The First Letter to the Watchtower Society

Feb. 5th, 1997

Dear Brothers:

Greetings! I want to start by thanking you for the informative and fascinating articles you provide. I especially enjoy reading the Awake! magazine, especially the articles about Jehovah’s creations.

Lately I have been engaged in much bible study and research. I have two questions, in particular, that I hope you can answer.

The first concerns the use of the word “lands”, as used in the January 1, 1997 Watchtower’s worldwide report for Jehovah’s Witnesses. I am confused as to, what, exactly, the term means. At first, I thought that the term could be used interchangeably with “country”, but that can’t be quite right. For one thing, Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico are all listed as separate lands, even though they are all part of the same country (United States). Then I thought that maybe Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico were given separate entries because they are not physically part of the contiguous United States. But using this reasoning, the Florida Keys, Manhattan, Staten Island, Long Island, Nantucket and several other islands off the coast of the United States should also be given separate listings. Likewise, Britain is listed as a single entry, even though Northern Ireland is separated from England, Scotland and Wales.

I also thought, for a time, that each “land” was given its own entry if it had its own Watchtower branch office. But this can’t be the case, either. For example, Kosrae, Yap, Pohnpei and Chuuk are each given their own listing even though they do not have their own branch office and, further, are all part of a single country (the Federated States of Micronesia).

So, I am not sure what, exactly, is meant by the word “land”. We frequently point to the growing number of “lands” in which we preach as evidence that the work is spreading. But without knowing the precise definition of the term, it’s tough to use it as a benchmark. So, I was hoping you could provide me with the answer to what is meant by the Watchtower’s use of the word “land” so that I can know what is meant when we say that we’ve increased our preaching work from 202 lands to 213 lands.

My second question involves the flood of Noah’s day. I am attempting to learn everything I can about the Great Flood. One area that I need more information about is the matter of what animals were brought onto the ark. The book Insight on the Scriptures – volume I says “Some investigators have said that just 43 “kinds” of mammals, 74 “kinds” of birds, and 10 “kinds” of reptiles could have produced the great variety of species of these creatures that are known today.” I have been unable to determine what is meant by a “kind”. I don’t think it means “species”, as there approximately 5,400 species of mammals, not 43. Likewise, I don’t think it means “order” as there are only 29 orders of mammals, not 43.

So I would really like to know where those numbers came from. If you can supply a list of the names of the 127 “kinds” of mammals, birds and reptiles, I would really appreciate it. Or, if you do not have this list, can you provide me with the references to where these numbers were obtained from?

Thanks so much for taking the time to read this. Please accept the enclosed money order as a donation to the worldwide preaching work. I eagerly anticipate your reply, and I send you my love and greetings.




Click Here to Read the Watchtower Society's Response to the First Letter