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To me the most obvious reason has nothing to do with control, or money. It has everything to do with the serious shortage of qualified brothers who can (or who are willing to) be used. I have been involved in the organzation for 40 yrs and I have never seen the level of apathy and disillusionment among those serving in some capacity in this organization. There are three main reasons for this: 1) burnout, 2) lack of urgency/belief that the GT or armaggedon is near, and 3) steady erosion of faith in the organization.
Burnout is rampant within the ranks of the servant bodies worldwide as fewer and fewer brothers are willing to serve and make the extraordinary sacrifices asked of them by the organization. Elders and servants are "stepping down" at an unprecedented rate. Finding a willing replacement has become next to impossible leaving those few loyal brothers completely overwhelmed as they struggle to handle all the congregation responsibilities which, of course, include conducting bookstudies and giving public talks. This has been a growing trend within the organization for some time, but it has all of the sudden become especially pronounced and is nearing crisis proportions.
The other issue is that more and more of those serving are realizing that the Armaggedon may not be as close as it was once thought and any sense of urgency has waned considerably. The "generation" definition change in 1995 was the first real "alert" that something was amiss. Then you add in that the number of memorial partakers has actually increased (9,105 in 2007 compared to 9,081 in 1984), plus the recent change in the understanding of the "sealing" of the annointed (thought to have been completed in the 1930's, but apparently is not yet completed). What has happened is that in the minds of many serving, the "end" is suddenly a ways off in the distance somewhere. Less and less of those serving believe that it will happen in their lifetime and they had better do something to prepare themselves for a longer stay in this system.
Finally, more and more of those serving are wising up to the cultish ways of organization and they are no longer just accepting things and "waiting on Jehovah." In the past, the organization could successfully overcome any credibility issues due to failed prophesies or waffeling doctrines by writing a WT article or Question from Readers and it was just accepted. There was no discussion, no forum to question or examine what was printed, and of course, who had the time or the resources anyway. This is not the case now, however. The internet has changed everything. Anything about the organization can and is being discussed and not just anonymously online. These discussions are being carried back to the congregations, in field service car groups, and as a result the organization has (and continues to suffer) a tremendous loss of credibility among even those serving. The pedophile coverup and the scandalous UN association is becoming more widely known everyday. The legal and money problems of the WTBS, the blood issue, disfellowshipping, and other non-scriptural mandates of the organization are being questioned and being discussed.
The powers-that-be know that without willing elders & servants this organization is truly doomed. So, don't read into the "high price of gas" or the "we know that families are struggling and we want to add no further burden" horsesh*t expanation for these changes. And it ain't about control or money per se. Make no mistake, it's all about trying to stop the mass exodus of servants who are either burnout, disillusioned, and/or have lost the faith. Why do you think they have invited all the elders to the "pump me up" sessions in Patterson?
Expect more changes to come and soon. This is just the beginning - trust me.