time has not 
altogether died out, for instance in Let God be True li they claim 
that 'Everywhere Jehovah's witnesses are spoken against* while 
in 1958 they referred to those opposing them in the following 
way: The enemy has no love for us and would like nothing better 
than to silence us/ Although this cuts across the Witnesses* desire 
for good publicity they expect an increase in persecution just 
prior to the Battle of Armageddon. Thus they tend to use any 
support they obtain from outsiders as proof that Jehovah's Wit- 
nesses are superior and recognised as such, while any persecution 
is a sign to them of the devils influence and the possible proximity 
of Armageddon* Taking an objective view, it appears that at 
present most governments are treating the Witnesses leniently, 
but there are notable exceptions, including the communist bloc* 

The esprit de corps so characteristic of the Witnesses and so re- 
assuring to new converts is a source of strength to those Wit- 
nesses undergoing persecution in various parts of the world; the 
Society attempts to alleviate their suffering by widely publicising 
the 'injustices' in The Waichtowr and Awake! In 1966, for example, 
the 15 th October Watchtowr began with the article: 'Greece 
Threatens Legalised Murder* which discussed the treatment of 
Witness conscientious objectors in Greece. Even more coverage 
was given to the government opposition in Portugal in 1966 and 
Malawi in 1967 through Watchtomr articles: 'Mock Trial of 
Christians - The Shame of Portugal!' and 'Shocking Religious 
Persecution in Malawi'. 15 In both cases the Society appealed to 
Witnesses to write letters of protest to high-ranking ministers in 
the governments concerned. In the former case the Watchtower 
article was followed by another headed 'Christians Must Expect 
Persecution', from which I quote: 

So persecution should not always be regarded as a bad thing. It often 
has good results when we faithfully endure it. First, it strengthens 
us individually, provided we understand it and why Jehovah 
permits it. One who has undergone persecution because of his 
faith and has come out victorious with the backing of Jehovah's 
holy spirit feels a sense of joy beyond description. He is grateful 


The People Who Believe 

to Jehovah for allowing him to demonstrate his faithfulness and for 
giving him the strength to endure. He is drawn much closer to 
Jehovah. Secondly, out faithfulness under opposition is often a 

source of strength to our fellow believers A third fine result of 

faithful endurance under persecution is that Jehovah's name is honored. 

The Witnesses* Social and Moral Attitude 

Much of the Witnesses* social behaviour is shaped by their 
conviction that they are "set apart' from the rest of the world as 
God's chosen people. We have seen that the Witnesses believe 
the rest of the world is directly controlled by Satan and this 
includes every conceivable social and secular organisation, 
including institutes of higher education and the law courts. The 
Witnesses do not go as far as some Plymouth Brethren in isolating 
themselves from unbelievers; they do, however, keep such con- 
tacts to a minimum. Witnesses happily attend work at their place 
of employment (in order to earn a living and hence continue to 
praise Jehovah's name) and they will also use whatever means 
necessary in the furtherance of their beliefs (basic education at the 
schools for their children, use of the law courts and police if 
necessary and payment of taxes which is to 'render to Caesar the 
things that are Caesar's'). The Witnesses pride themselves on 
being good citizens but this is as far as they will go; any further 
contact with the rest of the world is to risk being 'tainted by 
Satan'* Thus in general Witnesses will not vote or involve them- 
selves in politics, they do not join social clubs or organisations 
of that sort, they conscientiously object to both military service 
and jury service, they do not attend institutes of higher education 
and they do not support charities with either time or money. 
There are a few Witnesses at University and probably some who 
have joined social clubs, but these are very much in the minority. 
The above code of behaviour has been drawn up by the Society 
and every faithful Witness is expected to live by it. Witnesses are 
also expected not to smoke, as smoking is regarded as a habit 
which interferes with complete dedication to God, and in the 
opinion of most Witnesses is also unnecessary and unclean* 16 
Their attitude to drinking alcohol is permissive, however, be- 
cause c Jesus did not frown on wine'. The subject of drink caused 
a certain stir in Russell's time and a controversy arose as to 
whether wine or non-alcoholic raisin juice should be used at the 



Millions Now Living Will Neper Die 

Memorial servicel Nowadays the Witnesses believe that alcoholic 
drinks in moderation can be beneficial and as such they are 
allowed; regular social drinking is frowned upon, however. 

It is important at this stage to distinguish between the 'official* 
Society line laid down in their magazines and books - how the 
Witnesses ought to behave - and how in fact the majority of 
Witnesses do behave. For example, the Society recommends that 
Jehovah's Witnesses spend all their time and energy, directly or 
indirectly, on "kingdom interests'. This is considered the ideal 
situation. As stated in the January 1965 Kingdom Ministry in an 
article entitled 'Giving More Attention to Kingdom Interests': 
*When Jesus said that we should keep "seeking first the kingdom" 
what did he mean? He meant that our chief concern in life should 
be expanding the earthly interests of God's heavenly kingdom/ 
Obviously for many Witnesses this remains just an ideal: their 
secular work, family ties and outside interests prevent them 
giving their *all\ Nevertheless the Society expects (or hopes) that 
they will devote as much time as possible to 'kingdom interests* 
and discourages any kind of entertainment that has no bearing on 
the kingdom message (the Society condones a limited amount of 
television watching if this is done to relax or educate the viewer). 
In general the Society disapproves of dances, all sporting activi- 
ties, most social events, cinemas and theatres and all gambling 
activities. At the same time it is true that some (possibly many) 
Jehovah's Witnesses participate occasionally in those entertain- 

Although the Society justifies these restrictions as necessary in 
this 'time of the end' there is also a strong feeling in the organisa- 
tion against frivolity and even pleasure; this Victorian attitude 
can be traced back to Russell, whose opinion was very similar to 
that of the Society today; for instance, Russell wrote; 

Proper Amusements: Mirth and humor are elements of out human 
nature, too often educated out of all proportion to the more serious 
and useful qualities, . + , Desire to be amused thus cultivated, in 
due time craves the theater and the nonsense of the clown* Members 

of the New Creation should from first to last train their offspring 
along different lines. 17 

This attitude is revealed in the Society's instructions as to how 
Witnesses should run their social lives amongst themselves. It seems 


The People Who Believe 

as though the Society is actually against social contact amongst 
the Witnesses where it does not directly concern the service work; 
of late, however, they have been forced to acquiesce in approving 
of limited social contact (the occasional evening meal, etc*) but 
they still suggest that 'Bible games and quizzes' are the best means 
of passing the time at such gatherings. In i960 the Society voiced 
its disapproval of more elaborate socialising: 

Occasionally the Society is asked for its opinion of regular social 
events held in a tented hall. The motive for holding such parties 
is set forth as being to enable particularly the young folk of the 
congregations to get better acquainted with one another. The 
Society is not in favour of such a trend. The Day is drawing near. . . , 18 

Other limitations imposed by the Society concern 'abusive 
speech and obscene jesting* (which the Society is commendably 
against) and 'desires incidental to youth' which include practical 
jokes. In The Watchtower of 15 th June 1963 in an article entitled 
"Flee from desires incidental to youth* the Society wrote: 'Another 
harmful desire that must be avoided is over-indulgence in sports 
... if this is allowed to happen, then on evenings when God's 
Word should be studied or meetings attended the time will be 
spent at some sporting event/ 

Many of these restrictions are made specifically to keep Wit- 
nesses in the faith and prevent their being distracted and led 
astray by 'non-theocratic* activities. Many non-Witnesses might 
agree with this 'old-fashioned' morality which condemns frivolity 
and lack of seriousness in our approach to life. But hand in hand 
with this 'high seriousness' goes a prudish attitude to sex > re- 
vealed for instance in the Society's dictates concerning dancing. 
In Watchtomr articles on this subject sex and dancing are never far 
apart in the writer's mind: 'But would Jesus do these things? 
Would he indulge in sexy dancing such as the "Twist", or prac- 
tice fornication?' 19 In the 1st March 1964 edition of the maga2ine 
the same point is made in an article 'Youth Get Saved From This 
Crooked Generation': 

Let us face it. This world has nothing good to offer you. . . , [The 
youth of the old world] will spend hour after hour on the dance 
floor going through all sorts of contortions to the beat of the 
modern tom-toms, . . . Actually, there is no justification for a Christ- 
ian to dance in close contact with another's marriage mate. 


Millions Now Uving Will Never Die 

In fact the Society's whole attitude to sex is interesting. They 
regard sexual passion and desire (lust) as a characteristic of man's 
fallen condition and hence they disapprove of it at all levels, even 
between married couples. Much of this is derived from the 
Pauline epistles in the Bible: Paul's attitude to sex and marriage 
is essentially the same as the Society's; *I say therefore to the 
unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as 
I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to 
marry than to burn/ 20 

The Society believes sexual intercourse is only permissible 
within marriage and that divorce is only justified on the grounds 
of adultery {Matthew 5:31/32). Naturally the Society regards pre- 
marital sexual relations as sinful and also any kind of sex act that 
might be termed unnatural: this includes bestiality, anal inter- 
course, homosexuality and masturbation. Here is a typical and 
embarrassingly frank injunction from The Watch tower: 'The male 
sex organs and the female sex organs were to co-operate in ful- 
filling this God-given command [to reproduce]. Thus the sex 
organs are not playthings to have a lot of fun with, for such fun 
does not serve the divine purpose. . . , The sex organs, rather than 
being toys, serve a most serious purpose.' 21 Two years earlier the 
Society had grudgingly admitted: "That [sexual intercourse] 
should be not only the means of procreation but also a means of 
allaying passion and a source of satisfaction and delight is not out 
of harmony with God's Word.' Although in the same article they 
curtailed this 'satisfaction and delight' as follows: 'Departures 
from the proper and natural use of these [sex] organs in order to 
satisfy the craving for unnatural intimacy with sex organs, or in 
order to excite animal passions is unclean. It is degrading ... a 
perversion and is unhealthy.* 23 This repressive attitude to sex 
naturally leads the Society to condemn behaviour which stimu- 
lates sexual desire: 

Do not excite the sexual passions by improper dress or self-display. 
The wearing of extremely tight-fitting and revealing clothing 
should be avoided. . . . Single persons in dancing with those of the 
opposite sex should certainly not dance so close as to develop some 
type of sensual pleasure, . . . Flee 'necking' and 'petting* as you would 
the plague. ■. . , About dating, the parents and young people assembled 
were reminded that dating is not a form of recreation. It is a course 
that naturally leads to marriage. 23 


The People Who Believe 

One good aspect of the Society's views on sex is that they 
believe in wholesome sex-education for children. Sexual matters 
axe discussed frankly in The Watcbtower and Awake! magazines 
and the Society recommends that Witnesses be equally frank with 
their children in explaining the facts of life. It is clear that many 
Witnesses exceed the Society in their desire for high moral 
standards* Hence the following from the ist December 1966 

But, as we know, many of the styles worn by women in the world 
today are not modest; they are designed for showy display and to 
make a woman look sexually attractive- They both embarrass and 
disgust clean-minded observers* . . nearly every week the Watch 
Tower Society receives letters from individuals who are shocked 
by the tight-fitting, excessively revealing or suggestive clothing 
that some who attend congregation meetings wear, Usually those 
who take offense are rather new in the truth, though not always* 

There are also Witnesses who are not so keen to follow the moral 
code of the Society but find some attraction in 'sensual pleasure*; 
these are usually younger Witnesses towards whom much of the 
present Society propagands is aimed. If a Witness is known to 
have committed fornication, adultery or a roughly equivalent 
sexual offence then he or she is disfellowshipped. For lesser 
offences the Witness is put on probation or denied privileges in 
the congregation. This is particularly sad in the cases of Witnesses 
who marry outside the faith: 

If a dedicated person plans to marry an undedicated person and 
wants to use the hall, the committee should counsel him concerning 
marrying 'only in the Lord*. If he still decides to go through with 
the marriage, he bears the responsibility for this. He certainly is 
immature and will be disqualified from servant privileges until 
mature devotion to Jehovah's righteous ways is clearly demonstra- 
ted. 24 

The following personal experience was printed in The Watch- 
tower probably as an indication of what the Society would like 
other Witnesses to do in the same circumstances: 

Now I found myself deeply in love. Unfortunately the young man 
did not accept the faith. ... I knew I could never be wholly for 
Jehovah's side of the issue if I nourished this affection and I made a 


Millions Now Living Will Neper Die 

olemn vow to Jehovah that I would never marry out of the faith. 
This was my great protection. I began to stamp this thing out of 
my heart It can be done if one puts Kingdom interests first. 25 

It is difficult to escape the conclusion that the Society is 
strongly aware of the distracting power of sex and consequently 
tries to minimise it: sex is a rival to their organisation. It is 
obvious that their instructions are not always followed by young 
Witnesses; there are tales of Witnesses having to get married - 
some of which I know to be true. In fact the majority of younger 
Witnesses do not seem to share exactly the same attitude to life 
as the Society: while they are usually exemplary in their manners, 
appearance and non-aggressive habits they tend not to meet the 
Society line on matters of socialising, cinema-going and dating. 
Personally I believe the present preponderance of young members 
in the movement has caused the change in the Society* s attitude - 
their moral and social code has become slightly more liberal in 
the last few years. 

Since the war the Society have felt obliged to state their 
opinion on abortion, euthanasia, artificial insemination, birth 
control and so on. They usually scour the Bible for any remotely 
relevant texts and then use these to bolster up their dogmatic 
pronouncements. For instance, the Society is against abortion, 
euthanasia and artificial insemination: the first two they say are 
equivalent to murder and the last to adultery. Surprisingly 
enough the Society does not disapprove of birth control - this is 
one of the few things left to the conscience of the individual 
Witness. 26 These issues are not vital at present, but if necessary 
the Witnesses would give up their lives rather than disobey the 
Society, For instance, the Witnesses have achieved widespread 
publicity for their refusal to have blood transfusions (and of 
course to donate blood). The Society have maintained that blood 
transfusions are wrong since 1945 when the 1st July edition of 
The Waichtomr discussed Psalm 16 and interpreted it to mean that 
Christians should not take blood into their bodies in any way. 27 
The Society retains the Old Testament belief that blood is sacred 
and is the physical symbol of life itself {Leviticus 17 : 11, 12; 
Deuteronomy 12 : 27). The Bible, they say, condemns the use of 
blood even for the purpose of saving life, and they quote 
1 Chronicles 11 : 17-19 in support. 

Having established in their own minds that the Scriptufes 


The People Who Believe 

condemn blood transfusions the Witnesses stick to this in prac- 
tice. They regard it as a sin to accept or approve of transfusions, 
but if a Witness is forced to take blood then no blame attaches to 
him (for example, when a doctor gives blood to an unconscious 
patient). Strictly speaking it is enough for the Witnesses to know 
that God disapproves of blood transfusions, but in their booklet 
Bloody Medicine, and the Imw of God and frequent articles in The 
Watchtowr and Awake! they try to show that blood transfusions 
are not necessarily medically beneficial As with most other 
surgical techniques, there are risks involved and Jehovah's 
Witnesses are quick to point out the cases where blood trans- 
fusions have caused a relapse or actually killed the patient. Wit- 
nesses remind us of many cases where patients have lived with- 
out a blood transfusion when the doctors said they would die, 
but this is rather a hollow claim when other Witnesses do die 
without blood transfusions. This point was made by the Toronto 
Telegram > Weekend Magazine of 7th July 1956: 

Donna Jones, 17, of Hamilton, has refused ftvt times in the last 
fifteen years to have transfusions, even though her decision would 
cost her her life. She is still alive and explains it by saying: 'Jehovah 
takes care of his people'. But Mrs, Grant, 29 year old mother of 
five little girls, of Englehart, Ontario, was not so fortunate. She 
refused to accept a transfusion last February-and died. 

Recently the legal position in America has been in dispute. 
Previous to this the person's signature had to be obtained before 
a blood transfusion could be given (the next of kin signed if the 
patient was incapable). But now doctors are trying to enforce 
their right to give patients blood transfusions if they think it 
necessary. In 1964 two legal cases based on these lines were pre- 
sented to the Supreme Court in America but the Court refused to 
hear them. As long as a Jehovah's Witness is sincere then refusing 
a blood transfusion is probably not the greatest test of his faith. 
The Witnesses believe the end of the world is due soon and their 
dying now will merely ensure their entry to the New World by 
resurrection; prolonging their life by accepting a blood trans- 
fusion is a direct sin against God and jeopardises their prospects 
of eternal life* 




'uchof what has been written about the movement in 
this book is unknown and hence irrelevant to many 

Jehovah's Witnesses, I feel that they should be aware 
of the facts about their organisation but at present many are not 
and whatever I have written that may contradict the Society is 
obviously wrong in their eyes. They are totally committed to the 
movement: it is not just that they believe they are right - they 
know they are right. Long and intensive argument is, I believe, the 
only possible way to shake a Witness's belief and even this is un- 
likely to succeed* For the most part the Witness remains in a state 
of certainty that only inward doubts can remove. Such dogma- 
tism is not restricted to Jehovah's Witnesses - it is typical of 
other systems. It is characterised by complete absence of tolerance 
and the presence of a rigid opinion that the possessor refuses to 
alter even in the face of contrary facts - it is the facts that are 
altered or ignored where they do not fit in. 

The Witnesses believe that all worldly organisations will 
shortly be destroyed by God. It is this fact and not the long and 
involved descriptions of Witnesses that I hope will remain in 
people's minds* Jehovah's Witnesses are not ordinary people who 
happen to share the beliefs of the Watchtower Society - they are 
totally different people whose mental make-up differs consider- 
ably from the rest of the public* Thus a Witness sees this world in 
a different way and this attitude must be taken into account 
when we consider his beliefs and behaviour. Of course this 
mental orientation is stronger in some Witnesses than in others. 
Some Witnesses drift away from the movement without a notice- 
able change - but for those who have experienced the full certainty 
of belief the act of leaving the movement is a painful one. William 
Schnell has remarked on the feet that many Witnesses (himself 
included) spent many months and sometimes years wrestling with 
their consciences before they could break away. Even when the 
break is made they are left with a peculiar sense of loss and a 



complete lack of purpose in life. It is necessary that they patiently 
re-educate themselves in the ways of the world* 

This then is the Jehovah's Witness. What of his future? 
Assuming that the Society is incorrect about 1975* will the 
movement survive the disappointment? W. C. Stevenson thinks 
not, but the reasons he offers have counter-arguments and the 
position is really unclear. It should be mentioned that the Society 
has never really stated in print definite pronouncements about 
1975, this despite the fact that such pronouncements are com- 
monly accepted amongst the Witnesses. It may be possible for the 
Witness movement to survive on the continuous prospect of the 
imminent Battle of Armageddon without ever specifying a datel 
The Society has more or less said this in The Watchtower of 
ist May 1968: 'Does this mean that the year 1975 will bring the 
Battle of Armageddon? No one can say with certainty what any 
particular year will bring. . . . Sufficient is it for God's servants 
to know for a certainty that, for this system under Satan, time is 
running out rapidly.* 

It is, I believe, a superficial judgement to claim that 1975 will 
be the making or breaking of the Witnesses; they are already 
prepared to survive that date and it is more likely that changing 
social conditions will take the greatest toll of their members. A 
close examination of the problems and causes of falling away in 
the last decade seems to indicate that the Society has most to fear 
from the increasing permissiveness of Western society. Until 
1975, however, we can be sure that the Witnesses will be sticking 
to their strange beliefs and their efficient organisation and will be 
knocking on our doors to tell us of the impending battle that will 
finally prove them right. 




Appendix A 

Further Details of Pastor Russell's Chronological Beliefs 

(a) Daniel 7; 25 mentions the interval of "three and one half times' 
which according to Revelation 12:6, 14 means 1,260 days. Russell took 
these as symbolic of 1,260 years and he applied the test from Daniel 
to the period of 'Papacy Rule* from 539 a.d, (conveniently 'the fall 
of the Ostrogothic empire') to 1799 A - D - This a PP are ntly arbitrary 
date, 1799, Russell said was the 'beginning of the time of the end* 
and the 'time of the end' was the period 1799-19 14. (Studies in the 
Scriptures, Vol. 3, Chapter 2). 

(b) The '69 weeks' mentioned in Daniel 9 : 23-27 is, by another invol- 
ved argument, shown to represent the 483 years from 454 B.C. to 29 
a.d,, which according to Russell was the date Jesus started his earthly 

(c) Daniel 8: 14 tells of the '2,300 days' which Russell again takes 
to mean 2,300 years from 454 B.C. to 1846 when, according to him, 
'the sanctuary was cleansed*. (Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 3, p. 305.) 

(d) Daniel 12:11, 12 mentions two periods of 1,290 and 1,335 days. 
Taking as his starting point the fall of the Ostrogothic empire in 
5 39 a.d. Russell arrived at 1829 and 1874 respectively. The former was 
the time of the 'separating work of the "Miller Movement" 7 and the 
latter was, of course, Jesus' second presence. It seems rather obvious 
here and elsewhere that Russell is working backwards (Studies in the 
Scriptures ; Vol. 3, pp. 61-91). 

I 9 I 

Appendix B 

Russell's Time Chart 
41 29 BX. 

41 27 B.C. 

62$ B.C. 

— ^607 BX. 


fc o « ^ 

•■454 B.C. 
^ 29 A.D. 

^539 a.d. 


- s >i 

§ 1 
8 5 


Creation of Adam 

Adam's disobedience in Eden 

Last Typical Jubilee 

Fall of Jerusalem 

Nehemiah's commission to 
rebuild Zion 

Jesus is baptised 

Tall of the Ostrogothic 

Beginning of the time of the end 

Beginning of the Miller 

"Cleansing of the Sanctuary 1 

Jesus' second presence starts 

Setting up of the Kingdom in 

'Close of the high calling' 

Changing of the saints, 
Kingdom on Earth 



CHAPTER r: The Founder -Charles Taze Russell 

i. The Watch Tower \ 1916, pp. 170-172* 

2. 'Second Adventism* was Russell's collective name for a number 
of sects all prophesying the imminent Second Advent of Jesus. 
Seventh Day Adventism, for instance, was one of these sects, 

3. Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence No. 1. The title 
'Pastor' was purely honorary as far as Russell was concerned, he never 
graduated from any theological school. In later life, rightly or wrongly, 
he became universally known as 'Pastor RusselT, 

4. Studies in the Scriptures^ VoL 3, p. 86, 

5. In view of the later distortion of the facts by the Witnesses I 
think it worth emphasising that Pastor Russell was not a solitary 
visionary inspired by God to search out the truth from the Scriptures. 
Most of his ideas were borrowed directly from his contemporaries 
such as Paton, G. Storrs, B* W. Keith, Barbour, etc. See Zion's Watch 
Tower \ 1 5 th July 1906, 1 5 th July 1916 and The Four Major Cults, p. 224: 
'From the Adventists Russell obviously borrowed such doctrines as the 
extinction of the soul at death, the annihilation of the wicked, the 
denial of hell, and a modified form of the investigative judgement.' 

6. Faith on the March, p. 25. 

7. Jehovah's Witnesses in the Divine Purpose, p. iS» 

8. See Zion's Watch Tower 15 th July 1906. 

9. A similar gathering took place in 1914. 

10. Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 3, p. 234; Vol. 4, p. 621 » See also Vol. 
2, p. 101. 

11. In 1 909 this was changed to The Watch Tower and Herald of Chris fs 
Presence and in 1931 to The Wakhiower and Herald of Chris fs Kingdom 
and finally in 1939 to The Watch tower Announcing Jehovah's Kingdom - 
its present title. 

12. The Four Major Cults, p. 227* 

13. The 'Dawns* were a series of sis books written by Russell. 

14. Jehovah* s Witnesses in the Divine Purpose, p. 17. 

15. The Watch Tower, 15th September 1910, p. 298. 

16. See The Jehovah's Witnesses, Stroup, p. 8, and Zion y s Watch Tower, 
1909* P- 371- 



17. Zion's Watch Tower* 15 th July 1906. 

18. The Society was first mooted in 1881. In 1896 its name was 
changed to The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. 
Altogether 35,000 dollars were contributed to start the Society (most 
of it by Russell). 

19. Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 6, p. S3. 

20. Zion's Watch Tower, March and May 1887. 

21. Jehovah's Witnesses in the Divine Purpose, p. 33. 

22. This is probably not accurate, Paul Johnson gives Russell's 
exact height as 5 ft. 1 1 in. 

23. The Jehovah's Witnesses, Stroup, p. 7. 

24. Epiphany Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 9, pp. 319-320. 

25. Jehovah* s Witnesses in the Divine Purpose , p. 31. 

26. This is the 1,000 years during which God would rule the earth and 
restore perfect conditions (Revelation 20). 

27. All that Russell is saying here is that the date of commencement 
of the 2,500 years was 625 B.C. 

28. Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 2, pp. 180, 181 and 185. 

29. Ibid., p. 187, 

30. See Zion's Watch Tower \ October 1881, p. 2. 

31. It is interesting to compare the present-day beliefs of the Wit- 
nesses. In Babylon the Great has Fallen! (pp. 634, 682) the date for the 
creation of Adam is given as 4,026 b.c. Pastor Russell's calculations 
are discredited, the Witnesses today believe that the 6,000 years end 
in 1974-a prophetically significant date. 

32. Studies in the Scriptures, VoL 2, pp. 33, 42. This is typical of the 
many vague 'prophecies' Russell made, some of which have been 
seized upon by the Witnesses and 'shown' to have a fulfilment. By 
a careful selection of Russell's statements (avoiding, of course, the 
dates - which would give the game away) it is possible to imply that 
he actually predicted World War I* 

33. Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 3, pp. 127, 128 

34. Studies in the Scriptures^ Vol, 1, pp. 91, 95. 
3 5 . Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 2, p. x. 

36. Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 2, pp. 98, 99, 101; Vol. 4, p. 625. 

37. See the Bibliography for details on how to obtain Russell's 
books. Even in the face of this evidence the current Society attitude 
is still that there must have been some great significance in Russell's 
choice of the year 1914 which saw the beginning of the First World 
War. The Witnesses like to quote historians who claim that 191 3 was 
the last 'normal* year in human history. 

38. For an up-to-date Witness version of what happened see The 
Wdtchtower, 1963, p* 217, 


Chapter 2 

39. Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 4, p«v + 

40. Ibid., p. viii. 

41. Jehovah's Witnesses in the Divine Purpose, p. 40. 

42- It is, of course, possible to see this in a different light: that 
Pastor Russell was, as die conspirators claimed, dictatorial and dog- 
matic. My sympathies in this dispute are with Russell who was a better 
man than his detractors - and they knew it. 

43. A Great Battle in the Ecclesiastical Heavens, p. 16. 

44. The Jehovah* s Witnesses, Stroup, pp* 9, io + 

45. Ibid., p. 10* 

46. One distressing aspect of the divorce is the way it has been 
exploited by Russell's opponents. In a tract written by the late J. M. 
Swift he claims: 'He [Russell] had a weakness for the other sex and 
his wife divorced him'. In another tract, K. N. Ross says 'he was 
divorced by his wife for adultery', Both of these statements are wrong. 
On the other hand the Witnesses are excessively coy in refusing to 
speak of Russell's divorce - they call it a 'separation'. 

47. The Tour Major Cults 7 p. 227. In Jehovah* s Witnesses - The Neiv 
World Society, Marley Cole misinterprets the facts by quoting only 
part of the court record and manages to conclude that Russell came 
well out of the trial. 

48. Jehovah's Witnesses in the Divine Purpose, p. 49. 

49. Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 3, p* 228, 

50. Ziotfs Watch Tower * 1st October 1907. 

5 1. Faith on the March, pp. 47, 48. 

5 2. Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. z 7 p. ix; Vol. 3, p. ii. It is true to say 
that Russell saw the outbreak of war as a preliminary sign of the greater 
changes he was expecting but he did not regard the World War as 
otherwise important. 

53. Zkn*s Watch Tower, December 191 6. There are several references 
in the literature of the time suggesting that Russell, according to his 
wish, died wrapped in a Roman toga! 

54. Faith on the March, p. 61. 

CHAPTER 2: The Second President-Judge Rutherford 

1. Epiphany Studies in the Scriptures, Volumes 6, 7 and 10, 

2. Faith on the March, pp. 68, 71. 

3. Merariism, P. S. L. Johnson, pp. 83, 84. 

4. The Watch Tower, 1st December 19 16, 

5 . This accounts for the title * Judge' Rutherford, which his followers 
used, but not apparently Rutherford himself. Stroup is of the opinion 



that both 'Pastor * and 'Judge' were titles used to impress non-believers 
and exaggerate the importance of the leaders. Certainly Rutherford 
was never a permanent Judge but he was widely known by that title* 

6. It had been the case that Pastor Russell, not the seven directors of 
his time, ran the Society but this was partly due to the Pas tor *s personal 
influence and to the fact that he held a large proportion of the voting 
shares. Rutherford wished to emulate Russell's power, without his 

7. For the Witnesses' version see Jehovatfs Witnesses in the Vivine 
Purpose, pp. 69, 70. The facts do not appear to support their conclusions. 

8. Merariism, pp. 8i, 82. 

9. The Watch Towr, 1st January 1918, 

10. Ibid., 15th December 1917, 

11. Ibid,, 1 5th January 1918. 

12. The 'Frank and Ernest' programmes broadcast on Radio 
Luxembourg were sponsored by the Dawn Bible Students* 

13. The Watch Tower, rst March 1918, in an article entitled f A 
Warning to the Church', p. 79. 

14. Ibid, j 1 st October 191 7. 

15. Ibid*, 1st October 1917 and 1st January 191 8. 

16. Ibid., 1 st October 1917. 

17. Rutherford's attitude toward conscription was not definite 
enough for many Bible Students and a large number dissociated 
themselves from him and formed the 'Standfast* movement. They 
claimed to be carrying out Pastor Russell's wishes. See The Watch 
Tower^ 191 5 , pp. 259-261. 

18. Faith on the March, p. 85. 

19. Ibid., p. 99. 

20. Ibid., p. 105, 

21. Ibid., p. 106, 

22* Much more can be said in the way of analysis of Rutherford's 
character. I have the impression that fundamentally Rutherford des- 
pised the other Bible Students and was particularly piqued at having 
to depend on the shareholders for his election to office. Thus I would 
say that the tag of 'colossal egotism' is far more appropriately applied 
to Rutherford than Russell. 

23. It would therefore be quite wrong to describe Rutherford and 
the others as 'ex-convicts' as some have done. They were wrongfully 
convicted and Rutherford did not lose his licence to practise as a 
lawyer, as an ex-convict would have done, 

24. Faith on the March, p. 11. Notice the fact that Rutherford and 
Macmillan are not satisfied with, or even aware of, the so-called 
'fulfilment' of Russell's 'prophecy* of World War I. An examination 


Chapter 2 

of the literature of that time deepens the impression that the attributing 
of this 'prophecy' to Pastor Russell is anti-historical. 

25. The Epiphany Messenger,^ 401* 

26. Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 6, p. 3 88, 

27. See Ziori*s Watch Tower y July and August 1881; Studies in the 
Scriptures, Vol* 1, pp. 24 i, 294, 300; Vol, 3, p. 258; T/fo Harp of God r , 
p. 240; Life, p. 141; and The Watchtower, 1963, p. 178, 

28. The Kingdom, p. 14. For a full discussion of the Pyramid in 
prophecy see Great Pyramid Passages, Vols, i, 2 and 3, by John and 
Morton Edgar. 

29. Thirty Years a Watchtower Slave y p. 33. 

30. Jehovah* s Witnesses in the Divine Purpose ; p. 107. 

3 1 . As early as 1 5 th October 19 1 7 The Watch Tower said: 'Accordingly 
Abraham should enter upon the actual possession of his promised 
inheritance in the year 1925 a.d.* and just before 1925 an issue read: 
'We might expect the harvest to end fifty years after 1874 or with the 
end of 1 9 24". See also The Watch Tower, 1st January 1924; Vindication 
Vol. 1, p. 146. 

32. The Watchtower > 1st December 1966, p, 730. 

33* It was first thought that in addition to the 'heaven-bound' 
anointed there were three separate classes of people on earth desig- 
nated by 'the great multitude*, 'the other sheep* and 'the Jonadabs*. 
There was much discussion as to the respective fate of each group but 
the Witnesses finally concluded that there was no such division and 
that all three names applied to the same group who would survive 
Armageddon to live for ever on earth. See Angels, pp. 24, 61; Salvation* 
p. 66; The Jehovah 9 s Witnesses^ Stroup, p- 60; You May Survive Arma- 
geddon into God y s New World, p. 264; and The Watchtower, 1st April 1968, 
p. 221. 

34. Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 4, p. 627. 

35. Beth Sarim was given to the Society and Rutherford decided to 
use it in this way. 

36. The Jehovah's Witnesses, Stroup, p. 42. 

37. The New World, p. 104. 

38. Jehovah 9 s Witnesses in the Divine Purpose, pp. 91, 95. 

39. Thirty Years a Watchtower Slave, p. 40, 

40. Th$ Watchtower, 1st February 1965, p. 93. 

41 ♦ Thirty Years a Watchtower Slave, pp. 56, 5 j, 59. 

42. See also Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 6 t pp. 78, 234. 

43. For details: Sweden, The Watchtower, 1st February 1965; Canada, 
The Jehovah 9 s Witnesses, Stroup, p. 125; Germany. Thirty Years a 
Watchtower Slave ; pp. 75, 76. 

44* Jehovah, p. 277, 

O 197 


45- Jehovah's Witnesses in the Divine Purpose, p. 96. 

46. The Jehovah 9 s Witnesses, Stroup, p. 16. 

47. Jehovah's Witnesses in the Divine Purpose, p. 101. 

48. The 'Memorial* is the annual commemoration of the Last Sup- 
per - all the faithful are expected to attend, 

49. Jehovah 9 s Witnesses in the Divine Purpose, p. no. See Epiphany 
Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 3, p. 45; Vol. % p. 457* 

50. Rutherford had published an earlier work, variously described 
as a long booklet or short book, called Mil/ions Now Living Will 
Never Die. This was the 128-page text of Rutherford's public talk (of 
the same title) and was published in 1920, 

51. Salvation, p. 35. 

52. Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, 1941, p* 14. By 'religion' Ruther- 
ford meant 'organised religion' - all the orthodox faiths. For these he 
had a virulent hatred, one of his most well-known slogans was 'Religion 
is a snare and a racket*! 

5 3. 'Rutherford's was the best known and most frequently heard 
voice in America*. The Watchtower, 1955* p. 392. 
54. Jehovah's Witnesses in the Divine Purpose, p. 127. 

CHAPTER 3: The Modern Organisation, 193 2-1 968 

1. Enemies, p. 144; Salvation, p. 81, 

2. Illustrations in Rutherford's books and booklets often showed 
various devils, Hitler and the Pope leading the 'goats* to perdition. 
Although Jehovah's Witnesses today are less forthright their criticisms 
of the clergy are the same. 

3. A 'publisher' is any Witness who actively advertises his beliefs 
usually by calling from house to house. 

4* The Jehovah s Witnesses, Stroup, p. 63. 

5. Jihovahs Witnesses in the Divine Purpose, p. 148, 

6. Faith on the March, p. 170. 

7. The Jehovah s Witnesses, Stroup, p. 29. 
8* The Jehovah s Witnesses, Stroup, p. 164. 

9* Stroup carried out a literary analysis of Children and came to the 
conclusion that Rutherford could not have written the book. From 
my own recollection of reading Children I would tend to agree with 
him. The style of the book as well as its form differs radically from 
the other nineteen books. 

io. Rutherford himself was a big man, more than six foot tall. 

11. See for instance The Jehovah s Witnesses, Stroup, p, 26. 

12. The Jehovah s Witnesses, Stroup, p. 22. 


Chapter 4 

13* Vindication, Vol. 1, p. 156. Rutherford was not a life-long 
bachelor, however. He and his wife Mary had one son Malcolm G. 
Rutherford, of whom little was heard in connection with the Witness 
movement. Rutherford kept his family life very much in the back- 
ground and many Witnesses were never aware that he was married* 
Personal details of Society officials from the President down were 
never printed in the Society's literature. 

14* See The Watch Tower, 15th May 1917. 

1 j* The Jehovah's Witnesses^ Stroup, p* 155. 

16. American Bar Association's Bill of Rights Review, VoL 2, No. 4, 
Summer 1942, p. 262. 

1 7* Jehovah* s Witnesses In the Divine Purpose, p. 204* 

1 8. See the Yearbook, 1948, p, 62, 

19. Retigon in the Soviet Union, Kolarz, 

20. The Religions of the Oppressed, V. Lanternari. The situation in 
Africa is now very confused - Jehovah's Witnesses in Zambia and 
Malawi have incurred the wrath of the government for refusing to- 
'sing the national anthem* and render other acts of obedience to the 
state* Late in 1967 the Witnesses were banned in Malawi and 1 8,000 
of them were exposed to attacks, terrorism and rape (The Watch fo&er, 
1 st February 1968). 

CHAPTER 4: The Witnesses' View of History 

I. Jehovah has granted Satan 6,000 years since the creation of 
Adam and this period ends in 1975. 

2* Jehovah* s Witnesses in the Divine Purpose, p. 10. 

3. Jehovah* s Witnesses- The New World Society, pp. 62, 63. 

4. The Watch Tower, 1st November 1917* See also The Jehovah* s 
Witnesses, Stroup, p, 13. 

5* I attended a talk at a congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses in 
1967 in which the speaker warned the audience that 'others* would 
try to brainwash them by presenting apparently effective arguments 
against the Witnesses* The speaker exhorted us to *look for the answer 
to these objections, whatever they are, there is always an answer*! 
The audience agreed with his conclusion. 

6. The Watchtower, 1966, p. 510. 

7* 1968 Yearbook, pp. 9, 10. 

8. Ibid., p. 7. 

9. Jehovah* s Witnesses in the Divine Purpose, pp. j 3, 73, 127* 

10. Ibid., p. 156. 

II. Ibid., pp. 102, 103* 

o* 199 


CHAPTER 5: The Basic Beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses 

1* Jehovah* s Witnesses in the Divine Purpose, p. 258. 

2. For example Matthew 19 : z6, Hebrews 4:13 and Psalms 90 : 2. 

3. On rather less evidence they have substituted Jehovah 237 times 
in the New Testament to replace iheos and kyrios. They offer as evidence 
the fact that an early copy of the Septuagint uses the tettagrammaton 
instead of the Greek words (Papyrus Fouad 266). To infer from this 
that the original Septuagint was of this form is conjecture and hardly 
justifies interfering 257 times with the accepted test. See The Four 
Major Cults, p. 257, note 146, and The New World Translation of the 
Christian Greek Scriptures (1950 edition, pp. 10-25)* 

4. Let Your Name be Sanctified, p. 10. The Truth that Leads to Sternal 
Life, p. 18, 

5. Let God be True, p. 107. 

6* See also John 8:58 where Jesus uses the divine signature ( I am*, 
and Acts 20 : 28, Colossians 2 : 9, Titus 1 : 3, 4; 2:10, 13; 3:4, 6 etc, 

7. See also The Tour Major Cults, p, 243* 

8. For a more detailed discussion see What has Religion done for 
Mankind?, p. 193. 

9. John 1 : 1-3, Luke 1 : 30, 32, 33, Colossians 1:15. 

10. Luke 3 : 21-23, Acts 10: 38, 

ii. Things in which it is Impossible for God to Lie, p. 81, 

12. What has Religion done for Mankind?, p. 260, 

13. See The Four Major Cults,, p. 273* 

14. For example: Judges 6 : 34, 14: 6, 19, Acts 2 : 4. 

15. In The Four Major Cults Hoekema criticises the New World 
Translation as biased and quotes as evidence the Greek passages 
at John 14 : z6, Romans 8 : 16, Acts 5 : 3, 4, 1 Corinthians 12:3, Acts 8 : 29 
and Ephesians 4: 30. 

1 6. Let God be True, p. 57* 

17. 2 Corinthians 4 : 4, John 14:30, 1 John 5:19, James 1 : 1 3-1 5 . 

18. The Witnesses make the somewhat illogical claim that because 
Adam lived for less than a thousand years (930 in fact) he 'died in the 
day that he ate of the tree' - taking a day to be a thousand years on the 
evidence of Psalms 90 : 4. On other occasions a day is taken to represent 
1* or 7,000 years. The Witnesses believe that each of the creation 
days was 7,000 years long (See Things in which it is Impossible for God to 
Lie, p. 178). 

19. Eqekiel 28:13, 14, 

20. Isaiah 8:19, 20, 1 Timothy 4: 1, Deuteronomy 13:1-5, 

21. Genesis 2:8, 16, 17, 


Chapter 6 

22* Let God be True, p. 69, 

23. For example: Genesis 1 ; 20, 30; Numbers 3 1 : 28. 

24. Let God be True, p* 66. 

25 . Genesis 37:35, Job 14 : 1 3. 

26* Hope for the Dead, for the Survivors in a Religious World, p. 20. 

27. See Studies in the Scriptures^ Vol. 5, p. 376, and the criticism in 
Errors of Russellism, p. 42. 

28. Into the Light of Christianity, p. 78. 

29. In a revised version Make Sure of All Things; Hold Fast to what 
is Fine (1965) this text is not quoted. 

30. In Let God be True, p. 99, this argument is still advanced. 
31* Salvation, pp. 224, 351 and Jehovah, p. 142. 

32* Leviticus 9 : 3 and chapter 16, 

33. In The Four Major Cults, pp. 279-290, Hoekema tries to show 
the superiority of salvation by grace and not works* 

34. Hebrews 12 : 24, Luke 22 : 20. 

35- See What has Religion done for Mankind?, p. 139, for a detailed 
comparison of the two sacrifices. 

36. Lei God be True, p. 124. 

37. Baby/on the Great has Fallen! God's Kingdom Rules!, p. 448. 
Acts 4:11, 1 Peter z : 3-10, Bpbesians 5 : 23. 
Revelation 19 : 19, 20, 1 Corinthians iy : 24-28. 
As some interpret Luke 17 : 20, 21, Matthew 21 : 43, 44, Revelation 






Make Sure of All Things, p. 226, 

Let God be True, p. 1 24. 

Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. n, p. 


CHAPTER 6: Doctrines for the End of the World 

1. See 2 Timothy 3, 1 Thessalonians 5, Revelation 22: 20. 

2. Let God be True, p. 197. 

3. The Truth shall make You Free, p. 296. 

4. Matthew 24:6-8, 14. See also Luke 21 and Mark 10, 

5. Make Sure of All Things, p. 337. 

6. Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 4, p. 566. 

7. Government, p. 171. See The Waichtomr, 1966, p. 730. 

8. Secular chronology is based on Ptolemy's canon; that of the 
Witnesses on the known date for the fall of Babylon (539 B.C.) and a 
dubious prophecy at 2 Chronicles 36: 21, It is misleading of Macmillan 
to say 'This date is reckoned from secular and biblical history as the 
fall of 607 b,c. j (Faith on the March, p. 150). Secular history supports 



the date 539 b.c. for the fall of Babylon, but not 607 B.C. for the fall 
of Jerusalem, 

9. Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 2, p. 77. 

10* Matthew 24: 15, 16, 30. 

1 1 , The Witnesses have inherited from Rutherford a deep hatred of 
the United Nations (formerly the League of Nations) probably 
because the latter was described in 1919 as 'the political expression of 
the Kingdom of God on earth' - the Witnesses see it as a rival to their 
own organisation, 

12- The Truth shall make You Free y p. 298. 

13. Isaiah 45 : 18, Revelation 16 : 14-16. 

14. Russell used this argument to substantiate the date 1872 - 
taking the date of the creation of Adam to be 4128 b.c. This has been 
discredited by the Witnesses but in their literature of the last ten years 
they have quoted several different dates for the creation of Adam: in 
1943 it was 4028 B.C., in 1944 4026 b.c, in 1953 4025 b.c. and since 
1966 it has been 4026 again! 

15. The current Witness interpretation is that the 'generation' of 
Matthew 24 refers to those old enough to understand the changes 
taking place in 1 914 -those about ten years old. Thus their seventy 
years conveniently ends around 1975. 

16. In particular the book You may Survive Armageddon into God's 
New World. 

17. After Armageddon - God's New World, pp. 3, 6, 7. 

18. See Awake i ', nth August 1963. 

19. Isaiah 32:1, Psalms 45 : 16. 

20. The Watchtower, 1960, p. 654. 

21. The Watchtower, 1967, p. 638. 

22. Based on the chart in Ufe Everlasting in Freedom of the Sons of 
God and The Watchtower, 1st May 1968. Compare Russell's chart in 
Appendix B. 

23. 2 Corinthians 5 : 20, Ephesians 6 : 20* 

24. Psalms 147 : 1 9, 20. 

25. See Matthew 12 : 11, I2 > Galatians 4 : 9-11, Mark 2 : 27, 28. 

26. Studies in the Scriptures, VoL 6, p* 388. 

27. Matthew 28 : 19, Greek baptism— dip or immerse. 

28. Things in which it is Impossible for God to Ue, p. 402. 

29. Babylon the Great has Fallen!, pp. 507, 594. 

30. You may Survive Armageddon into God's New World, pp. 367-368. 

31. A more recent example is the explanation of parts of Isaiah, 
Jeremiah and Revelation in Babylon the Great has Fallen! (1963). 'This 
book is an extraordinary phantasmagoria of wild beasts with seven 
heads and ten horns goring scarlet-coloured harlots. It consists of 


Chapter 6 

700 pages filled with such fantastic scriptural interpretation that one 
begins to wonder about the mental stability of those who have written 
it* (Year of Doom i$j y, p. 127). Of course the Witnesses do not feel 
this way about it; to them it contains important new truths. 

32. Jehovah, p. 62. See The Watchtower, 1st July 1965, for the present- 
day Witness view of the ten plagues. 

33. This is based on similar analyses by Pastor Russell (Studies in the 
Scriptures, Vol 3) and Rutherford (Creation and The Harp of Goo*). 

34. Your Will be done on Earth, p. 247. 

35. Zion's Watch Tower, September 1883, p. j. 

36. The Four Major Cults, p. 251, footnote 115. 

37* For example Deliverance y p. 125, where he says that wise men 
are devil inspired. 

38. What has Religion done for Mankind?, p* 22, 

39. Ibid, p. 24. 

40. This Means Everlasting Life* p. 26. 

41. The Watch tower, 1st December 1966, p. 713. 

42. This replaced a lengthy booklet called Evolution versus the New 
World. In addition there are frequent articles in their magazines 
attacking the theory. 

43. It is not my intention to pass lightly over this vital point. What 
I have written is generally accepted in academic circles but a detailed 
discussion of this problem would occupy many hundreds of pages 
and is impossible here. 

44. Studies in the Scriptures, Vol, 1, chapter 2. 

45. The Four Major Cults, p t 254* 

46* What has Religion done for Mankind?, p. 27. 

47* Things in which it is Impossible for God to Lie, p* 24: 'The Holy 
Bible is a collection of sixty-six books, all these being in harmony 
with themselves from first to last\ 

48. The Kingdom is at Hand, p. 171. 

49. Creation, p. 12, my italics. 

50. The Witnesses appear to share the popular misconception of 
this title; 'higher* does not mean exalted or superior but simply 
differentiates from 'lower criticism* which is a study of the text, 'higher 
criticism* being the study of the sense or meaning. Also the word 
'critic* did not originally imply an unfavourable judgement as it docs 

5 1. Equipped for Every Good Work. 

52. Ibid M p. 1 06. 

53. Make Sure of All Things, p, 40. 

54. The Watch Tower, 15 th September 1910* 



CHAPTER 7: Life as a Jehovah's Witness 

1. This replaced the booklet Preaching Together in Unity \ previously 
called Counsel on Theocratic Organisation of Jehovah 7 s Witnesses, 

2. Mark 13 : to. 

3. Preaching Together in Unity, p. 21. 

4. In particular each congregation has a monthly progress chart 
which has the monthly totals of Pubs, (publishers I), Hours, Back-calls, 
etc., obtained by the congregation. 

5 . Your Word is a Lamp to my Foot, p. 63, 

6. Ibid, p. 64. 

7. The titles 'servant' and 'overseer* are both taken from the Bible, 
the latter from the New World Translation of Acts 20 : 28 and other 
texts. The former title was possibly inspired by Matthew 23 : n (King 
James Version) or similar scriptures. 

8. Your Word is a Lamp to my Foot, pp. 124-126. 

9. Preaching Together in Unity, p. 29. 

10. Your Word is a Lamp to my Foot, pp. 135-34. 

11. Ibid., p. 180 and Preaching Together in Unity \ p. 38. 

12. Preaching Together in Unity ; p. 43. 

13. See The Watchtower, 15th May 1966. 

14. Ibid., 15 th January 1966. 

15. Preaching Together in Unity, p. 43* 

16. Ibid., p. 44. 

17. The Watchtower y 15th May 1956. 

18. Ibid., 1963, p. 107. 

19. Preaching Together in Unity, p. 9, Your Word is a Lamp to my Foot, 
p. 85. 

20. Your Word is a Lamp to my Foot, pp. 92-93. 

CHAPTER 8: Beyond the Congregation 

1. Preaching Together in Unity, p. 18. 

2. Thirty Years a Waichtower Slave, p. 79. 

3. Preaching Together in Unity, p. 54. 

4. Preaching Together in Unity, p. 55. 

5. Kingdom Ministry, November 1964, p. 3. 

6. The Watchtower y 1st March 1967. 


Chapter p 

CHAPTER 9: The International Organisation of Jehovah's Witnesses 

1. Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, i$68, p. 65. 

2. See The Watchtower, 15th April 1968, p. 248, 

3. Yearbook of Jehovah 7 s Witnesses, if6S > pp. 65, 66* 

4. In 1964 there were 1,979 circuits and 233 districts throughout 
the world. 

5. There are signs that this situation is changing. The Society 
appears to be more tolerant in its attitude to publicity now. 

6. Year of Doom i^/j, pp. 105, 106. 

7. Jehovah y s Witnesses in. the Divine Purpose , p ( 291. 

8. You may Survive Armageddon into God's New World, p. 103. 

9. According to Hoekema, Wilson was *a self-educated newspaper 
editor'. The Four Major Cults, p. 243. 

10. Preaching Together in Unity ; p. 59. 

11. Kingdom Ministry -, June 1965, p. 4. 

12. Ten thousand pounds was donated by British Witnesses alone 
to help finance the Around the World Assemblies held in 1963 {Kingdom 
Ministry \ June 1963). 

13. Assembly Report, p. 33. 

14. Ibid., p. 36. 

1 5 . I was present at a District Assembly at Manchester when this 
change was announced, 'Thrilled' would not be my description of 
the Witnesses there when they heard the news. 

16. See the booklet hook! I am making all things New, p. 28. 

17. In case objections are raised, I should like to point out that I 
have missed out very little of the original article here and I think the 
quotation definitely captures the mood of the article as a whole. 

CHAPTER 10: The People Who Believe 

1. See for instance Sects and Society which unfortunately does not 
deal with the Witnesses, 

2. The congregations were called 'companies' at that time. 

3 . The Jehovah's Witnesses, Stroup, p. 77. 

4. Yearbook, 1945- Mark 10:25, The rich of this world are often 
satisfied with life as it is and are not attracted to a religion that 
advocates that they forgo earthly pleasures and preach the Gospel. 

5. The Four Major Cults, p. 408, 

6. There are also those Stroup calls 'spiritual vagabonds' - disturbed 
people who wander from religion to religion without remaining long 



in any one. There do not appear to be many of these in the Witness 

7. The Watch Tower, November 1912. 

8. The Watch Tower ; April 1934, 

9. Assembly Report \ p, 78, 

10. The Jehovah's Witnesses, Stroup, p. 102. 
ii. Ibid., p. 125. 

12- Witnesses calling from house to house meet far more women 
than men and the result of this was often that the wife (and not the 
husband of the family) became a Jehovah's Witness* In order to try 
to convert the whole family the Society advises publishers to contact 
the husband in any home as soon as possible, 

13. Kingdom Ministry ; November 1964. 

14. Let God he True, p. 210. 

1 j. See The Watchtower, 1st October 1966, 1st February 1968 and 
1 st June 1968, 

1 6* Any Witness who smokes is denied 'the privileges of servant 
positions in the congregation* and he is constandy admonished to 
stop smoking. 

17. See Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 6, p* 556 and Zfatfs Watch 
Tower , 1st April 1909, where Russell declares theatre-going, card- 
playing and novel-reading to be un-Christian. 

18- Kingdom Ministry , August i960. See Awake!, 8th February 1966, 
p t 20, There are signs of a softening in this attitude, 

19. The Watchtotver, 1963, p. 196, 

20. 1 Corinthians 7 : 9. Russell and Rutherford shared this opinion, 
see Vindication, Vol, 1, p, 156. 

21. The Watchtower, ijth November 1964* 

22. Ibid., 15 th November 1962. 

23- The Watchtower, 1959, p. 453; 1963* p. 364; 1965, p. 31; 1966, 
p. 630, 

24, Kingdom Ministry, February 1965* 

25, The Watchtower, 1963, p, $%. 

26, The Watchtower, 1 jth August and 1st March 1964. In the Novem- 
ber 1 5 th edition, 1 967> organ transplantation is said to be *carmibalism\ 

27, See Life Everlasting in Freedom of the Sons of God, p. 33, and 
Babylon the Great has Fallen!, p. 544, Genesis 9: 3-j. Acts 15 : 28, 29. 




A complete list of the books of Charles Taze Russell appears on 
page 1 6. These are no longer printed by the Watchtower Bible and 
Tract Society but they can be obtained from the following addresses: 

(i) Dawn Bible Students Association, East Rutherford, New Jersey, 

(2) Laymen's Home Missionary Movement, 21 01-13 South nth 

Street, Philadelphia 48, Pa,, U.S.A. 

In addition to the books listed below, Rutherford wrote many 
booklets and pamphlets on a variety of topics. A complete list of his 
publications from 1930 on is available in the Watchtomr 'Publications 

The Harp of God (19 21) Sub-titled 'Proof Conclusive That Millions 
Now Living Will Never Die'* An interesting, well-written book 
containing a doctrinal summary that is more or less in agreement 
with Pastor RusselL 

Deliverance (1926) Badly-written, consists largely of an attack on the 

Creation (1927) Covers a great deal of ground from Adam to Arma- 
geddon. It discusses in detail the creation theory of Professor Isaac 
N. Vail which the Witnesses still accept though modern science does 
It is illustrated by hand-drawings and several unusual colour plates. 

Reconciliation (1928) A book about doctrines, dealing in the main with 
the Biblical covenants. 

Government (1928) Largely directed against the 'dissenting elders* and 
schismatics in the movement itself. Not an unreasonable book. 

Ufe (1929) A scrappy book. Contains interesting illustrations and in 
part deals with Biblical chronology and the significance of the date 

Prophecy (1929) An interesting book containing one of the early 
explanations of the Battle of Armageddon as the Witnesses see it 

Light (2 volumes, 1930) Very strange illustrations to match the abstruse 



and esoteric test. Rutherford attempts a long and involved interpret- 
ation of Revelation. 
Preservation {1932) Another large-scale interpretation, this time of 

the Biblical books of Ruth and Esther. 
Vindication (Volume i, 193 1) An interpretation of the first 24 chapters 

of E^ekiel in which Rutherford hits out at those who left the organi- 
sation in 191 8 and afterwards. 
Vindication (Volume z, 1932) This 'discloses the many enemies of 

Jehovah in and about the realms of "Christendom" ' and in the process 

it interprets Eqekiel 25-39* 
Vindication (Volume 3, 1932) Completes the book of E^ekiel and also 

discusses parts of Haggai and Zechariah. 
Preparation (1933) A discussion of the book of Zechariah. 
Jehovah (1934) A strange book, part of which is used to castigate the 

'elders'. It contradicts Russell on several issues. 
Riches (1936) Contains some doctrinal discussion and includes another 

attack on the clergy* 
Enemies (1937) Largely directed against the clergy whom it hints are 

'religious racketeers*. This is Rutherford at his most virulent. 
Salvation (1939) Called a * text-book for the Jonadabs' it is written in 

an emphatic style in which reasoning is at a minimum. Rutherford 

introduces the idea of the 'great crowd' as companions to the 

Religion (1940) A book of Biblical exegesis attacking the Roman 

Catholic Church and the clergy in general. 
Children (1941) Written in a peculiar pretentious style. It attempts to 

give Rutherford's doctrines using an imaginary conversation 

between two young people* 

The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society's books printed and 
published since 1941 contain no author's name. Some of the early ones 
are out of print but most of them can be obtained through a congre- 
gation of Jehovah's Witnesses. 

The New World (1942) This is a complete analysis of the book of Job. 
The Truth shall make You Free (1943) This follows the familiar pattern 

of doctrinal explanation, starting at the Garden of Eden. 
The Kingdom is at Hand (1944) Much the same as the above, with 

interpretations of parts of Daniel and Revelation. 
Theocratic Aid to Kingdom Publishers (1945) A text book for use in the 

Theocratic Ministry Schools. 
Let God be True (1946, revised in 1952) The well-known 'doctrine per 

chapter' statement of the Witnesses' beliefs. The second edition 

differed over the doctrines that had changed since 1946, 



Equipped for Every Good Work (1946) Another text book reviewing 

the sixty-six books of the Bible. 
This Means Everlasting Life (195°) Most of the book is devoted to 

instructing husbands, wives and children in the New World Society* 

Essentially it sets a code of morals and social conduct that Witnesses 

are expected to obey. 
What has Religion done for Mankind? (195 1) A very badly written attack 

on the major world religions. 
New Heavens and A New Earth (1953) Another doctrinal summary. 
Make Sure of All Things (1953, revised in 1957, revised and re-titled 

in 1965)* A compilation of texts under subject headings with few 

Qualified to be Ministers (1955) A text book, containing instructions 

on how to hold meetings and how to run the Ministry School 
You may Survive Armageddon into God y s New World (195 5) A fascinating 

book concerned with the imminent battle of Armageddon, 
From Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained (1958) Written for young 

people and those new in the movement, it explains the doctrines 

of the Society, 
Your Will he done on Earth (1958) An interesting book which brims 

over with interpretation of secular history; it revives many of the 

ideas of Russell and Rutherford. 
Jehovah* s Witnesses in the Divine Purpose (1959) A biased history of their 

movement written in the form of a conversation between Witnesses 

and interested people. 
Let Your Name be Sanctified (1961) Follows a standard pattern except 

that the latter part of the book is a detailed modern history of the 

Watchtomr Publications Index of Subjects Discussed and Scriptures Explained 

(1961 and 1966 with addenda published in booklet form each sub- 
sequent year). Reference is made to all the Society's publications 

since 1930 under subject headings. 
All Scripture is Inspired of God and Beneficial (1963) Intended as a re- 
placement for Equipped for Every Good Work, it serves the same 

Babylon the Great has Fallen! God 7 s Kingdom Rules! (1963) This contains 

704 pages of detailed Biblical analysis covering parts of Isaiah^ 

Daniel^ Jeremiah and Revelation, A remarkable book. 
Make Sure of All Things; Hold Fast to what is Fine (1965) A revised and 

expanded version of Make Sure of all Things, 
Things in which it is Impossible for God to Lie (1965) A doctrinal summary 

intended as a replacement for Let God be True* Attractive illustrations. 
Life Everlasting in Freedom of the Sons of God (1966) In some ways a 



replacement for This Means Everlasting Life. The book contains 
some modern Witness history and (important) emphasises the date 


Qualified to be Ministers (1967) A revised and expanded version. 

Did Man get here by Evolution or by Creation? (1967) Well written 'refu- 
tation* of the Evolution theory. 

Your Word is a Lamp to my Foot (1967) Explains the administrative 
structure of the Witness movement. 

The Truth that Leads to Eternal Life (1968). A 190-page doctrine 
summary for use in Bible studies with persons of 'good-will'. 


Works on modern religions that contain a chapter on the Witnesses 
very rarely, if ever, do them justice. Most of these books cover exactly 
the same ground and repeat the well-worn and usually erroneous ideas 
of what the Witnesses are like. There are many such books of which the 
list below is just a selection. 

Atkins. G. C, Modern Religious Cults and Movements New York: Revell 

Braden, Charles S. These Also Believe New York and London: Macmilkn 

195 1. 
Davies, Horton The Challenge of the Sects a revised and enlarged version 

of Christian Deviations published in Britain by S.C.M. Press. 
Ferguson, Charles W. The Confusion of Tongues London: Heinemann 

Van Baalen, J. K. The Chaos of the Cults London: Pickering and Inglis 


Books that deal entirely with Jehovah's Witnesses: 

Axup, Edward J. The Jehovah's Witnesses Unmasked New York: 
Greenwich 1959* 

Cole, Marley Jehovah's Witnesses: The New World Society New York: 
Vantage Press> 1955. London: Allen and Unwin 1956. More or less 
written as the Witnesses would like outsiders to see them. Naturally 
the book is popular with the Witnesses but it is not true to fact 
and much of it is misleading. 

Czatt, Milton The International Bible Students; Jehovah's Witnesses New 
Haven: Yale University Press, 1933. A short account of the Witness 
movement which suffers from the crippling limitations of the times 
and the fact that the author was an outsider and tried to get his 
information the hard way - by asking the Witnesses for it. 



Bencher, Ted The Watchtower Heresy Versus the Bible Chicago: Moody 

Press 1 96 1, Essentially a doctrinal discussion hy a former Witness. 
Forrest, J* E. Errors of Russellism Indiana: 191 5. A criticism of the 

doctrines of Pastor Russell. 
Macmillan, A. H. Faith on the March New Jersey: Prentice-Hall Inc. 

1957. Sub-titled 'My Life of Joyous Service with Jehovah's 

Witnesses', one of the recently deceased Society leaders tells the 

story of the organisation* More frank than some other Society 

accounts but still very prejudiced, 
Martin, Walter R. and Klann, Norman H* Jehovah of the Watchtower 

Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1963. A complete survey of the Witnesses 

including a 'refutation* of their doctrines. 
Pike, Royston Jehovah's Witnesses New York: Philosophical Library, 

1 9 5 4* A somewhat brief but objective account, now rather out of date. 
Schnell, William J. Thirty Years a Wafehtower Slave Grand Rapids: 

Baker 1956, London: Marshall, Morgan and Scott 1957* Schnell 

gives the view of the dissentors at the time of Rutherford. Interesting 

in the facts quoted but otherwise not too reliable. 
Schnell, William J. Into the Light of Christianity London: Marshall, 

Morgan and Scott 1960. Examines the main doctrines of the 

Stevenson, W. C. Year of Doom, i$?f London: Hutchinson 1967* 

An interesting personal account but with little history or theology 

of the movement. The author tries to be objective but does not 

seem to get the movement into perspective. 
Stroup, Herbert H* The Jehovah's Witnesses New York: Colombia 

University Press 1945. A scholarly study, well written and mainly 

concerned with the social aspect of the Witness movement. An 

admirable but out-dated book, 

William J. Schnell has published a bi-monthly journal called The 
Converted Jehovah's Witness Expositor (address: 794, Terrace Road, 
Dunedin, Florida), Other movements connected with the Witnesses 
that have published relevant works are listed below. 

(a) The Laymen's Home Missionary Movement, 2101-13 South 
nth Street, Philadelphia 48, Pa., U.S.A. prints a monthly magazine 
called The Bible Standard and Herald of Christ's Kingdom. In addition to 
RusselTs Studies in the Scriptures the movement has published the follow- 
ing books that are entirely concerned with the schism of 191 8 (they 
are all written by Paul S. L. Johnson). Epiphany Studies in the Scripturer. 
Volumes 1-17, particularly 

Volume 3: Elijah and Elisha 

Volume 6: Merariism 



Volume 7: Gershonism 

Volume 10: The Tipiphany Messenger t 

(b) Pastoral Bible Institute, Inc., P.O. Box 1 5 03 1 - Chouteau 
Station, St, Louis, Missouri 63 no. 

These also print a bi-monthly magazine called The Herald of Christ* s 
Kingdom and the following strictly doctrinal books: 
Daniel the Beloved of Jehovah 
The Revelation of Jesus Christ (in two volumes). 


Bach, Marcus They Have Found a Faith New York: Bobbs-Merrill 1946. 
Bettelheim, Bruno The Informed Heart London: Thames and Hudson. 
Black New Forms of the Old Faith London: Nelson 1946* 
Buber, Margaret Under Two Dictators London: Gollancs 1950. 
Gerstner, John H. The Theology of the Major Sects Grand Rapids: 

Baker i960. 
Hoekema, Anthony The Four Major Cults Grand Rapids: Eerdmans 

Kolarz, Walter Religion in the Soviet Union London: Macmillan 1961. 
Lanternari The Religions of the Oppressed London: Macgibbon and Kee. 
Martin, Walter R. The Rise of the Cults Grand Rapids: Zondervan 


Mead, Frank S. Handbook of Denominations in the United States Nashville: 

Abingdon 1956. 
Whalen, Wm, J. Armageddon Around the Corner New York: John Day 




Adam, 19, 20, 109 
Adventist theology, 6 
Africa, 72, 180 
Alcohol, 181 

'Ancient worthies', 22, 48 
'Anointed*, see under 'One 

hundred and forty-four 

thousand 1 
Armageddon, 21, 47> 4 S > 5 2 > 68 > 

80, 106-7, 135, i7 8 > * 9° 
Assemblies, 14, 24, 45, 53-4* 5^ 

60, 64, 70, 107, 167, 169 
Awake! y 45, 72, 126, 135, 143 > 

155, 162-3 

Babylon, 18, 98 
'Backfalls', 57> 6 4* "6* *37 
Baptism, 1, 110, 171 
Barbour, N. H., 7-9, 16, 19 
'Beth Sarim', 48 
'Bethel', 28-9, 3^* 35> 3 6 "7* 43, 

65-6, 72, 84, 1 5 6 
Bible Students, 7, it, 13, 23, 

25-8* 35, 39>4i>45> 5° 
'Bible Study', 126, 138-40 
Blood transfusion, 186-7 
'Book Study', 57, 13 T 
Booklets, 16 J 
Bowen, Mr., 19 
Branch offices, 24, 35, 52, 60, 

69, 15 5> 157-8* l6 7 

Canada, 67, 69, 154 
Catholicism, 59, 61, 69, 79, 98 

'Character development', 13, 44* 

Children, 129, 134, 1 44 
Christadelphians, 165 
Christendom, 2, 78 
Christmas, no 

'Church of God', 21, 29, 97-9 
Circuit, 146, 158 
Grcuit Assembly, 148-9 
Chxuit servant, 14, 68, 72, 146-7* 

Clergy, 23-4* 4*> 44> 54~5> 5&> 

84, S3, 94 
Colporteurs, 13, 1 4, 53 
Concentration camps, 59, 62-3 
Congregation committee, 127 
Congregation meetings, 127, 134* 


Congregation overseer, 68, 72, 

125-6, 157 
Congregational church, 1, 5, 13, 

Conscientious objection, i, 30, 

41 > 59* 62 '3*7°* lSl 
Consolation, 45, 64 
Conversion, 176-9 
'Covering cherub', 90-1 

Creeds, see under Established 

Dawn Bible Students, 39 

Debates, 24, 3° 

Directors, four dissenting, 32, 

36-7, 40-1 
Disfellowshipment, 127, 152 



Dissension, 24, 32, 37, 39, 49, 52 
Distortion, of facts, 3, 32, 36, 80 
District servant, 68, 72, 76, 157, 

Districts, 68, 146, 158 
Divorce, of Pastor Russell, 26-7 
Door-to-door work, 52, 56, 64, 

71, 134-7, 146 

Eastern Europe, 71 
Ecclesias, 25, 40, 49, yo, 64—5 
Eiders, 12, 25, 36, 51-2, 57 
Established churches, 6, 23, 85, 

Evolution, 24, 116, 165 

Faith on the Mar$h y see under A. H. 

Finished Mystery \ The y 40-2 
Flag salute, 60, 63, 67 
Flood, the, 86 
Franz, F. W., 66, 152, 154 
Fundamentalism, 86 

'Gentile Times', 20, 21, 29, 105 
Gilead, 68, 72, 144, 146, 157-8 
Glorification of the saints, 6, 8-9, 

13, zi, 28, 30,40,47 
Gobitis case, 63 et seq*> 67 

God > 5, 77~ 8 > 8 7~9i TI 7 
Golden Age> Tbe^, 45 
'Goodwill*, 129, 140, 178 
Great Pyramid, 46 

'Harvest work', 8 

Hell, 5, 6, 10, 17, 79, 93-5 

Herald of the Morning, 8, 10 

Higher Criticism, 24^ 118, 120 

Higher education, 175, 181 

Hirsch, K. H., 32, 34, 36-9, 42 

History, 2, 80-5 

Holidays, see under Christmas 

Holy spirit, 90 

House-to-house work, 137, see also 
under Door-to-door work 

Illogical arguments, 90, 102, 
112-13, 115, 119, 164-5 

Immersion, see under Baptism 

Indoctrination, 2, 81, 86, 121, 
128, 140, 159, 165, 178, 189 

Interfaith, 2 

International Bible Students 
Association, 35, 40, 154-5 

Jehovah's Witnesses in the Divine 
Purpose, 5, 7, 11, i 7> 63, 77, 164 

Jesus, 9, 19, 21, 49, 59, 89-90, 
96, 100, 164 

Jews, 18, 22, 29, 46, 105 

Johnson, P, S. L., 15, 33-41, 46 

'Jonadabs', 47 

Jones, A. D., 12 

Jubilee years, 18, 20, 51 

Keith, B. W., 8, 12 
Kingdom, 9, 18, 20-1, 68, 83, 

Kingdom Hall, 125, 134, 144 
Kingdom Ministry, 129, 149, 152, 

Kingdom Ministry School, 72, 

157, 161 
Knorr, N. H., 2, 66^ 68, 170-1 

Laymen's Home Missionary 

Movement, 39 
Libel cases, 27-8 
Lollards, 78-9 

Macmillan, A. H,, 7, 9, 29-36, 

38, 41, 43, 61 
Magazine work, 135 
Martin, R. J., 37, 41, 66 
Meetings, see under Congregation 




Memorial, 45, 54* 73> TI ° 
Methodists, 1 

Mill Hill, British branch head- 
quarters, see under Branches 
Millennium, 18-19, 21, ^l> 4*>> 

48, 106-9, T ^ 2 
Miller, William, 7-9, 22 
Ministry School, 68-9, 129-31, 

136, i44> M* 
Miracle Wheat, 27 
Mormons, 76 

New Covenant, 29, 97, no 

New World, 107-9 

New World Translation of the 

Bible, 7°>S7-9> i^3» 165-6, 

170, 178 

'One hundred and forty-four 

thousand', 99, 112, 114 
'Other sheep', 47* * 1 z > *43 
Overseers, see under Congregation 

Pacifists, 30, 42 

Parable of the ten virgins, 7, 22 

Paroussa, 8, xoi 

Pastoral Bible Institute, 39 

Paton, J. H*, 12 

Paul, the apostle, 15, 5 6 > 7 S ~9, 

88, 101, 120, 184 
Pentecostals, 1 
People's Pulpit Association, 28, 

40, i54 
Persecution, 42, 56, 58-61, 03, 

66, 69, 1 80-1 

Phonograph wort, 57» 59^ 6 4 

Photo Drama of Creation^ 28 

Pierson, A. N., 32, 34, 3<H> 

Pilgrims, 14 

Pioneers, 13, 65, 144* 146 

Presbyterian church, 5 

Primary sources, 2-3 

Printing of literature, 13, 54, MS 
Profits, 25, 56, 166-7 
Prophecy, 118-20 
Public image, 1, 2, 168, 172 
Publicity, 1, 14, *4> 53> 6g > T 4*>, 

'Publishers', 52, 59. 73 > ^4, *43> 

146, 152 
Purges, 37, 5°- J > 53 

Quotas, 140, 145 

Ransom, doctrine of, 10, 95-7 

Religion, 55, 5 8 

'Remnant', 99, 112, 1 43 

Resurrection, 108 

Rice, H-B,, 12 

Ritchie, A. I., 3^= 34* 3^ 3» 

Rival factions, 32, 39 

Ross, Rev. J. J., 27 

Russell, Charles Taze: early life, 
2, 5-7, 9> 13; theology, 17, «» 
46, 94-6, 104, 114; travels, 14, 
24, 28; tribulations, 24, 26 et 
seq.\ writings, 15, 17* 5 5i 
written opinion of 1914* z0 > 
23, 29; his death, 30-1; 
successors, 34, 39 
Russell, Maria Frances, 10, 12-13, 

Rutherford, J. R; changes made 

by, 46, 49" 60 ' 94. 9 6 > ^ 
literature, 5 5* 1I2 J personality, 
34-5. 53>^4> US; roubles, 

35-7,42,44, i6i, ^74, 179; 
death, 63-4 

Sabbath, 46, 5 5, **° 

Satan, 23, 55> 77^ 8o > *3> 9°" 2 ' 

103. *79 
Schnell, W. J., 3. 47, **> 9 2 > 94, 

Science, ii5-*7 



Second Advent, 6-8, 12, 18, 

Second Adventists, 6-8, 8 5 
Sects, other, 1-2, n, 59-40 
Segregation, 65 
Sermon work, 71, 135-6 
Service centre, 131 
Service Meeting, 68, 129-30, 148, Trial of Rutherford, 42 

Sturgeon, Menta, 31, 33, 38 
Subscriptions, 156 

Territory, 127, 135 
Theocracy, 21, 45, 51, 6o, 124, 

Theology, 85-6, 115, 122 


'Service work', 53, 57, 73 
Seven, symbol for completeness, 

16, IOJ, III 

Seventh Day Adventists, 1, 76, 

Sex, 108, 183-6 

* Signs fo the last days*, 104 

Smoking, 181 

Society, the: indoctrination 
practised by, 2, 56, 50, 60, 61, 
66, 81, 122, 124; morality of, 
1 8 1-6; organisation, 13, 24, 28, 
32, 154-5; theory of history, 
77-8, 80 

Soul, 10, 17, 79, 91 

Special pioneers, 146, 159 

Spiritualism, 24 

Standfast Movement, 39 

Statistics of movement, 5 y> 6o, 

67-S, lh 75> *4°, 145, 175 
Stroup, H. H,, 3, 26-7, 65, 174 
Studies in the Scriptures, io-ii, 16, 

*3> * s > 39~4°> 4 6 

Trinity, 10, 17, 79, 87-9 
Type and Antitype, 1 1 1-1 5 

Unitarians, 86 

United States, 1, 23, 42, 58-9, 

Ushers, 61 

Van Amburgh, W. E., 32-4, 56, 
3S-9, 41 

Waichtomr* The, 10, 32, 51, 72, 

124, 140, 143, 1 6 1-2 
Watchtower Study, 129 
WBBR, radio station, 55, 72 
Wendell, Jonas, 6 
World War I, 30, 40, 45, 49, 80, 

World Warn, 61, 75, 177 

Yearbook, 75, 83, 166 
Years, prophetic: 1914 , 17, 20, 

«-3, 28, 30, 47, 80, 103, 105; 

i?2T t 47, 54; /p7/, 106, 190