A personal view of Raymond Franz

By Terry Walstrom

The death of Ray Franz hit me harder than I would have thought.

I had to reflect for awhile…alone…and quietly.

After all, fine people die every day and some of them are indispensable, and yet we go on…don’t we?

But, Ray Franz was someone who can only be described by the phrase “sui generis” (one of a kind).

My task was to ask myself what it was that made Ray so singular, potent, and admirable – without a trace of scandal or ill will attached to his memory.

Now, I’m ready to talk about it. Call it “venting,”  if you like. Or – “processing”…

Dedicating yourself to the finest work on Earth is noble. Ray, like the rest of us, signed on – by putting his energy and intelligence into his teaching work, no matter what the personal cost to himself.

It was in the course of research that something special in Ray’s character triggered a chain reaction.

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Remembering Raymond Franz

By “Snowbird”

Living down here in the backwoods of Alabama, we were privy to very little of what was going on in the Watchtower world. Most of us never heard about the shake-up at headquarters during the 1980s. I read and dismissed the Time article about Ray Franz, although I heard and dismissed whispers from one local elder about “certain apostate happenings up there in Gadsden.”

I knew that he was a nephew of Fred Franz. One time I went up to Tuscaloosa to hear Ray speak, and I knew that a lot of Jehovah’s Witnesses thought the world of that uncle of his. What I didn’t know at the time was the extent to which Fred Franz had promoted 1975 as “the end of a system of things.” [watch video at end of article] Fred was also instrumental in driving his nephew out of the Watchtower Society’s headquarters.

I learned all of that from reading Ray’s book, Crisis of Conscience. I also learned about the Malawi/Mexico conundrum, the alternative military service fiasco, and the non-allowable bedroom intimacies debacle.

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Conscience and Courage

By “Watersedge2009”

Ray Franz struck me as the kindest of souls – a truly honest, incorruptible, and humble man. He was faithful to his conscience and to the God he served.

Without his books, the real truth about the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society would have been more difficult to uncover because those facts would still be hidden under layers of bitterness, revenge and animosity. Ray’s candid writing about his disbelief, disillusionment, and eventual disassociation from the Watchtower organization, made a lasting impression on all who have had the courage to read it.

Sure, the Watchtower leadership blacklisted him and tried their best to cover up what happened. But you’ll notice that “God’s Organization” filed no charges – nor did they take any legal action – to clear their name of the “slander” they accused Ray Franz of dishing out at them. Doing so would have been even more extensively damning to them. They knew he was right and went into their standard-issue damage control mode, casting both Ray and his wife out of the organization – as well as anyone else who befriended them.

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A Sad Day

By Marco Garcia

It’s a sad day – sad because we have lost a great man. He was a man who was a defender of common sense and justice, someone who stood up for the truth and fought against imposing lies on naive people. He was someone courageous enough to go up against a powerful organization who manipulates millions of people by intimidation and fear.

A few years ago, while serving as an elder in a local congregation, I started reading Ray Franz’s book, Crisis of Conscience. I realized that the anomalies that I saw locally were not unprecedented and that the patterns and contradictions came from the very same world headquarters. I realized that corruption, lust for power, envy, personal conflicts, political games, and nepotism also take place within the Governing Body. That’s not exactly what most of us expected from the place that claims to be “guided by the Holy Spirit.”

I sincerely thank Ray Franz for his courage and the sacrifice he made when he decided to leave a very comfortable life as part of the nucleus of power as a member of the Watchtower’s Governing Body. He left a life where he got preferential treatment, surrounded by blind sheep serving “supermen” who claimed to be directed by the Holy Spirit of God.

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Raymond Franz, RIP

Raymond Franz
Raymond Victor Franz, 1922-2010

It was announced this morning (June 2nd) that Raymond Franz passed away due to a stroke injuries he suffered on May 30, 2010.

Mr. Franz was a much-loved and respected Christian all of his life. As active and dedicated Jehovah’s Witnesses, he and his wife served for over 40 years in various assignments, primarily in the Caribbean and at Watchtower headquarters in Brooklyn, NY. He was a former missionary and member of the Watchtower Society’s Governing Body. Since the early 1980s, after leaders of the Watchtower Society excommunicated him, he lived privately and quietly in the southeastern United States.

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