“I asked Barbara Anderson, by way of email, a question about the Bethel libraries, in particular, those that the writers had access. I had hoped, based on her experience and perspective, she would jump in on one of our threads where the library topic had been raised. I didn’t know until several days ago that she and Joe had been away on vacation. Well, she emailed me an answer about those libraries which I thought to be very interesting. I asked her permission to share it all of with you, which she granted. I also decided to create a thread of its own – this one. As an aside, one of the posters to the original thread had made mention of a secret room. Barbara addresses this as well.” [From a thread posted by Len Miller. Republished at Freeminds.org.]
Yes, a Bethelite woman provided “spiritual food” to Jehovah’s Witnesses…
Over the last couple of years, many people have asked me to share my Writing Department resumé and basically that’s why I’m writing this. I hope that the knowledge of what I did at Bethel helps Jehovah’s Witnesses to understand that the Watchtower organization misleads the flock by inferring that all “spiritual food” somehow emanates only from men and particularly from the Governing Body.
Oh, by the way, I know without a doubt that while I was in the Writing Department, none of the Governing Body members researched and wrote any articles and books that the Society published. From information I received from insiders, this continued up until at least until the end of the 1990s.
Long out of print, A.O. Hudson’s book Bible Students in Britain (1989) documents in detail the first 100 years of IBSA / Watchtower history in the British Isles. When a few used copies occasionally become available on Amazon.com, the sellers typically demand rather high prices (usually well over $100 USD). I have provided a link to those sellers below this article. For those who would like to take a look before buying their own copy, I am pleased to announce that I’ve recently added a PDF version to our Documents pages in the 1980-1999 section.
THEY CAME off the boat at Southampton, that autumn day in 1881, two American evangelists, J.C. Sunderlin and J. J. Bender, commissioned by Pastor C.T. Russell to plant in Great Britain the message he was assiduously preaching in the United States. They set foot on these shores with the enthusiasm of men entering upon virgin territory. The States had known this evangelist for two years past; it was as yet unknown in this country. The time had come to proclaim it.
[The complete document is available for PDF download here: Click to View]
In the last few years, there have been numerous “adjustments” in the Watchtower organization, both for doctrines and procedures. While many readers find these revisions enlightening, there are still many brothers and sisters concerned about all these changes and what it means for Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Change is never easy, especially when it comes to doctrinal changes. You can be told that something is “truth” for years – even decades – only to have it changed within one simple article. Why is it so difficult to accept that a doctrine we had long believed as being based on the scriptures – turns out not to be?
The fundamental reason is the way our brain is hard-wired. Beliefs (whether religious or otherwise) are designed to enhance our ability to survive; they are biologically designed to be strongly resistant to change.
“Belief” is the name of the survival tool of the brain designed to enhance the danger-identification function of our senses. Beliefs extend the range of our senses so that we can better detect danger, thereby improving our chances of survival as we move into and out of unfamiliar territory. Beliefs, in essence, serve as our brain’s “long-range danger detectors.”
Because our senses and beliefs are both tools for survival, our brain considers them to be separate but equally important. In other words, beliefs operate independent of our sensory data (evidence). Beliefs are not supposed to change easily or simply in response to evidence. If they did, they would be virtually useless as tools for survival. A police officer unable to believe in the possibility of a killer lurking behind someone with a harmless appearance could easily get hurt or killed.
As far as our brain is concerned, there is no need for data and belief to agree. They each augment and supplement one another. They are designed to be able to disagree. So when data (or evidence) and belief come into conflict, the brain does not automatically give preference to the data.
This is why beliefs (even erroneous beliefs) do not die in the face of contradictory evidence. The brain doesn’t care whether the belief matches the data. It cares whether the belief is helpful for survival. Period.