1970 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses
A few decades ago mankind in general gave good attention to religion. But times are changing! Most people in Christendom seem quite pleased with the new sophisticated attitude that the clergy have taken toward the changing world. The “new morality” idea is generally accepted as old standards become passé, and many religious leaders support the “God is dead” theory. Logically this raises in the minds of the parishioners of Christendom’s churches the question: If God is dead, God’s law is null and void too, is it not? So why follow the counsel set forth in the Bible? “Live the way YOU want to live,” is the thinking of most people in the world today.
On the other hand, there are great crowds of people from many nations who are very much interested in the Bible and in the God it tells us about. Such ones still want to cling to Bible teachings, though their faith may have been shaken by their religious teachers. They know things are bad because of the way people are conducting themselves today, in adultery, fornication, homosexuality, thievery, extortion and almost every other wicked act. These things are looked upon by many persons as not out of line with the normal procedure of life. “If you can get away with it, who cares?” is the attitude of the majority. However, Jehovah’s witnesses hold that the Bible is the Word of God and that the moral code set out in the Holy Scriptures is the proper and right one to follow. Nineteen centuries ago Jesus Christ lived according to God’s perfect law, and his teachings and actions showed that there was the implanting of Jehovah’s written word in his heart and mind.
Jehovah’s witnesses believe that Jesus is the Son of God as the Bible says, and is therefore the One that God, his Father, sent into this world “in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) Jehovah’s witnesses believe that Christ Jesus will take away the sin of the world during his peaceful reign of one thousand years. Worldly-wise men will say that Christians with such faith are naïve or that Jehovah’s witnesses are strange people. However, it did not sound strange to the followers of Christ Jesus who lived at the time when Jesus was walking in the flesh here upon the earth. His faithful followers preached his message through much opposition. For some of these it even meant losing their lives for the sake of Christ. Nor has it seemed strange to millions of persons who have lived during the nineteen hundred years since the days of Christ Jesus’ earthly sojourn. But in these days in which we now live, and which are described in the Bible as the “last days” or the “critical times” of this system of things, there are relatively few people who truly accept the teachings of the Bible and who have the hope of living eternally because of the redeeming value of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for mankind. This is a strange teaching indeed to some, but it is nevertheless true. Jesus said: “This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.”—2 Tim. 3:1; John 17:3.
Due to believing that “all Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching,” Jehovah’s witnesses follow the advice of James 1:21, where it says: “Put away all filthiness and that superfluous thing, moral badness, and accept with mildness the implanting of the word which is able to save your souls.” (2 Tim. 3:16) There is much said in the Bible about moral badness. The Bible writer James, the half brother of Jesus, was fully convinced that, if a teacher expects to sound down the truth successfully into the heart and the mind of an individual, then there must be a putting away of that which is bad, wrong, contrary to God’s Word; the individual must take the time and accept with mildness the implanting of the Word of God. When God’s Word is really implanted in one’s heart and mind it is able to save one’s soul or very life. As Jesus said to the Tempter: “Man must live, not on bread alone, but on every utterance coming forth through Jehovah’s mouth.” (Matt. 4:4; Prov. 3:13-18) Can you accept that saying?
Jesus had some comments on the real food on which man must live. One day after talking with the scribes and Pharisees, Jesus said of them: “Let them be. Blind guides is what they are. If, then, a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” Continuing, in conversation with Peter, Jesus next said: “Are you not aware that everything entering into the mouth passes along into the intestines and is discharged into the sewer? However, the things proceeding out of the mouth come out of the heart, and those things defile a man. For example, out of the heart come wicked reasonings, murders, adulteries, fornications, thieveries, false testimonies, blasphemies. These are the things defiling a man; but to take a meal with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”—Matt. 15:14-20.
If a man’s heart is not right, but is filled with moral badness, then his reasoning will be wholly out of line with that which is decent, upright and righteous. Therefore his thinking ability will be of no benefit to him or to his fellowman. Due to his moral badness his reasoning will be absolutely contrary to the laws of Jehovah. Accordingly, the wise man, in Proverbs 18:7, said: “The mouth of the stupid one is the ruin of him, and his lips are a snare for his soul.” Just as Jesus said, it is not what goes into the mouth that is important, for that is disposed of easily through the digestive organs, but it is what comes out of the mouth, what one says, that shows what the individual really is! Usually one says what he is going to do. So Proverbs 6:12 records: “A good-for-nothing man, a man of hurtfulness, is walking with crookedness of speech.” When men discard God’s Word and think that they can work out life’s problems without God’s help, they are all wrong. Listen to the wise man, Solomon: “My son, to my wisdom O do pay attention. To my discernment incline your ears, so as to guard thinking abilities; and may your own lips safeguard knowledge itself.”—Prov. 5:1, 2.
The best thing any individual can do is to go to the highest authority so as to get a proper understanding of a matter. Therefore we should listen to the One who has all wisdom, namely, Jehovah God. Pay attention to what this one has to say and enjoy the benefits of adherence to such counsel. What God wants us to know now He has had recorded in his written Word. A reasonable person will incline his ear toward Jehovah’s expressions and try to discern exactly what God wants him to do. That is the way to guard one’s thinking abilities. Knowing the right course and thinking about it is a fine safeguard to protect one from letting one’s thinking abilities turn toward wicked reasonings, fornication, adultery, thievery and other wrong things. A wise person will keep his heart and mind on the high principles of truth and righteousness. When one’s thinking ability is correctly directed then one’s lips will say the right things, the things that are upbuilding, righteous and pure.
NEED FOR MENTAL CLEANSING
It is evident, therefore, that there must be a cleaning out of the mind if there is to be an implanting of right thinking. There must be a putting away of all filthiness of the flesh, and that superfluous thing, moral badness, so one can give one’s time and energies to accepting the implanting of the Word of God in one’s mind. One just cannot do both things at the same time. Sweet water and bitter water cannot come out of the same spring. (Jas. 3:11) It is absolutely necessary for one to change one’s ways of thinking and doing things if the truth of God’s Word is going to be implanted in one and grow.
Some nineteen hundred years ago when Jesus was sitting by the Sea of Galilee, great crowds came to hear his words of wisdom. He spoke differently from the way anyone else had ever spoken. As the crowd grew in numbers, Jesus went aboard a boat and rowed offshore. Then, using the surface of the water as a sounding board, he addressed a great crowd of people on the seashore. Very often Jesus used illustrations to make his points, and it is recorded in Matthew, chapter thirteen, that this was the method he used on this occasion. One of several illustrations that Jesus presented to the crowd concerned a sower of seed. In quite some detail he told of the sower dropping some seed along the roadside, also in rocky places and among thorns. He went on to say that other seed fell on some fine soil and began to yield much fruit. The persons listening to this parable, of course, could draw conclusions as to its meaning if they wanted to use their thinking ability. But if Jesus would explain the illustration, telling what he had in mind, the true meaning could be grasped by his hearers.
The disciples of Jesus were curious as to just what he meant, and so they questioned him: “Why is it you speak to them by the use of illustrations?” In reply Jesus said: “To you it is granted to understand the sacred secrets of the kingdom of the heavens, but to those people it is not granted. For whoever has, more will be given him and he will be made to abound; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.” (Matt. 13:10-12) The twelve disciples of Jesus had already gained much good information, but they wanted more. They used their thinking abilities to get the understanding of “the sacred secrets of the kingdom of the heavens.” The apostles already had knowledge, and ‘more would be given so as to make them abound’ in knowledge. But as for the rest of the Jewish race, the indifferent ones, the unappreciative ones, even what they had as to knowledge about God and his Word would be taken away from them. By the year 70 C.E. they even lost their holy city Jerusalem, their temple, and any favor they thought they had with Jehovah God. How true that “whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.”
Similar to the people in Christendom today, probably the greater number of those who were on the seashore listening to Jesus did not have great respect for his words even though they were in a covenant relationship with God. That is why Jesus went on to say: “For the heart of this people has grown thick, and with their ears they have heard with annoyance, and they have shut their eyes; that they might never see with their eyes and hear with their ears and get the sense of it with their hearts and turn back, and I heal them.” (Matt. 13:15) It certainly was not the fault of Christ Jesus that the people’s hearts had grown thick so that they would not listen. People today do not want to listen to God’s word either. They do not want to get the sense of it in their hearts. However, in Jesus’ day his disciples wanted to get the sense of Jesus’ words. Do you want to? Then listen to what he said: “Happy are your eyes because they behold, and your ears because they hear. For I truly say to you, Many prophets and righteous men desired to see the things you are beholding and did not see them, and to hear the things you are hearing and did not hear them. You, then, listen to the illustration of the man that sowed.”—Matt. 13:16-18.
How kind and merciful it was of Jesus Christ to go into detail and explain to his disciples just what this illustration of the sower meant. You, too, if you are truly interested in the Word of God, can open your Bible and read it and get the sense of it. If you have discernment you will be able to see just what Jesus meant by the parable. Today we are in a very favored position, just as favored as Jesus’ first disciples were, because we can read, not only the illustration, but also Jesus’ explanation of it. We must take the time, though, to study the Word of God, using our thinking abilities. Let us see how Jesus explained the parable.
Persons who have taken the time to read the Christian Greek Scriptures, commonly called the “New Testament,” know that Jesus continually proclaimed the message concerning God’s kingdom. So this parable of the sower had something to do with the Kingdom. That is why in the 19th verse of Matthew 13 Jesus said: “Where anyone hears the word of the kingdom but does not get the sense of it, the wicked one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart; this is the one sown alongside the road.” Millions upon millions of people throughout the world, both inside and outside of Christendom, have heard the proclamation of God’s kingdom, but they did not get the sense of it. The reason is quite simple. “The wicked one comes and snatches away what has been sown.” Who is that wicked one? The Bible clearly points out that Satan is the god of this wicked system of things, and that he “has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, that the illumination of the glorious good news about the Christ, who is the image of God, might not shine through.” (2 Cor. 4:4) So the wicked one, Satan the Devil, the god of this system of things, is going to keep in darkness everyone that he possibly can. Are you going to let Satan do that to you? If you never read and study your Bible, Satan will keep you in his darkness. He is not going to let this good word of the Kingdom sink down into a person’s heart if he has a chance to stop it. Satan is at work snatching away what has been sown. He is determined to keep the peoples of all nations in darkness. Even in Christendom he has his clergy and priests degrading God’s Word. They say it is a myth, just a story written by men, not by God.
There is no question about the Devil and his demons as being very active at this time during the “last days” of this system of things. He does not want to have anyone getting the sense of the Kingdom message. Therefore, as the “god of this system of things,” he promotes nationalism. He does not want mankind to appreciate what God’s kingdom is. He tries to keep all peoples busy glorifying and worshiping the rulers and nations, being involved in the “establishment,” rather than looking to the Supreme One of all the universe, Jehovah God. It can be clearly seen that people are kept busy on the broad road leading to destruction with little time to get the sense or meaning of God’s Word. Even though Jehovah’s witnesses call often each year at the homes of the people, the people do not want to get the sense of the message being brought to them. Have you listened and gotten the sense of what Jehovah’s witnesses are saying?
Jesus went on to explain about the seed “sown upon the rocky places.” He says: “This is the one hearing the word and at once accepting it with joy. Yet he has no root in himself but continues for a time, and after tribulation or persecution has arisen on account of the word he is at once stumbled.” (Matt. 13:20, 21) How often have you as a Christian witness of Jehovah found individuals who hear the word, get the sense of it, and at once accept it with joy? They say, “Here is the answer to all of the world’s problems,” and they start telling everyone they know about what they have learned. The truth from God’s Word brings light and understanding to them, and it appears that they will be learners and become disciples. But there was no place for the seed to take root in the rocky places. It is just as Jesus said: “After tribulation or persecution has arisen on account of the word he is at once stumbled.” Many have encountered the burning heat of opposition over the truth, just as Jesus foretold. In his prophecy about the time of the end, at Luke 21:16, 17, he declared: “Moreover, you will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death; and you will be objects of hatred by all people because of my name.” It is this intense opposition to the truth even from relatives and friends that stumbles some.
As the Bible shows, the one hearing the word is full of joy, but he has no root in himself due to being sown on rocky places. He tells his relatives, friends and neighbors—everyone he can, about his newly found hope. Then the persecution and tribulation begin, and they do not stop until he gives up his belief in the truth from God’s Word. Every possible obstacle is put in his way. Even if he goes to a clergyman and tells him what joy he has found in the Word of God, he most likely will find that he will be discouraged from studying the Bible. He may be told, “You had better be very careful with those Jehovah’s witnesses. They will lead you astray.” So from relatives, friends and religious sources the opposition grows. The hard underlying self-interest will not let the seed of truth take root. At once the individual is stumbled, with no deep implanting of the Word. The rocky places are much too rough and hard for roots and for growth.
Then Jesus went on to say: “As for the one sown among the thorns, this is the one hearing the word, but the anxiety of this system of things and the deceptive power of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.” (Matt. 13:22) Even though the seed took root and sprouted, there were just too many thorns around to allow for its maturing. Perhaps for a short period of time in the individual’s life he was able to hear the word and get the sense of it, but he keeps himself so involved with this system of things and its anxieties, and in particular with the deceptive power of riches, which seem to be the things that everyone is taught to reach out for, that these things, like thorns, just choke out the word, and the individual never produces fruit. Remember, we are in a system of things today that is wicked, selfish and unloving. It is true that each man’s hand is against his neighbor, and the love of the greater number of professed Christian persons has grown cold. So it does not take long to choke out the words of truth in one when the anxiety of this system of things and the deceptive power of riches get a stranglehold on a person. So this one too is unproductive. There was no room in the person’s life for the real “implanting of the word”; he is choked to death spiritually.
THE ONES LIKE FINE SOIL
However, Jesus went on to say: “As for the one sown upon the fine soil, this is the one hearing the word and getting the sense of it, who really does bear fruit and produces, this one a hundredfold, that one sixty, the other thirty.” (Matt. 13:23) It is quite evident that there must be a ‘hearing of the word and getting the sense of it.’ There must be personal study in order for one to get the sense of God’s Word. In order to promote personal study Jehovah’s witnesses did conduct 1,097,237 home Bible studies every week during 1969, where it appeared that they had found fine soil. A great number of these private home Bible studies brought results. Jehovah’s witnesses help people to hear the word of the Kingdom. They spent 239,769,076 hours talking to people of all nations and started tens of thousands of home Bible studies with interested persons. Not all persons continue with weekly Bible studies, but the 1969 field service report shows that over one million Bible studies were conducted regularly every week. These studies in God’s Word are necessary because they help to clean out the wicked reasonings of the heart. This will allow the truth to grow. One certainly cannot grow, figuratively speaking, on the busy roadside or on rocky places or in among thorns. There has to be good soil for fine growth. What kind of soil are you? We hope you are an individual who will accept with mildness the implanting of the Word and “put away all filthiness and that superfluous thing, moral badness.” If the seed of truth is going to sprout, there has to be good soil, something for the roots of the plant to go down into.
You can prove yourself good soil by getting rid of the wicked reasonings in the heart, like murders, adulteries, fornications, thievery, and so forth. (Matt. 15:19) God’s Word implanted in one will send up a strong plant, there to bear fruit. Are you growing as a Christian? Is the truth, the word of the Kingdom, deep down in you? Are the roots taking hold and sending up a plant that will bear fruit? In encouragement of all this, Jesus finished his illustration by saying: “This is the one hearing the word and getting the sense of it, who really does bear fruit and produces, this one a hundredfold, that one sixty, the other thirty.” (Matt 13:23) Many of the interested people that Jehovah’s witnesses talked to and then studied with proved themselves to be fine soil. They dedicated their lives to Jehovah and in 1969 alone 120,905 persons were baptized and became Jehovah’s Christian witnesses. Can we say the dedicated, baptized persons known as Jehovah’s witnesses are bearing fruit, this one a hundredfold, that one sixty and the other thirty? Admittedly someone is producing fruit! Just look back over the past few years: in 1966 there were 58,904 baptized; 1967 produced 74,981 baptized; in 1968 the number was 82,842; and now in 1969 the fruitage came to be 120,905 dedicated, baptized Christians taking up the preaching of “the word of the kingdom.” Marvelous! And we thank Jehovah for his rich blessing.
To implant something, whether a seed or the Word of God, means, first of all, to plant or set securely or deeply. The word “implant” literally means to plant in the soil so that the seed will take root and grow. Similarly, teaching is what makes for one’s performance of that which is learned. When the truth is implanted in good soil the learner is going to produce something, and this product is due to learning. Centuries ago when the Jews were so well protected by Jehovah and they were his chosen people, he gave the parents of all Israelite children instruction, namely, that they should inculcate the truth of God’s Word into their children’s minds. Jehovah wanted them to have knowledge and understanding. His command to parents was: “And these words that I am commanding you today must prove to be on your heart; and you must inculcate them in your son and speak of them when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road and when you lie down and when you get up.”—Deut. 6:6, 7.
However, the Jews as a nation failed to accept the sound counsel that was given to them by their fathers, and so they went astray, and the anxieties of the nations and the deceptive power of riches choked out the word and they lost their relationship with God. In that respect there is no difference today with Christendom. Her church members do not accept God’s Word either. Most people do not want to be real Christians. The apostle Paul was cognizant of this matter in his day when he wrote: “For we have had the good news declared to us also, even as they also had; but the word which was heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who did hear.” (Heb. 4:2) From what Paul says it is evident that many Hebrews had the word of God declared to them; in fact, he describes two kinds of people, those who heard and did nothing about the good news, and others who heard and were united by faith with those who were declaring the good news. Today in Christendom, Jehovah’s witnesses keep going from house to house declaring good news, but most of the people have hearts that have “grown thick, and with their ears they have heard with annoyance.” (Matt. 13:15) It is not as though the people of the earth have not been given the opportunity of hearing the truth. They have! Why, for the past fifty years the good news of God’s kingdom has been preached, and with greater intensity world wide, especially in the last twenty-five years. But relatively few have responded. Yet, what must those persons do that do hear and get the sense of the word of the Kingdom?
Jesus’ half brother James very likely was well acquainted with Jesus’ parable of the sower, and as he commented on this matter of planting he may have had in mind that which Jesus spoke about. He really epitomizes the entire illustration by saying: “Put away all filthiness and that superfluous thing, moral badness, and accept with mildness the implanting of the word which is able to save your souls.” We want to keep in mind that the implanting of the word must be accepted with mildness. It is not going to be sounded down orally by Christian teachers into the minds of haughty and high-minded individuals. A person who has a know-it-all attitude cannot show humility. The soil must not be so hard that it is like a rock, impenetrable. When the Bible truth enters a mind that is searching for knowledge and understanding and it settles into the heart and mind of a person that has deep respect for the great Creator, then the seed will sprout and grow, and there will in due season be a coming to maturity. As Jesus said: ‘It will really bear fruit.’ Some persons produce a hundredfold, others sixty and still others thirty. How very true this is! When we see the accomplishments of individuals who have the truth and spend time preaching from door to door and conducting Bible studies we know that these persons are doing just what they should do. Did not Jesus say: “Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them”? (Matt. 28:19) In their lifetime Jehovah’s witnesses individually may bring as many as thirty persons to a knowledge of the truth, others sixty and still others a hundred. If “the word of the kingdom” is sown in good soil it will bring forth good fruit in time. Have you tried to be a Bible teacher? Have you responded to Jesus’ command, “Go . . . make disciples . . . baptizing them”?
There are more than a million Christian witnesses of Jehovah today that have taken the proper steps to save their lives by putting away the superfluous thing, moral badness, and all filthiness of the flesh. They believe Paul when he said: “You should put away the old personality which conforms to your former course of conduct and which is being corrupted according to his deceptive desires; but . . . you should be made new in the force actuating your mind, and should put on the new personality which was created according to God’s will in true righteousness and loyalty.” (Eph. 4:22-24) The only way that one could put on this new personality, “which was created according to God’s will,” would be by first getting rid of the old personality. Then a change can begin to take place. That new force actuating your mind would result from your accepting “with mildness the implanting of the word which is able to save your souls.” Paul was very interested in putting on this new personality, and that was why he said at 1 Corinthians 9:27: “I browbeat my body and lead it as a slave, that, after I have preached to others, I myself should not become disapproved somehow.”
The “word of the kingdom” was planted in this Saul of Tarsus, who became the apostle Paul. He proved himself to be good soil. He wanted to bear much fruit. He went—he preached—he baptized. In all this he was a good example for us today.
SOME MEN BECAME BELIEVERS
The apostle Paul was a great evangelizer! He was willing to go to the ends of the earth to declare the good news of God’s kingdom. When he was in Athens he got into quite a few discussions with the more learned men, the Epicureans and the Stoic philosophers. Quite a controversy was stirred up. “Some would say [of Paul]: ‘What is it this chatterer would like to tell?’ Others: ‘He seems to be a publisher of foreign deities.’ This was because he was declaring the good news of Jesus and the resurrection.” (Acts 17:18) It was not long before these men hurried Paul off to the judicial hill, the Areopagus, so that they could learn more about what he had to say. While Paul was standing in the midst of the Areopagus he said: “Men of Athens, I behold that in all things you seem to be more given to the fear of the deities than others are.”—Acts 17:22.
As we read on through the 17th chapter of Acts, from verses 22 to 34, we learn much of what Paul had to say about God. Paul told the Athenians that they had an altar on which were inscribed the words “To an Unknown God.” Paul seized upon the situation to make his point, for he told the crowd that was surrounding him that they were unknowingly giving godly devotion to the “God that made the world and all the things in it.” This was the very One that Paul was now going to publish to them. This “Unknown God” that Paul worshiped does not need anything, “because he himself gives to all persons life and breath and all things.” Paul continues and says: This God “made out of one man every nation of men, to dwell upon the entire surface of the earth.” These people could find God, for he was not far off so that he could not be reached. Paul pointed out to these Athenians that by Jehovah God we have life and move and exist, even as certain ones of the poets among them had said: “For we are also his progeny.”
Paul really stirred up the people when he told them that the God of the universe had set a “day in which he purposes to judge the inhabited earth in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and he has furnished a guarantee to all men in that he has resurrected him from the dead.” (Acts 17:22-31) That was something new! The men and women present to hear Paul’s discourse in the Areopagus certainly had something to think about. ‘In fact, all Athenians and foreigners sojourning there would spend their leisure time at doing nothing but telling something or listening to something new.’ Well, Paul certainly had something new to tell them, and some of them reacted favorably and became believers. But others, “when they heard of a resurrection of the dead, . . . began to mock, while others said: ‘We will hear you about this even another time.’”—Acts 17:21, 32.
One never knows what impression the “word of the kingdom” will make on another’s mind, or on what kind of soil the seed of truth may have fallen. Will it fall along the roadside, on rocky places or in among thorns? On the other hand, the seed can fall on good soil and produce fruitage. The apostle Paul was made very happy. He saw fruitage. The Bible account tells us that, when Paul went out from among their midst, “some men joined themselves to him and became believers, among whom also were Dionysius, a judge of the court of the Areopagus, and a woman named Damaris, and others besides them.” (Acts 17:33, 34) So the seed that Paul sowed brought forth fruitage; in this instance, a judge, a woman and others. Paul himself had earlier proved to be fine soil, for, when the “word of the kingdom” was sounded down into his own heart and mind, he became a real preacher, a producer of a hundredfold. Remember, he established the Corinthian congregation and he wrote to them: “You yourselves are our letter, inscribed on our hearts and known and being read by all mankind. For you are shown to be a letter of Christ written by us as ministers, inscribed not with ink but with spirit of a living God, not on stone tablets, but on fleshly tablets, on hearts.”—2 Cor. 3:2, 3.
True Christians keep in mind the command of Jesus: “Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them.” (Matt. 28:19, 20) Paul certainly tried to do this in his ministry, and he had fine success. That is what all people who have come to know Jehovah and his beloved Son, Christ Jesus, are required to do now. Real Christians today, like the apostles, must help people to whom they preach so that such ones can understand God’s Word. They must be teachers and help each disciple or learner to get the sense of the “word of the kingdom.” Jesus said: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.” (Matt. 24:14) This, Jehovah’s witnesses are really trying to do. When they do make disciples it is necessary for these to dedicate their lives and be baptized in water so as to make a full expression before Jehovah and Christ Jesus and their brothers that they are going to do the will of God henceforth as that will is set forth in his written Word.
But the discipling work does not stop there. Each one of Jehovah’s baptized witnesses must continue to be a learner. He keeps on studying God’s Word, the Holy Bible. He wants to observe all the things that Jesus commanded of his followers. This, of course, takes time. But we do not have to wait until we know all things before we ourselves begin the discipling work. Once we have learned of the wonderful things that Jehovah has done for mankind in providing his Son as our redeemer, and what he is doing through his kingdom, then certainly we should want others to hear the “word of the kingdom” too. We should want to implant the Word of God in the hearts and minds of others because we know the word is able to save one’s life. Remember what Paul told the disciple Timothy: “Pay constant attention to yourself and to your teaching. Stay by these things, for by doing this you will save both yourself and those who listen to you.”—1 Tim. 4:16.
Thus the baptized believers who engage in the discipling work must go on bringing forth fruitage, some a hundredfold, some sixty and some thirty. Is that asking too much of a real Christian? When Jesus ascended into the heavens there were 120 baptized Jews dedicated to Jehovah who were ready to do the work Jesus started, and anxious to know what they should do. On the day of Pentecost all 120 of them were anointed by holy spirit to preach the Kingdom. There were thousands of others that had heard about Jesus and his message but had not taken a stand, and these had to make a decision. When Peter stood up before them and said, “Get saved from this crooked generation,” then “those who embraced his word heartily were baptized, and on that day about three thousand souls were added.” (Acts 2:40, 41) Think of the work that Jesus did in his day and of the fruitage that he brought forth! Think, too, of the apostles Peter, John, Paul and the others in the early church, and think of the fruitage they produced! When we think, too, of the fruitage being brought forth now, it is very evident that many are becoming believers. What share have you had in all this?
A GREAT CROWD BECOME BELIEVERS
During the service year of 1969 Jehovah’s witnesses throughout the entire world in 203 lands and islands of the sea have been very active, as shown on the chart on pages 26 to 33. All those who have dedicated their lives to Jehovah and were baptized in symbol of that dedication must display their faithfulness. This is evidence that the Word of God has truly been implanted in them. They are determined to put away all filthiness and that superfluous thing, moral badness, and they are accepting with mildness the implanting of the word, which they know is able to save them. The good that has already been done for them they now want to do for others. So Jehovah’s witnesses continue faithfully preaching the good news world wide.—Matt. 24:14.
As one reads the annual report that has been compiled by the Society from its branches around the world one sees a marvelous thing that has happened. Jesus told his disciples to make disciples of others and Jehovah’s witnesses have done that very thing during the past year. (Matt. 28:19, 20) Just consider the number of persons baptized (none infants) during the past service year of 1969 and you will realize that Jehovah’s witnesses have been preaching and teaching at all times, seeking to do the will of Jehovah God. In twelve months 120,905 persons made a fine decision and were baptized. They wanted the Word of God implanted in their hearts and minds just as it is implanted in the minds and hearts of all of God’s dedicated people. They have taken a decisive stand on Jehovah’s side. Henceforth they will do Jehovah’s will as set forth in his written Word.
This has been a most joyful year for Jehovah’s witnesses because Jehovah God has blessed their efforts so much in preaching this good news in all parts of the earth. One of the outstanding events of the year was the “Peace on Earth” International Assembly of Jehovah’s Witnesses held in North America and Europe in July and August at which 840,572 persons were in attendance. These, along with others who were not able to get to one of the assemblies, are determined to keep on with the preaching of this Kingdom good news. All are lovers of peace because they worship the God of peace. (2 Cor. 13:11) We still have work to do, and we find that, in the midst of their doing that work, Jehovah has blessed the efforts of his people so that a new peak in publishers of 1,336,112 was reached in the 1969 service year. Throughout the year there were on the average 1,256,784 ministers who could be counted on to spend time in the field ministry every month. Of course, these publishers of the Kingdom good news cannot all be in the work of spreading the message full time, but the dedicated, baptized disciples certainly are all ordained ministers. Out of all of these persons, however, there were 76,515 baptized ministers preaching full time as missionaries, special, regular and vacation pioneers. These spent anywhere from 100 to 150 hours per month spreading the good news of the Kingdom. The remaining number of persons, constituting a great congregation world wide, averaged each from ten to fifteen hours each month in the preaching of God’s kingdom and implanting the word of truth in the hearts and minds of other people.
In order to do this successfully it took a lot of time, and it is amazing to think that all of these 1,336,112 publishers together spent 239,769,076 hours in the preaching of the Kingdom good news. In what features of the ministry did they spend this time? Mainly in the house-to-house ministry, back-call and Bible-study activity, along with magazine distribution and public talks. What a joy it has been for these publishers of the Kingdom! They have indeed been striving to implant the word of the Kingdom in the minds of others. What a blessing for the people who have listened!
During the past service year 1,097,237 home Bible studies were conducted on the average each month throughout the entire year. Really, that is an amazing thing. Jehovah’s witnesses are truly anxious to disciple people of all nations and to help them get a knowledge of God’s truth from his Word so that they can take their stand on the right side, on the side of God’s kingdom, which is mankind’s only hope. On April 1, after 6 p.m., Jehovah’s witnesses, along with others who have expressed interest in God’s purpose, gathered for the annual Memorial of the death of Jesus Christ, and it is wonderful to know that 2,719,860 were present world wide that evening. Of this number, just 10,368 partook of the emblematic bread and wine, indicating that they were looking forward to being joint heirs with Jesus Christ in heavenly glory.
There are many other interesting things about the work that Jehovah’s witnesses are doing. For example, in the field of Bible and Bible literature distribution we find many things to cause rejoicing in the heart. Jehovah’s witnesses fully appreciate that they cannot spend all of their time with people in their homes studying the Bible. But they can leave literature in the homes for people to read so that they can learn more about Jehovah God. During the past year, in more than 160 languages, Jehovah’s witnesses distributed 14,474,862 bound books and Bibles, 11,111,743 booklets and 186,257,878 Watchtower and Awake! magazines. Additionally, they obtained 2,131,667 subscriptions to these magazines.
In order to keep up with this wide distribution of literature at all of the Society’s printing plants throughout the world, of which they have large ones in the United States, Germany, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, South Africa, England, Switzerland, Australia and Canada, they were able to produce 27,936,033 Bibles and bound books in 160 languages. They also produced 159,395,598 Watchtower magazines and 166,356,756 Awake! magazines.
The thousands of people who have dedicated their lives to Jehovah have been willing to spend time distributing this important Bible literature to aid in implanting the Word of God in the minds and in the hearts of others.
Jehovah’s witnesses feel the urgency of getting this work done under Jehovah God’s guidance. They feel the time is near at hand for the end of this wicked system of things. Upon seeing the perplexity of the nations, that do not know the way out, they rejoice to have a message of peace and hope for the people, one based on a sure foundation, the Word of God. Prophecy is being fulfilled now, and these are clearly explained in the publications of the Watch Tower Society. That is why Jehovah’s witnesses feel the urgency of telling everyone that he should become a disciple of Christ Jesus. During the years ahead we can assure you that Jehovah’s witnesses will make many more calls at the homes of the people as they continue to preach the good news of God’s kingdom and at the same time declare the vengeance of our God. Jehovah’s witnesses want to disciple people of all nations and teach them to observe all of the things commanded in the Scriptures so that they can be baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the holy spirit. But before this can happen in the life of any person he must “accept with mildness the implanting of the word.”—Jas. 1:21.
“PEACE ON EARTH” INTERNATIONAL ASSEMBLY OF JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES
In the summer of 1967, during the closing remarks on Sunday of the “Disciple-making” District Assembly of Jehovah’s Witnesses, the following was said: “For 1969 the Watch Tower Society is planning an international assembly of Jehovah’s witnesses. If Jehovah wills, many of Jehovah’s witnesses in the United States, Canada and some other countries, will assemble at two eight-day conventions, Sunday to Sunday, that will commence in the early part of July 1969 in the eastern part of the United States.” It was mentioned that conventions would be held all the way across the United States to the Pacific and that, “we hope 300,000 to 400,000 persons will be in attendance at the six cities during these three weeks of 1969.” It certainly was Jehovah’s will that this international assembly be held July 6-13, 1969, in Buffalo, New York, and Atlanta, Georgia, two cities in the eastern part of the United States. These were both eight-day assemblies from Sunday to Sunday. In addition, an even larger assembly was held for seven days in New York city, starting on Monday, July 7, and then these three conventions ran simultaneously. What a joy this proved to be to all in attendance! There were 234,546 persons gathered together that first week. And by the end of three weeks the Society had held eight assemblies in the United States and Canada, with a total attendance of 492,310. Truly it was Jehovah’s will to have this “Peace on Earth” assembly.
All of the assemblies were peaceful. There were no riots, and the convention lived up to its name, “Peace on Earth” International Assembly of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Much has been said by radio and television about these conventions, and still more was written in newspapers and magazines about the peaceful gathering of people from all nations and languages. In New York city alone there were delegates from over one hundred lands and islands of the sea. At Yankee Stadium foreign-language sessions were held in sixteen languages. Every opportunity was given to those in attendance to hear the truth in their own language, or in a language that they understood.
Then, leaping the Atlantic Ocean, five more assemblies were held, in London, Copenhagen, Paris, Nuremberg and Rome, with another 348,262 persons gathered for the public meetings.
It is difficult to imagine that during the months of July and August, in only six weeks, 840,572 persons were in attendance somewhere in the United States, Canada or Europe to hear the principal talk, “The Approaching Peace of a Thousand Years.” Yes, many of mankind want lasting peace. Jehovah’s witnesses know that peace by God’s arrangement will last.
It is hard to put into words the joy of the people who attended these conventions, or to express their zeal and faith and warm Christian love for one another regardless of language, race or national customs. All of them came to listen and learn. The following chart shows for each assembly the attendance at the public meetings and the number baptized.
These people came to the “Peace on Earth” International Assembly of Jehovah’s Witnesses because they had faith in God’s Word, and we are confident that the faith of all was strengthened as a result of their presence and association with Jehovah’s witnesses. This series of conventions will continue in October, beginning in the Far East in Korea and Japan, and then move southward to Australia and, after that, across the Pacific to Hawaii and, finally, to Mexico City before the end of 1969.
These conventions were arranged to take care of the spiritual needs of all persons regardless of language. In New York city the entire convention program was presented in English, Spanish and French. On two days before the opening of the convention at Yankee Stadium special sessions were held in Kingdom Halls in eight languages other than English for the benefit of delegates that came from abroad. During the assembly week itself morning sessions in Yankee Stadium were held in fourteen different languages. What a pleasure it was for the people speaking these languages from all parts of the world to get together and meet one another. How glad they were, too, to receive the new songbook which had just been printed. This publication, “Singing and Accompanying Yourselves with Music in Your Hearts,” was released in Danish, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Swedish during the international assemblies. A joyful song, indeed, in many tongues ascended to Jehovah from the happy throngs.
The Watch Tower Society carefully prepared the program, and each portion of it was a delight to hear. In many of the assembly cities world wide the program ran a full eight days. In a few places the program was crowded into seven days, and sometimes even less. But the same material was enjoyed by all through having additional sessions during some mornings.
THE FIRST DAY
The opening day of the eight-day convention featured the theme “We thank you Jehovah with all our heart.” (Ps. 92:1) Appropriately, on this day Brother N. H. Knorr spoke in Atlanta, Georgia, giving the keynote address on the subject “Acquaint Yourself with God and Keep Peace.” Brother F. W. Franz delivered the same keynote address in Buffalo, New York. Both speakers focused attention right from the start of the convention on the generous Provider of this grand spiritual feast, and the One to whom all our worship is due. Both speakers reviewed the visions of Jehovah that were had by Moses, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and the apostle John. The audiences in these two cities, as well as throughout the world later, were deeply impressed with the awesome majesty of the Supreme One of the universe. Truly Jehovah’s witnesses at all of the conventions who heard the keynote address felt better acquainted with the wonderful God Jehovah, whom they serve.
On the opening day of all of the conventions the chairman for each convention recounted some of the numerous reasons that we have for giving thanks to Jehovah. He pointed out the great increase in the number of praisers of Jehovah. He emphasized the spiritual abundance and peace that we all enjoy, along with Jehovah’s protection, the faithfulness of our brothers, the loving provision of the ransom by Christ Jesus and the establishment of God’s kingdom. Throughout the entire assembly each one could have the feeling that the deliverance into God’s new order was very near.
We were forcefully reminded that we should appreciate what Jehovah has done for us in providing loving oversight in the congregations. The drama featuring the story of King Saul and David, Abigail and Nabal highlighted this point on the first day’s program. It was a full day of fine spiritual food.
THE SECOND DAY
That the Bible truthfully is the Word of God was the theme for the second day, or the first day in the case of those assembling at seven-day conventions. The text was found at 1 Thessalonians 2:13.
In the afternoon the listeners were delighted with demonstrations setting out sound evidence for sincere persons that the Bible really is the Word of God. Jehovah’s witnesses fully appreciate that many persons today are lacking in faith and object to the Genesis account of creation. These persons claim it is unscientific and that the account in the Bible is based on myth. Unbelievers scoff at the miracles recorded in the Bible. However, the program presented a fine defense of the Bible, considering not only these objections but many more.
This interesting discussion was followed by a forceful talk entitled “Loyal Advocates of the Word of God.” This discourse exposed the disloyalty of the clergy of Christendom toward Jehovah God and his Word of truth, the Bible. It also put the challenge to each individual who believes that the Bible is God’s Word to prove it, not only by words, but by what he does in his personal way of life. At the conclusion of this discourse the audience gave an enthusiastic response to the announcement of the speaker that what they had been hearing could now be had in a pocket-sized publication entitled “Is the Bible Really the Word of God?” It has already been published in thirteen languages. An outstanding witness has been given with this book since its release. By the close of the service year the Society had already printed 5,000,000 copies in thirteen languages.
The truthfulness of what God’s Word says about those who ignore the counsel of the Scriptures was emphasized on this second day in a drama entitled “Thorns and Traps Are in the Way of the Independent One.” This drama graphically illustrated the experiences of people who have forsaken God’s Word in order to achieve financial or social success in the world. Realistically the parable of the prodigal son was recounted, confirming the truthfulness of Proverbs 22:5, as well as showing the love of Jehovah in allowing those who wish to turn back to Jehovah and conform to his way to do so.
After this day could the convention get any better?
THE THIRD DAY
The following day’s program revolved around the scripture that says: “A man of faithful acts will get many blessings.” (Prov. 28:20) Each one attending the convention was urged to examine his own life. “What Are You Living For?” That was a question thoroughly discussed. The audience was asked, Are you living for worldly associations? For the pleasures of drink? Opportunities to toy with sexual immorality? Illicit satisfaction of fornication and adultery? Or, are you truly interested in life in God’s new order? In very straightforward but tasteful language the facts were laid out so that no one listening could miss the point. Plain counsel from God’s Word was given. The situations that easily lead to violations of God’s law were identified. The end results were vividly contrasted with the blessings that come to those who are faithfully following the Word of God. What course will you pursue? “It all depends on what you want,” one speaker declared. “But is it worth it to forfeit life in God’s new order for a night of drunken carousing or a fling at immorality? Certainly not!” This very pointed information was needed due to the appalling rise in immorality in this world. Jehovah’s people must be on guard that the world’s ways are not allowed to take root among them.
Another fine drama rounded out the afternoon program, pointing out the need for overseers to handle problems that come up. It is their responsibility to help keep Jehovah’s organization clean.
In the evening our attention was drawn to the subject “Making My Home a House of God.” With much Scriptural support, the proper exercise of headship was discussed. Points were presented on the need to show readiness to forgive, doing things together, and being concerned for one another. Is there communication among family members, between husband and wife, between children and parents? This caused many to examine their own homelife on these matters. One speaker asked, “How well do you know each other? How well do you know your children?” For one’s home to be a house of God, peace must prevail and Bible principles must govern. Even if one’s mate is not a believer, the one serving Jehovah should apply godly principles. For such faithfulness there will be many blessings.
THE FOURTH DAY
“Call out for understanding itself,” was the dominant theme of another day’s program. (Prov. 2:3) The speakers on that day pointed out that circuit and district servants, as well as congregation servants and ministerial servants, have the responsibility to promote peaceableness. They need to have an understanding of God’s Word and of their brothers. They must listen to the problems of others. The short demonstrations were very beneficial in driving home the points. The question was asked of the audience, “Do you appreciate what the servants do in your behalf?” The response showed that they did.
The key discourse of the day was again given either by the president of the Society, the vice-president, or the secretary-treasurer. The subject was “With All That You Acquire, Acquire Understanding.” What is understanding? If you understand something you do not see just some isolated aspects of a matter, but you are able to see the entire picture. We should be able to come to right conclusions if we have understanding. Very early in the talk the speaker delighted his audience by announcing the release of another new publication, entitled “Aid to Bible Understanding.” This volume, containing over 1,200 articles, was just the first part of a work that is eventually to include thousands of articles on Bible accounts of people, places and events. At a time when most reference works on the Bible tend toward higher criticism and put the opinions of men above God’s Word, how fine it is to have a source of information that upholds the truthfulness of God’s Word. It was announced that we would be using this publication in the Theocratic Ministry School during 1970 in countries where the English language is spoken. Later in the day the new Aid book was examined and Bible questions on a variety of subjects were answered in a very well designed program.
THE FIFTH DAY
A full day was also built around the theme “Youths, may ‘years of life and peace be added to you.’” (Prov. 3:1, 2) Should there be a “generation gap” in the Christian home? one of the speakers asked. Youths were cautioned against music that glorifies loose living and hair styles and dress that identify one with rebellious or immoral groups in the world. The youths were urged to be guided by Bible principles. They were encouraged to show respect for mature persons, to benefit from the experience of such mature ones and to stick close to Jehovah and his organization. Only in that way will years of life and of peace be added to any individual. The fine point was emphasized that it is not rights but duties that God’s Word calls upon us to pay attention to. The speaker showed that we “should not think that just because something is common in the world it is our right.” Remember, we have duties toward God. It is only by Jehovah’s undeserved kindness that we are alive today.
The afternoon program concluded with the significant talk “Peace with God amid the ‘Great Tribulation.’” This was a stirring talk and thought-provoking. It gave all of us a fresh look at Jesus’ prophecy concerning the end of the system of things. Matthew 24:1-22 was discussed, emphasizing that all of this prophecy had a first-century application leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple. It also applies to our day, to antitypical Jerusalem, namely, Christendom. The question raised was, How is the tribulation “cut short” as Jesus said it would be? The Watchtower magazine will give us a full discussion, but we might say that if anyone, young or old, wants to be a survivor of that “great tribulation” and have years of life added to him, it is vital that he get into a proper relationship with Jehovah God now and that he maintain that relationship on through the time of tribulation that is ahead. Jehovah’s witnesses have a responsibility now to help all persons to gain peace with God amid the “great tribulation.”
In the evening, the problems faced by young folks as they grow up in the midst of a corrupt world were laid bare for the entire audience to see as they watched a startling modern-day drama entitled “Let No Man Ever Look Down on Your Youth.” The conventioners leaving after this program had a lot to talk about. This drama depicted in a vivid manner the problems resulting from a divided home, unavoidable association with worldlings in school, and the influence of certain ones who associate with the Christian congregation but who do not truly love Jehovah and his righteous ways. Among the things discussed were temptations to fornication, sexual abuse among young boys, and the use of drugs. These things were shown to be common among youths that are not guided by the Bible. The responsibility of the parents was emphasized. If one really wants to be a Christian, regardless of what course one would take, it would be good for one to ask oneself, ‘Would Jesus do this?’ Both young and old, the program showed, can be protected from wrong ways if they will pay attention to the counsel of God’s Word and apply that Word in their own lives.
Many conventioners said at the close of this day, ‘What more can we learn?’
THE SIXTH DAY
There were still three days of the convention program scheduled. Many thought that everything had been covered. However, the next day’s program developed the theme “May ‘the word of Jehovah keep moving speedily.’” (2 Thess. 3:1) Evidence shows that Jehovah’s Word is now very widespread. Throughout North America and Europe 27,442 individuals presented themselves for water baptism during the assemblies. This great number were immersed at the thirteen conventions in symbol of their dedication to Jehovah God. What a thrill it was to see them rise to their feet at all of the conventions and to declare their complete faith in Jehovah and their desire to do his will forever! This evidence of the effect of God’s Word upon people of all nations was reinforced by further stirring reports from all parts of the earth. Throughout the various days of the convention, delegates made reports from 94 branch offices of the Society. Here was clear evidence that people from all nations, peoples and tongues were dedicating their lives to the doing of Jehovah’s will.
There are opportunities for each one of us to contribute to the speedy movement of God’s Word. While all of Jehovah’s Christian witnesses are dedicated servants of Him and share in the field ministry, many can enjoy the grand privilege of pioneer service. Many practical suggestions were offered to the conventioners on how to enter the pioneer service and how to stay in that work.
But whether a person is going to stay in the full-time ministry as a missionary, special pioneer, regular pioneer, circuit or district servant, or member of the Bethel family depends considerably on how he views security and what it means to him. “What is your security?” those in the audience were asked. Is it your home? your bank account? your job? Or, are you wisely listening to Jehovah and trusting in him? You might lose your home in a fire or storm. Bank accounts can vanish overnight, at is were, if there is a collapse of the economy. Jobs can easily be lost. Certainly these things are not what bring genuine security to individuals. Only Jehovah can supply true security, both now and at the time for the execution of his judgment. How wise it is to trust in Jehovah God and not in gold!
Jehovah’s service should occupy the first place in our lives. We should want to do his will. This is emphasized many times in the Scriptures; and the portion on the convention program dealing with the subject “Are You a Modern-Day Jonah?” brought some fine points to the attention of the audience. No one wants to be ‘on the road to Joppa,’ but rather we should want to keep on ‘the road to Nineveh,’ to do the work that Jehovah has given into the hands of his servants to be done. This is not the time to run away from responsibility. The entire program for the day strongly encouraged all to rely on Jehovah and to do things in the way he wants them done, thus having a part in the speedy movement of God’s word in the earth.
In harmony with the theme of the day, The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures was released as an aid to persuasive teaching of God’s Word. This new publication will prove to be excellent for family Bible reading, using “correct words of truth,” and it came as a tremendous surprise to all in attendance at this marvelous assembly. Surely there could now be nothing more released to the assembled multitudes. The Kingdom Interlinear Translation was in itself a monumental work.
THE SEVENTH DAY
The next to last day of the convention had as its theme “Take your stand . . . solid in the faith.” (1 Pet. 5:9) Fittingly the program began with experiences reflecting the steadfastness of Jehovah’s witnesses behind the Iron Curtain. The question of whom we serve was frankly discussed in the form of a symposium that included “You Are No Part of the World,” and “Appreciating the Organization That Is Educating Us for Life.” Merely saying that a person is one of Jehovah’s witnesses is not sufficient. The truth of the matter is evident in how the person spends his time and energy. If we truly serve Jehovah then we keep separate from the world, avoiding its politics, its materialism, its dishonesty, its immorality. At the same time we enjoy the finest association on earth within the organization that is educating us for life, and truly the “Peace on Earth” International Assembly of Jehovah’s Witnesses was the place to be to enjoy this finest of association.
The day’s program reached its climax in the talk “Final Woes to Enemies of Peace with God.” This dealt with the sounding of the seven symbolic trumpets referred to in Revelation 8-11. At the conclusion of the talk a powerful Declaration was presented to the audience. This very clearly set forth the position and the attitude of Jehovah’s witnesses world wide. It exposed the clergy of Christendom for playing false to Jehovah and betraying the confidence of those who trustingly look to them for religious guidance. It showed that peace and prosperity will never be brought about by radical, political movements that are not at peace with God. Instead, it pointed out that Jehovah’s Messianic kingdom is man’s only hope for peace, happiness, prosperity and life. Jehovah’s witnesses at this grand assembly made known their determination to continue exposing those whom the Bible shows to be enemies of God while loyally directing the attention of all men who are seeking righteousness to the kingdom of Jehovah God. This Declaration was enthusiastically endorsed both by vocal expression and by prolonged applause. Now it is the responsibility of each one of Jehovah’s witnesses to apply what was publicly endorsed.
To aid all of us to do that with force, a very fine new publication was released entitled “Then Is Finished the Mystery of God.” This 384-page publication provides a verse-by-verse discussion of the first thirteen chapters of Revelation. The closing chapter of the book carries one right on through the rest of the Revelation.
This thrilling program was followed in the evening by practical counsel on how to stand firm in the faith despite any opposition that might come. We must stand firm under the most severe pressure. It was shown that we should be happy even in the face of persecution, not because of the persecution, but because we can endure without losing faith. To help us do that, the day concluded with a drama that discussed each part of the spiritual armor described in Ephesians 6:11-18.
THE EIGHTH DAY
When you are doing something that you enjoy, time flies, and this seemingly long week of eight days was in reality moving by much too quickly. Here we were at the last day of the grand spiritual feast. As the daylight began to break through, the conventioners began streaming back to the convention grounds. The seating facilities in all convention locations were taken long before the time for the program to begin. The theme for this final day was: “Jehovah himself will bless his people with peace.” (Ps. 29:11) How evident it was that the spirit of peace prevailed at these assemblies. The speakers at all the conventions pointed out that we can continue to enjoy that peace by regularly associating with our home congregations and by zealously sharing in the preaching of the good news of the Kingdom.
“Do Not Miss the Purpose of Jehovah’s Deliverance” was the title of the drama presented on the final day. Those who were on hand can still hear the prophet Daniel saying: “Why now should I doubt the power and ability of the Almighty God Jehovah? But what Jehovah will do and how he will do it are for him alone to say. . . . But, my son, do you really believe these inspired messages?” And they have not forgotten the words of the faithful Israelite who said: “Our deliverance isn’t just for our own benefit, is it? Jehovah preserved us alive for his worship, not for our own sakes alone.” So our continued enjoyment of peace depends on our recognizing the reason why Jehovah has freed us from Babylon the Great and our acting in full harmony with it. It was a stirring drama, full of feeling. All knew that there still remained work to be done.
At the public meeting on the final day the glorious prospect of “The Approaching Peace of a Thousand Years” was vividly portrayed. How clearly it was pointed out that this peace is not something that men or nations can bring about. Only Jehovah God by his Messianic kingdom will do so. He is the one who will bless his people with peace, and Jehovah’s witnesses are joyfully preparing for it now.
What a thrill it was to see a total of 840,572 persons assembled in both North America and Europe to hear this outstanding public talk given during the months of July and August, 1969. The attendance at the “Peace on Earth” International Assembly of Jehovah’s Witnesses far exceeded our expectations. All enjoyed taking home with them a booklet or brochure carrying the entire talk in printed form. In some places, particularly North America, the Society was able to prepare a 32-page brochure containing, not only the public talk, but also the Declaration of Saturday afternoon, and many other key thoughts from the convention program. It was something worth taking home, and we feel sure that it stimulated the interest of those who were there for the public meeting.
Then came the closing remarks that reviewed the assembly and directed attention to the urgent ingathering work that still lies ahead. How happy everyone was that this was truly a “Peace on Earth” assembly for Jehovah’s witnesses! It was impressed on the minds of all present that we have come to be in a very favored position as Jehovah’s servants. It was clearly shown that only Jehovah God can bring enduring peace. How grateful all of us were that it was his will that we have this peaceful assembly in 1969. We know that we can enjoy peace one with the other, a peace that is unknown among any other people around the earth. Jehovah’s witnesses have had great assemblies on the earth, but this, we feel, was the richest spiritually, and all of us together feel the importance of God’s message. We are better acquainted with Jehovah and his purposes, and by his undeserved kindness we will carry forward his will right down to the end of this system of things.
OTHER CONVENTION HIGHLIGHTS
Of course, many other things happened at the convention which were outstanding. Suppose we just review a few events having to do with each of the thirteen conventions.
First of all, Brothers Knorr and Franz, president and vice-president respectively, thought it would be good if they could attend all of these assemblies, Jehovah willing. It was determined that when the president was at one assembly the vice-president would be at the other. Since there were more than one convention going on at the same time, it meant considerable traveling for both. However, the “Peace on Earth” International Assembly of Jehovah’s Witnesses started out with three assemblies, and so the secretary-treasurer, Grant Suiter, also delivered some of the principal speeches. Brother Knorr was able to open the convention in Atlanta with the keynote speech, “Acquaint Yourself with God and Keep Peace.” He flew there on Saturday and had the pleasure of looking over the grounds and facilities of the Atlanta Stadium and the convention organization before the assembly began. What a joy it was to see that convention open!
While Brother Knorr was enjoying association with the brothers in Atlanta, Brother Franz was in Buffalo opening the assembly with the keynote address. Brother Knorr returned to New York that Sunday night so as to open the convention in New York, which began on Monday. A full day’s program was scheduled here, beginning at 9 a.m. and running until 9:05 p.m. Meanwhile, Brother Suiter flew to Atlanta to handle the early days of the convention there. There were no delays whatsoever in the flying schedule. All of us were able to keep our appointments at the right time. Following the three eastern assemblies, Brother Franz flew to Vancouver and Brother Knorr to Los Angeles. They flew back and forth, taking certain parts of the program in those two cities. Brother Knorr opened the convention in Los Angeles and finished there, while Brother Franz opened in Vancouver and finished there also.
However, Kansas City was to begin on a Friday and end on a Friday because we could not get the convention site from Sunday to Sunday. Thus Brother Suiter opened the convention in Kansas City, while Brothers Franz and Knorr were still on the West Coast. By Monday, though, Brother Franz was able to get to Kansas City and Brother Knorr to Chicago, and then they changed places again during the week. It was possible for the president of the Society to give the public talk in Kansas City and in Chicago. These were exciting days! There were many delegates in attendance from all parts of the world at all of these assemblies. What a pleasure to talk to many of them individually!
THE MISSIONARIES APPRECIATED THEIR TRIP
The Society arranged through the generous gifts of Jehovah’s witnesses around the world to assist the missionaries to return home once more and to attend the convention nearest their home. Thus it seemed only proper that we should have a missionary dinner, to which all missionaries in active foreign service could be invited.
One thing all the missionaries wanted me to do somehow was to say, “Thank you so much for your love and kindness to us missionaries.” This is a good place to do it.
The first missionary dinner was held in Buffalo. We had a nice time together in a private room in the armory where the cafeteria was arranged for the Buffalo convention. There were 59 missionaries present, and Brother Knorr was delighted to be with them. The brothers fixed up a very fine meal. Many of the missionaries were able to give experiences, and all enjoyed fellowshiping with one another. After Brother Knorr flew on to Atlanta, he was able to meet with 61 missionaries, all of them still active in foreign service. They certainly enjoyed being together.
The largest missionary meeting was in New York, where 478 missionaries from all parts of the world gathered in the Kingdom Hall of the Bethel home. Brother Knorr called on different ones in the audience to come to the platform to give experiences. Some were a bit surprised when they were called on, but all of them did very well without any notice beforehand.
It seemed that the Canadian missionaries from all parts of the world wanted to get to Vancouver, and many of them did. They had a grand time as 119 gathered together there. In Los Angeles 106 assembled in a private room to relate their experiences. In Kansas City there were 50 missionaries and in Chicago 105.
In London the missionaries, along with Brothers Franz and Knorr, were able to gather together in a building close to the cafeteria and a short distance from Wembley Stadium. There were 133 missionaries in attendance. This, too, was another happy occasion. In Paris there were 35 missionaries present. Some, it seemed, had forgotten their English and we had to have a few interpreters to translate their French into English so the rest could understand. In Copenhagen the missionaries, mostly Scandinavian, all gathered together at the branch office Kingdom Hall and then went to the dining room for a smorgasbord. In Rome 21 missionaries were able to give experiences and spend about three hours together. At Nuremberg, Germany, the missionaries had a very delightful time together, with 76 in attendance. The missionaries were there from everywhere on earth—north, south, east and west.
At all of the conventions Brother Knorr tried to select some to speak who were from the first class of Gilead or early classes, and this proved to be a fine encouragement to younger missionaries who have been in foreign service for only a short period of time. Just imagine being in the missionary field for twenty-five years, still enjoying it, and looking well to the interests of the Kingdom.
The theme of Brother Knorr’s talk to all the missionaries was, “Where Is Your Home?” Really, the earth is man’s home. God put man here in the very beginning and told him to multiply and fill the whole earth. So it does not make a lot of difference where we are on this earth. It is our home. As long as we have Jehovah’s favor and we are doing his work, that is what is important. Who knows what grand work yet remains to be done even after the battle of Armageddon? These missionaries are able to speak the languages of many who will be resurrected throughout the earth, and maybe they will have something special to do after Armageddon in God’s new order.
So it can be reported that the missionaries had a grand time, not only attending the feast that was provided in a spiritual way through the convention itself, but also being able to get together, see former classmates and other missionaries that they have come to know over the years, and they say “Thank you” again for making all this possible.
Atlanta received many more requests for rooms than could be cared for. Before the convention began it became evident that the stadium would be overcrowded. Some 9,163 requests for rooming accommodations had to be returned to brothers living north of the Ohio River and west of the Mississippi River. These brothers were notified soon enough so that they could go to either the Buffalo or the New York convention, or else plan on Chicago or Kansas City. We were very sorry about this, but there were just not enough accommodations, even though the brothers in Atlanta worked very diligently to find rooms for the delegates. This points up the fact that the Lord’s people are certainly cooperative. If it is not possible to be accommodated at a particular convention, they arrange their affairs to go to another. In addition to the English assembly in Atlanta, they had a fine Spanish assembly there. It was well attended by about 550 Spanish brothers.
The publicity that was given to the convention in Atlanta was very good. The Atlanta Constitution and Journal published numerous reports of considerable depth and detail. Lead headlines on page one of the newspapers frequently announced the theme discussed at the convention. The reports were thorough, and they quoted extensively from the speakers and participants in the various dramas. So accurate were most of the reports that they sounded much like what the Society itself might have published in a convention report. The Atlanta Journal quoted official Thomas O. Duvall as saying: “In all the twenty-five years I have spent in this business, I have never had anything like this group of people to work with because mainly they are patient and courteous, there is no shoving or misbehaving, and they are always smiling.” That was the general consensus of all people in convention cities concerning Jehovah’s witnesses, because they were certainly a happy and peaceful people that had come together to worship Jehovah God in spirit and in truth.
Even before the convention opened in Buffalo the Courier-Express of July 2, 1969, under the heading “Jehovah’s Witnesses Worthy of Emulation,” said: “More convention delegates should act like the Jehovah’s Witnesses.” Right behind the stadium that was used in Buffalo there was a very fine swimming pool that was used for the immersion of 985 of our newly dedicated brothers and sisters. Thousands of persons observed this baptism. It was reported that an editorial was read over the radio and featured on television a number of times which said in effect: ‘Buffalo witnessed a happening last week which should leave a permanent impression. The Watchtower Convention here was a model of decorum and logistical efficiency. . . . The Society members came to Buffalo, appeared to enjoy themselves, did their business quietly and with dignity and left us. The movement of 40,000 to 50,000 people a day could hardly be kept a secret; they could have made a roar, but they chose to speak lightly.’ Of course, they did speak from door to door in the field service, as practically the entire city was covered. The brothers in Buffalo had a delightful time and the weather was excellent.
NEW YORK CITY
Yankee Stadium is a name well known to Jehovah’s witnesses around the world, and we have filled this stadium a number of times. A few outstanding features about this convention were these: A large number of French-speaking delegates came from France; Quebec, Canada; the Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique; and French Guiana in South America. The Society arranged for a full assembly program for the French-speaking brothers in a very large tent just about one block from the stadium. The French delegates, representing all parts of the world, truly enjoyed themselves.
The Spanish-speaking delegates also heard the entire program in Spanish, meeting in tents several blocks to the north of the stadium. During the course of the convention they were delighted to receive the new book Is the Bible Really the Word of God? in Spanish.
The attendance at the French public meeting came to 2,684. At the Spanish public address there were 14,444 in attendance. The rest of the 122,011 attending the New York convention were packed into Yankee Stadium in the seats, on the playing field, in the aisles and in the cafeteria tents. It was indeed a great crowd, and very inspiring to see. The attendance in New York city was the second largest for the summer, next to Nuremberg, where over 150,000 were in attendance at the public meeting.
Of course, in New York all of the brothers from foreign lands and thousands from the United States and Canada were very much interested in going through the Bethel home and factory. The Society arranged to run the factory on July 6, the Sunday before the convention opened in New York city, since we were not able to have the assembly on that day. The police granted special permission to the Society to operate all day, and there was a constant stream of visitors going through the home and the factory on Saturday and Sunday before the convention. Likewise during the mornings of the convention week when there were no sessions the Bethel family worked so the brothers could tour the home, office and factory.
Additionally the Society arranged for special bus tours to Watchtower Farm, one hundred miles to the north of the city. The Society has a large dairy there, hundreds of acres planted with vegetables and a large canning department. This, too, was enjoyable for many to see. It got them outdoors and gave many of the Europeans an opportunity to see the Eastern part of the United States, with its highways, rolling hills and natural beauty. The brothers enjoyed these tours to the full.
All of the Bethel family worked during the entire convention week. They were assigned duties at the convention, but they were able to hear the program when they were not on duty at book counters, refreshment stands and in other departments. On behalf of the Bethel family it should be said that they were very happy to have with them for one month before the convention began, during all of June, the branch servants and some assistants from all parts of the world, 133 being in attendance at special branch meetings. So the Bethel home was alive with visitors from all parts of the world during June and July. The month of May was also busy for the Bethel family as all the circuit and district servants in the United States were here for a week of training and schooling. All of this proved to be most exciting to the Bethel family. So to us here at Bethel it seemed as though the convention started early in May and ran right straight through July. We were busy, but we enjoyed it.
It was reported that twenty-one countries were represented in Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium. They had a unique platform running all the way from first base to second base and on to third base on the baseball diamond. This included a display of national settings representing various parts of the world where the Kingdom good news is being preached. Juniper bushes and bamboo clumps reminded the audience of the daintiness of Asia and the Far East. They even had an eskimo igloo representing Arctic life. They had an African, or South Sea island hut with a palm-frond roof, an American Indian wigwam and a sixteen-foot replica of France’s Eiffel Tower. So they tried to tie into their picturesque stage all parts of the world. Right in the center at home plate directly in front of the stands there were twisted and broken ruins of implements of war. At nighttime these were lit up and it looked as though there were flames underneath that were melting down this war equipment. Then on each side of this pile of rubble of war instruments was prominently displayed a plow and a sickle, showing fulfillment of the peaceful pursuits spoken of in Isaiah 2:4. Although man’s walk on the moon was prominently advertised and occurred on the afternoon of the public meeting in Los Angeles, still Dodger Stadium was packed out, and those present were certainly more interested in peace on earth than walking on an uninhabitable moon. It was reported that one television commentator said that the old-fashioned personal contact among people was the key to the phenomenal success of Jehovah’s witnesses, because in this age when man can almost touch the stars he cannot talk with his neighbor.
But Jehovah’s witnesses certainly are talkative, and one of their principal themes of conversation concerned the need for love of God and love of neighbor. The Los Angeles convention was like all other assemblies, peaceful and harmonious.
The Sierra Madre and San Bernardino mountains were the backdrop for the colorful stage at the Spanish convention in Pomona, California. Attendance on the opening day swelled to 11,150, which was almost the peak that was estimated for this convention. However, at the public discourse on the closing Sunday there were 14,853 in attendance. The grandstand was packed to capacity and an overflow crowd of nearly three thousand assembled in a small park alongside it. It was the pleasure of the vice-president, Brother Franz, and the president, Brother Knorr, to make trips from Los Angeles to Pomona to address these Spanish-speaking brothers. They showed great enthusiasm because of these visits. Spanish-speaking people came from sixteen nations, with a large delegation there from Mexico. It would have been nice to have had them at the Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, but there just was no room to house this great throng near that stadium. So the Society arranged for them to gather in Pomona, where they had sufficient facilities for their eight-day assembly.
The largest crowd that ever was accommodated in Empire Stadium gathered there at the “Peace on Earth” assembly. There were 44,442 in the Stadium, and 21,167 were seated in the Coliseum and the Agrodome. This made a total attendance of 65,609 under sunny skies. It was a real pleasure to be at this convention where there were eight days of sunshine. In the distance were snowcapped mountains, and the brothers enjoyed the cool breeze that came from the mountains.
The crowd that appeared at Vancouver was far beyond expectations. It originally had been planned that only the Empire Stadium would be used. However, four weeks before the convention began it was evident that we had to obtain the Coliseum and other facilities to take care of the great numbers of persons who wrote in for rooms.
A person who wrote to the Vancouver Sun newspaper and whose comment was published in that newspaper said: “I have been a resident of this city for over forty years and reside close to the P.N.E. Grounds. I would like to express my gratitude to the International Assembly of Jehovah’s Witnesses. A more tidy, considerate crowd of people have never gathered in this area before.”
During most of the convention in Vancouver the program was duplicated, being put on twice. The speakers would appear in the Coliseum to give their talk and then they would go over to the Empire Stadium and deliver the talk once again. Others would follow the reverse process, appearing first in the Empire Stadium and then going over to the Coliseum. This worked out very well up to the time of the Saturday afternoon meeting, when the Empire Stadium and the Coliseum were connected by wire.
Delegates were on hand in Vancouver from thirty countries. One television cameraman who was taking pictures of the great crowds and the activity at the stadium said: “What has impressed me most is the fact that not once have I been pushed or shoved in a crowd of over 50,000.” How good it is to be peaceful!
Another interesting feature of the convention in Vancouver was that there was an Italian program arranged as well as a Ukrainian program. These brothers were able to hear a summary of the program in their languages during the mornings.
Everyone was wondering how the public talk would be attended at Kansas City, since it was scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. on a Friday evening. As the crowd began to gather it was evident that every available seat in the 35,000-seat stadium would be filled. There were temporary seats put on the track around the inside of the stadium and the final count showed 40,009 in attendance.
During the drama “Thorns and Traps Are in the Way of the Independent One” a thunderstorm broke loose with lightning and driving rain, but the drama went on. The scene where the prodigal son was in a far-off land recounting the things that had happened to him was made even more striking by the storm.
Said the Kansas City, Missouri, Call: “Jehovah’s witnesses are an unusual people. They are not content to preach and pray. They live their religion in their everyday life and teach their children how to live and act, generation after generation. They are quiet, soft-spoken, well mannered and well behaved. Each Witness is a preacher and a teacher—dedicated to carrying the word and the message as they know and believe it to other people, on a door to door basis. . . . We do not adhere to some of their beliefs, but in this country where freedom of religion is one of our basic cornerstones, we do not have to agree with them in order to commend them on the type of convention they have conducted here.”
It was a novel experiment having a convention begin on a Friday and end on a Friday. But there was nothing else that could be done in order to accommodate such a large crowd in that part of the country.
Many persons expected difficulties in Chicago, but it was certainly a “peace on earth” assembly. Everything was quiet. Said an officer of the Chicago police department: “This is the first time that people have told us what a fine job we are doing. With people like this you can’t help but do a fine job. They do everything for you. We can spot them right away from the local people. You can tell the difference because they have a smile on their face.”
Another police officer said: “When you have 40- or 50,000 people in one place, you expect somebody to get out of line or start a fight. I haven’t seen one person do anything wrong. These people treat you like a real policeman; they even smile and say good morning. I’ll be honest; I used to think that you people were troublemakers. Now I think that you are all peace-loving people.”
Chicago was the fourth city in the United States to have a Spanish convention. This was held in a tent right outside the stadium, and at the public talk there were 1,879 Spanish-speaking people present. The president of the Society also addressed this group, as did the vice-president when he was in Chicago. It was fine that the Society could arrange for sessions of this kind for large groups of Spanish-speaking brothers in the United States.
It was very interesting on Sunday afternoon to observe large crowds coming into the ball park. After filling all the seats, the crowds came to the front of the stands and sat on the playing field. As it had rained earlier in the day, the outfield of the playing area was still quite wet, but the Chicago ball park has a special material on its infield in place of grass; this dried off immediately in the afternoon sunshine, and this portion of the field was filled in completely with people. Several thousand seats were also put on the track around the inside of the ball park, and this made it possible to accommodate a crowd of 56,261.
After the convention in Chicago the president of the Society flew to New York, and the next morning he was on his way to London. The following day the vice-president came on to London.
Large Wembley Stadium was used for the convention, along with the Empire Pool, a fine building a few blocks away. This was tied in with sound equipment so all could hear the program. All of Jehovah’s witnesses in London were truly surprised by the attendance at the public meeting, namely, 82,416. Since there are just about 58,000 Kingdom publishers in the British Isles, there must have been well over 20,000 of the public in attendance for the Sunday afternoon public address.
This was a very international assembly, with many Witnesses from Africa, particularly Nigeria, Togo, Ghana, Sierra Leone and neighboring countries. It was interesting to see them moving about the convention grounds in their flowing robes and bright eye-catching headwear. They were often stopped by total strangers so that they might engage in conversation with them. When the Declaration was presented on Saturday afternoon there was a crowd of 68,021, and they repeatedly interrupted the discourse with loud, enthusiastic applause and at the close endorsed the Declaration by a thunderous “I do.” It is interesting to know, too, that the rooming department handled requests for delegates from sixty-three nations.
The British brothers arranged for a very interesting display under the title “The Bible in Britain,” including both models and actual books. It included such items as a display of the Geneva Bible of 1608, a folio edition of the Geneva Version of 1607, the English Hexapla of 1841, a photostat of the fragment of John’s Gospel that is dated within a short period after the writing of the account, portions of Origen’s Hexapla and other items of interest. Between sessions there was always a crowd of people looking at this display and enjoying the history concerning the Bible.
The Sunday Telegraph of London, dated August 3, 1969, started its article by saying: “Jehovah’s witnesses, the most profoundly unwarlike of Christian sects, organized their international assembly at Wembley Stadium with absolute military precision. An army of volunteers has handled every aspect of the event.” Also, the London Observer of August 3, 1969, said, under the heading “Awaiting Peace of One Thousand Years”: “Perhaps it was the knowledge of this deliverance that made the crowd so happy. They had a calm and enviable certainty. Whether or not you agreed with the tenets of their faith, their optimism was evident. And there seemed none of the hysteria or stage management associated with Billy Graham. . . . Racialism seems unknown among witnesses. Many come from the urban working classes.”
After the very fine convention in London the vice-president, F. W. Franz, flew on to Copenhagen, Denmark, to open the convention there on Tuesday, and the president, N. H. Knorr, flew to Paris. In Paris under clear skies the assembly opened at the Colombes Stadium, located in a northwest suburb of Paris. The stadium has a seating capacity of 25,000 and standing room for 38,000. Arrangements were made in the stadium, which was oval-shaped, for the Portuguese convention, and also for the gathering together of many Polish-speaking brothers from France, as well as some who had come from other countries. In fact, there were representatives of seventy-eight different nationalities from all races, and their attitude reflected the theme of the assembly, “Peace on Earth.”
The convention opened with fine weather, and the weather remained perfect from start to finish. There was sunshine every day. This was a blessing, because the Portuguese and Polish meetings and half of the French audience were unprotected from the weather. Of the 47,480 that attended the public meeting, 2,731 were in attendance at the Portuguese meeting and 600 were in attendance at the Polish meeting. There were a number of English-language sessions for those traveling from English-speaking countries, and during the week the crowd exceeded 800.
One of the most surprising events at this convention was the fact that 3,619 persons were baptized, including 202 Portuguese brothers and sisters. This was about 10 percent of the regular average attendance at the Paris convention. This shows that the people in France, Belgium and Portugal are truly interested in our work and are taking a stand for Jehovah’s kingdom and are dedicating their lives to Jehovah.
On August 6, 1969, in its second edition, the popular Paris evening paper France-Soir said: “What worries the clergy of other religions is not the means of spectacular distribution of publications used by Jehovah’s witnesses, but, rather, their making converts. Each of Jehovah’s witnesses has the obligation to witness or proclaim his faith by using the Bible from house to house, working according to the direction of the organization. . . . The doctrines of Jehovah’s witnesses are based on the Bible. . . . They believe in one God (Jehovah), reject the trinity, immortality of the soul, the existence of hell and of purgatory.” Excellent television coverage was also given.
As at every other convention, when the new book Is the Bible Really the Word of God? was released in French, it was received with great enthusiasm. It will now be used extensively in the field, and that may result in many more converts to the true religion.
In Paris the Portuguese brothers had their finest assembly of all time. Their previous peak attendance at any convention in the history of the work in Portugal was 825 in 1968 at Toulouse, France. It was estimated that about 70 percent of the Portuguese brothers were able to attend the Paris convention, and they certainly enjoyed themselves. There were sixty-five delegates at this convention from one Lisbon congregation and there are only ninety publishers in the congregation. One sister had saved funds for two years in order to have enough money to make the trip and return. At the Portuguese sessions there were brothers from Angola, the Azores, the Cape Verde Islands, Madeira and Mozambique.
Some 5,000 who attended the French sessions came from Belgium, and there were about 1,000 French-speaking brothers and sisters from Switzerland. According to the report, there were over 1,300 in Paris from the United States and 200 from Canada. There were 170 there from England and 120 from Africa.
Europeans like to camp, so some twenty acres of land were set aside for the conventioners. Thirty-one large dormitories were erected as well as 547 family-sized tents. The ground was also prepared for the setting up of personal tents, of which there were over 1,000. Also, 92 caravans were parked in this area. So there was sufficient ground provided for those who like to live out of doors. The housing problem was not too great in Paris because many of the people leave the city during the summer season. Brother Franz spent time in Paris during the last half of the convention and his talks included the public address and closing remarks. From there he flew to Rome.
There was a unique arrangement in Denmark for this convention. The large rectangular stadium was used for the Danish, Swedish and Norwegian assemblies. The longer and larger seating side of the stadium was used for the Danish-speaking brothers. The Swedish delegates used the other long side and one end, and the Norwegians assembled on the opposite end. Another small stadium nearby was set aside for the Finnish brothers.
The grounds inside the two stadiums were decorated beautifully with what some called hanging gardens of flowers of many descriptions fixed up in a unique way to attract the eye and make the entire green field a garden spot. What was done in the main stadium was also done in the Finnish stadium. The brothers did very beautiful work in making up these flower arrangements. Each of the platforms was enclosed in glass, and all talks were given in the four languages simultaneously.
Some convention delegates living in the home of a man invited him to the convention. The man laughed at the thought of peace on earth, but when he came to the assembly grounds he said to his lodgers: “Well, here you really live peace.”
The rooming work in Denmark was a gigantic undertaking requiring more than 60,000 hours by the time 14,000 private accommodations had been listed. In addition, mass accommodations had been provided for 2,000 persons in various gymnasiums, and it was necessary to assemble cots, foam-rubber mattresses, pillows, etc., for these. Another 2,000 were accommodated in hotels in Copenhagen. Since many of the delegates brought their own tents, it was necessary to rent about sixty acres of land to provide for some 17,000 persons on the camping grounds. There were delegates from thirty countries, all enjoying peaceful fellowship. The principal talks were delivered by the Society’s president or the vice-president. As they spoke through interpreters they had to wait for a small green light to go on at their speaker’s stand which indicated the interpreters were through and the English speaker could continue with his next sentence. The speaker was kept busy watching for green lights.
A middle-aged man impressed by the assembly said: “In my church there are only five or six elderly women who come each Sunday. It is always the same ones and they do not learn anything. But these Jehovah’s witnesses, they get people to work day after day with sweat rolling off of them for months and not one looks unhappy. They, are all happy. They must have something we lack.” Well, there is no question about that. The churches in Denmark have small attendances and the people are lacking in spiritual food, and very likely it is due to the fact that the clergy themselves no longer believe the Bible. They have their own philosophies on life and are teaching the precepts of men rather than the Word of God.
What a joy it was to see a great crowd gathered together every day in the week and then to observe the big public meeting attendance of 42,073. Everything was packed out and overflowing into the park outside the large stadium where all could hear the Danish translation. This was indeed good to see.
Here again, in four languages this time, the book Is the Bible Really the Word of God? was released. This was done simultaneously in Danish, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish. What a joy this was to all in attendance!
Monday morning Brother Knorr was off to Nuremberg, there to stay two days and then to go on to Rome. In the meantime Brother Franz was off for Rome from Paris, and then he was to come to Nuremberg for the middle of the week, returning to Rome to close that convention. At the Nuremberg assembly sessions were held in six languages. Delegates were there from seventy-eight countries.
It would be difficult to describe the size of the convention grounds, but when you get 150,645 people together at a public meeting and have seating space for all of them it takes room. Besides that you have need of space for cafeterias, and sleeping areas for those who are tenting. And, of course, you have to have space for the parking of thousands upon thousands of automobiles. In fact, the conventioners arrived in 20,000 automobiles, 250 buses, 43 special trains and 4,000 arrived by plane.
The convention itself was held in a location prepared many years ago by Hitler for Nazi party parades. After the fall of the Nazi regime Jehovah’s witnesses held a convention at this location in 1946 and again in 1955. Now they returned for the “Peace on Earth” assembly in 1969. There was ample room in Nuremberg for such a large convention. However, it was observed that trees and bushes had grown up in the bleacher seating area, and these had to be cleared out. The general area that was used for the seating of the audience had to be cleaned out completely and made ready for thousands of chairs. There was a tremendous amount of preconvention work that had to be done in getting the grounds ready for this great gathering. Those persons who sat in the most distant part of the grounds found it difficult, when looking at the platform, to locate the speaker. Many of the conventioners had field glasses and used them frequently to watch the speaker and the dramas that were enacted. The sound, however, was perfect, and no matter where you were in the assembly area you could hear distinctly.
As a backdrop for the platform itself there was a tremendous painting based on the Society’s 1969 calendar, showing the flight of the Christians from Jerusalem prior to the great tribulation that came upon that city and its temple in 70 C.E. So large was the painting that it required about 450 pounds of paint for it and the other decorations on the platform.
The officials of the city of Nuremberg were most cooperative, and they opened up their schools to accommodate Jehovah’s witnesses. There were 40,000 Witnesses who stayed in the schools of Nuremberg, which were used as dormitories. Additionally, large dormitory tents were erected on the assembly grounds, and many thousands of private tents were pitched in among the trees and other open areas to be used by the conventioners. Nuremberg had the greatest attendance of delegates, and also the largest baptism—5,095.
In addition to the vast German assembly grounds, there was also a very large stadium nearby that was used by the Dutch brothers. There were about 20,000 in attendance. These came from the Netherlands, Belgium, and other countries. This stadium gave them a fine place in which to hold their convention.
The Greek brothers met in a very large tent that was erected by the convention organization. This accommodated 5,000 Greek-speaking brothers and sisters, the greatest number of whom came from Greece, with some from other countries.
Another tent accommodated about 350 Turkish brothers from Turkey and other parts of Europe.
The Yugoslavian branch servant had requested permission from the Yugoslavian government for an official permit for all Yugoslavian witnesses of Jehovah to leave the country. Their joy was indescribable when permission was granted. A very pleasant wooded area was the site of the assembly for the brothers from Yugoslavia. Here they had a large, divided platform in the middle of the sports playing field. One-half of the platform served the Croatian-speaking brothers and the other half the Slovenian brothers.
All of these meetings were in session simultaneously. It was a real joy for the president and vice-president of the Society to address all of these language groups and to have the opportunity of personally greeting many of the brothers from the different lands.
Despite the threat of a thunderstorm, which finally broke at the conclusion of the public talk, the audience listened attentively to the public address given by the president of the Society on the subject “The Approaching Peace of a Thousand Years.” In the morning of the last day, Sunday, there was rain, but those who had come to the morning sessions were prepared for it. They had their rainwear, and they kept it through the afternoon session. All the meetings where the talks of the president and vice-president had to be interpreted heard only summaries of the material. So in the concluding remarks, as well as in other talks, only half as much could be said in the allotted period of time. At all of these conventions after the public talk the full lecture was released either in a special brochure or in booklet form free to all in attendance. So while they heard only part of the talk, as it was epitomized, they were able to get the full material in printed form and read it when they returned home.
Enthusiasm was great in Germany when the brothers received the new book Is the Bible Really the Word of God? in German and Dutch. Other publications were released in some other languages, all of which were joyfully received.
The Nuremberg convention was outstanding in its size, in organization and in the large number of delegates that assembled in various language groups. It was also very interesting to see how well this large crowd was able to move about in getting into and out of the convention grounds. Nuremberg saw people who love Jehovah God and observed that they can dwell together in peace and unity regardless of numbers.
The work in Italy is just booming, and what a joy it was to observe a public meeting crowd of 19,438 persons, all Italian-speaking, whom Brother Franz addressed. They packed out the huge auditorium and overflowed into the park section outside. In addition to this large crowd, there were 6,210 Spanish-speaking brothers in a separate auditorium. Here again, the percentage of those being baptized was great. About 10 percent, or ten persons out of every one hundred of those in regular attendance were baptized. What had happened in Paris happened a week later in Rome as far as the baptism was concerned.
The news media were particularly interested in the convention in Italy. Prominent newspapers and magazines carried favorable reports. There were many more persons attending the Italian convention than there are Italian publishers in Italy, and it is felt that now many more people will associate with Jehovah’s witnesses because of this fine convention in Rome.
One of the outstanding features of the assembly was the gathering together of the Spanish brothers. The greater number in attendance came from Spain. These brothers would not introduce themselves by their last name, but they were just as friendly as anyone else. Of course, we who are associated with Jehovah’s organization know that the work in Spain is banned, and Jehovah’s witnesses cannot meet there publicly, as they did in Italy. So they only use their first name on their lapel badges, but the warmth, friendship and love that these brothers have were identical to that at all other gatherings.
These two language sessions in Rome were not one whit behind any of the other conventions held throughout the world. They had the new release, Is the Bible Really the Word of God? in Italian and in Spanish. The Italian brothers also received the book “Your Word Is a Lamp to My Foot,” and the public meeting booklet The Approaching Peace of a Thousand Years. The Italian brothers love to sing and they received the new songbook, as well as another booklet, Blood, Medicine and the Law of God.
It is very difficult to sum up this entire assembly. It would take many, many more pages to tell you all the outstanding features of each gathering. For more details readers of the Yearbook can turn to the Watchtower and Awake! magazines of August, September and October. Probably the best way to feel the excitement and joy is to talk to someone who was in attendance at one of the conventions. Jehovah did pour out a blessing far greater than any individual could contain. The peace that was manifested at these conventions was certainly in full accord with the theme of the conventions, namely, “Peace on Earth.” Jehovah’s Christian witnesses love peace, and they will continue to preach peace in all the world, for God’s kingdom is a kingdom of peace. But before that peace comes to all mankind there must be the destruction of the enemy of peace, the one who has taken peace from the earth. Satan the Devil is a wily foe, and he seeks those whom he might devour. He has kept the world in turmoil, hatred, and strife, and he has been trying to get every man’s hand to rise up in anger against his neighbor. On the other hand, Jehovah’s witnesses are preaching peace on earth. So under Jehovah’s direction and by his undeserved kindness all of God’s dedicated people will continue to declare “glory to God in high heaven, and peace on earth for men whom he favours!” (Luke 2:14, Moffatt) Many lovers of righteousness today are fleeing from Babylon the Great so as to gain God’s favor, and so we will continue to preach peace on earth to those who want it, and we will show them how to gain it and help them to have that great pleasure of giving glory to God in high heaven. Those who drank deeply of the truths of God’s Word as expressed in this delightful “Peace on Earth” assembly will always have in mind that “the fruit of righteousness has its seed sown under peaceful conditions for those who are making peace.”—Jas. 3:18.
WHO ORGANIZED THESE CONVENTIONS?
Jehovah’s witnesses are known world wide, and in most large cities throughout the world you will find Kingdom Halls of Jehovah’s witnesses. But many people ask, who is behind the work of Jehovah’s witnesses? Very simply stated, Jehovah God is behind these witnesses, and they are anxious to serve God. You will often hear them quote the text from Psalm 83:18, which says: “That people may know that you, whose name is Jehovah, you alone are the Most High over all the earth.” Jehovah’s witnesses love God and they want to serve him. But you may ask: How about the organization we see here in the earth? Just what makes it go? What keeps it together? Who is its organizer?
The modern-day witnesses of Jehovah are Christian witnesses, and, of course, the real organizer of Christians was Christ Jesus himself. He encouraged people who believed in Jehovah God and in himself as man’s redeemer to come together in congregations and worship Jehovah in spirit and in truth. It is over nineteen hundred years ago that Jesus organized God’s people for great activity. So, right down until this twentieth century, Christians, Jehovah’s witnesses, have gathered together in congregations to do a work. They have a legal organization known as the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society of Pennsylvania. This organization they use as a servant or steward to plan their activity and to provide them with spiritual food. This organization helps them with their understanding of the Word of God.
The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania was incorporated by dedicated Christian witnesses of Jehovah in the year 1884. A number of dedicated men formed this Society in Allegheny, Pennsylvania. The purpose of this Society was to preach the good news of God’s kingdom, and to help people live in a Christian way. This the people could do by studying the Bible and then living by its teachings.
There is a board of directors that is elected by those who make up the membership of this legal corporation, the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. This board of directors has officers, a president, vice-president, and secretary-treasurer. These officers and directors see that the work is done in accordance with the purpose of the corporation. They see to it that the Holy Bible is studied and that material is prepared for publication that helps people to understand the Bible. This material is prepared by many persons throughout the world who are keen students of the Bible and who can write well. It is then sent to the headquarters organization at 124 Columbia Heights, Brooklyn, New York, and through a writing staff the material is edited by brothers who are of the anointed remnant and published in The Watchtower and Awake! or in bound books and booklets for distribution in many languages throughout the earth.
So really the governing body of Jehovah’s witnesses is the board of directors of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, all of whom are dedicated to Jehovah God and anointed by his holy spirit. They are keenly interested in advancing the knowledge of God and promoting his purposes world wide. Jehovah’s blessing has been upon the Watch Tower Society and the other societies that cooperate fully with the Pennsylvania corporation. The charters of these other corporations are similar to that of the Pennsylvania corporation. Some of such corporations are the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc., International Bible Students Association of England and of Canada. These, too, are interested in promoting Bible education throughout their countries.
In this day, with such a conglomeration of nations and rulers, it has been found necessary to establish corporations in different parts of the world. Therefore corporations have been established not only in England and Canada, as mentioned, but also in Germany, Brazil and elsewhere. All of these corporations have been organized by Jehovah’s witnesses, people dedicated to doing the will of Jehovah God. They all look to the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania as the mother organization that supervises the printing and publication of all the literature that has proved so beneficial to Jehovah’s witnesses in their study of the Bible, and in their proclamation of the good news of God’s kingdom.
Jehovah’s witnesses do not honor any men, but they worship God. They do have deep respect for men who have been put in positions of overseership and who carry the responsibility of advancing Kingdom interests throughout the world. So the board of directors of the Pennsylvania corporation of the Watch Tower Society has the full cooperation of all the other societies throughout the world. Persons dedicated to Jehovah God do see eye to eye. If only all people could appreciate the words of the psalmist: “Know that Jehovah is God. It is he that has made us, and not we ourselves.” (Ps. 100:3) When an individual gets to appreciate that, then he will appreciate, too, that Jehovah God has an organization and that he is working through such organization. Jehovah’s witnesses are a people made up of all languages, nationalities and tongues. They use the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania to arrange conventions, such as those just described, the “Peace on Earth” International Assemblies, to build printing plants for the publication of Bibles, the Watchtower and Awake! magazines, and other Bible textbooks and booklets. This corporation also sends out special ministers, such as circuit and district servants, to visit all the congregations of Jehovah’s witnesses throughout the world. These servants come under the direction of branch servants who are appointed by the president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania.
Jehovah’s witnesses are very much interested in education in Bible truths. So the Watch Tower Society has organized the Theocratic Ministry School, the Kingdom Ministry School, the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead and regular meetings for the study of the Bible and the publications of the Society. All of this serves to bind Jehovah’s witnesses together in all parts of the earth as they do the marvelous work of declaring the good news of God’s kingdom in all nations for a witness to them. After that work is accomplished the end of this wicked system of things will come.
THEOCRATIC MINISTRY SCHOOL
The chart on pages 26 to 33 of this book shows that there are 25,694 congregations of Jehovah’s witnesses throughout the world. Each of these congregations has a Theocratic Ministry School. Jehovah’s witnesses feel it advisable to be enrolled in this school, which schooling never terminates. Therein they receive good training in speaking. Individuals are regularly assigned to speak on various Bible subjects. They have to do research in this school, so most congregations of Jehovah’s witnesses maintain small libraries in their Kingdom Halls for the use of the congregation.
This schooling is not only for Jehovah’s witnesses; many persons who have not yet dedicated their lives to do God’s will join the school. Some are young persons who have begun coming to the congregation meetings of Jehovah’s witnesses, while others are older individuals. These enroll in the school because of the great spiritual benefit it is to them. These students soon find out that they are able to express themselves much better, and they are given good training through an advanced speech training course. This school is in session for about one hour each week. It is usually tied in with the service meeting in the various congregations throughout the world. The school starts with an instruction talk on some important subject, chosen by the Society; the Theocratic Ministry School servant, or some other capable individual in the congregation, gives this talk. Following this there are four student talks given, generally two by male members and two by female members of the congregation. These persons talk 6 or 7 minutes. The Theocratic Ministry School servant gives good counsel to these individuals on how they covered the assigned material, if it was presented properly and clearly, etc. Each one of Jehovah’s witnesses is sincerely trying to use delightful and “correct words of truth” from the Word of God. They want to express the truth to others in an appealing and helpful way. This Theocratic Ministry School helps one do this.
Every one of Jehovah’s witnesses knows that wisdom is vital and that they must turn to the Bible for this wisdom. That is why the wise man said, as recorded in Proverbs 4:7: “Wisdom is the prime thing. Acquire wisdom; and with all that you acquire, acquire understanding.” Jehovah’s witnesses want to understand the Bible, and they want to help others understand the Bible. Since 1943 Jehovah’s witnesses have been enjoying the Theocratic Ministry School. It has helped them improve their presentation of the Kingdom message, and every individual in the school knows that he is making progress year by year as he improves in the use of grammar, pronunciation, argumentation, logic and understanding of the Holy Scriptures. Jehovah’s witnesses are anxious to help people of all nations understand the truth. So with simplicity they hold forth to the world a knowledge of God’s Word. Would you like to be in a school that never has a graduation, but continues year after year so that the student can always observe the progress he is making? If you are not enrolled in the Theocratic Ministry School in your congregation, then now is the time to see the Theocratic Ministry School servant.
KINGDOM MINISTRY SCHOOL
This school was especially organized by the governing body of Jehovah’s witnesses of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania for the benefit of the overseers in the congregations of Jehovah’s witnesses. The training period is just two weeks in duration, but all day long. The congregation servants, assistant congregation servants and Bible study servants in the congregations of Jehovah’s witnesses are invited to attend this school. Generally these brothers come to the branch office location for the schooling; but if this is not convenient, they go to some Kingdom Hall in a city where they can receive this two-week course. The classes usually consist of twenty-five students, but all of these men are ordained ministers.
It must be remembered that many new persons are coming into Jehovah’s organization each year. During the 1969 service year 120,905 were baptized in symbol of their dedication. Sometimes within two or three years, or a little longer, many of these men become ministerial servants and have to take on special responsibility within the organization. This school is to help them better appreciate their responsibilities and to study some of the deeper things of God’s Word the Bible. They delve into a study of the doctrines of God’s Word, also the modern-day organization and what their privileges are as overseers or ministerial servants.
During the past few years in the United States of America the Kingdom Ministry School has been based in Brooklyn, New York. During the year 1969 there were twenty-four sessions of two weeks each conducted; however, only three of them were held in New York and twenty-one were in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, at the Society’s office building and Kingdom Hall located at 4100 Bigelow Boulevard. We were too crowded in Brooklyn during the past year to accommodate the usual classes of fifty students each. So the school was temporarily transferred to Pittsburgh. It will probably operate there for a while yet until we have sufficient room in Brooklyn to accommodate the students once again.
In the United States during the past year there were 1,207 brothers who went through the two-week training period. Of this number 439 were congregation servants, 729 were assistant congregation servants and 39 were Bible study servants. They came to Pittsburgh or Brooklyn from all parts of the United States.
The Kingdom Ministry School had its beginning in 1959 in the United States, and schools of a similar nature were started in the branch offices throughout the world after that. During the ten and one-half years of its operation in the United States 10,329 students have been given this special schooling.
The brothers who get this training pay their own way to and from the school. Many of the brothers take their two-week vacation period to attend the school. Classes are arranged for a year in advance. In many countries all the overseers of the congregations have been given the schooling as well as the assistant congregation servants and Bible study servants. In Canada, England, Germany, and a few other countries, as well as the United States, the school is continuing to operate. From time to time, when there are enough new overseers and ministerial servants to be trained, the school is opened again by the branch office and twenty-five students are called.
This schooling has proved to be very advantageous world wide in helping the brothers who are overseers or ministerial servants and who are very interested in the sheeplike ones in the congregation. One group that finished a two-week session wrote this: “We knew we had the truth when we came here, but we are more firmly convinced of how deeply rooted in the Bible Jehovah’s organization is. You have given us a deeper sense of respect, love, hard work and Christian responsibility. So now we will go home in front of Jehovah’s people as better shepherds. Thanks to Jehovah, and the Society, for the wonderful teaching we have received here.” Letters of this kind are numerous, and the Society is very happy that it can operate the Kingdom Ministry School and keep it going to aid the congregation servant, his assistant, and the Bible study servant.
The brothers in the cities where the school is conducted, such as Pittsburgh in the United States, are very kind in that they accommodate these students free of charge in their homes. The Society arranges for the group to be fed at the place where the school is conducted. When the school is held in the branch office, the students stay in the Bethel home, if that is possible, and eat with the Bethel family. It is marvelous to see how anxious the brothers and sisters in the various congregations are when it comes to helping to keep the school going in different parts of the world for the blessing of their fellow workers.
WATCHTOWER BIBLE SCHOOL OF GILEAD
This is a special school that the Watch Tower Society organized in 1943. Its purpose has been to prepare full-time ministers for the missionary field. This school has helped greatly in opening up the Kingdom work to the ends of the earth. Those persons invited to the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead are fully ordained ministers, having spent at least two years in the full-time pioneer or special pioneer service, somewhere in the world. They have filed application for this training and have expressed a desire and willingness to go off into the missionary field anywhere on earth where the Society may send them. This certainly shows a fine Christian spirit. Did not Jesus say to his disciples: “Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them”? The missionaries are doing this, and we would like to tell you a little bit about last year’s school.
During the 1969 service year the missionary students attending the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead saw many exciting events. We refer, not so much to changes in this world’s deteriorating system but, particularly, to the rapid upward trend and spiritual prosperity of Jehovah’s organization of his people. For one thing, there was the great international assembly of Jehovah’s witnesses to look forward to and prepare for. Even the 46th class had an anticipatory share by working many evenings and weekends preparing and recording some of the dramas to be presented on the program. Their successors, the 47th class, were able to provide actors for parts on four of the dramas staged at the New York assembly.
The 46th class graduated on September 8, 1968, at the Assembly Hall of Jehovah’s witnesses, used for circuit assemblies for the New York city congregations. The ninety-nine graduates and the more than 1,900 others in attendance were encouraged by Brother Knorr to consider the counsel of Jesus’ half brother James, to take a good look at themselves in the “mirror” of God’s Word to be sure they are doers of God’s word from the heart. (Jas. 1:23-25) What they really were, Brother Knorr told the graduates, would reveal itself to the people in the many lands to which they were being sent. It would also determine whether their service to God would be a blessing to these people, with Jehovah’s smile of approval. The Society’s vice-president, F. W. Franz, basing his remarks on Proverbs 20:27, pointed out that what one ‘breathes’ out in expressing oneself reveals what one really is. Therefore care should be exercised to see that our “breathing” is of the right things.
The 47th class began sessions on October 21, 1968, with an enrollment of ninety-seven students. Four languages, Spanish, French, Japanese and Portuguese, were taught to this group, to prepare them for assignments in Central and South America, Africa, Japan and Brazil, to which lands, except for a few other special assignments, the entire class would be sent. Of course, an intensive study of the Bible constitutes the major part of Gilead School’s curriculum. Students must read the entire Bible, starting when they receive their letter of invitation to the school. Thus they are better prepared to benefit from the Bible courses, which consist of a verse-by-verse study of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, also two other subjects designed to cover the Bible from the doctrinal standpoint and, finally, the practical application of the Bible’s principles of everyday living in Jehovah’s organization and the Christian ministry.
The students were favored in having Brother Knorr and the other directors of the Society present throughout the duration of the term, and profited much from lectures by these brothers and by many others of the Society’s headquarters staff, who were able to give instruction from their years of experience in the various features of ministerial and organizational service.
It may be beneficial to set forth here a typical everyday schedule followed by the Gilead student during his five-month course. This will be of particular interest to those contemplating missionary service in foreign lands as well as to the thousands who have recently associated with Jehovah’s witnesses and have made a dedication of their lives to Jehovah.
7 a.m. Discussion of daily text, conducted by the Society’s
president, followed by breakfast
8–11:50 a.m. Fifty students, in two groups of twenty-five each,
attend classes in Bible and languages; the other half
of the student body receives practical training in
various departments of the Bethel home, office and
factory, under supervision of departmental overseers
12:15 p.m. Dinner
12:50– All students attend lecture in school lecture
1:50 p.m. hall. A Society director, overseer of a Bethel
department or an instructor gives a one-hour talk on
Bible, ministerial or organizational subject
2–5:50 p.m. Half of student body alternates in same program as
6 p.m. Supper
7-10 p.m. Study in dormitory room or in school’s 10,000-volume
Saturday afternoons and Sundays are set aside for attending meetings of the congregation in New York city to which the student is assigned, and for field service and study. Friday evenings are filled by attendance and participation in the congregation’s Theocratic Ministry School and service meeting.
This busy program keeps everyone spiritually healthy and equips the student for the very active schedule he will follow in the missionary home or branch home of the Society to which he will be assigned after graduation.
Graduation of the 47th class was held on March 9, 1969. Again the Assembly Hall was packed out. Brother F. W. Franz appropriately dealt with the shepherding and “harvesting” work that the ninety-seven graduates would be doing, making application of the Scripture text at Isaiah 61:5. He contrasted their work and the fruitage that their fellow missionaries have produced, with that of Christendom’s ministers and missionaries. These latter, with their shrinking congregations, priestly rebellions, schisms and other troubles, say, in effect, as did the people of ancient Judah when unfaithfulness to God had brought drought and crop failures: “The harvest has passed, the summer has come to an end; but as for us, we have not been saved!”—Jer. 8:20.
Brother Knorr’s theme fittingly enlarged on the importance of Christian fruitage. He stressed the need of ‘getting the sense’ of God’s Word of truth, and cultivating that truth in our own hearts, as well as working to implant and cultivate the Word in the hearts of those we teach. (Matt. 13:18-23) At the conclusion of his talk he announced, to the joy of all present, that most of the students would be remaining with the Bethel family until after the international assembly in New York.
The afternoon session proved most enjoyable. The student body had prepared two full-scale dramas, one on “the prodigal son” and the other portraying events in King David’s life, highlighting his dealings with Saul and his being saved from bloodguilt through the wise and loving action of Abigail.
By remaining until the assembly the 47th class was privileged to associate with the nearly four hundred United States circuit and district servants called in for a “refresher” course during the month of May. The Gilead School’s facilities were used for these four weekly sessions. Then, during June, 133 branch servants and assistants likewise used the Gilead classrooms for a month-long training program specially arranged to fit their needs. Those of the graduates assigned to foreign fields were thereby able to get acquainted with the branch servant of the country of their assignment as well as to get firsthand information on what they would need and what they might expect to experience in their new field of activity. Because of these special training periods, Gilead School’s usual spring and summer class was canceled, the 48th class to begin in October 1969.
All the Bethel family eagerly look forward to the start of Gilead’s 48th class. Nearly all the student body has arrived and registered. The class will consist of only a little more than half the usual number. This is because the worldwide demand for literature is so great that many brothers are being brought in as new members of the Bethel family and all available rooming accommodations are being filled by these. The situation should soon be relieved so as to call in the usual number of about 100 for the 49th class next spring, for by then the expanded facilities will be ready for full occupancy.
The School is very appreciative of the fine new instruments released at the assembly. Particularly useful will be The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures and Aid to Bible Understanding. These will be invaluable helps in the Bible and history courses, while the book “Then Is Finished the Mystery of God” will greatly enrich the course called “Greek Scriptures I,” in which the Bible book of Revelation is considered verse by verse.
It is a joy to be living in this time, seeing the work of God and observing that Jehovah has a large “army” of willing volunteers to carry on his work. To date, 4,863 men and women have graduated from the school. It should cause all to consider seriously: “Am I doing all I can to take up full-time service, even missionary service in foreign lands, making the most of the Society’s fine provisions?” Happy are those taking the ‘road to Nineveh’ in obedience to Jehovah’s urgent call, and not evading responsibility by taking the ‘road to Joppa and Tarshish,’ as was emphasized by the drama on Jonah’s experiences, at the international assembly.
“Bethel” is a Hebrew word meaning “house of God.” The Watch Tower Society has established Bethel homes in all parts of the world. Bethel should be the house of God where true worship is carried on and where people dwell together in peace and show their love for Jehovah God by the works that they perform.
The Bethel home in Brooklyn, New York, is the largest in size and members. According to the record on August 31, 1969, there were 1,124 in the Brooklyn Bethel family. This family, along with all other families in the 94 branch offices throughout the world, totals 2,126. In 1959 in Brooklyn there were 571 members of the Bethel family; now, ten years later, the family has grown to 1,124. Of this number, about 150 are sisters. No wonder with this growth the Society has had to carry on a great building program. During the past few years the Society acquired another half block in the Brooklyn residential area so as to house more members of the Bethel family. They built a new seven-story structure at the corner of Pineapple Street and Columbia Heights. This is just across the street from the main office at 124 Columbia Heights. Since our acquiring of the property in Brooklyn on Columbia Heights, the entire area known as Brooklyn Heights was declared a ‘historical district.’ This means that all building comes under the supervision of the Landmarks Preservation Commission. The building that was finally designed and accepted by the Commission was according to their wishes. Commenting on this matter, the New York Times of October 4, 1967, said editorially: “The [Watchtower] Society has made extensive changes in the building as originally planned to insure that it will conform to the character of the area. This kind of cooperative concern on the part of landowners is as important as laws in preserving the quality of any neighborhood.” This new structure was dedicated May 2, 1969. So now in Brooklyn Heights the Society has three half blocks of buildings, all connected by tunnels under the street.
We very much appreciate having this new structure. It certainly relieved the pressure on the Bethel home as far as accommodations are concerned. To give the reader a comprehensive idea of these three half blocks, we set out herewith pictures of the three buildings.
We had a special dedication program for the opening of this new addition. Following some opening remarks on its use, the entire family, along with students of Gilead, enjoyed a tour of the new premises. All were very pleased with what they saw. These new premises include, on the lower floors, a very up-to-date laundry, a garage, and a fine area for a library. Over the garage in the rear of the building there is an immersion pool that the circuits in New York city are now using for baptisms each Saturday morning.
This new building was put to good use at the time that sessions of the branch servants from all parts of the world were here in June 1969. In fact, the branch servants were among the first ones to use this new home. Since that time the inside painting work has been completed and now regular members of the family are moving in to occupy various rooms in this fine new structure.
It is hoped that by the end of this year the Kingdom Ministry School, which we had to move to Pittsburgh, can return to the Brooklyn headquarters and that we will be able to accommodate the fifty overseers and ministerial servants that attend the Kingdom Ministry School each two weeks, as well as house the students of Gilead School for missionary training.
You can imagine what it means to feed this large family. Just think of over 1,100 people sitting down at tables and being served at one time. It takes about one good-sized steer to furnish the meat for one meal. There may be some leftovers that go into stew. Or, perhaps you would like to prepare the 350 chickens that are needed to feed this family just one meal. In a week’s time the family will consume around 12,600 eggs. Where do we get all the food? The Society for some years has operated its own farms. We now have three farms, one called Mountain Farm in New Jersey—about 80 miles from New York, where much food such as apples, peaches, pears and vegetables are raised; Kingdom Farm, near Ithaca, New York—about 250 miles from New York city where the Society has about 500 acres of field crops and a considerable number of milk cows for furnishing the Bethel family with cheese and fresh butter; and Watchtower Farm—about 100 miles from New York city consisting of about 1,500 acres. The greater portion of our food supply comes from Watchtower Farm, where we have 620 head of cattle, 350 hogs, and 6,600 chickens. We have a very large vegetable farm here, too, where over 100,000 quarts of vegetables are canned or frozen.
During the past year, 1969, the Society completed the construction of a new slaughterhouse. Our meat is inspected by the state government and is then brought into New York city for our family meals. At the close of the year we were just completing a new dairy barn, which will accommodate around 120 dairy cattle. New installations are being made for the pasteurization of the milk, and we hope to increase our production of cheese and butter. All those who work on the farms are ordained ministers, and they devote their evenings and weekends to attending congregation meetings and conducting Bible studies in the homes of the people.
The whole purpose of this large organization is to produce Bible literature for the spreading of the good news of God’s kingdom. Everyone’s work, no matter where it might be, reflects itself in the cost of these publications. It is because of this Bethel home and farm operation that the Society is able to distribute literature in over 160 languages at such a nominal cost. Every one of the men and women working in the Bethel home is dedicated to Jehovah and wants to see this good news of the Kingdom preached in all the world for a witness. Thus all of these persons have a share in making possible the actual production of Bible literature by taking care of all the various necessary departments, and they also share individually in going from house to house, conducting Bible studies in the private homes of the people and sharing in congregation meetings.
Families such as this are found in the 94 branch offices around the world. The other branch offices are not nearly as large as the one in Brooklyn, but all of them are doing the same kind of work. The members of all the Bethel families throughout the world total 2,126. During the past year the Society also finished building new Bethel homes and Kingdom Halls in Barbados, Brazil, Cyprus, Dahomey, Fiji and Puerto Rico. Arrangements or construction are under way for new branch offices in Chile, Cameroun, Guadeloupe, Switzerland, Taiwan and other countries during 1970.
It is essential that the Society continue to expand its facilities, and within a few years we feel sure our present facilities in Brooklyn for housing the Bethel family and for printing literature will become too small. This is the day that Jehovah God wants the Kingdom news, as well as his vengeance upon the wicked system of things, preached far and wide. As one continues reading this Yearbook he will see that outstanding advances have been made in countries throughout the world in the preaching of the good news. It is no wonder that more people are required in the Bethel family to take care of this greater activity. We rejoice in this great prosperity that Jehovah has brought to his people. The Bethel family is anxious to do all the work it possibly can in order to keep Jehovah’s witnesses in the field supplied with the literature they need to preach the Kingdom good news.
BROOKLYN PRINTING PLANT
The 1969 service year has been the finest year of production to date at the Society’s Brooklyn printing plant. We were able to use the new eleven-story factory building to the full. In the 1967 service year, before we had the new building, we were able to produce around 8 million Bibles and books in the Brooklyn plant. In 1968 we were able to move into the new building and use it part of the year and we made slightly more than 12 million Bibles and Bible textbooks. During the 1969 service year we have had the full use of the new factory along with the other three factory buildings, and we were able to operate a night shift for six months of the year in order to meet the demand for publications. It is wonderful to be able to report that we reached a total of 24,038,531 bound books and Bibles completed and sent to the shipping department.
It is because of the great demand for literature on the part of the branches throughout the world and in the United States that it became necessary to turn out such a tremendous amount of literature. In fact, we had to transfer some of the printing orders from Brooklyn to the German printing plant located in Wiesbaden, Germany; and the branch office there also arranged to run a second shift to produce more literature.
There are many new publications going through the factory all of the time. For example, right now in the Brooklyn plant there are ninety-eight new books in fifty-two languages that are being set on the linotype and being made into pages. Mats and plates are being prepared for the presses. It will take us some time to complete all of these publications, and there will be more to follow. Looking ahead to the orders that we will receive for these publications, plus those on hand, it appears that we will have about 17 million Bibles and Bible-study aids to print within the next six to eight months. By comparison, last year we were behind about 13 million books, as far as meeting the needs for the field was concerned.
Due to this backlog of orders we plan to start running a second shift again on September 29, 1969. Our factory will be in full operation during the day, and then during the night shift we plan to run about three lines of bookbinding machinery out of the eight we have. We will also operate about eight of the large rotary presses on the second shift. We would like to catch up with the backlog of orders, or get closer to the needs of the branches and get much of this literature shipped out to them during the winter months. It therefore may be necessary to run this night shift for three months, October, November and December. By that time we may be in a much better position to meet the needs of the field.
It is interesting to observe, too, that during the past year there was a tremendous call for Bibles, and we had one of our best years of Bible production. We produced 1,819,023 Bibles in English, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese and Italian. We hope that sometime during 1970 we will get started on the French and German editions of the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures.
During the past year we have expanded our bookbinding equipment from five lines of production to eight complete lines, and now we are capable—if all goes well—of producing around 100,000 Bibles and Bible textbooks each normal day of 83⁄4 hours’ work in the Brooklyn printing plant.
The German printing plant on a normal day is able to produce between 10,000 and 12,000 bound books with their new equipment.
We also have a printing plant in Finland, which produces only Finnish literature. They are able to take care of all of Finland’s needs. They print magazines, bound books and booklets.
The book The Truth That Leads to Eternal Life has had a phenomenal distribution. As you recall, it was released in July 1968. By September 1969, 18,500,000 copies of this book had been produced in fifteen languages. Right now we are processing this publication through the factory in twenty-seven additional languages, and we hope to get all of these out this year, along with many other new publications.
In addition to the tremendous book production, the Watchtower and Awake! magazines have continued to climb steadily upward. In the Brooklyn printing plant alone it was necessary to print 196,726,240 Watchtower and Awake! magazines. This is an increase of 27,576,890 magazines over the previous year. The report that follows gives you an overall picture of what was printed in the four printing plants situated on four square blocks in Brooklyn, about one-quarter mile from the Bethel home.
BROOKLYN FACTORY PRODUCTION REPORT
1967 1968 1969
Bibles 1,086,875 1,004,598 1,819,023
Books 7,165,985 11,126,398 22,219,508
Booklets 12,710,633 17,170,289 11,059,434
The Watchtower 79,753,610 88,074,200 100,275,490
Awake! 74,928,100 81,075,150 96,450,750
Convention Reports —— —— 2,591,000
Total 175,645,203 198,450,635 234,415,205
Advertising leaflets 110,994,600 120,583,807 102,287,901
Calendars 622,255 677,693 838,842
Miscellaneous printing 95,489,281 95,301,797 146,853,747
Tracts 4,485,250 18,331,800 18,343,650
Total misc. printing 211,591,386 234,895,097 268,324,140
The accomplishing of the above production required the use of 15,800 tons of paper, an increase of 3,291 tons over the previous year.
For many years the Society has found it advisable to produce many of its own raw materials, such as ink and adhesives. This in itself involves a considerable undertaking in that this past year we produced 238 tons of ink, an increase of 71 tons over the year before. Adhesives are necessary for our publishing plant. Our production required a total of 405,000 pounds, all of which was made in our Brooklyn factory.
There are many other things that go into the manufacture of books, such as cloth, board, thread, bogus, crash, and packing cartons, probably words that not too many persons immediately understand. Many of these items are ordered by the train carload. The incoming material and outgoing material runs into tens of thousands of tons every year. The handling of all this material and putting it into a beautiful printed Bible or Bible publication brings great delight to the Bethel family. Members of all the Bethel families around the world consider it a great honor and privilege to be serving the interests of the Kingdom and their brothers everywhere. They are providing their brothers and sisters with the equipment they need to preach the good news of the Kingdom. It can be said at this time that the Bethel family is looking forward to the coming year. They are cognizant of the fact that it will be a bigger year, require more work, more energy and a greater effort. Whatever they do will be done having in mind the honor and glory of Jehovah’s name, and the happiness the Word of truth will bring to those who love righteousness.
[Box on page 74]
GRADUATES OF GILEAD, 46TH CLASS
September 8, 1968
Ampy, Shirley Y.
Austin, John E.
Barber, John Nathan
Barber, Anita Beryl (Mrs. J. N.)
Berry, Linda Mary
Bischof, Waltraud H.
Bjerre, Vita (Mrs. P.)
Bleich, Ruth E.
Bleich, Sarah Lydia
Bonsell, Pouline E.
Chappell, Nathan R.
Charley, Versa H.
Chase, Glenna Dean
Cimino, Barbara J. (Mrs. P.)
Clay, Janet R.
Clinkscales, T. A.
Clinkscales, John E. (Mrs. T. A.)
Dani, Sheri M.
Davis, Kenneth P.
Davis, Harriet Ann (Mrs. K. P.)
Decker, Susan D.
Di Lorenzo, Andrea
Dunbar, Herbert A.
Elliott, Elizabeth A.
Gavette, Frances E.
Guindon, Kenneth R.
Haagensen, Tove E.
Hodges, Norman W.
Hodges, Jane S. (Mrs. N. W.)
Howard, Bryan R.
Jackson, Monroe S.
Jackson, Marcella (Mrs. M. S.)
Jauernick, Gerda B.
Johnston, DiAnne L.
Jones, Gregory B.
Kaue, Barbara I. E. (Mrs. O.)
Lavinio, Peter Guido
Lavinio, Mary Jo (Mrs. P. G.)
Levett, Ernest R.
Levett, Ann Felicity (Mrs. E. R.)
Libby, Bonnita Gail
Libby, Linda Lee
Linden, David W.
Mahon, Sheila M. (Mrs. E.)
Maurischat, R. E.
Maurischat, Lydia I. (Mrs. R. E.)
Michaelson, James P.
Minty, Sheila E.
Mitchell, Kenneth J.
Mitchell, Margaret (Mrs. K. J.)
Mitchell, Shirley L.
Oberhössel, F. E.
Ovenell, Patricia M.
Petit, Betty Ruth
Piedmont, Dona Kay
Povilaitis, Susan C.
Povlsen, Povl Erik
Rinaldo, Dino G.
Sawula, Danielda M.
Schneider, Frank J.
Schön, Johanna L.
Smith, Kathryn J.
Stelling, Kenneth J.
Stelling, Mildred (Mrs. K. J.)
Storer, Jean (Mrs. A.)
Stroud, Peter D.
Stroud, Olga (Mrs. P. D.)
Sundvall, Seppo K. I.
Sundvall, Riita-L. (Mrs. S. K. I.)
Tarr, Linda Rae
Toews, Marjorie E.
Trost, John Donald
Trost, Heather K. (Mrs. J. D.)
Walker, Brenda L.
Westby, Glen O.
Westby, Lavina F. (Mrs. G. O.)
Wetherell, B. A.
Wiekhorst, Margret (Mrs. R.)
Yeargin, Beverly A.
Yurkon, Carol Ann
[Box on page 75]
GRADUATES OF GILEAD, 47TH CLASS
March 9, 1969
Alvarez, Patsy Ann (Mrs. R.)
Ament, Ted Eugene
Ament, Helen Marie (Mrs. T. E.)
Arias, Pete C., Jr.
Bachman, C. E.
Bachman, Angeline (Mrs. C. E.)
Bint, Godfrey John
Bolman, Jan Hendrik
Coleman, Melvin G.
Coleman, Ann E. (Mrs. M. G.)
Cotton, Perry F.
Darner, Phil, Jr.
Darner, Karen Ann (Mrs. P.)
Dunkerton, Hugh R.
Evans, Marilyn E. (Mrs. P.)
Fone, Nicholas John
Fone, Mary Lovina (Mrs. N. J.)
Fukahara, Amy S.
Fukushima, Janice (Mrs. M.)
Gibson, Ann Louise (Mrs. J.)
Harada, Kirsten S.
Hunter, William M.
Hunter, Jane Poppy (Mrs. W. M.)
Ireland, David M.
Kavesos, Emanuel S.
Kavesos, Sheryl A. (Mrs. E. S.)
Kirkpatrick, M. L.
Koenig, Lon Sander
Martin, John D. G.
Martin, Valerie (Mrs. J. D. G.)
McDaniel, Vern Ellis
McDaniel, Nola C. (Mrs. V. E.)
Mijo, Melvin Hideo
Mizusaki, Toyo (Mrs. A.)
Morris, Gwynneth (Mrs. A.)
Moskal, Edward G.
Moskal, Emily E. (Mrs. E. G.)
Nako, Thomas H.
Nako, Sandra Lee (Mrs. T. H.)
Nichols, Arthur S.
Nichols, Barbara J. (Mrs. A. S.)
Nielsen, Arne V. B.
Nielsen, Inger (Mrs. A. V. B.)
Odle, James William
Odle, Jo Frances (Mrs. J. W.)
Ostman, Nils Hȧkan
Ostman, Yvonne E. (Mrs. N. H.)
Pearce, Brian G.
Pearce, Jacqueline (Mrs. B. G.)
Pedersen, H. C. H.
Pfannkuche, John W.
Pfannkuche, L. J. (Mrs. J. W.)
Reed, Philip H.
Reed, Barbara Ann (Mrs. P. H.)
Ruiz, Anna Socorro
Selby, Douglas W.
Sellas, James P.
Sellas, Jovita (Mrs. J. P.)
Sharp, Dayrell F.
Sharp, Adelheid S. (Mrs. D. F.)
Shaw, Charles E.
Shaw, Lenna K. (Mrs. C. E.)
Speaks, Melvyn H.
Steven, Larry D.
Steven, Constance C. (Mrs. L. D.)
Svensson, Jan Olof
Tate, Herbert K.
Tate, Ladarnia V. (Mrs. H. K.)
Terleski, Sandra F. (Mrs. M.)
Tost, Manfred H.
Tost, Myrna C. J. (Mrs. M. H.)
Tripp, Michael John
Tutty, Pamela C.
Valtersson, Rune V.
Whitlatch, Ronal R.
Widell, Jan Billy
Wildig, C. G. R.
Wildig, June M. (Mrs. C. G. R.)
Wright, Max Partain
Wright, Melissa Joy
Wursch, Albin Leo
[Chart on pages 26-33]
1969 SERVICE YEAR REPORT OF JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES WORLDWIDE
[Chart on page 36]
ASSEMBLY CITY DATES ATTENDANCE NUMBER
AT PUB. MTG. BAPTIZED
Atlanta July 6-13 57,626 1,619
Buffalo “ 6-13 54,909 985
New York “ 7-13 122,011 2,972
Pomona “ 13-20 14,853 472
Vancouver “ 13-20 65,609 1,853
Los Angeles “ 14-20 81,032 2,324
Kansas City “ 18-25 40,009 1,019
Chicago “ 21-27 56,261 1,650
London July 29-August 3 82,416 2,215
Copenhagen August 5-10 42,073 1,407
Paris “ 5-10 47,480 3,619
Nuremberg “ 10-17 150,645 5,095
Rome “ 10-17 25,648 2,212
Totals 840,572 27,442
[Picture on page 76]
Brooklyn Bethel home constructed in 1950, showing 1927 structure on far end and 1969 building in foreground at right
[Picture on page 77]
Addition to Bethel home completed in 1960, with roof of 1969 building in close foreground
[Picture on page 77]
Latest addition to Brooklyn Bethel; three historical buildings and large apartment at right also provide housing for family
[Picture on page 82]
Completed in 1956
Purchased in 1958
Dedicated in 1968
Built in 1927; enlarged in 1937 and 1949
Watchtower factories in Brooklyn cover four city blocks