Why, today, have I managed to make myself feel sorry for the current GB?
In another current thread on JWD, wherein Unoh has yet again valiantly marched out upon the plain to confront the armies of Apostasia, AlanF makes an interesting observation:
“JW leaders are the ones who exploit others…Having become old and spiritually ossified, they cannot change. But change will come to the JW organization, and when it does, these old men will be seen for what they really are -- exploiters of the sheep.”This really got me thinking.
“These old men will be seen for what they really are.” Seen as such by whom? The world? The Witness community itself?
Now, I know, it’s a somewhat idle pastime, speculating upon how the current, wholly unsatisfactory and inherently unstable situation regarding the immediate and mid-term future of the WTS might play out. But sometimes, you know I can’t help it.
I think it’s at least a fair bet that the pressures facing the movement, the obvious and pressing need for some enlightened, humanitarian change in doctrine and social policy, set against the current leadership’s stubborn refusal even to consider any such idea, might well lead eventually to a violent schism. One can easily imagine hard-line and moderate camps developing, mutually disfellowshipping each other, fighting over ownership of the assets and money, and of course tragically splitting families and friends along an iron curtain of sectarian division. All too common an experience among committed, religious people, but it would be a complete disaster for the movement.
But, just say, they manage to avoid that? What if enough internal political will and good sense could be found among the ranks to pilot the Organisation through? To prevent a disastrous schism, or a numbers meltdown or a legal catastrophe? What would the surviving Organisation (in ten years maybe) then look like and sound like?
And further than that (and this is the point of my post) what attitude would such a future Watchtower leadership display towards the present-day leadership?
I think this is an interesting area of speculation because, it seems to me, that such a future leadership, if it has managed to survive at all, will of necessity have a very different character to today’s leadership. They will have had to face up to the failed prophecies, taken responsibility for mistakes, apologised to people, cleared up the blood mess, jettisoned shunning and generally done away with the whole exclusivity mindset. I say “will have had to” because I think no stable future is available to them that is not, in essence, of a “mainstreaming” character.
So when they come to comment upon the Organisation in the late 20th Century, and write their histories of the movement – what will they say about Franz, Henschel, Jaracz and the rest?
In previous restospectives, such as when the Rutherford-era people wrote about Russell, and when the Knorr-era people wrote about Rutherford, the tone has always been completely respectful, even if tinged with a kind of amused condescension: “Well, the Brothers back then had some strange ideas, alright. But you can see they were sincere, and that Jehovah blessed them, even though their understanding of things at the time was so wayward and feeble. They couldn’t help it, they were doing the best they could with the “light” that was available” You must have heard sentiments along those lines before.
But will such an attitude be appropriate, or even realistically available to the-then Watchtower leaders? Me, I doubt it. The record of self-serving, cynical, prideful deceptiveness, the stubbornness, the lying, the cover-ups, the sheer idiocy and incompetence of the current lot will be simply too much to deny or gloss over. Damaging information having become so much more available and ubiquitous, they simply won’t have the option of airbrushing the current GB into a state of holiness.
Well, it seems a fair guess to me that the future leadership, for pragmatic reasons as much as anything else, might simply take a diametrically opposite approach.
I think there’s every chance that a future Watchtower leadership might thoroughly denounce the current crowd as an aberration. An unchristian, uncaring totally apostate and wicked regime that was allowed – for whatever reason – to gain control of Jehovah’s organisation for a period of time. I’m sure there are no end of possible “scripture/prophecy fulfilment” scenarios that could be used in such a process.
I put this forward to you as a serious idea.
So, who’ d be a current GB member? The whole thing is falling apart around your ears, there seems no way out of the mess, and, worse than that, even after you’re dead, your name and reputation are going to be vilified, AMONG YOUR OWN COMMUNITY. Well, as I said, a good chance, I reckon.
So that’s why, today, I managed to feel sorry for the current GB, just for a while.