WORLD-RULE GOAL SLOWS
(Investigator 64, 1999 January)
This statement by William Schnell tells how "Judge" Rutherford, the president of the Watch Tower Society (WTS), expanded his vision when his prophecies for 1925 collapsed.
consisted of statements
The expanded vision was a vision of world rule by the WTS.
The home-produced book Jehovah’s Witnesses: A Statistical Survey (1992) analyses the evidence that the top leaders of the Jehovah's Witnesses, the president and other officers of the American corporations of the WTS, plan for the time when the governments of all nations submit to the WTS.
Rutherford got his idea for world rule – he got
from the theology of the previous WTS president Charles Taze Russell:
In 1926 Rutherford also moved the 1878 Kingdom in heaven to 1914. (JWs: A Statistical Survey, p. 268)
From 1919 to 1938 Rutherford turned the formerly loosely organized "Russellites" into a hierarchy where people at each level reported to the level above – ultimately to the WTS president.
He banned everything among J Ws which might cause disunity or distract from distributing WTS publications. He banned voting, birthday and Christmas celebrations, movie attendance, and all but banned love, marriage and sex. He insisted that children should not waste school holidays but should urge their parents to take them door to door.
Meetings consisted of reading The Watchtower magazine and answering set questions by quoting The Watchtower – unplanned comment was disallowed. To enforce all this, dissenters were shunned by "loyal ones" who in turn were motivated by threats and discriptions of imminent world destruction called "Armageddon".
Critics soon considered J Ws "the most totalitarian system on the face of the earth." J W leaders, in contrast, wrote of "Our Godly Unity."
Rutherford’s idea, suggests the Statistical Survey book, was that comparatively small numbers of people acting as one person will eventually dominate the divided majority and take over.
The Statistical Survey book extrapolates to the year 2000 some of the statistics available by 1991. Some of these projections are shown in the accompanying chart. Figures for 1998 are added as comparisons to indicate progress.
many quotes such as:
Join us in the great movement that will prevent further bloodshed and revolution and usher in the new world.
(Peoples Pulpit 1922 November 1)
After the wise men have failed to convert the world, God purposes to do it by the simple and seemingly foolish method of preaching.That righteous Kingdom rule must keep growing and expanding until it fills the whole earth.
(The Watchtower 1929 October 15 p. 316)
(Yearbook of J Ws 1985 p. 61)
The WTS also set all congregations the goal of expanding at 20% per annum. Mathematical projection shows that such 20% increase would, if achieved and maintained, have led to a Jehovah’s Witness world in the 1990s. However, the expansion rate slowed.
The chart accompanying this article suggests that most of the 2000 AD targets, as projected from the 1991 figures, will not be reached. This is because the overall, worldwide, annual expansion rate of the J Ws slowed to around 4% in the 1990s.
general malaise among
J Ws in the Western World. The reason is probably the doctrinal change
which redefined the "generation of 1914".
From 1982 to
1995 Awake! magazine
had the statement:
In 1995 the "Creator’s promise" failed when the WTS redefined "generation" and made it indefinitely long. (Investigator No. 51)
Pentecostals, Mormons and Adventists are growing faster than J Ws. The Statistical Survey book, however, considers whether the religious/political unity of J Ws across over 200 countries might, in the long run, come into decisive effect as societies advance toward a "global village". Worldwide unity controlled by a central authority could become important if the world experiences problems which only global concerted effort can overcome.
the J W
hierarchy is the
loss of credibility due to their failed prophecies for specific dates
as 1918, 1925, 1936, 1942, 1975, 2000, etc. (Investigator 56)
were useful to motivate people to join up and preach. But now that the
Organization is one of the biggest and most united in the world those
failed predictions are a handicap.
Projections for 2000 AD, made in 1992, look like they will fall short.
The main reason is the doctrinal change which in 1995 redefined the length of the 1914 end-time generation.
The Ratio column show the proportion of J Ws to the world population and to the populations of the countries listed.
[Note: "Publishers" are the door to door preachers and "Memorial" refers to the annual remembrance of Christ's death attended by every J W and persons interested in the sect.]
|1985||1991||Ratio in 1991 to
|The estimate in 1992 for 2000 AD||Figures in the 1999 Yearbook
The 1995 redefinition of "generation" caused membership losses in many lands.
Nevertheless 1995 was a good time to make the change. J Ws expand best in economically disadvantaged lands but without government suppression of religion. The collapse of Communism resulted in a cluster of such countries. J W growth in these, and some other poor countries, is more than offsetting losses in Europe.
Making the change in 1995 also avoided having the 1914 generation prophecies fail almost simultaneously with another date for Armageddon – "within our twentieth century." It avoided a "double whammy".
Past experience of J W prophecy failure suggests the J Ws will eventually recover in all countries.
[Update 2013: Many of the projections made in 1992 for the year 2000 and which fell short have now been achieved and even surpassed.]