Carl Olof Jonsson, (1937-2023)
I just received an email from Rud Persson, the author of Rutherford’s Coup, to tell me that his long-time friend and research partner, Carl Olof Jonsson, had passed away this morning, April 17, 2023. Brother Jonsson would have been 86 years old in December of this year. He is survived by his wife, Gunilla. Rud recognized that his friend, Carl, was a true child of God. Upon learning of his death, Jim Penton called me and said: “Carl Olof Jonsson was a very dear friend to me and I miss him terribly. He was a real soldier for true Christianity and an outstanding scholar.”
I never had the opportunity to speak to Carl myself. By the time I came to know of him through working on preparing his book for republication, his mental state had deteriorated. However, it is my firm hope to get to know him on that day when we are all called to be with our Lord.
Brother Jonsson is best known for his research on the most fundamental of Watch Tower teachings, the 1914 Invisible Presence of Christ which the Governing Body now exploits to grant themselves absolute authority over the flock of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
His book is titled: The Gentile Times Reconsidered. It provides both scriptural and secular proof that the entire basis of the JW 1914 doctrine is false. That doctrine depends entirely on accepting that 607 B.C.E. was the year that Babylon conquered Israel and exiled the Jews off the land.
If you would like to read it for yourself, it is available in its fourth edition in both English and French on Amazon.com.
Brother Jonsson was an exemplary child of God. We would all do well to imitate his faith and his courage, for he put everything on the line to speak truth. For this, he was slandered and reviled by Witness Leaders because he would not keep his research to himself, but out of love for his brothers and sisters, felt compelled to share it.
He did not let the threat of being shunned deter him and so we can apply the words of Hebrews 12:3 to him. I’m going to read this from the New World Translation, because of all the versions to choose from, this one drips with irony given the circumstances:
“Indeed, consider closely the one who has endured such contrary talk by sinners against their own interests, that YOU may not get tired and give out in YOUR souls.” (Hebrews 12:3)
And so, to Carl we can say, “Sleep, blessed brother. Rest in peace. For our Lord will not forget all the good things you have done in his name. Indeed, he assures us: “And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this down: Blessed are those who die in the Lord from now on. Yes, says the Spirit, they are blessed indeed, for they will rest from their hard work; for their good deeds follow them!”” (Revelation 14:13 NLT)
While Carl is no longer with us, his work endures, and so I urge all Jehovah’s Witnesses to examine the evidence for their foundational 1914 Presence of Christ teaching. If the year is wrong, then everything is wrong. If Christ didn’t return in 1914, then he didn’t appoint a Governing Body as the Faithful and Discreet Slave in 1919. That means the leadership of the Organization is bogus. They have staged a coup, a takeover.
If you can take one thing from the life and work of Carl Olof Jonsson, let it be a determination to examine the evidence and make up your own mind. That’s not easy. It’s hard to overcome the power of traditional thinking. I’m going to let Carl do the talking now. Reading from his introduction under the subtitle “How this research began”:
For one of Jehovah’s Witnesses to question the validity of this basic prophetic calculation is, then, no easy matter. To many believers, especially in a closed religious system such as the Watch Tower organization, the doctrinal system functions as a sort of “fortress” inside which they may seek shelter, in the form of spiritual and emotional security. If some part of that doctrinal structure is questioned, such believers tend to react emotionally; they take a defensive attitude, sensing that their “fortress” is under attack and that their security is threatened. This defense mechanism makes it very difficult for them to listen to and examine the arguments on the matter objectively. Unwittingly, their need for emotional security has become more important to them than their respect for truth.
To reach behind this defensive attitude so common among Jehovah’s Witnesses in order to find open, listening minds is extremely difficult—especially when so basic a tenet as the “Gentile times” chronology is being questioned. For such questioning rocks the very foundations of the Witness doctrinal system and therefore often causes Witnesses at all levels to become belligerently defensive. I have repeatedly experienced such reactions ever since 1977 when I first presented the material in this volume to the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
It was in 1968 that the present study began. At the time, I was a “pioneer” or full-time evangelist for Jehovah’s Witnesses. In the course of my ministry, a man with whom I was conducting a Bible study challenged me to prove the date the Watch Tower Society had chosen for the desolation of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, that is 607 B.C.E. He pointed out that all historians marked that event as having occurred about twenty years later, in either 587 or 586 B.C.E. I was well aware of this, but the man wanted to know the reasons why historians preferred the latter date. I indicated that their dating surely was nothing but a guess, based on defective ancient sources and records. Like other Witnesses, I assumed that the Society’s dating of the desolation of Jerusalem to 607 B.C.E. was based on the Bible and therefore could not be upset by those secular sources. However, I promised the man I would look into the matter.
As a result, I undertook a research that turned out to be far more extensive and thoroughgoing than I had expected. It continued periodically for several years, from 1968 until the end of 1975. By then the growing burden of evidence against the 607 B.C.E. date forced me reluctantly to conclude that the Watch Tower Society was wrong.
Thereafter, for some time after 1975, the evidence was discussed with a few close, research-minded friends. Since none of them could refute the evidence demonstrated by the data I had collected, I decided to develop a systematically composed treatise on the whole question which I determined to send to the headquarters of the Watch Tower Society at Brooklyn, New York.
That treatise was prepared and sent to the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1977. The present work, which is based on that document, was revised and expanded during 1981 and then published in a first edition in 1983. During the years that have passed since 1983, many new finds and observations relevant to the subject have been made, and the most important of these have been incorporated into the last two editions. The seven lines of evidence against the 607 B.C.E. date presented in the first edition, for example, have now been more than doubled.
The book continues to show the Governing Body’s response to Carl’s treatise, which escalated from demands that he keep the information to himself and “to wait on Jehovah,” to threats and intimidation tactics, until finally they have arranged to have him disfellowshipped. Shunned for speaking the truth. An increasingly familiar scenario, isn’t it?
What we, you and I, can learn from this is that standing firm for Christ and preaching the truth will result in persecution. But who cares. Let’s not give up. That only pleases Satan. In closing, dwell on these words from the Apostle John:
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has become a child of God. And everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too. We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey his commandments. Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome. For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God. (1 John 5:1-5 NLT)
The point is that we (at least I) cannot check the date of the conquest of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple. We do not (at least not I) have the necessary knowledge for this. How do you explain that in the book of Daniel chapter 9 verse 2 it was written that in one year of Darius ben Ahashurash, Daniel realized that the 70 years of exile were about to end? This year is 539 BC. Does this not indicate that the exile began in 607 BC? In any case, I don’t think that Nebuchadnezzar’s dream about the… Read more »
This was the year Daniel understood the end of the 70 years, that they were connected to the death of the Babylonian king Belshazzar who was already dead by this time. This verse doesn’t say that the 70 years just ended or are going to end. The 70 years Babylonian servitude ended before the death of the king, see Jeremiah 25:12. But there is also a problem with the translation of this verse, see his book.
Well said Eric. He was truly a pioneer. His book was one of my early reads. It is very well researched, and fact orientated. Unfortunately there is a high cost of defying the “Society” regardless of the facts, as we all know, and it is well stated in his book. We are sad that he’s gone for now, but …2Cor5.8… … Rather to be Absent from the body…present with the Lord.
It was sad to hear that Carl Olof Jonsson has died. I appreciate his thorough research on the Watch Tower Society’s 1914 doctrines. There is no doubt that they are all fake. I have had the pleasure of meeting him several times in Gothenburg, Oslo and Zwolle in the Netherlands. The first time I greeted Carl was in 1986 in Oslo.
Carl Olof Jonsson was through and through an honest and matter-of-fact person who I really appreciated having a conversation with!
Carl Aage Andersen
Sad news of a genuine lover of God, and a zealot for truth.
I have his book called “the Gentile Times reconsidered.” It goes into that subject in depth and it also shows just how the GB will treat anyone who dares to say.. “hey, wait up. what about the ..”ie anyone who dares to question the ‘party-line’.
Good afternoon, Eric and everyone, Many thanks for sharing about brother Carl, who has done his very best to let the light shine. Last week, I had a couple of elders and their families over for lunch. I was very surprised to hear the conversation between the two elders and the rest of us concerning the year 1914, being the pivotal year that the kingdom was established. Also, the mention, that Armageddon was just around the corner. The irony of the entire conversation was that some of the families did not end up having children, because Armageddon was just around… Read more »
I will try to get a copy of his book. The “good news” is that Carl is now assured of a far better & happier place. God bless Eric for sharing.
Thank you for informing us of this sadness. Tireless and Selfless work for The Truth About The Truth TTATT. Thank you for your work on this behalf too.
Thank you for sharing this sad news. What an incredible volume of work he has left behind. As you mention, it was 1977 that the Watchtower was given this important work and revelation, 46 years ago. Who really are they waiting on to help them identify truth? Let’s see if the two new GB members are any wiser. Your work is much appreciated, as usual. You wrote ” If Christ didn’t return in 1914, then he didn’t appoint a Governing Body as the Faithful and Discreet Slave in 1919. That means the leadership of the Organization is bogus” As a… Read more »
So in essence, Carl told the JW Sanhedrin that he would have to obey God as ruler rather than them