|1994||Losch added to GB|
|1995||Generation change (WT 11/1/1995)|
|1997||Nethinim program officially instituted (WT 5/15/1997)|
|2000||Herd,Lett,Pierce,Splane added to GB|
Governing Body 2.0
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.
I wonder how many of these kids still exist.
TD- what you say about gifted ones leaving forcing the change is insightful. However, I think society in general is changing as well. When I was witnessing in the 80's, we used be told by the older ones that it was people in the territory that no longer were interested in doctrine. In the past they would have long debates on the doors, but not anymore. It is even more of the case now. There is so much information available that most people skim the surface of many topics rather then understand specific subjects deeply.
It seems as though GB 1.0 was holding out all those years, actually believing that a new era of leadership was not going to be necessary. Then comes the 1990s, the generation doctrine is gone, and new members to the body begin to be appointed.
Drew - Good point. I always wondered why they let it fall below 12. If they want to pretend to be like a 1st century model, 12 holds some special symbolism. Having only 8 does not fit. They may not need as many on the GB, having pushed the work off to the departments and lawyers, but having 8 gives too much power to too few.
Further on what TheListener said, there used to be a time when people gave lengthy, researched answers at meetings, including information from an encyclopedia. Then came articles saying that the conductor could not ask questions beyond what was written and answers should not detract from what is in the paragraph.
The following Sep 2007 KM is the one that says not to look into "exhaustive, time consuming subjects" and to stick to JW publications.
"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."
Fwiw, I tend to see the writings and actions of Greg Stafford as one of the more interesting WTS related developments in recent years. I believe he serves as an example of how Jehovah’s Witness beliefs are breaking into two separate branches.
WTS publications familiar to the older generation of JWs (60s & 70s) used to carry a strong narrative that revolved around Jehovah’s “theocratic order.” This narrative was interlinked with concepts regarding the nature of God and his works such as substance (anti-trinitarian arguments), that role of Jesus (a creature), eternal rewards and punishment (destruction, paradise and heaven), etc.
Greg Stafford represents (at least to me) a growing tendency within the organization in recent years (90s and 00s) that emphasizes doctrinal debates with orthodox Christianity over all other things. He sees the “theocratic order” narrative as no longer important, and instead argues that it is a distraction from the “real work” that needs to be done. He also has words to say about the organization's outdated beliefs regarding blood and other issues. At the same time he embraces a great deal of the organization's theology, most notably its concepts of Jehovah.
What is ironic in my opinion is that GB 2.0 seems to be shifting in this direction as well. As some have noted on this board, the newly revised songbook wipes out the (now dated) “theocratic” language. Updates to Organized to do Jehovah’s Will and Theocratic Ministry School Book reflect a desire to move away from the stronger and more direct model of Jehovah's Theocratic Government™. Changes in the overall content of the books and magazines, as discussed already, also reveals this trend.
From my own personal experience I noticed that most JWs tended to see the “theocratic” teachings as old, mysterious, complex and “deep”. My arguments with the Elders during my exit almost exclusively focused on doctrinal questions. When I criticized apocalyptic speculation and prophecy there actually was some acknowledgement on their part that “that side” of the faith wasn’t as important. Privately one Elder even told me that he found some of the end times rhetoric (specifically about earthquakes) to be a bit over the top.
The conclusion is that people within the org will proclaim that the prophetic and theocratic aspect of the faith is important only when push comes to shove. Otherwise they rather not get into it.
"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."
Quit reminding me of my youth!
“I would like to special order the Kingdom Interlinear brother literature servant.”
"To feel smart…"
ATJ: The label of GB 2.0 has officially stuck. Congrats on creating a new official phrase in the world of ex-jw speak
JWFacts: Good points. I remember finding that article from 2007 especially interesting since it came out shortly after me and my wife left. I sometimes wonder what I would have though about it during my years as an active witness.
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.
I'm not sure I agree with you on this point for two reasons.
1. The Nethinim article essentially created a third class of non-anointed Christians who would assist the governing body but who would not formally be a part of the body. It did not, contrary to the impression that many Witnesses and former Witnesses hold, pave the way for non-anointed to sit on the governing body.
2. The article was essentially ignored after its publication. I read somewhere (perhaps from Barbara Anderson?) that this particular article was an embarrassment to the governing body due to the strained parallel used, which only served the purpose of giving a few Bethel-heavies bragging rights. If I'm not mistaken, the concept as laid out in the Nethinim article has never resurfaced.
I think the real catalyst for adding members on the GB, as mentioned above, was the generation change and a realization that more members needed to be added to the body simply because the original members were getting too old and feeble. The old timers probably realized it was better for them to add new members and leave their mark on the direction of the organization for years to come.
Keep in mind that what you are witnessing is merely a patchwork, a collection of kludges.
The new songbook has about 50% or so less 'Jesus/Christ' in it. Removing Christ from this religion continues. As for the "Theocratic" stuff, they may have lost their love of the word but place ever more emphasis on their "authority".
They appear to be very skilled in making cuts and reductions but have no great vision for reviving a tired organization.
Two competing groups, the LDS and SDA, both rehabilitated their image by going mainstream with building their own Universities and Hospitals and Senor Living Homes. The Society is decades away from that type of reformation.
Think of all of those mothballed Bethel homes around the world being used for housing senors or being converted to accredited colleges.
Fair enough, I've thought about that too, but consider the element of time - which they appear to be running out of!
The Watchtower doesn't have decades to reform. They are rapidly becoming broke and irrelevant ( which I believe runs in a circle of cause and effect). The buildings you describe will be sold off long before they finally decide to convert them into something useful.
They are stuck in a rut and firmly determined to stay there. They need radical change and dynamism. Instead, they are selling off and reducing what little infrastructure they have - going in the wrong direction!
I don't see any signs of them changing course either, but if they were smart like the other groups they would see the dollars come in from these ventures.
The Lutheran Fund is one of the better run and well respected agencies around for this type of thing, they run senor living facilities all over the country. I knew an older Witness couple who retired to one of their nicely run centers.
Two competing groups, the LDS and SDA, both rehabilitated their image by going mainstream with building their own Universities and Hospitals and Senor Living Homes.
They both have the 10% tithing requirement don't they though? I don't think the WTS will be able to quickly push that or even in time. The old people would not like that especially when they don't have funds that way and the young people won't go for it since they see they may have to be taking care of their own older relatives in time themselves.