reprinted from the Mar/Apr 1993 Free Minds Journal

Was There A Secret Black Man On The Governing Body?

Review of A History of Jehovah's Witnesses: From A Black American Perspective

by Randall Watters

Here is one book that is written from a unique perspective. It is entitled, A History of Jehovah's Witnesses: From a Black American Perspective by Firpo Carr, Ph.D. (Scholar Technological Institute of Research, Inc., 1992). The author is a black Jehovah's Witness from South Central Los Angeles who claims to have a Ph.D. and is a full-time pioneer. His parents say he was a child prodigy. Carr says he is completing his doctoral work in theology, but does not say where (the Watchtower forbids a Witness to study at formal theological schools. It also unofficially forbids the writing of a book like this!).

Carr attempts to document similarities between the Black Muslim movement and the Watchtower movement. He argues that Wallace D. Fard, founder of the Black Muslims, was influenced by the teachings of J.F. Rutherford, second president of the Watchtower Society. He quotes the book Elijah Muhammad: Religious Leader by Malu Halasa: "Though Fard may have embellished or exaggerated the details of his life, the origins of his teachings were not quite so mysterious. The Nation [of Islam] drew its principles not only from the Koran but also from the Bible, books about Freemasonry, and the philosophy of Joseph F. ('Judge') Rutherford, leader of Jehovah 's Witnesses." (Emphasis added by Carr)

Yet Carr remains unconvincing in drawing parallels between the Watchtower and the Nation of Islam. Aside from the strict monotheism of both religions as well as their revolt against the churches of Christendom, there appear to be few similarities. So what's the point? Carr begs the question. Interestingly, Carr does quote a few of the passages from The Watch Tower in C.T. Russell's time regarding the ridiculous views of the black man they held, such as how the black man would slowly turn white (sound like the Mormons, anyone?) After quoting a number of these and attempting to excuse Russell's ignorance, he says:

Shamefully, critics have misquoted this passage from the Society's literature in an attempt to misinform people, particularly blacks, who are interested in the teachings of the Bible as understood by the Witnesses. (See "Blacks and the Watchtower," Bethel Ministries Newsletter, July/August 1988, page 1, column 3, pp. 1 & 2.)

The only shame belongs on the organization who would print such racist nonsense in the first place! The claim of "misquoting" by Carr does not stand up, nor does he demonstrate how my article is a misquote. Carr attempts to answer why there have been no blacks on the Watchtower's prestigious Governing Body, yet does not answer the question. His most astounding claim is that there WAS a black man on the Governing Body-William K. Jackson! Picking myself up off the floor, I wondered how he came to this conclusion, having known Bill Jackson from my six years at Bethel (1974-1980) and he was as white as a sheet with no black features whatsoever. Carr's only defense was that Bill Jackson "openly stated that he was black." That is news to all of us who worked at Bethel. Perhaps Carr needs a second book to correct the incredible fantasies in his first one, if the Watchtower doesn't disfellowship him first.

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