An open letter to the Governing Body

By “Brother Siam”


Editor’s Note: This article was originally published as a post on the JWN forum. With the kind permission of its author, we are republishing it here in a slightly edited format. [Here is a link to the original version.] “Brother Siam” is an active Jehovah’s Witness living on the West Coast of the United States. A Witness his whole life, he served as a pioneer for several years, and as an elder for seven years. He hopes that other elders in his position will read this and reconsider their responsibilities to their assigned flock. He invites your comments…


The Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses
Watchtower Society, Inc.
New York, USA

Dear Brothers,

I served for seven years as an Elder in the Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I recently relinquished this privilege for the following reasons:

1. My whole life I was taught that Armageddon is going to be here any moment and is “imminent.” The direction from the Holy Spirit said that the end was going to come in 1914, 1925, 1975, and before the end of the 20th Century. Your followers would “never grow old” or “fulfill any career.” That didn’t happen. “Imminent” and “soon” stretched on for over 100 years. These interpretations of Bible prophecy have proven to be false, and yet you continue to pretend that they were “directed by Jehovah.”

2. I was taught that there would be very few “anointed” left when the end came and that the number will decrease as the end drew near. The number of “anointed” is actually increasing.

3. I was told that field service is a “life saving work” that must be performed with a “sense of urgency.” So far not one person’s life has been saved. And even though the work is “urgent,” the antiquated method of calling on empty houses is still used as the primary way of trying to reach people. Television, the Internet, email, postal services, and social networking are not being used – even though the effectiveness of these methods has been proven. I doubt that you feel that this is a “life saving work” yourself.

4. We are taught as an organization that “the light gets brighter” as Jehovah blesses his servants with Holy Spirit and increased understanding. Is Jehovah responsible for flip-flopping doctrines such as the “generation” of Matthew 24:34? Organ transplants? Blood transfusions? The identity of the “superior authorities”? Or is it the men who claim to be “inspired”? Despite these changes, each time the credit (or blame) is given to Jehovah. If the members of the Faithful and Discreet Slave class were actually “inspired,” “faithful,” or “discreet,” these teachings would have never changed.

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The Watchtower redefines a “generation”

Before getting too far into this subject, I’d like to make a prediction:

Ten years from now, when you ask Jehovah’s Witnesses why the Watchtower changed its teachings about “this generation will not pass away” in April 2010, they will have no memory of the release of this “new light” – and many will simply deny that it ever happened.Generation Truth Book

Or, it is more than likely that there will be NEW “new light” released between now and then that will change the Watchtower’s teaching on this subject once again.

Back to the new “generation” teaching in just a moment, but first I want to remind my readers about a similar situation involving the Watchtower’s promotion of “1975” as the year that Armageddon would begin.

From late 1967 until the end of the year 1975, that’s all you heard from the Watchtower and Awake! It was the only thing that every Jehovah’s Witness you knew or met on the street wanted to talk about. “Stay alive till ’75!” was a common greeting among the Witnesses at meetings and conventions. Everyone – from Circuit Overseers to the late Fred Franz, (then the Vice-President of the Society) – urged rank and file Jehovah’s Witnesses to set aside their plans and reschedule their lives for events that they were assured would come in 1975.

Witness families and individuals moved from their homes to “go where the need is greater.” Young people completely gave up their plans to go to college or to prepare for a career. Some canceled marriage plans, or put off having children, because they were so sure that Armageddon was coming by 1975. They heard comments like, “we’re not talking years, we’re talking months…” from high-ranking Watchtower leaders.  Comments and speculation about “1975” was a part of almost every Witness conversation.

When 1975 came and went and life went on pretty much as before, the Watchtower first denied that it had ever promoted that particular year as anything special. In fact, it actually accused the rank and file in local congregations of spreading that rumor and only imagining that the leadership in Bethel had promoted the idea – because it was they who wanted to believe that 1975 would see the start of Armageddon. The Governing Body claimed that the suggestion that 1975 was anything special never received any direct encouragement from the Watchtower Society.

Of course, everyone knew that was a lie, but like sheep, the rank and file simply accepted the responsibility for the failure of 1975 and then refused to challenge the Watchtower’s accusation that they had “run ahead of Jehovah.”

It took a few years, but the Watchtower eventually accepted some (but not all) of the responsibility for that false prophecy it had so eagerly promoted. The leadership still refused to make amends to all those faithful followers and their families who suffered by quitting good jobs or selling their homes at a discount. Nothing could be done for those who put off their personal plans for going to college, getting married, or having kids. I guess that as far as the Watchtower Society was concerned, that was just bad luck for them…

All along the Watchtower has continued to remind Jehovah’s Witnesses that “this generation (those that lived during 1914) would not pass” until all of their “end-of-this-system-of-things” prophecies were fulfilled.

In April (2010) that will all officially change – along with the Watchtower’s definition of the word “generation.”

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