KW: (Pointing to my Bible) All I need is this. If the Watchtower did imply that 1975 was going to be the end of the world, and obviously it hasn’t happened, then that would concern me.
JW: Let’s say I was afraid to search it out. What would that change between us sitting here discussing things?
He had sort of a sad look in his face at this point. I got the impression that he thought I would no longer study with him if he refused to look at the references. From the looks of him, he didn’t like that thought.
KW: What do you mean by, “What would change?”
JW: Why do we need to talk about this in the first place?
KW: Because it is stuff we talked about last week. I mentioned TV preachers and false prophecy and you said that because some Jehovah’s Witnesses believed the end of the world was going to occur in 1975, the Watchtower has been accused of being a false prophet.
JW: There are a lot of things people believe about us.
KW: I know and I want to know the truth. If the Watchtower never said anything about 1975, then there is no reason to fear looking for it.
He started looking at his phone again so I started reading the web page about 1975.
KW: (After a long pause) Are you familiar with the book, “Life Everlasting and Freedom in the Sons of God?
KW: This 1980 Watchtower supposedly talks about it.
I wanted to make note of that book in hopes that he would look at it on his own. Unfortunately, it is not on the Watchtower library CD-Rom. He kept reading his phone so I kept reading my iPad. I told him that some of the quotes go back to 1966.
KW: Does your CD go back to 1966?
JW: I don’t know.
He kept reading his phone so I kept reading the article on my iPad.
KW: What is a district overseer?
JW: It is a traveling brother, an elder who travels from one congregation to another.
KW: This web site supposedly has an mp3 of an overseer named Dugan who announced at a Pampa Texas assembly, “not really a full 83 months remains, so let’s be faithful and confident and … we will be alive beyond the war of Armageddon…, which therefore slated Armageddon for October 1975.”
JW: (Ignoring my quote) Well, I found something about 1975, but I can’t click on the link. I’ll have to look it up at home.
We both went back to reading. He finally put down his phone, opened his “Teach” book and asked, “Are we still going to study?”
KW: Sure. Hang on a sec.
I then quoted something I read from the article. I read the chart title aloud;
KW: 6,000 Years Of Human History Ending In 1975. So are you going to look this stuff up for me?
JW: No, not from there.
KW: I’m not asking about the web site. I’m asking about the CD-Rom.
JW: I already found something, but I can’t click on the link. I’ll look it up on the CD.
KW: Yeah, that is what I’m asking, Look something up on the CD for me.
JW: What for?
KW: Because false prophecy is a pretty serious issue. I thought we agreed on that last week.
JW: Yes, but I will not accept anything that remotely comes from an apostate. I will not check that out.
KW: I’m not asking you to. I’m only asking you to look things up on your CD. That’s it. This way, you can show me that whoever made these claims against the Watchtower is wrong. My Mom taught me to look both ways before I cross the street. I don’t know why you are, but I am not against looking at both positions and making my decision based off of Scripture, logic and reason. No one can make an informed decision unless they are informed. I’ve got to take all the evidence…
JW: (Interrupting) I haven’t talked about this issue in a long time about 6,000 years of human history ending in 1975. There are some people who read too much into that. That didn’t mean that the end would come in 1975.
KW: According to a 1968 Watchtower quoted here, “it may involve only a difference of weeks or months, not years.”
JW: That’s what the web site says.
KW: It has a reference here. This is what I want to know, did the Watchtower actually say that or did somebody else say it?
JW: Even if they did say it, it doesn’t mean that we stop being on the watch.
My Witness friend started talking about how the Bible says the thief comes in the night and if you are told that he is coming to come at 11:00, but doesn’t, then that doesn’t mean that you can go to sleep because he might come later in the night. I explained that I was not talking about lowering my guard. I wanted to investigate a possible false prophecy.
It strikes me now as irony that not investigating is actually dropping your guard. I told him that I wanted to know why the chart can confidently claim that 6,000 years of Man’s history will end in 1975. To know when 6,000 years ends, you would first have to know when it began. How would anyone know when history began? I wanted to know why the Watchtower was teaching it and on what basis. I told him again that I’ve never read anything about 1975 in all my years of Bible reading. When I asked about the significance of 6,000 years he replied;
JW: (Laughing) I don’t know and I don’t care.
KW: Let me ask you a question. This will be, uh… an interesting question. IF the Watchtower was a false prophet, would you want to know about it?
JW: It is not.
JW: The Bible contains prophecies. The Watchtower doesn’t contain any prophecies.
KW: If whoever is running the organization, if they are false prophets, would you want to know?
JW: They are not.
KW: But if they were, would you want to know?
JW: They are not.
KW: I’m not saying they are. I am asking if they were. If they were, would you want to know?
My Witness friend started to explain how out every other religion in the world the Jehovah’s Witnesses are the closest thing to what the Bible teaches. I pointed out that he only says that because he is a Jehovah’s Witness and that a person from any another religion would say the same thing.
I also told him that I know what God says about false prophets and those who follow them. I wouldn’t want to be guilty of following a false prophet because the same judgment falls on the followers of false prophets (Ezekiel 14:10).
KW: If the Watchtower was a false prophet, I would want to know because I do not want to be under the same judgment.
JW: If the Watchtower claimed to be inspired by God, which they are not, then it would be a different story, but you don’t find any prophecies in the Watchtower. They just look at the Bible and see how it pertains to us.
He then tried to change the subject to what we talked about at the end of our meeting last week. I managed to get it back on topic quickly.
JW: What you maintain is “once saved, always saved.” That is not true.
KW: You don’t even believe you are saved anyway so it doesn’t make any difference.
JW: That’s true, but it would be deceiving to believe you are saved when you are not saved.
KW: It could also be deceiving to hold the view you hold, if you were taught it by a false prophet.
JW: No, I could look it up myself.
KW: That is all I am asking you to do.
JW: I could look it up in the Bible.
KW: The Bible doesn’t say anything about 1975.
JW: I am not interested in 1975.
KW: Why is the Watchtower? Some of these quotes go back to the 60’s.
JW: I have no way of looking it up. The CD only goes back to the 70’s and I don’t have any books that go back that far.
KW: You don’t know anyone who has books that old?
KW: Really? Hmmm.
I know this is not true. The Awake magazines go back to 1970 on the CD, but the Watchtower magazines go back to 1950. Also, in every Kingdom Hall I have visited, they always have a small library with bound volumes and other books that go back into the 1950’s. He was lying because he didn’t want me to continue to pester him about looking up references. It didn’t work.
JW: I could look and see how far the CD goes back, but I’m pretty sure it stops in the 70’s.
KW: Okay, then let me give you one reference from before the 70’s and if you can’t find it, then you can’t find it.
KW: You don’t even want to look at one reference from a Watchtower? If it isn’t there, then you will not find it.
JW: I already told you I found one reference that I will look up when I get home.
KW: Yes, I want to see that, as well as these other quotes. Show me something from 1969.
I quickly started reading one of the quotes from the JWFacts.com web site. I failed to recognize that it was a quote from an Awake magazine until after I read the whole quote aloud. Since it is from 1969, it will not show up on his CD. Still the quote led to an interesting discussion.
KW: “If you are a young person, you also need to face the fact that you will never grow old in this present system of things. Why not? Because all the evidence in fulfillment of Bible prophecy indicates that this corrupt system is due to end in a few years. Of the generation that observed the beginning of the “last days” in 1914, Jesus foretold: “This generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur.”-Matt. 24:34. Therefore, as a young person, you will never fulfill any career that this system offers. If you are in highschool and thinking about a college education, it means at least four, perhaps even six or eight more years to graduate into a specialized career. But where will this system of things be by that time? It will be well on the way toward its finish, if not actually gone! Awake! 1969 May 22 p.15.” You wouldn’t want to look that up?
My witness friend then started looking for every possible escape hatch to evade the point of the quote. He said that he knew we were in the time of the end. I explained that if I was in high school in 1969 and was told not to go to college because the end of the world could happen before I finished, I’d be pretty upset 44 years later if I was working as a janitor because I didn’t go to college.
He then said he was not encouraging his son to go to college because he could spend his time “more wisely.” I told him he was missing the point and asked if he would to quit his job and do the preaching work if the Watchtower recommended it. He started talking about how everyone has their own personal decisions, again missing the point. He then took it further by talking about how we are not to live materialistic lifestyles and we should be satisfied making less money. At this point, he was purposefully missing the point and talking about how people don’t need degrees to be able to provide for their family.
KW: It concerns me that someone who is claiming to speak for God, tells me, “Don’t go to college because you probably will not even finish your degree anyway before the world ends.” I don’t get it. I don’t know why you are so adverse to looking at 1975.
JW: Because it doesn’t matter.
KW: Tell me why it doesn’t matter.
JW: Because of the verse which says no one knows the time.
I agreed then reiterated how concerned I would be if someone led me to believe that the end of the world was going to happen in 1975 and I made important life decisions based off of that information, decisions that would affect me decades later. He went back to looking at his phone so I took the opportunity to find a good quote from the web page I was skimming. I found a quote and asked;
KW: Tell me how you would respond to this. You go to the Kingdom Hall and get the new December 2013 Kingdom Ministry and it says this, “Reports are heard of brothers selling their homes and property and planning to finish out the rest of their days in this old system in the pioneer service. Certainly this is a fine way to spend the short time remaining before the wicked world’s end.” How would you take that?
JW: That the end is imminent.
KW: What is the Watchtower encouraging you to do?
JW: Spend your time wisely.
He was avoiding my point.
KW: What else are they encouraging you to do?
KW: Sell your home and property.
JW: That’s what some people would do if they decided to.
KW: Here is the Watchtower encouraging me to sell my home and property…
JW: (Interrupting) No, no.
KW: They just said, “Certainly this is a fine way to spend the short time remaining before the wicked world’s end.” I’m placing myself in your shoes. If I am a Jehovah’s Witness and I get the December Kingdom Ministry and it tells me that a good way to spend my time is to sell my home and property so that I could, “finish out the rest of their days in this old system in the pioneer service,” I’m thinking if I sell my stuff, I will have enough money to get me through before the wicked world’s end. Would you not take that seriously?
JW: The idea is to live a simple life and do as much as you can in service for Jehovah preaching the good news.
KW: But would you expect the end to come before you ran out of money?
JW: I’m sorry. Most Jehovah’s Witnesses do not have a house to sell.
KW: But you do. Would you sell your property and use that money to live so you can do your service and expect that the end of the world would come before you ran out of money?
JW: All that counts is this year.
KW: Then why did they tell them to do that in 1974?
JW: How do you know that is a direct quote?
KW: That is what I want you to look up for me. I’ll tell you what, if this May 1974 page three Kingdom Ministry doesn’t say that, I will email this guy and tell him he is a liar. I’d also ask him why he thinks he can make up lies like this. But if this Kingdom Ministry does say that, then I would want to know why the Watchtower was encouraging people to do something in 1974 that would not give them enough money to make it to 2013.
JW: The idea is to be ready for when the ends comes.
KW: If you don’t have enough money to live, you’re not ready.
JW: If that is really true and they had to correct the view, then what does it matter?
KW: Because people were misled by someone to sell their homes and property.
JW: Well, okay. I’d have to look that up at home.
KW: I want to know if they really said that, if the Kingdom Ministry really said that. Will you look up that reference for me?
He reluctantly looked for a pen and asked for the reference. After he wrote it down, he pointed to Matthew 6:33 and said, “That is all that counts.” I informed him that this was one of the first verses I memorized as a Christian. Once I got him to write down the reference, I completely backed off of him. He rambled on about unrelated things and I just let him talk. We talked about apartment living and somehow ended up looking on Google maps for the place he grew up and spent most of his life. He excused himself to go to the restroom and I noticed that it was a little after noon. When he returned to the table, I offered to buy him lunch, but he said he had a dental appointment and needed to go.
This was the most difficult discussion we have had to date. I pushed harder than I ever have before because he was much more rigid and obstinate than he has ever been. As I look back on our discussion, I don’t think I was ever in danger of having him bail on me and stopping our discussions. In fact, I think it is the opposite. I think he was worried that I would stop meeting with him. That thought is gratifying and sad at the same time. I am happy that he wants to keep meeting with me, but then I wonder what his personal life is like and if he has many friends. I think he values our friendship and that is good, but I sense a bit of desperation there too. I am puzzled why he put up with as much pressure as I gave him, but somehow, I knew he would. I only hope it is God working on his heart.
I know the things he will find in his research can crush him. Please join me in prayer for my Jehovah’s Witness friend.