A People For His Name: A History of Jehovah’s Witnesses and An Evaluation
Paperback, 300 Pages
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A history of The Watchtower Bible & Tract Society (Jehovah's Witnesses) from their origins in the 1870s up to the mid-1960s. Long out-of-print, now in a second edition. This title was originally published using the pen name "Timothy White."
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May 30, 2009"Interesting yet flawed" A People for his Name is an excellent book to begin research of the religious group known today as Jehovah’s Witnesses. Refreshingly, the author was careful not to sound like he was on a crusade against the religion. In the Preface, the author, Tony Wills, said he had been “intimately associated with Jehovah’s Witnesses for many years,” and this is the reason he believed he could offer an objective look at the history of the group. Consequently, in 1967, writing under the name, Timothy White, Wills published A People For His Name. The book was not widely circulated and soon disappeared from view with few copies being extant today. Therefore, for those who are interested in adding another book to their library of books discussing the history of this controversial religion, A People For His Name was republished with Mr. Wills’s permission. In the Preface of his book, Tony Wills observed that “despite the growing need, no adequate history of the... More > movement has been made available.” However, upon close examination, I found this book primarily narrates the development of the religion’s doctrines and history from the developers’ statements which Wills is basically summarizing or quoting. For this reason, I’m not comfortable that the author’s account is adequate either. On the whole, I found A People For His Name to be a summary of the life, times and beliefs of the religion’s leaders as found in their mouthpiece The Watchtower or other Witness publications. This would be acceptable if information in Witness literature could be trusted to be truthful. Inasmuch as many researchers have determined that early Witness leaders did not always tell the truth about themselves or their movement, readers should be careful not to believe everything they read in this book as the gospel truth about Witness history. Another thing I noticed is the author’s tendency to make assertions without providing proof. For instance, Wills observes on page 5 that the first president, Charles Taze Russell, “thought everyone would be ransomed, he did not think everyone would be saved.” This statement lacks the documentation to prove Russell thought this. I found many examples of assertions made without any evidence offered. Note the topic on page 154, “Armageddon.” Here the reader finds a one-page explanation of the subject of Armageddon as taught by the second president of the Witness organization, Judge Rutherford. It would have been helpful if the sources were listed in the footnotes so we could find the material the author is explaining. How are we to judge for ourselves if the author is correct unless we can look at the data? Incidentally, quotation sources are found in the footnotes, but no citations are listed where the material which the author is analyzing can be found. Overall, I found the topics in the book well arranged and interesting. There’s definitely a great deal of history in A People For His Name but the reader can not separate the wheat from the chaff without additional research which this reviewer would advise. However, for comparative study, A People For His Name should definitely be included in any list of books that discuss the early history of Jehovah’s Witnesses.< Less
May 17, 2009"A PEOPLE FOR HIS NAME" I first read this book over twenty-five years ago and found it to be the best presentation of the genesis and history of what would one day become a worldwide cult known as Jehovah's Witnesses. The book was published by "Timothy White" which I now know to be a pseudonym for Tony Willis. A People For His Name should be in the personal library of every former Jehovah's Witness. It's the source for much of the history found in Crisis of Conscience by Raymond Franz. A People For His Name is very interesting, detailed, accurate, insightful, and very helpful in illuminating much in the history of the Watchtower movement that is murky. I'm extremely pleased to see this marvelous book back in publication. Namaste, Nate Merritt
Apr 14, 2007"Objective, yet revealing history of cult of Jehovah's Witnesses" The majority of books written about cults and fringe religions fall into two categories. They are often sugarcoated accounts of the group and hagiographies of the founders written by members or sympathizers or they are diatribes written by disaffected members with an ax to grind and are rife with emotional editorializing. While these books often contain interesting and valuable information it is refreshing to see a work that exposes the flaws, inconsistencies and hypocrisies of a cult by simply presenting a detailed, honest and comprehensive history of the group. A People for His Name is such a work. My understanding is that Tony Wills, the author, was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness and went on to lead a successful academic career. His history of the group begins with the early life of its founder, Charles Taze Russell and concludes with the presidency of Nathan Knorr. The book was first published in 1967 and... More > so does not contain the history of the group in the last three decades of the twentieth century. However, it is an important book because it provides facts about the religion in the early years of the century, facts that are not well known because the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society, the corporate arm of the group, has hidden them. This religion relies on its eschatology to obtain converts, but has a long history of setting dates for the end of the world that have proven to be false. In order to survive the religion has had to conceal its failed predictions and has done so by suppressing the facts of its own history, the beliefs of its early leaders and its own publications from those early years. Therefore, this Second Edition of Mr. Wills’ work, which contains a wealth of meticulous details about that suppressed era, is an indispensable research tool for anyone interested in cults in general and the truth about Jehovah’s Witnesses in particular. However, the main virtue of this book, as stated previously, is its unbiased and scholarly tone which does not slide into either praise or denunciation, but lets the actions and words of the organization and its leaders speak for themselves. And speak for themselves they do, providing a fascinating glimpse into a group that claims to be directed by God but is subject to the same venal, political, inconsistent and mean-spirited thinking to any human organization is prone. Mr. Wills deftly shows how the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society has reinvented itself again and again, acting as if past doctrines, internecine conflict and empty predictions never existed. He does this by presenting the facts in an even handed way. Occasionally he offers an adverse editorial comment but it is mild and he sometimes has words of praise for the actions of certain individuals. But for the most part he just allows the religious organization to indict itself for its inconsistency, foolishness and hypocrisy as the details of its history unfold. This book would be a revelation to most present day Jehovah’s Witnesses who have been fed a sanitized version of their religion’s history. These individuals need to know the truth about the cult to which they belong and this objective history, which does not seek to offend and inflame, could certainly help to open their eyes. This Second Edition is an attractive softbound book, beautifully formatted and containing an Index that was not included in the First Edition.< Less
Mar 5, 2007"A PEOPLE FOR HIS NAME" A PEOPLE FOR HIS NAME by Tony Wills The book is a welcome addition to my collection. This book has been important and needed. I'd read a copy of the original edition maybe ten years ago and I've been asked where a copy of the document could be acquired. Now, I'm happy to report a reliable and quality source. For me, the book reads like a good mystery. The book is laid out sequentially, rather than topically. It's topical within the sequences and makes for handy indexing. The format adds value for the topical researcher, but interesting reading for the reader. The book suggests many related topics of interest for continued research such as the study of the evolution of religious philosophy by the introduction of Platonic Greek philosophy, the beginning of the William Miller movement and the association of Pastor Russell with the Second Adventist movement. The book is crisp and clean print and easy to read. References are at page bottoms and there is an... More > index. I highly recommend this book. Thanks to the author and the publishers for making it available. Gary Busselman, Sioux Falls, South Dakota< Less
There are no reviews for previous versions of this product
- by Tony Wills (Standard Copyright License)
- Second Edition
- Tony Wills
- January 25, 2010
- Perfect-bound Paperback
- Interior Ink
- Black & white
- 1.97 lbs.
- Dimensions (inches)
- 8.5 wide x 11 tall
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