Talk:The Watchtower/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3 Archive 5

I deleted

In other countries, The Watchtower is sold, with "pioneers" paying a lower price for the magazines, which are then resold, with the individual evangelist keeping the profit.

because we do not sell The Watchtower, Awake! or any other one of our books anywhere.

I am putting back my text. This text is based upon my real-life experience as one of Jehovah's Witnesses in Guatemala. Samrolken 16:02, 23 Jun 2004 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but now it is not sold anywhere, even if it was in the past. This is fact. Please do not change it again. I suggest you update your information.Zikar
I would have put more credibility in your updating of my information if you seemed like a genuine Jehovah's Witness. However, your rude and hostile attitude, in addition being against Wikipedia policy and guidelines, is not like that I would expect from a genuine Jehovah's Witness. You weren't friendly at all, just hostile, rude, and accusatory. Please work on your attitude if you wish to be any part of Wikipedia, or any environment where you have to work with people. Samrolken 19:59, 24 Jun 2004 (UTC)
I was not trying to be insulting, mearly writing matter of factly. Zikar

The "profit" was to help defray the cost of thier volunteer evangelizing work. It was never a money making enterprise. After gas and car expenses for example most pioneers had to do some other type of work to support themselves. Michael Krewson 00:36, 7 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Samrolken wrote: Perhaps in order to reach distribution quotas, some members "dump" large quantities of these magazines in public places, including bus terminals, and landromats.

Okay, we have no 'distribution quotas' that you speak of. Any of our magazines left in such places are for people pick up and read, we have no 'quotas' or anything like that, that would warrent us to 'dump' them anywhere. Zikar
Pioneers do have distribution quotas for the magazines. I have often observed large quantities of these magazines "dumped" places. These are simple facts. Samrolken 04:16, 1 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I personaly don't see why this page or The Watchtower page has to be edited again since the page give accurate and adiquete information. Zikar
That's fine. You can feel free to "personaly" [sic] stop editing it anytime you like, and I'll do the same. Samrolken 04:20, 1 Nov 2004 (UTC)
There is no such thing as a completed article, in the sense that it merits no further addition. Note also that while information must be factual, and you may be in a good position to note non-factual additions, you also do not own the article. The LDS church does not own articles that happen to cover it or its activities. If something is nonfactual, ask for sources. Try to be civil about it, and don't pretend it's yours, Zikar. --Improv 04:39, 6 Nov 2004 (UTC)
What I'm saying is the information there is NOT factual. On the internet sources can be faked or be out of date by many years. Being a Witness myself I know pioneers do not have distribution quotas, this is mainly due to the fact that one can never be sure how many will take the magazines. Being a pioneer is to do with the hours worked not with the amount of magazines placed.

I have not at any time claimed to own the article or any article however when I see incorrect information I tend to delete or change it, I usually give some explanation even if it's just in the edit notice thing (this is allot more that some people do anyway). I also don't see the point it having a link to an article that has anti-witness views in it. Although it does indeed mention quotas, it refers to them being hourly not to do with placements (although one sentence is worded so it may seem that way) By the way, this has nothing to do with the LDS. Don't get me wrong here, I'm not trying to offend or insult anyone, nor am I saying I or my religion own this page, however when I joined the Wikipedia community I did so because it aimed at creating an encyclopaedia based on facts. As I see it, that particular part is not factual and therefore does not belong on Wiki. (Apologies if these seems strongly worded, however I feel a full in-depth comment about my actions was needed.) Zikar 08 Nov 04 20:52

Okay: (cur) (last) 08:54, 4 Nov 2004 Samrolken (Restored content. Please discuss things on talk page before removing I don't remember you discussing the changes you have made. I have told you, we have no quotas of any kind, that information is incorrect and thus, does not belong on Wikipedia.

Zikar 10:03, 04 Nov 2004

Sorry, Zicar, but I have to look at it like this: on one side, I have a published account by a Jehovah's Witness. On the other side, I have an obviously biased anonymous stranger known as Zicar. Either come up with solid refutation of my sources, or back down. Period. Samrolken 02:12, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I am hardly biased and even if I was, oppinion has nothing to do with whether we have quotas or not. Since you want some proof, I've searched around and found this in the Feb 15th 1981 issue of The Watchtower, page 11:
Some, whose circumstances permit, serve as special pioneers, devoting 140 hours a month to the ministry. Others are able to devote 90 hours and so serve as regular pioneers. And for those not able to devote 90 hours each month to such sacred service, but who are still able to do more than the average Kingdom publishers, provision was made for the auxiliary pioneer service, which requires that a person devote 60 hours a month to the ministry.
As you can see, there is no mention of placment quotas or anything like that. The hours I believe have changed since then and I may update The Watchtower page if that is true.
Zikar 09 Nov 04 11:25
The statement from the Watchtower that there are hourly quotas for members doesn't even address the magazine quotas. Samrolken 16:12, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)
That's because there are non. Find one official Jehovah's Witness publication that states there is a placment quota. Using an unofficial webpage as 'proof' isn't a good idea especialy if said page has a negitive slant on us.I am a Witness, we don't have placment quotas. Me saying that should be all the proof you need.If that isn't enough.... YOU find some proof, not just some random webpage somewhere. I mean, I could make a webpage saying anything about anyone and it wouldn't make it true.

I see you've edited it even more to reflect your point of view and biased oppinion. Still, the table of contents is nice. Where's the explanation about the GBoWR (Guinness Book of World Records) deleation? Zikar 09 Nov 04 17:30

I simply refactored the page a bit. It was desperately needed. I tried to maintain a neutral viewpoint (I have no viewpoint of my own, really). The GBoWR was deleted because I consulted both the current website of GBoWR, as well as the current print version, and I found no information about The Watchtower. The closest record I could find in either their website or their book [[1]] doesn't mention anything about Watchtower. It didn't even have a reference (as recommended in Wikipedia) that could be checked. If you can find current information about the Watchtower and the GBoWR, great. Just re-add it to the article with references that can be checked. Samrolken 00:59, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I can also add my two cents. I am one of Jehovah's Witnesses and serve as an elder in my congregation. There is no stated "quota" for placing any publications with the public. The only stipulation for placing publications is on the condition that they agree to read the material. You can simply ask any of Jehovah's Witnesses the next time they call at your home or place of business; you can call the nearest Kingdom Hall, by looking up "Churches" in the yellow pages and then looking for "Jehovah's Witnesses"; or, you can contact the Office of Public Information in Brooklyn, New York, at 718-560-5600. --Woody3939 03:14, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)


Just because an accusation has been leveled, is that a reason to accept it as a fact? If there is a "secret" manual, how could it be secret if you can find it in a Google search?

Think for a moment about the actual point in question - "Is there a requirement to place publications?" What could the be the reason for saying that there is no requirement? And what is the penalty for not meeting the requirement?

You state that you were one of Jehovah's Witnesses in Central America. If this is true, you would have one of the publications that is not for general distribution, called "Organized to Accomplish Our Ministry." There is clearly no mention of any requirement in this publication, which is the official guide to the organization known as Jehovah's Witnesses.

I discarded all of my publications when I left the religion. Samrolken 19:39, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)

What is the big deal, anyway? Why not check with the actual, official source? It can easily be found by contacting the Headquarters od Jehovah's Witnesses in Brooklyn NY.--Woody3939 03:52, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I'm surprised you believe everything you read on the internet Sam. At any rate, we have no 'secret' rule book, the number of members we have, the ease at which one can become a pioneer or elder would make any 'secrets' impossible to kept secret for long. I also don't like the word 'clergy' in there but that's only a minor annoyence. Zikar 11th Nov 04 15:52

I assert that it's a fact that there are secret rule books of Jehovah's Witnesses. There are thousands of references to such on the Internet. I'll add the statement of a self-identified "elder" to my list of Internet sources supporting the secret literature documenting the internal affairs of the Jehovah's Witnesses. [2] Samrolken 19:39, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)
There are also thousends of sites dedicated to UFO sighting, psychic powers and how to call spirits... doesn't mean any of them are credible or even correct. I mean, what on earth would this book contain? Why would it need to be secret? We don't do anything that'd need to be secret... Zikar
A professed member and leader of your church just stated above that there is a book, "Organized to Accomplish Our Ministry", which is "not for public distribution" and "is the official guide to the organization". Besides, if you want to challenge the validity of using the web as a source of information to Wikipedia, this is the wrong place to do that. You should perhaps begin by taking issue with these style guides and wikipedia policies, all of which support and encourage using resources from the web: [3] [4] [5] Samrolken 03:46, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Not for Public Distribution

Is the fact that a publication is not for public distribution proof that there is a publication requirement placed on pioneers? Let's get back on the subject folks!

First, any organization on earth has the right to keep certain things in the private domain and certain things in the public domain. Other than the book "Organizaed to Accomplish Our Ministry" which is limited to active Jehovah's Witnesses and "Pay Attention" which is limited to active elders, most all of the publications of Jehovah's Witnesses are open to inspection by anyone. In fact, a large majority of the inormation in BOTH of these publications have already appeared in articles in The Watchtower magazine over the years.

Second, since the "Our Ministry" book is readily available to all of Jehovah's Witnesses (active and inactive), wouldn't pioneers know whether they have a requirement placed upon them? Again, what is the penalty for not meeting this supposed requirement? As an elder and former pioneer, I can emphatically say that there is no such requirement and any arguement to the contrary is simply false and misleading and harms the integrity of this forum.

Let this be the end of the discussion, please! Any mention of any requirements for placement of publications should remain out of this article as there is no substantiation for it in any authoritative venue. --Woody3939 16:59, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)

  • It is very easy to find these two documents online anyhow -- I've read both of them. Just use google. --Improv 18:17, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)


I have been careful to address samrolken’s valid points smoothing out the style of prose: 1) the sale of the Watchtower and 2) the practice of dumping magazines. If samrolken would like to clarify his points I would be happy to discuss this.

At the same time I have added information on how the distribution of the magazine is organized. (a process which differs from many magazines and so is valuable the this article)

Samrolken’s point about magazine quotas is wierdly false so I have removed it.

The ideas about secret manuals seem off the planet to me. Other wikipeople have commented that they are publicly available. Anyways the subject doesn’t really belong in this article. Perhaps the debate could be dicussed on a ‘Practices’ page.

I’m concerned that samrolken’s tone is not NPOV. Such conspiracy theories have led to hate literature in the past. The resulting persecution has in turn had an impact on generations of witnesses. I would like to question his background. What is your motive, samrolken, for coming so close to sowing seeds of hate?

cairoi 21:34, 16 Nov 2004 (UTC)

My only intention in editing this article is to have it reflect factual information. I'm trying to add correct facts (and remove incorrect information). Where I've been shown to be incorrect in the past, I have accepted that... but people blindly removing content is not only rude, but against Wikipedia policy. Many Jehovah's Witnesses have had problems with content I have added, and have behaved very rude. I'm completely neutral here, and I've done a lot of good for this article. Simply discuss with me whatever you have an issue with, and do some research and bring some references to the conversation. If you want to help out here on Wikipedia, that's fine. However, you should all be careful not to cause reproach upon the name of your religion by behaving in an uncivil manner. Samrolken 00:18, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Removed duplication in paragraph

cairoi edited the article to contain this text:

The Watchtower and Awake! were sold for for a small charge and then offered on a contribution basis in the United States until March 1, 1990, when the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that religious literature being sold was subject to taxation. In the United States, distribution of Jehovah's Witnesses literature was at that time switched to a voluntary donation system.

The fact that the magazine was eventually offered on a voluntary contribution basis was made twice in that paragraph. The first time it was put in there was thanks to Zicar helping me straighten that section out. I don't see a need to make that point twice, and it is worded awkwardly all shoved into the first sentence. Samrolken 00:33, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Restored Jargon

Cairoi edited the article to remove an explanation of jargon [6]. I put "religious leadership" as a clarification as to the meaning of Governing Body, persuant to the Wikipedia policy that jargon be explained [7]. I restored my original content that I feel was wrongly removed. Thanks. Samrolken 00:33, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)


Thank you Samrolken, I’m much happier with your last edits.

Some questions: 1) Why do you consider governing body a jargon expression when many organisations and associates have governing bodies? I would have thought it was a generic term. Religious leadership seems redundant as Jehovah’s Witnesses are already identified as religious and producing religious literature. 3) Why did you remove the information regarding the distribution process of JW literature? 4) Why are so attached to your phrasing regarding magazine dumping? It’s passive construction, headlessness seem poor prose to me. I would like to see it edited it so it gets the same ideas across in a more encyclopedic style.

Having followed your edit wars with others on this page, I’m still concerned about your NPOV. I’m also genuinely interested in what from your background makes you so interested in writing about the Watchtower. Have you or your aquaintances had association with Witnesses before or are you more a general student of religion. Will you delcare your bias to those following this page? I do not think it is rude or against Wikipedia policy to remove material leaning towards the demonisation of a minority group. I look forward to any further edits you might make. cairoi 03:10, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I am a former Jehovah's Witness, but I harbor no (significant) ill will against the group. I met many people who were filled with passion and zeal for a cause they love, and I really respect that. I welcome your concern about my ability to write in a neutral point of view. I believe that it NPOV is a delicate art, and that everyones' bias can creep in... I'm sure that if you are introspective enough, and honest with your own imperfections, I'm sure you will find your own biases. We must all try to write without bias, but all be aware that we may fail.

Even if you don't, I'd like to ask you to continue to look after my contributions to this article (and others, if you're so inclined) and continue giving me good feedback on NPOV.

1) "Governing Body" is a pretty generic and self-explanatory term, but I considered it to be a slightly jargonish. It certainly seems like a borderline case. Is there a specific reason to exclude the clarification?

3) I'm not sure what part you're referring to. Perhaps this:

Jehovah’s Witnesses conduct weekly meetings to organise and promote their style of public service among their members. During these meetings techniques for distributing the Watchtower and other literature may be discussed.

I removed this since this information doesn't seem to directly pertain to the topic at hand. I think it suffices to say that "dumping" is discouraged by the leadership. The exact way in which the leadership goes about encouraging or discouraging things is a specific practice of the Jehovah's Witnesss, and seems to me to be a bit off-topic. I would invite you to merge this information with another article.

4) My phrasing regarding the magazine dumping is not my own, but AndyL's [8]. I thought the passive voice was well-suited to the informal source of information cited. Stating something strongly as fact might require more evidence to back it up, which I believe is the way it was phrased that way to begin with.

Samrolken 03:52, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Thank you samrolken. I appreciate your forthrightness. I have also noted with appreciation the change in the tone of your edits. I am happy for you to continue writing both positive and negative things about JW's so long as they are true and without the intent of religious villification. I would question all edits made by anyone who promoted the villification of any group. I will keep following this article and others like it.

In response to three points

1) The only reason I would eliminate the additional explanation of “Governing Body” is to create a simpler sentence. If the reader truly needed the explanation I feel it would be better instead to make governing body a link to the "Organisational Sturcture" article. I’m happy to let others decide that.

I have no objections to that. Feel free to implement it as such. Samrolken 06:40, 18 Nov 2004 (UTC)

3) It did seem to me that the production and distribution methods of a magazine like the Watchtower would be of interest to readers. The Watchtower is simultaneously translated into many languages and distributed around the world in quite a unique way. While that crosses over to practices of Jehovah’s Witnesses it also seems relevant here. Perhaps someone else would like to put their two cents worth in on this subject. cairoi 15:50, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I agree with you. I think more complete information should be added to the methods of production, distribution, and translation of the magazine, as a lot of that is really amazing. Perhaps you could dig through your sources and find some good facts and figures about that, and turn it into a whole new section full of useful content? If you find the raw materials and get started on turning it into a wikipedia article, I'd be glad to help. Samrolken 06:40, 18 Nov 2004 (UTC)

4) The informal phrasing, “It's been observed…” sounds dodgy as if it were trying to masquerade as fact. It is true that some witnesses dump magazines in public places. Shouldn’t we be trying to record facts here? If we agree on that then the sentence should be look like a fact or be removed. cairoi 15:50, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Is there a consensus that it could be considered a fact that some witnesses dump magazines in public places? Please vote below.

Yes - It's something I've personally observed, as well as have read about. It's even a problem that has been addressed by the leadership, which should also be noted. Samrolken 06:40, 18 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Sort of/Not Really - I would say it is not a normal practice. Most Jehovah's Witnesses would be horrified at the idea of doing that without first making arrangments with the facility where the magazines were left as many places would just remove them as garbage. I have not heard of the practice for some time. I have never seen it myself or known anyone who does it. I would think that a more accurate impression would be gained 1) by listing several ways the magazines are distributed including that they could by arrangment left in public places 2)Then mentioning that the practice of dumping or distributing indiscriminately has been discouraged. That both fits with samrolken's anechdotes, indicates that it may still be practiced and explains the practice as Jehovah's Witnesses intend it. Compromise all round. I feel that insisting that the information remain in its present phrasing tries to give the false impression that Witnesses treat their literature as junkmail. It's really a minor point and to make such a big deal that it must be HIGHLIGHTED may be an indication of non-NPOV motive. Whereas admitting that it does happen but is discouraged is not being too pro-JW, just honest. cairoi 16:42, 18 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I assure you that I don't have a mission here. I just think that when I see dozens of magazines in a pile at a laundromat or bus terminal, that has to have some effect on the circulation numbers. Samrolken 22:41, 18 Nov 2004 (UTC)
That's exactly what I'm getting at. You're claiming that the circulation is artificially inflated by treating the literature as junk mail. I'm admitting that some have done so to a limited degree but that it is not common practice. National Geographic, News Week and Mens Health get similar treatment. Should this be 'highlighted' on their pages as well?
Typically if someone had made arrangements to leave literature in a public place they would check to see how many were gone the next time they went back and only order enough magazines to fill the demand. So I still think my suggested phrasing is the most NPOV way of saying it. Would you be happy if I made those edits? I think that with that information people can draw their own conclusions on the effect on circulation numbers without being led. cairoi 02:12, 19 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I'm not sure the recent addition by Mormon315 under PURPOSE could be called NPOV. We have people watching and editing who are very concerned about NPOV on this article. Perhaps that statement should be edited to let people make up their own minds about what is truth.

cairoi 06:10, 18 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I have edited what he added. What do you think? Samrolken 06:40, 18 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Why not just say that Jehovah's Witnesses also use the magazine in their proselytising work and that the magazine makes frequent references to the Bible. That indicates the conversion factor and the Bible factor without drawing a conclusion as to the motives of the proselytisers or the validity of the bible explanations. If everyone watching is happy with that I'll replace mormon315 and samrolken's edit. cairoi 17:15, 18 Nov 2004 (UTC)


I'm not sure your new section is NPOV. At least one quote is taken out of context (war before the millenium) and you are missing all the balancing quotes referring to the impossibility of knowing exactly when Armagedon will arrive. Jehovah's Witnesses have an open faith; Living in expectation is part of their worship. I feel your new section does not help people understand either how Witnesses view the information in the Watchtower or those who wrote it. I would like to question your source for the quotes. cairoi 16:19, 17 Dec 2004 (UTC)

The quotes are from the Watchtower magazines. I believe that when a publication predicts the end of the world repeatedly, this is noteworthy. I have tried to word it in a NPOV way as possible. You are welcome to do your own research to find "balancing quotes", but I've tried to select passages which stand on their own. You're free to improve the article in any way you can, of course. Samrolken 20:47, 17 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I should have said welcome back in my first discussion point. I haven't seen I see edits from you in a while. I can see that the quotes are from the Watchtower magazines, but did you research them from original material yourself or did you find them compiled from another source? My questioning in this matter comes from the misrepresentation of the quote on the war before the millenium. I see that the other quotes are well edited as well. I'm questioning the motives of the person who chose the quote just those parts of the Watchtower in just that way. Did you get your quotes from a secondary source Samrolken, if so where?
I should also say that I like your idea of a prophecies section. This has been a major theme of the Watchtower over the years. There is no need to sweep it under the carpet.
cairoi 22:51, 17 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Thank you for your interest in this article. While I can understand your interest putting forward the idea that "there has always been the caution that the exact time of the end of the world cannot be predicted", until I see proof for myself in any source that this is the case, I will not accept it as true; particularly given the unequivocal nature of the watchtower statements. ("a few more years will witness their utter collapse", "There will be no slip-up", "definitely settled by the Scriptures", etc.) Please work to find any proof or evidence that the Watchtower has always included such a disclaimer with their prophecies. Until then, you could change it to indicate that this is done at least in today's time.
I don't have access to copies of The Watchtower, particularly from this long ago. These quotes were found cited on dozens of websites, however, and since they appear verbatim on each one, I don't see a reason to doubt their authenticity. If you could find a counter-example, though, please let me know.
Samrolken 20:54, 18 Dec 2004 (UTC)
You're right. "Always" is a is a very strong word. I will come up with another wording. However, I'm nervous you are trusting websites that are abusive to JW's. The quotes are only partial and out of context. It is easy to edit quotes with the ellipsis or by taking them out of context to make them SEEM unequivocal. I think you should have proof that what you are quoting is not just revisionist/hate material. I don't think your section can be considered NPOV so I will find original source quotes to balance.
cairoi 17:35, 20 Dec 2004 (UTC)