INVESTIGATOR READERS

BURJIN J KOTWALL
 

Burjin J Kotwall worked for the Bank of America for 26 years and had the corporate title of "Vice President" for several years.

Except for a debate with "Anonymous" about Jonah Mr Kotwall's articles in Investigator have been about the Jehovah's Witnesses.

Below he describes some of his early experiences with the sect:
 
 

RECOLLECTIONS OF 1975

I have never been one of the Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs) but people close to me were prior to 1975.  Starting 1966 I studied Watchtower Society (WTS) doctrine in depth.

For many years the WTS taught that Armageddon would occur by 1975 and only the faithful JWs would survive. This meant the destruction of 99.9 percent of mankind!
(From Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained 1958, p. 209; The Watchtower (WT) 1968, October 15, pp. 614-615; Man's Salvation out of World Distress at Hand 1975, pp. 275, 276).

Sometime before 1975 the WTS got cold feet.

Towards the end of 1974 Nathan H. Knorr the president of the WTS and Fred Franz the then vice president (both now deceased) and other Governing Body (GB) members travelled the world to explain to JWs why the end of the world in 1975 might not eventuate.

At that time I lived in Pakistan.  Knorr and his entourage arrived in the capital city, Karachi, in January 1975. A public talk by Franz was advertised for January 12 (Sunday). There was great anticipation amongst the JWs. The venue, called Katrak Hall, was packed to capacity.  People stood in the isles and even outside.

I felt that Franz was going to prevaricate but most of my JW friends and acquaintances were sure he would be even more specific.

I sat near the front.  Knorr, Franz and some other Governing Body members were seated on the stage.

Since 1891 the WTS had maintained that Adam and Eve were created on different dates (years). It was speculated that the difference could be at least two years. (Thy Kingdom Come 1891, pp. 127-128)

In 1955 the WTS repeated that considerable time elapsed between the creation of Adam and Eve but was otherwise not specific.

The importance of this interval between Adam and Eve's creation is that the WTS taught that the 7 days of creation were each 7,000 years long and that Armageddon and the start of the Millennium would occur just within 6,000 years after Eve's creation.

WTS chronology, however,  gave 4026 BC as Adam's beginning but no date for Eve's beginning.  Since the difference would have to be added to 1975 to get the date for Armageddon and since the difference was unspecified the exact year of Armageddon could not be determined.

Then, in 1966, the creation date of Adam and Eve was changed to occur within the same year 4026 BC -- implying that 6000 years and the event of Armageddon would occur and be over by 1975. This change was made without  reference to the view taught until 1955. (Aid to Bible Understanding 1971 pp. 538, 333 cf. Genesis 5:30; Awake! 1966 October 8, p. 19; WT 1968 May l, p. 271; Kingdom Ministry (USA) 1968 March, p. 4; Awake! 1968 October 8, p.14)

[For a detailed explanation regarding the 7,000 years (=6,000 + 1,000 years of the millennium) and it's relation to another prophecy -- Armageddon "within our twentieth century" -- see Armageddon by 2000 A.D. says "Jehovah"  in Investigator No. 51. ]

Imagine the surprise of the audience when Franz fell back on the 1955 interpretation, yet without any reference to it, and told the crowd that the difference in the date of creation of Adam and Eve was an unknown period and therefore nothing was definite about 1975!

There was not even a murmur. The JWs accepted this volte-face without outward amazement or disappointment!  Franz made no admission of error and -- it seemed to me -- glared at the audience to dare challenge him!

The JWs who had come to listen to Franz left after the lecture befuddled.

In October 1975, after the prophecies failed, the WTS reiterated what Franz had said in his lecture -- that Adam and Eve were created in different years! (WT 1975 October 1, p. 579)  Again there was no admission of change.

Most JWs rate their predicted destruction of humankind as a joyous event. (WT 1991 January 1, p. 4)  I know, however, that some JWs in 1975 were relieved  that Franz had postponed the event.

The following day I went to the five-star Hotel Intercontinental where Franz and his coterie were staying and delivered a letter to Franz questioning him about his talk.  No reply was received.

Several days later the whole entourage flew out first-class -- friends at the airport told me this -- to their next destination.

Travelling overseers of the WTS stay at the homes of JWs and use the cheapest means of transport.  Most JWs would have given their eyeteeth to accommodate GB members in their homes.  However, the GB members prefer five-star hotels and first class travel.

(Investigator 67, 1999 July)

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