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Jehovah's Witnesses In The Divine Purpose


Building and Planting with a View to Global Expansion

JOHN: During the dark days of World War II and simultaneous with the beginning of the third administration of the Society's management, there opened up a period of intensified education that had not been equaled to that time in the modern history of Jehovah's witnesses. Emphasis was to be placed more and more on the individual Christian minister's personal service activity. Already since 1938 a start had been made, but now the "worldwide building program" was due to begin in earnest. The years 1942-1945 were to lay the program's firm foundation by concentrating on the personal maturity and theocratic advancement of every individual member of the New World society.

This was particularly noticeable at the New World Theocratic Assembly at Cleveland, Ohio, September 18 to 20, 1942. It was at this assembly that the new president of the Society was introduced to Jehovah's witnesses. All together fifty-one other convention cities in the United States were tied in with the key assembly at Cleveland to hear the outstanding addresses, the principal one being the public talk "Peace —Can It Last?" But this was not the limit of this thrilling midwar assembly, for about this same time in thirty-three other countries outside the United States Jehovah's witnesses convened.

TOM: Before you "introduce" the new president to all of Jehovah's witnesses at the assembly, don't you think the time is just right for some more vital statistics? Why don't you give us a little background information first, such as when and where he was born, how long he had been at Bethel, and so on?

JOHN: Very well; here is a brief biographical note published by the Society:

Nathan Homer Knorr was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in 1905, of American-born parents. He graduated from Allentown (Pennsylvania) High School in June, 1923. At 16 he became associated with the Allentown Congregation of Jehovah's witnesses, having resigned membership in the Reformed Church. In 1923, at 18, he became a full-time preacher, at which time he had been invited to become a member of the headquarters staff of the Society at Brooklyn Bethel. There he made rapid progress in his ministerial training and later traveled week ends giving Bible lectures to congregations within two hundred miles of Brooklyn. In course of time he was assigned as coordinator of all printing activities in the Society's plant, in 1932 becoming general manager of the publishing office and plant. He was elected in 1934 as one of the directors of the Society's New York corporation . . . and in 1940 he was made a director and chosen as vice-president of the Pennsylvania corporation, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. His election to the presidency of both American societies and of the British corporation, International Bible Students Association, came in January, 1942. a


So you can see, with this background, he actually needed no introduction personally to Jehovah's witnesses, but all at the assembly knew he was now charged with a new and grave responsibility and all were keenly interested in seeing him take hold of the job and all were praying Jehovah's blessing on his efforts.

TOM: I believe you said too last week that Hayden C. Covington was elected vice-president.

JOHN: That's right. He had been serving in the legal department and now he succeeded Judge Rutherford as head of the department and continued on as the Society's lawyer. He was born at Nelta, Hopkins County, Texas, in 1911, graduated from San Antonio School of Law in 1933 and began preaching as one of Jehovah's witnesses the following year. He joined the Society's legal staff at headquarters August 21, 1939, and became a member of the New York Bar November, 1941. He continued as vice-president of the Society's Pennsylvania corporation until October 1, 1945, when the voting membership acted on his letter of September 24, 1945, in which he graciously declined to serve further as a member of the board of directors and as vice-president. This resignation was not an evasion of responsibilities but was rather an effort to comply with what appeared to be the Lord's will, namely, that all the members of the directorate and the officers be of the anointed remnant. His hope was to be one of the "other sheep," with prospects of life on earth. He continued to serve as the Society's lawyer, while one of the anointed remnant was elected vice-president in his stead. b


So, although world conditions were critical, and though the arrests and mobbings and world-wide persecution of Jehovah's witnesses were at their peak, the new administration was by no means inexperienced or hesitant as to the rightful course to pursue. The situation is well summarized in the Society's annual report for that first year of service following Judge Rutherford's death. We'll read from the 1943 Yearbook.

The year 1942 proved to be one of climax for the Lord's people and seemed to be a year of unusual testing. The war continued throughout the earth. This gave religionists an excuse to see to it that a ban was placed on the activity of Jehovah's witnesses almost everywhere; in that country, in this island, and even in cities in our own United States, literature was confiscated, brethren were jailed, mobs were formed, and the property of the Lord's people destroyed. Everywhere, from one end of the earth to the other, it meant that Jehovah's witnesses had to stand for their lives. By the Lord's grace they did!

It appeared to the enemy then, in the early part of 1942, when our beloved Brother Rutherford finished his earthly course and received his reward for many years of faithful service, that here now was the final downfall of the organization known as "Jehovah's witnesses". Here, it appeared to the enemy, was another "break" for their side. Religionists, framing mischief by law, were crowding Jehovah's witnesses into a corner, and now "their aggressive leader" was removed from the scene of action and surely the organization would disintegrate.

One newspaper writer said that in 1931, when the WATCHTOWER people took on the new name, Jehovah's witnesses, this new name would not stick. The writer admitted in the article that she was wrong about that, because the name Jehovah's witnesses did stick. Now that Judge Rutherford is no longer with the earthly organization, the writer said 'I will not make any more prophecies about the Watch Tower Society of Jehovah's witnesses. While many have said the organization will go to pieces, I would not venture that statement, but rather wait and see what happens'. This person seemed to follow the advice of Gamaliel, wherein it was stated that 'if this be not of God, then it will surely come to nought; but if it be of God it would be rather dangerous to be found fighting against it'. This, however, was the exceptional opinion on the part of the press. c


Rationing restrictions on food and gasoline were in force, yet despite what appeared to the world to be reverses to the Watch Tower Society, plans for the New World Theocratic Assembly began early in March, 1942. Cleveland was selected as the key city and arrangements were eventually made to tie it in with fifty-one other convention cities throughout the United States. Furthermore,

All branches throughout the earth were told of the Assembly and asked if they could join in, even though direct-wire communications could not be set up, due to the war conditions. Such were arranged in Great Britain, Mexico, Cuba, Brazil, Trinidad, South and West Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Hawaii, Newfoundland, and, by the Lord's grace, it was possible in many places for the messages that the Lord would have delivered at the main convention at Cleveland to be delivered there. It was truly a world-wide convention under the direction of the great Theocrat and Christ Jesus the King. d

On Friday morning, September 18, the first day of the assembly, the brothers came together in the various auditoriums throughout the land to receive instructions on field service, to get their territories, and to begin advertising the public meeting "Peace—Can It Last?" All convention departments were well organized, provisions being made for rooming accommodations, assigning of territory for field work, book-rooms, cafeterias, volunteer registration booths, the registration of pioneers, the parking of automobiles, in fact, everything was taken care of to supply the needs of the brothers.


Refreshed by their day's field witnessing in the interests of the Theocracy, all assembled at their convention halls that Friday evening for the opening session of the convention:

With the opening words of the chairman everyone recognized that this was not going to be a convention in memorial of a fellow worker. One point was established definitely in their minds: this is not a man-made organization; it is God's, and is going to continue to operate as such. The address of welcome was brief, but very much to the point.

Then came the keynote speech, "The Only Light." This talk in its entirety was published in The Watchtower. e There is no question in anyone's mind as to the points made. Summing it up in two words it meant, "Go ahead." By the time the speaker had finished explaining the prophecies of Isaiah 59 and 60 the brethren were sitting on the edge of their seats, so to speak. Shall we slack up a little bit and hide ourselves for a little season? No! Shall we put on the "soft pedal"? No! Shall we relax? No! Go ahead! was the answer. Jehovah's witnesses received what they were looking for: additional proof that the course they had taken was the right one.

For the last fifteen minutes of this hour it was the privilege of the president of the Society to present the 'sword of the Spirit'. This instrument was accepted with joy and gladness and the expressions on the faces of all the audience were those of complete satisfaction and thanksgiving. Grateful to the Lord for this gift of the new WATCHTOWER Bible, the brethren now were more determined than ever to "go ahead" until the very end and nothing could stop them in their singing of the praises of the Most High. f

This release of the new Watchtower Bible was a truly historic forward step. It was not the first Bible the Society had published as a Bible Society, but now for the first time the Society had produced on its own presses a copy of the complete Holy Bible. We'll talk some more about that some other time.

Saturday morning, September 19, the schedule was arranged for witnessing from door to door, information walking, distributing handbills and sound-car activity, and everyone who was not assigned to some definite task at the cafeteria, book-room, rooming assignments, or the numerous other duties that have to be taken care of in and about a convention, was out in the field. There was something to do for every person at the convention.


All were eagerly awaiting the lecture "Fighters for the New World" scheduled for the Saturday afternoon session. By this time throughout all the fifty-two convention cities 80,000 had assembled.

This lecture had two climaxes: the victory of Jephthah over his enemies the first climax, and, the second, the offering up of his daughter for full-time temple service as a sacrifice to Jehovah. The brethren were thrilled at the description of the battle carried on under the leadership of the Greater Jephthah. They saw clearly that the Greater Jephthah is using Jehovah's organization, the Society, and that the Theocratic rule is the only rule that the Lord would have His people follow; that the Lord's people will fight for their rights to worship God and will do everything to maintain their present position and will not allow the encroachments of totalitarian powers, or the modern Ammonites, to come in against them. There could be no slacking of the hand from now on in anyone's mind. God had given to Jehovah's witnesses the right to worship Him according to His Word. This they would not fail to do. Anyone interfering with these rights would be pushed back into his own borders. Definitely it was established that this gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached. The "go ahead" signal had been sounded and, by the Lord's grace and with His help, all the servants of the Most High would go ahead until final victory, which they are assured of gaining. This made glad the hearts of all and brought great joy to the faithful followers of the great Theocrat and Christ Jesus.

The second climax of the talk, explaining the offering up of Jephthah's daughter, was so real and touching that to many it brought tears. They fully appreciated that the drama of Jephthah shows that all the fruitages that may result because of our witness and service for the Kingdom must be offered up unto the Lord, even as Jephthah offered up to the Lord his only daughter. All the increase that God gives this work of gathering his "other sheep" into the fold, this great throng acknowledged to be the Lord's and they will yield it up unto the Lord to be used wholly in His service.

At the close of this discourse a resolution of action was offered, and accepted unanimously with a great shout "Aye!" Then, simultaneously in the 52 convention cities, there was presented to the fighters for the New World the new book The New World. g

This book was a Scriptural study of the prophetic narrative of Job, enlarging and developing the theme of the talk "Integrity," which Brother Rutherford had given as his opening discourse at his last assembly the year previous. A question booklet was provided later for use with this book so that Bible studies could be held in the homes of the people similar to those being conducted with the Model Study booklets. h

That evening, Saturday, September 19, a new booklet on organization instructions was introduced, showing that the theocratic rule is the proper and the only rule for the Lord's organization. These new organization instructions were discussed during the talk "Serving the Theocracy." Booklets were sent later to each congregation and pioneer so that all servants had a copy, and the instructions became effective October 1, 1942. i


TOM: Were any new features introduced to the service at this time?

JOHN: Well, the one important development I would like to mention at this point was the reviving of the visitation program of the Society's representatives to the congregations. With the reorganization, the traveling representatives of the Society were designated "servants to the brethren" and were to visit each congregation or company at least once every six months. They were to check the company publishers' report cards, the back-call files, territory files, company accounts, stock and magazine accounts and all the other details outlined for them in Organization Instructions. All the brothers in the companies were urged to participate with each servant to the brethren in the field service during the time of his visit, since his primary responsibility in the congregation was to assist the brethren "in advancing


the Kingdom interests in the most effective manner possible." j

Now in regard to the 1942 assembly program once more, at the conclusion of the lecture on "Serving the Theocracy," another talk was delivered, on the subject "Victory." It was pointed out here that the fighters for the New World had gained many victories during the past year in the courts of the land. The speaker showed, too, that there were still many fights ahead, but, by the Lord's grace, no ground would be given. Toward the end of this talk the speaker released Kingdom News No. 11. Hundreds of thousands of these were distributed that evening and the next day by all the conventioners.


Sunday morning, September 20, arrangements were made for the immersion of those who had dedicated their lives to Jehovah's service. The combined report for the fifty-two conventions in the United States showed that 3,548 symbolized their dedication by water baptism. Add to this the report from other countries, and in one day nearly 5,000 expressed themselves before witnesses that, from that day forward, they would serve God rather than man.

With a world at war, the title of the public talk was well chosen, and, with the advance interest manifested in it, there was evidence that it would be well attended. This proved to be so.

At 4:00 p.m. Sunday, September 20, the time arrived for the delivery of the lecture so widely advertised, and the report shows that at the 52 convention cities in the United States, tied together by direct wire, there were 129,699 that had come to hear the lecture. The question "Peace—Can It Last?" was satisfactorily answered from the Scriptures. All in attendance were truly amazed at the fulfilling of Bible prophecy, and the understanding of Revelation 17th chapter brought real satisfaction and an insight into the future events which show clearly that Jehovah's witnesses still have something to do until "Peace and Safety" is cried out. k

Now it was clear from Revelation 17:8 that the international security "beast," formerly the League of Nations, would be revived after World War II and a period would follow in which the good news must be preached before the end at Armageddon. Everyone attending the meeting was offered a free copy of the booklet Peace —Can It Last? which was released for the first time after the lecture. The offer was made too that anyone desiring ten copies to distribute to his friends could take them along free. Over 500,000 booklets were taken away by those attending the convention, for themselves and for distributing to other persons. The regular edition of The New World also was released, and thousands of copies of these were taken by the public attending. l


LOIS: Did you receive any opposition to this convention throughout the country?

JOHN: We certainly did. Listen to this:

The closing day of this New World Theocratic Assembly was by far the most hazardous day of the nation-wide convention. Demonized, religionist-inspired mobs formed in many parts of the United States and vented their religious fury upon the faithful witnesses of Jehovah who desired to meet together in peaceful worship of Almighty God. Little Rock, Ark., Springfield, Ill., and Klamath Falls, Oreg., were the cities gaining nation-wide publicity and the reputation of being truly un-American, where mobs run free and little or nothing is done to protect the rights of citizens. Brethren were beaten, imprisoned, shot, had their clothing torn from their bodies, and their literature was burned and destroyed, automobiles were wrecked and overturned, property was destroyed, and the completely insane mobsters were permitted to go free by the so-called "law-enforcement officers", even when evidence was presented to show clearly the guilt of many


of these vicious assailants. Even Bibles were confiscated by the mobs and publicly burned. Only the Devil could inspire creatures to do that.

In the face of all this violence, putting their trust wholly in Jehovah, the brethren stood their ground and a faithful witness was given to those who viewed the mob action. The brethren carried into operation the tactics of Nehemiah and his faithful brethren in Jehovah's service and they fought for the interests of the Kingdom and for their brethren. By Jehovah's grace, the brethren were able to assemble in every city where the convention was to be held and they received the precious truths Jehovah had for them from the 17th chapter of Revelation, announced publicly in "Peace—Can It Last?" It is no wonder that the Devil tried to prevent the people from receiving such a message; but he cannot prevent the message of the Almighty God from going to those to whom it is His will it shall go. These futile attempts to discourage Jehovah's witnesses and companions through assaults and harassment have only served to bring the Lord's people into closer unity and opened the eyes of many of good-will to the wickedness of religionists and their political minions. Jehovah caused everything to result to His praise, and The Theocracy was magnified by the New World Theocratic Assembly. m


In the new provisions of the Society announced at the assembly, to strengthen the individual ministry of all in the congregations through a renewed program of personal visits by the Society's representatives, the foundation was being laid for the world-wide program of building and planting. Advanced education of all of Jehovah's witnesses was thus emphasized from the very beginning of the new administration of the Society. Notice, too, these further provisions for training that are outlined in the first Yearbook produced under the new administration:

All ordained ministers of the gospel must study to show themselves approved unto God and therefore must have training in the Word of the Lord. Provision has been made by the Society to give such instruction to those making a covenant to do the Lord's will. In all cities where there is a group of Jehovah's witnesses there is organized a company. This group of Jehovah's witnesses meets regularly several times each week and engages in very careful study of the Scriptures. The Watchtower Society provides these groups with publications for study. Not only are the books and magazines provided for their careful consideration, but question books have been printed to guide the students. Numerous Bible helps are also distributed by the Society to aid these companies in their local studies. Each of these studies is opened with prayer and the study is carried on in an orderly manner under a competent conductor appointed by the Society. Persons attending these studies are real students of the Scriptures and they follow the apostle's admonition, "Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also." (2 Tim. 2:1, 2) These students appreciate the responsibility of gaining knowledge so that they may be able to tell others also so that they too may take a stand for the Kingdom. These studies are open to all persons of good-will desirous of knowing more about the Scriptures and the teachings of our heavenly Father.

These students of the Scriptures who attend the regular meetings of the Society in the various cities not only study to gain greater knowledge concerning the Word of the Lord, but also conduct studies throughout the cities and rural communities among the people of good-will in their homes. The importance and good work done by these studies will be set out later in the report. n


At the Bethel Home, 124 Columbia Heights, Brooklyn, New York, where there are upward of 200 students of the Bible, there is carried on, in addition to the many studies such as all companies throughout the United States conduct, an advanced course in Theocratic ministry. The young men enrolled in this school are given a thorough training in public speaking, all public speaking being on Bible subjects. The course includes the study of various translations of the Bible, and the use of concordances and Bible dictionaries, and takes up a careful study on Bible history and Bible characters, proper diction, pronunciation, and preparation of a talk. Many other subjects are treated in these class studies. All students are given the opportunity to deliver lectures, as well as write treatises on various subjects, all of which are submitted to the instructors of


the school. This advanced course in Theocratic ministry has proved most profitable and helpful to all students. All the students in the school are ordained ministers and are regularly conducting Bible studies in homes, and many serve regular congregations in various parts of the country and cities, from New York. o

TOM: That school arrangement was something new, wasn't it?

JOHN: Yes, it was, although shortly after the preaching work was revived in 1919 there had been some attempt made to provide specialized training in speaking, since many felt the need for it. Groups all over the country formed what they called "Schools of the Prophets" and there was even one such group at Bethel for a time, but it was not an official provision of the Society and in a short time the arrangement was discontinued.

LOIS: Why were they called "Schools of the Prophets"?

JOHN: No doubt the name was derived from the practice of group study in the days of Elijah and Elisha. The Watch Tower once made this comment about such an arrangement in the days of the prophets. Would you like to read it, Maria?

MARIA [reading]:

[Elisha] took up the fallen mantle of Elijah as his own, and coming to the river Jordan, smote it with the mantle, as Elijah had done, saying, "Where is the Lord God of Elijah?" That is to say, Is not the Lord God of Elijah with me? If so, then the same power of God exercised through Elijah will be exercised through me. And his faith was rewarded, for Jordan was divided, as for Elijah. Thenceforth he was the chief teacher in the schools which Elijah had established, and was so recognized. p

TOM: How was the new school organized by the Society at Bethel carried on? Did you have regular classes?

JOHN: The program was begun on Monday, February 16, 1942, and was open to all male members of the headquarters' staffs This school met once a week, on Monday evening. For the first period they assembled in the auditorium, where a lecture was delivered to the entire school enrollment. Others of the Bethel family not enrolled, including the sisters, were also invited to attend. Next followed a brief recess, allowing the audience to divide as several classroom groups. During this second period classroom student talks were given on difficult subjects under the tutorship of trained classroom counselors.

As this progressive program developed in this school, courses in speaking and various phases of Bible study were offered. Immediately a remarkable improvement in the speaking ability was apparent when all the latest techniques of extemporaneous public speaking were employed. Not only was platform speaking improved, but a noticeable advancement was made also in house-to-house preaching. This was true not only of those enrolled in the school, but the female members of the Bethel family also gave evidence of real benefit from this new educational feature. The results of the new program were thus so encouraging that this school became a regular feature of the educational program at the Society's headquarters.


The next step in the Society's new educational program was designed to carry the building program to the ends of the earth through a broadened and expanded preaching activity. It involved establishing a ministerial school of advanced training to equip missionaries and ministerial representatives for specialized service in foreign fields. The limited facilities of the Society's headquarters at Brooklyn Bethel were inadequate for the operation of this proposed educational institution; so another site was sought.


It was immediately recognized that the place ideally suited for this new feature of theocratic training was the large 800-acre farm that the Society had operated since 1935 to provide foodstuffs principally for the Brooklyn Bethel family. Known as "Kingdom Farm," it was located 255 miles northwest of New York city in the Finger Lakes section of New York state, near the city of Ithaca, site of the famous Cornell University. This is the farm that we discussed earlier where a near riot was averted and an arson plot to destroy all the Society's property was prevented by the sheriff's prompt action.

In the course of years a number of buildings had been constructed on the land, and in 1941, following the threatened trouble, a large brick building was completed and named "Gilead," meaning "heap of witness." This was selected as the administration building when the board of directors approved the establishment of the Bible school in September, 1942. This school came to be known as the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead.

Immediately a faculty of four ordained ministers of the Bethel staff was appointed to prepare a suitable course of study, work up lectures, search out appropriate textbooks, gather a small library of 1,400 books of vital Biblical reference works and to formulate a college schedule of classes. The program of study designed was for a school term of five months, with a hundred students registered and housed and fed at the Society's expense for the duration of this educational period. Then, too, some adjustments had to be made in the existing buildings to provide for classrooms, an auditorium, a dining hall and sleeping quarters. r

With the war still in progress and the Society under ban in Canada only American pioneers could be brought in for the first class at Gilead. By January 31, 1943, the entire quota of students had arrived and registered and were prepared for the dedication of the school to take place the following day.

Assembled in the auditorium of Gilead on that occasion were the one hundred newly enrolled students comprising the first class, fifty-one men and forty-nine women, some married and some single. With them were friends and relatives from many parts of the country, as well as members of the Kingdom Farm family and neighbors from the vicinity. In opening the school the president of the Society, who was also president of the school, said:

In the midst of a global war now devastating many parts of the earth many colleges of learning have been obliged to close up. Today, February 1, 1943, we here assembled are privileged to witness the opening of the Watchtower Bible College of Gilead, in this beautiful section of New York state. It is not to the credit of any man that this is accomplished. Jehovah God has provided this land and this building named "Gilead" for His purpose. To Him we give all thanks and praise. In the carrying out of his purpose to have His name declared throughout all the earth before he shows his power over the enemy it appears there is more to be done by his witnesses on earth. (Ex. 9:16) This college is a gracious provision of Jehovah to that end, for here ordained ministers of the gospel will be equipped and trained for special service. We pray that this place may ever be used to the glory of His name and in its vindication.


The speaker then explained that this school of the Watchtower Society was established "solely for the purpose of training men and women to be more efficient servants as ministers of the Lord in certain fields," which was in full harmony with the charter of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, Inc. He continued:

There are many places where the witness concerning the Kingdom has not been given to a great extent. The people living in these places are in darkness, held there by religion. In some


of these countries where there are a few witnesses it is noted that the people of good-will hear readily and would associate themselves with the Lord's organization, if instructed properly. There must be hundreds and thousands more that could be reached if there were more laborers in the field. By the Lord's grace, there will be more.

It is NOT the purpose of this college to equip you to be ordained ministers. You are ministers already and have been active in the ministry for years. This is a requirement for entrance into this college. You have received your ordination from Jehovah God. Because of your works, your faithful activity, your fighting as good soldiers, you have proved your ordination and the Society recognizes you as ordained ministers. The course of study at the college is for the exclusive purpose of preparing you to be more able ministers in the territories to which you go. Your curriculum here, conducted by select, competent instructors, will include a course in college arithmetic, instructions on shipping and use of the Society's forms and reports: manner of dealing with government officials; the required international law; a course in English and grammar to improve you therein so that you will be able to present the Kingdom gospel commendably. You will also be taught the essentials of the needed foreign language, enabling you to master the language quickly when you get to the fields to which you may be sent. You as students will get the most out of the course only as you put your best into it. You should put into the course everything that you possibly can, because you want to be fully equipped for Theocratic field ministry and the missionary service in which you will engage.

All of the above-named subjects must be studied carefully by you, but your principal training will be in Bible research and public Bible speaking, and the understanding of Theocratic organization instructions. You are not being trained to become "Branch servants" or to direct the work in certain countries as the Society's special representatives; but some of you may be appointed as such in due time, if that be the Lord's will, and the work warrants it.

Your principal work is that of preaching the gospel of the Kingdom from house to house as did Jesus and the apostles. When you shall have found a hearing ear, arrange for a back-call, start a home study, and organize a company of all suchlike ones in a city or town. Not only will it be your good pleasure to organize a company, but you must help them to understand the Word, strengthen them, address them from time to time, aid them in their service meetings and their organization. When they are strong and can go on their own and take over the territory, you can depart to some other city to proclaim the Kingdom. s

Several of the members of the board of directors then addressed the students, and later that day the school's schedule of classes commenced. t


TOM: What were the entrance requirements for the school? Obviously students must be Jehovah's witnesses and, according to the president's opening talk, those in the first class had been in the ministry for a number of years. But didn't you say something about all in the first class being pioneers?

JOHN: Yes, in fact two years' experience in the pioneer service was one of the entrance requirements. That would mean too that one would have to be dedicated and wholly devoted to the Lord. In addition, one eligible for entry had to have a fair education in the secular schools, be a student of the Bible and have a good knowledge of its contents.

Of course, no tuition was charged, since the Watchtower Society offers gratuitous education to everyone. In addition, the Society paid the traveling expenses of these students to and from the school, provided food and lodging while they were taking the course, and gave them a small monthly expense allowance besides. It was understood by those attending that they would accept an assignment of service any place in the world the Society decided to send them.

LOIS: That sounds like a wonderful arrangement. How did they go about obtaining admission?

JOHN: Entrance was by questionnaire,


and an invitation was extended through the office of the president. Then, upon receipt of appointment to attend, matriculation was made through the registrar's office at Gilead school.

No other school or college offered a course to compare with that given at the Society's School of Gilead. No subjects were elective; all students took the same course. Most of the subjects were Biblical and included one complete advanced course in theocratic ministry and missionary service. From the beginning, studies were conducted in theocratic records, missionary service, theocratic ministry, Bible truth, public speaking, Bible research, Scriptural facts, history of worship, Kingdom prophecies, Supreme Law, Bible themes and a foreign language. u The Bible was the principal textbook used and Spanish was the foreign language taught in this first class.

LOIS: what kind of classroom schedule did they have?

JOHN: Their schedule called for five and a half hours of schooling each of the five weekdays, from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., with one hour off for lunch at noon. Additionally a lecture was scheduled Saturday mornings for one and a half hours, with the balance of the morning devoted to study or personal coaching from the instructors. Every weekday evening the hours from seven to ten were also devoted to study.

In addition to the lecture and classroom study each weekday, students devoted three hours in the afternoon to performing domestic and farm duties. Not only was this a great aid in relieving the nervous strain between classroom and evening study periods, but it also aided in maintaining the five dormitories on the campus as well as caring for the many farm duties. The accumulated efforts of various student bodies have resulted in the construction and improvement of many projects around the campus, such as the building of a swimming pool, the paving of roads, the construction of a library building and general landscaping.

Another change from the heavy routine of study was offered in the weekend periods of missionary field service. Parties of students grouped together and witnessed to the various towns and villages within a thirty-mile radius, in later years extending this to sixty miles, and this resulted in arousing much interest in the Kingdom. The students then called back on those people of good will and conducted Bible studies in their homes. The school instructors, themselves being ordained ministers, joined the students in their house-to-house, back-call and street preaching activity. This unity between students and instructors added to the theocratic quality of the entire school arrangement. v

Now the program of global expansion was under way. Thoroughly trained in the world-wide preaching of Jehovah's witnesses as viewed from the Society's headquarters and having made a number of trips with the second president of the Society, the new president had seen the need of greater training of all the Society's ministers. Together with his staff the president had immediately set about to design a long-range program of theocratic education. The foundation was now beginning to take shape.

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