What Is Being Said About the 1972 Yearbook
THE Yearbook itself is nothing new for Jehovah’s witnesses. Back in 1927 the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society published the first Yearbook. In succeeding years its format remained about the same, with reports and experiences from the various lands where Jehovah’s witnesses carried on their activity. The 1972 Yearbook, however, is quite different. Rather than providing brief reports from many lands, it contains the history of the work of Jehovah’s witnesses submitted from just seven major countries. As the narrative contains the names of persons and places, it is much like the Bible book of Acts, which presents a history of the expansion of Christianity in the first century C.E.
But how has this new Yearbook been received? Has it served to encourage others in faithfully continuing to uphold God’s name and his righteous purposes? The answer to these questions is quite clear from comments that have been made about the Yearbook.
Accustomed to the Yearbooks of earlier years, some, of course, were not especially happy at first about the change. From Alabama came this expression: ‘I was at first disappointed when I received my new Yearbook. All these years I had initially looked up the countries where the preaching work was being accomplished under difficulty to see how they were doing. Now everything had been changed and, frankly, it looked a little boring. Well, that was a week ago. I started reading, and the first sitting lasted nearly all night. The Yearbook is written in such a way that when you finish reading about a country you feel that you have been there personally and have many, many new brothers and sisters.’
A Witness from the state of New York commented on the good effect the accounts in the new Yearbook had on her personally, saying: ‘The 1972 Yearbook is written in such a unique way that I am completely fascinated by the accounts and I simply cannot put it down. Reading about the experiences of all these dear brothers and sisters and of their joys and difficulties has made me feel very close to them. These experiences have also encouraged me to continue to put up a “fine fight for the faith” myself.’
Another Witness observed: ‘I really appreciate the more detailed history of the countries presented. The introductory background of the country itself and then the introduction of the preaching of the “good news,” together with the very human emotions and experiences of our dear brothers who were used and directed by Jehovah to spearhead this work, make for some of the most enjoyable, moving and instructive reading.’
Expressing his appreciation for the heartwarming human element that pervades the 1972 Yearbook, one of Jehovah’s witnesses in France wrote: ‘Never before have we been made so aware of the unconditional devotion of our brothers. This certainly draws us closer to them. We now have in front of our eyes many examples of endurance and the wonderful proof that Jehovah’s people everywhere enjoy unity.’
Commenting on the account relating the history of the work of Jehovah’s witnesses in Argentina, a Swiss Witness serving in Germany remarked: ‘It really has the ring of victory throughout. That is why it is so faith strengthening.’ A similar comment came from California: ‘It encourages one to go on no matter what the obstacles are.’
After completing their reading of the 1972 Yearbook a married couple from Indiana wrote: ‘Truly when one gets through reading “Acts of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Modern Times” there can be no doubt that Jehovah is indeed using this organization to gather in the “precious things from all nations.” (Hag. 2:7) And how it encourages us to work harder, knowing that Jehovah is blessing his people with increase all over the world, in all phases of our activities.’
Truly the 1972 Yearbook is proving to be a real source of encouragement in showing what frail, imperfect humans can accomplish with the help of God’s holy spirit. Many of Jehovah’s witnesses in different lands have willingly expended their strength, talents and assets for quite a number of years in proclaiming God’s name and purposes to others. They have been willing to sacrifice conveniences, enduring privations and persecutions, so that fellowmen might be assisted to come to an accurate knowledge of God’s Word. Certainly the fine example others have set can provide added incentive for us to continue following a course leading to God’s approval and blessing.