The Truth About 1975
By Simply Amazing from H20

Most of Jehovah’s Witnesses today were not in the organization in 1975. Among those that were JWs in 1975, many were not members for very long, and so may not have had the historical sense about its development.

I started associating with JWs in late 1968. The clarion song was that 1975 is the end of this wicked system of things. The topic was discussed in the premier study book called "The Truth that Leads to Eternal Life". 1975 was discussed in "Watchtower" articles, "Questions from Readers", and the book study publication, "Everlasting Life in the Freedom of the Sons of God". 1975 was discussed at Circuit Assemblies, District Conventions, Kingdom Hall Public Talks, Circuit Overseer (Servant)(CO) visits, and most of all it permeated the daily conversations of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The Pioneer brother who studied me made the remark several times that many may try to pooh-pooh 1975 because they are immature, do not appreciate the urgency of the times, or they do not fully fathom how Jehovah is using the organization and revealing his will through it. As I increased my association, started out in Field Service, and attended all the meetings, these kinds of remarks were most common among all the JWs I met, whether they were new publishers like myself or long time Servants (Elders).

Sometime in 1971 we had a CO named James Waddington. He had a voice almost exactly like the actor Jimmy Stewart. I worked out in Service with him and asked him about 1975. I expressed that it still seemed so far away, and that I was very anxious to see this old system end. This CO said to me that 1975 will come and go so fast that I will be amazed at how quickly this will all take place. He said that before my children started kindergarten we would be living in the New Order. At the special talk he gave to our congregation, both at the end of the Service Meeting, and after the Watchtower Study, he made the statement, “Go out there and paint 1975 all over the walls if you have to ... the people must know how soon this system will end.” Subsequent Circuit Overseers made much the same type of comments and pushed 1975.

If you are or have been JW with any level of experience, you also understand that COs and District Overseers (DOs) are trained by the Society and are instructed as to what they say, the talks they give, and so forth. The Watchtower Society started the whole 1975 scheme via their oracle, Fred Franz. They created it, promoted it, and used it to advance their message. I know, I live through the whole mess. And those of you who were there know exactly what I am talking about.

What about the ‘cautious’ language current JWs can find and quote to minimize the claims and challenge former JWs on this forum? The cautious remarks made by the Society at the time were never intended to convey the idea that the Society was possibly wrong about Armageddon being very very soon, just around the corner, just weeks or months away.

The cautions were centered on one primary issue, and that is the vast majority of JWs expected Armageddon to take place by October 1975.The Society was not totally certain about nailing down the date that closely so as to be certain of it happening by October. The basis for talking about October was built on the various dating and prophetic statements about when certain Biblical events took place. Also, the statements made about World War One happening close to October 1914 correlated to this fascination with that part of the year.

Nathan Knorr came out to the San Francisco Bay Area to give a ‘special’ talk sometime in 1972. The JWs were so eager to hear what he had to say that hundreds of Kingdom Halls were wired in by phone so that his talk could be hear by tens of thousands. What did Nathan Knorr talk about? 1975! He even argued that the Society might be a year off and that the end could come as early as October 1974! He gave the clarion call to watch out for 1973! Why? Because then President Nixon has just shut down the gold backing of the US Dollar. This was resulting in rapid concern by the Arab oil nations (OPEC) that the inflationary factors would force them to raise prices. And in 1973, the oil embargo, long gas lines, limitations on gas pumped, and high prices resulted in every major metropolitan area in the USA.

Knorr’s call was accurate, but not prophetic or even scientific. Anyone who followed the news of the day knew that the gas pumps would become expensive. But the panic felt by the public, and JWs included, all acted to heighten our already strong belief that Armageddon was very very close indeed! Our numbers of new converts swelled, and each month the Kingdom Ministry (Kingdom Service) made new and more glowing reports of the increases, all as evidence that the word was getting preached, and the end was indeed very very close ... many stated that they did not see how the system could last much longer and opted to start believing that 1974, as mentioned by Knorr, might be more accurate.

The point to this is that the published cautions and verbal cautions that issued forth were about not getting too hung up on everything happening by October 1975, because they could be a few months off either way. Therefore, Armageddon could come earlier than October, and this was used to urge being loyal and faithful and not get caught early. There were Bible verses used to suggest it could be early. Also, to discourage disloyalty by those who might balk if thing did not shape up by October, the Society allowed for some slack for many months and up to a year following October 1975. In the Summer District Convention in 1975, the Society started soft-peddling the 1975 date, but made it clear that the end would not be far away. They strongly stated that we should not suppose that the end would be delayed for years and alluded to those who did think it would delay as immature and not appreciating the urgency of the times.

Thus, the so-called “cautions” being quoted today by JW defenders are taken out of their historical context. One way to look at this was the famous Kingdom Ministry Question Box that stated what a fine thing it would be for JWs to sell their possessions and Pioneer or go where the need was greater in the few remaining months before October 1975. This was so much so the case, that I moved my family over 980 miles away to where the need was greater. I did this in January 1975 ... and the congregation gave us a big party to send us off. This was complete with Elders using a mic at the hall we rented for the event to express approval, to all present, of our example in taking heed to the Society’s urging this, with the few remaining months ahead before Armageddon. No cautions were mentioned by anyone that this move would be premature and that the end might not come.

When we arrived at our new congregation in another state, they warmly welcomed us and the maturity we showed in appreciating the Society’s counsel to move where the need was greater with Armageddon so very close. The congregation needed help working its territory and felt good that some moved in so that the Good News could be spread to everyone in their territory at least one time before the end of the system. So, the Elders in this new congregation parroted the same thought as Elders in my previous congregation. And all this was clear and positive evidence that the message from the Society to all the congregations was the same ... everywhere ... no one could argue that our view was just a local phenomenon, or running ahead of the Organization. We were rather no running ahead, but being pushed to do our utmost in the few remaining weeks or months before the Battle of the Great Day of God the almighty at Har-Mageddon! The views held about 1975 realizing the outbreak of the Great Tribulation and Armageddon was unquestionably being developed, taught, and promoted by the Watchtower Society.

And where are we now! Twenty-five years later and no Armageddon, no Great Tribulation, and the Society is acting as if nothing ever happened in those years. They now even attribute any concerns over 1975 as just trouble making by apostate opposers. The Watchtower Society is unilaterally and totally guilty of perpetrating fraudulent Biblical interpretations, false prophecy, and apostate teachings.

A few quotes from the Society around the 1975 Fiasco

Awake,5/22/69,pg15If you are a young person, you also need to face the fact that you will never grow old in this present system of things.   .....all evidence in fulfillment of Bible prophecy indicates that this corrupt system is due to end in a few years. a young person you will never fulfill any career that this system offers.  If you are in high school and thinking about a college education,  it means at least four, perhaps even six or eight more years to graduate into a specialized career. But where will this system of things be by that time? It will be well on the way toward its finish, if not actually gone!

Watchtower,10/15/69,pg622,623...seventh millennium from man’s creation by Jehovah God  would begin in less than ten years.

The Nations Shall Know That I Am Jehovah,1971,pg 216Shortly, within our  twentieth century, the "battle in the day if Jehovah" will begin against modern antitype of Jerusalem, Christendom.