Governing Body 2.0

by drew sagan 65 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Mad Sweeney
    Mad Sweeney

    It won't go to GB 3.0 for some time. I do expect, however, to see GB 2.1 and 2.2 within the next few years as they add a couple new members and Jack Barr (he's the last old timer right?) passes away.

  • VoidEater

    The gloss may change (talk of "lifestyle"...?), but the fundamental dogma remains:

    The WTS emphasizes folowing order, rather than developing character. "Conscience", to them, is minding rules, not embodying right from wrong.

    When the WTS repudiates its stance on developing character, that will be the signal the organization can change. Until then, it's same sh*t, different day.

    "The religion changed from being one that welcomed and nurtured intellectual curiosity regarding its doctrine to one that simply demanded obedience without proof."

    There hasn't been an honest, intellectual discussion within the organization since 1967 or so, in my personal experience.

  • neverendingjourney
    Will the GB 2.0 wait another 20-30 years before appointing new members to the GB? Or will they instead appoint new members as it becomes necessary?

    It's really impossible to answer this question without insight into the politics behind GB 2.0. Due to Ray Franz's revelations, we knew the personalities and tendencies of GB 1.0, but we're virtually in the dark about these new fellows.

    Back in my zealous JW days I used to have contact with Bethelites and COs who would occasionally drop bits and pieces of information that shed light on the politics and personalities of the upper crust of the JW hierarchy, but those contacts have long since vanished. I know Loesch is a tyrant just by seeing him at two assemblies, but I know next to nothing about the rest other than what I read on this board.

    I guess it depends on how authoritarian this new bunch is. If they're locked in a power struggle and new appointments might disrupt the balance of power, my guess is they'll hold off on new appointments for the time being. If they're pretty much lockstep right now and adding new members will not disrupt the center of power, then I suspect they'll add a few new members for consistency's sake. Time will tell.

  • compound complex
    compound complex

    Thank you, dear friends, for the explanation. I googled 2.0 but could not make the application to the GB.

    Your comments are much appreciated. Having developed a thread some time ago on the fictional teaching of the F&DS [per ISOCF], I find that my personal penchant for that former "intellectual" side of The Truth has set my groove firmly into this fascinating thread.



  • TD
    I can also understand the general narrative you are presenting because I also joined the group in the 1990s, albeit the late 1990s (started attending in 97). However, I wonder what you mean when you say:
    "The religion changed from being one that welcomed and nurtured intellectual curiosity regarding its doctrine to one that simply demanded obedience without proof."

    Hi Drew!

    You're quite right that the JW organization has always ultimately demanded doctrinal obedience, but there was a time when intellectually gifted JW's were encouraged to excel within their faith and far more individual expression was tolerated. During my brief association with the JW's as a young person, I remember:

    The release of the Kingdom Interlinear in 1969, and the speaker extolling the benefit and virtue of actually learning Koine Greek.

    When writing the Society with doctrinal questions was welcomed and extremely detailed answers would be given.

    When it was not the least bit unusual for someone; usually an elderly anointed sister to say, "The Society says 'X', but I personally think 'Y' is correct. Time will tell...."

    The "Iron fist in a velvet glove" as Ray Franz put it was always there, but the atmosphere was more suasive than coercive.

    And out of this atmosphere came people like Carl Olof Jonsson, Rud Persson, Jay Hess, Joseph Malik, Alan Feuerbacher, Jim Penton, etc. A similar pattern emerged:

    Intellectually gifted, usually young JW wishes to defend their faith in more detail

    They study far beyond the scope of JW literature.

    They eventually tackle a subject and discover that JW doctrine is at odds with the evidence

    They present their research to the JW leadership in the belief that this will be appreciated.

    They leadership responds harshly; censoring or expelling them.

    Disillusioned and hurt, this person becomes a very articulate, capable critic with the desire to help similar minded people in the JW faith.

    They write a book or books which deconstruct JW doctrine and history at a level the leadership cannot even begin to respond to.

    The closest I have seen anyone else following this pattern in recent years was Greg Stafford and his case is not exactly like this in every detail. Greg's forte is ancient Greek and he was (And is) very capable. Soon afterwards, the JW leadership began discouraging study of the Biblical source languages, which is not only a break with the past, but a very, very odd position for any Christian religion to take as well.

    It seems clear to me at least, that the JW leadership does not want this pattern to continue to repeat over and over. They have done their best to eliminate the intellectually stimulating atmosphere where budding JW apologists can flourish and grow only to eventually become even more competent authors and critics of the JW faith.

    From what I can see, the 12 year old bespectacled, gifted JW child whose entire bedroom wall is covered with an intricate chronological and prophetic timeline compiled from a mountain of JW literature is a thing of the past.

  • neverendingjourney

    Interesting comments, TD.

    I was not around in the 60s, but I imagine it as you describe. Freddy was in his prime at the time, churning out prophetic commentary after prophetic commentary. My earliest childhood memories start in the mid 80s. I think that was the tail end of period of time when it was permitted to inquire into "deep spiritual matters." Fred's authority had been severely hampered post 1975 and he was beginning to grow too old and tired to have the same kind of pull as before.

    I can't imagine the WT issuing an interlinear bible and concordance today or even attempting to tackle evolution again by updating the Creation book. I think those days are behind us, largely because the men in charge neither have the capacity nor the interest in following Fred's footsteps.

  • TheListener
  • AllTimeJeff


    First of all, I rarely get to tell you how your gentle soul is revealed in your own writings. Hope things are well with you.

    I have been referring to the GB of the 90's and beyond as Version 2.0 as a mockery, comparing them to updated computer software, mostly Windows, which always comes out with updates that don't work.

    Every now and then, my penchant for being a smart ass comes in handy with writing.

    Drew Sagan, great thread. I read it with interest. Good points you and others have made.

  • TheListener

    TD, after reading your post I must say I agree completely. Overall I like the direction of this thread.

    In the "old days" the congregation bookstudies didn't have specific numbers of paragraphs to cover and much was left up to the individual study conductor. In the "old days" the "friends" would discuss deep prophecies and in general felt superior to other christians because they had such meat provided to them for study.

    I remember being in field service car groups and playing bible stump games. The one who could come up with some obscure fact which was usually based on some deep prophecy would win.

    It seemed that there was a time when open discussion occurred about the doctrines and the understandings. Make no mistake, you did have to tow the line; outright disagreement wasn't acceptable.

    Nowadays the witnesses seem to be slowly losing end times urgency. I know we've discussed it on the boards a million times, but it's true. The old timers feel the younger ones aren't spiritual enough to survive the persecution that they feel is sure to come. The young ones don't know the deep spiritual prophecies and truths because they aren't really discussed much. There is a real (to borrow a term used by someone earlier) bifurcation of the membership.

    One possibility is that a new visionary will emerge and either reinvigorate the entire membership or cause a schism.

    The more I watch my witness family members and their friends the more I see them seem tired and unenergetic. The average witness seems very much to just be going through the motions without giving much thought to anything except the end coming so they will be vindicated and not stricken with odd illnesses any longer.

    Actually, that last sentence made a thought pop into my head. It seems we've discussed many times the odd illnesses that witnesses have. The witnesses of the 30s-70s weren't afflicted with so many maladies. I believe it is all part of the wearing out of the message, machinery and membership.

  • TheListener

    As far as the GB2.0 is concerned. I never thought about the enlargement of the body not occurring until the mid-90s and beyond. It does seem that the GB1.0 felt that they could man the helm until the system finally ended. It must have made for some interesting discussions once they started to see themselves physically and mentally deteriorate and knew something had to be done before too long.

    As I recall the first step in the process for creating the GB2.0 was the Nethinim article (WT 5/15/1997 p.15-20). Others may be able to correct me.

    What would be interesting to see in a timeline is the GB appointments, generation changes, and doctrinal shifts like the Nethinim. It may show an interesting pattern...

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