B J Kotwall

(Investigator 43, 1995 July)

For 88 years, from 1904 to 1992, The Watchtower Society (WTS) discouraged higher education:

"…by guiding their children away from so-called ‘higher education’, these parents spare their children exposure to an increasing demoralizing atmosphere…" (Awake! 1967 June 8 p.8)

"Many schools now have student counselors who encourage one to pursue higher education after high school, to pursue a career with a future in this system of things. Do not be influenced by them. Do not let them 'brainwash' you with the Devil's propaganda to get ahead, to make something of yourself in this world. The world has very little time left! Any 'future' this world offers is no future… Make pioneer service, the full-time ministry, with possibility of Bethel or missionary service your goal. This is a life that offers an everlasting future!" (The Watchtower1969 March 15 p. 17)

"Therefore as a young person, you will never fulfill any career that this system offers. If you are in high school and thinking about a college career, 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 its way towards its finish, if not actually gone." (Awake! 1969 May-22 p.15)  

After 88 years of vehemently discouraging youngsters from higher education and even saying that encouragement to such education is "the Devil's propaganda" the WTS has apparently received "new light":
  "…no hard and fast rules should be made either for or against extra education… If Christian parents responsibly decide to provide their children with further education after high school, that is their prerogative." (The Watchtower 1992 November 1 p. 20)

"Countless youths fresh out of school…are finding that they cannot obtain the kind of employment they had anticipated…an increasing number of (school) graduates are heading back to school rather than to the workplace. Indeed the rewards seem attractive… College graduates receive degrees that can open the door to employment opportunities… All Christians therefore, are keenly interested in education." (Awake! 1994 August 22 pp. 3-9)

The reasons given for the above about-face are that some schools are not giving students an adequate education and jobs today require higher levels of skills. (Awake! 1994 August 22 p. 3)

Nowhere in these 1992 & 1994 articles is acknowledgment or apology made for having previously misguided youngsters and lured them away from higher education with false predictions. Around 1970 the WTS was predicting the end of the world in about 1975 – which obviously failed! (Jehovah’s Witnesses: A Statistical Survey 1992 p. 201)

Why has the WTS made this turnabout on higher education?

My guess is that it’s a part of the process of easing over predictions for the 1914 generation which has all but passed away without Armageddon in sight. (J Ws: A Statistical Survey, pp. 199, 201, 213.)

There is also the predictions of Armageddon "within our twentieth century". (The Nations Shall Know... 1971 p. 216)

Opposition to higher education was in part a consequence of such prophecies. Getting the "higher education" fiasco out of the way might make future prophetic adjustments less embarrassing and condemnatory for the WTS.


"…almost all of the students have become agnostics or infidels."
(CHILDREN 1941 pp. 17, 41)

"All this study put into many books which do not issue forth through Jehovah’s Theocratic Organization, has merely wearied mankind…"
(J W Yearbook 1946 Text for November 23)

"…going to college or university would be a waste of precious time that could be used to aid honest hearted ones to gain accurate knowledge…"
(The Watchtower 1985 January 1 p.27)

"…they are subjected to a constant onslaught of ungodly ideas at college while separated from other Christians."
(The Watchtower 1982 July 15 p.14)

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