LIFE CHANGING INVENTORY
COLORFUL & INFORMATIVE LISTINGS
CRISIS OF CONSCIENCE is the SINGLE BEST BOOK for any person who wants to know what the Jehovah's Witnesses and their WatchTower Society are really all about. Persons who know little or nothing about the JWs can use this book to obtain "insider info" about the JWs and the workings of the WatchTower organization which is not known even by the ordinary JWs who come knocking at their door. For Jehovah's Witnesses themselves, ... well, ... oh well, few JWs ever read this book, because THE WATCHTOWER SOCIETY FORBIDS JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES TO DO SO.
Until his death in 2010, the author, Raymond Franz, was the most prominent surviving member of the Franz family -- the JW family which had the greatest impact on the Jehovah's Witnesses during the 20th century. "Reared in the truth", Raymond Franz rose through the ranks of the WatchTower organization until he eventually became a member of the JW's secretive GOVERNING BODY -- from 1971 to 1980. CRISIS OF CONSCIENCE documents Raymond's life as a Jehovah's Witness, his "crisis of conscience", and his exit from the WatchTower religion. CRISIS OF CONSCIENCE also documents the many hypocrises, the many doctrinal errors, and the unraveled history of the JWs, which all came together to create Raymond's "crisis of conscience".
Raymond's uncle, Frederic William Franz (not "Frederick"), was the single most important member of the WatchTower organization during the 20th century. Frederic Franz was President of the WatchTower organization from 1977 until his death in 1992. Prior to 1977, Frederic had been Vice-President since 1945. Even more significant is the fact that Frederic Franz was the JW's doctrinal "Guru" from the 1930s onward. Frederic Franz was also the author of the JW's infamous version of the Bible: THE NEW WORLD TRANSLATION.
While Frederic and Raymond each eventually made a "name" for themselves due to the exercise of their religious faith, Raymond was NOT the first (nor second) Franz family member to confront a "crisis of conscience", nor was Frederic the first Franz family member to receive national media attention. Those honors both go to the Franz family patriarch.
The Franz family story begins in the 1880s when 27 year old Herr F. E. Franz immigrates from Germany to the United States. Within four years, Herr Franz marries and has the first of four sons. After settling down in the Cincinnati, Ohio area, Herr Franz earns a living as a baker. Herr Franz and family live a typical immigrant's life until 1912/3, when one of his sons falls prey to the false teachings of the WatchTower Society. Before long, Herr Franz and family begin converting to the WatchTower religion during the final remaining months prior to October 1914 -- the date which Charles Taze Russell had set for the actual "coming" of Jesus Christ and the fighting of the Battle of Armageddon.
In 1914, the decades-long political tensions in Europe finally erupted in the war which EVERYONE had long expected, and those hostilities presented potential problems for Herr Franz and other immigrants like himself who were still citizens of their native countries. Although October 1914 did not bring the apocryphal events predicted by the WatchTower Society, the Franz family remained loyal to their new religion. Herr Franz's loyalty to the WatchTower and his German citizenship no doubt played competing roles in Herr Franz's own "crisis of conscience" regarding his decisions to both pursue American citizenship, and to delay his pursuit of such. Curiously, when Herr Franz finally did show up to accept America's gift of citizenship, he had already decided to refuse to recite the Oath of Allegiance. Herr Franz's refusal to recite the Oath created quite a commotion, which ended with him being bumrushed out of the proceedings -- without his receiving citizenship.
Herr Franz's "crisis of conscience" received national media coverage, and Herr Franz became an instant hero amongst not only his fellow JWs, but also amongst members of other civil libertarian groups.
In 1920, Frederic Franz left Cincinnati to pursue his career at the WatchTower Society's world headquarters in Brooklyn. However, after the WatchTower's predictions for 1925 failed [that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would be resurrected to rule the world from its new capital in Jerusalem during Christ's Millennium], the youngest of the Franz brothers recognized the WatchTower Society for the "false prophet" that it was, and exited the religion.
However, Raymond's father (1891-1977), who by then had a wife and three children, stayed loyal to the WatchTower and continued to spread the JW gospel in the Cincinnati area. Born in 1922, Raymond became old enough to begin "pioneering" just in time to experience the wave of persecution that JWs faced in the late 1930s and early 1940s. The 1975 Yearbook, pages 186-8, documents how Raymond saved the lives of famous WatchTower attorney Victor Schmidt and seven other JWs after the infamous 1940 JW trial in Connorsville, Indiana. Thereafter, Raymond went on to face even more life-threatening situations as he pioneered in Ohio and the isolated coal mining towns of Kentucky and West Virginia.
In 1944, Raymond was invited to Gilead to train as a missionary. After serving a year or so as a Circuit Servant in the U.S., Raymond went on to serve for nearly 20 years as a missionary and Branch Overseer in various Carribean countries.
In 1965, President Nathan Knorr asked Raymond to come to Bethel to work in the Writing Department. There, during his first five years, Raymond was one of the principal research writers who worked on the "Aid Book" project (the JW's encyclopedia, which was later renamed "Insight On The Scriptures"). Raymond authored the encyclopedia's most important articles such as "Jehovah", "Jesus Christ", "Chronology", etc. (Interesting to compare the wording of the identical "Aid" and "Insight" articles, since the three principal authors of the "Aid Book" eventually left the JWs.) Significantly, Raymond's research on the topic of "Overseer" even led to the institution of the JWs' current "elder arrangement".
When the "Aid Book" project was completed in 1971, President Nathan Knorr and the other members of the Governing Body had been so impressed with Raymond's work ethic and his Bible knowledge and insight that they ask him to join them as a member of the Governing Body.
Raymond continued to work in the Writing Department -- researching, writing, and editing many books and magazine articles during the 1970s. In 1972, Raymond's research on the Greek word porneia led the Society to broaden its' interpretation of "fornication" to include a whole host of improper sexual activity. In fact, Raymond authored the pertinent articles in the 12/15/72 WatchTower magazine.
Raymond's ongoing research repeatedly uncovered differences between what the WatchTower taught and what the Bible actually taught. As Raymond brought such to the attention of the other members of the GB, some changes were implemented over time. However, Ray also uncovered errors which the other members of the GB refused to correct. Included was Raymond's thorough investigation and confirmation of Carl Jonsson's research that proved that Jerusalem was destroyed in 587/6 BCE, rather than 607 BCE; a fact which totally negates the many JW teachings based on the year 1914. (Refer to the book "Gentile Times Reconsidered" by Carl Jonsson.).
By 1980, then President Frederic Franz and the other members of the Governing Body had had enough of Raymond Franz's uncovering WatchTower errors, and a "witch-hunt" ensued. The GB had some members of the Writing and Translation Departments disfellowshipped (others resigned later). The GB also forced Raymond to resign from both the Governing Body and Brooklyn Bethel.
Raymond and his wife relocated to Gadsden, Alabama, where they attempted to continue their lives as quietly as possible as ordinary Jehovah's Witnesses. Within a few months time, the local JW congregation even recommended to Bethel that Raymond be appointed as a local congregation Elder. However, Bethel denied the congregation's request, and sent in a new Circuit Overseer whose job apparently was to see to it that the Gadsden congregation disfellowshiped Raymond out of the organization -- something Raymond's Uncle Frederic and the other members of the Governing Body had not had the intestinal fortitude to do themselves. (Interestingly, the Governing Body had even sent Raymond an unsolicited "gift" of $10,000.00 after he had resigned and moved to Alabama.) Having no existing charge against Raymond, the GB changed JW organizational policy to make it a disfellowshiping offense for a JW to associate with a disassociated person. "Coincidentally", Raymond's employer, who was also his landlord, had just recently disassociated himself. Within a matter of weeks the Gadsden "good fellas" obeyed the orders of the Brooklyn "bosses" and "assassinated" (disfellowshiped) Raymond for the horrific crime of eating dinner at a local restaurant with his employer-landlord.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Chapter 1: PRICE OF CONSCIENCE
Chapter 2: CREDENTIALS AND CAUSE
Chapter 3: GOVERNING BODY
Chapter 4: INTERNAL UPHEAVAL AND RESTRUCTURE
Chapter 5: TRADITION AND LEGALISM
Chapter 6: DOUBLE STANDARDS
Chapter 7: PREDICTIONS AND PRESUMPTION
Chapter 8: JUSTIFICATION AND INTIMIDATION
Chapter 10: POINT OF DECISION
Chapter 11: AFTERMATH
Chapter 12: PERSPECTIVE
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