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One of the key concepts behind jwfacts.com is that God does not direct doctrinal interpretation of the Watchtower Society; as proven by the ongoing changes to Watchtower doctrine. A Witness will retort that the Bible says the "light gets brighter" and so changes are an indication that it is directed by Jehovah. This is nothing more than a justification for error and the fallacy of such a response is discussed in detail at Light Gets Brighter.
This section helps prove that the concept of getting brighter is not valid. In many cases, Watchtower doctrine has not brightened or been enhanced but changed and then reverted back to the original position; flip-flopped. At other times the Watchtower has introduced doctrine as having come from Jehovah, only to later make a complete reversal to what was said.
Protestant tradition is one of 'Sola Scriptura'; that the Bible alone is the complete basis for Christian teaching. Though paying lip service to 'Sola Scriptura' the Watchtower doctrine of guidance by the Slave class has more in common with Catholic 'Magisterium'. The New Catholic Encyclopaedia explains that truth is provided through the Church and Pope progressively:
"Must it be admitted that Christ instituted His Church as the official and authentic organ to transmit and explain in virtue of Divine authority the Revelation made to men? The Protestant principle is: The Bible and nothing but the Bible; the Bible, according to them, is the sole theological source; there are no revealed truths save the truths contained in the Bible; according to them the Bible is the sole rule of faith: by it and by it alone should all dogmatic questions be solved; it is the only binding authority. Catholics, on the other hand, hold that there may be, that there is in fact, and that there must of necessity be certain revealed truths apart from those contained in the Bible There is, therefore in the Church progress of dogma, progress of theology, progress to a certain extent of faith itself, but this progress does not consist in the addition of fresh information nor the change of ideas. What is believed has always been believed, but in time it is more commonly and thoroughly understood and explicitly expressed."
There is great similarity between this Catholic passage and the Watchtower concept that its leaders, the Slave Class, are the only bearers of truth. The Bible cannot be understood without the help of this spirit directed Slave, who do not make erroneous doctrine, but rather progressive revelation of doctrine as the light gets brighter.
In true pot-calling-the-kettle-black form, the Watchtower negatively highlights other religions that make changes to their doctrine.
"Why is there this decline in religion?
The topics in this section give great insight into changes in Watchtower doctrine and why these cannot be glossed over as the light getting brighter.
This article covers some of the lesser known failed predictions and changed date doctrine of the Watchtower Society. For many decades the Watchtower taught that the last days started in 1799, Jesus' invisible presence commenced in 1874 and the world would end in 1914. This article outlines over 20 dates no longer taught as truth.
One of the most misleading statements in Watchtower publications is that they accurately foretold 1914 to be the "start" of the conclusion of this system of things. In reality, 1914 was predicted to be the "end" of the system of things, the conclusion of Armageddon and the start of the earthly paradise. Here is a comparison of quotes prior to 1914, with how the Watchtower now presents its history
In 1918, Rutherford announced "The World Has Ended - Millions Now Living May Never Die!", declaring that the earthly resurrection was scheduled for 1925. In March, a booklet was produced with the more compelling title “The World Has Ended — Millions Now Living Will Never Die”. The failure of this prophecy promoted Rutherford to rewrite the majority of Watchtower date doctrine.
For many decades it was taught that selection of the 144,000 was completed in 1935. After this announcement the number of memorial partakers steadily declined. This was presented as proof that the end would be soon. In 2007, an admission appeared that there was no basis for saying the choosing of the Anointed closed in 1935. In the years since 2007 the number of partakers has started to rise again. It is interesting that errors in Watchtower doctrine can dictate whether a follower believes they have been Anointed by Jesus.
The Watchtower made the assertion that Adam was created 6000 years prior to 1975 and so this was a likely year for Armageddon. However, most Witnesses deny such false predictions for the end. This article contains a majority of the quotes regarding 1975 so the reader can determine for themselves whether the Watchtower was responsible for excitement that the end would be 1975.
In line with Rutherford's prediction that the earthly resurrection was to begin in 1925 was the purchase of a mansion at Beth-Sarim, for the "ancient worthies" to live in. Whilst waiting for this occurrence, Rutherford conveniently used it as his place of residence for the winter months.
There has been an ongoing tightening of the procedure to become a Jehovah's Witness. Most disturbing was the change in 1985, after which a Witness no longer gets baptised in the "name of the ... holy spirit", but rather to God's "spirit directed organization".
Jehovah's Witnesses are strictly forbidden to celebrate birthdays, Christmas and salute the flag, but for many decades were encouraged to engage in these practices.
Russell was an offshoot of the 1800's Adventist movement, and included many of their teaching, including those with links back to Freemasonry. This includes the use of symbols such as the knights templar. He placed special emphasis on the pyramid of Giza and used it as a basis for his predictions for the world's end in 1914.
The changing elders arrangement highlights the way Witnesses are manipulated to fall in line with statements that such changes have come from Jehovah. When these arrangements fail, it shows Jehovah was not involved at all.
One of the clearest indicators that Jehovah does not direct Watchtower doctrine has been the ongoing, contradictory changes to the generation teaching. The idea that some born prior to 1914 would still be alive to see Armageddon was the basis for many Witnesses faith, until the doctrine had to be adjusted in 1995. The 2010 "overlapping" generation can be seen as a desperate attempt to continue misusing this doctrine to ignite urgency in Watchtower followers.
The Watchtower has made numerous erroneous claims about medicine, and flip-flopped on whether a person can use blood and organ transplants. This has led, and continues to result in, avoidable death of unsuspecting followers.
For anyone that thinks the Governing Body are directed to interpret doctrine, the contradictory adjustments to the understanding of Revelation and Daniel prophecies should be enough to prove otherwise.
The number of times the Governing Body have changed which groups of people are worthy of a resurrection makes mockery of any claims to what they write as being truth.
Yet another flip-flop, this time regarding who the Superior Authorities are. Once again we see the Watchtower embellishing its history when discussing this topic.
The most important doctrine a religion can hold to regards the God they promote for worship. It is quite shocking that until the 1950's, Witnesses were told Jesus was a god to worship and pray to, along with Jehovah. This made them polytheistic. In 1953 the worship of Jesus became a disfellowshipping offence.
Russell was a Zionist and actively promoted that the return of a Jewish state. Rutherford continued in this line for a period of time, before turning on the Jews and claiming Zionist teachings were from Satan.
1800s - Changed Date Doctrine