Weizenfeld mit Sonnenuntergang

The Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses Makes a Book Disappear – Part 1

By Christian

Most Kingdom Halls of Jehovah’s Witnesses and many Witnesses have them: a ‘theocratic’ library. That is, a collection of previously published books and editions of the Watchtower and Awake. One book I liked very much and also found again in the estate of my late mother:

Commentary on the Letter of James, published in 1979 by the Watchtower Society.

But actually it is a lost book. In what way? Because unfortunately even many Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t know this book published in 1979 at all anymore! Well, it is older, but it should be easy to find in the Watchtower online library …

Watchtower Online Library Books

So in the list of books it is already once not. But we know the title. So let’s look in the index:

Watchtower Online Library Index – Book James

There are several references to a book with abbreviation cj, which can be easily interpreted as ‘Commentary James’. But there is no link to the book. When I searched again in May 2023, I got this result. With ‚commentary on the letter of james“:

With ‚commentary james‘, we get this:

However, of the 22 results, all but 8 are in ‘Kingdom Ministry’, which prove that this book was sold in the preaching service, for example in km 8/89 for $1.00. By the way, in Germany in the ‘Kingdom Ministry’ December 1987 it was still stated to offer the book for DM 1.00. Only one month later, in January 1988, the ‘Kingdom Ministry’ stated that the book could be offered for DM 2.00. So the value had doubled!

Commentary on the Letter of James sold for $1.00

Leaving out the references in the index and references in the Watchtower and Awake to the book, these results remain:

Wachtturm Online-Bibliothek Suche

No reference to the book except these? And nothing from the content of the book can be found. Maybe the ‘question from readers’ is interesting:

w81 1/15 p.31 Questions From Readers

Nothing, except an article that tries to ‘straighten out’ one sentence from the whole book. What is supposed to be so special about this one sentence?

I still remember how all Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide studied this book in ‘Book Study‘ meeting. The next picture, however, does not show my book, in which, of course, I also diligently underlined. The book is from my late mother, whom I can praise posthumously: She too had prepared well and underlined exactly the right answer to the question on Section 27:

Kommentar zum Jakobusbrief S. 49
Commentary on the Letter of James (German) p. 49
Commentary on the Letter of James (English) p. 47/48

And in the ‘Watchtower Online Library’ there is nothing, except an article that tries to ‘straighten out’ this one sentence from the whole book. What should be so special about this one sentence?

„Besides being the God of Christians, Jehovah is also their Father, for he has begotten them by means of his spirit to be his sons.“

Commentary on the Letter of James (English) p. 47

The further text of the Watchtower article shows what explosive power this one, small sentence probably had:

Does this mean that all dedicated and baptized Christians have been begotten by God’s holy spirit to be his sons?

No, this is not the thought that should be gathered from this, as though we now had a change of understanding in this matter. Such a change would nullify the Scriptural teaching as to two separate destinies for those gaining salvation, a heavenly one and an earthly one.

Watchtower 1981 15/1 p. 31 Questions from Readers

And there even a tiny change is proposed, which would have ‘fixed’ everything:

To avoid ambiguity, the Commentary could have inserted the word “anointed” in this sentence on the bottom of page 47. Thus it could have read: “Besides being the God of anointed Christians, Jehovah is also their Father, for he has begotten them by means of his spirit to be his sons.” Then the question on page 57 on this portion could have read: “How is God also the Father of anointed Christians?”

Watchtower 1981 15/1 p. 31 Questions from Readers

On the subject of ‘anointed Christians,’ I address this article, “Should We (Be) Called Christians or Anointed?“ (to be translated to English yet)

Also, the old Ezekiel book from 1971 (Know Jehovah kj) is still available online, as is the new Ezekiel book from 2018 (Pure Worship rr). In the German index, they are even right next to each other!

Is the reason for the disappearance of the book of James perhaps that there have been too many changes? Why then was the book of Ezekiel rewritten after almost 50 years? I quote from the 2018 book:

Additionally, in the decades since 1971, our understanding of many Bible truths has been greatly enhanced as the light has continued to grow brighter. (Prov. 4:18) In 1985 we started to see clearly how the “other sheep” are declared righteous as friends of God. (John 10:16; Rom. 5:18; Jas. 2:23) Then in 1995 we understood for the first time that the final judging of “the sheep” and “the goats” would take place during the coming “great tribulation.” (Matt. 24:21; 25:31, 32) All these adjustments have had an impact on our understanding of the book of Ezekiel.
In recent years, the light has continued to grow brighter still. Consider the lessons learned from Jesus’ illustrations. Many of those lessons have now become crystal clear in our minds and hearts. A number of those illustrations refer to events that will soon take place during the fast-approaching great tribulation. In a similar way, our understanding of certain prophecies found in the book of Ezekiel has been clarified. Included among these are the prophecies concerning Gog of Magog (chapters 38 and 39), the work of the man with the secretary’s inkhorn (chapter 9), and the valley of dry bones and the symbolic joining of the two sticks (chapter 37). All these clarifications likewise update what was written years ago in the ‘Know Jehovah’ book.

Pure Worship 2018, Pure Worship of Jehovah—Restored At Last! p. 2 chapter „A Letter From the Governing Body“

If you compare the two books, you can’t help but wonder what is left of the old book. So the Governing Body had decided to have a new interpretation of the Bible book Ezekiel written.

Why wasn’t this done with the book Commentary James as well? I can’t really remember anything from the book that would have been changed by ‘new light’.

The reason lies somewhere else. If you search for Edward Dunlap in the Watchtower library, you will still find him. Jehovah’s Witness sources still show that he had important functions in the Jehovah’s Witness organization:

Watchtower Library: Search result ‘Edward Dunlap’

I remember finding even more about him there at one time. He was the registrar of the Gilead School for over 10 years and gave lectures at their graduation ceremonies. What you don’t find is that he was the author of the book Commentary on the Letter of James. That is found in Raymound Franz’s book Conflict of Conscience. And there you find the reason for it all: around 1980 he was branded and excluded with others in an incredibly un-Christian way as an ‘apostate’. And any memory of him should probably be erased. Much like what is happening now with Anthony Morris III on Jehovah’s Witness websites since he is no longer a member of the Governing Body. But that is another topic.

However, it is difficult to understand why the book is then also banned from the online library. Because before such a book is published by Jehovah’s Witnesses at an assembly in large numbers and is later also studied in the ‘book study‘ meeting, it must have been proofread by very, very many. Also by the Governing Body and its committees. And with the publication by the Governing Body, it was the ‘new light’ of the ‘current truth’. Or was it not? Either the content is correct, or it is not. Otherwise, the Governing Body would have actively distributed false teachings as ‘spiritual food’.

Maybe there is still one or the other copy in the Kingdom Halls of Jehovah’s Witnesses or private libraries. For those who know English it is easier: You can still download the English edition of the book at watchtowerwayback.org.

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