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Following with brother Lett talk in the 2015 Annual Meeting, he goes to mention that brothers in IWW period did not behave so badly, they did what they could or knew how to do. And sure we agree.

But, in spite of the fact this could be said about the brotherhood in general, there is some basic principle to bring up.

  • ·        (Luke 12:48) “Indeed, everyone to whom much was given, much will be demanded of him, and the one who was put in charge of much will have more than usual demanded of him.”

As these words would directly apply to servants with serious responsibility in the congregation (interpretations apart), what would be the degree of responsibility of the bureau of editors at those times, regarding this petition addressed to all congregations in 1918?

 

As quoted, with some emphasis in a 1967 Watchtower:

*** w67 2/15 pp. 111-112 pars. 27-28 Jehovah Makes Full Might Abound ***

  • And just as Samson slept on the treacherous Delilah’s knees, so the Samson class’ conciliatory attitude toward languishing apostates finally brought weakening, and a beginning of compromise. That the dedicated witnesses fell into just such a trap in 1918 is shown by an article appearing in The Watch Tower of June 1 of that year. This came out in support of the “day of prayer and supplication” proclaimed by the president of the United States for May 30, 1918, stating: “Let there be praising and thanksgiving to God for the promised glorious outcome of the war . . . and the making of the world safe for the common people.”

28 Worldly compromise resulted in loss of Jehovah’s spirit. The hair of the Samson class was shorn off in a symbolic way, and their “power kept departing” from them.

 

Now, follows the whole text, only emphasizing the, perhaps, the most embarrassing expressions. (sorry if any type errors)

The Watch Tower, June 1, 1918

================quote follows

MAY 30 FOR PRAYER AND SUPPLICATION

In accordance with the resolution of Congress of April 2nd, and with the proclamation for the President of the United States of May 11, it is suggested that the Lord’s people everywhere make May 30th a day of prayer and supplication. God was graciously pleased to cause this nation to be formed and to grow under the most favorable conditions in the world for the preservation of liberty, civil and religious.

This is the land divinely “shadowed with wings” –overshadowed by the providential watchcare of God’s Word—where God has lifted up an ensign on the mountain (kingdom), and where he has blown the trumpet message of the truth. Here the love of truth has for three hundred years attracted from all quarters of the world people who love God, love the Bible and love religious liberty. Here, practically alone of all the nations, exists in the fundamentals laws of the land the safeguard that so long as the Constitution stands no law may be made nor any governmental action taken prohibiting the free exercise of religion, or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press.

               Countless blessings have flowed to devout people through the wise provisions of the laws of the United States, blessings whose influences have been felt to the remotest corners of the earth, wherever even a spark of love for God-given freedom might be fanned into a glow. Here, more perhaps than elsewhere, exits that “present”  which shall be brought unto Jehovah (Isaiah 18:7), earth’s oblation (Ezequiel 45:1) to God of that class who, when in the age to come the restitution hosts shall be numbered, shall be found to have been “born in Zion” (Psalm 87:5,6), taken out of the world and given, in a figure, as humanity’s present to their God, to be forever sons and servants of the Most High.

               This class love to “assemble themselves together, and so much the more as they see de day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25), and they will be of all people the most ready to embrace an opportunity of gathering in an additional service of prayer and supplication. As says the spirit through the Apostle Paul:  “I exhort, therefore, that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; and we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior.” (1 Timothy 2:1-3) Let there be praise and thanksgiving to God for the promised glorious outcome of the war, the breaking of the shackles of autocracy, the freeing of captives (Isaiah 61:1) and the making of the world safe for the common people ---blessings all assured by the Word of God to the people of this country and of the whole world of mankind.

=============================end of quote

It’s easy one century later to criticize this behavior. Well, according the aforementioned word from brother Lett, the brothers could not be punished because they did the best they could. Right. But according Jesus words, the brothers overseeing the work had greater responsibility, hadn’t they?

If this is correct, perhaps it explains what happened later, you know. The seven brothers, mainly the directors, were imprisoned. Curious this fact contained in the next quotation:

*** w87 6/15 pp. 15-16 pars. 4-5 Testing and Sifting in Modern Times ***

The clergy and the governments brought great pressure to bear on Jehovah’s anointed servants. Falsely accused of sedition, the anointed remnant attempted to make their innocence clear publicly. However, on May 7, 1918, warrants were issued for the arrest of eight members of the management and editorial staff of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, including the president, J. F. Rutherford. Their trial began Monday, June 3. On June 20 the jury returned a verdict of guilty on four counts. Then on July 4, 1918, these dedicated Christian men were taken by train to prison in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.

The same nation they praised so much imprisoned them. And did you note when, exactly, start their trip to prison? Yes, on July 4. Surely, they had so much to ponder, sitting in the train, while the fireworks exploded around them.

 

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Thanks for your comments. I see you have a lot of first hand information. Very interesting all you mention about these different matters. And I'm glad I understood more or less accurately! The same you mention about the brothers in the headquarters is the same I've seen in my own country, regarding some deeds of our branch. I find it normal, because I've done the same myself as elder. Yes, we're humans...   

You understood it perfectly. Most of the time, we don't catch such things because we rarely read the original source material. We don't usually give these items a second thought, or if we do, we at least give the benefit of the doubt to the writer. This reminds me of several times when I witnessed the "editing" process at Bethel. Artists are sometimes given articles to read that have not gone completely through the editing and proofreading process, but I'm not talking about any of those tim

The basic idea that 'comes to our rescue' is that the Watch Tower Society was on a path that would soon lead them into more and better light. But I understand your point, and if Jesus were looking for those who were faithful in what is least, then he must have been looking at their future, not every "least thing" they were doing and saying at the time. The 1917 "Finished Mystery" was a book filled with falsehoods by today's standards. Some of it was perfectly ridiculous. The 1918 preaching

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The basic idea that 'comes to our rescue' is that the Watch Tower Society was on a path that would soon lead them into more and better light.

But I understand your point, and if Jesus were looking for those who were faithful in what is least, then he must have been looking at their future, not every "least thing" they were doing and saying at the time. The 1917 "Finished Mystery" was a book filled with falsehoods by today's standards. Some of it was perfectly ridiculous. The 1918 preaching and convention campaign was based on the false prophecy that millions of people then living would never die because they would survive until the fulfillment of the Biblical promises in 1925. Rutherford promoted the Great Pyramid for another decade. He admitted that he helped promote "creature worship," in other words, the "cult" that had formed around "Pastor Russell."

We can look back on false doctrines and false prophecies now and justify them as mistakes based on the limits of what they could know at the time. But in reality, it was possible to know that Jesus had specifically said not to follow anyone who would say that the "time is at hand" with reference to his presence (parousia). Yet, Rutherford, in 1916 to 1933, continued campaigns to distribute a book by Russell with that very name: "The Time is at Hand."

Yet these were all mistakes by humans who wanted to do the right thing. I think it's pretty obvious that the motivation was pure, at least for the vast majority of these Bible Students. That's why I'm happy to overlook those mistakes of the past. But I also have brought up some of these same points, which probably sounds like I'm not overlooking those mistakes of the past. But that's not what the problem is.

The problem is that -- now, in the present -- we keep looking back on these times in our history and repeatedly claiming things about them that weren't true. Of course, these things that we currently claim are partially true, but this just makes the untrue parts more insidious in the way that they can mislead us. Are we really honest today, if we think we need to use some deceptions to try to clean up our reputation from the past?

We sometimes, for example, make a big deal out of the fact that the churches of Christendom all praised the League of Nations as "the political expression of God's kingdom on earth." This supposedly showed why the prophecy in Revelation was fulfilled against them:

(Revelation 17:8) 8 The wild beast that you saw was, but is not, and yet is about to ascend out of the abyss, and it is to go off into destruction. And when they see how the wild beast was, but is not, and yet will be present, those who dwell on the earth will wonder admiringly, but their names have not been written upon the scroll of life from the founding of the world.

It turns out that it was not all these "churches of Christendom" that had praised the League as the "political expression of God's kingdom" and who found it something to "wonder" at, and "admire." Notice what the Watchtower said about it in the February 15, 1919 issue, page 51:

We cannot but admire the high principles embodied in the proposed League of Nations, formulated undoubtedly by those who have no knowledge of the great plan of God. This fact makes all the more wonderful the ideals which they express. For instance, it has been made plain by President Wilson and the advocates of his ideas that the proposed League of Nations is more than merely a league to enforce peace. They would not have us consider it to exclusively from the standpoint of politics or of military relations. It should be considered as fully from the economic and social points of view. The President’s idea seems to be that the League of Nations which he proposes would stand for world service rather than mere world regulation in the military sense, and that the very smallest of nations shall be participants in its every arrangement. In other words, his idea undoubtedly is that the league shall not be established merely for the purpose of promoting peace by threat or coercion; but that its purpose, when put into operation, will be to make all nations of earth one great family, working together for the common benefit in all the avenues of national life. Truly this is idealistic, and approximates in a small way that which God has foretold that he will bring about after this great time of trouble.”

This is exactly what is meant by the phrase claiming that the League of Nations is a "political expression of the kingdom of God on earth."  In addition the Watchtower expressed that we wondered admiringly at it. Rutherford changed his mind and began saying instead what many "evil slave" Bible Students, and many church leaders had already begun saying about it.

But even as late as 1933, Brother Rutherford continued to be fooled into thinking that proposals by political leaders were an "expression of the kingdom of God on earth."  Rutherford said the following in his letter to Adolph Hitler regarding the ideals of the Nazi party:

The conference [WT convention] of five thousand delegates also noted - as is expressed in the declaration - that the Bible Researchers [Bible Students] of Germany are fighting for the very same high ethical goals and ideals which also the national government of the German Reich proclaimed respecting the relationship of humans to God, namely: honesty of the created being towards its creator. The conference came to the conclusion that there are no contradictions when it comes to the relationship between the Bible Researchers of Germany to the national government of the German Reich [German Nazi Party]. To the contrary, referring to the purely religious and unpolitical goals and efforts of the Bible Researchers, it can be said that these are in full agreement with the identical goals of the national government of the German Reich. Based upon the supposedly strong language of our literature, some of our books were banned. The conference of the five thousand delegates pointed to the fact that the contents of the books which were criticized, only refers to the situation and actions within the Anglo-American world power - especially England - which is responsible for the League of Nations and its contracts and burdens imposed upon Germany. What is written in our literature - no matter whether from a financial or political point of view - is only directed towards the suppressors of the German people and their country, but by no means refers to Germany itself, which is trying hard to fight against the imposed burdens.

This idea of using a lack of honesty about our past is clear even in this 1933 letter to Hitler. Of course, Rutherford quickly understood that the deception was not going to work to stop the ban on our literature, and again, Rutherford changed course accordingly.

These are just a couple of important examples, but it should be clear that what we say about not being neutral before 1919, but learning our lesson was not really true. The majority of Rutherford's books, speeches and booklets were politically charged for decades, and took sides on many issues, especially between labor and capital, for example. When the publications sided with another politician, they could be praised as if they were a Biblical prophet.

For example, the 1924 Golden Age (now Awake!), on page 149, says:

We understand now, why Mr. Ramsay MacDonald, who like Judge Rutherford is permeated with the real Biblical and prophetic spirit, ceases not in his discourse to defy the devil, and throw (morally) an inkwell into his face, as the deceased Luther did. We understand also why the Premier of the Labor Party turns his back on the League of Nations, of which formerly he was an apostle, and draws near to the Americans whose eyes are opened.

Judge Rutherford cites, in addition to prophecies from Isaiah, Ezekiel and Amos, from Mr. MacDonald: "There is neither betterment nor peace in Europe. The governments are powerless. The year 1924 is worse than 1914." Again he [Rutherfod] quotes the prophet David Lloyd George: "A new chapter opens in the history of Europe, with a climax of horror such as the world has never witnessed."

Of course, this was during a time when Rutherford was campaigning that 1925 was even more of a sure thing than 1914 was.

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3 hours ago, JW Insider said:

The basic idea that 'comes to our rescue' is that the Watch Tower Society was on a path that would soon lead them into more and better light.

But I understand your point, and if Jesus were looking for those who were faithful in what is least, then he must have been looking at their future, not every "least thing" they were doing and saying at the time.

I agree. And for me, the determining factor that JW are the people God is using to serve Him is the fact he allowed, in 1931, bear his name, and so until now.

As regarding the other interesting information you’ve provided, I hate politically correct language… when the outcome is misinformation. I grew up reading once and again “the churches acclaimed the League of Nation as the political expression of God's kingdom.” Nothing had happened if, at the same time, at those days (until 1999 exactly, when our understanding about the ‘disgusting thing’ changed) the information you’ve presented would have been shown in our literature. This way we could avoid third persons point them, leaving us as uninformed, gullible, foolish.

 

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On 1/18/2017 at 6:54 PM, JW Insider said:

The problem is that -- now, in the present -- we keep looking back on these times in our history and repeatedly claiming things about them that weren't true. Of course, these things that we currently claim are partially true, but this just makes the untrue parts more insidious in the way that they can mislead us. Are we really honest today, if we think we need to use some deceptions to try to clean up our reputation from the past?

I could not agree more. Perhaps other day will post what is the scriptural base for this behavior, I think.

As other example, in our next Watchtower study will read these lines, in page 29, (W November 2016):

  • ·        “For example, when the president of the United States decreed that May 30, 1918, would be set aside as a day of prayer for peace, The Watch Tower urged the Bible Students to join in the observance.”

But, when I read the original, I find it hard for me to perceive the same idea. I think the 1967 Watchtower I quoted above is more accurate:

*** w67 2/15 pp. 111-112 pars. 27-28 Jehovah Makes Full Might Abound ***

  • ·        “…in support of the “day of prayer and supplication” proclaimed by the president of the United States for May 30, 1918, stating: “Let there be praising and thanksgiving to God for the promised glorious outcome of the war . . . Worldly compromise resulted in loss of Jehovah’s spirit.”

    Hello guest!
 

  • ·        beseeching Him that He will give victory to our armies as they fight for freedom, wisdom to those who take counsel on our behalf in these days of dark struggle and perplexity, and steadfastness to our people to make sacrifice to the utmost in support of what is just and true, bringing us at last the peace in which men's hearts can be at rest because it is founded upon mercy, justice and good will.

As you know, as my English is far from accurate, what I read in our old Watch Tower is a supplication for United States win the war, am I right?

If this was the case, the statement in our next study saying the brothers were suggested to pray for “peace” would try the facts in a “soft” way.

So, Please, some help with my English.

 

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On 1/18/2017 at 6:54 PM, JW Insider said:

The problem is that -- now, in the present -- we keep looking back on these times in our history and repeatedly claiming things about them that weren't true. Of course, these things that we currently claim are partially true, but this just makes the untrue parts more insidious in the way that they can mislead us. Are we really honest today, if we think we need to use some deceptions to try to clean up our reputation from the past?

 

Hello JW Insider. As a rookie in this forum I've posted under my own answer in this topic, not yours. This is the link. I'd appreciate some kind help of someone, because I'm not sure if I'm lost in translation, of the thoughts I mention is one example of the quote of your very interisting post I just mention above.

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15 hours ago, ComfortMyPeople said:

As you know, as my English is far from accurate, what I read in our old Watch Tower is a supplication for United States win the war, am I right?

You understood it perfectly. Most of the time, we don't catch such things because we rarely read the original source material. We don't usually give these items a second thought, or if we do, we at least give the benefit of the doubt to the writer.

This reminds me of several times when I witnessed the "editing" process at Bethel. Artists are sometimes given articles to read that have not gone completely through the editing and proofreading process, but I'm not talking about any of those times -- although they were often interesting, too. So often the focus was on things like: "Don't say it that way, it makes us look [some negative attribute]." For now I'll use an older example that fits the subject of the topic.

*** w68 5/15 p. 314 Happiness Results from Making the Most of One’s Talents ***
For years Anton had been in the insurance business. While such issues as buying war bonds caused strained relations with his business associates, it was the slogan “Millions Now Living Will Never Die,” which the Bible Students were then preaching, that caused him to sever his connections with the insurance business and enter the real estate field. There his natural abilities enabled him to become highly successful, buying, selling, building, financing and managing houses, hotels, apartment and office buildings.

On reading the highlighted line, you might never think that Anton [Koerber's] so-called "business associates" were fellow Bible Students. While it's true that "life insurance" became a surreal topic of discussion among many of the Bible Students, I'm told that the real argument was whether or not Rutherford had compromised the Watch Tower's neutrality by effectively encouraging the brothers to  purchase War Bonds (Liberty Bonds/Loans; Victory Bonds) during WWI.

The same issue of buying "US War Bonds" was the primary specific issue in Brother Klein's experience here:

*** w84 10/1 p. 22 ‘Jehovah Has Dealt Rewardingly With Me’ ***
Shortly after my baptism in 1918, my loyalty to fellow Bible Students was put to the test. World War I was raging, and even though the most prominent brothers had been unjustly imprisoned over the war issue, the need for Christian neutrality was not fully appreciated by those then taking the lead. A few who saw the issue clearly took offense and separated themselves from the Bible Students, calling themselves Standfasters. They warned me that if I stayed with the Bible Students I would lose out on being of the “little flock” of Jesus’ anointed followers. (Luke 12:32) Mother, though not yet dedicated, helped me to make the right decision. I could not see myself leaving those from whom I had learned so much, and I therefore decided to take my chances with my Bible Student brothers. It really was a test of loyalty.

The wording above definitely implies that Rutherford was out of the picture at the time, and not involved in the wording of the decision, but notes and documentation discovered at Bethel around the time of the article show that Rutherford was in on it.

I once told my experience of sitting next to Bert Schroeder as he started to rewrite an experience that an older brother was telling about life at Bethel in past decades on "Family Night" (mostly a Bethel talent show). It's not so relevant to the topic here.

From what I was told, that article about Anton Koerber, already mentioned above, was very controversial in several places, and I think, in re-reading it, that you can just about start to pick up on some of the "behind-the-scenes" issues, even if no one had mentioned it.  

*** w68 5/15 p. 315 Happiness Results from Making the Most of One’s Talents ***
He worked out contracts with radio stations and radio networks for broadcasting the Kingdom good news. He also proved of assistance in acquiring property in Brooklyn, New York, in South Lansing, New York, for the Kingdom Farm and Gilead School there, and in Toronto, Canada, for the Bethel home and factory there. . . . He had a share, back in 1925, in fighting for licenses for radio stations owned by the Watch Tower Society. For some twenty-five years and more he appeared before presidents, cabinet members and members of Congress to serve them with the many resolutions adopted by Jehovah’s witnesses at their various assemblies, always keeping in mind the fact that he was Jehovah’s representative on behalf of his brothers. . . . In 1935, he was sent to Germany to try to get the printing presses at the Watch Tower Society’s Magdeburg branch, which had been seized by Hitler, transferred to Russia, with the hope of opening a branch in Russia. . . . Shortly thereafter Anton returned to his real estate activity, after which he again became active as a full-time pioneer minister. Then in 1952 he was able to arrange his affairs so as to be able to travel as a circuit minister for the Watch Tower Society. . . . That Anton had the right view of secular work was apparent in a number of ways. One of these was the generosity he showed toward those who had served God’s kingdom full time over many years at such places as the Brooklyn Bethel. . . . His very positive personality at times caused misunderstandings with his brothers, resulting in his being on the sidelines, as it were, for a time. . . .

It might be hard to imagine how a "very positive personality" was responsible for misunderstandings that resulted in him being 'sidelined' as it were. My source, a respected brother in Writing, says that one of the reasons for the "controversy" behind this article was that Anton Koerber was actually a multi-millionaire whose generosity was very selective to specific brothers of his choosing. And he supposedly "bought" his assignments as a regional overseer and circuit overseer. When he didn't get his choices he threatened to take his "skills" to one of the other Bible Student sects. This could be false, of course. But the respected brother who told me was only someone who "seconded" the story as I had already been told from a less respected source.

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20 minutes ago, JW Insider said:

This reminds me of several times when I witnessed the "editing" process at Bethel. Artists are sometimes given articles to read that have not gone completely through the editing and proofreading process, but I'm not talking about any of those times -- although they were often interesting, too. So often the focus was on things like: "Don't say it that way, it makes us look [some negative attribute]." 

Thanks for your comments. I see you have a lot of first hand information. Very interesting all you mention about these different matters. And I'm glad I understood more or less accurately!

The same you mention about the brothers in the headquarters is the same I've seen in my own country, regarding some deeds of our branch. I find it normal, because I've done the same myself as elder. Yes, we're humans... 

 

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