Plagiarism by the Watchtower
Watchtower Cover of September 15, 1982
Change Forced by Liquor Company
Each issue of THE WATCHTOWER is later reprinted in a bound
volume at the end of the year. But the issue of September 15, 1982 was reprinted with a different cover picture. (Foreign editions
printed after the U.S. English edition also featured the new cover.) Why? What made the Watchtower Society stop using the original
red sunset porch silhouette and replace it with a scene of trees and mountains? The answer is so shocking to Jehovah's Witnesses
that the Society is trying to cover it up.
A leopard can't change its spots, but THE WATCHTOWER can change its cover. And that's exactly what THE WATCHTOWER did, when it got caught red-handed 'borrowing' a liquor company's picture. Here's what happened:
Since the middle of 1981 the red sunset porch silhouette liquor ad appeared in several major U.S. magazines. Then THE WATCHTOWER's issue of September 15, 1982, was published with the same picture (slightly modified) on its cover. When questioned, official Watchtower spokesmen at first claimed their artist had drawn the same picture simply "by coincidence."
However, Comments from the Friends, in its October, 1982, issue, publicly exposed what THE WATCHTOWER had done. Ex-JW's also ran newspaper ads, made phone calls, wrote letters, etc., making known the source of THE WATCHTOWER's cover picture.
In the midst of such publicity the liquor company found out what had happened. Not about to swallow the "coincidence" story, they had their legal staff contact the Watchtower Society. Caught red-handed with the liquor company's picture on its cover, and eager to avoid further embarrassment, the Watchtower Society agreed to an out-of-court settlement. Obviously included in this was the provision that they stop using the liquor company's picture in their publications. Here is the original Johnny Walker picture:
So, when the year's WATCHTOWER magazines were reprinted as a bound volume at the end of 1982, the cover of the September 15th issue featured a different picture. (Foreign language editions printed weeks after the English edition were also changed.)
But the Watchtower Society is still trying to cover up the facts.
Persons asking why the bound volume reprint has a different cover picture are receiving answers such as the Society's letter shown here claiming that the cover was changed to "produce a more appropriate and suitable illustration."
Why is the Watchtower Society determined to hide the truth regarding its September 15, 1982, cover? Because this information exposes THE WATCHTOWER for what it really is - not "the channel of communication" from God, as it claims, but just another magazine like the magazines it 'borrowed' the picture from.
A little investigation reveals that 'borrowing' the liquor company's picture is by no means the first scandal at Watchtower headquarters.
Nor is it the first time The Watchtower has changed its mind about its pictures, its prophetic dates, its doctrines, etc.
when THE WATCHTOWER's prophecy that the world would end in 1914 proved false, the date was changed to 1918. Then to 1925, etc. Later,
to 1975. And now [as of this 1983 writing] the Watchtower Society predicts that the world will end "before the generation that saw
the events of 1914 passes away."
On a recent trip to my local old bookstore, I came across a set of Bible story books with illustrations
that looked very much like what I have seen in Watchtower Society publications for the past several years. A friend had told me about
these books and gave me some references to some pictures that appear to have been plagiarized. Shown below are three examples:
first set is two pictures of birds, both from illustrations in two different books that depict a scene from the Garden of Eden.
illustration on the left is from The Bible Story by Arthur S. Maxwell (Review and Herald Publishing Association 1955) Volume 1, Page
The one on the right is from My Book of Bible Stories (Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc. 1978) Story number
Notice that the Watchtower's birds are an almost exact mirror image of those from Maxwell's.
The second set of illustrations show Esau as a young boy, standing in front of a tent, about to shoot an arrow. The left picture is from Maxwell's The Bible Story (Volume 2, Page 8) and the right is the Watchtower's My Book of Bible Stories (Story number 17).
Aside from minor positioning and the Watchtower's depiction of Esau a bit stockier, the boys are the same. Even the tent in the background is very similar. Notice that both tents have stripes going in the same direction and the positions of the two peaks of each tent in relation to Esau.
Here again, we see the Watchtower's version of this picture is a mirror image of Maxwell's, right down to the red shirt and headband. Notice the positions of Sampson and the lion, the positions of Sampson's hands in relation to the lion.
Since The Bible Story was published in 1955 and the Watchtower published My Book of Bible Stories in 1978, I have to conclude that the Watchtower either plagiarized from Maxwell or both Maxwell and the Watchtower plagiarized from another source.
At this point, I feel compelled to quote from the January 15, 1954 The Watchtower (page 38). In an article entitled "Do You Respect Plagiarists?", The Watchtower accuses a New York minister of the Churches of Christ named Antonio Ochoa of plagiarizing artilces in The Watchtower and Awake! and published them in the Churches of Christ paper Gospel Broadcast.
WHAT do you think of a man that lifts articles from one magazine and has them published in another magazine? What do you think when he attaches his name as author of the stolen articles? What do you think of him when he continues to do it after he has been caught and has promised to quit? And does the fact that he claims to be a minister of religion shock you still more?
I might ask readers of the Watchtower - What do you think of an organization that lifts pictures from one book and with only minor adjustments has them published in another? What do you think when that organization attaches its name to the stolen pictures? And does the fact that that organization claims to be Jehovah's channel of communication with mankind today shock you still more?
Again, what do you think of the magazine that uses the plagiarized articles? What do you think of the judgment of such a magazine when it denounces as false another magazine, then turns around and prints as truth the articles plagiarized from it? What do you think of the editor that tells the injured magazine its word is worthless when it brings the plagiarism to his notice? What do you think of him when he ignores the proof sent to him? What do you think when his magazine continues to use the stolen articles? And does not the fact that this magazine poses as Christian make the plagiarism even more reprehensible?
Since The Bible Story was published by someone other than the Watchtower, they are considered by the Watchtower to be part of Babylon the Great, the great harlot, denounced as false by the Watchtower. So, readers of the Watchtower, what do you think of the judgement of the publishers of a book that plagiarizes from sources it considers part of Babylon the Great? And does not the fact that this book poses as Christian make the plagiarism even more reprehensible? Can you have confidence in such a writer? or in the magazine that uses his plagiarized copy? or in the editor that directs it? Consider the facts, then form your opinion. Yes, consider the facts, then form your opinion.
Finally, here are two illustrations of Sampson fighting a lion. The one on the left is from Maxwell's The Bible Story (Volume 3, Page 131) and the bottom one is the Watchtower's My Book of Bible Stories (Story number 54).
During the 2012 district convention, the Watchtower has released a new DVD for kids : "Become Jehovah's Friend". In that DVD the Watchtower condemns the fact of possessing a toy called "Sparlock the warrior-wizard" or to go see a movie about him. The Watchtower asks to throw it in the garbage. It seems to be an allusion to wizard movies and figurines.
Curiously during that very same 2012 district convention, the Watchtower has released another DVD with a cover inspired from a version of the book "The Lord of the Rings, the Fellowshiop of the Ring" : "Walk by faith not by sight". There is a lot of magic and wizardry in the Lord of the Rings trilogy!