"Instead they pick at the organization, they twist truth . . . to try and grab a mind." - Kenneth Flodin.
What a fitting description of our most strident opposers who will stop at nothing to discredit our organization. What are they "picking" at this time? A well-written publication called God's Kingdom Rules!
This is an abridgment of our history as it relates to the establishment of God's Kingdom (hence the title) and is not intended to be a comprehensive historical work. So it is expected that many historical details will be omitted to maintain that focus. (But it also contains expanded portions of our history not related in previous works. An exhaustive telling of our history would require several Proclaimers book-size publications to tell.) Those who complain about this miss the point of this publication. It is designed for Jehovah's Witnesses to study at their meetings. However, the book is available to the general public. Jehovah's Witnesses understand their history in detail and have access to it, not only through God's Kingdom Rules!, but also Jehovah's Witnesses - Proclaimers of God's Kingdom and Jehovah's Witnesses in the Divine Purpose, as well as many documents (All available online if one knows where to look,) so there is no possible way the organization can hide anything. That being said, are there any "rewrites" or "whitewashing"? You be the judge.
No Nelson Barbour?Those familiar with the history of Jehovah's Witnesses understand that C.T Russell and Nelson H Barbour were at one time close associates. In fact, Russell helped fund Barbour's periodical called Herald of the Morning, even serving as assistant editor. No doubt Barbour, who was almost 30 years older than Russell, had an impact on Russell's faith.
Hence, it has been claimed that page 14, paragraph 7 of God's Kingdom Rules! writes Barbour out of our history. At first glance, this seems legitimate, as only the names of three men who had an impact on Russell are directly mentioned: Henry Grew, George Stetson, and George Storrs. However, upon closer examination, there is a footnote at the end of second to last sentence of paragraph 7, directing readers to the Proclaimers book, pages 45-46. What do we find on page 46, paragraph 3 of the Proclaimers book? Why, Nelson H Barbour!
Consider also, the context. Paragraph 7 discussed how Grew, Stetson, and Storrs had a "profound impact" on Russell's rejection of the false teaching on the immortality of the soul. Nelson Barbour did not impact Russell as strongly as the others did on that particular doctrine. If anything, Barbour had an impact on Russell's end of the Gentile Times beliefs. It is perfectly logical that Barbour received no mention; the context did not lend itself to him. It is also worth noting that Russell accepted the 1914 date well before he met Barbour through George Storrs, although Barbour provided a detailed explanation of how to arrive at 1914, so Barbour hardly deserved a footnote.
Lastly, in the 2010 Documentary Jehovah's Witnesses - Faith in Action Part 1: Out of Darkness, there is roughly a 5-minute segment detailing how Russell and Barbour met, what drew them together, and what eventually tore them apart. Anyone with internet access can see this for themselves.
Ask yourself: How is it possible for Jehovah's Witnesses to write Barbour out of their history when he is discussed in their official historical Documentary, which is still made available on our public websites?
Glossing Over Unflattering Details?On pages 22 and 23, we see that the death of Russell is mentioned, but it is claimed that the book fails to mention how Rutherford became President of the Watchtower Society. Why? They claim that it is because we want to gloss over "unflattering details". Examining their own page references used to support this bogus claim, we will see that it holds no water.
Are these "flattering details"?
Page 22, paragraph 32:
"From within, the organization suffered turmoil as well."
"..an outbreak of apostasy divided the organization"
"Though Brother Russell wanted no such reverence, a measure of creature worship had grown up around him."
Page 23, paragraph 33:
"Unfulfilled expectations were another test . . . they thought that in 1914, Christ would take his anointed bride class to heaven to rule with him there. Those hope were not realized".
"Later in 1917, The Watch Tower announced that a 40-year harvest period would end in the spring of 1918. But the preaching work did not end. It continued to prosper after that date passed. . . Still many stopped serving Jehovah because of disappointment."
Think about this: the organization could have easily used phrases such as "the organization had problems", or "a measure of undue reverence around him", or they could have simply omitted the line "many stopped serving Jehovah because of disappointment" if they wanted to hide uncomfortable details. However, what we see is candor and transparency about the problems early in our history and frank admissions of "unfulfilled expectations". Organizations trying to hide that do just that; hide it!
But why is there no mention of Rutherford's Presidency? Context is everything. This all is under the section A Time of Testing, which outlines the tests our brothers and sisters had to endure, not the succession of the Presidency. Furthermore, the succession of the Presidency would itself be an entirely different discussion, detracting from the purpose to this book. (For a detailed discussion of the succession of the presidency, see Jehovah's Witnesses - Proclaimers of God's Kingdom pp. 61-71)
The simple fact is that opposers are angry that our organization publishes literature that meets their own high standards. Our opposers have the mistaken view that we should consider what they think when writing and publishing literature. We consider only legitimate grievances.
What about 1878?On page 23, paragraph 33 we read: "Though the Watch Tower had rightly pointed to 1914 as the year when the Gentile Times would end, the brothers did not yet understand what would take place in that year. They thought that in 1914, Christ would take his anointed bride class to heaven to rule with him there". Opposers claim that we want to "hide" a wrong expectation we had concerning 1878, so we omitted the date. This begs an interesting question, however: Why would we hide 1878, but publish a wrong expectation we had about 1914?
Opposers want you to believe that we want to hide errors. But that makes no sense, as we published one in the exact same paragraph that has the alleged "hiding". But direct your attention to page 50, paragraph 5 under the subtitle Understanding a Pivotal Year:
"However, at that time they believed that Christ's presence had begun in 1874, and that the Kingdom had begun to Rule in Heaven in 1878, and that the Kingdom would not be set up until October 1914."
So there is 1878! Keep in mind that Witnesses now believe that Christ began to rule in Heaven starting in 1914. We can only conclude that out of desperation to catch us in a "gotcha" moment, opposers simply stopped reading and closed their books. There was absolutely no attempt to hide 1878, no reason to for that matter, and apparently no motivation on the part of our opposers to get any facts.
Bible Students "Racist"?Of all the claims examined and debunked, this one is the most bizarre. From where does this lie originate?
The Photo-Drama of Creation, released in 1914, was shown in 80 cities each day. Eight million people in the US and Canada saw the presentation. In that same year, it was shown in Australia, Britain, Denmark, Finland, Germany, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland (Page 71, par 10)
However, only one of these audiences held in New York, were racially segregated. Is this because the Bible Students insisted on segregated audiences, and thus were "racist"? This is what apostates want you to believe.
Referring to the showing in New York, the April 1,1914 edition of Zion's Watch Tower admitted: "As the attendance of the colored people would increase, proportionately the number of the whites would decrease; for explain it how we will, a majority of whites prefer not to intermingle closely with other races. Recognizing that it meant either the success or the failure of the enterprise of the Drama as respects the whites, we have been compelled to assign the colored friends to the gallery, which, however, is just as good for seeing and hearing as any other part of The Temple". [Emphasis mine]
This is pretty much self-explanatory. Whites would simply refuse to attend if blacks were in the audience alongside them. The Bible Students wanted everyone to benefit from the Drama. But to avoid a potential riot, the Bible Students saw the need to keep the peace and give the colored friends a suitable place of viewing away from the prejudiced whites who did not "prefer to intermingle" with other races. Notice too that the blacks were comfortably accommodated.
Did you also notice the Watch Tower called the black attendees "friends"? Would an inherently racist organization use such endearing terms, in those days especially? You may be wondering why this segregated audience was not mentioned in the book. Because that segregation had close to zero affect on the showings of the Photo-Drama. It was shown to diverse audiences worldwide, with tremendous success!
A Negative EquationAs we have briefly examined, only in the warped imaginations fed by the obsession of our opposers are their own attempts at hiding or "rewriting" our history. It is clear that Jehovah's Witnesses are open and honest about their history and errors, as also shown in our January 2013 Public Edition of the Watchtower (Under the topic: "Have Jehovah's Witnesses Given Incorrect Dates for the End"?) In fact, information about Jehovah's Witnesses, their teaching, practices and history is readily available to anyone who wants it.
You decide: Have Jehovah's Witnesses tried to hide their history, or are our opposers the liars they have proven to be?