Fred Franz and Watchtower’s Disconnect with Reality

On May 10, 1962, my first day at Bethel, I was told that I would need to attend the Monday night study of the Watchtower, if I wanted to have a successful career at Bethel. My first Monday-night meeting occurred four days later, with Fred Franz conducting.

I was 18 at the time and flabbergasted listening to Franz conduct the Watchtower Study. I had never seen anyone convene a meeting like this. He was extremely self-absorbed and acted as if he might be going crazy. He talked in a deranged-like high-pitch and drifted into tangents unrelated to the study article. One inane comment was a premonition he shared with 600-plus Bethelites, in the Bethel Kingdom Hall, saying, “I don’t know when, but I will die on a Friday the 13th.”

It was a harmless prophecy from Watchtower’s spiritual leader. But the reality is that many of his other predictions were disastrous and totally disconnected from reality. His insistence that Armageddon was imminent in 1975 turned out to be Freddie’s most egregious prognostication. No one tells the story about Freddie’s 1975 fiasco better than Barbara Anderson at: It’s an absolute must-read!

One of the highlights of her post, for me, was about a reporter who worked for Time magazine and interviewed Franz when he became president of the Watchtower Society in 1977 (he had been vice-president). That interview actually resulted in a story appearing in the July 11, 1977 issue of Time.

After the interview, the reporter told a colleague privately that in all his years of interviewing “important” people, after spending an hour with Fred Franz, he was pretty sure that Franz was “certifiably insane.”

Lectures by Franz about 1975 can be found at:

PS If you are curious, Fred Franz did not die on a Friday the 13th. He died on December 22, 1992.



Fred Franz and Watchtower’s Disconnect with Reality — 12 Comments

  1. Thankyou for this info…sad that a person like this, was in control of a Religion that would have such an effect, often detrimentally on so many people…glad to be out of it’s control and grasp…hoping others will one day wake up and be able to break the chains that bind them so tight still. All the best to all involved in this endeavour, it is appreciated.

  2. I am 67 years old now. When I was a child I always thought that Franz’s talks sounded like Adolf Hitler, because he was so bombastic, unlike Nathan Knorr whose tone was always more civil. Franz did not seem to carry a continuous chain of thought, but that was felt to be a mystique unique to him,

    • Franz was on the extreme end of the Asperger’s continuum and believed his bull s***. The scary end. He seemed to have no sense of human emotion and caring for others.

  3. Do the Governing Body care for the sheep in their care today…really….? Are they any different than their leaders of past times? Evidence revealed as this, is a powerful witness to what is their main concerns…let the evidence speak, and loudly it does.

    • Sharon, it has and is a large corporation interested in protecting its assets. Watchtower exhibits extreme cult-like behavior, particularly since Rutherford, and there is little reason to think it will change. All their “Armageddon is just around the corner” taps into the unduly influenced members and it will only change when Watchtower is held accountable in the legal systems of the countries they operate in.

    • I need to tell my story. I don’t know who to tell but I have extremely sensitive info. Please help. I’m scared for my life. The JoHos are keeping me on their radar.

  4. Listened to Fred and his 1975 rant. They always leave a little wriggle room. ” It’s just around the corner, but Jah may extend it beyond 1975…”

    I heard it all back in 75 when 4 or 5 families in my cong sold up and went where the need is greater… Now their families are disfunctional, split and now you know why I hate the borg with a passion…

    • Jeff, Watchtower is a haven for misinformation and psychological manipulation of its members. That is why it is so important that when people leave the cult, they do their research and get good mental health counsel. Otherwise, they may leave the cult, but the cult mentality will not leave them.

  5. Not true at all statements were made in the past by men that were not true thats why we should read gods word ! The congregations are great moved past most of the old complaints .BEST RELIGION ON EARTH HANDS DOWN . WHATS BETTER BASED ON,GODS WORD THEY CONTINUE TO CHANGE AND GET IT RIGHT…..

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