(Investigator 45, 1995 November)

The original article included photo copies of the following:
Millions Now Living Will Never Die (1920) Australian edition p.93;
The New World (1942) American edition p.104;
The Watchtower 1931 November 1 p.327;
Thy Kingdom Come (1891) printings of 1907 and 1925;
Kingdom Ministry American edition May 1974 p.3;
The Messenger July 25 1931 p.6

INVESTIGATOR's abundant comment on Jehovah's Witnesses and their Watchtower Society needs clarification regarding references. Some references seem wrong.

The Flashes of Light article (Investigator No. 44) quotes page 93 of Millions Now Living Will Never Die (1920) to the effect that the Bible prophets would return physically to Earth in 1925. The edition quoted may have been published in Australia. Most copies of Millions have the quote on pages 89-90.

In 1942 the book The New World predicted the arrival of these princes "shortly" and "any day now". American printings of The New World have these quotes on pages 130 and 104. Page 104 says of "Beth Sarim", the house made ready for those princes: "the religionists of this doomed world are gnashing their teeth because of the testimony which that 'House of Princes' bears to the new world."

Another printing of the book – probably Australian – has the quotes on pages 110 and 88. The "any day now" has passed 53 years and the only religionists gnashing their teeth over it are the JWs.

One reason, then, if some references seem wrong is that different printings in different countries may have different page numbering.

Another reason why references may appear wrong when consulted is actual changes and revision in later printings of books. This applies mainly to the six volumes of Studies in the Scriptures.

Post 1915 printings often replaced "1914" with "soon", or "before 1914" with "after 1914" and similar changes.

The 1907 printing of Thy Kingdom Come (1891), for example, referred to: "the full establishment of the Kingdom of God in the earth at A.D. 1914…"

The 1925 printing has this altered to: "the full establishment of the Kingdom of God in the earth after 1914…"

Most of the prophetic dates in The Finished Mystery (1917) were removed for the 1924 edition.

A third reason if references seem wrong is actual differences in the original text printed in different countries. This should be the case rarely, except for the Kingdom Ministry which is a monthly-published program and guide to the weekly meetings.

In 1974 when Armageddon was still awaited in the mid 1970s the American Kingdom Ministry said:

"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." (May p.3)

The Australian edition lacks this particular quote.

The house-selling behaviour occurred also before 1914 and 1925. For example, a letter in The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (1911 Dec. 26) said in part:

"Very many have gone so far as to sell their homes over here, expecting to die before 1914 (at the latest), and many others have so arranged their affairs as to last till that date only."

The fourth reason if a reference seems wrong is that it really is wrong.

Investigator 44 p.49 and No. 4 p.46 provide a list of claims of the JW leaders which together imply the leaders claim infallibility. One claim is that they publish "no personal opinion" and the reference in Investigator is to The Watchtower 1945 p.98. The "no personal opinion" claim does not occur there and the nearest to it is a claim that God:  "makes possible the material that is published in the columns of this magazine".

However, claims that "no personal opinion" or "no man's opinion" is expressed occur in:

The Watchtower 1931 November1 p.327;
                             1936 June 15 p.179, 182;
                             1952 February 1 p.79

Investigator 44 p.54 cites The Watchtower of February 1881 to show C T Russell (founder of JWs) and his followers predicted their physical ascent to heaven to occur at Passover [of 1881]. Actually the reference says "in Autumn".

The 1878 attempted ascent may, however, have been at Passover. (Faith On The March 1957 p.27)

In conclusion, Investigator writers about the Watchtower sect are spot on nearly all the time and the real errors in referencing are few.


Dictionary of Jehovah's Witnesses at: