How much trust can you put in an organization? For many Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Watchtower Society is believed to be Jehovah’s organization in which they are to put their blind loyalty for divine guidance:
“In the preceding article, we learned that our trust in Jehovah is manifested when we turn to him in prayer, when we seek direction from his Word, and when we look to his organization for guidance” (The Watchtower, September 1, 2003, 13)
In 2012, the Watchtower announced its adjustment in its doctrine of the ‘faithful and discreet slave’ declaring that:
“The evidence points to the following conclusion: “The faithful and discreet slave” was appointed over Jesus’ domestics in 1919. That slave is the small, composite group of anointed brothers serving at world headquarters during Christ’s presence who are directly involved in preparing and dispensing spiritual food. When this group work together as the Governing Body, they act as “the faithful and discreet slave.” (Annual Meeting Report 20102).
This unscriptural designation of a “class” of men as making up the faithful and discreet slave is primarily aimed at upholding the concept of a centralized authority vested by power from above. This is the means by which the governing body wields control over JWs by demanding their allegiance and submission.
This belief is aimed at diminishing individual discernment, faith, responsibility and discretion and elevating the Governing Body to a divine plane as The Watchtower bluntly puts it: “the faithful and discreet slave is directly under the control of Jesus Christ.” (March 15, 2002, p. 14)
But there are three major historical incidents that shatter these hallowed claims appropriated by Watchtower leadership into bits.
- The Society’s support of the Nazis
The Watchtower loves to attack Christendom for colluding with Hitler while mining a huge moral capital for itself by citing the resilience of many JWs who were imprisoned and killed for refusing to compromise their neutrality. But they are silent about how Joseph Rutherford had initially praised Hitler for his antagonism against the Jews and the Anglo-American empire.
Rutherford not only hated Christendom, he also promoted anti-Semitism and denounced Anglo-American empire as “the most oppressive empire on earth.” This is one of the areas where he dissented from his predecessor, Charles Russell, who was a Zionist.
Due to the refusal of many Jehovah’s Witnesses to offer their allegiance to the government or serve in the armed forces, in 1933, the Watchtower office in Berlin was closed and JWs were banned in several German states.
To appease Hitler into lifting the ban, Rutherford drafted a Declaration of Facts and sent a letter to Hitler, stating the Watchtower support for the Nazi regime. A part of the letter translated into English reads:
“The Brooklyn headquarter of the Watchtower Society is pro-German in an exemplary way and has been so for many years. For that reason, in 1918, the president of the Society and seven members of the board of directors were sentenced to 80 years in prison, because the president refused to use two of the magazines published in America under his direction for war propaganda against Germany. These two magazines, “The Watchtower” and “Bible Student” were the only magazines in America which refused to engage in anti-German propaganda …
“The enclosed declaration underlines this fact and emphasizes that the people leading in such propaganda (Jewish businessmen and Catholics) also are the most rigorous persecutors of the work of our Society and its board of directors…
“The conference of five thousand delegates also noted – as is expressed in the declaration – that the Bible Researchers in Germany are fighting for the very same high ethical goals and ideals which also the national government of the German Reich proclaimed respecting the relationship of humans to God, namely: honesty of the created being towards its creator.”
The Declaration of Facts was reprinted in their 1934 Yearbook where they stated that: “Instead of being against the principles advocated by the government of Germany, we stand squarely for such principles” (pp. 134-138, English edition).
The above letter in support of Hitler was also mentioned in the Watchtower Yearbook of 1974 (p. 111), yet in a gross display of hypocrisy and revisionism, the Watchtower chided church officials for not writing letters of protests against the Nazis as Jehovah’s Witnesses did in Germany! (The WT., October 1, 2011, p. 14).
- The betrayal of the Malawians
In 1964 (as well as 1970s and 1980s), Jehovah’s Witnesses in Malawi were heavily persecuted and harassed for their political neutrality. According to the Watchtower:
“It is because Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse to buy the Malawi Congress Party Card. This card declares the holder to be a member of the ruling political party of Malawi. But for Jehovah’s Witnesses to buy a political card and thus join a political party would be an open denial of what they believe and stand for.” (Awake! August 8, 1976, p. 5)
Thousands of Malawian JWs were brutally tortured and killed for their adherence to this Watchtower doctrine. In each wave of violence, beatings, torture and even murder went virtually unchecked by the authorities. Raymond Franz wrote:
“In the first attack, 1,091 Malawi families saw their little homes burned or otherwise demolished with 588 fields of crops destroyed. In the 1967 attacks, Witnesses reported the raping of more than one thousand of their women, one mother being sexually violated by six different men, her 13 year old daughter by three men” (Crisis of Conscience, 1983 p. 112).
Yet, the Governing Body took an opposite position when a similar situation occurred at about the same time in Mexico.
At the time, men of draft age were required to undergo a specified period of military training for one year. On completion of service, young men would receive a certificate or “Cartilla” noting down their attendance at weekly military instruction classes.
Like the card used in Malawi, the “Cartilla” was required for transactions such as obtaining a passport or driver’s license and it was illegal for officials to fill in the attendance record if the registrant has not attended military classes, but officials could be bribed to do so. This was what many JWs did.
The Governing Body of the Watchtower Society ruled that:
“If members of the military establishment are willing to accept such an arrangement upon the payment of a fee then that is the responsibility of these representatives of the national organization. In such a case the money paid does not go to the military establishment, but is appropriated by the individual who undertakes the arrangement. If the conscience of certain brothers allow them to enter into such an arrangement for their continued freedom, we have no objection” (Letter to Mexico Branch Committee, June 2, 1960, reproduced by Raymond Franz in Crisis of Conscience p. 121).
In other words, Malawian Witnesses were hypocritically forced to uphold a higher standard than was expected of those in Mexico. No thanks to the Governing Body with its surprising detours and contradictory stances. The Watchtower used their (apparently inferior) African followers as bullocks to be sacrificed to uphold their image.
- The secret league with the United Nations
For decades, the Watchtower Society has launched its missiles against the United Nations, identifying it as an anti-Christ organization, the image of the wild beast and Satan organization set up against Jehovah and his witnesses.
“No, the UN is not a blessing, even though the religious clergy of Christendom and the rabbis of Jewry pray heaven’s blessings upon that organization. It is really “the image of the wild beast,” the visible political and commercial organization of “the god of the system of things,” Satan the Devil. So the UN will soon be destroyed along with that beastly organization” (The WT 1984, Sep. 15, p. 15)
“The United Nations is actually a worldly confederacy against Jehovah God and his dedicated Witnesses on earth.” (The WT, 1987, Sep. 1, p. 20).
But, in October 2001, a stunning revelation emerged that the Watchtower Society had been an associate NGO with the United Nations since 1992! In 1991, the Watchtower Society applied to be a NGO associate of the UN and their application was being renewed annually. Few days after it became public knowledge that they were working with the UN, the Society pulled out of the alliance.
Stephen Bates, a correspondent with The Guardian (UK), was the first to expose this astonishing hypocrisy on October 8, 2001:
“The United Nations is being asked to investigate why it has granted associate status to the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the fundamentalist US-based Christian sect, which regards it as the scarlet beast predicted in the Book of Revelation. Disaffected members of the 6 million-strong group, which has 130,000 followers in the UK, have accused the Witnesses’ elderly governing body of hypocrisy in secretly accepting links with an organization that they continue to denounce in apocalyptic terms. The UN itself admitted yesterday that it was surprised that the sect whose formal name is the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, had been accepted on its list of non-governmental organizations for the last 10 years.”
Again, we are confronted with the unjust double standards which the Watchtower holds for itself and those under its control. No JW is allowed to work even as a janitor for any political or worldly organization such as the UN. To do so would be a violation of their theocratic “neutrality” and will result in one being disfellowshipped.
Yet, this same Watchtower Society was for decades in partnership with the very organization which they declare to be an anti-Christ organization – and they even went ahead to mislead their followers when their affiliation with the UN became public knowledge.
These are simply inexcusable stances showing an organization under the control of the father of lies and hence cannot provide any divine guidance. The lives and overall well-being of many JWs all around the world are being sacrificed on the altar of the Watchtower leadership which lives above its own austere diktats.
Jesus described them perfect: “For they say but do not practice what they say. They bind up heavy loads and put them on the shoulders of men but they themselves are not willing to budge them with their finger … Blind guides, who strain out the gnat but gulp down the camel!” (Matthew 23: 3-4, 24 NWT)