Chapter 7. The organization and its practices

Autor's: Włodzimierz Bednarski
Szymon Matusiak

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Chapter 7. The organization and its practices


“The faithful and discreet servant” and biblical titles of C.T. Russell and anointed ones


“The faithful and wise servant” of Matthew 24:45


C. T. Russell as “the faithful and wise servant”


Over a decade later, however, Brother Russell’s wife publicly expressed the idea that Russell himself was the faithful and wise servant. The view that she voiced concerning the identity of the ‘faithful servant’ came to be generally held by the Bible Students for some 30 years. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 143).


Therefore fulfilled prophecy, or physical facts, and the circumstantial evidence are conclusive proofs that Brother Russell filled the office of that faithful and wise servant. (The Watchtower March 1, 1922 p. 74).


Truly that was the work the Lord did by and through his faithful and wise servant, Brother Russell. (The Watchtower February 1, 1925 p. 37).


C. T. Russell is not a single “faithful and wise servant”


The February 15, 1927, issue of that publication clearly pointed out the Scriptural evidence proving that the “faithful and wise servant”, to whom the Lord commits all his goods and makes him ruler, is not any individual man on the earth, and never was, but that Christ Jesus himself, pictured by Joshua, is the head of the “faithful and wise servant” class. (Matt. 24:45-47) (The Watchtower March 1, 1939 p. 75).


The understanding expressed by Brother Russell in 1881 that the faithful and wise servant was in reality a collective servant, made up of all the members of the spirit-anointed body of Christ on earth, was reaffirmed in The Watch Tower of February 15, 1927. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 143).


The facts indicate that this faithful and discreet slave class comprises all anointed Christians as a group on earth at any given time. (The Watchtower May 15, 1995 p. 16).


We accept the teaching that all of the anointed ones living on earth at any given time constitute “the faithful and discreet slave” that Jesus said would provide timely “food” for his domestics. (Matthew 24:45) (The Watchtower November 1, 2007 p. 30).


Only the Governing Body is “the faithful and wise servant”


In the past, our publications have said the following: At Pentecost 33 C.E., Jesus appointed the faithful slave over his domestics. The slave represents all anointed Christians on earth as a group at any one time since then. (The Watchtower July 15, 2013 p. 20).


Do all anointed ones on earth make up the faithful slave? No. (The Watchtower July 15, 2013 p. 21).


THE Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses is made up of brothers who are anointed servants of Jehovah God. As a group, they form “the faithful and discreet slave.” (God’s Kingdom Rules! 2014 p. 130).


Who was and who is “the faithful and wise servant”?


The old idea – the Watchtower Society is “the faithful and wise servant”


The agency which the Lord uses to distribute or dispense his truth is called his “faithful and wise servant”. (…) This clearly shows that the Lord would use one organization... (“Let God Be True” 1946 p. 189).


The agency which the Master uses to distribute or dispense his truth is called his "faithful and discreet slave" (“Let God Be True” 1952 p. 199).


Since the Society of the anointed remnant was acting as the “faithful and discreet slave” of the King of righteousness at the temple, Christ Jesus, such restoration of the theocratic organization with properly appointed servants to carry on the work brought to a fuller realization the prophecy that “princes shall rule in justice”. (The Watchtower December 1, 1951 p. 725).


Current view – the Watchtower Society is not “the faithful and wise servant”


So with the "faithful and discreet slave". It is not an individual man, but is a class entrusted with Kingdom assets and interests. It is not the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society and all its branches, a legal agency incorporated according to the laws of a worldly political state. (“New Heavens and a New Earth” 1953 p. 260).


Who, then, is this “faithful and discreet slave”? The “slave” is not a man. Neither is it the Watch Tower Society. It is the united body of the regathered last ones of God's spiritual nation. (From Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained 1958 p. 193).


Changes to the name “faithful and wise servant”


Years 1879-1950: faithful and wise servant (The Watchtower April 15, 1950 p. 119).


The agency which the Lord uses to distribute or dispense his truth is called his “faithful and wise servant” (“Let God Be True” 1946 p. 189).


Years 1950-2015: faithful and discreet slave (The Watchtower October 15, 1950 p. 387).


The agency which the Master uses to distribute or dispense his truth is called his "faithful and discreet slave" (“Let God Be True” 1952 p. 199).


The faithful and discreet slave - since when is he there?


“The Slave” existed from the time of the Apostles


In the past, our publications have said the following: At Pentecost 33 C.E., Jesus appointed the faithful slave over his domestics. (The Watchtower July 15, 2013 p. 20).


Shepherds such as the apostles Peter, John, and Paul were all members of the group Jesus described as “the faithful and discreet slave.” (The Watchtower May 1, 2006 p. 25).


Judging by the results, there can be no doubt that Jehovah’s holy spirit was directing the endeavors of Brother Russell and those associated with him. They gave evidence of being identified with the faithful and discreet slave. (The Watchtower May 15, 1995 p. 17).


“The Slave” has existed since 1919 (teaching from 2013)


The context of the illustration of the faithful and discreet slave shows that it began to be fulfilled, not at Pentecost 33 C.E., but in this time of the end. (The Watchtower July 15, 2013 p. 21).


In 1919, a time of spiritual revival, Jesus selected capable anointed brothers from among them to be the faithful and discreet slave and appointed them over his domestics. (The Watchtower July 15, 2013 p. 23).


What is the “property” of the slave?


The property include the assets of the Watchtower Society


‘The faithful slave’ has been ‘appointed over all his master’s belongings.’ These include facilities at headquarters in New York State, U.S.A., and the 110 branches now operating worldwide. (The Watchtower January 15, 2001 p. 30).


In the past, our publications have said the following: (...) In 1919, Jesus appointed the faithful slave “over all his belongings”—all his earthly Kingdom interests. However, further careful study and prayerful meditation indicate that our understanding of Jesus’ words about the faithful and discreet slave needs to be clarified. (Prov. 4:18) (The Watchtower July 15, 2013 p. 20).


Moreover, Jesus Christ has appointed the faithful and discreet slave “over all his belongings”—all Kingdom interests on earth. (Matt. 24:47) Included among these belongings are the facilities at the world headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses, at branch offices in various lands, and at Assembly Halls and Kingdom Halls worldwide. Included too is the work of Kingdom-preaching and disciple-making. Would anyone assign someone he did not trust to keep and use his valuable things? (The Watchtower February 15, 2009 p. 26).


The property is the Messianic Kingdom (teaching since 2013)


His belongings now include the Messianic Kingdom, which has belonged to him since 1914 and which he will share with his anointed followers.—Rev. 11:15. (The Watchtower July 15, 2013 pp. 24-25).


Compare it with the earlier statement:


Proving itself thus to be a “faithful and discreet slave,” the remnant was approved by the returned Lord Jesus Christ, who then did as he had foretold in Matthew 24:47: “He will appoint him over all his belongings.” These are not “his belongings” in the invisible heavens, but “his belongings” here on earth where the approved “slave” remnant finds itself. (Life Everlasting—In Freedom of the Sons of God 1966 pp. 185-186).


When “the slave” received “the property”?


The property received in 1919


In 1919, Jesus placed “the key of the house of David” upon the shoulder of “the faithful and discreet slave” by appointing that slave class “over all his belongings.”—Isa. 22:22; Matt. 24:45, 47. (The Watchtower January 15, 2009 p. 31).


Jesus said: “Truly I say to you, He will appoint him over all his belongings.” (Matthew 24:47) Jesus did this in 1919, after the slave had passed through a period of testing. (The Watchtower March 1, 2004 p. 12).


The property will be received at Armageddon (teaching since 2013)


So it is reasonable to conclude that Jesus’ arrival to appoint the faithful slave over all his belongings, mentioned at Matthew 24:46, 47, also applies to his future coming, during the great tribulation. (The Watchtower July 15, 2013 p. 8).


Finally, we examined why Jesus’ arrival to appoint the faithful slave over all his belongings did not occur in 1919 but will take place during the great tribulation. (The Watchtower July 15, 2013 p. 8).


Who are “the domestics”?


The domestics refer to the same anointed ones


In the past, our publications have said the following: At Pentecost 33 C.E., Jesus appointed the faithful slave over his domestics. The slave represents all anointed Christians on earth as a group at any one time since then. The domestics refer to the same anointed ones as individuals. (The Watchtower July 15, 2013 p. 20).


Jesus has appointed the faithful and discreet slave “over his domestics,” that is, the individual members of the slave class, “to give them their food at the proper time.” He has also appointed the slave “over all his belongings.” (Matt. 24:45-47) These “belongings” include the growing “great crowd” of “other sheep.” (Rev. 7:9; John 10:16) (The Watchtower February 15, 2009 p. 24).


„The Domestics” are the anointed ones and other sheep (teaching since 2013)


“His domestics”: All who are fed, whether they are of the anointed or of the other sheep (The Watchtower July 15, 2013 p. 22).


The class of “the evil servant”


There was no evil servant class, but one bad servant as a former “faithful servant”


In 1881 a former associate, Mr. Barbour, of Rochester, N. Y., who had been a faithful fellow-watcher, developed into the “Evil servant” of Matt. 24:48-51 and Zechariah 11:17... (The Finished Mystery 1917, 1926 p. 386).


Pastor Russell took the place of Mr. Barbour who became unfaithful and upon whom was fulfilled the prophecies of Matt 24:48-51 and Zech. 11:15-17. (The Finished Mystery 1917, 1926 p. 54).


There was the class of the evil servant (slave)


The zeal of such immediately cooled off; therefore, when the Lord came to his temple for judgment, in 1918, he found this class, whom he described as the ‘unfaithful servant’, or “wicked and slothful servant”, or “evil servant”... (The Watchtower October 15, 1930 p. 309).


Some were disfellowshiped for moral wrongdoing, while others became high-minded, self-opinionated, and, joining forces with the “evil slave” class or the “man of lawlessness” class, they rebelled against the Lord and his organization and began smiting their brothers. (The Watchtower September 1, 1969 p. 534).


This should not surprise us. After speaking of “the faithful and discreet slave” that represents the body of anointed Christians, Jesus spoke of the “evil slave,” a class that complains, “my master is delaying,” and starts to beat its fellow slaves. (Matthew 24:48, 49) (The Watchtower October 15, 2000 p. 9).


The evil slave class does not exist (teaching since 2013)


Was Jesus foretelling that there would be an evil slave class in the last days? No. Granted, some individuals have manifested a spirit similar to that of the evil slave described by Jesus. We would call them apostates, whether they were of the anointed or of the “great crowd.” (Rev. 7:9) But such ones do not make up an evil slave class. Jesus did not say that he would appoint an evil slave. (The Watchtower July 15, 2013 p. 24).


“The seventh angel”, “The Laodicean messenger” of Revelation 3:14


C. T. Russell, “the Laodicean Messenger”


The Laodicean Messenger (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 64).


The angel of the seventh, or Laodicean epoch, of the Church, was Charles T. Russell. (The Watchtower May 15, 1925 p. 149).


C.T. Russell was not an individual “the Laodicean Messenger”


The “angel” or messenger of the Laodicean church could not be an individual. The Lord is not committing his kingdom interests to any one person. (…) The messenger of Laodicea, therefore, is the collective body, faithful members in Christ. (The Watchtower November 1, 1928 p. 324).


The “stars” are “the angels of the seven congregations.” (...) So the “stars” must be the human overseers, or elders, in the congregations, viewed as Jesus’ messengers. The messages are addressed to the stars, for these are responsible for the oversight of Jehovah’s flock.—Acts 20:28. (Revelation—Its Grand Climax At Hand! 1988, 2006 p. 28).


“The man clothed in linen” from Ezekiel 9:2


C. T. Russell is “the man clothed in linen”


The angel of the seventh, or Laodicean epoch, of the Church, was Charles T. Russell. (...) Undoubtedly this same angel, or seventh messenger to the Church, filled the office foreshadowed by the prophet Ezekiel, as represented in the man clothed in linen with a writer’s inkhorn by his side. – Ezekiel 9:1-11. (The Watchtower May 15, 1925 p. 149).


C. T. Russell is not “the man clothed in linen”


Not too long ago, in the year 1931, a Biblical book was published entitled “Vindication.” This book, which had a wide distribution throughout Christendom, was published by the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society. It was a commentary on the first twenty-four chapters of the prophecy of Ezekiel. It made clear that the prophecy of the man “clothed with linen” had not been fulfilled in any one man in contact with Christendom, say, for instance, in Charles Taze Russell, the first president of the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, who died October 31, 1916, thereby finishing his earthly work as a Christian, in the midst of World War I. (“The Nations Shall Know That I Am Jehovah”—How? 1971 pp. 171-172).


The September 1, 1931, issue of The Watch Tower pointed to another group. In a fine explanation of Ezekiel 9:1-11, it showed that the man with the writer’s inkhorn mentioned in those verses represents the anointed remnant. (The Watchtower January 1, 2000 p. 12).


            See Appendix 4. New teachings introduced in the first half of 2016.




C. T. Russell is a prophet


In the newspapers, in the theatres, on the bill-boards, in billions of tract pages distributed gratis, in millions of home libraries, in the questions of inquiring church members, it was evident everywhere that a great preacher was faithfully sounding forth a trumpet message. With a voice of many waters, reverberating like thunder throughout the world, spoke Pastor Russell; and ere long “they shall know that there hath been a Prophet [preacher] among them.” (The Finished Mystery 1917, 1926 p. 378).


[Ezek.] 33:33. And when this cometh to pass (lo, it will come), then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them. — But when the things predicted in the entire seven volumes of the Studies in the Scriptures come to pass, then shall the tares, too late, realize that a great and Divinely ordained preacher “hath been among them.” (The Finished Mystery 1917, 1926 p. 532).


Pyramid of Cheops is a prophet




God is the Prophet


The accomplishment of all things foretold in the exact time-order served to affix a seal of confirmation to this vision and prophecy given to Daniel and it vindicated Jehovah God as a Prophet and Timekeeper (“This Means Everlasting Life” 1950 p. 91).


Jehovah’s Witnesses are prophets


Christendom will go on refusing to accept the knowledge of Jehovah God at the mouths and hands of his witnesses. But the awesome hour draws near when she will be made to know that these have been God’s witnesses, his “prophet among them”, and that He is Jehovah... (The Watchtower September 1, 1950 p. 286).


In behalf of such individuals who at heart seek God’s rule instead of man’s rule, the “prophet” whom Jehovah has raised up has been, not an individual man as in the case of Jeremiah, but a class. The members of this class are, like the prophet-priest Jeremiah, wholly dedicated to Jehovah God through Christ and, by the begettal of Jehovah’s holy spirit, they have been made part of “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for special possession.” (1 Peter 2:9) At this late date there is a mere remnant of this “prophet” class yet on earth. The “war of the great day of God the Almighty” at Har–Magedon could not start before this composite “prophet” ends his work. (The Watchtower October 1, 1982 p. 27).


You will be interested to learn that God has on earth a people, all of whom are prophets, or witnesses for God. In fact, they are known throughout the world as Jehovah’s Witnesses. (Awake! June 8, 1986 p. 9).


Jehovah’s Witnesses are not prophets


God’s people today are not prophets. We are not inspired to add to Jehovah’s infallible words of truth found in the Bible. Still, we have been commissioned to preach the good news of the Kingdom all the

days until the end of the system of things... (God’s Word for Us Through Jeremiah 2010 p. 167).


“The watchman” of Ezekiel 3:17 and 33:2


C. T. Russell is the watchman of Ezekiel 3:17 and 33: 2


[Ezek. ]3:17. Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore hear the word at My mouth, and give them warning from Me. — The function of watchmanship was not given until 1881. (Jer. 6:17; Isa. 21:6-12.) Faithfulness in individual watching during a trial period of seven years was rewarded by the bestowal of the office of the greatest servant whom the Church of God has had since the Apostle Paul. (The Finished Mystery 1917, 1926 p. 387).


The remnant of anointed ones is the watchman of Ezekiel 3:17 and 33:2


If Ezekiel failed as a watchman, Jehovah would hold him responsible for the deaths of victims. Although those not wanting him to administer reproof would put figurative cords upon him, he would boldly declare God’s message. (Ezekiel 3:22-27) In our day, Christendom refuses to listen and tries to impose restraints upon anointed Christians. But since 1919 these anointed ones have served as Jehovah’s “watchman,” courageously declaring his message for this system’s “time of the end.” (Daniel 12:4) Associated with them in this work is an increasing “great crowd” of Jesus’ “other sheep.” (Revelation 7:9, 10; John 10:16) Since the “watchman” class keeps speaking God’s message, surely every one of the anointed and the “great crowd” would want to declare it as a regular publisher. (The Watchtower September 15, 1988 p. 12).


Is C. T. Russell the first or the second president?


He’s the first president


So early in 1881 ZION’S WATCH TOWER TRACT SOCIETY was established as an unincorporated administrative agency with Russell as its manager. (The Watchtower January 15, 1955 p. 47).


One fact that stands out prominently in connection with those Jehovah used to bring this gradual increase of spiritual light is that they took no credit to themselves. The attitude of C. T. Russell, first president of the Watch Tower Society, was that the Lord was pleased to use their humble talents. (The Watchtower May 15, 1995 p. 17).


He’s the second president


This work quickly took on immense proportions. In order to handle it, Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society was formed on February 16, 1881, with W. H. Conley as president and C. T. Russell as secretary and treasurer. Arrangements were made for the printing to be done by commercial firms in various cities of Pennsylvania, New York, and Ohio, as well as in Britain. In 1884, Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society was legally incorporated, with C. T. Russell as president, and its charter showed that it was more than a society that would direct publishing. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 576).


He’s the first president


Charles Taze Russell, the first president of the Watch Tower Society, gave the baptism discourse. (The Watchtower January 1, 2000 p. 25).



Were C.T. Russell and the Bible Students instruments of God?


Bible students were an instrument of God


There is no question that the first president of this corporation, C. T. Russell, was used mightily by Jehovah during the period when basic Bible truths were being restored among God’s true worshipers on earth. (The Watchtower January 1, 1977 p. 15).


Russell was unlike many of his reformation-minded contemporaries in that he did not preach a special approach to God, did not boast of divine visions or revelations, did not discover esoteric messages in the form of hidden books or otherwise, and never claimed to be able to heal the physically sick. Furthermore, he did not assert that he could interpret the Bible. As a willing instrument in divine hands, he resisted all temptations to allow “his own candle” to outshine divine light. (Awake! October 22, 1989 p. 20).


Bible students were not an instrument of God (teaching since 2013)


An intriguing question therefore arises: Were the Bible Students in the years that led up to 1914 the appointed channel through which Christ would feed his sheep? No. (The Watchtower July 15, 2013 pp. 18-19).


Was J. F. Rutherford “the leader” of Jehovah’s Witnesses?


J. F. Rutherford was “the leader” (1927-1941)


The brethren throughout Central Europe send their love and greetings to you, Brother Rutherford, as their visible leader. (I.B.S.A. Year Book 1932 p. 109).


Generalissimo of the Bible Students’ Organizations (The Messenger 19.06 1927 p. 2).

See: The Messenger 25.07 1931 p. 1 (Generalissimo); The Messenger 26.07 1931 p. 6 (Chief).


OUR DEAR BROTHER RUTHERFORD: We feel constrained to take the occasion of the receipt of Preservation you so kindly sent, to express to Jehovah through you as the leader of his earthly organization, how our hearts have gone out in praise and gratitude, not only for this bountiful gift, but for Light and Vindication, particularly for the latter. (The Watchtower March 1, 1933 p. 78).


DEAR BROTHER RUTHERFORD (...) I hope it will be encouraging to you to know that we appreciate not only the goodness of our God, but also the loyalty and unselfish service of the one who stands as our visible earthly leader, exemplifying the spirit of Jehovah. (The Watchtower December 1, 1932 p. 365).

See The Watchtower March 1, 1929 p. 79 (faithful leader); The Watchtower April 1, 1931 p. 110 (our earthly leader).


J.F. Rutherford was not “the leader” (1941-1942)


Although Brother Rutherford served for 25 years as president of the Watch Tower Society and devoted all his energy to advancing the work of the organization, he was not the leader of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and he did not want to be. At a convention in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1941, shortly before his death, he spoke about the matter of leadership, saying: “I want to let any strangers here know what you think about a man being your leader, so they won’t be forgetting. Every time something rises up and starts to grow, they say there is some man a leader who has a great following. If there is any person in this audience who thinks that I, this man standing here, is the leader of Jehovah’s witnesses, say Yes.” The response was an impressive silence, broken only by an emphatic “No” from several in the audience. The speaker continued: “If you who are here believe that I am just one of the servants of the Lord, and we are working shoulder to shoulder in unity, serving God and serving Christ, say Yes.” In unison the assembly roared out a decisive “Yes!” The following month an audience in England responded in exactly the same way. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 220-221).


They did not view J. F. Rutherford as their leader. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 90).


J. F. Rutherford in 1941. The Witnesses knew that he was not their leader (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 221).


Organization and salvation


The old statement of “an organization”


However, Brother Russell emphasized that they were not attempting to set up an “earthly organization.” Rather, he said, “we adhere only to that heavenly organization—‘whose names are written in heaven.’ (Heb. 12:23; Luke 10:20.)” (...) Not attempting to set up an “earthly organization” (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 205).


Beware of “organization.” It is wholly unnecessary. The Bible rules will be the only rules you will need. Do not seek to bind others’ consciences, and do not permit others to bind yours. Believe and obey so far as you can understand God’s Word today, and so continue growing in grace and knowledge and love day by day. (The Watchtower September 15, 1895 p. 1866, reprints).


It has never been the purpose of these Christians to assemble themselves as Bible Students to induce anyone to join them; in fact, they have no membership roll. (>Our Lord’s Return 1925 p. 32).


Salvation by the organization


This conclusion is in complete harmony with the facts as they are known The Lord’s organization on the earth is called the Society, because that organization contains the people that are diligent in bringing forth the fruits of the kingdom which the Lord requires of all those whom he approves. (The Watchtower November 15, 1931 p. 344).


(...) published in 1936, The Watchtower explained: “The Scriptures strongly support the conclusion that at Armageddon Jehovah will destroy the peoples of the earth, saving only those who obey his commandments to stand by his organization...” (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 170).


Those desiring salvation must make for God’s organization, and find entrance into it and remain there permanently. (The Watchtower October 1, 1952 p. 603).


Outside of God’s moral organization there is no everlasting life. (The Watchtower December 1, 1960 p. 726).


Bible students need to get acquainted with the organization of the “one flock” Jesus spoke about at John 10:16. They must appreciate that identifying themselves with Jehovah’s organization is essential to their salvation. (Rev. 7:9, 10, 15) (Our Kingdom Ministry No. 11, 1990 p. 1).


But if we were to draw away from Jehovah’s organization, there would be no place else to go for salvation and true joy. (The Watchtower September 15, 1993 p. 22).


Just as Noah and his God-fearing family were preserved in the ark, survival of individuals today depends on their faith and their loyal association with the earthly part of Jehovah’s universal organization. (The Watchtower May 15, 2006 p. 22).


Criticism of salvation by an organization?


We cannot take part in any modern version of idolatry—be it worshipful gestures toward an image or symbol or the imputing of salvation to a person or an organization. (The Watchtower November 1, 1990 p. 26).


Organization as the “ark” and “mother”


Is the organization “the ark”?


Christ is “the ark”


Noah's Ark represented Christ. Whoever comes into Christ comes into safety and salvation, out of danger and destruction. All who come into this relationship to God in Christ are said to have “passed from death unto life.” – John 5:24. (Pastor Russell’s Sermons 1917 p. 341).


Organization is “the ark”


They must place themselves under his leadership and protection, and must comply with the instructions which he sends through the Theocratic organization, the antitypical Ark. (The Watchtower April 15, 1943 p. 124).


Change from the ark-organization into the ark-theocratic system of things

Let God Be True” 1946 Let God Be True” 1952
The “other sheep”, however, remember their Creator, hold fast their faith, and break clean away from the Satanic elements that now reign. Zealously they preach of Armageddon's approach, and the Kingdom blessings to follow. Continuing faithful till Armageddon, the “other sheep” who seek meekness and righteousness, like the flood survivors of Noah's day, shall be hid in the antitypical ark, God's organization... (p. 260). The “other sheep”, however, remember their Creator, hold fast their faith, and break clean away from the satanic elements that now reign. Zealously they preach of Armageddon's approach and of the Kingdom blessings to follow. Continuing faithful till Armageddon, the other sheep who seek righteousness and meekness will, like the flood survivors of Noah's day, be hid in the antitypical ark, Jehovah's theocratic system of things... (p. 265).

We must enter into the Christian system of things, which was pictured by the ark. (The Watchtower May 1, 1970 p. 267).


The spiritual paradise is “the ark”


As the light shining on God’s truth became ever brighter in harmony with Proverbs 4:18, it was found necessary to change songs that had been in previous songbooks. That was true with the current Song 215. In 1974 we came to understand that Noah’s ark pictured our spiritual paradise, not the Kingdom. (See The Watchtower, 1974, page 634.) So the line in the older songbook “Flee at once to the ark of salvation, To the Kingdom of God that is here!” was changed to “Act at once! Make a full dedication; Serve the Kingdom of God that is here.” (The Watchtower October 15, 1986 pp. 23-24).


Is the organization “the ark”?


Do not conclude that there are different roads, or ways, that you can follow to gain life in God’s new system. There is only one. There was just the one ark that survived the Flood, not a number of boats. And there will be only one organization—God’s visible organization—that will survive the fast-approaching “great tribulation.” (...) You must be part of Jehovah’s organization, doing God’s will, in order to receive his blessing of everlasting life. (You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth 1989 p. 255).


The spiritual paradise is “the ark”


For the security and survival of true worshipers, an arklike spiritual paradise exists. (2 Corinthians 12:3, 4) To be preserved through the great tribulation, we must remain in that paradise. (The Watchtower December 15, 2003 p. 19).


Is the organization “the ark”?


Just as Noah and his God-fearing family were preserved in the ark, survival of individuals today depends on their faith and their loyal association with the earthly part of Jehovah’s universal organization. (The Watchtower May 15, 2006 p. 22).


The organization is the “mother” and “grandmother”


“The mother” is the covenant of grace


(...) and the spiritual father and mother of the true Church are Jehovah and His Covenant of Grace (Gal. 4:22-28), so the spiritual father and mother of ecclesiasticism, priestcraft, are the Devil and his covenant with death. (Gen. 3:4; Isa. 28:18.) (The Finished Mystery 1917, 1926 p. 454).


“The mother” is the organization


The word “father” of Exodus 20:12 means Jehovah God, who gives life to all who receive life. The “mother” of the text means God’s “woman”, picturing God’s organization... (The Watchtower December 15, 1936 p. 373).


So he does not like it when any professed Christian disrespects the “mother” organization. (The Watchtower October 1, 1950 p. 346).


So with a student of the Bible who gains faith in God: he takes up the ministry as one of the New World society, teaching the things he has learned to others. He acknowledges Jehovah as his father and Jehovah’s organization as his mother. He becomes awake to the light of God’s law and finds himself on the way of life. (Prov. 6:20) (The Watchtower February 1, 1961 p. 80-81).


WHEN asked how she felt ten years ago when the Spanish edition of The Watchtower began to be published simultaneously with the English, one dear Spanish sister responded: ‘We feel it is a blessing because now we were in the same, what do you say, step with English. When I say English, all the time I think of the organization. We refer to the organization as “Mama.” We feel close, near. It’s beautiful. It’s wonderful!’ (The Watchtower April  1, 1994 p. 32).


One such person was Iosif Jucan, who would often say: “We cannot hope to be saved at Armageddon unless we continue to take in regular spiritual food and keep in close contact with ‘Mother.’” He was referring to remaining in touch with the earthly part of Jehovah’s organization. (2006 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses p. 117).


The oganization is “the Grand Mother”


Jehovah as an affectionate Grand Father and his universal organization as a tenderhearted Grand Mother will forever join in expressing their loving-kindness to their grandchildren, their God-fearing offspring on earth. (The Watchtower October 1, 1956 p. 605).


Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses


In the first century, Jerusalem was the place from which direction was given the Christian organization. (Acts 15:1, 2) But today such direction is provided from Brooklyn, New York. (The Watchtower December 1, 1982 p. 23).


Until October 1971


The term “governing body” as such is not found in the Scriptures. (The Watchtower November 15, 1972 p. 703).


In the year 1944 the Watchtower magazine began to speak about the governing body of the Christian congregation. (The Watchtower December 15, 1971 p. 755).


Until 1971 those of the Governing Body were still identified with the seven members of the board of directors of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. The Society’s president carried the main load of responsibility for making decisions affecting the operation of the Society’s branches throughout the world. But epoch-making talks were delivered at the annual meeting held on October 1, 1971. (The Watchtower March 15, 1990 p. 18).


The old teaching: Jesus is the member of the Governing Body (!):


The one member of the governing body that has not changed in all these nineteen centuries is the chief member, the invisible and immortal Jesus Christ. Other personalities in the membership of the governing body may change through the years as God sets the members in His organization as it pleases him; but the Theocratic requirements laid upon the governing body do not change. (The Watchtower December 1, 1947 p. 363).


Since October 1971


Until 1971 those of the Governing Body were still identified with the seven members of the board of directors of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. The Society’s president carried the main load of responsibility for making decisions affecting the operation of the Society’s branches throughout the world. But epoch-making talks were delivered at the annual meeting held on October 1, 1971. The Society’s president spoke on the subject “Bringing the Holy Place Into Right Condition,” and the vice president on the topic “A Governing Body As Different From a Legal Corporation.” What difference is there between the Governing Body and the legal corporation? As already mentioned, the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania has a board of directors limited to seven members. These dedicated Christian men are elected for three-year terms by corporation members totaling no more than 500, the majority of whom are not anointed Christians. Moreover, since the corporation’s existence is purely legal, with a fixed geographic headquarters, it can be dissolved by Caesar, that is, the State. (Mark 12:17) However, the Governing Body is not a legal instrument. Its members are not elected. They are appointed through the holy spirit under the direction of Jehovah God and Jesus Christ. (Compare Acts 20:28.) Moreover, those making up the Governing Body are spirit-appointed men without any obligatory fixed geographic location or headquarters. (The Watchtower March 15, 1990 p. 18).


They do not want to cause anything like a situation where the “administrative agency” controls and directs the user of that agency, which user is the governing body as representing the “faithful and discreet slave” class. No more so than to have the tail wag a dog instead of the dog’s wagging its tail. (The Watchtower December 15, 1971 p. 760).


Since January 1976


On December 4, 1975, the Governing Body had unanimously approved one of the most significant organizational readjustments in the modern-day history of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Starting January 1, 1976, all the activities of the Watch Tower Society and of the congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses around the earth had been brought under the supervision of six administrative committees of the Governing Body. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 109).


Since October 2000


AT THE conclusion of the annual meeting of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania on October 7, 2000, a special announcement was made by the chairman, John E. Barr of the Governing Body. (...) Brother Barr told the audience that recently certain members of the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses who had been serving as directors and officers voluntarily stepped aside from the boards of directors of all the corporations used by “the faithful and discreet slave” in the United States. Responsible brothers of the other sheep class were elected as replacements. (The Watchtower January 15, 2001 p. 31).


Today, however, the question arises: Is there any Scriptural reason why the directors of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania must be members of the Governing Body? The answer is no. (The Watchtower January 15, 2001 p. 29).


Elections to the board of the Watchtower Society


Dollars determine the choice of the board


The corporation’s former voting arrangement was that of one vote for every ten-dollar donation to the Society. Voting method was amended in 1944. (The Watchtower March 15, 1955 p. 175).


On January 6, 1917, approximately 150,000 votes, represented in person or by proxy at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, were unanimously cast for J. F. Rutherford for president... (Qualified to Be Ministers 1955 p. 313).


Dollars do not decide of the election of the board


1945 As of October 1, the Society’s board of directors is no longer selected by voters who qualify because of monetary donations (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 722).


The Elijah and Elisha Classes


The first interpretation


And since Elijah represented the Body of Christ in the flesh the overcoming Church, a company, a number it is but reasonable that we should conclude that Elisha represented a class also (...) The meaning of the name Elisha is mighty deliverer, and the career of Elisha was one of restitution work. This doubtless foreshadows a work by a class which in the future will be the active agents among men in carrying on the restitution work in the power of the then glorified Church. (The Time is at Hand 1927 pp. 265-266).


The second interpretation


This appears to mean that Jehovah, during the Elijah period, that is, from A.D. 1878 to A.D. 1918, began to prepare a people to be witnesses to the name of Jehovah... (Riches 1936 p. 67).


(...) that there was then a short period of time of inactivity on the part of the true followers of Christ Jesus, which period of inactivity was followed by a greater work, which latter work was foreshadowed by the prophet Elisha and which activity is herein spoken of as "the Elisha work" or "work of the Elisha period". This work of the Elisha period or Elisha work began in A.D. 1919 and must continue until the witness work is done. (Riches 1936 p. 67).


The third interpretation


In 1942 the change came. In the throes of World War II, with the change in administrations of the second and third presidents of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, the Elijah work passed away, having realized its purpose to Jehovah’s praise. (...) The years since 1942 have told their tale regarding the exploits of the anointed Elisha class, accompanied by an ever-increasing number of the “great crowd.”—Rev. 7:9-17. (The Watchtower October 1, 1967 p. 595).


The fourth interpretation


It pointed to Jesus as the prophesied Greater Moses at the time of his coming for judgment. (...) He would be associated then with a modern-day Elijah in order to accomplish a vital work, that of preaching this good news of the Kingdom in all the earth before the great and fear-inspiring day of Jehovah strikes. Describing the work of this “Elijah,” Malachi 4:6 states: “He must turn the heart of fathers back toward sons, and the heart of sons back toward fathers; in order that I may not come and actually strike the earth with a devoting of it to destruction.” Thus “Elijah” is identified as the faithful and discreet slave class of anointed Christians on earth, to whom the Master, Jesus, has entrusted all His belongings. (The Watchtower April 15, 1995 p. 24).


Elisha was an anointed servant of God. That is, he was specially appointed by Jehovah to do a certain work. So he can be used as a picture or prophetic type of the remaining ones of the bride of Christ yet on earth, the remnant of the 144,000 who will be united with Christ in the heavens. (The Watchtower July 1, 1974 p. 406).


Coordinator and elders in congregations and branch committees


Coordinator and elders in congregations


Until 1932


From the 1870’s to 1932, elders and deacons were voted into office by members of the congregation. (The Watchtower May 15, 2006 p. 24).


A highly significant step toward correcting this situation was taken in 1919 when the magazine The Golden Age began publication. (...) Each congregation that desired to share in this activity was invited to ask the Society to register it as a “service organization.” Then a director, or service director as he came to be known, not subject to yearly election, was appointed by the Society. As the local representative of the Society, he was to organize the work, assign territory, and encourage participation by the congregation in the field service. Thus, alongside the democratically elected elders and deacons, another type of organizational arrangement began to function, one that recognized appointive authority outside the local congregation and that gave greater emphasis to the preaching of the good news of God’s Kingdom. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 212).


Years 1932-1938


In 1932 the elective elders were replaced with a service committee elected by the congregation to assist an appointed service director. (The Watchtower May 15, 2006 p. 24).


Years 1938-1971


During 1938, arrangements were made for the theocratic appointment of all servants in the congregation. (The Watchtower May 15, 2006 p. 24).


From 1932 to 1972, congregation oversight had been carried out mainly by one brother. Until 1936, such an appointed brother was called the service director. Thereafter, the name was changed to company servant, then to congregation servant, and finally to congregation overseer. (God’s Kingdom Rules! 2014 p. 122).


Since 1972


Beginning October 1, 1972, another adjustment in congregational oversight became effective. The arrangement of oversight by a body of elders was instituted in the congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide, replacing oversight by just one congregation servant, or overseer. (The Watchtower February 15, 2006 p. 28).


The speaker also explained that beginning October 1, 1972, there would be a yearly rotating of chairmanship within each congregation’s body of elders. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 106).


Since 1983


The speaker also explained that beginning October 1, 1972, there would be a yearly rotating of chairmanship within each congregation’s body of elders. This arrangement was adjusted in 1983, when each body of elders was asked to recommend a presiding overseer who, after appointment by the Society, would serve for an indefinite period of time as the chairman of the body of elders. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 106).


Since 2009


Effective January 1, 2009, the term “presiding overseer” will no longer be used. This assignment will now be designated “coordinator of the body of elders.” (Our Kingdom Ministry No.11, 2008 p. 3).


Since September 2014


With this Biblical precedent in mind, the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses has adjusted how the appointments of elders and ministerial servants are made. As of September 1, 2014, appointments are being made as follows: Each circuit overseer carefully reviews the recommendations being made in his circuit. During his visits to the congregations, he will try to get to know those who are recommended, working along with them in the ministry if at all possible. After discussing the recommendations with the local body of elders, the circuit overseer has the responsibility of appointing the elders and ministerial servants in the congregations in his circuit. In this way, the arrangement is closer to the first-century pattern. (The Watchtower November 15, 2014 p. 29).


Circuit and district overseers


From 1894 to 1927, traveling speakers sent out by the Society were known first as Tower Tract Society representatives, then as pilgrims. From 1928 to 1936, with increased emphasis on field service, they were called regional service directors. Starting with July 1936, to emphasize their proper relationship to the local brothers, they became known as regional servants. From 1938 to 1941, zone servants were assigned to work with a limited number of congregations on a rotation basis, thus getting back to the same groups at regular intervals. After an interruption of about a year, this service was revived in 1942 with servants to the brethren. In 1948 the term circuit servant was adopted; now, circuit overseer. From 1938 through 1941, regional servants, in a new role, regularly served local assemblies, where Witnesses from a limited area (a zone) met for a special program. When this work was revived in 1946, these traveling overseers were known as district servants; now, district overseers. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 223).


In the letter to all congregations of March 20th, 2014, the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses announced that since September 1st, 2014 the office of a district overseer will be eliminated.


Branch Committees


In harmony with that arrangement, on February 1, 1976, changes had been put into effect in all branch offices of the Society around the earth. No longer was each branch supervised by one branch overseer, but three or more mature men served as a Branch Committee, with one member serving as the permanent coordinator. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 109).


Women as “servants of the congregation” and in other positions


Women – members of the Governing Body


For many years the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses was synonymous with the board of directors of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, and matters were largely in the hands of its president. (The Watchtower May 15, 1995 p. 22).


Mrs. Russell was a director of the Watch Tower Society and served as its secretary and treasurer for some years. (1975 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses p. 66).


Maria Russell was not a single woman in the board of directors of the Watchtower Society, the Governing Body of the time. In 1881 the offices of directors were performed also by Sara Conley (the wife of contemporary president W. Conley) and Margaret Russell (C. T. Russell’s sister).



Women “deaconess” in congregations and the rejection of this function


The same order should prevail in respect to the choice of helpers called deacons and deaconesses, whose good repute should also be noted as a qualification. (See 1 Tim. 3: 8-13.) (The New Creation 1909 p. 282).


Is it found profitable to have sisters elected to the office of deaconess in the congregation?

Answer: There seems to be no good reason why a sister should be elected to such a position. Every sister has the same privilege in the class, whether she is a deaconess or not. Her privilege is to attend Berean studies, and also the prayer meetings, participate in asking and answering questions, to play the musical instrument when called for, etc. But to say that a person must be a deaconess before she could play for a meeting would be overdoing the matter entirely. There is no Scriptural provision that a sister should be a deaconess in order to be given the privilege of serving at the musical instrument for the congregation. In fact, there seems to be no advantage whatsoever in having sisters elected to this position of deaconess. (The Watchtower September 15, 1921 p. 287).


Women as “appointed servants” in congregations


Qualified sisters may be appointed to fill servants' positions if there are not sufficient brothers to serve, but none would be thought of as overseer. The Society will send an appointment letter to the congregation and this letter is to be read to the congregation and should be held as part of the congregation's permanent file. (Preaching and Teaching in Peace and Unity 1960 p. 27).


Rejection of “appointing” women as servants in congregations


If there are still not sufficient brothers to care for the necessary work, then, on recommendation from the congregation committee, the Society may request that certain mature, humble sisters assist. They are not appointed as servants, but are simply requested to be substitutes in caring for the work until a qualified brother is available. (“Your Word Is a Lamp to My Foot” 1967 p. 120).


Changes in the names of organizations and journals


They simply call themselves Bible Students, or International Bible Students, because their ranks are made up of people from every nation and language of earth. They have no membership roll; neither do they count members or boast of numbers. (...) Bible Students have never asked anybody to join anything, and the very best evidence that they are not trying to make another division, another sect, or establish another creed... (The Watchtower April  1, 1930 p. 109).




Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society and renaming


Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society. First formed in 1881 and then legally incorporated in the state of Pennsylvania on December 15, 1884. In 1896 its name was changed to Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. Since 1955 it has been known as Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 229).


Peoples Pulpit Association and renaming


Peoples Pulpit Association. Formed in 1909 in connection with the Society’s moving of its principal offices to Brooklyn, New York. In 1939 the name was changed to Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, Inc. Since 1956 it has been known as Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 229).


International Bible Students Association


International Bible Students Association. Incorporated in London, England, on June 30, 1914. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 229).


Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses and other new organizations


The new corporations are as follows:

Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses

Religious Order of Jehovah’s Witnesses

Kingdom Support Services, Inc. (Our Kingdom Ministry No. 1, 2002 p.7).




The Watchtower


1879, Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence (…)

1909, The Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence (…)

1931, The Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence (title and cover change, October 15) (…)

1939, The Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Kingdom (title and cover change, January 1) (…)

1939, The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom (title change, March 1) (Watch Tower Publications Index 2001-2010, 2011).




1919, The Golden Age (…)

1937, Consolation (formerly The Golden Age) (…)

1946, Awake! (formerly Consolation) (Watch Tower Publications Index 2001-2010, 2011).


Our Kingdom Ministry


1919, Bulletin (…)

1935, Director for Field Publishers (…)

1936, Informant (…)

1956, Kingdom Ministry (…)

1976, Our Kingdom Service (…)

1982, Our Kingdom Ministry (Watch Tower Publications Index 2001-2010, 2011).


            See Appendix 4. New teachings introduced in the first half of 2016.


Images, illustrations, portraits and logo of The Watchtower


Years 1879-1913 - no illustrations


In the earliest years the Watchower magazine (since 1879) did not contain any illustrations depicting Biblical characters.

Books included only a few pictures and graphs connected to the Great Pyramid (See Thy Kingdom Come 1891; The Plan of the Age 1886).


Years 1914-1941 - illustrations and portraits of presidents


In January 1914, with the end of the Gentile Times less than a year away, yet another intensive witness was launched. This was the “Photo-Drama of Creation,” which emphasized in a fresh manner God’s purpose for the earth. It did this by means of beautifully hand-painted color slides and motion pictures, synchronized with sound. The public press in the United States reported that across the country audiences totaling hundreds of thousands were viewing it weekly (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 422).


“Scenario” of the “Photo-Drama,” containing the lectures and many illustrations (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 56).


I was born on June 2, 1925, in the small town of Lucka near Leipzig, Germany. Even before I was born, my parents, Alfred and Teresa, recognized the ring of Bible truth in the publications of the Bible Students, as Jehovah’s Witnesses were then known. I remember every day looking at the pictures of Bible scenes hanging on the walls of our home. One picture showed the wolf and the lamb, the kid and the leopard, the calf and the lion—all in peace, being led by a little boy. (Isaiah 11:6-9) Such pictures made a lasting impression on me. (The Watchtower August 1, 1997 p. 20).


An “evangelist” who held these views called at the home of a lady in Scranton. Entering the hall he saw an elegant picture of Pastor Russell. Instantly he lost control of what mind he had and vehemently said, “I called here as a Christian minister, but I see you have old Russell's picture here. Are you a follower of his?” The lady replied that she was. (The Finished Mystery 1917, 1926 p. 239).


Now at the Berlin assembly [1931] he called attention to the many pictures of himself and of Brother Russell that were being sold in the form of postcards or pictures, some of which were even framed. After discovering these pictures at the numerous tables in the corridors around the hall, he mentioned them in his next talk, urging those in attendance not to buy any of them and asking the servants in charge in plain words to remove the pictures from their frames and to destroy them, which was then done. He wanted to avoid anything that could lead to creature worship. In connection with the Berlin convention Brother Rutherford naturally visited the branch office in Magdeburg. Like earlier visits, this one proved to be like a refreshing, liberating breeze. Shortly before Brother Rutherford’s visit, pictures of him and of Brother Russell had been hung up in all the rooms. Now all of these were removed, just as soon as Brother Rutherford discovered them. (1974 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses pp. 106-107).


On a part of the premises of the SOCIETY has been erected a hall for the meeting of the congregation, (…). While excavating for the buiding a large sandstone was dug up; and one of the brothers, who is a sculptor, cut out from this stone a life-size representation of the Lord; and this has been erected on a pedestal in the yard. The grounds have been beautified by the planting of trees and flower. (The Watchtower July 1, 1926 p. 197).


Years 1942-1980 - illustrations in publications


During the era following World War II, the world became very picture oriented, and use of realistic color did much to make publications more visually appealing. This use of color has made the printed page more attractive and therefore encouraged reading. In many places it was found that the distribution of The Watchtower and Awake! increased considerably after their appearance was thus enhanced (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 pp. 595-596).


Years 1981-2015 - color illustrations


The branch in Finland was the first to do offset printing of each issue of its magazines in four colors, beginning in a simple way with issues in January 1981 and then progressively using improved techniques. Next, Japan used four-color printing for a bound book. Other Watch Tower printeries have followed suit as equipment has become available. Some of the presses have been purchased and shipped by the world headquarters. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 595).


Visual illustrations often are more effective than the written word in teaching important ideas. A mother explains how she was comforted by such an illustration: “The practical illustrations in the book You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth have been particular favorites of mine because of their aptness in focusing clearly on the point of discussion. (…) Over 150 excellent teaching illustrations, most in beautiful color, are found in this fine publication. Fill in and mail the accompanying coupon, along with $2.50, and receive your copy. (The Watchtower October 15, 1986 p. 32).


“Look at the Artwork!” How many times have you said that to yourself or to others when you opened a new issue of this magazine? The beautiful pictures and photographs that are painstakingly produced are there for a purpose. They are teaching aids that make us think and feel. They can be especially helpful when we prepare for and participate in the Watchtower Study. (The Watchtower July 15, 2013 p. 32).


Even the Watchtower Society’s publications have been the subject of rumors—for example, that one of the artists had secretly been introducing pictures of demons into the illustrations, was subsequently found out and disfellowshiped! Did you share in spreading any such stories? If so, you were—perhaps unwittingly—spreading an untruth, since they were all false. Certainly, the rumor concerning the Society’s publications was harmful, as well as slanderous to the zealous Christians who work long hours producing artwork to make the magazines, brochures and books so attractive. This was as ridiculous as it would be to say that God, in creating celestial bodies, deliberately formed the appearance of a ‘man in the moon.’ (The Watchtower September 1, 1984 p. 20).


Congregations or individuals should not use logos or names of the organization’s legal entities, or variations thereof, on their Kingdom Halls, signs, letterhead, personal objects, and so forth. Such use of the organization’s logos may cause confusion for public officials, publishers, and others about the legal affiliation of the congregation with the organization’s legal entities. Similarly, written correspondence could be misinterpreted as being approved or sent from the world headquarters or the branch office. The Watch Tower logo, or a variation of it, should not be used in future Kingdom Hall projects even if the Kingdom Hall is owned by a Watch Tower entity. Congregations with existing Kingdom Halls that bear a logo are not required to make immediate changes to signs or designs, since such changes may involve major alterations and much time, effort, and expense. However, consideration should be given to making a change if it would be minor and would not require extensive work. Otherwise it can be made when the building or sign is scheduled for renovation. (Our Kingdom Ministry No. 4, 2009 p. 4).


Some Kingdom Halls display paintings of Bible characters. However, these pictures are used for decoration and are not venerated as religious icons. Jehovah’s Witnesses do not pray to these pictures, nor do they bow down to them. (The Watchtower February 1, 2009 p. 30).


The Kingdom Hall is tastefully decorated and has no candles, statues, or images. (Our Kingdom Ministry No. 4, 1993 p. 3).


Jesus with a beard or without it


Jesus with a beard


At the first Jesus showed on pictures as having a beard (See The Harp of God 1921 p. 114; 1928 p. 113).


Jesus without a beard


Since the forties of the twentieth century Jesus was presented in the Watchtower Society’s publications as a man without a beard (See “The Truth Shall Make You Free” 1943 p. 301).


Jesus with a beard


Nevertheless, as already shown, it is apparent that Jesus did wear a beard, and so artistic representations of him in future Watch Tower publications will harmonize with the Scriptural evidence to that effect. (The Watchtower May 1, 1968 p. 288).


Similarly the Watchtower Society changed other aspects of Jesus’ appearance:

Long and short hair;

Black and grey hair;

Without wings, and with angelic wings.


Who was and who is a Jehovah’s Witness?


Changes of names


Watchtower Society distributors are “Christians”


When others asked about the name of the organization, our brothers would often answer, “We are Christians.” Brother Russell replied to such a question by saying, in the Watch Tower: “We do not separate ourselves from other Christians by taking any distinctive or peculiar name. We are satisfied with the name, Christian, by which the early saints were known.”—Issue of September 1888. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 149).


Watchtower Society distributors are “Bible Students”


True, our brothers often referred to themselves as Bible Students, and starting in 1910, they used the name International Bible Students’ Association with reference to their meetings. In 1914, in order to avoid confusion with their recently formed legal corporation called International Bible Students Association, they adopted the name Associated Bible Students for their local groups. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 151).


Pyramid of Cheops is “Jehovah's Witness”


A few years after Prof. Smyth's return, came the suggestion that the Great Pyramid is Jehovah's “Witness,” and that it is as important a witness to divine truth as to natural science. (Thy Kingdom Come 1898, 1923 p. 320).


For some 35 years, Pastor Russell thought that the Great Pyramid of Gizeh was God’s stone witness, corroborating Biblical time periods. (Isa. 19:19) (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 201).


Then Satan put his knowledge in dead stone, which may be called Satan’s Bible, and not God’s stone witness. (The Watchtower November 15, 1928 p. 344).


Heavenly class identified as “Jehovah's Witnesses” since 1931


But then, in 1931, we embraced the truly distinctive name Jehovah’s Witnesses. Author Chandler W. Sterling refers to this as “the greatest stroke of genius” on the part of J. F. Rutherford, then president of the Watch Tower Society. As that writer viewed the matter, this was a clever move that not only provided an official name for the group but also made it easy for them to interpret all the Biblical references to “witness” and “witnessing” as applying specifically to Jehovah’s Witnesses. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 pp. 151-152).


Patriarchs are “Jehovah’s Witnesses” since 1937


However, in the year 1937 it became more fully appreciated that the faithful prophets and men of integrity from John the Baptist back to the first martyr Abel were also witnesses of Jehovah, “so great a cloud of witnesses.” (Heb. 11:1 to 12:1, AV) (The Watchtower January 15, 1967 pp. 54-55).


The other sheep are “Jehovah’s Witnesses” since 1942


At that time the Jonadabs were not considered to be “Jehovah’s witnesses.” (See The Watchtower, August 15, 1934, page 249.) However, a few years later, The Watchtower of July 1, 1942, stated: “These ‘other sheep’ [Jonadabs] become witnesses for Him, on the same wise that the faithful men before Christ’s death, from John the Baptist all the way back to Abel, were the never-quitting witnesses for Jehovah.” (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 83).


Only anointed ones are Christians (teaching until 1937)


Strictly speaking, then, it is only those who are in Christ and anointed of the Lord and who remain steadfast to the end that can be called Christian. (The Watchtower March 1, 1930 p. 71).


A CHRISTIAN is one who is anointed by Jehovah through Christ Jesus and who is therefore a follower of Christ. Jesus Christ is the Head of all true Christians, and therefore the true Christians constitute the members of his body. (Col. 1:18) (The Watchtower August 15, 1935 p. 252).


Inactive members are not “Jehovah’s Witnesses”


All who are counted as Jehovah’s witnesses are active preachers of the good news meeting the Biblical standard of morals, since an inactive Christian or one not meeting the standard is not a Christian at all. He is not a witness for Jehovah. (The Watchtower December 1, 1959 p. 722).


Inactive members are “Jehovah’s Witnesses”


Some in that situation have allowed their spiritual strength to dwindle to such a point that they become inactive, or nonpracticing, Witnesses! (The Watchtower December 1, 2001 p. 10).


Are unbaptized publishers “Jehovah’s Witnesses”?


The elders are pleased when a new one wants to serve God. They will not expect him to have the degree of knowledge possessed by those who are baptized and further advanced in the truth, of whom more is required. (…) The two elders will inform the student that when he qualifies for and shares in the field service, he may turn in a field service report and a Congregation’s Publisher Record card will be made out in his name. This will demonstrate his affiliation with the theocratic organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses and his submission to it. (This would also be true of all others turning in field service reports.) (The Watchtower November 15, 1988 p. 17).


The reasons for the name’s change


Changing the name to distinguish the organization from Christianity


To distinguish themselves from the denominations of Christendom, in 1931 these Christians embraced the name Jehovah’s Witnesses. This name is based on Isaiah 43:10-12. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Who Are They? What Do They Believe? 2000 p. 7).


Changing the name to be distinguished from other Bible Students


WHEREAS shortly following the death of Charles T. Russell a division arose between those associated with him in such work, resulting in a number of such withdrawing from the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, and who have since refused to cooperate with said Society and its work and who decline to concur in the truth as published by the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, in The Watch Tower and the other recent publications of the above-named corporations, and have opposed and do now oppose the work of said Society in declaring the present message of God's kingdom and the day of the vengeance of our God against all parts of Satan's organization; and said opposing ones have formed themselves into divers and numerous companies and have taken and now bear such names as, to wit, “Bible Students,” “Associated Bible Students,” “Russellites teaching the truth as expounded by Pastor Russell,” “Stand-Fasters,” and like names, all of which tends to cause confusion and misunderstanding:

Now, THEREFORE, in order that our true position may be made known, and believing that this is in harmony with the will of God, as expressed in his Word, BE IT RESOLVED, as follows, to wit: (…)

therefore we joyfully embrace and take the name which the mouth of the Lord God has named, and we desire to be known as and called by the name, to wit, Jehovah's witnesses. Isa. 43:10-12; 62:2; Rev. 2:17. (The Kingdom, the Hope of the World 1931 pp. 30-31, 34).


Manipulation of the Bible verses concerning the name’s change


The texts of Isaiah 62:2 and Revelation 2:17 talk about renaming


A NEW NAME (…) therefore we joyfully embrace and take the name which the mouth of the Lord God has named, and we desire to be known as and called by the name, to wit, Jehovah's witnesses. Isa. 43:10-12; 62:2; Rev. 2:17. (The Kingdom, the Hope of the World 1931 pp. 29, 34).


This they did by adopting a resolution, entitled “A New Name”, and the sixth paragraph of which resolved : “(…) therefore we joyfully embrace and take the name which the mouth of the Lord God has named, and we desire to be known as and called by the name, to wit, Jehovah's witnesses . Isa. 43:10-12; 62:2; Rev. 2:17. (“New Heavens and a New Earth” 1953 p. 234).


The texts of Isaiah 62:2 and Revelation 2:17 do not talk about renaming


“(…) therefore we joyfully embrace and take the name which the mouth of the Lord God has named, and we desire to be known as and called by the name, to wit, Jehovah’s witnesses.—Isa. 43:10-12.” (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 156).


Although the evidence points persuasively to Jehovah’s direction in selection of the name Jehovah’s Witnesses, The Watchtower (February 1, 1944, pp. 42-3; October 1, 1957, p. 607) and the book “New Heavens and a New Earth” (pp. 231-7) later pointed out that this name is not the “new name” referred to at Isaiah 62:2; 65:15; and Revelation 2:17, though the name harmonizes with the new relationship referred to in the two texts in Isaiah. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 156).


People for which name (Acts 15:14)?


The people of Christ


The words of James, to wit, a people for his name, have been construed to mean that these are a people for the name of Jesus. This company will constitute the bride of Christ and as his bride bear the name of the Bridegroom. (The Watchtower January 15, 1928 p. 21).


Such, however, is not the true meaning of the words of the text. (The Watchtower January 15, 1928 p. 21).


The people of Jehovah


Thus does the prophet speak of and concerning them that are 'taken out for God's name', and who show forth his praises by declaring his name. — Acts 15:14; 1 Pet. 2:9,10; Isa. 12:4. Those who have trusted in Jehovah and his provision for salvation through the blood of his beloved Son; … (Prophecy 1929 p. 317).


“Jehovah's Witnesses” or “Jehovah's witnesses”?


The former term (since 1931 to March 15, 1976)


This they did by adopting a resolution, entitled “A New Name”, and the sixth paragraph of which resolved : “(…) therefore we joyfully embrace and take the name which the mouth of the Lord God has named, and we desire to be known as and called by the name, to wit, Jehovah's witnesses . Isa. 43:10-12; 62:2; Rev. 2:17. (“New Heavens and a New Earth” 1953 p. 234).


We came to realize that this was not just another religion, but that Jehovah’s witnesses are being used by Jehovah God to accomplish the preaching of the “good news” of the Kingdom world wide, according to Matthew 24:14 (The Watchtower March 15, 1976 p. 171).


The current term


In a similar way today, Jehovah’s Witnesses both of the Ezekiel class of anointed ones and of the “great crowd” are keeping themselves free from bloodguilt by their serving on the world stage as proclaimers of Jehovah’s “day of vengeance,” because of their preaching Jehovah’s warning message to earth’s inhabitants.—Isa. 61:1-3; Matt. 24:14. (The Watchtower April 1, 1976 p. 223).


“Dedication to God” or “consecration”?




What this water baptism symbolized has always been clearly understood and explained by Jehovah’s witnesses, although there has been a change in terminology. In times past what we now call “dedication” used to be called “consecration.” It was called consecration, for instance, in the book by Charles Taze Russell entitled “The New Creation,” in which book the meaning of water baptism is explained, particularly with reference to those who make up the symbolic body of Christ, those who have the hope of heavenly life. (The Watchtower February 15, 1964 p. 122).


The New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures does not contain the word “consecrate” at all in its main text, and hence the word is not used to describe anything that Jesus or any of his disciples did. (The Watchtower May 15, 1952 p. 307.


Dedication to God since 1952


In due time, however, in The Watchtower of May 15, 1952, two articles appeared on this subject. The leading article was entitled “Dedication to God and Consecration,” and the subsidiary article was entitled “Dedication for Life in the New World.” These articles showed that what was once called “consecration” was more properly termed “dedication.” Since that time the term “dedication” has been used. (The Watchtower February 15, 1964 p. 122).




Baptism of the earthly class


Baptism unnecessary for the earthly class until 1934


We began our pioneer service before we were baptized because at that time it was not clearly understood whether those with the earthly hope needed to be baptized or not. However, after I was baptized in Vandercook Lake, Michigan, July 24, 1932, it became evident that my hope had changed to that of an anointed one, which was confirmed by the ‘witness of the spirit.’—Romans 8:16. (The Watchtower March 1, 1988 p. 11).


Baptism required for the earthly class since 1934


In 1934, The Watchtower made it clear that Christians with an earthly hope should make a dedication to Jehovah and be baptized. The light regarding this earthly class was indeed shining ever more brightly!—Proverbs 4:18. (The Watchtower May 15, 2001 p. 14).


Unbaptized publishers


After a Bible student has taken in knowledge and has attended meetings for a while, he may want to become a Kingdom publisher, a preacher of the good news. (Mark 13:10) If so, the Witness conducting the Bible study with him should contact the presiding overseer, who will arrange for one of the elders on the Congregation Service Committee and another elder to meet with the Bible student and his teacher. The discussion will be based on the book Organized to Accomplish Our Ministry, pages 98 and 99. If these two elders see that the new one believes basic Bible teachings and has conformed to God’s principles, he will be told that he is qualified to share in the public ministry. When he reports his ministry by turning in a field service report, it will be posted on a Congregation’s Publisher Record card made out in his name. The new one can now report his witnessing activity along with the millions of others who joyfully ‘publish the word of God.’ (Acts 13:5) An announcement that he is an unbaptized publisher will be made to the congregation. (The Watchtower January 15, 1996 p. 16).


Delaying one’s baptism


The worldwide peak number of those sharing in preaching the “good news” in 1981 was 2,361,896 (of whom about 25 percent are not baptized as yet). But at the Lord’s Evening Meal in 1981, the combined worldwide attendance was 5,987,893. This means that over one half of those attending some meetings of Jehovah’s Witnesses are not as yet baptized. Is this cause for alarm? No, but it is a cause for loving concern. Some of these have been associated for more than a few months. (…) Do you reason that as long as you are not baptized you will not be bound by these restrictions and will have a certain “freedom” to do some questionable things while the old system still exists, hoping to wait until the last minute to take your stand for true worship? (The Watchtower February 15, 1982 p. 28).


Why Some Hold Back

Since being a dedicated witness of Jehovah is such a blessed privilege, why do some hold back from getting baptized? Lack of true love is one reason why some do not obey God’s Word, follow Jesus’ lead, and get baptized. (1 John 5:3) (The Watchtower January 15, 1989 p. 14).


Baptisms in other religious denominations


Baptism received in some other denomination is valid


If one has already been baptized, does he need to repeat the baptism after he gets a knowledge of the truth? (…) Whether a person is to be baptized again or not is determined by his understanding of baptism when he first underwent it. Did he understand the meaning of the symbol of water immersion? Did he fully appreciate that it meant a complete dedication of his life to the Lord, to serve the Lord, to do His will? Had he made such a dedication in his mind and heart and before the Lord prior to the immersion in water, which is a public symbolizing of the previously made dedication? If so, and if the baptism was a complete submersion in water, then there is no necessity for the person to perform the symbol again. (The Watchtower March 1, 1952 p. 159).


Baptism received in some other denomination is invalid


Often the question is asked whether one baptized previously in a ceremony performed by some other religious group should again be baptized when coming to an accurate knowledge of the truth and making a dedication to Jehovah. Because of what has been already said, now there is compelling reason for also saying, Yes, one must be baptized again. Obviously, by any of such religious systems one was never in reality baptized “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit,” because had he been so baptized he would have appreciated the authority and office of such true Higher Powers. And if previously dedicated to Jehovah, the individual would have separated himself from such God-dishonoring Babylonish systems even before letting them baptize him. So the act of being baptized is not the important thing, but, rather, that which the act symbolizes is the element of importance. (The Watchtower July 1, 1956 p. 406).


Repetition of baptism received in the organization


Of course, if an individual feels that he presented himself for baptism with a ‘bad conscience’ due to such practice, he may decide to be rebaptized. That would be his personal decision. (The Watchtower June 1, 1973 p. 341).


Under what circumstances might rebaptism be considered? That would be the case if at the time of baptism, an individual had secretly been living in a situation or practicing something that could have resulted in his being disfellowshipped if he had already been validly baptized. (The Watchtower April 15, 2010 p. 12).


The baptismal formula


Baptism with the formula of Matthew 28:19


It is not, therefore, a question of what the administrator may believe or disbelieve, say or omit to say, but of what is the thought and intention of the heart of the one thus symbolically baptized. Nevertheless, basing our judgment upon the words of the Lord, in Matt. 28:19, and the words of the Apostle in Rom. 6:3, we recommend as a simple form of sound words for the occasion these: “Brother John (or other Christian name), in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, by this authority, I baptize thee into Christ.” (The New Creation 1909 p. 455).


Baptism without the formula of Matthew 28:19


Faith in the ransom is emphasized for baptismal candidates, for the first of two questions the speaker asks them is: “On the basis of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, have you repented of your sins and dedicated yourself to Jehovah to do his will?” Only if the individual answers in the affirmative and also understands that his dedication and baptism identify him as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in association with God’s spirit-directed organization can he acceptably undergo water immersion. (The Watchtower January 15, 1989 p. 13).


Baptism in ‘the name of the organization’


“Self-baptism” and without questions before baptism


[1934] He well remembers his baptism. The brothers led him into the sea and told him to go down under the water and hold his breath as long as he could. When he came up, they pronounced him baptized. Of course, that is not the way we do it these days. (1995 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses p. 190).


It may be that on some baptismal occasions in the past years specific questions that could be answered audibly were not asked of the baptismal candidates regarding their faith, obedience and dedication. Yet the failure of the speaker on baptism to pronounce such questions, and hence the failure of the baptismal candidates to answer audibly and affirmatively to such questions, do not undermine the validity of the baptism performed on such occasion. (The Watchtower February 15, 1964 p. 123).


Baptism without joining the Watchtower Society and Jehovah’s Witnesses


It is clear, then, that, by water baptism, a creature is not joining any earthly or human organization. He is not joining the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society (that is a legal corporation), nor joining Jehovah’s witnesses (they are not incorporated and have no membership rolls). The creature is simply giving an outward sign, according to God’s commandment through Jesus Christ, and before witnesses, a sign of what has taken place in the heart, namely, unconditional and unreserved consecration to God through his Son. (The Watchtower April 15, 1943 p. 124).


Baptism without mentioning the organization


If you feel the same about serving Jehovah God and taking Christ’s yoke upon you, we suggest that you consider the following two questions, which are asked of candidates for baptism:

(1) Have you repented of your sins and turned around, recognizing yourself before Jehovah God as a condemned sinner who needs salvation, and have you acknowledged to him that this salvation proceeds from him, the Father, through his Son Jesus Christ?

(2) On the basis of this faith in God and in his provision for salvation, have you dedicated yourself unreservedly to God to do his will henceforth as he reveals it to you through Jesus Christ and through the Bible under the enlightening power of the holy spirit? (The Watchtower May 1, 1973 p. 280).


Baptism in ‘the name of the organization’


The Two Baptismal Questions

On the basis of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, have you repented of your sins and dedicated yourself to Jehovah to do his will?

Do you understand that your dedication and baptism identify you as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in association with God’s spirit-directed organization? (The Watchtower April 1, 2006 p. 22).


Memorial and love feasts




Memorial only for the heavenly class


The Apostle's warning here seems to be against a careless celebration of this Memorial, which would make of it a feast, and against inviting persons to it in a promiscuous manner. It is not such a feast. It is a solemn Memorial, intended only for the members of the Lord's “body”; and whoever does not discern this, whoever does not discern that the loaf represents the flesh of Jesus, and that the cup represents his blood, would, in partaking of it, properly come under condemnation not “damnation” as in the common version, but a condemnation in the Lord's sight, and a condemnation also in his own conscience. (The New Creation 1909 pp. 473-474).


Is it proper for those who expect to be of the “millions” to celebrate the memorial? (…) It would not be proper for anyone to celebrate the memorial who is not begotten of the holy spirit. (…) Since the million class are not begotten of the holy spirit, it would not be proper for them to partake of the memorial. (The Watchtower May 1, 1926 p. 143).


Then on the 26th day of March, after six p.m., let each company of the anointed assemble and celebrate the Memorial. (The Watchtower February 1, 1937 p. 34).


Inviting the other sheep to the Memorial


In 1935 they were identified with the “great crowd” of Revelation chapter 7. In 1938 they were invited to attend the Memorial of the death of Jesus Christ as observers. (The Watchtower July 1, 1995 p. 15).


Inviting the ‘people of the world’ to the Memorial


In 1938 the total attendance was 73,420, while those who partook of the emblematic bread and wine numbered 39,225. In the years that followed, those present as observers also began to include large numbers of newly interested persons and others who had not yet become active Witnesses of Jehovah. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 243).


Some ceased to eat the emblems


When Brother Rutherford explained that those of the great multitude were an earthly class of faithful Armageddon survivors, many were surprised. Then he invited all those of the great multitude to stand. Well, I didn’t stand, but Ralph did. Later, things became clearer in my mind, so 1935 was the last year I partook of the emblematic bread and wine at the Memorial of Christ’s death. Mother, however, continued to partake up until her death in November 1957. (The Watchtower March 1, 2000 p. 23).


Then in 1952, The Watchtower on page 63 published a clarification of the distinction between the earthly hope and the heavenly hope. We came to realize that we did not have the hope of heavenly life, but that our hope was of life on a paradise earth. (The Watchtower April 1, 1989 p. 29).


Some have partaken of the Memorial emblems although, later, they realized that they should not have done so. (…) So if a person, “after scrutiny,” finds that he really should not have been partaking of the emblems, he should now refrain.—1 Corinthians 11:28. (The Watchtower April 1, 1996 pp. 7-8).


Changing the date of Memorial


From then till about 1919 the anointed Christians accepted the dates as established by the Jewish calendar for the determining of Nisan 14. They realized that the Jewish calendar listed “Passover” for Nisan 15, after sundown. Nevertheless, these anointed Christians arranged to celebrate the Lord’s Evening Meal on the night of Nisan 14, even as did Jesus. Still, these Christians used the Jewish calendar in accepting the determination of the month of Nisan for each year. (The Watchtower February 1, 1976 pp. 72-73).


Each year, in recent times, the governing body of Jehovah’s witnesses has determined the actual new moon that becomes visible in Jerusalem, which is the way the first of Nisan was determined in Biblical times. For this reason often there has been a difference of a day or two between the Memorial date of Jehovah’s witnesses and the Nisan 14 date according to the modern Jewish calendar. (The Watchtower February 1, 1976 p. 73).


When the Memorial is celebrated?


At least by 1880 Jehovah’s anointed worshipers had departed from Christendom’s practice of celebrating the Lord’s Evening Meal several times a year and they observed it only on Nisan 14 after sundown. (The Watchtower February 1, 1976 p. 72).


Beginning in about 1876, arrangements were made each year by the Bible Students for commemoration of the Lord’s death. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 242).


Figurative participation of the earthly class


1986, “great crowd” figuratively partake of Jesus’ flesh and blood (Joh 6:51-56) (Watch Tower Publications Index 1986-1990, 1992 p. 131).


Reasonably, then, ‘eating his flesh and drinking his blood’ in a figurative sense is done by exercising faith in the redeeming power of Jesus’ flesh and blood laid down in sacrifice. (Reasoning From the Scriptures 1989 p. 268).


Juice and wine


Juice or wine


What emblems were used? Although noting that Jesus had used wine during the Lord’s Supper, for a time the Watch Tower recommended instead the juice of fresh grapes or cooked raisins, so as not to tempt those “weak in the flesh.” However, wine was provided for those who felt that “fermented wine was meant to be used.” The Bible Students later understood that unadulterated red wine is the proper symbol of Jesus’ blood. (The Watchtower February 15, 2015 p. 31).


Only real wine, since 1935


Then on the 17th day of April, after 6 p.m., let each company of the anointed assemble and celebrate the Memorial. In doing so, use unleavened bread and real red wine. Unfermented grape juice or raisin juice will not meet the requirements. (The Watchtower February 1, 1935 p. 47).


Love feasts


Introduced and abolished


At the conclusion of the early conventions, the brothers had what they called a love feast, reflecting their feeling of Christian brotherhood. What did this “love feast” include? As an example, the speakers would line up with plates of diced bread, and then the audience would file past, partaking of the bread, shaking hands, and singing “Blest Be the Tie That Binds Our Hearts in Christian Love.” Tears of joy often ran down their cheeks as they sang. Later, as their numbers grew, they dispensed with the handshaking and breaking of bread but would conclude with song and prayer and, often, prolonged applause to express their appreciation. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 257).

See The Watchtower November 1, 1922 pp. 323, 352.


These “love feasts” seemingly flourished even among apostate Christians until, because of associated abuses, they were abandoned entirely. (…) The Scriptures do not make them so and hence such “love feasts” have not been revived by true Christians today. But in our own time, at conventions of Jehovah’s witnesses, opportunities exist for spiritual brothers and sisters to meet together in love, to take literal meals together in assembly cafeterias and especially to share rich spiritual fare in common. (The Watchtower August 15, 1964 p. 490).


Service meetings


Meetings of prayers, praise and testimonies


Brother Russell realized that more was needed than just study of doctrinal matters. There must also be expressions of devotion so that people’s hearts would be moved by appreciation of God’s love and by a desire to honor and serve him. The classes were urged to arrange a special meeting for this purpose once a week. These were sometimes referred to as “Cottage Meetings” because they were held in private homes. The program included prayers, hymns of praise, and testimonies related by those in attendance. These testimonies were sometimes encouraging experiences; included, too, were the trials, difficulties, and perplexities confronted during recent days. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 238).


Service meetings


At least by 1926, monthly meetings where field service was discussed were called Workers’ Meetings. Those who actually participated in such service were usually the ones that attended. At these meetings, methods being used to witness to others were discussed, and plans for future activity were made. By 1928 the Society was urging the congregations to have such meetings each week. In another four years, congregations were beginning to replace the Testimony (or, Declaration) Meeting with what had come to be called the Service Meeting, and the Society encouraged everyone to attend. For over 60 years, this weekly meeting has been held by the congregations. By means of discourses, discussions involving audience participation, demonstrations, and interviews, specific help is provided in connection with all aspects of the Christian ministry. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 247).


Kingdom Halls


Halls in homes, storehouses, or granaries etc.


As was true of the first-century Christians, many congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses initially used private homes for most of their meetings. In Stockholm, Sweden, the few who first held regular meetings there used a carpentry shop, which they rented for use after the day’s work in the shop was done. Because of persecution, a small group in the province of La Coruña, Spain, held their first meetings in a small storehouse, or granary. When more space was needed, in lands where there was freedom to do so, the local congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses would rent a meeting place. However, if this was a hall that was also used by other organizations, equipment had to be hauled in or set up for each meeting, and there was frequently the lingering smell of tobacco smoke. Where possible, the brothers would rent an unused store or upstairs room that would be used exclusively by the congregation. But, in time, in many places high rents and unavailability of suitable places made it necessary to work out other arrangements. In some instances buildings were purchased and renovated. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 pp. 318-319).


It was known as the “New Light” Church because those who associated there felt that as a result of reading Watch Tower publications, they had new light on the Bible. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 319).


Masonic halls and temples


The Watchtower Society in its early years had good relations with Masonic lodges, and that fact is proved by renting Masonic halls and temples for  meetings of the Watchtower publishers:


Since I had nowhere to go for my first vacation, in 1929, I spent it at Bethel. So I was at hand when Brother Rutherford gave his talk at the Masonic Temple in Brooklyn on Jehovah’s permission of wickedness and the vindication of His name. (The Watchtower September 1, 1983 p. 11).


In 1926 a friend and I decided to pursue a boyhood dream—to work on ships and travel the world. We enrolled in the Radio Corporation of America school for radio-telegraph operators. The radio school we attended was in New York City, so I traveled across the river to Brooklyn for meetings of the Bible Students, which were held in the rented auditorium of the old Masonic Temple. Back then, there was only one congregation for the whole New York metropolitan area. (The Watchtower August 1, 1994 p. 22).


We had a weekly attendance of between 40 and 50. Later we did the same in Louisiana, where we rented a Masonic temple. To cover the cost of renting the halls, we put out contribution boxes, and each week all expenses were met. (The Watchtower August 1, 1996 p. 22).


In January 1950 there was great excitement as the brothers prepared for a two-day assembly in Maracaibo. Brother Knorr and Robert Morgan, from the world headquarters, were to be present. Pedro Morales was disappointed because publicity for the assembly was refused by the local press as a result of opposition from the church. However, as the time neared for the brothers to arrive by plane, he devised another method. He later said: “I arranged for all the children of the congregation to be out at the airport, each one with a spray of fresh flowers. This naturally aroused the interest of the newspaper reporters there, and they asked if they were expecting someone special. The children, who had been carefully briefed, would answer: ‘Yes, Sir, and he will give a talk at the Masonic Hall, Urdaneta Street No. 6, next to the police station…” (1996 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses p. 225).


Kingdom Halls


Widespread building of Kingdom Halls, however, did not get under way until the 1950’s. The name Kingdom Hall was suggested in 1935 by J. F. Rutherford, who was then president of the Watch Tower Society. In connection with the Society’s branch facilities in Honolulu, Hawaii, he arranged for the brothers to construct a hall where meetings could be held. When James Harrub asked what Brother Rutherford was going to call the building, he replied: “Don’t you think we should call it ‘Kingdom Hall,’ since that is what we are doing, preaching the good news of the Kingdom?” Thereafter, where possible, halls regularly being used by the Witnesses gradually began to be identified by signs that said “Kingdom Hall.” Thus, when the London Tabernacle was renovated in 1937-38, it was renamed Kingdom Hall. In time, the principal local meeting place of congregations worldwide came to be known as the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 319).


Replacing the term “church”


At times the local groups were referred to as “churches,” in harmony with the language used in the King James Version. They were also called ecclesias, in accord with the term used in the Greek Bible text. The expression “classes” was likewise employed, for they were in reality bodies of students meeting regularly to study. Later, when they were called companies, this was a reflection of their awareness that they were in a spiritual warfare. (See Psalm 68:11, KJ, margin.) After publication of the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures in 1950, the modern-language Bible term “congregation” came into regular use in most lands. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 206).


Singing songs, songbooks and saying the Lord’s Prayer


Singing songs


Singing in the early days


At their early Cottage Meetings, the Bible Students included songs of praise. Singing also soon became a feature of their conventions. Some sang one of the songs before breakfast, in connection with their morning worship, as was done for many years at the Bible House. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 241).


Discontinuation of singing


In 1938 singing at congregation meetings was largely dispensed with. (The Watchtower February 1, 1996 p. 26).


Return to singing


In 1938 singing at congregation meetings was largely dispensed with. However, the wisdom of following apostolic example and direction soon prevailed. At the 1944 district convention, F. W. Franz delivered the discourse “Song of Kingdom Service.” He showed that songs of praise to Jehovah were offered by God’s heavenly creatures long before the creation of man and said: “It is proper and pleasing to God for His earthly servants to lift their voices in literal song.” After developing the argument for singing in worship, he announced the release of the Kingdom Service Song Book for use at the weekly service meetings. (The Watchtower February 1, 1996 pp. 26-27).


Replacement of songbooks motivated by doctrinal reasons


Doctrinal changes in the years 1928-1984


In the songbook produced by Jehovah’s people in 1905, there were twice as many songs praising Jesus as there were songs praising Jehovah God. In their 1928 songbook, the number of songs extolling Jesus was about the same as the number extolling Jehovah. But in the latest songbook of 1984, Jehovah is honored by four times as many songs as is Jesus. (Revelation—Its Grand Climax At Hand! 1988, 2006 p. 36).


Many collections of songs have been used by Jehovah’s Witnesses over the years. Words have been updated in harmony with progressive understanding of God’s Word. (…)

1928: “Songs of Praise to Jehovah”

(337 songs, a mixture of new ones written by the Bible Students and older hymns. In the lyrics, special effort was made to break away from sentiments of false religion and from creature worship) (…)

1966: “Singing and Accompanying Yourselves With Music in Your Hearts”

(119 songs covering every aspect of Christian living and worship. Music known to have originated with secular or false-religious sources was deleted. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 pp. 240-241).


As the light shining on God’s truth became ever brighter in harmony with Proverbs 4:18, it was found necessary to change songs that had been in previous songbooks. That was true with the current Song 215. In 1974 we came to understand that Noah’s ark pictured our spiritual paradise, not the Kingdom. (See The Watchtower, 1974, page 634.) So the line in the older songbook “Flee at once to the ark of salvation, To the Kingdom of God that is here!” was changed to “Act at once! Make a full dedication; Serve the Kingdom of God that is here.” (The Watchtower October 15, 1986 pp. 23-24).


Doctrinal changes since 2010


Increased light inevitably leads to adjustments in the way in which we ‘sing the truth.’ For the past 25 years, Jehovah’s Witnesses in many lands have enjoyed using the songbook entitled Sing Praises to Jehovah. In the years since that book was first published, the light has been getting brighter on a number of topics, and some of the expressions used in that songbook have become outdated. For example, we no longer speak of “the new order” but of “the new world.” And we now state that Jehovah’s name will be “sanctified,” not “vindicated.” Clearly, from a doctrinal standpoint, there has been a need to bring our songbook up-to-date. For that and other reasons, the Governing Body approved the publication of a new songbook entitled Sing to Jehovah. The number of songs in our new book has been reduced to 135. (The Watchtower December 15, 2010 p. 23).


Doctrinal changes in 2014


At the most recent annual meeting of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, which was held on October 4, 2014, plans were announced to revise our current songbook. That truly was exciting news! All in attendance were reminded of the important place that our Kingdom songs ought to have in our worship.—Ps. 96:2. You may wonder, ‘Why is it necessary to revise the songbook?’ There are several reasons. First of all, our understanding of the Scriptures continues to be refined, and that can affect the lyrics of our songs. (Prov. 4:18) Another reason for the revision: Many expressions and phrases that are used in the current songbook were drawn from the earlier edition of the New World Translation. Those lyrics must now be adjusted to correspond with the wording of the revised edition. Since extensive work would need to be done just to bring the lyrics up-to-date, it was decided to add a few new songs to the book. (Our Kingdom Ministry No. 12, 2014 p. 7).


Saying the Lord’s Prayer


Saying the prayer


So it is not for nothing that genuine Christians are praying: “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”—Matt. 6:9, 10, Douay. (The Watchtower April 15, 1973 p. 246).


At the Kingdom Hall you will meet many very fine people, interesting people, who are truly dedicated to Jehovah God and sincerely seek to do his will. With genuine faith they pray: “Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified. Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.”—Matt. 6:9, 10. (The Watchtower January 1, 1975 p. 28).


Jehovah’s Witnesses pray: “Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified. Let your kingdom come.” (Matthew 6:9, 10) To them, this is more than a meaningless recitation. These words point to the real hope for uniting mankind: God’s heavenly Kingdom government. See this for yourself. We encourage you to get in touch with the local congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses and attend its meetings (Awake! May 8, 1984 pp. 10-11).


Discontinuation of saying the prayer


As a helpful guide or model, Jesus gave his disciples a prayer widely known today as the “Lord’s Prayer.” (Matthew 6:9-13) Though it should not be said as a ritual, it does set out the proper priorities. (The Watchtower March 15, 1988 p. 6).


In his model prayer, Jesus did not say: “You must pray, then, this prayer,” which would contradict what he had just stated. (Awake! No. 11, 2008 p. 18).


Morals of Jehovah’s Witnesses


Commending morals of publishers


Outside of God’s moral organization there is no everlasting life. (The Watchtower December 1, 1960 p. 726).


We do not steal, succumb to immorality, or commit murder; we know what God’s law is about such wrongs. (The Watchtower August 15, 1993 p. 19).


In this world that has “come to be past all moral sense,” they have a reputation for leading honest, morally clean lives. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 714).


There are no bribe-takers, drunkards or drug addicts among them… (Awake! February 22, 2000 p. 31).


THROUGHOUT the earth, Jehovah’s Witnesses—young and old—are known for their honesty. (The Watchtower June 1, 2005 p. 8).


Reproving publishers for low morals


This was needed because some among Jehovah’s Witnesses were adopting the view that as long as they were busy witnessing, a little laxness in sexual morality was just a personal matter. It is true that The Watchtower of March 1, 1935, had clearly stated that participation in the field ministry gave no license for immoral conduct. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 173).


So also in modern times, loose conduct, fornication and adultery have caused many thousands to fall away from the faith. (The Watchtower September 1, 1969 pp. 534-535).


Sad to say, some of our former associates have failed to keep themselves clean, holy, as bearers of Jehovah’s utensils. Hence, they have been expelled from the Christian congregation for various Scriptural reasons. Others have been reproved for failing to live by Bible principles. Included among all such have been quite a few children of ordained ministers, as well as some overseers and ministerial servants. Evidently, to an extent, all of these fell into a snare of Satan. (The Watchtower May 1, 1983 pp. 25-26).


There is a need for caution. Be aware that such activity can lead to, and on occasion has led to, homosexual acts, even among Christians. Why is it that some become involved in sexual offenses—in homosexuality, bestiality, Peeping Tomism, and so forth? It has been found that the minds of the offenders were on sex to a great extent. Sometimes they were avid readers of pornographic literature. Seemingly without exception, they were habitual masturbators. (The Watchtower June 1, 1983 p. 26).


Days Like “the Days of Noah” (The Watchtower January 1, 1986 p. 10).

Shocking as it is, even some who have been prominent in Jehovah’s organization have succumbed to immoral practices, including homosexuality, wife swapping, and child molesting. It is to be noted, also, that during the past year, 36,638 individuals had to be disfellowshipped from the Christian congregation, the greater number of them for practicing immorality. Jehovah’s organization must be kept clean! (1 Corinthians 5:9-13) This is a time for congregation elders, ministerial servants, and indeed all our brothers and sisters to avoid any circumstances that could lead to immorality. (The Watchtower January 1, 1986 p. 13).


A few years ago, there was a shocking situation of wrongdoing in certain congregations in the central United States. More recently this developed in certain European congregations. Many young folks were involved in fornication, drug abuse, and the like. Not a few of these were children of elders, some of whom apparently winked at the misconduct of their offspring. When the facts came to light, a number of these elders were removed because of their misuse of their prerogatives as elders, or more specifically, because of their failure to use their power aright. (The Watchtower August 15, 1986 pp. 14-15).


This sobering truth has forcefully been brought home to us by the exclusion of over 40,000 erring individuals from fellowship with the Christian congregation during the past service year, largely because of grossly wrong conduct. To these must be added the many who were given reproof, mostly for sexual immorality but all because of failure to exercise self-control. Also sobering is the fact that some longtime elders lost all their privileges as overseers for the same reason. (The Watchtower November 15, 1991 p. 9).


All Christians are familiar with Jehovah’s standards of morality and would never agree that such unclean practices as adultery, fornication, and homosexuality are acceptable. Yet, each year about 40,000 individuals are disfellowshipped from Jehovah’s organization. Why? In many cases because of these selfsame unclean practices. How can that happen? Because all of us are imperfect. The flesh is weak, and we constantly have to fight against wrong inclinations that surface in our heart. (The Watchtower April 1, 1994 p. 16).


This counsel is not observed by some, and problems continue to develop because of social gatherings too large to be properly supervised. In some instances, hundreds of people are invited to elaborate functions where worldly entertainment is featured. Sometimes those attending are asked to pay admission or other fees. Such gatherings closely resemble worldly affairs, the spirit of which is out of harmony with decency and Bible principles (…) It has been reported that large numbers of Witnesses have gathered at rented facilities where the entertainment is unwholesome and worldly and where proper supervision is lacking. Similar activities advertised as a “Jehovah’s Witness” weekend have been held at hotels or resorts. Because of the difficulty in properly supervising such large groups, problems have developed. Rowdiness, overindulgence in alcoholic beverages, and even immorality have sometimes resulted. (Eph. 5:3, 4) Social gatherings where such conduct occurs do not honor Jehovah. Rather, they bring reproach upon the good name of the congregation and stumble others. (Our Kingdom Ministry No. 9, 1995 p. 2).


Alcohol abuse. The March 1, 1935, issue of The Watchtower raised another moral issue: “It has likewise been noticed that some take part in the field service and perform other duties in the organization while under the influence of [alcohol]. Under what condition is the use of wine approved in the Scriptures? Would it be proper to use wine to the extent that it affects one’s service in the Lord’s organization?” (God’s Kingdom Rules! 2014 p. 111).


Polygamy, celibacy and childlessness




Tolerating polygamy


Yet, there were hundreds who accepted the Bible’s exposure of idolatry and gladly embraced what Jehovah’s Witnesses taught concerning the Kingdom of God but who got baptized without abandoning polygamy. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 176).


Prohibiting polygamy


To correct this situation, The Watchtower of January 15, 1947, emphasized that Christianity makes no allowance for polygamy, regardless of local custom. A letter sent to the congregations notified any who professed to be Jehovah’s Witnesses but who were polygamists that six months was being allowed for them to bring their marital affairs into harmony with the Bible standard. This was reinforced by a discourse given by Brother Knorr during a visit to Africa that same year. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 176).


Celibacy of Bethelites


Mandatory celibacy


Since the 1920’s, Bethelites who desired to marry had been required to leave Bethel and serve Kingdom interests elsewhere. (The Watchtower July 1, 2004 p. 26).


Since I first arrived at Bethel in 1939, the Bethel (…) During my early years at Bethel, the arrangements did not allow for marriage, so, like many others, I contented myself with singleness and Bethel service. However, when the policy of the Bethel family changed, permitting marriage, I married Helen Lapshanski on April 7, 1956. (The Watchtower September 1, 1989 p. 30).


No mandatory celibacy


Since the 1920’s, Bethelites who desired to marry had been required to leave Bethel and serve Kingdom interests elsewhere. But in the early 1950’s, a few couples who had served at Bethel for some time were allowed to marry and stay. So when Nathan H. Knorr, who at the time was taking the lead in the worldwide Kingdom work, showed an interest in me, I thought, ‘Now, here is someone who will stay!’ (…) Well, we were married in winter, on January 31, 1953... (The Watchtower July 1, 2004 p. 26).


Then in 1956, I married a fellow Bethel worker, Ted Wieland. Ted was a very calm, patient man, and we were delighted when we received approval to continue to live in Bethel as husband and wife. (The Watchtower December 1, 1994 p. 23).


Lorraine and I renewed our acquaintance in 1958, and she accepted my proposal of marriage. We planned to get married the following year and hopefully enter missionary service together. When I told Brother Knorr about my intentions, he suggested we wait for three years, then get married, and serve at Brooklyn Bethel. At that time, for a couple to remain at Bethel after they got married, one of them had to have served at Bethel for ten years or more and the other for at least three years. So Lorraine agreed to serve two years in Brazil Bethel and then one year in Brooklyn Bethel before we got married. (The Watchtower April 15, 2014 pp. 15-16).


Celibacy of the earthly class and childlessness


Categorical promotion of celibacy and childlessness


Marriage was, at times, discouraged with more force than the Scriptures warrant, while relatively little was said about how to build strong Christian marriages. (God’s Kingdom Rules! 2014 p. 115).


If in obedience to the divine command the Jonadabs or great multitude will marry and rear children after Armageddon, would it not be Scripturally proper for them to begin doing so immediately before Armageddon? and should the Jonadabs now be encouraged to marry and rear children? No, is the answer, supported by the Scriptures. (The Watchtower November 1, 1938 p. 323).


In May 1949, I informed headquarters in Bern that I planned to marry Marthe and that we desired to remain in full-time service. The reaction? No privileges other than regular pioneering. This we started in Biel, following our wedding in June 1949. I was not permitted to give talks, nor could we look for accommodations for delegates to a forthcoming assembly, even though we had been recommended by our circuit overseer for this privilege. Many no longer greeted us, treating us like disfellowshipped persons, even though we were pioneers. We knew, however, that getting married was not unscriptural, so we took refuge in prayer and put our trust in Jehovah. Actually, this treatment did not reflect the Society’s view. It was simply a result of the misapplication of organizational guidelines. (The Watchtower November 1, 1991 p. 29).


Celibacy and childlessness does not apply


Christians today are not under command to have children, but neither are they under a command not to have them. This is a matter to be decided by marriage mates themselves. It is their own business. (The Watchtower October 15, 1963 p. 640).


Some have decided to remain single through the final troubled years of this old system until after Armageddon. Others have made the decision to remain single for a period of years so that they may enjoy the pioneer work, Bethel service or the missionary field. (The Watchtower March 15, 1969 pp. 177-178).


Additionally, some married couples have refrained from having children in order to be freer to carry on their service to God. This has meant sacrifice on their part, and Jehovah will reward them accordingly. Incidentally, whereas the Bible encourages singleness for the sake of the good news, it makes no direct comment on remaining childless for the same reason. (…) Thus, married couples must make their own decision on the basis of personal circumstances and their own conscientious feelings. Whatever that decision may be, married couples are not to be criticized. (The Watchtower October 1, 1999 p. 10).


Many married couples throughout the world who have relinquished the joys of parenthood have been able to serve Jehovah in the circuit work, the district work, or at Bethel. (The Watchtower March 1, 1988 p. 25).


Character development


Promoting “character development”


For some 40 years the Bible Students stressed the importance of cultivating a fine Christian personality, which cultivation they called “character development.” It was stressed so strongly because of its being neglected in Christendom. True, Christians were also to bear witness by speaking to others about God’s purposes, but this was more or less secondary. Later, when God’s people got to appreciate the importance of Jehovah’s name and that they were to witness to his name and kingdom, this was emphasized, with the result that less attention was paid to cultivating a Christlike personality. (The Watchtower December 1, 1981 p. 29).


In those former years the subject of the development of the “fruits and graces of the spirit,” as it was generally called, was given much attention. With Galatians 5:22, 23 as a basis, it was a favorite theme chosen for many talks, often in the form of a symposium. Invariably, however, the line taken was to show how each individual must cultivate within himself along the lines of “character development” the various qualities detailed by the apostle. In fact, some then in the truth laid so much stress on the paramount importance of developing these things, and went to such extremes about it, that it resulted in their paying far too much attention to themselves. Every little experience or circumstance was viewed as playing some part in the testing and development of character. In many instances it led to these ones’ becoming self-centered and egotistical, in a humble sort of way of course. In other words, we might say that they became overripe and fell off the tree. (The Watchtower November 1, 1954 p. 658).


Combating “character development” (since 1926)



This is not “character development.” In so-called “character development” one relies on self-righteousness, building up a “sweet” personality that will make him worthy of life. No, Christians look to God’s righteousness and rely on his spirit as they try to copy Christ’s pattern, maintaining integrity. (The Watchtower May 1, 1954 p. 281).


Later, when God’s people got to appreciate the importance of Jehovah’s name and that they were to witness to his name and kingdom, this was emphasized, with the result that less attention was paid to cultivating a Christlike personality. It was argued that above all else Jesus came to bear witness, and that preaching is what really counts. (The Watchtower December 1, 1981 p. 29).


The entrance to God’s rest


The entrance to God’s rest through obedience of Christ


However, Paul explains, “there remains a sabbath resting for the people of God.” (Heb 4:9) Those who are obedient and exercise faith in Christ thereby enjoy “a sabbath resting” from their “own works,” works by means of which they formerly sought to prove themselves righteous. (Insight on the Scriptures 1988, Vol. 2, p. 833).


The entrance to God’s rest through obedience to the organization


What, then, does it mean for Christians to enter into God’s rest? Jehovah set aside the seventh day—his rest day—in order to bring his purpose respecting the earth to a glorious fulfillment. We can enter into Jehovah’s rest—or join him in his rest—by obediently working in harmony with his advancing purpose as it is revealed to us through his organization. (The Watchtower July 15, 2011 p. 28).


Beard and clothes




Having a beard


Hence, photographs of C. T. Russell, the first president of the Watch Tower Society, and fellow Christian W. E. Van Amburgh show both men wearing stylish, well-trimmed beards that were dignified and appropriate for their time. In the early part of the 20th century, however, shaving enjoyed a resurgence of popularity that has endured in most countries to our day. (Awake! January 22, 2000 p. 24).


Not having a beard


The first issue printed was that of July 15, 1923.(…) But more equipment was needed. For that reason Brother Balzereit asked Brother Rutherford for permission to buy a rotary press. Brother Rutherford saw the necessity and agreed, but on one condition. He had noticed that over the years Brother Balzereit had grown a beard very similar to the one that had been worn by Brother Russell. His example soon caught on, for there were others who also wanted to look like Brother Russell. This could give rise to a tendency toward creature worship, and Brother Rutherford wanted to prevent this. So during his next visit, within hearing of all the Bible House family, he told Brother Balzereit that he could buy the rotary press but only on the condition that he shave off his beard. Brother Balzereit sadly agreed and afterward went to the barber. During the next few days there were several cases of mistaken identity and some funny situations because of the “stranger” who was sometimes not recognized by his fellow workers. (1974 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses pp. 97-98).


Extreme hair styles can easily lead one into a trap of the Devil also, and cause others to stumble. For example, a young man in the United States was making fine progress in his study of the Bible, and he was moved to share with an experienced Witness in preaching to others about the good things he was learning from the Bible. From early youth he had let his beard grow, and since some in the business community wore beards, he felt that his wearing one in preaching to others would be acceptable generally. But in speaking to a lady he was unable to do more than introduce himself, when she said: “I’m sorry, young man, I do not want to become involved in student revolt.” No amount of explanation after this sufficed to clear up the misimpression. After the conversation ended with the closing of the door, he asked the experienced Witness what had happened. He was invited to consider his appearance in relation to what he claimed to be, a servant of God. Not wanting to be responsible for even one person’s being stumbled so as to miss the way to everlasting life, this new Kingdom publisher shaved off his beard. Would you be willing to do the same or to make similar adjustments if your appearance gave the wrong impression in a certain community? (The Watchtower August 15, 1975 pp. 500-501).




Often, it was considered unsuitable to smile during meetings, and many of the older brothers wore only black suits, black shoes, black ties. They were often content to live quiet and peaceful lives in the Lord. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 173).


For example, it was in 1927 that The Watch Tower pointed out that the sleeping faithful members of the body of Christ were not resurrected in 1878 [as once thought], that life is in the blood and that the matter of somber dress would properly be modified. (….) For that matter, the year before, during the London, England, convention of May 25-31, 1926, Brother Rutherford spoke from the platform while attired in a business suit, instead of the formal black frock coat that had long been worn by public speakers among Jehovah’s Christian witnesses. (1975 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses p. 148).


Brother Rutherford, who took advantage of every opportunity to get rid of worldly religious customs among the brothers, had already provoked a minor revolution at an earlier convention by his clothing. He had noticed that the brothers in Europe—and this included Germany—were especially fond of wearing black at the assemblies. The men not only wore black suits—at funerals even top hats—but also wore black ties, just as was the custom in false religious organizations. This observation led Brother Rutherford to buy an extremely light-colored suit and a dark-red tie to wear along with it. After he had come to Germany dressed this way, many began to get rid of their black clothes. (1974 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses p. 106).


Disfellowshiping and prayer for the disfellowshiped


The fate of disfellowshiped


Not attending the meetings of the congregation is one of the most obvious ways of forsaking and neglecting the “house of our God.” If a member of God’s dedicated, baptized household willfully fails to attend, he is virtually disfellowshiping the congregation from himself. Disfellowshiping means the casting of a member out of God’s household; and if one should remain in this disfellowshiped condition till he died, it would mean his everlasting destruction as a person who is rejected by God. Staying away from meetings leads in that very direction. (The Watchtower December 15, 1965 p. 751).


In actuality, they must be expelled (disfellowshiped and put in a deathlike condition) from the Christian congregation. (The Watchtower July 1, 1966 p. 401).


Disfellowshiping from the organization


The earliest version of disfellowshiping – the entire congregation took part in ‘church trials’


As early as 1904, in the book The New Creation, attention was given to the need to take appropriate action so as not to allow a demoralizing of the congregation. The understanding that the Bible Students then had of the procedure for dealing with wrongdoers as outlined at Matthew 18:15-17 was discussed. In harmony with this, there were, on rare occasions, ‘church trials’ in which the evidence of wrongdoing in serious cases was presented to the entire congregation. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 pp. 186-187).


No disfellowshiping?


Years later, The Watchtower, in its issue of May 15, 1944, reviewed the matter in the light of the entire Bible and showed that such matters affecting the congregation should be handled by responsible brothers charged with congregation oversight. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 187).


But this extreme measure of excommunication or disfellowshiping was not widely practiced among the congregations and was not made a requirement on congregations until 1952. No longer could Christian conduct be viewed simply as a matter affecting only the individual or individuals involved. (The Watchtower October 1, 1967 p. 596).


The introduction of disfellowshiping in 1952


Starting in 1952, the more formal Scriptural arrangement of disfellowshiping wrongdoers was instituted. Those who committed gross sins such as adultery and fornication were expelled from the congregation, if they did not repent. (1 Cor. 5:11-13) God’s organization would not tolerate persons who refused to keep unspotted, clean and pure in the sight of Jehovah. (The Watchtower February 15, 1976 p. 122).


1981 – the introduction of ‘disfellowshiping’ people who had disassociated themselves


It is another matter, though, when a person repudiates his being a Christian and disassociates himself. One who has been a true Christian might renounce the way of the truth, stating that he no longer considers himself to be one of Jehovah’s Witnesses or wants to be known as one. When this rare event occurs, the person is renouncing his standing as a Christian, deliberately disassociating himself from the congregation. (…) Or, a person might renounce his place in the Christian congregation by his actions, such as by becoming part of an organization whose objective is contrary to the Bible, and, hence, is under judgment by Jehovah God. (…) So if one who was a Christian chose to join those who are disapproved of God, it would be fitting for the congregation to acknowledge by a brief announcement that he had disassociated himself and is no longer one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Persons who make themselves “not of our sort” by deliberately rejecting the faith and beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses should appropriately be viewed and treated as are those who have been disfellowshiped for wrongdoing. (The Watchtower September 15, 1981 p. 23).


Prayer for disfellowshiped


Prayer for disfellowshiped not allowed


Is it proper to pray for a person who has been disfellowshiped (expelled) from the Christian congregation? (…) Scripturally, it does not seem fitting and proper for a faithful Christian to pray for a disfellowshiped person. (…) It may also be that, since his disfellowshiping, he seems to be giving evidence of repentance. Would it be proper to pray for him? In loyalty to Jehovah and his arrangements the Christian would refrain from praying for him. (The Watchtower June 15, 1971 pp. 383-384).


Prayer for disfellowshiped allowed


Would it ever be in order to pray regarding someone who has been disfellowshiped from the Christian congregation? In the past it has been held that such prayers would not be proper.(…) But relevant Bible counsel recommends considering the individual situation rather than taking a categorical position. (…) Consequently, in instances where a Christian believes it is proper to pray regarding a disfellowshiped person, he should do so in private prayers only. (The Watchtower October 15, 1979 p. 31).


Limitations on prayer for disfellowshiped


Does this mean that all who are expelled from the Christian congregation for sinning unrepentantly have committed sins that “incur death” and thus should not be prayed about? This would not necessarily be the case because in some instances such transgressions are not sins that incur death. In fact, it is difficult to tell if they are. (…) For this reason, those who feel moved to pray about the sinner should do so only in private, leaving any further development in the matter in the hands of the responsible elders in the congregation. (The Watchtower December 1, 2001 pp. 30-31).


Isolation from sinful unbaptized publishers


The ban on contacts with sinful unbaptized publishers until 1988


Previously, unbaptized ones who unrepentantly sinned were completely avoided. While, as adjusted above, this is not required, the counsel at 1 Corinthians 15:33 should still be observed. [Do not be misled. Bad associations spoil useful habits.] (The Watchtower November 15, 1988 p. 19).


Allowed contact with sinful unbaptized publishers since 1988


If two elders offering help determine that an unbaptized wrongdoer is unrepentant and unqualified to be a publisher, they will inform the individual. Or if some unbaptized one tells the elders that he no longer wishes to be recognized as a publisher, they will accept his decision. In either case, it is appropriate for the Congregation Service Committee to have a simple announcement made at an appropriate time, saying “ . . . is no longer a publisher of the good news.” (…) The Bible does not require that Witnesses avoid speaking with him, for he is not disfellowshipped. Still, Christians will exercise caution with regard to such a person of the world who is not worshiping Jehovah… (The Watchtower November 15, 1988 p. 19).


Attitude to disfellowshiped ones


No hatred for a disfellowshiped one


It is right to hate the wrong committed by the disfellowshiped one, but it is not right to hate the person nor is it right to treat such ones in an inhumane way. (The Watchtower August 1, 1974 p. 467).


Hatred to disfellowshiped ones


Then there is the meaning of the word “hate” with which we are especially concerned here. It has the thought of having such an intense feeling of dislike for or strong aversion to someone or something that we avoid having anything to do with such a person or thing. (The Watchtower July 15, 1992 p. 9).


Others claim to believe the Bible, but they reject Jehovah’s organization and actively try to hinder its work. When they deliberately choose such badness after knowing what is right, when the bad becomes so ingrained that it is an inseparable part of their makeup, then a Christian must hate (in the Biblical sense of the word) those who have inseparably attached themselves to the badness. True Christians share Jehovah’s feelings toward such apostates; they are not curious about apostate ideas. On the contrary, they “feel a loathing” toward those who have made themselves God’s enemies, but they leave it to Jehovah to execute vengeance. (The Watchtower October 1, 1993 p. 19).


Contact with disfellowshiped ones during meetings


The ban on contact with disfellowshiped ones during meetings


It is all right for the faithful members of the family to ride with the disfellowshiped one in a car bound for the Kingdom Hall, but upon arrival the faithful ones should not sit with or associate with the disfellowshiped one at the hall, but rejoin him only when departing for home. (The Watchtower April 1, 1953 p. 223).


Moderated stand on contacts with disfellowshiped ones during meetings (teaching since 2013)


Whether a disfellowshipped person sits next to a relative or next to any other member of the congregation should not be a cause for concern as long as he behaves properly. Restricting where a person sits could give rise to various problems, depending on the circumstances. If all present, including faithful relatives, are endeavoring to respect Bible principles relating to disfellowshipping, and it is not becoming a cause for stumbling to the brothers, there is no need to make an issue of the seating arrangements of those attending Christian meetings*.

*This updates what was published in The Watchtower of April 1, 1953, page 223. (The Watchtower August 15, 2013 p. 8).


Funerals of disfellowshiped ones


No ban on arranging funerals of disfellowshiped persons until 1961


Before 1961, the Watchtower publications did not contain any ban on arranging the funerals for the disfellowshiped people.


The ban on arranging funerals of disfellowshiped persons in the years 1961-1977


However, suppose the deceased is a disfellowshiped person, someone who has been expelled from the Christian congregation for one reason or another. In “Questions from Readers” (The Watchtower, 1961, p. 544) the position was taken that a funeral for a disfellowshiped person was improper. The comment was made: “We never want to give the impression to outsiders that a disfellowshiped person was acceptable in the congregation when in truth and in fact he was not acceptable but had been disfellowshiped from it.” (The Watchtower June 1, 1977 p. 347).


Permission to arrange funerals of disfellowshiped people since 1977


It would seem that this distinction could even be observed in connection with the funeral of a disfellowshiped person. A Christian congregation would not want its good name besmirched by having it associated with any to whom 2 John 9, 10 applied, even in their death. But suppose a disfellowshiped person had been giving some evidence of genuine repentance and had been coming to the meetings and manifesting a desire to be reinstated in the congregation. Then, if the elders felt that it would not disturb the peace and harmony of the congregation nor bring reproach upon God’s people, there would be no objection to an elder’s giving a talk. (The Watchtower June 1, 1977 p. 347).


            See Appendix 4. New teachings introduced in the first half of 2016.


Preaching and using radio and phonographs


Colporteurs, workers and distributors


The Watch Tower of March 1, 1917, outlined the program as follows: First, the colporteurs would call on the homes in an area, offering volumes of Studies in the Scriptures. Then, following up on names noted by the colporteurs or turned in at public meetings, pastoral workers would call. They endeavored to stimulate a desire to read the literature, encouraged interested ones to attend specially arranged talks, and made an effort to arrange classes for Berean Bible study. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 pp. 559-560).


Special tracts were prepared in ten languages, and millions of these were circulated throughout India, China, Japan, and Korea by native distributors. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 421).


To be counted as a class worker (congregation publisher), one had to devote at least 3 hours a week (or 12 per month) to the field service, according to the “Bulletin” of January 1, 1929. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 717).


By 1938 the number of colporteurs distributing magazines and books had grown to 110. (1998 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses p. 68).


The end of preachers?


Preachers or Peddlers? As the second world war approached, the public preaching work of Jehovah’s Witnesses was the focus of much opposition. Municipal ordinances requiring solicitors and peddlers to obtain permits were wrongfully applied to the Witnesses’ preaching work. (Awake! October 22, 1987 p. 26).


Radio – is it from the Lord?


Within two years after regular commercial radio broadcasting began, radio was being used to transmit the Kingdom message. Thus on February 26, 1922, Brother Rutherford delivered his first radio broadcast, in California. Two years later, on February 24, 1924, the Watch Tower Society’s own radio station WBBR, on Staten Island, New York, began broadcasting. Eventually, the Society organized worldwide networks to broadcast Bible programs and lectures. By 1933 a peak of 408 stations were carrying the Kingdom message to six continents! (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 80).


Then, in the 1920’s, another instrument became available to give wide publicity to the Kingdom message. Brother Rutherford felt strongly that the hand of the Lord was manifest in its development. What was it? Radio. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 562).


The millennium sets in in the year 1925, human woe will then start to vanish, and disease and sickness, and death itself will be no more, was the message pronounced through a radio-transmitter by ex-Judge J F. Rutherford… (The Watchtower June 15, 1922 p. 180).


With great improved broadcasting stations we can expect Abraham from Mount Zion to direct the affairs of the whole earth. (A Desirable Government 1924 p. 30).


Abraham on television


Simultaneously we shall be able to “listen in” to the radio and “see in” on our television to the scene we are hearing of or the speaker we are listening to. Surely these wonders are being shown to man for his use in the golden age, which is now being ushered in. When that age of blessing is fully come, we can well imagine the peoples of the earth "listening in" and "seeing in" with rapt attention, while Abraham, Isaac or Jacob or other of those faithful men of old, who will then be appointed by the Messiah as princes in all the earth, expounds the law of God and instructs than in the way that leads to life and happiness in harmony with Jehovah. (The Golden Age January 23, 1929 p. 273).


Patriarchs accessible by telephone


You then call up the princes at Jerusalem, state your case, and make request that your father and your mother might be awakened. In joyful expectancy you wait. Some morning you hear talking in the room you have prepared. There was no one there last night. You know that there are no thieves or intruders; for all such experiences have been eliminated. You do not need to be fearful; so you listen at the door. You hear father's familiar voice saying, “Mother, where are we? Are we dreaming? Why, I thought I attended your funeral last summer; then I was taken sick, and they had the doctor, and that is the last I can remember.” (The Way to Paradise 1924, 1925 pp. 228-229).


Radio station sold


By the mid-1950’s, the growing ranks of Kingdom publishers were reaching more people right at the doors of their homes. This proved to be far more effective than the radio in helping individuals understand Bible truth. So in 1957 it was decided to sell WBBR and direct our resources to the expanding missionary work in other lands. (The Watchtower August 1, 1994 p. 25).


Phonographs from Jehovah?


In 1933, Jehovah’s Witnesses began to employ another innovative method of preaching. A transportable transcription machine with an amplifier and loudspeaker was used to broadcast 33 1/3-rpm recordings of Brother Rutherford’s radio lectures, in halls, parks, and other public places. Sound cars and sound boats also were used to let the Kingdom message ring out. The effective use of transcription machines led to yet another innovation—preaching from house to house with a lightweight phonograph. In 1934 the Society began producing portable phonographs and a series of 78-rpm discs containing 4 1/2-minute Bible lectures. Eventually, recordings covering 92 different subjects were in use. In all, the Society produced more than 47,000 phonographs to trumpet the Kingdom message. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 87).


(…) Jehovah has provided another effective instrument for the kingdom proclamation, to wit, a portable phonograph equipped with electrically transcribed records of 4 1/2-minute speeches by Brother Rutherford on vital Bible topics. (The Watchtower November 15, 1934 p. 338).


PHONOGRAPH HAS JEHOVAH’S BLESSING (The Watchtower July 15, 1937 p. 223).


However, by 1944 Jehovah’s Witnesses had become more qualified in personal presentations of oral sermons, so the phonograph work was phased out. Like radio, that invention had served its purpose. (Awake! December 8, 1984 p. 7).


Loudspeakers and amplifiers


By 1933 they were making use of powerful transcription machines to play recordings of straightforward Bible discourses in public places. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 566).


Sound cars and sound boats also were used to let the Kingdom message ring out. (…) With a sound car on a hilltop, the Kingdom message could be heard miles away (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 87).


Testimony cards


Late in 1933 a different method of preaching was begun. By way of introduction, the Witnesses handed people a testimony card that had a brief message for the householder to read. This was especially of great help to new publishers, who did not receive much training in those days. Generally, they made only a few brief remarks to the householder after the card had been read; some spoke at greater length, using the Bible. The use of testimony cards continued well into the 1940’s. It allowed for rapid coverage of territory, and it enabled Witnesses to reach more people, get much valuable Bible literature into their hands, give a uniform witness, and even present the message to people whose language they could not speak. It also resulted in some awkward moments when householders kept the card and shut their door, making it necessary for the Witness to knock again to retrieve it! (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 564).


“I welcomed the testimony card work,” said Lilian Kammerud, who eventually served as a missionary in Puerto Rico and Argentina. Why was that? “Not all of us could give a good presentation,” she said. “So it helped me get accustomed to approaching people.” (…) “Testimony cards helped the brothers, for very few felt that they were able to say the right thing.” This tool had its limits, though. “Sometimes,” said Brother Reusch, “we met people who thought we could not speak. In a sense, many of us were not able to speak. (God’s Kingdom Rules! 2014 p. 81).




From 1919 on, the responsibility of each Christian to have a personal share in witnessing has been stressed. For example, an article entitled “Service Essential” in the Watch Tower of August 15, 1922, reminded anointed Christians of the importance of “actively carrying the printed message to the people and talking to them at their doors, giving the witness that the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Detailed presentations were provided in the Bulletin (now Our Kingdom Ministry). Still, the number of those who actually preached from house to house was small at first. Some held back. They raised various objections, but the basic problem was that some felt it beneath their dignity to preach from house to house. As emphasis on field service increased, many of such ones gradually withdrew from association with Jehovah’s organization. (The Watchtower July 15, 2008 pp. 4-5).


1922: All associates of the congregations were urged to share in the house-to-house field service. Monthly Bulletin (now Our Kingdom Ministry) containing service directions became available. (The Watchtower June 15, 1987 p. 18).


Frequently some elder says: ‘The president of the Society does not go from house to house selling books. Why should I?’ Do I have any objection to selling books? Certainly not. I have done so when I found time and opportunity for so doing and I found much joy in it. The Lord has graciously given me about as much as one man can well do. (The Watchtower November 1, 1928 p. 334).


MY DEAR BROTHER RUTHERFORD (…) It reminds me of a good team of horses both pulling together, you preaching over the radio and our privilege of canvassing them at their homes. (The Watchtower January 15, 1930 p. 31).


Interestingly, to help pay his way through school, Rutherford sold encyclopedias from house to house. It was not an easy job—there were many rebuffs. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 67).


Mobile literature displays


Using mobile literature displays, a pioneer couple witness in a high-traffic area of the city. (The Watchtower October 15, 2012 p. 2).


Regular and special pioneers are generally used, although in some places auxiliary pioneers also have a share in the work. (Our Kingdom Ministry No. 7, 2013 p. 4).


Literature display carts, stands, tables, and kiosks have been acquired through the Hong Kong branch office and distributed worldwide (The Watchtower April 15, 2015 p. 2).


When engaging in public witnessing using a table or a cart, publishers should not display Bibles. However, they may have Bibles available to offer to individuals who request one or who demonstrate sincere interest in the truth. (Our Kingdom Ministry No. 2, 2014 p. 4).


Pioneers and preaching for hours


The faithful servant must be blind to everything except the service of the King and his kingdom interest. The faithful one will give unstinted devotion, all their strength and their money and substance, yea, their all of everything, for the advancement of the kingdom interest. (The Watchtower December 15, 1937 p. 379).


It is not easy to jump from a pace of ten hours a month as a congregation publisher to one hundred hours a month on the pioneer track. So it is good to build up your service first. (The Watchtower June 1, 1971 p. 335).


Does it mean that they are pioneering because they expect in the future some greater reward than those whose circumstances will permit them to spend but 10, 20, 30 or so hours each month in the ministry? No, sincere pioneers are exerting themselves in this way as a reflection of their whole-souled devotion to Jehovah God. As with every truly dedicated Christian, they want to do all they can in serving our loving God. Who, then, can and should pioneer? Please reflect on your own situation and outlook. (The Watchtower March 1, 1982 p. 18).


Jesus was the pioneer


Like the first Christian pioneer Jesus, and like his disciples who followed the same pioneer trail, there are today thousands of faithful pioneers the world over engaged in the same full-time work. (The Watchtower October 1, 1950 p. 365).


200 hours a month demanded from special pioneers


When the first special pioneers were sent out in 1937… (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 299).


During the convention in 1937 in Columbus, Ohio, Edwena was baptized, and Mom and Dad were offered the privilege of serving as special pioneers. At the time, that work involved spending at least 200 hours a month in the preaching work. (The Watchtower December 1, 1999 p. 22).


The number of hours demanded from average publishers:


To be counted as a class worker (congregation publisher), one had to devote at least 3 hours a week (or 12 per month) to the field service, according to the “Bulletin” of January 1, 1929. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 717).


Responding to encouragement contained in The Watchtower and the Informant in 1938 and 1939, many of Jehovah’s Witnesses at that time conscientiously endeavored to devote 60 hours each month to the field service. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 213).


175 hours a month demanded from special pioneers


I was assigned to the special pioneer service, which required spending 175 hours a month in the ministry. (The Watchtower February 1, 1998 p. 26).


(…) and for regular pioneers 150 hours and as many back-calls and studies as can be properly developed during that time. (The Watchtower July 1, 1943 p. 205).


So, beginning with January 1, 1948, the Society would institute a new policy toward general pioneers, requiring of them a reduced number of hours in the field, namely, 120 hours on an average monthly, or 1,400 yearly. (The Watchtower January 15, 1948 p. 32).


150 hours a month demanded from special pioneers


Pioneers are expected to devote at least 100 hours to the field ministry each month, on the average, or 1,200 hours a year. (…) Those who apply agree to devote at least 100 hours to the field service each full month that they are vacation pioneers, and two-week vacation pioneers agree to spend not less than 75 hours in the field ministry for the month. (…) Those who accept assignments of service as special pioneers agree to devote 150 hours to the field ministry each month, and they endeavor to place 150 magazines a month. (“Your Word Is a Lamp to My Foot” 1967 pp. 196, 199-200, 201).


140 hours a month demanded from special pioneers


Privileges in the Full-Time Ministry

Auxiliary Pioneer: A baptized minister who spends a minimum of 60 hours in preaching activity during a month.

Regular Pioneer: A baptized minister who spends an average of 90 hours per month in preaching activity.

 Special Pioneer: A baptized minister who spends at least 140 hours per month in the ministry and receives a small monthly allowance for basic expenses. These pioneers are usually assigned to isolated groups and small congregations. (The Watchtower July 1, 1986 p. 26).


Therefore, in view of the above, the Society has reduced the hour requirement for both regular and auxiliary pioneers. Starting with the 1999 calendar year, the requirement for regular pioneers will be 70 hours each month, or a total of 840 hours for the year. The monthly requirement for auxiliary pioneers will be 50 hours. The hour requirement for special pioneers and missionaries remains unchanged, since provision is made by the Society to help them care for their basic material needs. (Our Kingdom Ministry No. 1, 1999 p. 7).


130 hours a month demanded from special pioneers


Whether we are special pioneers reporting 130 hours in the ministry or publishers approved to report in 15-minute increments, all of us should rejoice in our whole-souled service to Jehovah. (Our Kingdom Ministry No. 7, 2012 p. 1).


Jehovah’s Witnesses and medicine




The original stand


Your readers will not fail to notice that it is only since our Lord's Return in 1874 A.D., that the above wonderful discoveries in medicine were made. (The Golden Age April 27, 1921 p. 441).


The second stand


Vaccination is a direct violation of the everlasting covenant that God made with Noah after the flood. (The Golden Age February 4, 1931 p. 293).


The life is in the blood, and as vaccination is a direct injection of animal matter in the blood stream, vaccination is a direct violation of the holy law of Jehovah God. (The Golden Age April 24, 1935 p. 471).


Back to the original stand


Is vaccination a violation of God’s law forbidding the taking of blood into the system? (…) The matter of vaccination is one for the individual that has to face it to decide for himself. Each individual has to take the consequences for whatever position and action he takes toward a case of compulsory vaccination, doing so according to his own conscience and his appreciation of what is for good health and the interests of advancing God’s work. And our Society cannot afford to be drawn into the affair legally or take the responsibility for the way the case turns out. After consideration of the matter, it does not appear to us to be in violation of the everlasting covenant made with Noah, as set down in Genesis 9:4, nor contrary to God’s related commandment at Leviticus 17:10-14. Most certainly it cannot reasonably or Scripturally be argued and proved that, by being vaccinated, the inoculated person is either eating or drinking blood and consuming it as food or receiving a blood transfusion. Vaccination does not bear any relationship to or any likeness to the intermarriage of angelic “sons of God” with the daughters of men, as described in Genesis 6:1-4. Neither can it be put in the same class as described at Leviticus 18:23, 24, which forbids the mingling of humans with animals. It has nothing to do with sex relations. Hence all objection to vaccination on Scriptural grounds seems to be lacking. The only proper objection that some persons could raise to it would be on the matter of the health risks involved or of keeping their blood stream clean from diseased matter coming from a foreign source, whether from an animal sore or from a human sore. Medical science, in fact, claims that vaccination actually results in building up the vitality of the blood to resist the disease against which the person is inoculated. But, of course, that is a question for each individual concerned to decide for himself and as he sees it to be Jehovah’s will for him. We merely offer the above information on request, but can assume no responsibility for the decision and course the reader may take. (The Watchtower December 15, 1952 p. 764).




The original stand


Even a grafted kidney, although its nerves are cut, starts to work at once to give man efficient and unfailing service. Such marvels inspire praise to man's Creator. (Awake! February 22, 1963 p. 18).


Is there anything in the Bible against giving one’s eyes (after death) to be transplanted to some living person? (…) The question of placing one’s body or parts of one’s body at the disposal of men of science or doctors at one’s death for purposes of scientific experimentation or replacement in others is frowned upon by certain religious bodies. However, it does not seem that any Scriptural principle or law is involved. It therefore is something that each individual must decide for himself. If he is satisfied in his own mind and conscience that this is a proper thing to do, then he can make such provision, and no one else should criticize him for doing so. On the other hand, no one should be criticized for refusing to enter into any such agreement. (The Watchtower August 1, 1961 p. 480).


The second stand


Is there any Scriptural objection to donating one’s body for use in medical research or to accepting organs for transplant from such a source? (…) Humans were allowed by God to eat animal flesh and to sustain their human lives by taking the lives of animals, though they were not permitted to eat blood. Did this include eating human flesh, sustaining one’s life by means of the body or part of the body of another human, alive or dead? No! That would be cannibalism, a practice abhorrent to all civilized people. (…) Those who submit to such operations are thus living off the flesh of another human. That is cannibalistic. (The Watchtower November 15, 1967 p. 702).


The day before surgery was due the chairman of the kidney transplant team came in and asked if I would agree to making the kidney I was relinquishing available to a young patient whose kidneys had failed. It appears that though the artery leading to my kidney was not functioning, the kidney itself was in good shape. The doctor was keen to have my kidney, but I explained to him that as one of Jehovah’s witnesses I must abide by what God’s law indicates in such a matter. I told him he would get a frank and thorough answer to his inquiry after we had had a family discussion of God’s Word on the issue. Later that day we informed him of our Biblical position with respect to human flesh and its use and quoted the relevant passages of God’s Word. He asked if I could retain a good conscience after denying my kidney to his young patient. In reply I pointed out that my kidney was not mine to give, and must be used in harmony with the will of the One who created it. And he was compelled to admit that even with the kidney he could not guarantee the survival of his patient. (The Watchtower November 15, 1969 p. 701).


Back to the original stand


Regarding the transplantation of human tissue or bone from one human to another, this is a matter for conscientious decision by each one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Some Christians might feel that taking into their bodies any tissue or body part from another human is cannibalistic. (…) Other sincere Christians today may feel that the Bible does not definitely rule out medical transplants of human organs. (…) While the Bible specifically forbids consuming blood, there is no Biblical command pointedly forbidding the taking in of other human tissue. For this reason, each individual faced with making a decision on this matter should carefully and prayerfully weigh matters and then decide conscientiously what he or she could or could not do before God. It is a matter for personal decision. (Gal. 6:5) The congregation judicial committee would not take disciplinary action if someone accepted an organ transplant. (…) It may be argued, too, that organ transplants are different from cannibalism since the “donor” is not killed to supply food. In some cases persons nearing death actually have willed body parts to be used for transplants. (…) While the Bible specifically forbids consuming blood, there is no Biblical command pointedly forbidding the taking in of other human tissue. For this reason, each individual faced with making a decision on this matter should carefully and prayerfully weigh matters and then decide conscientiously what he or she could or could not do before God. It is a matter for personal decision. (Gal. 6:5) The congregation judicial committee would not take disciplinary action if someone accepted an organ transplant. (The Watchtower March 15, 1980 p. 31).


Blood transfusion


Original stand


Some persons, however, object to changes in viewpoint, changes in understanding of certain scriptures or procedures. For example, since the 1940’s Jehovah’s witnesses have refused to give or accept blood transfusions, whereas prior to that they did not take this position. (The Watchtower August 15, 1972 p. 501).


The second stand and changeable policy concerning disfellowshiping for transfusion


So the sanctity of blood applies to all Christians, as shown in The Watchtower of July 1, 1945. That means not just refusing to eat animal blood, as in blood sausage, but also abstaining from human blood, as in the case of blood transfusions. (The Watchtower May 15, 1995 p. 23).


Are you one to whom disobeying God’s law is repulsive? Then the taking of blood is just as despicable to you as cannibalism. Think of eating of the flesh of another human creature! It is shocking! Is drinking human blood any different? Does bypassing the mouth and putting it directly into the veins change it? Not at all! (The Watchtower July 1, 1966 p. 401).


However, congregations have never been instructed to disfellowship those who voluntarily take blood transfusions or approve them. We let the judgment of such violators of God’s law concerning the sacredness of blood remain with Jehovah, the Supreme Judge. (…) Since an individual is not disfellowshiped because of having voluntarily taken a blood transfusion or having approved of a dear one’s accepting a blood transfusion, you have no right to bar this sister from the celebration of the Lord’s Evening Meal. (The Watchtower August 1, 1958 p. 478).


Consistent with that understanding of matters, beginning in 1961 any who ignored the divine requirement, accepted blood transfusions, and manifested an unrepentant attitude were disfellowshipped from the congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 pp. 183-184).


The Watchtower Society in the special letter of April 26, 2000 informed travelling overseers that if a baptized person voluntarily receives blood and does not repent, then he will be treated as disassociating himself from a congregation:


If a baptized person willfully and unrepentantly takes blood, he shows that he rejects God's standard. Thus he would have chosen to disassociate himself from the congregation.


Blood fractions


The original stand


While this physician argues for the use of certain blood fractions, particularly albumin, such also come under the Scriptural ban. (Awake! September 8, 1956 p. 20).


Is God’s law violated by such medical use of blood? Is it wrong to sustain life by infusions of blood or plasma or red cells or the various blood fractions? Yes! (The Watchtower September 15, 1961 p. 558).


The second stand


Is it proper for a Christian to accept medical treatment involving a serum prepared from blood? (…) We believe that here the conscience of each Christian must decide. Some may feel that accepting such a serum does not constitute an act of disrespect for the sacredness of life and of God as the life Source, that it does not constitute a flouting of God’s expressed will concerning the use of blood to feed the body. On the other hand, the conscience of others may call on them to reject all such serums. (The Watchtower June 1, 1974 pp. 351-352).


The above material shows that Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse transfusions of both whole blood and its primary blood components. (…) Beyond that, when it comes to fractions of any of the primary components, each Christian, after careful and prayerful meditation, must conscientiously decide for himself. (The Watchtower June 15, 2004 p. 31).


Consuming food containing blood


Permission to eat food containing blood


Light also shone on the sanctity of blood. Some Bible Students thought that the prohibition against the eating of blood, at Acts 15:28, 29, was limited to Jewish Christians. (The Watchtower May 15, 1995 p. 23).


Prohibition of eating food with blood


So the sanctity of blood applies to all Christians, as shown in The Watchtower of July 1, 1945. That means not just refusing to eat animal blood, as in blood sausage, but also abstaining from human blood, as in the case of blood transfusions. (The Watchtower May 15, 1995 p. 23).


A cure for cancer


Once we put into THE WATCH TOWER a notice about Miracle Wheat. Many of you saw it. We believe we did right in putting that notice in. We also put in a notice about some kind of beans and one about some special cotton. Some of the friends were benefited by each of these notices. We also put in a notice recently about a cure for cancer. We have had hundreds of letters come in from Truth friends, and hundreds from others; and a great many have reported good results. To some extent this has helped forward the Truth. People saw that we were not trying to get their money, saw that we were trying to do them good, and became interested (The Watchtower July 15, 1915 p. 5729, reprints).


A healing radio


Radio has been directly employed in the treatment of cases of rheumatism, neuritis, pneumonia, and deafness. Men that have not heard a sound in thirty years have been able to hear when the radio headpieces were attached. Leo Kuehn, of Detroit, a deaf-mute twenty-eight years of age, an intelligent, educated man, learned to speak after a few lessons by radio. His first uttered words were: Holy, holy, holy." It was a well-chosen tribute to the Author of his blessings. (The Golden Age March 12, 1924 p. 365).

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