Two items about Jehovah's Witnesses appear below:
1    Sect Leader Dies
2    Smart Fred Franz



SECT LEADER DIES

(Investigator 29, 1993 March)


Frederick William Franz, 99, president of the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society and member of the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses, died of a heart attack in December at the New York headquarters of the sect.

Mr Franz became the 4th president of the organization in 1977 following the death of Nathan H Knorr.

Mr Franz, a bachelor, Bible interpreter, writer and public speaker knew nine languages including an acquaintance with the Biblical languages of Aramaic, Hebrew and Greek. He was the main translator of the New World Translation of the Bible completed in 1961.

Franz regularly travelled worldwide to address large audiences of the JW sect. He also spoke at the world's largest religious convention in 1958, New York, where 1/4 million people attended.

Born in Covington (Kentucky, USA) in 1893 Frederick Franz and family moved to nearby Cincinnati where he taught Sunday school in the Presbyterian Church and planned to become a minister.

He commenced at the University of Cincinnati in 1911 and studied Greek and Latin. His brother sent him a booklet of the International Bible Students (= Russellites from whom JWs are derived). This prompted Franz to leave University in 1914 without completing his degree and become a colporteur for the cult.

JWs believe Franz was elected a Rhodes Scholar but turned it down. At a court trial in Scotland in 1954 he stated: "I was offered a Cecil Rhodes Scholarship, I took an examination for that in the University of Ohio…" (Douglas Walsh Trial Transcript p. 178)

The Rhodes Scholarship Trust deny that Franz was "elected" but admit that he passed an exam which made him a candidate for the Scholarship. In his biography Franz argued: "my professor in Greek at the university, Dr. Joseph Harry, informed me that I had been chosen to receive it." At that stage Franz allegedly wrote a letter advising of his loss of interest in the Scholarship.

A letter dated January 13, 1993, from the American Secretary of The Rhodes Scholarship Trust, to one Frank Russo stated:
 

Dear Mr. Russo

The only information kept by this Office of the Rhodes Scholarship Trust relating to Frederick W. Franz states that he took and passed the qualifying examination for the Rhodes Scholarship in 1913. We have no information whether or not he was offered a Rhodes Scholarship; we keep records only for those who are elected and enter Oxford University.

Yours sincerely,

David Alexander
American Secretary
 
 

In 1920 Franz moved to the New York headquarters of the cult where he sang tenor on their radio station and became a travelling representative lecturing on "Millions Now Living Will Never Die". According to this message Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and other Bible heroes were to rise from the dead in 1925 and inaugurate paradise on Earth.

In the late 1920s and 1930s Franz often assisted "Judge" Rutherford, then leader of the cult, with research when doctrines needed changing. A letter in the July 1 1929 Watchtower, for example, helped debunk the doctrine that the Great Pyramid was the "Bible in stone" and "inspired".

In 1945 Franz became the vice president and chief theologian of the Organization which then entered its greatest period of growth. New training programs intended to turn JWs into "ministers" helped boost expansion to 20% in some years.

This prepared for the doctrine (in the Sabbath chapter of Franz’s 1946 book Let God be True) that Armageddon followed by a "World Society" composed entirely of JWs would come about within the 20th century. Around 1950 Franz also linked the final generation of this world to 1914. The previous interpretations made the last generation start in 1799 and then 1878.

Growth rates slowed in the 1960s leading Franz to spur things on by implying Armageddon and "Peace on Earth" could occur in the mid 1970s. When he became president of the Organization in 1977 widespread disappointment with this "false prophecy" led to mass defections in many countries, the opening of hundreds of anti JW ministries, and to numerous protest demonstrations at JW conventions and even at their headquarters! Some groups distributed libellous pamphlets comparing Franz to a murderer (because of his anti blood transfusion doctrine), or a "wizard" or even to Adolf Hitler!

A policy of shunning all critics, comparing them to "Satan" and their writings to vomit, plus constant emphasis on Armageddon being "immediately ahead" led to stabilization in the early 1980s and then renewed steady recruitment.

Mr Franz’s last visit to Australia occurred in 1984. He spoke to large crowds in major cities and visited the newly built Convention Halls of the sect.

In his final year of life Mr Franz was blind and deaf and stayed in the infirmary at the New York world headquarters.

(PD)


 
GROWTH STATISTICS OF SECT
CORRELATED WITH EVENTS IN FRED FRANZ’S LIFE
Year Event in Franz’s Life Watchtower Circulation  Active Membership of the Sect Memorial Attendance Annual % Increase in Memorial Attendance Ratio of Memorial Attendance to the World Population
1893 Birth
10,000
1,000
1,500
  1 / 1,020,000
1913 Baptized
45,000
3,000
13,000
11.4%
1 / 134,000
1920  Moved to New York HQ
20,000
8,000
22,000
7.8%
1 / 82,700
1945 Vice President of JW Organization
600,000
142,000
186,000
8.9%
1 / 12,300
1958 New York Convention
253,000 attendance
3,000,000
798,000
1,172,000
14.8%
1 / 2,430
1977 President
10,400,000
2,224,000
5,108,000
8.1%
1 / 810
1992 Death
15,570,000
4,473,000
11,431,000
5.5%
1 / 470


DISTRIBUTION FIGURES OF PUBLICATIONS TO 1983

YEARS
PAMPHLETS
MAGAZINES
BOOKS
TOTAL
1879-1918
419,194,085
(Mags. included)
 
10,150,665
429,344,750
1919-1983
2,364,604,245
5,514,682,225
508,660,881
8,387,947,351
TOTALS
2,783,604,330
5,514,682,225
518,811,546
8,817,292,101
(From: Centennial of the WBTS of Pennsylvania 1884-1984, October 6, p. 26)
 
 
 

COMMENT IN BRIEF

SMART FRED FRANZ

(Investigator 33, 1993 November)

Following the Investigator biography of sect leader Frederick W Franz last March, reader Frank Russo phoned the University of Cincinnati.

Franz studied there from 9/1911 to 12/1913, completed 36 "classes" scoring 23 A's, 8 B's and 5 C's. He did 90% of the studies for a degree before discontinuing.




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