Did The Watchtower Society determine the time of ‘possible’ Armageddon even more precisely? Was the year 1975 enough for them? It seems it was not, because in 1975 Vice President F. Franz said something about September:
He stressed that, according to dependable Bible chronology, 6,000 years of human history will end this coming September according to the lunar calendar. This coincides with a time when “the human species [is] about to starve itself to death,” as well as its being faced with poisoning by pollution and destruction by nuclear weapons. Franz added: “There’s no basis for believing that mankind, faced with what it now faces, can exist for the seventh thousand-year period” under the present system of things. (The Watchtower May 1, 1975, p. 285).
Also in early October 1975 the Society mentioned September:
SINCE a new Jewish lunar year began in September 1975 a significant point in human history was reached. What was that? According to the Bible’s count of time, mankind then completed 6,000 years of existence on earth. Yes, the first man Adam, if he had chosen to remain obedient under God’s rulership, would have still been alive and 6,000 years old in September of this year. (...) Does it mean that Christ’s millennial Kingdom rule, as the final 1,000 years of that “rest day,” is to be reckoned from September 1975? (...) No, it does not mean that. (The Watchtower October 1, 1975, p. 579).
Interestingly, The Watchtower Society wrote about “September” only in the year 1975! Earlier it used such terms as “autumn” and “early autumn”, which we discuss below.
But that is not the whole story, because according to R. Franz, the former member of the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses, his uncle in his speech (of September 7) told the Gilead school graduates about “September 5”:
And do you know what that means? That here on this day of your graduation, why it is the second day of the seventh millennium of man’s existence here on earth. Isn’t that something?... (Crisis of Conscience R. Franz, 2004, p. 97).
It is interesting that this ‘exact’ date was verbalized by F. Franz after it already passed! Was he earlier afraid of a fiasco? Moreover, a publication reporting the Gilead school graduation omits a passage from the speech by Vice President, which was quoted by R. Franz, and this celebration took place in the presence of other Governing Body’s members (see The Watchtower November 1, 1975, pp. 671-672).
However, R. Franz also mentions that his uncle spoke about September 5 in his talks which he presented as a guest speaker in different countries:
Earlier, toward the start of 1975, President Knorr had made a trip around the world, taking Vice President Franz with him. The vice president’s speeches in all countries visited centered on 1975. Upon their return, the other members of the Governing Body, having heard reports from many countries of the stirring effect of the vice president’s talk, asked to hear a tape recording of it, made in Australia. [Footnote: This was in the session of February 19, 1975].
In his talk, the vice president spoke of 1975 as a “year of great possibilities, tremendous probabilities.” He told his audience that, according to the Hebrew calendar, they were “already in the fifth lunar month of 1975,” with less than seven lunar months remaining. He emphasized several times that the Hebrew year would close with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, on September 5, 1975.
Acknowledging that much would have to happen in that short time if the final windup was to come by then, he went on to talk about the possibility of a year or so difference due to some lapse of time between Adam’s creation and Eve’s creation. (…) Toward the close, he urged his listeners not to take an improper view, however, and assume that the coming destruction could be “years away,” and focus their attention on other matters, such as getting married and raising families, building up a fine business venture or spending years at college in some engineering course.
After hearing the tape, a few of the Governing Body members expressed concern that if indeed no “very bold, extreme predictions” were being made, some subtle predictions were, and the effect was palpably evident in the excitement generated.
This was the first time that concern was expressed in the Governing Body discussions. But no action was taken, no policy decided upon. (Crisis of Conscience R. Franz, 2004, s. 249).
It is strange that there is no sign of the date “September 5” in the articles of The Watchtower Society. Is it mentioned only in archives of speeches, gathered in Brooklyn?
There are also frequent mentions in the Witness publications about „autumn” and „early autumn” 1975. Sometimes both versions appear in one and the same article. Here are the following examples:
However, Bible chronology which indicates that Adam was created in the fall of the year 4026 B.C.E. would bring us down to the year 1975 C.E. as the date marking 6,000 years of human history with yet 1,000 years to come for Christ’s Kingdom rule. (The Watchtower May 1, 1970, p. 273).
See also The Watchtower May 1, 1967, p. 262; The Watchtower July 15, 1967, p. 446; The Watchtower May 1, 1968, p. 271; The Watchtower August 15, 1968, p. 499; Life Everlasting - In Freedom of the Sons of God 1966, p. 29.
1975 - 6000 - End of 6th 1,000-year day of man’s existence (in early autumn) (Life Everlasting - In Freedom of the Sons of God 1966, p. 35).
See also The Watchtower May 1, 1968, p. 272; 1975 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses, p. 256.