The Video: How the Overlapping Generation was Revealed
For over 40 years the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses had proclaimed that the generation that witnessed [and understood] the events of 1914 would “by no means all pass away” before the “end of this system of things,” occurred via a “Great Tribulation” culminating in Armageddon. This would involve the slaughter of billions of non-Jehovah’s Witnesses, and would be followed by a “New System” ruled over by the Governing Body (and other “anointed ones”) from heaven.
By “generation” they explicitly meant the individuals who were alive in 1914 and who understood the “signs of the last days.” [Though, if those people were believing what was actually published by the Watchtower at the time, they would’ve understood that year as the end of the last days rather than their start. So, there never really was such a “generation” as the WT proclaims; no one understood the significance of that year in the way the WT currently understands it: as the start of the last days.]
However, in 1995 — when the 1914 generation had dwindled away — the Governing Body changed the meaning of “generation” to just mean wicked people living at the time of the end. This removed any sort of time limit on the start of Armageddon.
Then in 2008 the Governing Body changed the meaning of “generation” once again. Now it was said to refer to all of the “anointed” Christians for the past 2,000 years. So, in a 180 degree turn, the generation went from meaning wicked people to meaning righteous people!
But compared to the previous long-standing doctrine, none of these changes made Armageddon seem imminent. Also lost was any meaningful connection to the year 1914: a year that had been the cornerstone of WT propaganda for too long to abandon.
Another change was called for to rectify the above and to remotivate their followers.
That change came in the year 2010, when the Governing Body declared that “generation” meant two overlapping generations! Any Jehovah’s Witness who became anointed while any of the 1914 generation of anointed ones was still alive would henceforth be considered part of the same generation!
This current understanding of “generation” is an obvious and lame attempt to save face following the death of the 1914 generation, and the consequent unmasking of the Governing Body as false prophets.
Five Reasons Why the “Generation teaching” is Absurd
1. Logically Flawed or Failed to Meet Goal
As pointed out in the video, if the overlapping reasoning works between the 1914 generation (generation “A”) and their younger contemporaries (generation “B”), then it would also have to work between that generation (“B”) and the next (“C”).
So, C would have to be the same generation as B.
But if C is the same generation as B, and B is the same generation as A, then C also has to be the same generation as A. (“If A equals B and B equals C, then A equals C.”) So then, every newly anointed person going forward would be of “that generation” Jesus was referring to. This means that either their logic is flawed (A does not equal C) or their reasoning has failed to accomplish their goal of making Armageddon seem imminent.
2. Mathematically Impossible
The doctrine not only fails the test of logic, but of math as well. Mathematically we could express their doctrine as g = 2g, where g stands for generation. They are saying “the generation” means two generations. But one of something can’t equal two of that same something. If g is something (rather than nothing: a zero) then g = 2g is a mathematical impossibility.
3. Inherently Contradictory
Let’s examine the statement:
“The generation refers to the 1914 generation and the overlapping generation.”
That synopsis of the GB’s doctrine is an oxymoron: it contains a self-contradiction.
If the statement were true, then “generation” would mean two generations, and if that’s true, then the first “generation” in that sentence means two generations. And the “two generations” in the previous sentence means 4 generations. And the “4 generations” in the previous sentence has to mean 8 generations… ad infinitum. A recursive fallacy which renders the word “generation” meaningless.
4. Not Biblical
The doctrine also fails the biblical test. In the same book of Matthew, the word “generation” is used consistently to mean one generation: not two generations or overlapping generations. The first chapter of that book enumerates Jesus’ supposed ancestors, counting one ancestor per generation, and concluding that there were three sets of 14 generations (not 3 sets of 7 overlapping generations, as there would be if we applied the Governing Body’s interpretation of “generation” in chapter 24). MT 1:1-17
But, instead of using the book of Matthew to understand the book of Matthew, the GB goes to a different author, writing in a different language, over 600 years earlier. The book of Exodus, they tell us, refers to Joseph’s brothers and “all that generation.” But this is irrelevant; the brothers of Joseph all lived within a 40-year timespan: a typical range given for a generation. So, it does not provide evidence that the author of that passage in Exodus had the bizarre notion of “overlapping generations” in mind. (Not that what he had in mind has any bearing on what the author of Matthew had in mind, in any case.)
5. An Already-Failed Crutch
The “overlapping generation” has an even greater span of years than the original “1914 generation.”
When considering the “overlapping” generation, the GB focuses its attention on individuals who were anointed just prior to the 1914 gang’s dying out. But the “overlapping generation” would’ve begun in the year 1915, with anointed ones who just missed the events of 1914. This second group, then, would currently span at least 107 years!
Judging by their perceived need to extend the generation, the GB assumed that the 1914 generation had died off by 2010: a span of 96 years.
So, at 107 years, this second group, brought in to bolster their failing doctrine regarding the first group, has already exceeded the time-limit the GB had themselves set for the first group! It thereby fails the GB’s own requirement that a generation be “not excessively long.”
To put it simply: the “overlapping generation” could only extend the “1914 generation” by one year, since it had to start in 1915. So, at best, the doctrine would’ve failed just one year after the death of the 1914 generation.
From this we see that the current “generation teaching” has its own self-destructing flaw built in from the get-go! The overlapping generation would’ve already expired by 2011.
What will they think of next? [And could it possibly insult our intelligence even more than this?]
See Also: The Morris family discussing the Overlapping Generation on JW Reality TV:
Other supporting links:
Recording of Herd’s talk stating that women can’t have positions of authority in the congregation because of their “smaller brains.”
Video of Morris stocking up on liquor.
Video of Herd grunting in anticipation of being a superman who will descend from heaven to personally kill non-Witnesses in Armageddon.
Article on GB member laughing at the gullibility of Witnesses who actually believe the GB’s doctrines and apply them to their lives.
A great in-depth analysis of the changes made to the “generation” doctrine.
Abbott and Costello’s equivalent “generation teaching” (It makes about as much sense as the GB’s version, but isn’t quite as funny.)