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The Strange Case

of the Watchtower Charter Amendment

To view scaned copies of the charter and 1969 yearbook.


The Watchtower Bible & Tract Society of New York, located at 25 Columbia Heights in Brooklyn, New York was incorporated in 1909 in the State of New York as a Private Company, by Charles Taze Russell and several of his followers. Previously they incorporated as the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society under the laws of Pennsylvania as a Nonprofit corporation under the date of December 15, 1884.

In 1945, the Watchtower President, the late Nathan Knorr saw fit to amend the articles of incorporation to change the stated purpose of the Society. Regarding their purposes they deleted:

"The purpose for which the corporation is formed is,...the dissemination of Bible truths in various languages by means of the publication of tracts, pamphlets, papers and other religious documents, and by the use of all other lawful means which its Board of Directors, duly constituted, shall deem expedient for the furtherance of the purpose stated."

Basically, this describes very well what they have been doing for over 100 years. They are a publishing house, but their dissemination of literature has contained anything but "Bible truths". Rather, it has been a long, sorry story of false doctrines, failed prophecies, and major blunders.

However, the interesting part comes in the wording of the amendment Knorr put in place in 1945. He completely changed the wording on the purposes of the Society. As it is lengthy, we'll examine it in short segments.

"The purposes of this Society are: To act as the servant of and the legal world-wide governing agency for that body of Christian persons known as Jehovah's Witnesses to preach the gospel of God's kingdom under Christ Jesus unto all nations as a witness to the name, word and supremacy of Almighty Good JEHOVAH;"

We'll assume they meant to say "God" Jehovah, not "good" Jehovah. However, notice how they now gave themselves "world-wide" legal control over the branches. This effectively stopped local ownership and decisions in other countries, and gave them iron-fisted control over the brethren from headquarters in Brooklyn, New York. This was the opposite of what their founder, Charles T. Russell intended as he allowed the local brothers some local control.

Notice also, how evangelical-sounding they became, mentioning preaching the gospel, and actually naming Jehovah and Jesus Christ. Notice also the first-time use of the term "Christian" applied to themselves and the first-time use of the name "Jehovah's Witnesses" (previously adopted in 1931).

We move on to the next amended purpose,

"...to print and distribute Bibles and to disseminate Bible truths in various languages by means of making and publishing literature containing information and comment explaining Bible truths..."

Notice their reference to "Bible truths" now has an explanation that it will be by their literature "containing information and comment explaining Bible truths...". So here they go from having the absolute "Bible truth" in the original charter to merely providing information and comments on bible truth. Much more accurate.

Moving on to the next part of the above statement,

"...and prophecy concerning establishment of Jehovah's kingdom under Christ Jesus..."

Ahah! Their stated purpose is to explain "...prophecy concerning establishment of Jehovah's kingdom under Christ Jesus...". Over the years they have swung back and forth over whether or not they are prophesying in the Bible sense. Sometimes they have claimed to be prophets, other times they claim they are not. The "last generation - 1914 debacle" has proven them to be false in their "explanations" of this "prophecy" of the established kingdom according to their charter. Since they presented this information as from "the Creator", they are under the biblical judgment for all false prophets, namely death.

Continuing on with their amendment to their purposes,

"...to authorize and appoint agents, servants, employees, teachers, instructors, evangelists, missionaries and ministers to go forth to all the world publicly and from house to house to preach and teach Bible truths to persons willing to listen by leaving with such persons said literature and by conducting Bible studies thereon..."

Note the absolute control in the hands of a few men at headquarters. There is not one minuscule particle of input in the process from the local congregations. Everything is controlled from headquarters--all the appointments, all the content of all the meetings, and even the literature placed in the various homes. No voting, no input and definitely no independent thinking allowed! In addition, the so-called "Bible studies" are not true Bible studies at all, but a link-up of unrelated scriptures to manufacture Watchtower doctrines. In 1961 they released their complete "New World Translation", having distorted the word of God to suit their purposes, especially on the Person of Jesus Christ.

Continuing on with their stated purposes,

"...to improve men, women and children mentally and morally by Christian missionary work..."

This one really chokes me up. Studies worldwide have proven the higher-than average mental illness present in the members of the organization. They are not improved "mentally". It's true good morals are taught by the JW's, but by "Christian missionary work..."? It is the literature from headquarters that sets the standards and unrelenting elders punish those whose morals are suspect. At one time, the organization expressly told married couples what they could and could not do in the marriage bed. Later they relaxed their strict control in this area, but not before many marriages broke up.

The amendment of purposes continues to say,

"...and by charitable and benevolent instruction of the people on the Bible..."

Notice the use of Christian-sounding words to make the Society appear different than it really is. "Charitable and benevolent" sound good but the charter wording restricts it to "instruction of the people on the Bible". We all know the Society generally does not distribute any of its money to non-JW's, and little of it to JW's, so it is "charitable and benevolent" only in that its volunteers give their time to conduct studies of the Society's literature with people. These are promised to be "Bible Studies", but really aren't true Bible studies.

The amendment continues,

"...and incidental scientific, historical and literary subjects..."

Give the Society low scores on all of the above. This statement no doubt is meant to apply to their "Awake" Magazine. They are so scientific that they "prophesied" man would never go into space. They are so historical they tainted, covered over, and outright lied in their own "history" book, "Jehovah's Witnesses, Proclaimers of God's Kingdom"--definitely not historians! Another example is their false date of 607 BCE for the downfall of Jerusalem. As for "literary", the literature speaks for itself....

Continuing on,

"...to establish and maintain private Bible schools and classes for gratuitous instruction of men and women in the Bible, Bible literature and Bible history;..."

Again, only their private schools could teach the Bible, Bible literature, and Bible history as they do, no reputable school with true scholars would! As for being "gratuitous"--they train them free so they can be unpaid distributors of the Society's literature ever after! Sounds like a deal!

Continuing on,

"...to teach, train, prepare and equip men and women as ministers, missionaries, evangelists, preachers, teachers and lecturers..."

Sounds like an array of Christian-sounding titles, but basically they all do the same thing--obey headquarters and distribute literature.

We continue,

"...to provide and maintain homes, places and buildings for gratuitous housing of such students, lecturers, teachers and ministers;..."

They forget to mention here that said students, lecturers, teachers and ministers work their little butts off in exchange for their housing and a tiny stipend. Unpaid labor for a vast publishing empire!

Continuing with the amended Charter purposes,

"...to furnish gratuitously to such students, lecturers, teachers, educators and ministers suitable meals and lodging and to prepare, support, maintain and send out to various parts of the world Christian missionaries, teachers and instructors in the Bible and Bible literature ..."

As we said before, it pays to feed people free in exchange for long hours of work at no wages, get them trained as unpaid distributors, and send them out.

After all this literature disseminating, we finally come to the subject of worship. Here is a key statement in their amendment of their purposes,

"...and for public Christian worship of Almighty God and Christ Jesus;.."

We admit our eyes bugged out when we saw this statement. It would be one thing if their founder Russell made this statement, for he had a lot more regard for Jesus Christ than his successors. However by 1945, Jesus Christ was NOT be be worshipped privately or publicly, and was reduced to a product of creation, only a secondary "god", deserving only of respect, but never worship! Did they put this in their charter as a "smoke screen" to appear more Christian-sounding? Did they anticipate "new light" on Jesus that never happened? In any event, every Jehovah's Witness today from the top on down is in violation of the stated purposes of their charter and should either publicly worship Jesus Christ or resign!

In typical Watchtower cover-up fashion, their 1969 Yearbook on page 50 quoted this same charter amendment, but without the whole statement. It read, "...and for public Christian worship of Almighty God...;"

Whatever happened to the rest of the phrase? "and for public Christian worship of Almighty God and Jesus Christ..."

As with all quotes that don't suit their present light, embarrassing bits are replaced with "...". Researchers like myself always make a point of finding out what the "..."'s say--it's very enlightening. Their entire publication "Should You Believe in the Trinity" is rampant with dots, the vast majority of which prove the opposite of what their publication claims!

Continuing on,

"...to arrange for and hold local and world-wide assemblies for such worship..."

I was a Jehovah's Witness for 15 years, attended every assembly, and cannot remember ever engaging in anything resembling "worship". It was all instruction, buy literature, and say brief stilted prayers after singing in a monotone....

"...to use or operate radio broadcasting stations for preaching this gospel of the kingdom;..."

This outreach on the radio was a failure and quietly dropped.

Continuing on...

"...and to do any and all other lawful things that its Board of Directors shall deem expedient for the purposes stated."

Trust them to throw in a phrase to cover anything that might come up in the future. Since they mention "lawful things", we ask, "Is it lawful to kidnap a child needing a blood transfusion and hide him/her away from treatment, in violation of a legally-binding court order? And is it lawful to teach children in child custody cases to misrepresent their lives under oath?" Take a second look at this final statement and you will see the clever wording. They will do "lawful things" "that its Board of Directors shall deem expedient for the purposes stated". Here we find their famous doctrine of "justified lying". It colors every aspect of a JW's life.

Thus ends this charter amendment on the purposes of the Society, which was duly voted on and passed by the voting members. The organization is, after all, a private company, and while it has no "capital stock" it does have voting members. These members can be instantly dismissed if they do not follow instructions, and cannot transfer their vote. They run a very tight ship at Watchtower headquarters.

The amendments were not finished in 1945, however, with the stated purposes amendment. Another amendment was put in which is interesting.

They began by deleting this existing article VII of the original charter,

"The said corporation by its Board of Directors, a majority of whom shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, shall have full power and authority to make and enact by-laws, rules, and ordinances, which shall be deemed and taken to be the law of said corporation, and do any; and everything useful for the good government and support of the affairs of the said corporation; provided that the said by-laws, rules and ordinances or any of them, shall not be repugnant to this charter, to the constitution and laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the Constitution of the United States".

After removing the above in its entirety, they replaced it with,

"The government of the corporation vest in its Board of Directors, a majority of whom shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. The directors shall have full power and authority to make, amend and repeal by-laws, rules, and ordinances, which shall be the law of the Society; to distribute funds; to sell, or delegate to its officers authority to sell, real estate and personal property owned by the Society; to borrow money for the Society; to hold meetings at such times and places as may be designated by the Board; to admit members and suspend or expel them; to elect officers and employ agents, all of which powers are in addition to and not in limitation of the powers usually exercised by the directors; and also to devise and carry into execution such other measures as they may deem proper and expedient to promote the objects of the Society and to protect the interests and welfare of its members and to do any and every useful thing for the good government and support of the affairs of the Society".

Well, something has been added, and something has been taken away. Added are broader financial powers in the hands of a few men. Nothing much "spiritual" is said, obviously "finances" prevail.

Taken away are the statements of loyalty to the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Constitution of the United States. After all, World War II was over, the Nazi involvement by former WT president Rutherford was covered up as best they could, and they could stop pretending that they had any regard for the Constitution of the United States. After all, they see themselves as a "Theocracy", a government unto themselves, with willing subjects, and a President firmly entrenched in his Penthouse luxury suite at Brooklyn headquarters. His word and the word of his few directors control millions of lives, in the name of Jehovah. Quite a power trip!

Jehovah's Witnesses of today should be told they are in violation of their own Charter at this point in time. They are not publicly worshiping Jesus Christ which is a stated purpose of their Society. Their Charter says they are. "...explaining...prophecy..". Their explanations are false. According to their own Charter Amendment of 1945, here is their penalty for non-conformance:

"...a member may be suspended for a period or expelled for cause upon willfully violating any of the by-laws, reasonable rules, or ordinances of the Society, or upon becoming out of harmony with any of the Society's purposes..."

In obedience to their Charter, we look forward to the resignation of all the leaders. They are in violation of their own Charter. out of harmony with the stated purposes of the Society, and should be expelled.

To view scaned copies of the charter and 1969 yearbook pages mentioned above.

If you want a photo copy of the charter amendment etc. please send us your mailing address and $3 (includes postage).

MacGregor Ministries

Box 294 Nelson B.C. V1L 5P9 ----- Box 454 Metaline Falls WA. 99153

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