Thank you, Jim, for sharing this topic. Hopefully, you and yours are doing well.
The Watchtower does a fine job of advocating humility. Many of us succeeded in conducting ourselves as a "lesser one," allowing ourselves to be wronged, overlooked or ignored. The psychological implication is that we sometimes became stoic, self-righteous martyrs, but I'll save that for another thread. LOL!
With respect to the GB displaying humility, the track record is not good. I cite the '75 fiasco as an example. Those of us who lived and served during the period from the release of the book Life Everlasting in Freedom of the Sons of God to the fall of 1975 know the truth about the origin of the hype and misleading utterances. It wasn't the brotherhood. Of course, no apology was ever given for the false info that led to bad decisions, financial and healthwise, made by the the flock.
Sometimes displays of humility are just that.(Didn't Jesus say something like that?) Legendary, longtime district overseer, Eugene Brandt, used to do something that I admired when I was a very young elder. When he conducted the school at the circuit assembly, he would occasionally make some minor faux paus, such introducing talk 4 before talk 3 and afterward, literally beg the audience's forgiveness for his grave sin. It was almost as if he had committed adultery and was paraphrasing Psalm 51. I used to think: "Now that's the kind of elder I want to be!"
Years later, I had the opportunity of working more closely with Brandt. I found him the most pompous, arrogant, self-righteous know-it-all I have ever encountered. But the public display of humility was still there. As he gave the closing prayer in several public venues, his voice cracked at the exact same place in every prayer. I heard elders comment later: "Did you notice Brother Brandt almost broke down emotionally when he mentioned serving us for the last time?" I had observed that act before.
Joel Meeks, a circuit overseer now deceased, had a knack for making grandiose statements. In a talk to the congregation, he made a pronouncement obviously out of sync with "current understanding." As an elder body after the meeting we huddled to decide how or if we would confront him. We ambushed him at the elders' meeting. We had a couple of elders who would have been good district attorneys. They turned Meeks everyway but loose for about an hour. He did not waver one iota from his statements.
A couple of personal anecdotes of my correspondence with the Society and their handling of matters.
In the early 60's I applied as a regular pioneer for a temporary special pioneer assignment in unassigned territory. I was 19 and a servant in the congregation. I waited all summer for the Society's response to my application. Meanwhile, I made plans and purchased provisions. The Society responded after the summer was over with a succinct letter. My name had been confused with an elderly brother with the same name in New York. In all future correspondence with the Society, I was to use my full middle name. In other words, it was my mistake, even though they could see my return address was in Texas and I was on the list of servants for my congregation, etc.
In the mid '70's I was on a large elder body that recommended two brothers to serve as elders. I forget the form number, but back then the Society would simply check with a green pencil those appointed. The letter came back from the Society with one brother's name checked and one not. There was a brief explanation concerning the brother not appointed: "Too young and not baptized long enough." The only problem was that the brother appointed was younger and had been baptized for a shorter time than the brother not appointed. It was an obvious clerical error. Our body of elders tossed this around for long time. Most were in favor of letting the appointment stand as is. The vote was 9-2. I was in the minority. The irony was that on this large body, I was the PO and the Secretary(another thread.) The other brother on the service committee also wanted an explanation. We were allowed to send a letter to the Society asking for an explanation. The original form came back from Brooklyn with both brothers green checked. No explanation. No apology.
Back to the original topic
I'm familiar with the Worldwide Church of God apology. Without a doubt if the Watchtower governing body had displaying similar manliness, many on this board would not be here. When my wife and I experienced some hardlining concerning our efforts to help our disfellowshipped adult son in the 90's, my wife would get up in the morning with the same two questions she went to bed with: "Where is Jehovah in all this? Do you think they will every apologize?
Jim, your topic struck the proverbial chord with me.