This site now has permission to reprint various postings and articles from JWFacts, JWStudies, JWInsider, and several others. We are still working on getting more content from still other posters, bloggers, and site creators, and are especially looking for JWs who have taken up the same studies about chronology that we focus on here.
JWINSIDER #003 on 1914: From posts in the topic ALL aspects of 1914 doctrine are now problematic from a Scriptural point of view.
The original context is found here: https://www.theworldnewsmedia.org/topic/39516-all-aspects-of-1914-doctrine-are-now-problematic-from-a-scriptural-point-of-view/
[Most responses or questions from other forum participants are removed]
I think of the expression ‘it is the victors that write history.’ It is a political statement regarding world powers, but it applies to everything.
I haven’t invoked the part of this story that involves the “political” powers that have played no small part in keeping the 1914 doctrine written into our own history. But as you already admit that it applies to everything, I will oblige. Not that this has anything to do with real evidence for anything, but for me, it at least counters the common idea that if something is believed by non-Witnesses or ex-Witnesses it must be wrong. In this case, the same evidence I have already presented was also believed by several members of our own Governing Body, and even more members of our own Writing Department, plus at least one Gilead Instructor and at least two respected members of the Service Department. One is a current Governing Body Helper, and another still works in Writing and both still give convention talks, etc.
As a New Yorker you are not living too far away from some of those who were close friends of many of the people I mention, and you might have an opportunity to validate any part of what I’ll mention below:
Daniel Sydlik of the Governing Body once said to me “off the record” that he thought we should just scrap the entire chronology and “start from scratch.” I had heard that he had said this to several brothers prior to 1974, and I wanted to know (in 1978) if he still felt that way now that he was on the Governing Body. At the time I was only willing to question the 1918 and 1919 doctrines, and I went to him because I had been told by several people that he dismissed them as fantasy. Ewart Chitty, Ray Franz and Lyman Swingle had also made similar comments even about 1914, not just 1919. I had only heard Lyman Swingle say it personally, but I knew people who said that Chitty and R.Franz had also no longer believed that 1914 was a doctrine we should promote in the way we were doing it. The people who told me this were two of my best friends in Writing and one more very good friend in the Service Department. When Brother Schroeder complained to me about people willing to dismiss 1914, he inadvertently gave me 3 more names in the Writing Department when he said that it included everyone currently in Writing who worked on the Aid Book. The brother who gave my wedding talk, Brother Rusk, was a hard-line loyalist to anything that Fred Franz believed, and he also warned me against my friendship with 3 brothers in Writing, two of whom worked on the Aid Book.
I would never have had the nerve to ask why no member of the Governing Body had not stood up to Fred Franz and questioned the chronology doctrines outright. But several members of the Writing Department explained what they thought was happening. And their ideas were consistent: When serious doctrinal issues were being questioned (like chronology) there was very little that could be done prior to 1977 because it didn’t matter what the Governing Body thought anyway, because Nathan Knorr and Fred Franz would override it in favor of “conservative” policies and doctrines. Also, neither Grant Suiter nor Milton Henschel ever cared much for scriptural discussions, which was obvious by the way they handled morning worship only as if it were “business reporting.” So any scriptural matters were decided by the Oracle (Fred Franz). The Governing Body from 1971 to 1977 was not really a Governing Body yet anyway in the sense that they could actually bring up major doctrinal issues for questioning. Swingle could grumble about 1914, and R.Franz had already done the research for the Aid Book chronology article, but when R.Franz was added to the Governing Body in 1971, it was with Gangas, Greenlees, and Jackson — and those three just mentioned were 100% supporters of Fred Franz. In 1974, when Sydlik and Schroeder were added and were known wild-cards, it was still at a time when the Governing Body had no authority to decide anything of any consequence. Also, of course, they were added at the same time as Ted Jaracz, Charles Fekel, Karl Klein, and Ewart Chitty were added. Those four were considered to be 100% Fred Franz supporters, even sycophants was the word used of most of them. Chitty admitted to a very close and respected friend of mine that he had grave reservations about 1914, but I have my doubts he would have pushed against the strength of Fred Franz on a doctrinal issue. (Of the last four, Jaracz, Fekel, Klein, and Chitty, I will not break down all the different rumors about each one, but I will say that it might have seemed obvious, based on their histories, that they would always vote with Fred Franz.) Barber, Barr and Poetzinger were added in 1977 and it was assumed by at least one friend in Writing that they filled out an even wider safety net to keep all votes for change from ever reaching 66.67%. I have to say that I knew almost nothing about any of these last three, and they never said anything during morning worship that gave a hint that they might have had preferred views or teachings that they felt were priorities.
By the time any dangerous questions could have been asked, Schroeder spearheaded a crack-down on such questions, starting in early 1980, and I even watched him try to position himself as the new “Oracle” in the event that “King Saul” died. (The expression, “That won’t change until King Saul dies” was heard as a kind of joke many times in the Writing and Service Department, and it actually referred to someone else before Fred Franz.) Some people were very serious about it, however. At any rate, “King Saul” kept his power by minimizing the work Schroeder was doing throughout the 1980’s and sometimes pushing for explanations that were exactly the opposite of what Schroeder proposed. (To be fair Schroeder proposed some fairly odd changes, which I won’t get into here and now.) But one of the specific items that Schroeder had proposed was the idea that the “generation” should be seen as the generation of the “anointed.” He even went to give talks in Europe promoting this new view. In response, Franz pushed for making it the generation of the “wicked” which actually made more sense in light of some scriptures. Schroeder also pushed one last time on trying to prove that the heart was not just a figurative, but a literal seat of emotion, love, hate, envy, etc. Franz responded with a long Gilead Graduation talk in excruciating detail about the meaning of the liver and fat, and why the fat was forbidden just as blood was forbidden. It seemed very serious, but Schroeder told me what he thought of it.