How to Rescue
Your Loved One
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an online guide
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Jehovah's Witnesses
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How to Rescue Your Loved One from the Watchtower 2010 edition
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"Rescue" from a Religion?
Don't Delay--Act Today!
Overall Strategy
Techniques that Work
Tools to Use
Step by Step
God's "Prophet"
A Changing "Channel"
Doctoring Medical Doctrines
Strange Ideas Taught in God's Name
"God's Visible Organization"
Providing an Alternative
Can This Marriage Be Saved?
When Children Are Involved
Warning: The Life You Save May Be Your Own
Afterwork: Gradual Rehabilitation
Appendix: Resources & Support Groups

How to Rescue Your Loved One from the Watchtower
Home | Preface | Introduction | "Rescue" from a Religion? | Don't Delay--Act Today! | Overall Strategy | Techniques that Work | Tools to Use | Step by Step | God's "Prophet" | A Changing "Channel" | Doctoring Medical Doctrines | Strange Ideas Taught in God's Name | "God's Visible Organization" | Providing an Alternative | Can This Marriage Be Saved? | When Children Are Involved | Warning: The Life You Save May Be Your Own | Afterwork: Gradual Rehabilitation | Appendix: Resources & Support Groups
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Chapter 7
God’s “Prophet”

Typically, the Watchtower Society promotes itself as God’s prophet by the very act of prophesying. But on a few occasions it has even come right out and ascribed to itself the title “prophet.” Before presenting the material on the sect’s false prophecies, you will need to be sure that the Jehovah’s Witness understands that the organization actually does identify itself as God’s “prophet.” This is because the organization also asserts that it is not a prophet.

Isn’t that a contradiction? Yes, but it is typical of cultic reasoning. In this connection, the Witnesses have learned to practice double-think, the mental gymnastics described in George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, where people are forced by a totalitarian state, “ … To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which canceled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them … ” (Nineteen Eighty-Four, New American Library, 1981, p. 32).

Double-think enables Witnesses to believe with all their heart that the Society is God’s prophet, and yet when confronted with the charge of “false prophesying” to deny that the organization ever claimed to be a prophet. Thus in a discussion aimed at teaching JWs how to defend themselves “If someone says—’My minister said that Jehovah’s Witnesses are the false prophets,’” the Watchtower book Reasoning from the Scriptures offers the answer, “Jehovah’s Witnesses do not claim to be inspired prophets” (1985, pp. 136, 137).

Yet, during the late 1970s and throughout 1980, each issue of their principal magazine featured this assertion as part of its masthead: “A WATCHTOWER enables a person to look far into the distance and announce to others what is seen. Likewise, this magazine, published by Jehovah’s Witnesses, aids the reader to see what the future holds” (The Watchtower, 1/1/80, p. 2). By definition, one who tells what the future holds is, of course, a prophet.

A few years earlier a similar statement regularly appeared in the masthead, but it was qualified like this:


“Ever since ‘The Watchtower’ began to be published in July of 1879 it has looked ahead into the future.… No, ‘The Watchtower’ is no inspired prophet, but it follows and explains a Book of prophecy the predictions in which have proved to be unerring and unfailing till now. ‘The Watchtower’ is therefore under safe guidance. It may be read with confidence, for its statements may be checked against the prophetic Book” (The Watchtower, 1/1/69, p. 2).


So, a fine line of distinction is drawn: the magazine is not an inspired prophet, but it merely explains prophecies found in the Bible. However, those “explanations” often go far beyond what the Bible says, even to the point of naming specific dates such as 1914, 1918, 1925, and 1975, as we shall see below. When someone “explaining” the Bible begins to predict what will happen on certain dates in the future—dates mentioned nowhere in Scripture—he can no longer claim that it is the Bible that is speaking; he is now acting as a prophet in his own right.

To establish with your Jehovah’s Witness friend the fact that the organization has indeed called itself a “prophet,” read with him these statements from The Watchtower (4/1/72, p. 197) found in an article titled “ ‘They shall know that a prophet was among them’ ”:


People today can view the creative works. They have at hand the Bible, but it is little read or understood. So, does Jehovah have a prophet to help them, to warn them of dangers and to declare things to come?… These questions can be answered in the affirmative. Who is this prophet?… This “prophet” was not one man, but was a body of men and women. It was the small group of footstep followers of Jesus Christ, known at that time as International Bible Students. Today they are known as Jehovah’s Witnesses.… Of course, it is easy to say that this group acts as a “prophet” of God. It is another thing to prove it. The only way that this can be done is to review the record.




Tell the Witness that you accept The Watchtower’s invitation to “review the record,” and that you have researched the matter and collected some photocopies that document the record the organization has made for itself as a prophet. (As mentioned earlier, it would be best to show the Witness photocopies you have made, rather than show him this “apostate” book.) Before getting into the specifics, invite him to turn in his own Bible to Deuteronomy 18:20–22, to see what God’s Word says about true and false prophets. The true ones are highly esteemed as men of God, but false ones are judged to be worthy of death:


However, the prophet who presumes to speak in my name a word that I have not commanded him to speak or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet must die. And in case you should say in your heart: “How shall we know the word that Jehovah has not spoken?” when the prophet speaks in the name of Jehovah and the word does not occur or come true, that is the word that Jehovah did not speak. With presumptuousness the prophet spoke … (nwt).


So, God himself has established the criteria for judging true and false prophets: (1) Is the utterance spoken in his name or in the name of other gods; and (2) does the word spoken occur or come true? Now it is simply a matter of comparing the Watchtower prophecies to this divinely inspired standard of judgment. Obviously the Jehovah’s Witness organization has spoken in the name of Jehovah, so it is okay on point number one. But have the messages spoken occurred or come true? If not, then the condemnation of God is on the organization and it is worthy of death, because it has presumptuously pretended to speak for God.

In the case of ancient Israel, where the standard of Deuteronomy 18:20–22 was first applied, prophets usually communicated their pronouncements by means of the spoken word. At times they addressed kings in private, and at other times, large gatherings of people in public places. In order to determine whether what was prophesied actually occurred or came true, hearers would have to testify as to what they had heard the prophet speak. But in the case of the Watchtower Society, most of its prophetic statements have been made in the pages of its books and magazines. Thus, they are preserved in black and white, and it becomes a simple matter of comparing what was said with what actually occurred.

For example, the Watchtower Society prophesied during the late 1800s and early 1900s that God would wage his final war of Armageddon in the year 1914, destroying all human governments and replacing them with the rulership of the kingdom of God over all the earth by the end of that year:


True, it is expecting great things to claim, as we do, that within the coming twenty-six years all present governments will be overthrown and dissolved.… In view of this strong Bible evidence concerning the Times of the Gentiles, we consider it an established truth that the final end of the kingdoms of this world, and the full establishment of the Kingdom of God, will be accomplished at the end of a.d. 1914.… (The Time is at Hand [Studies in the Scriptures, vol. II], Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, 1889 [1908 edition], pp. 98, 99)




This prophecy that God would intervene to end the world of wicked mankind in 1914 was repeated many times in Watchtower publications, until 1914 came and went, proving the prophecy false.

In 1917, the Society predicted that the churches would soon “cease to be” because God would destroy them in the following year, 1918, with any survivors forced to become readers of the books of C. T. Russell, the Watchtower’s first president:


… Also, in the year 1918, when God destroys the churches wholesale and the church members by millions, it shall be that any that escape shall come to the works of Pastor Russell to learn the meaning of the downfall of “Christianity” (The Finished Mystery [Studies in the Scriptures, vol. VII], 1917 [1917 edition], p. 485)


In 1920 Watchtower representatives worldwide delivered a special lecture titled “Millions Now Living Will Never Die,” and a book by the Society’s second president, J. F. Rutherford, was circulated, in which the organization prophesied that many Old Testament Bible characters would be raised to life in 1925:


 … They are to be resurrected as perfect men and constitute the princes or rulers in the earth.… Therefore we may confidently expect that 1925 will mark the return of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the faithful prophets of old.… 1925 shall mark the resurrection of the faithful worthies of old and the beginning of reconstruction … (J. F. Rutherford, Millions Now Living Will Never Die, 1920, pp. 89, 90, 97)


During the mid-1960s Jehovah’s Witnesses began to hear remarks from their leaders pointing forward to the year 1975 as the date for the end of this old world and the beginning of Christ’s millennial reign:


… According to this trustworthy Bible chronology six thousand years from man’s creation will end in 1975, and the seventh period of a thousand years of human history will begin in the fall of 1975 c.e. … It would not be by mere chance or accident but would be according to the loving purpose of Jehovah God for the reign of Jesus Christ, the “Lord of the Sabbath,” to run parallel with the seventh millennium of man’s existence (Life Everlasting—in Freedom of the Sons of God, 1966, pp. 29, 30).


During the next few years the organization made many more references to 1975, perhaps the most detailed being in an August 15, 1968 Watchtower article titled “Why Are You Looking Forward to 1975?” (p. 494). In this article the Society stated:


Are we to assume from this study that the battle of Armageddon will be all over by the autumn of 1975, and the long-looked-for thousand-year reign of Christ will begin by then? Possibly, but we wait to see how closely the seventh thousand-year period of man’s existence coincides with the sabbathlike thousand-year reign of Christ. .  . It may involve only a difference of weeks or months, not years (The Watchtower, 8/15/68, p. 499]).





How could Jehovah’s Witnesses back then demonstrate that they did not view the Society’s prophecy about 1975 as mere academic speculation, but actually accepted it as truth to live by? Their monthly publication Kingdom Ministry suggested that they quit their jobs, sell their homes, and live off that money in order to be full-time (“pioneer”) Watchtower distributors during the short time remaining before “the end”:


Yes, the end of this system is so very near! Is this not reason to increase our activity?… 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 … (Kingdom Ministry, May 1974, p. 3).




Having already served some years in “pioneer” work, I had no home or property to sell. But I did neglect having necessary dental work done, figuring it would be better to devote my time and funds to “spiritual things,” since the end was so near and my body would be restored to perfection shortly after 1975.

The things prophesied to take place in 1914, 1918, 1925, and 1975 did not happen, of course, so the Watchtower Society has proved to be a false prophet many times over. This should be discussed as dispassionately as possible. Let the Witness grasp the point without trying to hammer it in with an I-told-you-so! remark that would only get in the way of his admitting the facts. A better approach might be to conclude the discussion with a rereading of Deuteronomy 18:20–22, quoted above, perhaps adding also Jesus’ words at Matthew 7:15, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (kjv).

Still, rather than put your JW loved one on the spot by demanding an immediate acknowledgment that the Watchtower Society is one of those wolves in sheep’s clothing, it would be better to let the facts speak for themselves. This will make it more tolerable for the Witness to continue listening as you present the material in the next few chapters.

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