Jehovah's Witnesses who were born into the organization or joined after 1975 will emphatically tell you that the Watchtower has never made any predictions for the end of the world. However faithful Jehovah's Witnesses who belonged to the Watchtower Society prior to 1975 will tell you a different story. Are millions of Jehovah's Witnesses lying? Who is telling the truth?
We were Jehovah's Witnesses from 1965 to 1976 and regularly attended Kingdom Hall meetings since the early 1950's. We can tell you what actually happened. The reason why there is so much controversy over the 1975 prophecy is easy to explain.
The Watchtower strongly implied that armageddon would hit in 1975 but they were very careful not to guarantee it as a done deal.
What the Watchtower did say was that 6000 yrs of human existence would end in the autumn of 1975. The faith of Jehovah's Witnesses was that the destruction of the wicked (armageddon) and Christ's 1000 year reign would begin 6000 years after the creation of Adam. According to Watchtower chronology, 6000 years of human history ended in the fall of 1975. May 1, 1968 Watchtower Magazine, Article: 'Making Wise Use of the Remaining Time'; Aug 15, 1968 Watchtower Magazine, Article: 'Why Are You Looking Forward to 1975?'
“Jehovah, the God of freedom and liberty, has freed his people from Babylonish bondage and has given them a work of liberation to do. That work of liberation and salvation must go on to the finish! To give aid today in this critical time to prospective sons of God,” announced President Knorr, “a new book in English, entitled ‘Life Everlasting—in Freedom of the Sons of God,’ has been published.” ... Immediately its contents were examined. It did not take the brothers very long to find the chart beginning on page 31, showing that 6,000 years of man’s existence end in 1975. Discussion of 1975 overshadowed about everything else. “The new book compels us to realize that Armageddon is, in fact, very close indeed,” said a conventioner. Surely it was one of the outstanding blessings to be carried home!' Watchtower Magazine, Oct 15, 1966, 629, 631.
'Are we to assume from this study that the battle of Armageddon will be all over by the autumn of 1975, and the long-looked-for thousand-year reign of Christ will begin by then? Possibly, but we wait to see how closely the seventh thousand-year period of man’s existence coincides with the sabbathlike thousand-year reign of Christ. If these two periods run parallel with each other as to the calendar year, it will not be by mere chance or accident but will be according to Jehovah’s loving and timely purposes. Our chronology, however, which is reasonably accurate (but admittedly not infallible), at the best only points to the autumn of 1975 as the end of 6,000 years of man’s existence on earth. It does not necessarily mean that 1975 marks the end of the first 6,000 years of Jehovah’s seventh creative “day.” Why not? Because after his creation Adam lived some time during the “sixth day,” which unknown amount of time would need to be subtracted from Adam’s 930 years, to determine when the sixth seven-thousand-year period or “day” ended, and how long Adam lived into the “seventh day.” And yet the end of that sixth creative “day” could end within the same Gregorian calendar year of Adam’s creation. It may involve only a difference of weeks or months, not years.' Watchtower Aug 15, 1968, Article: 'Why Are You Looking Forward to 1975?', par 30
"If you are a young person, you also need
to face the fact that you will never grow
old in this present system of things. Why
not? Because all the evidence in fulfillment
af Bible prophecy indicates that this corrupt
system is due to end in a few years.
Of the generation that observed the beginning
of the "last days" in 1914, Jesus
foretold: "This generation will by no
means pass away until all these things
Therefore, as a young person, you will
never fulfill any career that this system
offers. If you are in high school and thinking
about a college education, it means
at least four, perhaps even six or eight
more years to graduate into a specialized
career. But where will this system of
things be by that time? It will be well on
the way toward its finish, if not actually
This is why parents who base their
lives on God's prophetic Word find it much
more practical to direct their young ones
into trades that do not require such long
periods of additional schooling. And trades
such as carpentry, plumbing, and others,
will be useful not only now, but perhaps
even more so in the reconstruction
work that will take place in God's new
order." Awake! 1969 May 22 p.15
"Bible chronology which indicates that Adam was created in the fall of the year 4026 B.C.E. would bring us down to the year 1975 C.E. as the date marking 6,000 years of human history with yet 1,000 years to come for Christ’s Kingdom rule. So whatever the date for the end of this system, it is clear that the time left is reduced, with only approximately six years left until the end of 6,000 years of human history. (1 Cor. 7:29) This corroborates the understanding of Jesus’ words that the generation alive in 1914 with the outbreak of World War I would not pass away until the end comes. Only a short time, then, remains for persons who love righteousness to show God that they want to be in his “ark” of protection and live to see the blessings of the new system of things.—Matt. 24:34-42." Watchtower, May 1, 1970, Article: "An Ingathering Affecting All Mankind." par 5
As Jehovah's Witnesses, our entire life revolved around armageddon coming in 1975. Watchtower literature contained violent pictures of people dying a horrible death at armageddon. Of course Jehovah's Witnesses remained untouched.
If you do a thorough search on the internet about this topic you will find that much more was said at meetings, assemblies, and conventions, than was printed in the Watchtower. e.g. listen to this speech Fred Franz, President of the Watchtower Talks About 1975
Society publications did everything to make Jehovah's Witnesses believe armageddon was coming with 1975 without actually saying it. Today after 30 years, no one wants to believe that 1975 was a deliberate deception although we can't be sure. Certainly the Watchtower Society must have benefited financially from the rapid growth in the 'last days' prior to 1975.
All meetings, assemblies, and conventions focused around 1975. We had some nagging doubts but did not express them. Saying that armageddon might not come in 1975 would have been like saying Jehovah doesn't run the Watchtower. Faithful Jehovah's Witnesses did not question the Watchtower's calculations on Bible chronology and predictions for the end of the world because we believed the Watchtower was God's channel of communication.
Jehovah's Witnesses were strongly advised to pioneer and serve Jehovah full time. Many moved to where the 'need was greater'. Dozens of Jehovah's Witnesses in our local congregations, quit their full time jobs, sold their homes, and pioneered in anticipation that the end of this wicked system of things was coming in 1975. This was happening all over the world. Most of these people had just enough money to carry them over until 1976. The leadership of the organization agreed that this was a fine thing to do in the final days before armageddon.
Membership in the Watchtower Society increased rapidly before 1975. The Watchtower's Bible 'evidence' that armageddon could come in 1975, was so convincing that no one dared question it. Now we know that Watchtower articles and speeches about 1975 were merely opinions, not facts. However prior to 1975 Jehovah's Witnesses believed that the faithful and discreet slave was feeding them spiritual truths from Jehovah. We know that God does not lie. Since we believed the Watchtower was God's organization and 'the truth', we had no reason to question the organization. However it is possible that many had nagging doubts that they did not share with one another.
Disagreement is not allowed in the organization.
Speeches at Kingdom Halls, assemblies, and conventions, revolved around armageddon coming in 1975. Our slogan was, 'stay alive until 1975'.
If you go to YouTube.Com you will find some frightening speeches recorded at conventions on or prior to 1975. And of course there was the 'count down' prior to 1975. At meetings circuit overseers would say, 'Only 36 months to armageddon brothers.' Then 'Only 35 months to armageddon brothers'. ... 'Only one month to armageddon brothers.' ...
Today the Watchtower rejects to idea that they predicted the end of the world in 1975. While there is truth in this statement, critics call it a 'half truth'. Why? Because it's not the 'whole truth and nothing but the truth'. We are not surprised. An organization that sees nothing wrong with theocratic warfare will see nothing wrong with hiding the truth from those who are 'not entitled to it'. i.e. current JW's and those interested in joining.
Overwhelming factual evidence on the internet will prove to you, that the Watchtower did everything they could to convince Jehovah's Witnesses to prepare for armageddon in 1975.
During the time period from 1966 to 1975, many brothers and sisters gave up the best years of their life serving the organization rather than getting an education, getting married, having children, saving for retirement, etc. They put their life on hold. That's how convinced all Jehovah's Witnesses were that armageddon was coming in 1975.
Why was our faith so strong? Because we believed that the Watchtower was God's modern day representative and channel of communication.
Even though most Jehovah's Witnesses did not leave in 1976, a large number of us could no longer believe that the Watchtower speaks on behalf of God. We left and took God's Word to heart. The Bible tells us how to identify a false prophet. Deut 18:15-22
One thing we can learn from 1975 is that the Watchtower is not the only channel through which God speaks. A careful examination of old Watchtower literature from the 1870's to today reveals the truth about predictions that did not come true. Matthew 7:22,23; Duet 18:15-22
God bless all of you and remember to stay alive until 2975.