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Jehovah's Witnesses In The Divine Purpose

CHAPTER 33

International Unity of Purpose Cements the New World Society

JOHN: The first of the 1951 Clean Worship Assembly series met in London, England, August 1-5, at the famous Wembley Stadium. Here the Witnesses flocked from forty different nations, arriving by train, car, boat and plane. At the climactic session of the assembly 36,315 attended to hear the public talk "Will Religion Meet the World Crisis?" delivered by the Society's president.

Although the lectures at this assembly were given primarily in English, there were also sessions in Danish, Finnish, French, German, Hollandish, Norwegian and Swedish. The well-attended, spirited gatherings demonstrated the international nature of this assembly, where all the brothers mingled freely, enjoying international fellowship. All over London the Witnesses could be recognized by the neat lapel badges all conventioners wore, which not only identified them, but also advertised the public talk.

The subjects of all the convention speeches emphasized the practical side of God's clean worship and the making of the ministry of his Word our life career and professional work. Such information, counsel and instruction filled a vital need in the lives of those attending. The delivery of the talks and the putting on of the preaching and teaching demonstrations made the stadium an educational center and training school for five days, better fitting all who attended for wider and more effective service thereafter. This program arranged for the London assembly was in large measure duplicated at the various convention cities as the series progressed.

The London assembly opened on Wednesday, August 1, on an optimistic note. The Society's president encouraged imitation of Jehovah, "the biggest optimist in the universe." a At the conclusion of these cheering words the speaker introduced four new tracts, entitled "What Do Jehovah's Witnesses Believe?" "Hell-Fire— Bible Truth or Pagan Scare?" "Jehovah's Witnesses, Communists or Christians?" and "Awake from Sleep!"

Friday, August 3, captured a special place in the press reports with the mass baptism of 1,123 at the beautiful Ruislip Lido. That evening the president showed in a practical way how to renovate our minds to put us in tune with the oncoming new world. b

Saturday, the president's discourse on the subject "The Triumph of Clean, Undefiled Worship" was enthusiastically re-

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ceived and fittingly climaxed by the release of the new book What Has Religion Done for Mankind?

A genial afternoon sun peered down from between clouds as eager Londoners, among them some Sirs and Ladies, streamed into Wembley Stadium on Sunday, August 5, for the climactic conclusion of this grand assembly. This was "Praise Jehovah as King Day," and the talk these 36,315 conventioners and their friends had come to hear was well calculated to do just that. "Will Religion Meet the World Crisis?" was the challenging theme the Society's president had chosen and his forthright answer delighted and enthused his responsive audience. A booklet containing the text of the talk was released at the close of the session, 500,000 copies being on hand for distribution, as many copies free to each one present as he cared to pass on to others. c

PROGRESSIVE "CLEAN WORSHIP" ASSEMBLIES

From London many Witnesses traveled to the Continent to share in further assemblies and to meet thousands of their associates who had been unable to come to Britain. The first week saw them in Paris, France, at the Palais des Sports, August 9-12, with 10,456 attending the public lecture. Here Witnesses from twenty-eight countries were represented at this first assembly of Jehovah's witnesses for all France in fourteen years. On Friday, August 10, there were 351 baptized. This was an enthusiastic, instructive, theocratic four-day festival, heightened on Saturday by the release of the new book in French "Equipped for Every Good Work."

Two one-day assemblies followed, the first on Tuesday, August 14, in Luxembourg and the second in Brussels, Belgium, on Thursday, August 16. Both were attended by the president and several companions. Then on to Rotterdam in the Netherlands, the next center for a Clean Worship Assembly, meeting in the Ahoy Gebouw, the sports arena, August 17-19. There 285 were immersed on Sunday, August 19, and on Friday and Saturday the Dutch brothers were delighted with two new releases in Hollandish, the booklet Can You Live Forever in Happiness on Earth and the Awake! magazine, also the promise of another release in the near future, the book "This Means Everlasting Life." Six large tents were supplied with straw to provide sleeping chambers for 3,600 conventioners. The well-advertised public talk on Sunday brought 10,775 in attendance, the largest of the Society's gatherings in that country. d

The Frankfurt am Main assembly in Germany, August 24-26, 1951, was a delightful experience and much like living in the woods for the three days. The large Sports Stadium and the neighboring Cycle Racing Bowl for overflow seating were rented for this largest of the German assemblies. Much advance preparation had been made in getting ready for this gigantic convention and 4,901 convention workers helped to make this assembly a huge success.

In City Forest adjoining the main stadium there were erected three large tent camps with streets bearing Biblical names. Several of the tents erected were also used for the various departments, including a cafeteria that had a railroad locomotive supplying steam for the unique kitchen arrangement, making it possible to feed 30,000 persons an hour. The majority of this tent city, however, was for the accommodation of 27,000 conventioners who could not be located in hotels or private

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homes in Frankfurt. The musical ability of these brothers was well displayed also in the orchestra of 150 musicians who entertained the convention and led the assembly in singing.

The program at this assembly was similar to that at the London assembly. Here, on Saturday afternoon, August 25, the brothers were delighted with the release of the German edition of "Equipped for Every Good Work." That morning 2,373 were baptized. The newspapers and radio stations gave excellent publicity to this assembly and that also helped to advertise the public talk on Sunday when the assembly reached its climax with an attendance of 47,432.

The warmth of the German brothers was demonstrated at the close of the sessions in a spontaneous farewell song sung by the entire throng commending to God their fellow Witnesses who had come from twenty-four nations to join with them in this theocratic festival. Handkerchiefs were waved and then, as the president left the platform, in a soul-stirring show of appreciation, hundreds of these warmhearted brothers broke bounds and surged across the field toward him, surrounding him in a dense mass. It was some time before he showed up at his convention office in the tribune building, not to go home, but to wait and see the departing conventioners off. e

SLIPPING UNDER THE IRON CURTAIN

Only about five hundred of the brothers from East Germany were able to attend the assembly at Frankfurt, since Jehovah's witnesses in the Eastern section had been under ban of the Communists since August 30, 1950. For this reason a special one-day convention was arranged for Tuesday, August 28, in the West Zone of Berlin, where a resume of all the principal lectures and items of interest was presented by several of the original speakers themselves. This assembly took place in the pleasant open-air amphitheater called the Woodland Stage or, in German, Waldbuehne, with 13,563 attending this stirring four-hour program. It is estimated that some 8,000 of these enthusiastic conventioners were from the Communist East Zone. These brothers drank in every word as they were addressed by the Society's president, the Branch servant of Western Germany and others, and were spontaneous in their applause for freedom and against dictatorial methods being applied against Jehovah's witnesses.

These brothers, too, sang affectionate parting songs as the multitude dispersed with smiles of spiritual satisfaction and after expressions of love and thankfulness. Instead of staying and enjoying the freedom of the Western sector, these brothers displayed their genuine courage and devotion to theocratic duty by returning to the place of their assignments behind the Iron Curtain. f

Now the 1951 assembly campaign rolled on into Northern and Central Europe. At the Copenhagen, Denmark, assembly, August 31-September 2, 259 were baptized and on Sunday 6,912 attended the public meeting. For the dual assemblies at Vaasa, September 5, and Helsinki, September 7-9, in Finland, the combined number immersed came to 170 and the peak attendance was 5,750. g Stockholm, Sweden, was the next convention city, September 14-16, with 6,211 attending and 141 baptized. Lillehammer, Norway, had eighty-nine baptized on Saturday and 2,391 at the public lecture on Sunday of the assembly from September 21-23. h The brothers in Austria, Vienna, also had occasion for real rejoicing with

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the largest assembly ever held there, September 28-30. The crowds assembled 4,467 strong. i

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Bringing the 1951 series to a conclusion, Jehovah's witnesses in the United States assembled in Washington, D. C., October 12-14, at Griffin Stadium, with the surprising peak attendance of 57,500 on Sunday at the public talk. Saturday 558 were immersed. j

EVIDENCES OF INCREASE

The energetic assembly program designed for this 1951 series was truly stimulating in theocratic fellowship, knowledge and spiritual benefit. Although designed for brothers from all over the world, still, the assemblies being held as they were in many localities throughout Europe and in the United States, it was possible for many more to receive these spiritual benefits. The numbers in attendance demonstrated what an important part these assemblies played in the global ingathering of Jehovah's other sheep. Now it could not be denied that the theocratic expansion was taking place.

Throughout 1952 circuit and district assemblies were arranged in all countries. Again no world assembly was scheduled because everyone was now planning for the international convention that had been long announced for 1953 in New York city. All anticipated a repeat of the famous 1950 Yankee Stadium gathering.

Another evidence of increase was the growing demand for Bible literature made upon the Society's factory in Brooklyn. Listen to this Yearbook report of expanding printing facilities during 1952:


Because of the constant increase in the distribution of the magazines and bound books and because of the great increase throughout the world generally, it has been necessary for the printing plant at Brooklyn to have its printing facilities enlarged. As all Jehovah's witnesses know, the Society built a new addition to the printing plant in Brooklyn; and the brothers have been very busy putting it to full use during the past year. It has been necessary to install another new press to take care of the great demand for literature. A number of new machines, in addition to the press, were also installed; but we would like to say a word about this new, high-speed rotary press that we obtained. It will print not only the Watchtower and Awake! magazines at the rate of 30,000 copies an hour, but on this same press we are able to print books and booklets at the rate of 60,000 32-page units an hour. The press is 64 tons in weight and it was necessary for us to remove a part of the wall on the sixth floor of the factory in order to install it. It was dismantled after its tryout and brought to our factory in large sections, some weighing as much as 17 tons. The sections of this mammoth press were hoisted from the street to the sixth floor through the opening in the wall, which measured 16 feet by 18 feet. This press will aid the factory considerably in keeping up with the demand for literature from all over the world. k

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MARIA: There is an interesting item in the 1954 Yearbook about the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead. May I tell about it, John? It says that in January, 1953, ten years after the school opened, it was officially recognized by the United States Office of Education in Washington, D. C., as offering higher education comparable to professional colleges and educational institutions. This has enabled the United States Department of Justice and its Immigration and Naturalization Service since January 15, 1953, to accept foreign students under the nonimmigrant student visa arrangement of the United States government. Under this recognition the United States Department of State listed the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead with its consuls throughout the world as one of those institutions in the United States authorized to receive students under this special arrangement. l

JOHN: Thank you, Maria. And speaking of Gilead, I might mention that in 1954 an observatory was installed on the campus equipped with a sixteen-inch reflector-type telescope enabling the students to view the starry wonders of Jehovah's universe. m It was completed in 1955 by the installation of a newly designed observatory dome to house the valuable equipment. n

NEW WORLD SOCIETY ASSEMBLY

In 1953 Jehovah's witnesses again presented to the world a concrete example of international unity of purpose. From all over the world, in fact, from ninety-six different lands and islands of the sea, including the United States, they assembled in New York city's Yankee Stadium in their second big international convention at that site. Pouring into the city by every known means of conveyance, there were 126,387 on hand at the afternoon session on opening day, July 19, which featured the graduation of the 127 missionaries of the twenty-first class of the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead. On hand too as part of this vast throng were 945 alumni graduates of twenty previous Gilead classes. A most fitting graduation address by the Society's president on the subject "Gathering Men of All Nations into One Flock" brought round after round of applause —getting this New World Society Assembly off to an enthusiastic start. o

Let's get a few high lights from the report in The Watchtower:


The assembly was truly international, some 22,000 from 95 lands outside of the United States came—by sea, air and land.

A not insignificant segment of the New World Society Assembly was located at Trailer City, near New Market, New Jersey, forty miles from the stadium. On its 200 acres 1,500 trailers parked and 6,000 tents sprang up practically overnight along theocratically named streets. Connected by direct wire with Yankee Stadium, its 80 buildings and meeting tents provided amply for both the spiritual and the physical needs of its 45,000 inhabitants.

The assembly was well organized. Its twenty-three departments, Attendant, First Aid, etc., staffed by upward of 20,000 volunteers serving freely and cheerfully, were marvels of efficiency that amazed outsiders. Nothing was overlooked: translation of lectures for deaf-mutes; tape recordings for the benefit of those who could not come; sessions in twenty foreign languages for those who could not understand English; p and provision for visiting the Brooklyn Bethel and factory, WBBR, Staten Island, and the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead after the assembly.

The convention program itself was masterfully conceived. Each day had its "territorial" theme, Asia Day, Africa Day, etc., in the interesting and meaty branch servants' and missionary reports. Themes of new truths were heard almost daily in the major hour lectures given by the president and vice-president. And finally there was the continual flow of new

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publications, 75 in all, from the first day to the last, in English and in many foreign languages. Truly Jehovah's spirit and power was upon his people and to him went all the praise. q


The first of the new releases was the book "Make Sure of All Things." At the same time that it was presented the Society's president offered a Resolution that crystallized Jehovah's witnesses' realization of themselves as one united New World society. It was adopted by the 125,040 present with a resounding "Aye" of favor to such a privileged and blessed relationship, piling up evidence that Jehovah's witnesses are a people apart, occupying a unique place in the divine purpose. r

Then on Wednesday, July 22, Volume I of the New World Translation of the Hebrew Scriptures was released. s

SOUNDING THE ALARM OF GOG'S ATTACK

Thursday the vivid prophetic portrayal of the "New World Society Attacked from the Far North," drawn from Ezekiel 38 and 39, held the audience of 112,700 enraptured at the evening session. In no uncertain terms the Society's vice-president sounded the alarm of Armageddon. Listen to the Report:


He showed that Gog, the principal character of that prophecy, refers to Satan himself. The land of Magog refers to the location of the spirit forces of Satan in a limited spiritual realm near earth's vicinity following their expulsion from heaven by 1918. The prophetic references to Meshech, Tubal, Gomer, Put and other places apply to various elements of Satan's earthly organization.

These widely scattered Biblical places to the north and south actually describe a global conspiracy of all anti-Jehovah peoples to attack and destroy Jehovah's New World society here on earth. It is the present prosperity, unity and security of Jehovah's people that causes a jealous, evil desire on the part of Satan's hordes to eliminate Jehovah's people once and for all. Since 1914-1918 Satan, along with his name, has suffered great humiliation and decline. At this same time the name of Jehovah has become famous and has been rising to the fore in all the earth to produce the greatest issue of all time. . . .

That time of global attack is near and puts the faith of every one of Jehovah's witnesses to a supreme test. "Be from now on never relaxing guard," said Franz. "Jehovah's witnesses have to know of Armageddon in advance" that they may be forewarned and forearmed, he showed. "Let us not be careless in our great prosperity." t


Two more releases followed: the booklet Basis for Belief in a New World u and four new tracts were released, entitled "Do You Believe in Evolution or the Bible?" "Which Is the Right Religion?" "The Sign of Christ's Presence," and "Man's Only Hope for Peace." v

"FLIGHT TO SAFETY"

Saturday, July 25, arrived and far from decelerating, fast-moving events of interest kept crowding in one upon another. Highlighting the afternoon program was the talk "Flight to Safety with the New World Society" and release of the new book "New Heavens and a New Earth." In a forthright expression the Society's president branded the world alliance, known as the United Nations, as the chief and most powerful expression of the religio-political conspiracy called the "disgusting thing" at Matthew 24:15 and Daniel 11:31. His words were a stirring appeal to righteous-hearted persons to flee to the "mountains" where Jehovah's New World society now is. The convention Report comments that the president began his lecture with the words:


"The founding and building of the new and lasting things goes forward successfully while the condemning and destroying of the old things proceed." He went on to show how Christendom's present world position parallels directly that of the Jewish commonwealth and its alliance with Rome between A.D. 33 and 70.

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Jesus' famous prophecies regarding the destruction of Jerusalem as recorded at Luke 19:41-44 and Matthew 24:16 were next examined in detail. It was shown that it was the political alliance between the Jewish hierarchy in Jerusalem and that of political Rome that comprised the "disgusting thing" that brought on total desolation A.D. 70. When the Jews cried, "We have no king but Caesar," at the time of Jesus' trial, they went on world record as supporting this disgusting alliance.

True to Jesus' prophecy, Jerusalem began to be surrounded by armies in the year 66 when the political part of the alliance began to turn against the Jewish religious part. This served as a cue to the Christians living in Jerusalem to forsake the city and flee to the mountains of Gilead in harmony with Jesus' prophetic command. For some reason the Roman siege of A.D. 66 was withdrawn, only to be renewed A.D. 70 to utterly wipe out the doomed city of Jerusalem when one million of its inhabitants perished. None of the Christians lost their lives, as they had already forsaken the city.

Today Jerusalem pictures Christendom, which, in 1919, entered into an alliance with the political powers of the world to establish the League of Nations. Instead of accepting Christ's kingdom, the new heavens that were established in 1914, like Jerusalem of old which rejected the Messiah, Christendom turned to the political powers for an alliance of security. After World War I the clergy followed the political leaders in proclaiming the League of Nations as mankind's only hope. w


"At the same time," the speaker pointed out, "the voice of Jehovah's witnesses began to be heard with an unusual tone of boldness and conviction, proclaiming God's kingdom under Christ as the only hope of distressed humanity." Then, amidst enthusiastic applause, he continued: Now which of these two postwar movements really promoted God's kingdom? Which of them aroused the disgust of the Most High God? Jehovah's witnesses or the clergy-blessed League of Nations? Well, Jehovah's witnesses are still here as represented in this New World Society Assembly at Yankee Stadium, New York city, but where is that political new heavens, the League of Nations? Where was it during World War II? Down in the bottomless pit of helpless inactivity. To take away its reproach, they have revived it and given it a new front and a new name called United Nations. Students of Bible prophecy know this was just as foretold.—Rev. 17:9-11. x

URGENT FLIGHT SINCE 1945

When, then, did the signal for flight appear? As in ancient Jerusalem, the speaker reminded, the signal was the encirclement by armies. These armies, he said, were not the police force or military forces of the United Nations.


The armies that are predicted by Jesus' words to desolate this modern, antitypical Jerusalem are within the political ranks of the very United Nations. They are those elements that wage war upon the religious system of Christendom. When the "disgusting thing" came up out of the abyss in 1945, it at its very start contained powerful members of the Communist anti-religious bloc of nations. . . .

Therefore 1945, the year of the United Nation's emergence, marks particularly the time when those who read Daniel's prophecy and Jesus' warning with discernment could see armies encamping to surround Jerusalem's modern counterpart in order eventually to make her desolate and naked as a spiritual prostitute. . . .

The sign of the nearer approach of the battle of Armageddon is now before our eyes. When this adulterous, religio-political combine finally cracks up and the symbolic beast and its ten horns turn against the harlot system of organized religion it will denote that the "war of the great day of God the Almighty" has begun by which he will execute all the foes of his Messianic kingdom. That war will end when Jesus Christ the King together with his angel executioners will destroy all the "disgusting thing" and all other elements of this old world that line up in opposition to his rule. . . .

There is now no time for delay. It is high time to flee for safety. y


With the warning of the urgent need for flight since 1945 still ringing in their ears, the conventioners were in proper frame of mind for Sunday morning's session. Following reports in keeping with "Islands of the Pacific Day," the Society's vice-president mounted the platform. He

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based his engrossing discourse, "Filling the House with Glory," on Haggai 2:7, Darby Trans.: "I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come; and I will fill this house with glory, saith Jehovah of hosts." How is his house being filled with glory? By Jehovah's bringing into his house of worship the "great crowd" of desirable ones from all nations.

When Jehovah enthroned his King, Christ Jesus, in 1914, the nations had reason to fear for future existence. "They now had God's kingdom to reckon with!" The growth of the New World society has served to shake the nations still more.

The result of Jehovah's shaking Satan's world is that something must come. Haggai said it was "the desire of all nations." z


Explaining that a clearer view of the Hebrew text ruled out former understandings as to what the "desire" of the nations was, he continued:


With our eyes enlightened by these interpretative prophecies we have reached the time to ask, Have the desirable things, the precious things, the treasures, the choicest things of all the nations come in? You thousands of the anointed remnant of Jehovah's witnesses who are here today, lift up your eyes and sweep them about this vast structure of Yankee Stadium and behold the tens on tens of thousands of people of good will from scores of nations and languages. There is the answer of Jehovah of hosts to the question. He has shaken all the nations by the preaching of the good news of the Kingdom in all the inhabited earth for the purpose of a witness to all the nations, and the desirable things of the nations have come in already, and an untold number of them will yet come in before Jehovah consummates the great shaking by fighting the battle of Armageddon and totally removing the quaking heavens and earth of the Devil's organization. . . .

Behold, then, his house of worship today filled with glory, gifted with divine peace. Blessed are we to live to witness this sight in vindication of Jehovah's word. Blessed shall we be to abide in his house worshiping him purely, "in holy array," and tirelessly working for the filling of his house with yet greater glory by helping all the remaining desirable ones of all the nations to come in. aa

CONCLUDING AND EXTENDING THE 1953 CONVENTION

Sunday, July 26, at 1 p.m. a public talk was delivered to an enthusiastic Spanish-speaking audience of 4,075 persons. bb Then at 4 p.m., the public address, "After Armageddon—God's New World," by the Society's president, brought the New World Society Assembly of Jehovah's Witnesses to a fitting climax. Of the 165,829 that came to hear the lecture, 49,027 were at Trailer City, while 91,562 heard it within the Stadium and 25,240 were assembled in overflow tents on adjoining and nearby lots. Many thousands more undoubtedly heard it over WBBR. At the conclusion of the session the printed text of the talk was offered free in booklet form to all present. cc

Concluding, informal remarks by the president that evening, followed by a song and prayer, brought the assembly to a close, his parting, loving admonition being


no matter how small the unit or how great the assembly, the New World society will travel right on through the battle of Armageddon under Jehovah's protection. So let us all bless Jehovah by our returning to our homes and carrying on faithfully in our service.dd


TOM: What about all those who couldn't come to New York? Was any provision made for them to get the benefits of the program?

JOHN: Well, of course, the main talks were published in The Watchtower, but also, in the months that followed the New York assembly, extension conventions patterned after the 1953 assembly at Yankee Stadium were held on all five continents.

For instance, African natives worked days ahead of time in erecting gigantic, skillfully designed outdoor stadium assembly places, as well as structures or booths

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for sleeping dormitories. The ingenuity and industry of these African brothers, as well as their enthusiasm for theocratic detail, have stimulated admiration and love for them on the part of their brothers the world over.

RESPONSE TO THE NEW WOULD SOCIETY IN ACTION

TOM: It's surprising that they would even know how to get started.

JOHN: That was one of the important features of convention operation. Not only were convention personnel interested in providing facilities for their immediate needs, but as in all other features of theocratic activity, their eye was on the future and future need of similar services. Therefore, an important part of the convention organization was the provision to train new ones to perform these same tasks at other assemblies at a future date.

Also, as in 1950, reports of the New York assembly were carried throughout the world by all known news media. Here is a typical comment in the New York World-Telegram and Sun on July 22:


The New World Assembly of the 125,000 members of the Jehovah's Witness sect here is notable for its good taste, adult decorum and its stoical indifference to the turkish bath climate it has encountered. Their encampment at New Market, N. J.—a settlement which might easily have been an unsightly, unclean shack city—seems to be a model of good planning and wise organization. . . . We vote that our city's latchstring be permanently left out for these earnest people. . . . We hope, too, that their example will start a trend among some of the wayward, middle-aged adolescents who hold their annual cutups here. ee


The new-found unity and vision of understanding of the one new world under the Lord Jesus Christ made Jehovah's witnesses truly a new people with a desire to operate every far-flung part of the organization in the same efficient and orderly manner as every other part. As evidence of this unity a film, produced by the Society following this 1953 assembly, dramatically captured and portrayed "The New World Society in Action."

On the night of April 3, 1954, this film of one hour and twenty minutes' length was shown for the first time outside Brooklyn headquarters to an audience of 1,110 at a New York city circuit assembly. It proved to be a mighty instrument in visually acquainting all viewers with the magnitude of the Society's organization, its institutions, its field activities, its large-scale conventions, its smooth, efficient functioning and the spirit by which it is moved. In the territories of the Watch Tower Society's Branch offices, even in Taiwan during the eighteen-year-long ban upon Jehovah's witnesses, the film was exhibited to large appreciative audiences. By the close of the 1955 service year this motion picture, with accompanying commentary, had been shown to 2,379,549 persons. ff

But many things occurred during 1954 and 1955 that we'll not have time to discuss tonight. Forty years of service under the Kingdom's operation were drawing to a close and additional efforts were being made to cement the unity of the New World society by equipping and training the individual minister. Furthermore, the first decade of preaching following World War II was ending; so we should take a look at the world-wide field of service and see what progress had been made. We'll do that next week.



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