- The WT claims that until 1972 the GB was synomous with the corporate board of directors:
"From the incorporation of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania in 1884 until 1972, the president of the Society exercised great authority in Jehovah's organization, while the Governing Body was closely associated with the Society's board of Directors." Watchtower 5-15-1997 p. 17
"To give the Bible Students legal status, Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society was incorporated in 1884 in the United States, with headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Its directors served as a central Governing Body, overseeing the global preaching of God's Kingdom." Watchtower 2-1-1999 p.17
"There were legal requirements involved in publishing magazines and other Bible study aids. Hence, the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society was set up and registered in the state of Pennsylvania, U.S.A. For years, the visible Governing Body came to be identified with the seven-member board of directors of this corporation established to publish the Bible study aids needed and used by the Lords people earth wide." Watchtower 3-15-1990
- The WT also claims that even though the GB was synomous the board of directors that they didn't owe their position on the GB due to being elected- but instead that their GB authority came not from being elected but from being "appointed through the holy spirit under the direction of Jehovah God and Jesus Christ".
"The Societys seven directors were faithful Christians. But their role in a legal corporation might have suggested that they owed their positions on the Governing Body to their being elected by legal members of the Watch Tower Society. . . .
As already mentioned, the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania has a board of directors limited to seven members. These dedicated Christian men are elected for three-year terms by corporation members totaling no more than 500, the majority of whom are not anointed Christians. Moreover, since the corporations existence is purely legal, with a fixed geographic headquarters, it can be dissolved by Caesar, that is, the State. (Mark 12:17) However, the Governing Body is not a legal instrument. Its members are not elected. They are appointed through the holy spirit under the direction of Jehovah God and Jesus Christ. (Compare Acts 20:28.) Moreover, those making up the Governing Body are spirit-appointed men without any obligatory fixed geographic location or headquarters." Watchtower 3-15-1990
- The problem- when one examines the Societies Proclaimers history book one finds that in 1917 four of the seven directors (a majority!) opposed Rutherford. Rutherfords response was to remove them on the basis of not being elected under corporate law.
"A few, especially at headquarters, actually resented Brother Rutherford. The fact that the work was moving ahead and that he was making every effort to follow the arrangements that had been put in place by Russell did not seem to impress them. Opposition soon mounted. Four members of the board of directors of the Society went so far as to endeavor to wrest administrative control from Rutherfords hands."
". . . Tuesday, July 17, 1917. On that same occasion, a startling announcement was made the four opposing directors had been removed, and Brother Rutherford had appointed four others to fill the vacancies. What was the reaction?"
"But Brother Rutherford had a sound basis for the action he had taken. How so? It turned out that although the four opposing directors had been appointed by Brother Russell, these appointments had never been confirmed by vote of the corporation members at the annual meeting of the Society. Therefore, the four of them were not legal members of the board of directors at all! Rutherford had been aware of this but had not mentioned it at first. Why not? He had wanted to avoid giving the impression that he was going against Brother Russells wishes. However, when it became evident that they would not discontinue their opposition, Rutherford acted within his authority and responsibility as president to replace them with four others whose appointments were to be confirmed at the next annual meeting, to be held in January 1918."
- Conclusion: On one hand the modern WT society tells us that even though for most of the Societies history that the GB was synomous with the board of directors, that they really received their authority from an "appointment" from Jehovah, and not from their legal position a a director. However on the other hand the Society also excuses the forced removal of the majority in 1917 as due to legal position issues. Thus, if the societies claim is true that ". . . the Governing Body is not a legal instrument. Its members are not elected. They are appointed through the holyspirit under the direction of Jehovah God and Jesus Christ"- then in 1917 the majority of the GB (which had been "appointed" by Jehovah) was thrown out based on a legal position technicality.