I am including this post to the site because it reveals something about just how crazy we have been at coming up with “strange doctrines.” Some would just chalk it up to the insanity of Fred Franz.
By 1951, the Watchtower started doing some math: 33+37=70 so 1914+37=1951. (See Kingdom Haul of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Part 2 of 2).
In the early 1950’s, therefore, the closeness of Armageddon was so sure, that the Watchtower was already discussing how they would go about handling the next big assignment, picking up bones:
*** w53 12/15 p. 763 Questions From Readers ***
Yet the survivors of Armageddon will not let the earth lie littered with bleached bones, but will bury them to cleanse the land, as Ezekiel 39:12 states: “And seven months shall the house of Israel be burying of them, that they may cleanse the land.”
*** w56 8/1 p. 465 par. 17 Jehovah’s Message Against Gog of Magog ***
With such a glorious feast of victory concluded, only the bones, bones from one end of the earth to the other, will be left for burial. What a task that will be for the survivors, …Even with the work well organized it will take seven months, Jehovah says, just to bury the bones. Scouting corps will be sent out on a full-time basis to search the land thoroughly and, when bones are found, markers will be set up for those with the spades and shovels who follow. Those privileged to share in that cleanup work will not view it as a revolting and disgusting assignment but will rejoice to be alive when Gog’s long and oppressive rule has come to an end and when the wicked are no more. Survivors of Armageddon will be happy and will greatly rejoice to have a share in preparing the earth for a global paradise of beauty and perfection under the reign of the King Christ Jesus. But first, before that happy day, this message against Gog must be delivered in its completeness.
Although discussion of this topic started in the early 1950’s it kept going strong well into the 1960’s. About 1966, our congregation rehearsed a “drama” for the “circuit servant’s visit” where we re-enacted this same full-time bone-picking ministry. I was in it, too. We used long-dead, dried cow-bones, plentiful in mid-western grazing fields, and laid them around the Kingdom Hall stage.
In the drama, while collecting the bones into burlap sacks, Armageddon survivors in the drama wondered aloud to each other where certain other brothers were — where “Brother One-Hour” was, for example. Then a brother holding a gunny sack full of bones, throws them down saying melodramatically: “You don’t suppose??!!??….” (Other missing persons had names like “Sister Rarely-Got-To-Meetings.”) One “actor” got a big laugh by picking up an old skull with horns as he ad-libbed: “Looks like this brother died because he was too bull-headed.”