The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society is one that throughout it’s history has had it’s fair share of problems as I tend to demonstrate from it’s literature. However, one thing that this organization has not shied from is a stance that it was once against, it eventually joins. I would like to start by looking at a changing light doctrine of “higher powers” also known as the “superior authorities” pertaining to Romans 13:1.
Evil as these Gentile governments have been, they were permitted or ‘ordained of God’ for a wise purpose (Rom. 13:1).
Studies In the Scriptures Series I-The Divine Plan of the Ages. 1886, 1913 ed. p.250
Down to the year 1929 even Jehovah’s witnesses had not been delivered from the popular view that the political rulers of this world are the “higher powers” to whom Christian souls are commanded by God to be subject. But by publishing the truth on Romans 13:1-7, in The Watchtower of June, 1929, the remnant were given the freedom of the truth that Jehovah God and Christ Jesus are exclusively “The Higher Powers”, whom Christians must obey rather than obey men opposed.
The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom. October 1, 1943 p. 298
Similarly, in 1918 Jehovah’s people were tainted by religion in that they looked to world rulers as “higher power”, thus regarding them in the position of gods.
The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom. December 1, 1943 p. 367
Jesus and the Apostles and the early church were all law-abiding, though they were separate from, and took no share in the governments of this world.” This book correctly identified “the higher powers,” or “the superior authorities,” mentioned by the apostle Paul, as human governmental authorities. (Romans 13:1, King James Version) In 1904 the book The New Creation stated that true Christians “should be found amongst the most law-abiding of the present time—not agitators, not quarrelsome, not fault-finders.” This was understood by some to mean total submission to the powers that be, even to the point of accepting service in the armed forces during World War I. Others, however, viewed it as contrary to Jesus’ statement: “All those who take the sword will perish by the sword.” (Matthew 26:52) Obviously, a clearer understanding of Christian submission to the superior authorities was needed.
In 1929, at a time when laws of various governments were beginning to forbid things that God commands or demand things that God’s laws forbid, it was felt that the higher powers must be Jehovah God and Jesus Christ.
The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom. May 1, 1996 p. 13, 14
So in short the organization was in error from June 1929 until 1962. This is one way that the organization has been in agreement with the writings of Pastor Russell.
I’d like to now look at the gift that keeps giving: the United Nations and the Watchtower.
After that, the “beast” reappeared as the United Nations. Jehovah’s Witnesses then expanded their global preaching work, and what a great increase there has been ever since!
The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom. October 15, 2014 p. 19
Side note, the organization must be redefining “global” since there are no Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Middle East or North Korea.
This is an article from the Guardian over in the United Kingdom:
The irony here along with the organization going the “beast” is that this was quickly suppressed and how many Witnesses remain in the dark about this to this day 15 years later?
This is just two organizational stances that has changed. Let’s take a look at some others at the individual level:
Evidently not wanting viewers to conclude that it promoted spiritism, the music video begins with the disclaimer: “Due to my strong personal convictions, I wish to stress that this film in no way endorses a belief in the occult.—Michael Jackson.” Nevertheless, it was so realistic that some who saw it admitted that they were horrified at first. What was this short film intended to convey? And how does the performer, Michael Jackson, feel about it in looking back?
“I would never do it again!” says Jackson. “I just intended to do a good, fun short film, not to purposely bring to the screen something to scare people or to do anything bad. I want to do what’s right. I would never do anything like that again.” Why not? “Because a lot of people were offended by it,” explains Jackson. “That makes me feel bad. I don’t want them to feel that way. I realize now that it wasn’t a good idea. I’ll never do a video like that again!” He continues: “In fact, I have blocked further distribution of the film over which I have control, including its release in some other countries. There’s all kinds of promotional stuff being proposed on Thriller. But I tell them, ‘No, no, no. I don’t want to do anything on Thriller. No more Thriller.’”
Awake! May 22, 1984 p. 19-20
Growing up I did watch the video a few times. I never understood why there was the disclaimer at the start of the video. However, once I started to learn about the organization, I finally understood why this disclaimer was present.
So it’s better for him to have magic in the video Remember the Time when he wants to appear and disappear?
Let’s cover another artist: Prince
The artist who is known as Prince then went to an unpronounceable symbol and known now as Prince again is an interesting individual. He was raised as a Seventh Day Adventist and converted to the Witnesses by Larry Graham who sang the song One In A Million You:
His Witness conversation is verified in The New Yorker:
Prince has lived in Los Angeles since last spring, after spending years in Minneapolis, holding court in a complex called Paisley Park, where he made thousands of songs, far away from the big labels. Seven years ago, he became a Jehovah’s Witness.
Here’s a video and would the average male rank and file Witness be permitted to:
Having multiple piercings in one ear?
Adorning yourself with numerous gold chains?
Dance in public?
It just isn’t musicians but the sports world. The most prominent sisters in tennis today are Venus and Serena Williams. They are both active Jehovah’s Witnesses.
On their website, it says the following about their Witness upbringing: Despite the inevitable rivalry, the Williams sisters remain close friends. Raised as devout Jehovah’s Witnesses, both were home-schooled by their mother, and have received their high school diplomas. In 1999, Serena joined her sister at the Art Institute of Florida, where they studied fashion design. Venus is now the CEO of her own interior design firm, V Starr Interiors.
Since they have competed representing the United States, I did a quick search on each sister with the term American flag added. Both are present carrying the flag as well as having it on their uniform. I want to the official website and found the following on “flag salute”:
Flag salute. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that bowing down to a flag or saluting it, often in conjunction with an anthem, is a religious act that ascribes salvation, not to God, but to the State or to its leaders.
Keep Yourselves in God’s Love. 2014. p. 212
I want to go back to the past for a moment. If you have a copy of the latest history book, “God’s Kingdom Rules,” published in 2014, on page 63 you will see an American flag on both sides of the podium hanging in the air.
One more example: Nathan Knorr Oath of Allegiance.
When you look it up you will see a picture of Nathan Knorr signing one. The information I found to verify is:
This site above contains cost and when it was issued.
So what we have overall is the organization when it suits, will ignore its own statements for certain individuals. Not knowing much regarding the inner workings I would say though it is possible that the athletes and musicians are ignored because they have the ability to give far more then the average Witness. Is it a case of “money talks?”
When it comes to the organization and leadership, as much as the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society tries to cover up its past, it still finds a way to come out. So with this in mind, are you going to leave the Watchtower and read the bible on your own?