In the October 2021 issue of The Watchtower, there is a final article titled “1921 One Hundred Years Ago”. It shows a picture of a book published in that year. Here it is. The Harp of God, by J. F. Rutherford. There is something wrong with this picture. Do you know what it is? I’ll give you a hint. That is not the book that was published that year, well, not exactly. What we are seeing here is a bit of revisionist history. Well, what’s so bad about that, you might say?
Good question. Here are some Bible principles I’d like us to bear in mind before we find out what is wrong with this picture.
Hebrews 13:18 reads: “Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a [clean] (sic) conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things.” (Hebrews 13:18, ESV)
Then Paul tells us that we should “put away falsehood, [and] let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are [all] (sic) members of one another.” (Ephesians 4:25 ESV)..
Finally, Jesus tells us that “Whoever is faithful with very little will also be faithful with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” (Luke 16:10 BSB)
Now what is wrong with this picture? The article is talking about events pertaining to the Watch Tower Society from one hundred years ago, in the year 1921. On page 30 of the October 2021 current issue, under the subtitle “A NEW BOOK!”, we are informed that this book The Harp of God came in November of that year. It did not. This book came out four years later, in 1925. Here is The Harp of God that came out in 1921.
Why are they not showing the cover of the actual book they are referring to in the article? Because on the front cover, it reads “PROOF CONCLUSIVE THAT MILLIONS NOW LIVING WILL NEVER DIE”. Why are they hiding that from their followers? Why are they not, as Paul said, ‘speaking truth with their neighbor’? You may think it is a little thing, but we just read where Jesus said that “whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”
What does that title really mean?
Returning to the article in the current Watchtower, the October 2021 issue, we read in the introduction:
“WHAT, therefore, is the particular work that we can see immediately before us for the year?” The Watch Tower of January 1, 1921, posed this question to eager Bible Students. In answer, it quoted Isaiah 61:1, 2, which reminded them of their commission to preach. “Jehovah hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek . . . , to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God.”
I’m sure that any Jehovah’s Witnesses reading that today will just jump to the conclusion that the “particular work” in question is the preaching of the good news just like Jehovah’s Witnesses do today. No!
Back then, what was the acceptable year of the Lord? It was a very specific year. 1925!
The Bulletin of October 1920, a monthly publication of the Watch Tower Society, provided the Bible Students of the time with this direction for preaching:
I’m going to have to pause while reading this because there are a number of inaccuracies that need to be identified. I’m using the term “inaccuracies” to avoid another more pejorative term.
“Do you know that millions now living will never die?
“I mean just what I say—that millions now living are never going to die.
“ ‘The Finished Mystery’, the posthumous work of Pastor Russell, tells why there are millions now living who will never die; and if you can keep alive until 1925 you have excellent chances of being one of them.
This was not the posthumous work of Russell. The book was written by Clayton James Woodworth and George Herbert Fisher without authorization by the Watch Tower Executive Committee, but by the decree of Joseph Franklin Rutherford.
“Since 1881 everybody ridiculed Pastor Russell and the International Bible Students Association’s message that the Bible prophesied a world war in 1914; but the war came on time, and now the message of his final work, ‘millions now living will never die’, is being regarded seriously.
The Bible did not prophecy a world war in 1914. If you doubt that, check out this video.
“It is an absolute fact, stated in every book of the Bible, foretold by every prophet of the Bible. I believe you will agree that this subject is well worth a few evenings’ time for investigation.
Okay, this is just an outrageous lie. Every book of the Bible, every prophet of the Bible, all speak about millions now living never dying? Please.
“ ‘The Finished Mystery’ can be had for $1.00.
“In order that those living may be aware of the actual existence of this period, The Golden Age, a bi-weekly magazine, deals with current events that mark the institution of the Golden Age—the age when death will cease.
Well, that sure didn’t work out as planned, did it?
“A year’s subscription is $2.00, or both book and magazine can be had for $2.75.
“ ‘The Finished Mystery’ tells why millions now living will never die, and The Golden Age will reveal cheer and comfort behind the dark and threatening clouds—both for two-seventy-five” (don’t say dollars).
They truly believed that the end was going to come in 1925, that the ancient faithful ones like Abraham, King David, and Daniel would be resurrected to life on earth and would live in the United States. They even purchased a 10-bedroom mansion in San Diego, California to house them and called it “Beth Sarim“.
That piece of history of the organization is factual and exists in writing, and in the hearts and minds of disappointed men and women—as the end did not come and ancient faithful ones were nowhere to be seen. Now, we might excuse all of that as just the types of well-intentioned mistakes that imperfect over-zealous men can make. I’m sure I would have, had I known of all this when I was a fully committed Jehovah’s Witness. Of course, it is a false prophecy. That cannot be disputed. They prophesied something would happen and put that prediction in writing, so that makes them, by the definition of Deuteronomy 18:20-22, a false prophet. Yet, given that, I would have still overlooked it, because of years of conditioning. Nevertheless, such things were beginning to trouble me as we entered the 21st century.
Years ago, when I was having dinner with some JW friends, a former pioneer and her former Bethelite husband, I found myself complaining about things within the organization. They grew troubled and asked me what I was really upset about. I found I couldn’t put it into words at first, but after a few minutes of thought, I said, “I would just like them to own up to their mistakes.” I was deeply troubled that they never apologized for any misinterpretation, and usually laid the blame on others, or have used the passive verb tense to evade direct responsibility, for example, “it was thought” (See w16 Questions From Readers). They still haven’t owned up to the 1975 fiasco, for instance.
What we have in this article is not merely an example of the organization not owning up to a past mistake, but actually going out of their way to cover it up. Is that really something we should be concerned about? For the answer, I will let the organization speak.
In discussing why we can believe the Bible is really the word of God, the 1982 Watchtower had this to say:
Something else that identifies the Bible as coming from God is the candor of its writers. Why? For one thing, it is contrary to fallen human nature to admit one’s mistakes, especially in writing. In this, the Bible is distinguished from other ancient books. But, more than that, the candor of its writers assures us of their overall honesty. reveal their weaknesses and then make false claims about other things, would they? If they were going to falsify anything, would it not be unfavorable information about themselves? So, then, the candor of the Bible writers adds weight to their claim that God guided them in what they wrote down.—2 Timothy 3:16.
(w82 12/15 p. 5-6)
The candor of Bible writers assures us of their overall honesty. Hmm, would not the reverse also be true. If we find there is no candor, would that not make us suspicious about the truth of what they were writing? If we apply those words now to the writers of the publications of Jehovah’s Witnesses, how do they fair? To again quote from the 1982 Watchtower: “After all, they would not likely reveal their weaknesses and then make false claims about other things, would they? If they were going to falsify anything, would it not be unfavorable information about themselves?”
Hmm, “if they were going to falsify anything, would it not be unfavorable information about themselves”?
I never knew about the organization’s failed prophecy about 1925 until after I left the organization. They kept that embarrassment away from all of us. And to this day, they continue to do so. Since older publications, like The Harp of God, have been removed from the libraries of all the Kingdom halls around the world by decree of the governing body some years ago, the average witness would look at this picture and think that this was the book filled with Bible truth that was actually published in 1921. They would never know that this cover had been altered from the original cover published in 1921 which contained the embarrassing claim that the book contained conclusive proof that millions then alive would see the end, an end which another book of the time, the 1920 edition of Millions Now Living Will Never Die, claimed would come in 1925.
We might be able to overlook the many mistakes the organization has made if they had imitated the Bible writers by candidly admitting their errors and repenting for them. Instead, they go out of their way to hide their mistakes by altering and rewriting their own history. If the candor of Bible writers gives us reason to believe that the Bible is authentic and truthful, then the opposite must also be true. The lack of candor and the intentional covering up of past sins, is an indication that the organization cannot be trusted to reveal the truth. This is what legal experts would call, “the fruit of the poisoned tree”. This deception, this constant rewriting of their own history to hide their failings, calls every teaching of theirs into question. Trust has been destroyed.
The writers of the Watchtower should ponder these scriptures prayerfully.
“Lying lips are detestable to Jehovah, But those acting faithfully bring pleasure to him.” (Proverbs 12:22)
“For we care for everything honestly, not only in the sight of Jehovah but also in the sight of men.’” (2 Corinthians 8:21)
“Do not lie to one another. Strip off the old personality with its practices,” (Colossians 3:9)
But sadly, they will not listen to what their own Bible tells them to do. The reason is that they serve their masters, the members of the Governing Body, not our Lord Jesus. As he himself warned: “No one can slave for two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stick to the one and despise the other. . . .” (Matthew 6:24)
Thank you for your time and support.
Good morning from Australia, Just to add more fuel to the conversation, compare the two comments: 1/1/1989 page 12, paragraph 8: About 47-48 C.E., God, through holy spirit, indicated a decisive move for the expansion of the missionary work. The record at Acts 13:2-4 tells us: “The holy spirit said: ‘Of all persons set Barnabas and Saul apart for me for the work to which I have called them.’ . . . Accordingly these men, sent out by the holy spirit, went down to Seleucia [the seaport of Syrian Antioch], and from there they sailed away to Cyprus.” How thrilling… Read more »
That’s interesting. How is there an earlier issue? Did all of the original printed editions say 20th century? This does not seem like something that would have been changed midstream in 1989? Has the original content been revised on jw.org without acknowledgement?
I read the WOL version of the English Watchtower 1/1/1989 page 12, paragraph 8, which ends with „… in our day.“ Next, I synchronized the German version, which ends this way: „Der Apostel Paulus ging im christlichen Missionardienst führend voran. Er legte auch die Grundlage für ein Werk, dessen Vollendung in das 20. Jahrhundert fällt.“ It still ends with ‚20th century‘.
I have a copy of the bound volume in my safe, it’s edited of course as you have pointed out. I ALSO have my original study copy of the article UNEDITED as a bookmark. When I have opportunity, I grab it and open it and showcase the two versions to eyes that get BIG when seeing it. I’ve helps a few this way.
I have found this commentary and some of the comments below to be interesting. Leonardo Josephus wrote, “Not sure whether the wrong picture was deliberate or whether it simply demonstrates how much they have even removed from their own resources. How many copies of one book should they have?” I am of the opinion that it was a deliberate act to keep the readership ignorant of a failed prophecy on the part of the organization. I base my opinion on the overwhelming evidence against the honesty and integrity of the organization that is now being constantly brought to light because… Read more »
HI New Englander. I am not an apologist for those misleading the R & F Not that you suggested that at all. However, I just think that there is ignorance on the part of the writers and maybe a degree of laziness as well, because they are taught to place their trust in what has been written before. Don’t forget that some of us here are older than many of the GB, and Eric leaves no stone unturned – although I do not know how he picks some of the things up.. As the writers get younger, their combined knowledge… Read more »
Hello Leonardo, I absolutely agree with you that there is ignorance on the part of the writers and yes, they absolutely place put their trust in what has been written before. That is one major problem with the witness organization. The Watchtower absolutely carries the same weight as the bible itself within the organization. The Latter Day Saints have the bible and the book of Mormon and Jehovah’s Witnesses have the bible and the Watchtower. I’m not sure how the the organization’s publications are composed but very likely most of it is being done by a group of zealous young… Read more »
Vi è un libro “rivelazione il grande culmine” n cui nell’edizione vecchia di affermava che la fine arrivava entro il 2000 non mi ricordo dove però….
Je me demande si ces livres anciens sont disponibles et consultables, pour la famille du béthel à Warwick.
Pour ma part, ayant fait partie de la famille du béthel de France avec mon mari, je ne les ai jamais vus dans la bibliothèque.
Si cette édition de « La Harpe de Dieu » (1921) se trouve dans la bibliothèque à Warwick, peut-être que cela en fera réfléchir quelques-uns sur l’honnêteté et la confiance à accorder au « canal de Dieu ».
They have often said that they are not Prophets and thus make allowance for their mistakes. However that is not really the case. They have publicly said in the past that they were actually prophets. I’m quoting from the book The Nations shall know that I am Jehovah how? Published in 1971 page 70.
“Regardless of how Christendom views or regards this group of anointed Witnesses of Jehovah, the time must come and that shortly ,when those making up Christendom will know that really a PROPHET of Jehovah was among them”
Thanks, yobec. I read that book. I was a regular pioneer in its year of publication. Statements like that became a part of our “belief system”, like a computer app always running in the background.
You just gave away your age LOL
Not exactly. All we know is that he is definitely older than 70, but that means he could be 71, 75, 85, or 90 for all we know. But we do know that one thing… lol. ;P
Rajeshsony, You are a troll. You are not my brother nor my friend. Go away and stop bothering me. I don’t want to have anything to do with you.
??? I wasn’t even talking to you. I was talking to brother yobec. You need to reconfigure your stance on what is an appropriate response to someone who hasn’t said a word to you; I can tell you one thing, that it’s not to say “go away and stop bothering me,” or to say “you are a troll,” or to say “I don’t want to have anything to do with you.” If you can’t control yourself and just have to say stuff like that, then probably the greatest thing you can do is to not say anything at all; notwithstanding… Read more »
Rajeshsony, I told you before to go away and leave me alone. I don’t want any conversation with you. Mind your own business.
I don’t want any conversation with you
Then why did you initiate one? It seems to me that if someone really doesn’t want to do something, the last thing they would is that something. Wasn’t even talking to you; I did not trying to start a conversation with you. That’s all on you. So, listen to your own advice and stop initiating conversation with a “troll.”
Rajeshsony, you are a troll. Go away. You should not be on this website. You only cause havoc.
Look, my brother. I’m not built for this. I’m sorry for everything I did to you. Can you forgive me, please? I’d just like to move on. So, take care, have a good weekend. 🙂
2 dislikes? I guess people really don’t want me to leave this website. Awwww. That warms my heart. Hmmm, ok guys, I’ll stay! But only because you begged me to. ¡Te veo pronto! 😉
Rajeshsony, Get away from me. You are a troll. Leave me alone
Let us not resort to name calling.
Rajeshsony, I told you, and I’m telling you again now, you are not my brother. Stay away from me.
Oh, you can see my comment? I thought I was blocked. Phew.
Ok, sure, I’ll stay away from you. Take care, have a good day. 🙂
Rajeshsony, Go away. You are a troll.
Yes, RajeshSony, it is best that you do so for the sake of peace. Thank you.
Brother Rajeshsony …. I personally am not offended by your arguments … but I would ask not to comment in every country leaving room for others to express their opinions ….. and not to speculate anymore your thoughts when the Bible does not ask us for something because it is tedious and a waste of time ….. We are in this forum because we have a love for the truth and we are awake with the true nature of the Organization …… We have learned a lot vital truths through this site that are helping us in our lives ….… Read more »
Thanks so much, brother Aleks. 😀
When that book came out I was teaching a foreign language to a group of witnesses that had come to serve where the need is great. This program had been set up by the Society
Funny how we have such vivid memories…brought back by a book!
What foreign language were you teaching? Please send your email to Eric and ask him to forward it to me. Include that you are “yobec” on the website.
How do I reach Eric on his email?
Eric’s email is email@example.com
His email is on his YouTube channel, too.
Okay thanks. I will do it before supper. It is 12:30 p.m. here right now
I gave Eric the info
Thanks, yobec. See you later.
I got your message, yobec. Thanks for writing. Are you on another forum besides this one? I would like to talk more about languages and exjw experiences. But not here.
I Asked Eric if he could give you my personal e mail address
I guess you can also contact him and get it.
Talk to you soon
Oh, okay! Great. I will contact him and ask for it.
I have emailed you. Let me know if you haven’t received it.
And all so soon after being appointed as the faithful slave in 1919 ! ! I wonder what Jesus would have thought (if he had appointed them). Another great article and well spotted, Eric. I managed to find a brown original 1st edition on the Internet, and does indeed say, on the front cover, that Proof conclusive millions now living will never die. Not sure whether the wrong picture was deliberate or whether it simply demonstrates how much they have even removed from their own resources. How many copes of one book should they have ? It is just another… Read more »
In regards to hiding stuff, Fred Franz, former VP of the Watchtower organization, gave a talk at the 1972 Gilead graduation class in which he went into great details to show that there was no such thing as a governing body in the first century. Try as I may ,I cannot locate that voice discourse anywhere on the internet anymore. As soon as I think I’ve identified something , I click on it and I am told it is no longer available.
Closely related is this item posted on reddit. https://www.reddit.com/r/exjw/comments/a8xlgp/according_to_fred_franz_there_is_no_governing_body/
At the link is a quote from the book “Crisis of Conscience”, pp. 92-96, where Ray Franz tells that same story about Fred Franz.
I believe I’ve found it, yobec, thanks to your information. Starting with slide 75 forward, and especially slides 95, 96, and 97, this information is chilling. I didn’t log in, and haven’t heard the audio yet, but I’ll do that now.
Sadly, the world news media site, which I cited above, has only a slide-by-slide transcript, but not the audio of Fred Franz’ 1972 Gilead Graduation talk.
Scribd has, what looks like, Fred Franz’ typed script for that 1972 Gilead Graduation talk. And the typed script contains small, handwritten correction notes.
Thanks for the info. I did find all of those at one time or another but the one I can’t find is the one I that actually had a recording a Fred’s voice as he gave his talk. That seems to have vanished
Here’s the audio on YouTube. 🙂 I think the “good part” starts at about 21 minutes, if you’re anxious to get right to it. Enjoy.
Thank you so much. I was looking for that.
I guess I was wrong about my suspicion that the GB had made it unavailable on the internet.
You’re welcome. I enjoyed the item, too, and wouldn’t have known about it had you not brought it up. There was a 4 year old comment at the bottom of that YouTube, asking where the poster had gotten the video, but no answer to the question was provided. I saw that watchtower documents of Barbara Anderson lists that recording on her site. However, my tablet is low on data, and I couldn’t get her recording to open.
3 videos in less than 2 weeks? I don’t celebrate Christmas, but if I did this would be a Christmas present. 😀 Great job as always, brother Eric!
P.S. Sweet haircut. 😉
“Fruit of the poisonous tree is a legal metaphor used to describe evidence that is obtained illegally. The logic of the terminology is that if the source (the “tree”) of the evidence or evidence itself is tainted, then anything gained (the “fruit”) from it is tainted as well.”
Hello Eric, I appreciate your clarification on the watchtower article. The organization is an advocate for accuracy, for honesty. So why not do the same for them? You are right to do so. We love truth because “we must worship in spirit and truth”. Beth Sarim. Few siblings know this story. How can they if they don’t look. But they can’t because they are blinded by the GB. I have also noticed that many publications are no longer available, but also references that are not indicated in the indexes. For example, 1975. No references of the watchtowers 1967 1968, etc…suspicious… Read more »