Don Alden Adams

Don Alden Adams (January 16, 1925 – December 30, 2019) was president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania (2000–2014),[4][5][3] the principal corporation of Jehovah's Witnesses.

Don A. Adams
DonAdams 200907.png
Born(1925-01-16)January 16, 1925[1][2]
DiedDecember 30, 2019(2019-12-30) (aged 94)
OccupationPresident of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania (2000–2014)[3]


Born in January 1925 in Oak Park, Illinois,[6] U.S., Adams grew up in a big family, which originally had connections to the Episcopal church. His mother showed interest in Jehovah's Witnesses and gradually the children also became interested. His father initially showed no interest, but involved himself in a legal case when one of Don's younger brothers was not exempted from military service, and eventually became a member.[7][8]

After serving as a full-time preacher, Adams was invited in late 1944 to serve at the world headquarters of Jehovah's Witnesses in Brooklyn, New York,[9][10][11][12] where he was secretary to Society president, Nathan H. Knorr. By the 1960s, Adams served directly under the Governing Body as a zone overseer, visiting various countries to audit branch offices and meet with Witness missionaries.[13][14] Later, Adams directed world missionary activities,[15] and served on the "Bethel Home Committee".[16]

In 2000, the New York Daily News described Adams as "a longtime insider ... at the world headquarters in Brooklyn Heights."[6] The Washington Post described Adams as "a 50-year veteran of the organization,"[17] which has been restated in subsequent publications.[18][19] Adams also served on the Publishing Committee.[20]

Watch Tower presidencyEdit

Adams, a Governing Body "helper",[21] became president of the Watch Tower Society after Governing Body member Milton G. Henschel stepped down from the position in 2000.[22][23] In that year, members of the Governing Body resigned from their executive positions of the corporations of Jehovah's Witnesses, although the periodical Christianity Today reported that the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses would continue its "oversight" role.[24][25]

Adams' presidency was administrative, and he is not considered to have impacted the organization's ministry as have past Watch Tower Society presidents.[26] Adams' brother, Joel C. Adams,[27] is a vice-president of Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, Inc., a related corporation.[28]

In 2014, Adams was replaced as president of the Watch Tower Society by Robert Ciranko.[3] Adams died in December 2019, at the age of 94.[29][30]


  1. ^ Historical Dictionary of Jehovah's Witnesses (2019), pg. 54
  2. ^ Don Alden Adams in the U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940–1947
  3. ^ a b c George D. Chryssides. Jehovah's Witnesses: Continuity and Change. p. 143.
  4. ^ The World Almanac and Book of Facts, Volume 2003 by World Almanac Education Group, Inc., Press Pub. Co. (The New York World)
  5. ^ Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches 2009, Volume 2009 by Eileen W. Lindner, Abingdon Press, p. 131
  6. ^ a b "Changing the Watch At the Watchtower" by Charles W. Bell, New York Daily News, October 14, 2000, p. 24
  7. ^ Historical Dictionary of Jehovah's Witnesses by George D. Chryssides, 2008, Rowman & Littlefield, p. 5, "[Don Adams'] father, William Karl Adams, was baptized in 1952."
  8. ^ "Seeking First the Kingdom – A Secure and Happy Life", The Watchtower, March 1, 2003, p. 29
  9. ^ The Watchtower, June 1, 1985, p. 28
  10. ^ The Watchtower, December 15, 2000
  11. ^ The Watchtower, April 1, 1957, p. 200
  12. ^ The Watchtower, March 1, 2003, p. 23, "Seeking First the Kingdom – A Secure and Happy Life"
  13. ^ "Ivory Coast", 1981 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, p. 174
  14. ^ The King's Highway: El Cannino Real : God's Highway to Peace and Happiness by Kenneth R. Guindon, 1996, Ignatius Press, p. 89
  15. ^ "Changing the Watch At the Watchtower" by Charles W. Bell, New York Daily News, October 14, 2000, p. 24, "Among his previous assignments, Adams...directed world missionary activities"
  16. ^ "New Missionaries Urged: “Stay Loyal!”", The Watchtower, November 15, 1982, p. 27
  17. ^ "Jehovah's Witnesses Order Shake-Up" by Richard N. Ostling, The Washington Post, October 9, 2000, As Retrieved 2009-09-01
  18. ^ The Challenge of the Cults and New Religions by Ron Rhodes, Zondervan, 2001, pp. 85–86
  19. ^ A Guide to New Religious Movements by Ronald M. Enroth, InterVarsity Press, 2005, p. 31
  20. ^ "Helpers to the Governing Body Committees | Study". Archived from the original on 2015-06-27.
  21. ^ "Keep Holding Men of That Sort Dear". The Watchtower. 15 October 2015. p. 3. The Governing Body members make the final decisions, but the helpers implement the committee's direction and carry out whatever assignments they are given. The helpers accompany Governing Body members to special and international conventions. They may also be assigned to visit branch offices as headquarters representatives. ... Helpers to Governing Body Committees ... Publishing Committee – Don Adams
  22. ^ "Jehovah's Witnesses Order Changes at Top", Grand Rapid Press, Grand Rapids, Michigan, October 14, 2000, p. B5
  23. ^ "New Leadership Structure for Jehovah's Witnesses", Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah, October 10, 2000, p. A02
  24. ^ Christianity Today, March 5, 2001, As Retrieved 2009-09-01
  25. ^ "Jehovah's Witnesses Order Shake-Up" by Richard N. Ostling, The Washington Post, October 9, 2000, As Retrieved 2009-09-01, "The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, as the group is officially known, had been run by a so-called Governing Body. Now, religious and administrative duties will be divided, with three newly formed corporations running the group's U.S. operations. President Milton Henschel, 80, and the group's six other board members resigned their posts on Saturday. ... Don Adams, a 50-year veteran of the organization, has been named president of the organization, and seven lower-ranking members will make up the new board. Henschel will remain a member of the Governing Body."
  26. ^ A Humble Defense: Evidence for the Christian Faith by Mark E. Moore, Mark Scott, 2004, College Press, p. 247, "Joseph F. Rutherford ... outdid Russell in writing numerous books, but his greatest strength was in the area of organization. ... During Knorr's presidency, membership grew to well over two million. ... Jehovah's Witnesses experienced some serious crises during the presidency of Frederick Franz. ... Milton Henschel served only eight years. The organization experienced a time of great restructuring. ... Don Adams, the present president, has not had enough time to impact the Society's ministry."
  27. ^ "Seeking First the Kingdom – A Secure and Happy Life", The Watchtower, March 1, 2003, p. 23
  28. ^ Dun&Bradstreet Corporate Reports, 2011, Retrieved 2012-03-23, (subscription required)
  29. ^ Aktualisierungen zur 1986 veröffentlichten Dissertation "Die Zeugen Jehovas"
  30. ^ Don Alden Adams death notice
Preceded by President of Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania
October 7, 2000 – 2014
Succeeded by
Robert Ciranko