Is Loyalty more important than truth?

What happens when the Watchtower Society makes a mistake? In 1984, Karl Klein a member of the Governing Body, addressed this issue in the October 1, 1984 Watchtower page 22. He says, "World War I was raging, and even though the most prominent brothers had been unjustly imprisoned over the war issue, the need for Christian neutrality was not fully appreciated by those taking the lead. A few who saw the issue clearly took offense and separated themselves from the Bible Students, calling themselves Standfasters. They warned me that if I stayed with the Bible Students I would lose out on being of the 'little flock' of Jesus' anointed followers." Karl Klein although he appears to have agreed with the Standfasters in principle, goes on to say, "Mother, though not yet dedicated, helped me to make the right decision. I could not see myself leaving those from whom I had learned so much, and I decided to take my chances with my Bible Student brothers. It was a test of loyalty."

Did the Watchtower organization make a mistake? Apparently so because just prior to World War II, they adjusted their viewpoint. Their new viewpoint was now identical to that of the Standfasters. (See the Watchtower, Dec. 1, 1981 pg. 29.) This is a perfect example of the Watchtower's position that it is not important if the organization is right or wrong. What is important is loyalty to the Watchtower Society. The fact that faithful followers of the organization believed in a position before the organization did, was not looked at with favour. Apparently it was not as important who was right but who was loyal to the organization.

Did the Watchtower Society, realizing their error and changing their doctrine, reach out to the Standfasters and ask them to return to the fold? The offical history of the Society, the Proclaimers book published in 1993 does not even mention the Standfasters. The Society's 1930-1985 Index lists the Standfasters as an apostate group. Apostate in what way? Apostate in that loyalty was more important than truth. Apart from the 1984 Watchtower there appears to be only one other instance where Society literature talks about the Standfasters. The reference is the July 15, 1964 Watchtower pages 441-3 where the Standfasters are portrayed in a negative light. "As if persecution was not enough trouble, the Devil began to cause divisions and fighting within the ranks of God's people in an effort to disrupt the organization from within. Some ambitious individuals in the organization began selfishly to seek power for themselves. They claimed that those in the headquarters of the organization, known as the Bible House, were compromising and were too broad-minded. They called them 'broadviews.' This, of course, led to confusion and misunderstanding among the brothers. What were they to do? Should they remain loyal to those in the Bible House or leave the organization? A number of persons who had prominent positions of oversight in the congregations left the organization. They called themselves the 'Standfasters,' getting their name from the Bible book of Galatians where, in the Authorized Version of the Bible, it speaks of standing fast in the 'liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free.' (Gal. 5:1) The Standfasters soon began wrangling among themselves." The nature of the "wrangling" is not described. It is worth noting that the writer said that the Standfasters considered the Society too compromising without revealing the specific issue. Nor does he mention that the Society eventually decided that it was indeed too compromising and changed their viewpoint on Christian neutrality.

This brings to mind a quotation from the Watchtower Dec. 1, 1981 pg 30 discussing patriotism: "One patriot even expressed it this way: 'Our country! . . . may she always be in the right; but our country, right or wrong.'" Many Jehovah's Witnesses still in the organization say "The Watchtower Society! May she always be in the right; but I will be loyal to her right or wrong!"

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