Personal Experience: CARL OLOF JONSSON

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Carl Olof Jonsson

Carl Olof Jonsson was born on December 8, 1937 in the village Borgvattnet in the province of Jämtland in the middle of Sweden. Hecoj1 married a fellow Witness in 1967 and remained one of Jehovah’s Witnesses for twenty-six years.

In 1968, Carl Olof was a full-time evangelist who, for the most part, put great trust in the doctrinal teachings of the Watch Tower Society, which also was the corporate voice of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

It was during that year when Carl Olof was challenged by an acquaintance “to prove the date the Watch Tower Society had chosen for the desolation of Jerusalem by the Babylonians.” Upon that date lay the key foundation teaching of the Witnesses

That challenge in 1968 resulted for Carl Olof years of personal research that continued on and off until the end of 1975. It was during this year when he realized that Watch Tower leaders had perpetuated a deception on millions of their members by suppressing information that would give members an opportunity to examine evidence and come to their own conclusions about the doctrine.

In August of 1977, Carl Olof sent a carefully researched treatise examining the subject of the “Gentile times,” to the Watch Tower at the international headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Brooklyn, New York. For the Witnesses, the year of the ending of the Gentile Times had to be a fundamental truth because they believed it was when God’s kingdom was established. And the year of the desolation of Jerusalem by the Babylonians was tied up in determining when the ending of the Gentile Times was.

Those who were part of the writing and editorial staff including Raymond Franz remembered the rather stunning effect that treatise had on them when they read it. Franz said, “Not only the volume of the documentation, but even more so the weight of the evidence left us feeling somewhat disconcerted. We were, in effect, at a loss as to what to do with the material. That treatise later formed the basis for Carl Olof Jonsson’s 1983 book, The Gentile Times Reconsidered.”

Ray Franz pointed out in the Foreword of The Gentile Times Reconsidered that numerous interpretations of the phrase, the “Gentile times,” which Christ employed, had been around for centuries. However, he said that Carl Olof explained in his book that the interpretation of the subject “Gentile times,” which the Witnesses espoused, was not their own but originated nearly a half century before the beginning of their own organization. This interpretation focused on the date of 1914 that was based on another date, 607 B.C.E. which bolstered it.

That prominent interpretation defined for Jehovah’s Witnesses the time in which they lived, a means to judge what made up “the good news of the Kingdom” that Christ said would be preached, and measured the legitimacy of any religion that claimed to represent the concerns of Christ and his Kingdom.

“Rarely has a single date [1914] played such a pervasive and defining role in a religion’s theology as has the date focused on by this interpretation,” Franz pointed out.

Following the publication of “The Gentile Times Reconsidered,” Carl Olof became involved in a public dispute with Watchtower apologist Rolf Furuli in Oslo, Norway. In response to Furuli´s papers, books and articles, he has written several lengthy articles published in English and now shown on the site “Kristen Frihet.” Professor Hermann Hunger in Vienna, the foremost scholar on the cuneiform Neo-Babylonian texts of our day, publicly sided with Jonsson.

Carl Olof has continued to thoroughly and carefully research this subject for almost forty years now. His investigation reached back some two and a half millennia into the writings of ancient peoples that revealed evidence against the 607 B.C.E. date that supported the 1914 teaching that Carl Olof said “constitutes the very foundation for the claims and message of this movement.”

The Watch Tower Society asserted “that the kingdom of God was established in heaven in 1914,” and that the “last days” began that year and Christ returned invisibly then. Upon these assumptions lay the claim “that the generation of 1914 would positively not pass away until the final end came at the “battle of Armageddon.”

The chronology of 1914, upon which the Watch Tower’s major message rested, was dismantled by Carl Olof and when they read his treatise, they rejected it. Watch Tower leaders warned him not to spread the information he had gathered and told him that they “did not need or want individual Witnesses to become involved in research of this kind.”

Because of this, Carl Olof resigned as an elder and from all his assignments in the congregation. It was spread throughout the community of Jehovah’s Witnesses that he was rebellious and called a presumptuous heretic, blasphemer, evil slave and even intimated that he was “demon-possessed.” He was branded as an “apostate,” a dissident, who was described as an “enemy of God” to be shunned by all Jehovah’s Witnesses including family and friends after he was disfellowshipped on June 9, 1982, although his wife did not abandon him, nor did his parents-in-law, who were Witnesses.

In 1987 Carl Olof published with Rud Persson the book, The Sign of the Last Days- When? dealing largely with wars, earthquakes, famines, pestilences and crime in history, challenging the Witness tenet that ours is the worst time ever.

In 2004 the fourth, much expanded, edition of The Gentile Times Reconsidered was published.

Being a studious person Carl Olof knows Biblical Hebrew and Greek. He writes and speaks English very well. He speaks German fluently and has a working knowledge of French. In recent years his health has failed him but he is still following closely what is going on in Biblical Studies. He always emphasizes that he has remained a Christian.

 

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Editor’s Note:

Carl Olof Jonsson  has written extensively in his research on the beliefs and doctrines of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Much of that information is available on his website. He has also contributed research to this site. We have featured one of his books on this site, Gentile Times Reconsidered, which is also referenced below.

(The following is copied from Amazon.com)

coj-gtr4The Gentile Times Reconsidered  – June 1, 2004

____________________

signoflastSign of the Last Days When

– September 1, 1987

17 thoughts on “Personal Experience: CARL OLOF JONSSON”

    1. This site represents the work of a variety of people. So we wouldn’t attempt to provide a definitive answer when the Bible does not provide one. The Bible indicates that the “end times” began with Jesus’ ministry. It was the message of John the Baptist just before Jesus preached, and long after Jesus preached, it was also the message of John the writer of the book of Revelation. Some (perhaps most) of the talk of end times in the Bible referred to Jewish system which effectively ended about 70 C.E. when the Roman armies destroyed the city of Jerusalem and its temple buildings. The Bible indicates that immediately after that time, Christians are in a time of awaiting the Parousia but with no specific time predictions or signs to indicate whether it is close or not. Christians remain ever alert throughout their lives because the day will come without warning, and the Christian therefore remains ready by being the sort of person we ought to be. That time period would include a delay that could potentially last thousands of years according to Peter’s words that “A day with the Lord is as 1,000 years and 1,000 years as one day.” In other words, by most reckonings, we have been in the “end times” for nearly 2,000 years. By other reckonings the term “end times” would mean that we absolutely know the Parousia is imminent in our generation. Since we can’t know that, we may or may not be living at a time when the Parousia is imminent. Therefore we remain prepared by maintaining our Christian conduct.

    1. Last I heard, Carl is still very ill and has not been responding to emails for quite a while now. I last contacted him through his gmail account, but it has been a while. If you have anything urgent for him, perhaps you can contact him through an email of someone who lives near him.

  1. Live humus for 82 years, male by design and orientation original from Berlin/Germany in AU since 1952 in the truth for 1/2 Century shunned wince 2008, I have a deep sense of Humus along with a sense of appropriate Humour.

    Also have a 148 page website that deals with ALL aspects of JW and other main stream foundation ‘Christian’ doctrines: http://www.sanctifyname.com/ wherein I tackle the fear-merchant’s end time dream time scenarios and other on-biblical aberrations.

    Can I contact Olof directly? Then again, why should I.

    And anyway, I have nothing to sell on the receive free give free basis nor am In the market to buy distracting nuances of a truth too far.

    Try these pages from my site:
    http://www.sanctifyname.com/gentiletimes.html
    http://www.sanctifyname.com/armageddon.html and subs
    http://www.sanctifyname.com/sheep.html and subs

    Might be enlightening.

    Dieter G

    1. Hi Dieter. It is just me Jean Lowe. still going through your writings a little at a time. Appreciate your thoughts and information and your dry sense of humour.

  2. Pues al leer este blog , no me convencen mucho los argumentos aquí presentados.
    Creo que a cada ser el Creador le dió un cerebro que le puede indicar qué creer. E independientemente de lo que la Watchtower ha dicho durante décadas, hay cosas que no pueden ser ignoradas.
    1914 innegablemente fué un año que marcó el fin de una era. La Primera Guerra Mundial ciertamente no fue imaginaria. En 1934 no ocurrio nada relevante, ya que la Segunda Guerra fue en el 39.

    Por otra parte, en mi caso, he decidido tomar también en cuenta lo que dicen otras fuentes en cuanto a la fecha en la que Ciro el Grande conquistó a la atigua Babilonia. Al menos he notado que el 539 a de EC es una fecha muy aceptada . Y no creo que haya mucho qué buscarle a Jeremías 25:11,y Daniel 9:2. ( por ejemplo).

    También creo que las cosas de un Dios que quiere que conozcamos sus planes no haría difícil es tener este conocimiento.Y Daniel 4:25 es muy claro al decir que
    “La sentencia es por decreto de los vigilantes, y por dicho de los santos la resolución, para que conozcan los vivientes que el Altísimo gobierna el reino de los hombres, y que a quien él quiere lo da, y constituye sobre él al más bajo de los hombres”
    Es muy claro que los hecho asociados a el rey de la antigua Babilonia (incluso el periodo en que perdió la razón)tenían como propósito principal darnos pistas sobre el Reino de Dios.

    Finalmente sólo puedo concluir que si la Wachtower no está en lo correcto en cuanto a sus enseñanzas relacionadas con una futura gobernación de origen divino, ( que es lo que realmente nos incumbe) , en tonces no sabría qué otra religión encaja con el perfil de Mateo 24:14, en donde el unico tema es el Reino.
    Saludos a todos y perdón por los errores al escribir…

    1. I had to do a quick Google/Bing translation of your post and will be responding to it in English:

      Well, as I read this blog, I am not very convinced of the arguments presented here.
      I think each being the creator gave him a brain that can tell him what to believe. And whatever the Watchtower has said for decades, there are things that can’t be ignored.
      1914 undeniably it was a year that marked the end of an era. The First World War was certainly not imaginary. In 1934 nothing relevant happened, since the second war was in the 39.

      On the other hand, in my case, I have decided to also take into account what other sources say as to the date on which Cyrus the Great conquered the Alldesde Babylon. At least I have noticed that the 539 a of EC is a very accepted date. And I don’t think there’s much to look for Jeremiah 25:11, and Daniel 9:2. (for example).

      I also believe that the things of a god who wants us to know his plans would not make it difficult to have this knowledge. And Daniel 4:25 is very clear in saying that
      “The judgment is by decree of the vigilantes, and by the Holy One the resolution, so that they know the living ones that the most high governs the kingdom of the men, and that to whom he wants it gives, and constitutes on him the lowest of the men”
      It is very clear that the fact associated with the King of Ancient Babylon (even the period in which he lost his reason) had as its main purpose to give us clues about the Kingdom of God.

      Finally I can only conclude that if the Watchtower is not correct in terms of its teachings related to a future governorship of divine origin, (which is what really concerns us), in refinish would not know what other religion fits the profile of Matthew 24:14, where the only subject is the kingdom.
      Greetings to all and sorry for the mistakes in writing …

      There is no doubt that 1914 marked the end of an era. There have been many important eras in history and this definitely was an important year in history. However, there is no Bible prophecy that says that a great war would begin the parousia of Jesus. In fact, Jesus said NOT to look for things like great wars, earthquakes, etc. He said that such things would NOT be a sign, because there would be no advance sign of the time of the end. These were things that must continue to take place, and no one should look at them and say they are a sign.

      I don’t think any Bible reader believes that 1934 was supposed to be the beginning or end of anything. The real point is that the Bible never says anything about a period of 2,520 years, so no one should have expected anything of Biblical significance to happen in 1934, or 1914, or 1939, or 2001. The end would come without any warning, like a thief in the night. So no one would need anything written to them in any period about the times and seasons.

      (1 Thessalonians 5:1, 2) . . .Now as for the times and the seasons, brothers, you need nothing to be written to you. 2 For you yourselves know very well that Jehovah’s day is coming exactly as a thief in the night.

      539 BCE is a very accepted date for Cyrus capturing Babylon. It is accepted because it is part of the SAME evidence that shows that 587 BCE was the 18th year of Nebuchadnezzar. So if you accept that 539 BCE is correct, this is the same thing as accepting that Nebuchadnezzar’s 18th year was 587 BCE (the year of the attack on Jerusalem).

      Daniel 4 was about the beastly humiliation of a wicked, tyrannical ruler who was a Gentile. Jesus was not given the heart of a beast; he was not wicked or tyrannical, and he was NOT a Gentile. Besides, Jesus took no action against the wicked Gentile rulers in 1914, which was the entire point of Russell’s prophetic mistake. This is why Russell himself began to lose faith in 1914, which was supposed to be the END of the time of trouble, not the BEGINNING of a time of trouble. After the World War began in Europe, he regained his faith that this MIGHT be a sign that Jesus was going to destroy the earthly organizations, but it still had to be completed by the end of 1915. The entire prophecy failed.

      You are right that Jehovah could tell us if he wanted us to “know his plans” but he says that he does NOT want us to know his plans. The times and seasons are not something we know about, only the Father:

      (Acts 1:7) . . .He said to them: “It does not belong to you to know the times or seasons that the Father has placed in his own jurisdiction.

      The Watchtower does an excellent job at distributing and promoting the teachings about the kingdom. And for the most part these teachings are Biblical. But Jesus made a very strong point about not trying to find signs of the end in advance. He said that it would not be invisible, because his presence would be as visible as lightning shining from one part of the sky all the way to the other. Nothing could indicate visibility more than that!

      (Matthew 24:25-27) . . .. 26 Therefore, if people say to you, ‘Look! He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out; ‘Look! He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For just as the lightning comes out of the east and shines over to the west, so the presence of the Son of man will be.

      Thanks for your comments. If you have any specific questions, or you see specific ways in which the reasoning is not Biblical, please let us know.

  3. Perdón,
    Olvidé expresar que no comprendo cómo es que alguien con tanta erudición puede tardarse 20 años en descubrir que está en el sitio y en la dirección incorrectos.

    1. I believe (from Google) that what you said translates to:

      Sorry,
      I forgot to express that I do not understand how it is that someone with so much erudition can take 20 years to discover that it is in the wrong place and direction.

      I cannot speak for Carl Olof Jonsson, but I know of many people who spent 20 years or more believing things that weren’t true before they became Jehovah’s Witnesses. This includes many of the persons I studied with before they became baptized as Jehovah’s Witnesses.

      Also, if you watch documentaries about people in various religions and cults you can see that this happens with Mormons, Scientologists, Moonies (Unification Church) and even Catholics.

      In my own case, I never thought about it until it was brought to my attention. I fought against the idea for a couple of years, but research into the Society’s own literature and the Bible itself convinced me more quickly than secular sources would have been able to do. Several people I know understood much more quickly, and several people took many more years before looking into it carefully.

  4. I have really had insight into the 1914 debate from this platform. There is no doubt that the WT 1914 date as the end of the gentile times is a hoax. I also have a problem with the number 144,000 as those going to heaven. I don’t think it’s literal. That said, I think the WT organization has tried in a large way to mimic the way of worship of the first century Christians in our time more than any other religion. Now I am in a dilemma. How can I be in this organization and not espouse the 1914 and 144000 theories which within my heart I know they are not true. If I decide to leave the organization too, I don’t know where I’m going to have the good things I like about the organization

    1. I would not personally recommend that a person go out of their way to leave the organization unless they have important personal reasons. If you take proactive steps to leave, then you are (inadvertently) giving your permission to be shunned and be put through extra emotional pain. Of course, some persons want a clean break or want to send a message. Or they feel they don’t have a choice, because they treat it similarly to the way they felt about “Babylon the Great” when they were converting to become a JW.

      I personally remained a JW for several years after learning that the 1914 doctrine and the 144,000 theory were wrong. I had no trouble associating with JWs who are basically good and well-meaning people. I always thought it was easier to do some good from the inside with the ability to freely associate with those whom I found the most encouraging and friendly. I’m not sorry I stayed for few years, and I’m not sorry that I left.

      After leaving, I discovered there was something amiss about many other details of the doctrines we held, and that there were similar problems with the doctrines of most every religion I have ever looked at. But I also discovered that “worldly” people were not nearly as scary as I had been taught to expect. I found that there were groups of people and friends that I could make that were much happier, and much more loving and friendly than many JWs had been. I don’t go out of my way to attend any particular religious services, but I have been to weddings, funerals, bar-mitzvahs, etc, for friends and found the people to be about the same as any group of JWs.

      My recommendation for anyone thinking of leaving JWs is to just fade away as quickly or as slowly as possible, without trying to say exactly why to anyone. You can always be very vague, and just say that it’s something you don’t want to talk about if asked why by elders or anyone else. If they really want to know and they are sincere, they will ask again after you have faded away long enough to not be considered a threat to anyone else. At that point there is no need for disfellowshipping.

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