(Investigator 134, 2010 September)

How would you regard someone who achieves a Masters in Science but never uses it to improve society, instead employs his great education to persuade people of the imminent end of the world and teenagers to drop out of high school?

New Zealand-born Lloyd Barry (1916-1999) who served on the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs) from 1974 to 1999 was such a man.

Barry's father, Bill Barry, joined the Russellites in 1909 — the Russellites are the cult which, via numerous doctrinal revisions, became JWs in 1931.

Lloyd Barry won a university entrance scholarship and combined door-knocking with obtaining a Masters degree in science. In January 1939 with Armageddon anticipated within months he opted for full time ministry at the JW Australian headquarters.

That Armageddon was only "months" away we see from the phrase: "the remaining months before Armageddon." (The Watchtower 1941, September 15, p. 288)

Barry spent five months in prison for refusing military service after which, in 1942, he married "Melba" who worked at the cult's Sydney headquarters. Next he special-pioneered (i.e. went full-time door to door) in Wagga-Wagga (NSW). After that he was a circuit servant (a special representative who visited congregations) in Sydney (1947); then attended Gilead Missionary School in the USA; followed by circuit servant duties in California.

In November 1949 Barry was assigned to Japan as a missionary, became "branch servant" in Tokyo (1952-1974), and "zone servant" to the Organization's Far East branches in 1956. He moved to Brooklyn and became a Governing Body member in 1974.

Barry visited Australia in 1983 and addressed a national hook-up of JW Assembly Halls. His statements included:
"Those living in 1914 and who have been aware of the great events — their numbers are dwindling. [Matthew 24:34 was here quoted]
"Jesus is referring to that generation of 1914. There are still tens of millions living today. No one knows the day or the hour, but it's very close. "Armageddon is very close indeed.

"World leaders all make such a mess of government.

"The heavenly organization has a representative body — the remnant… we would have expected that the nations would gladly accept the Kingdom.

"God's time table is very clear.

"New radical elements particularly the Communist elements have a great deal of power in the UN; These are getting ready to oust the Roman Catholic Church … and all religion; That's what we can look forward to in the very near future.

"We find those who want to teach something different, to muddy up the body of truth revealed during the past 100 years. So we'll flee from anyone who tries to tell us otherwise.

"Young people may want to go to college or university. Is that the way true Christians ought to go? This system has very few years to go! The Kingdom ought to be proclaimed! Get into some activity that brings honor to Jehovah's name! Do your ten years at school, then take up full-time service. The Kingdom preaching must be a first among God's people. Remember the book You Can Live Forever In Paradise on Earth. What a beautiful book that is!

"The organization is expanding so fast we cannot keep up. People are just flocking into the truth! [Expansion in Brazil was here cited] All over the world people are flocking to the truth.

"Jehovah's Witnesses are now labelled the second largest religion in Italy. And that's the way it will keep going. Some day they will be the largest whether the Roman Catholic Church likes it or not.

"In Japan they are very happy the end did not come in 1975. 40,000 have been added since then.

"It's a loving, kindly organization.

"In order to survive you have to meet the challenge of these last days.

"God's people must get out of Babylon the Great and have no more contact with her.

"The grand harvest work will keep gaining impetus right up until the Battle of Armageddon."

The 1914 generation Barry referred to was standard JW doctrine. It was exposed as a false prophecy in 1995 when the JW Governing Body revised the definition of "generation". Previously the maximum length was interpreted as 80 years but in 1995 this no longer fitted with 1914.

Barry's comment about "radical...Communist elements" in the UN "getting ready to oust ... all religion ... in the very near future" was also standard JW doctrine. Communism was supposedly the Book of Daniel's "king of the north" (ch.11) and would continue in power until Armageddon. This is expounded in the book Your Will (1958) but it all proved false.

Barry's anti-education comments in his 1983 address, was also standard JW doctrine. For example, Awake! magazine in 1969 said:
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 high school and thinking about a college education, it means at least four, perhaps 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! (May 22, page 15)
The high school students of 1969 who "will never fulfill any career" are now nearing retirement!

The comment about the Japanese being "happy the end did not come in 1975" was nonsense. When Armageddon in the "mid 1970s" failed to take place as predicted, about 20% of JWs deserted the sect in five years. Such extensive "voting with your feet" suggests anger and resentment, not happiness!

What about Mr Barry's instruction to "flee from anyone who ... muddies up the body of truth revealed during the past 100 years"?

Scores of major changes in doctrine and prophecy followed 1983 — thus the JW leaders themselves "muddied up the body of truth". But most JWs did not "flee" — not even Barry although he advised it.

Barry authored the JW books Good News to Make You Happy (1976) and  Let Your Kingdom Come (1981). In Chapter 12 of Let Your Kingdom Come Barry claims that Jesus' prophecy in Matthew 24 has "A Twofold Fulfillment", the first fulfilment climaxing in 70AD and the second within one generation from 1914.

The problem with this "twofold fulfillment" scenario is that Jesus didn't mention it, and every Russellite/JW end-of-the-world prediction based on it has failed. The main failures were in the 1870s, 1910-1918, 1925, the 1940s, 1975, "this generation", and "within our twentieth century".

Barry died in Hawaii in July 1999 after collapsing while giving a public discourse.

JWs knew him as one of the 144,000 who in JW theology go to heaven at death. JWs also believe that the 144,000 in heaven: "…may be involved in the communicating of divine truths today." (Revelation Its Grand Climax At Hand! 1988, 125)

No other religion, however, recognized Barry as a "communicator of divine truths" when he lived on Earth, and we have no evidence of him communicating any after he died.

His was a wasted life — wasted to glorify an organization that thrives on false predictions.

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