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    • By The Librarian
      Special Notice: This is a controversial page. The views expressed by Raymond Franz are his alone and do not represent the views of this website or it's readers. It is included here for historical and archival reasons in holding with the truth of the events of the early 1980's - The Librarian
      Raymond Victor Franz (May 8, 1922 – June 2, 2010) was a member of the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses from 20 October 1971 until 22 May 1980,[1][2] and served at the organization's world headquarters for fifteen years, from 1965 until 1980. Franz claimed the request for his resignation and his subsequent disfellowshipping resulted from allegations of his apostasy from the faith.[3] Franz wrote two books that related his personal experiences with the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society and his views on Jehovah's Witnesses teachings.
      He was the principal author of the book Aid to Bible Understanding which was replaced in 1988 by the Insight on the Scriptures


      Watch Tower career
      Franz was born in 1922. His uncle, Frederick Franz, was influential in the religion's development, practices and doctrines.[4] His father associated with the Bible Student movement (from which Jehovah's Witnesses developed) and was baptized in 1913. Raymond joined the Jehovah's Witnesses in 1938, and became a baptized member in 1939.[5]

      In 1944 Franz graduated from Gilead, the religion's school for training missionaries,[6] and temporarily served the organization as a traveling representative in the continental U.S. until receiving a missionary assignment to Puerto Rico in 1946. Franz became a representative of Jehovah's Witnesses throughout the Caribbean, traveling to the Virgin Islands and the Dominican Republic, at least until 1957 when Jehovah's Witnesses were banned in the Dominican Republic by dictator Rafael Trujillo.[7] At the age of 37 Franz married his wife, Cynthia, who joined him on missionary work. Both returned to the Dominican Republic in 1961 to evangelize for four more years before taking up work at Watch Tower headquarters in Brooklyn, New York.[8]

      Franz began working in the organization's writing department and was assigned to collaboratively write Aid to Bible Understanding, the first religious encyclopedia published by Jehovah's Witnesses. On 20 October 1971 he was appointed as a member of the Governing Body.[9] In his personal memoir Franz said that at the end of 1979 he reached a personal crossroad:
       

      Frustrated by what he viewed as the Governing Body's dogmatism and overemphasis on traditional views rather than reliance on the Bible in reaching doctrinal decisions, Franz and his wife decided in late 1979 they would leave the international headquarters.[11]
       

      TIME magazine February 22, 1982
      Expulsion
      In March 1980 Franz and his wife took leave of absence from the world headquarters for health reasons and moved to Alabama, where he took up laboring work on a property owned by a fellow Witness. The following month a committee of the Governing Body raised concerns over the spreading of "wrong teachings" emanating from headquarters staff and began questioning headquarters staff on their beliefs. Staff were also questioned about comments Franz had made that may have contradicted Watch Tower doctrine.[12][13] The 15 March 1980 issue of The Watchtower issued a statement of regret that its assertions of probability of Armageddon arriving before 1975 had "apparently overshadowed the cautionary ones and contributed to a buildup of expectation already initiated."[14] It told disappointed Jehovah's Witnesses, "including persons having to do with the publication of the information that contributed to the buildup of hopes centred on that date" to "concentrate on adjusting his viewpoint".[15] This statement, which placed blame for the disappointment about 1975 on Raymond Franz and his writing committee, precipitated a purge of that committee and eventual disfellowshipping of its sometime Chairman.[16] On May 8 1980 Franz was told that he had been implicated as an apostate.[17] He was called back to Brooklyn on May 20 for two days of questioning[18] by the Chairman's Committee. Franz claimed the discussion concerned allegations that some Witnesses were meeting privately to discuss various teachings of the Watch Tower Society that may have constituted apostasy.

      On 21 May 1980 Franz was called to a Governing Body session, questioned for three hours about his Bible viewpoints and commitment to Watch Tower doctrines[2][19] and agreed to a request to resign from the Governing Body and headquarters staff. Franz refused the Watch Tower Society's offer of a monthly stipend as a member of the "Infirm Special Pioneers".[20] The Governing Body investigation resulted in the disfellowshipping of several other headquarters staff.[21][22][23]

      On 1 September 1980 the Governing Body distributed a letter to all Circuit and District overseers stating that apostates need not be promoting doctrines to be disfellowshipped. The letter stated that individuals who persisted in "believing other doctrine despite scriptural reproof" were also apostatizing and therefore warranted "appropriate judicial action".[18][24]

      On 18 March 1981 Franz's employer in Alabama submitted a letter of disassociation from Jehovah's Witnesses. A Watchtower article on 15 September 1981 announced a change of policy on disassociation, directing that those who formally withdrew from the religion were to be treated by Witnesses as a disfellowshipped wrongdoer.[25] Franz, who continued to socialize with his employer, was summoned to a judicial hearing on 25 November and disfellowshiped for disobeying the edict.[2][26][27] Determined to set the record straight, not only with respect to his having been disfellowshiped, but with respect to larger doctrinal issues, in 1982 he sent Heather and Gary Botting proofs of his upcoming book Crisis of Conscience so that they could chronicle the more widespread discord within the Watch Tower Society.[28] They wrote regarding Franz's contribution to their expose on the Witnesses that his recommendations "undoubtedly strengthened the veracity of the text; we were impressed by his insistence on both fairness and frankness with respect to representing the view of the Watch Tower Society."[29] Following his disfellowshiping, Franz published two books—Crisis of Conscience (1983) and In Search of Christian Freedom (1991)—presenting detailed accounts of his experiences as a Jehovah's Witness, a Governing Body member, and his experiences throughout various levels of the organization.

      Franz was ultimately disfellowshipped for having dinner with his employer, a disassociated brother. See also this video
      Our Kingdom Service, August 1980 announced when he left the GB and Bethel.
      Death
      On 30 May 2010, at age 88, Franz fell and suffered a brain hemorrhage.[30] He died on 2 June 2010.[30]

      References
      "Announcements", Our Kingdom Ministry, August 1980, page 2, "This is a notification that Raymond Victor Franz is no longer a member of the Governing Body and of the Brooklyn Bethel family as of May 22, 1980." "Witness Under Prosecution", Richard H. Ostling, Anne Constable, Time Magazine, February 22, 1982. "Church Told to Break Privacy, Report 'Sinner'", by John Dart, Los Angeles Times, August 27, 1987. Part 1."Church Told to Break Privacy, Report 'Sinner'", part 2. Rogerson 1969, p. 66 Franz 2002, p. 11 "Gilead’s 61st Graduation a Spiritual Treat", The Watchtower, November 1, 1976, page 671. Franz 2002, p. 16 Franz 2002, pp. 19, 20 Franz 2002, p. 31 Franz 2002, p. 273 Franz 2002, p. 274,275 Penton 1997, pp. 119–121 Franz 2002, p. 298,299 p. 17 pp. 17-18 The Orwellian World of Jehovah's Witnesses, pp. 48-49, 158-163 Franz 2002, pp. 312, 313 Beverley 1986, p. 71 Franz 2002, p. 331 Franz 2002, p. 332 Penton 1997, p. 121 Botting & Botting 1984, p. 161 "Branch Letter", Our Kingdom Ministry, August 1980, "We are saddened to report at this time that five members of the Bethel family, and a few others in the New York city area have recently been disfellowshiped. There has been some apostasy against the organization and the promoting of sectarian divisions in some of the congregations of God’s people. (Titus 3:9-11) Living as we are in times difficult to deal with, it should not be surprising that such things occur. The first-century congregation also experienced deviations as we well know from our reading of the Holy Scriptures.—1 Tim. 1:20; 4:1; 2 Tim. 2:17, 18; 1 Cor. 15:12, 13; Acts 20:29, 30." Protecting the Flock, Watch Tower Society letter to district and circuit overseers, September 1, 1980, part 1. Protecting the Flock, Part 2. "Disfellowshiping — How to View It", The Watchtower, September 15, 1981, page 23, "One who has been a true Christian might renounce the way of the truth, stating that he no longer considers himself to be one of Jehovah’s Witnesses or wants to be known as one. When this rare event occurs, the person is renouncing his standing as a Christian, deliberately disassociating himself from the congregation ... Persons who make themselves 'not of our sort' by deliberately rejecting the faith and beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses should appropriately be viewed and treated as are those who have been disfellowshiped for wrongdoing." Franz 2002, pp. 357–369 "Expelled Witnesses Claim Group is Ingrown", Miami News, March 19, 1983. the Orwellian World of Jehovah's Witnesses, pp. 161-63 The Orwellian World of Jehovah's Witnesses,p. xxiii "Obituary". Legacy.com. Bibliography
      Beverley, James A. (1986). Crisis of Allegiance. Burlington, Ontario: Welch Publishing Company. ISBN 0-920413-37-4. Botting, Heather; Botting, Gary (1984). The Orwellian World of Jehovah's Witnesses. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 0-8020-6545-7. Franz, Raymond (2002). Crisis of Conscience. Commentary Press. ISBN 0-914675-23-0. Penton, M. J. (1997). Apocalypse Delayed (2nd ed.). University of Toronto Press. ISBN 0-8020-7973-3. Rogerson, Alan (1969). Millions Now Living Will Never Die: A Study of Jehovah's Witnesses. Constable & Co, London. ISBN 0-0945-5940-6. External Links
      Richard N. Ostling (February 22, 1982), "Religion: Witness Under Prosecution", Time magazine. Raymond Franz at Find a Grave  
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Tras pasar 11 años dentro de los testigos de Jehová, un exmiembro de la secta religiosa decidió huir de la organización y emprender un viaje de cinco años a través de toda Rusia y el espacio postsoviético.
      Iván Shiriáyev, que es oriundo de la ciudad de Kamyshin (Volgogrado, Rusia), se ganó el prestigio y reconocimiento de los testigos de Jehová durante sus 11 años como miembro de la organización religiosa. No obstante, un día decidió abandonar la secta y dejar atrás tanto la doctrina que predicaba, como a su esposa, devota a las creencias de aquella.
      "Siempre dudaba de si estaba siguiendo el camino correcto", reveló Shiriáyev en una entrevista concedida al portal The Village. Durante su membresía en la secta el hombre apenas tuvo tiempo para analizar sus dudas en profundidad, ya que dedicaba casi todo el tiempo libre –lo cual no era poco teniendo en cuenta que trabajaba unas pocas horas al día, justo lo necesario "para ganarse el pan y la leche"– a oraciones, predicación y actividades de la organización. La salida de la secta empezó a fraguarse con el libro 'Crisis de conciencia' del exmiembro del cuerpo gobernante de los testigos de Jehová Raymond Franz.
      Shiriáyev llevaba más de un año considerando la idea de salir de la secta. Las obras de Franz, "probablemente la persona más temible en el universo después de satán [para los testigos de Jehová]", le ayudaron a entender cómo funciona la organización.
      Un día cotidiano en el seno de la secta
      Un día típico de un testigo de Jehová empieza con la lectura del folleto 'Examinando las Escrituras diariamente' y con oraciones, explica el exmiembro de la organización. El trabajo de la vida mundana no adquiere mucha importancia para los testigos, que tratan de dedicarle el menor tiempo posible. La ocupación principal es predicar. "Sirves varias horas, vuelves a casa, te preparas para una reunión y te vas a la cama", señala Shiriáyev.
      Cuando estaba en las filas de la secta, las reuniones tenían lugar dos o tres veces a la semana y contaban con la participación de unas 30 personas. "Entre los testigos siempre te sientes culpable, por eso muchos padecen depresión", indica. Los miembros de la secta constantemente se enfrentan a la pregunta de si podrían hacer más y 'robar' tiempo de asuntos menos importantes para dedicarse aún más a su misión.
      Convencidos de que el Armagedón se acerca y solo 144.000 personas se dirigirán al cielo después de la muerte mientras el resto se queda en la Tierra, los testigos de Jehová tienen como objetivo principal divulgar este acontecimiento a todo el mundo. Y la predicación es la forma principal de lograr este fin.
      Cada mes los miembros de la secta presentan un informe donde indican cuántas horas han servido y cuántos materiales religiosos han difundido. "Existen miembros experimentados que, por ejemplo, predican no menos de 70 horas al mes", comenta Shiriáyev, quien ejerció a lo largo de ocho años. También existe un sistema de incentivos y castigos que pueden estimular tanto el crecimiento en la jerarquía de la secta, como la privación de los privilegios. El castigo más duro es la expulsión.
      En cuanto al perfil de los miembros, la mayoría de los testigos de Jehová son personas sin estudios superiores (la educación superior no es bienvenida en la organización). En las reuniones solo el 20% son hombres. El resto son mujeres jóvenes, mujeres con niños y ancianas, menciona Shiriáyev. El matrimonio civil está prohibido y los matrimonios con personas ajenas a la organización no están bien vistos.
      La fuga
      La escapada de este ciudadano ruso fue radical: simuló su muerte. Dejó una nota de despedida señalando que había seguido el camino de su padre (que se suicidó tres años atrás) y se esfumó. Se fue a su casa de campo con un magnetófono, una manta y una lancha neumática. Tras encontrar la embarcación en un sótano entre basura, sus familiares se dieron cuenta de que Shiriáyev estaba vivo e iniciaron su búsqueda a nivel federal.
      El hombre pasó nueve meses de vida ordinaria, utilizando su pasaporte en los nuevos puestos de trabajo que desempeñó y no fue consciente de que lo buscaran. Lo encontraron por casualidad en un puesto de control en la región de Amur, cuando fue detenido probablemente al sospecharse de que había participado en saqueos en unas aldeas que sufrieron inundaciones.
      Desde entonces dejó de ser objeto de búsquedas. "Nadie –ni mi mujer, ni los decanos– se esforzó en encontrarme", señaló Shiriáyev. Solo un amigo suyo, extestigo también, trató de avanzar en su búsqueda. "Así me di cuenta de que no tenía amigos", explicó el prófugo.
      La expulsión
      Shiriáyev constató de manera escrita que ya no quería seguir siendo testigo de Jehová y se presentó a la reunión de la secta donde la noticia fue anunciada oficialmente con un traje de boda para celebrarlo. Paralelamente, su matrimonio fracasaba.
      Una vez al año acude a la celebración anual de los testigos, la Conmemoración de la muerte de Jesús o Cena del Señor, con una cazadora que lleva la inscripción 'apóstata abyecto'. "Los que me conocen se apartan de mí de un salto: ¿cómo puede salvarse un renegado? Pero para mí es una actuación anual", explica Shiriáyev. Entre las ventajas de su membresía en los testigos de Jehová señala las destrezas adquiridas en en el terreno de la comunicación y los discursos públicos y que ha aprendido a vivir con modestia.
      El viaje
      El 27 de octubre de 2012 Shiriáyev abandonó su casa y empezó a viajar haciendo autostop.
      Tras su viaje por Rusia, Ucrania y Bielorrusia ha visitado numerosas ciudades. De las 1.122 localidades rusas que planea visitar ya ha estado en 360 de ellas. Se ha hecho agnóstico, viaja con una mochila que pesa 20 kilos y no cuenta con patrocinadores influyentes: utiliza sus propios medios para cubrir los gastos. Trabaja de obrero, de vez en cuando recibe alimentos, ropa y otras donaciones de desconocidos y pasa las noches básicamente en sitios donde no tiene que pagar la estancia: en casas de otros viajeros, monasterios o paradas de transporte. Su viaje de cinco años todavía no ha terminado y no tiene claro qué le deparará el futuro.
      https://actualidad.rt.com/actualidad/221714-testigo-jehova-huir-viajar-rusia
    • By Jack Ryan
      Crisis of Conscience is a book written by a former member of the Governing Body, Raymond Franz
       
       
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
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