Zone Overseers (does anyone know the details?)

by slimboyfat 15 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • slimboyfat

    I would like to know a bit more about zone overseers, the office and its power. They seem to visit various branches (presumably each oversees 3 to 4 branches) to make sure everything is in order. The famous visit of Jack Barr to Ireland in the wake of the Ray Franz induced apostasy in that branch is an example of how a zone visit works.

    I was intrigued to read in the Proclaimers book that in 1992 there were around 30 zone overseers, "including members of the Governing Body". This is interesting because it indicates that a select few non-Governing Body members have been given this special assignment that puts them on a par in a certain respect with those Governing Body members who also serve in this role. I suspect that only the younger Governing Body members serve as zone overseers since the traveling would be too much for the older ones. Aside from that, it would be really interesting to know if anyone has a list of non-Governing Body members who have been assigned as zone overseers over the years up to the present. In a certain sense, being assigned zone overseer is probably the highest ranking role a person could acheive in the organisation outside of being asked to serve on the Governing Body itself. So I wonder if appointment to this role historically is an indication of future further advancement onto the Body itself. Were those most recently appointed to the Governing Body serving as zone overseers before their appointment? If so, could the current list of zone overseers (if known) provide an indication as to possible future Governing Body appointments? Coming to think on it, are many zone overseers of the anointed? The Organized to do Jehovah's Will book makes no mention of whether they are anointed, so one presumes it is not a requirement and that most are therefore not anointed. If, therefore, very few of the 30 or so are currently serving as zone overseers are anointed, then that might mean an even stronger clue that those who are zone overseers and anointed may be future Governing Body candidates.

    I wonder how many Governing Body members now serve as zone overseers. Presumably Carey Barber is too old, as is Jack Barr now, but what about the others - do they still act as zone overseers or is this yet another responsibility the Governing Body have shifted on to others in recent years?


  • TheListener

    Slimboy, can you put the quote about zone overseers up here?

  • slimboyfat

    Proclaimers book, page 101:

    Arrangements were made to divide the earth into ten zones, each zone embracing a number of the Society's branches. Qualified brothers from the office in Brooklyn and experienced branch overseers were appointed to be zone servants (now called zone overseers) and were trained for this work by Brother Knorr. On January 1, 1956, the first of these zone servants inaugurated this new service of visiting branches. As of 1992, upwards of 30 brothers, including members of the Governing Body, were serving as zone overseers.
  • freetosee

    As far as I know Zone Overseers need not be anointed. It is mainly a shifting of responsibility from president to directors (Knorr’s time continued), to GB members to branch overseers to other qualified senior top WT men. If one of them is of the anointed I’m sure he will be considered GB material. ZO is not a permanent assignment like the DO. fts

  • TheListener

    freetosee, that is my understanding exactly. Individuals act as a zone overseer while on assignment and when they return from assignment they are no longer a zone overseer. It is not a permanent appointment as is elder or ministerial servant.

  • jwfacts

    Zone overseers are just glorified Circuit Overseers. COs check that a congregation is doing things exactly by the book, and ZOs make sure Branches do things by the book.

    The list would be good, as being groomed to be a GB possibly includes a stint as ZO to learn the ropes.

  • babystar_jr

    I live in Japan.

    Sometimes, Zone Overseer visited Japan.

    I often went special meeting for them.

    But, it isn't held recently.

    Therefore, these are old memories (about 10 years ago).

    Denton Hopkinson (Philippin branch committee)

    Max Lloyd (Australian branch committee. American branch committee member now)

    Günther Kunz (German branch committee)

    They usually brought greetings from Philippines, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Alaska...

    and, Masataro Oda (Japanese branch committee member, but he died)

    poor, english...

  • core
    The famous visit of Jack Barr to Ireland in the wake of the Ray Franz induced apostasy in that branch is an example of how a zone visit works.

    Never heard about that...any links...

  • blondie

    *** yb88 pp. 126-128 Ireland ***


    During 1982 a particularly virulent form of apostasy developed, mainly in the Dublin area. Some brothers began to resent the authority of the congregation and to question the body of teachings that are accepted by Jehovah’s people as truth. They promoted the idea that each Christian should be able to decide for himself on various matters of doctrine.

    Quietly and surreptitiously they sowed seeds of doubt in the minds of others regarding doctrine. The integrity of members of the Governing Body was questioned. The dissenters who were serving as elders and ministerial servants minimized organizational instructions. From the platform, and at other times secretly, they disseminated their own ideas, undermining the confidence of others in Jehovah’s organization.

    As this rebellious attitude became more and more manifest, the loyal elders in the congregations tried to help such ones regain their spiritual balance and faith and thereby avoid spiritual shipwreck. (1 Tim. 1:19) The loyal were aware of the dangers of just such a situation, as foretold by both the apostle Paul and the apostle Peter.—Acts 20:30; 2 Pet. 2:1, 3.

    John Barr, from the Governing Body, and Robert Pevy, who had pioneered in Ireland and who is now serving at Brooklyn Bethel, offered assistance. They took time from vacation trips in Britain to come to Ireland to talk with the brothers and encourage them. They reasoned at length with the brothers and discussed thoroughly many questions raised on doctrinal matters. It became obvious, however, that the questions raised by the disgruntled ones were merely a smoke screen. The real issue was whether this was, in fact, Jehovah’s organization or not.

    As this rejection of the truth became more apparent, the elders still tried to help those affected by apostate thinking. At the same time, though, they also saw the need to follow the apostle Paul’s advice to Timothy to "command certain ones not to teach different doctrine." (1 Tim. 1:3) As Paul warned Timothy, the teachings of such apostate ones "spread like gangrene." The elders were left eventually with no real alternative except to expel such ones from the congregation.—2 Tim. 2:17.

    The removal of those who rejected God’s organization allowed the work to prosper. In 1982, when the apostasy began, there was an average of 2,021 Jehovah’s Witnesses in Ireland. In 1983 this grew to 2,124, in 1984 it was 2,278, in 1985 it was 2,403, and in 1986 it was 2,472, with a peak of 2,661 in May 1987. The steady progress continues. Loyalties had been tested to the full, but the great majority had put their loyalty to Jehovah and his organization before loyalty to any man. They recognized where the truth lay and from what source they had learned it, and they stuck firmly with it. They kept busy with the vital preaching and teaching work.

  • serendipity

    Hi babystar & welcome! Your English is fine.

  • Elsewhere

    Here ya go... just read up on them in the Branch Organization Manual... Section 27.

  • core

    Thanks for the reminder from the YB Blondie - recall that way back (50s or very early 6os) Jack Barr & his wife, Mildred, both served at the pioneer home in Dublin (dont think Ireland had a branch office then as it was part of the "Britain" branch in WT speak - or British as it should be (this was before they were married) and after that he was at Mill Hill in London for many years, so he would seem the right man to try and damp the flames of apostasty as he had been a hardline opponent of Ray Franz situation, and would know many old-timers in Ireland. However not alltogether sure JB was very clever or Scripturally based to be able to hold forth with any with a free mind - doubtless arguments ran to the old "its Jehovahs organisation" & the well loved " leave it in Jehovahs hands"

    The manner in which the yearbook describes the "counselling process" of the apostates would likely vary from such ones point of view - knew JB at London Bethel and not very cheerful character who was being given the run around by Phil Rees and then Ron Drage as he worked in the old plate making shoip (before new printing presses did not use linotype)

    Phil Rees of course no longer with us.

  • babystar_jr
  • babystar_jr

    Generally dedication of branches synchronized with zone visits. Therefore, some information gathering may be possible for you if you check articles about dedication of the yearbook. Correction: Maxwell Lloyd (Australian branch committee. American branch committee member now) Günter Künz (German branch committee)

  • Balaamsass2

    Any updates on HOW MANY zones there are world wide and WHO the current zone overseers are?

  • Ocean1111

    I think the "zone" is the front end logistical control web, it cascades down to the congregational neo-Jesuits for JW herding and damage control purposes.

    The "other board" that sprang up in 1992, I think, is more the back end unknown group who are setting up the legal and financial plumbing, and they have to have deep legally knowledgeable assistance, the are like the contractors carrying out the architecture probably produced in a "star chamber" like group, totally unknwon to JWs.

    The GB "board" is the fronting "politicians" that sell the whole thing visually, and like politicians are not the real power in Bethel scattered inside and outside and probably well nested in the ever elusive "Watchtower Society".

    Thus the back end is where the real secrecy lay, the management front end is for JW control and herding. Imo all "anointed" have long been filtered out of the Bethel controls and teaching centers, it is all now a collective act to guide billions elsewhere, in time, and to sell that to JWs as "the end of the world". It will take years for JWs to figure out Bethel's end was not the "end of the world", but just the JW world many are putting misplaced faith in.

    Overall, imo, Bethel's end is what Bethel is preparing JWs for by making it appear as a global development, when it will focused on "God's house" first, and no one really cares whether JWs perceive reality very quickly as this runs its course, imo, it is not an overnight transition. The "zone" is the part of the front end JW control pyramid top that keeps the web in place.

    Phasing DOs out is just compressing them down to the CO lower tier to tighten the mix of "company men" over the congregational areas, imo.

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