I really find what you have presented in the various threads to be rather fascinating. I had questions that I would appreciate your thoughts on.
In your Bethel and Writing Dept. experience, how would you characterize how "new light" was developed and presented? Did this come exclusively from Governing Body members and "anointed" ones? Did this come as the result of Bible study or more as response to theological or organizational problems that developed over time? How comfortable would an average member of the Writing Dept have in presenting what they thought might be "new light"?
Was anyone in the Writing Dept. engaged in what the Society might characterize as "independent study", that is studying or reading the Bible outside the Organizational framework? Ray Franz comments that Bethel had a fully stocked library of various Bible commentaries, during your time in the Writing Dept. did you observe these were used much? Equally, how much would you characterize that the Watchtower indexes and other publications were used? For mere speculation, if the GB ordered that a commentary on the letters of Paul be developed for an upcoming District Convention, how would you guess that the Writing Dept. would write this book? Would they read the Bible and write down their thoughts? Would they consult "worldly" commentaries? Would they look up related passages in the Indexes and rewrite what the Society has published in the past?
How were ideas for articles developed? In looking at the CD-ROM it appears that some articles and themes come in cycles, would you say that Writing dept tends to recycle old articles for new WT's?
When you were in Writing Dept. could you give an estimate of staff size and then a rough guess of how many members were generational Witnesses verses those who came in from other religious backgrounds? How good would you consider the Writing Dept.'s knowledge of the Societies past teachings, such as those from the Rutherford-era or from Russell's Studies in the Scriptures? Was old literature ever read in research or study or did it tend to be more ornamental like in KH libraries?
I believe Ray Franz relates that his uncle Fred Franz was seen as somewhat as an "oracle" and was the final word on matters of JW theology. I read that you suspect that Fred Franz may have ghostwritten some of Rutherford's books and WT articles. With the death of Fred Franz did you observe that anyone at Bethel stepped up to fill his shoes in these areas -- that is, as theologian and Bible scholar, and ultimate authority in matters of JW doctrine?
Thanks very much,