Milton George Henschel

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Milton George Henschel
MiltonGeorgeHenschel.png
Milton George Henschel
Born 9 August 1920
Pomona, New Jersey, U.S.
Died 22 March 2003(2003-03-22) (aged 82)
Brooklyn, NY, U.S.
Religion Jehovah's Witnesses
Spouse(s) Lucille Henschel

Milton George Henschel (August 9, 1920 - March 22, 2003) was a member of the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses and succeeded Frederick W. Franz as president of the Watch Tower Society in 1992.

Personal life[edit]

Milton Henschel was born in Pomona, New Jersey.[1] His father, Herman George Henschel assisted in the establishment of the Watch Tower Society's farm on Staten Island, working with and mentoring the staff about once each week during the 1920s.[2] The family relocated to Brooklyn, New York in 1934 to enable Herman to work on construction projects in the printeries and residences for Jehovah's Witnesses' headquarters there.[3]

Milton was baptized as a Jehovah's Witness minister in 1934,[4] and joined the full-time Watch Tower staff in 1939.[5] His older brother, Warren, was a full-time minister assigned to Oregon until he was invited to serve at the Brooklyn facility around 1940.[6] In 1956, Henschel married Lucille Bennett, a graduate of the 14th class of the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead and a former missionary in Venezuela.[7] Henschel died on March 22, 2003 at age 82, survived by his wife Lucille and brother Warren.[8]

Professional life[edit]

In 1939, Henschel was appointed secretary to Nathan H. Knorr, who was overseeing work at the Watch Tower printery. After Knorr became president of the Watch Tower Society in 1942, Henschel continued as his assistant. Henschel was often with Knorr in his travels, visiting at least 150 countries during this time. By 1945, Henschel was a featured speaker at international events though only 25 years old.[9]

By 1947 Henschel had claimed to be "anointed"[10]—not unusual among Jehovah's Witnesses at the time—which was a criterion at the time for appointment as a director of the Watch Tower Society. Henschel was elected to the board of directors in 1947,[11] after the death of W. E. Van Amburgh (since 1903 Secretary-Treasurer of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society), who died on February 7 of that year.[12]

By 1960, Henschel was a zone overseer,[13] supervising and auditing the administrative and ministry activities of about 10% of the Watch Tower Society's branch offices.[14]

In March, 1963, Henschel was among a large group of Jehovah's Witnesses who were detained and assaulted during a religious conference in Liberia.[15] He returned a few months later to meet with Liberia's president to discuss freedom of worship for Jehovah's Witnesses. In June, 1963, Henschel was a guest on a talk show hosted by Larry King.[16]

In a July, 1968 interview with the Detroit Free Press, Henschel was asked about the Watch Tower Society's recently stated opposition to organ transplants,[17] to which he responded that "transplanting organs is really cannibalism",[18] a position that was abandoned in 1980.[19] In the same interview, Henschel described the Watch Tower view of the immediate future, making reference to the impending battle of Armageddon. He conceded that there was no specific date for the outbreak of Armageddon, but stated, "1975 is a year to watch," alluding to Jehovah's Witnesses' belief that 6000 years of mankind's existence would be reached that year, an apparent precursor to Christ's millennial reign.[20]

By 1973, Henschel was "branch overseer for the United States".[21] Henschel contributed to the book Religions of America (1975), edited by Leo Rosten, with the chapter "Who are Jehovah's Witnesses?". In 1984, Henschel was the chairman for the centennial commemoration of the incorporation of the Watch Tower Society.

In February 1990, Henschel met with the chairman of the Committee of Religious Affairs in Moscow, along with eleven Russian elders representing local Jehovah's Witnesses, which led to the official recognition of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia by March 1991.[22]

Henschel became president of the Watch Tower Society December 30, 1992 and remained in that position until 2000. Major organizational changes took place in 2000, as the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses was separated from the Society's board of directors. As a result, members of the Governing Body stepped aside from their capacities in the Watch Tower Society, and Don A. Adams was appointed president. Henschel remained a member of the Governing Body until his death in 2003.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Obituary: Milton Henschel, 82; Executive Who Led Jehovah's Witnesses", The New York Times, March 30, 2003, As Retrieved 2009-09-23
  2. ^ "My Part in Advancing Right Worship", The Watchtower, June 15, 1965, pages 381-382
  3. ^ "Milton Henschel dies at 82", Authorized Site of the Office of Public Information of Jehovah's Witnesses, As Retrieved 2010-03-14
  4. ^ "Obituary: Milton Henschel, 82; Executive Who Led Jehovah's Witnesses", The New York Times, March 30, 2003, As Retrieved 2009-09-23
  5. ^ "Obituaries in the News: Milton Henschel", Associated Press, March 31, 2003
  6. ^ "Taught by Jehovah From My Youth", The Watchtower, November 1, 2003, page 20
  7. ^ "Gilead School—50 Years Old and Going Strong!", The Watchtower, June 1, 1993, page 26
  8. ^ "Milton Henschel dies at 82", Authorized Site of the Office of Public Information of Jehovah's Witnesses, As Retrieved 2010-03-14
  9. ^ "A Privileged Share in Postwar Expansion", The Watchtower, October 1, 2002, page 23
  10. ^ 1974 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, page 46-47 (see also The Watchtower, July 1, 1947)
  11. ^ "All Nations Expansion Assembly", The Watchtower, December 15, 1947, page 381
  12. ^ "Resignation and New Appointment", The Watchtower, March 1, 1947 page 66
  13. ^ "The Philippines", 1978 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, page 126
  14. ^ "Ending the Fourth, Beginning the Fifth Decade of Kingdom Operation", The Watchtower, April 1, 1956, page 223
  15. ^ 1977 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, pages 171-7.
  16. ^ "Something Better Than Fame", Awake!, August 22, 2004, page 22
  17. ^ Heart Transplants Held Cannibalism, The Detroit Free Press, July, 1968, by Hiley H. Ward.
  18. ^ The Watchtower, 11/15/1967, Questions from Readers.
  19. ^ The Watchtower, 3/15/1980, Questions from Readers.
  20. ^ See Life Everlasting in Freedom of the Sons of God. Watch Tower Society. 1966. pp. 29–35. .
  21. ^ "Response to the Need for Workers", Awake!, November 8, 1973, page 26
  22. ^ "Russia", 2008 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, pages 198, 203

Additional reading[edit]

  • He Loved Kindness, The Watchtower, pg.31, August 15, 2003.
Preceded by
Frederick W. Franz
President of Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania
December 30, 1992-October 7, 2000
Succeeded by
Don A. Adams