Thursday, October 10, 2013

Did Jehovah's Witnesses Plagiarize HWA's False Prophecy of 1975

Banned by HWA has a fascinating post linking to a PDF article by Brenda Lee which quotes The Four Presidents of the Watchtower Society by Edmond Gross (p. 239) relating that Fred Franz, long time leader of the Watchtower Society, was a subscriber to the Plain Truth.
It was common knowledge that Fred Franz ... subscribed to a large number of religious magazines ... Supporting the suspicion that Fred sometimes plagiarized others, one former member of the headquarters staff told the author that he picked up a copy of The Plain Truth magazine, a publication of the World Wide Church of God, in Franz's living quarters. It was an older issue, and the young Witness was startled to find a somewhat subject-by-subject outline of a current Watchtower article in it. 
That quote strongly indicates to me that the Watchtower Society leadership plagiarized the idea that Armageddon would come in 1975 from HWA.

Back in 2009 I looked into the topic of the Jehovah's Witnesses predicting Armageddon in 1975. It turned out they only started preaching that in 1966. Look at this article, Did Jehovah's Witnesses Predict the End of the World in 1975?, which, among other things, confirm that the Watchtower Society began teaching this false prophecy in 1966.

On the other hand HWA and Herman Hoeh started preaching of the 1975 Armageddon in 1953, thirteen years earlier. See my previous post, Why 1975?, for a detailed explanation of this fact. Also useful is Pam Dewey's introduction to her memoir which contains a lengthy quote from HWA's May 22, 1953 Co-Worker Letter which introduced the false prophecy of 1975 to Radio Church of God members.

So it is impossible for HWA to have plagiarized that idea from the Jehovah's Witnesses. But the opposite might have occurred.

That quote strongly indicates to me that the Watchtower Society was actually plagiarizing HWA with that teaching.

Also see this comment fromxHWA at As Bereans Did when we discussed that possibility. This was made August 4, 2009.
[Quoting me.] "As far as I can see the Watchtower only became fixated on that date in 1966, after HWA & Co. had earlier set up their prophetic narrative."

[xHWA] For years I thought it was the other way around, that the JWs got it first. This study proved to me that was not the case.

[Quoting me.] "So if there was plagiarism then the Watchtower stole this date from HWA."
[xHWA] Now wouldn't THAT be a fine kettle of fish! HWA, the great plagiarist, having his test answers copied.
I am now convinced, after seeing that quote, that the Watchtower Society, and Fred Franz in particular, did plagiarize HWA in setting 1975 as the date for Armageddon.


  1. I had not even realized until about five years ago that 1975 was used in any way by the JW's. When I first read about it, it most definitely set off some lightbulbs, because I'd never encountered any group other than WCG that identified with this particular date. Somebody at Watchtower Publications must have been impressed with HWA's specious math.

    I guess the take-away is that plagiarism is a two way street. We in recovery from Armstrongism have done much due diligence to determine the original sources of HWA's heresies, and therefore have not been as cognizant of the stream going the other way. It is a lesson as to why primary sources are so vital. It is futile to cite HWA as authority for a doctrine which he appropriated from G.G. Rupert, which Rupert obtained from another secondary source, etc, following a veritable chain of heresy.

    I wonder if teachers even realize what they are doing when their plagiarism involves recent sources many times removed from the original.


  2. Unlike what is stated in many published comments, from Anti-Witness sources and others, the Watchtower did not teach nor predict that END WAS COMING in 1975. The did not agree with Garner Ted Armstrong that 1975 WILL mark the end of the world. The WT publications did teach that man will reach 6,000 of existence on earth, based on their acceptance of 4026 BC as the date when man was created. However, a clear reading of the WT publication clearly shows that is was unknown whether man's 6,000 years of existence on earth would corresponds with God's rest day or the 7th millennium. It was explained that while Adam was believed to be created in 4026 BC, that the date of Eve's creation was unknown, could have been many months later, and furthermore, the date that Adam and Eve sinned was unknown. While there was some speculation, it was still made clear that no man knows the day or the hour. The May 1968 issue of the Watchtower (pages 271-273), after discussing the issues involved, stated in paragraph 8 "Does this mean that the year 1975 will bring the battle of Armageddon? No one can say with certainty what any particular year will bring. Jesus said: "Concerning that day or the hour nobody knows." (Mark 13:32) Sufficient is it for God’s servants to know for a certainty that, for this system under Satan, time is running out rapidly." Also, back in 1963, the WT stated in the book ALL SCRIPTURE IS INSPIRED PG. 286-7, Study Number 3-Measuring Events in the Stream of Time.
    13 Of what significance is this today? The first edition of this book, published in 1963, stated: “Does this mean, then, that by 1963 we had progressed 5,988 years into the ‘day’ on which Jehovah ‘has been resting from all his work’? (Gen. 2:3) No, for the creation of Adam does not correspond with the beginning of Jehovah’s rest day. Following Adam’s creation, and still within the sixth creative day, Jehovah appears to have been forming further animal and bird creations. Also, he had Adam name the animals, which would take some time, and he proceeded to create Eve. (Gen. 2:18-22; see also NW, 1953 Ed., footnote on ÞGe 2 Üvs. 19) Whatever time elapsed between Adam’s creation and the end of the ‘sixth day’ must be subtracted from the 5,988 years in order to give the actual length of time from the beginning of the ‘seventh day’ until [1963]. It does no good to use Bible chronology for speculating on dates that are still future in the stream of time.—Matt. 24:36.” The 1968 issue of the WT which also discussed 1975, also clearly stated on page 499 "Our chronology, however, ... is reasonably accurate but admittedly not infallible." A 1968 Awake! magazine also clearly stated "an Awake! article said this regarding 1975 "Does this mean that the above evidence postively points to 1975 as the time for the complete end of this system of things? Since the Bible does not specifically state this, no man can say." (Awake! October 8th, 1968, page 14). So unlike Armstrong, the Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses did NOT teach nor predict that the end WILL come in 1975.

  3. Back in the 1950s my father in law would read the Watchtower and then notice a few weeks later that Armstrong would be using that same info for his broadcast. Get your facts straight.