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Ready to Obey

Written Trumps Spoken Every Time

One would think that the written word, from a trusted source, would trump the spoken word every time.

The written word has been prepared, reviewed, fact-checked and edited, not just by the author, but often by a third party. But not so the spoken word, which is more readily swayed by emotion of the moment. The statements you later come to regret most often come through the spoken route.

Um…that really didn’t come out right. I didn’t mean to say it that way. Who hasn't said these words?

A speaker might be voicing a pet peeve. He might be promoting some personal view. He might be flat out wrong, repeating a view he thinks is true, or would like to be true, but isn’t.

So it’s unsettling when we think of all the folks who vividly remember what so-and-so said 20 years ago but cannot recall what was written one month ago on the same topic.

We’re people persons, of course. We like personalities, we like characters. They bring life to the dull printed word. It’s all understandable and fine, so long as we don’t lose track of the inherent weakness of the spoken word.

Even such awkward events as 1975 were much easier on the written word folks than those of the spoken word.

1975 was the end of 6000 years of human history, calculated from the Bible’s own internal chronology. But it’s complicated and obscure in a few places and mistakes are possible. Smart Isaac Newton took a stab at the EOW date and came up with 2060! At any rate, many of us figured that the end of this system of things would occur in 1975. It didn’t turn out that way. (as is easily proven by newspapers)

If you mostly relied on what is written, you had an easier time of it. To be sure, it was written. But it was written with restraint, in proportion to overall events, and always with a sense of tentativeness. The end of the system was possible in that year, even probable. But it wasn’t a sure thing. That was the written word.

But the spoken word…there were people who spoke of nothing else!

Yeah, yeah, yeah! The end of the system of things!! I can almost taste it!! There were many pumped like this.

Let’s go borrow some money! We won’t have to pay it back!!! There were a few who reasoned this way. You should have seen Tom Barfendogs tooling around in his new Maserati! He’d always driven AMC products.  Alas, the Day of the Lord did not come as expected. The Day of the Bank, on the other hand, came right on time.

In hindsight, the whole episode left us with egg on the face. Of course, it’s understandable, for what Christian doesn’t look forward to the rule of God’s Kingdom?

Even Jesus’ disciples wanted to know when would the time come.

When, now, they had assembled, they went asking him: “Lord, are you restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?”  He said to them: “It does not belong to you to get knowledge of the times or seasons which the Father has placed in his own jurisdiction…."   Acts 1:6-7

Here, as in all other areas, a Christian does better when he or she puts primary trust in the written word, not the spoken.

For we all stumble many times. If anyone does not stumble in word, this one is a perfect man, able to bridle also [his] whole body.    James 1:2

“Do not go beyond the things that are written” 1 Cor 4:6  (note that written is the benchmark, not spoken)


Tom Irregardless and Me       No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’



Peace Tom,
Thank you for sharing...this obssession with end of time seems to run across religious spectrums and it frankly irritates me. We are here, and we are here for a reason and a limited time anyway shouldn't we be more focused on achieving the most good for all humanity rather than focusing on the end?

The problem is exemplified in fanatics of all religions who take to destruction and violence to hasten the's a puzzling attitude to say the least.


One more thing, Zadie Smith does capture some of the euphoria well and the subsequent embarrasment...I wouldn't recommend her book to be the top of the pile, but it's a pretty good read when you do get to it.


I wasn't alive during 1975 (hey, that rhymes.....hey, THAT rhymes!!) but I think what happens with a lot of people in the organization is that they have unrealistic expectations. Sure, the society may have done some hinting about it, and there may have been a few (maybe a lot, even) firey sermons on the platform about it, but when it's all said and done, we still had the Bible. It still says "no one knows the day or the hour."

I watched this rather hillarious ex-witness video the other day and it showed a woman complaining that she had given up on having CHILDREN because she thought 1975 would be the end. This begged the question, why didn't she decide to have a child in, oh, i don't know, 1976??? Did she get a historectomy in preparation for the end? Oh those accursed ovaries, they do nothing but hold you back!!

tom sheepandgoats


Much as I appreciate your comment, it should be remembered that WT did showcase 1975 as the very likely date for the end of this system of things. If someone doesn't appreciate that, they will just be blindsided when soreheads come along and point out what really happened.

So it was a mistake on WT's part. An embarassing one. And it caused certain ones great inconvenience which is well not to ignore.

The question is: is the mistake within the tolerable limits of human imperfection? I believe so. It was a misinterpretation of an existing prophesy. That is entirely different from generating a new prophesy. It seemed to make great sense at the time.

Given those facts, it was written about responsibly. A few times over the years. If WT had been trying to drum up the brothers into fever pitch, they would have pounded it constantly, every week, as 1975 approached.

Most managed to capture the spirit of the counsel that we serve Jehovah regardless of when the end of this system comes. We are in it for the long haul. Nevertheless, even loyal ones had to "suck it up" and move on. It wasn't easy for everyone.


Tom ... dead on. A mistake was made. There is no need to gloss over it or shuffle it off to a dark corner.

I wish I had a quarter for every 10th time the atheists and scientists have shanked the ball in the last 33 years.

This is an interesting conversation. I hope it continues a while longer.

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