Governing Body 2.0

by drew sagan 65 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • designs


    Yes its a complicated solution. With the LDS and SDA and some others they at least give back to their members with the social programs and old age care. With older Bethelites they seem to get to walk the short plank to some boondock congregation. We had several trailers installed in the back of our KH and housed some of these senors.

  • darthfader

    I'll bet that members in LDS and SDA churches have more $ than the rank anf file JW. A good reason could be that the JW's are not encouraged to persue careers -- for the end is sooo close.

    I have spoken to several of my "ex" firends (I say "ex" as I choose to distance myself from anything JW) - they have no clue about the "deeper things" and are pretty much "sheeplike" followers -- awaiting for "Noo Light" -- I asked one friend about the new generation teaching and he said that's what he always thought it was. Clueless!!

  • truthseeker


    You make some excellent points, my comments in red


    - 1999 seems to be the sea change year in terms of GB appointment and might be seen sybolically as a turning point in terms of leadership for the group. A majority of members on the GB were appointed between 1999 and 2005. The only member left from the 70's is John Barr. Gerrit Losch was a rare mid-90s appointment.

    I agree, and also the year 2000 when they split into various corporations, no doubt to protect their assets in case of future lawsuits.

    - There must have been a consensus within the GB 2.0 that saw the level of activity demanded by the Watchtower in years past as excessive (or at least not consistent with the times). They cut the in home book study, shortened the public talk, and cut back on supplied reading material. While many here speculated that some of this was do to costs (which is a real possibility), the fact that meetings were included in the cut backs reveals that one motive was to demand less of the membership.

    I agree with this in part, because although they reduced the meetings by one and cut the Sunday talk to 1/2hr, in reality they shifted the time required in spiritual acitvities to the Family Worship night. The level of commitment is about the same.

    - The change in tone and substance within the publications, especially since the 1990s, reveals a move towards truncation of argumentation regarding complex doctrinal matters. Just compare the Knowledge book with the You Can Live Forever on Paradise Earth book (you could also add the Truth book to the mix). While What Does the Bible Really Teach? did eventually reintroduce some of the doctrine that was lacking in the Knowledge book, it completely excluded any mention of the faithful and discrete slave. In short, information regarding doctrine has become simplified in recent years. It appears that every new book released by the Watchtower focuses less and less on doctrines. This may not be apparent when comparing books year to year, but when compared over the course of decades the trend becomes obvious.

    Yes, I've noticed this, the Live Forver Book was meaty, there was more focus on the trinity argument and what happens to the soul after death, now it is more about obeying the faithful slave and keeping faithful. I think the omission of the faithful and discreet slave teaching is deliberate, after all that is their primary teaching for maintaining the authority they have, and to deliberately exclude it from the Kowledge and Bible Teach books is more than just coincidence. These books have been dumbed down, also the new feature on the KM, "what to say about the magazines" is more proof of the dumbing down in their literature.

    - The role of prophecy is diminishing, with more of a focus on lifestyle. The latest book on Jeremiah as well as the one on the minor prophets released a few years ago show a significant shift away from understanding prophecy in terms of having fulfillment in modern times. Rather than using these prophetic books as a way to expand on the end times narrative, they instead focusing on coping with what seems to be an extended period of waiting for the end. In this way the books reveal that the current leadership definitely sees signs of "armageddon anxiety" among the membership. While the organization used to reinvigorate its members with exciting new explantations of prophetic fulfillment, the current brand of rhetoric sees no role for such speculations. Instead they focus on qualities such as "endurance" and "patience". The role of end times still is important, but not in the sense of a being a dominating narrative.

    Apart from the dreadful Isaiah's Prophecy Light for all Mankind books, the role of prophecy concerning the end times is almost non existent now, and yes, the emphasis is on lifestlye, from dress and grooming to entertainment. It's almost as if they want us to become part of their brand name, just think of the what to wear while visiting Bethel brochure.

    Some may disagree with my final conclusion, but to me it appears that the organization is actually becoming less confrontational in its style and approach. While the new leadership continues to declare an "us verses them" narrative built around claims of exclusivity, it has come to emphasize other aspects that tend to be more mainstream. I believe the organization is trending towards emphasis of morality and lifestyle choices, which subsequently means a de-emphasizing of prophetic interpretations and doctrinal discourse. This is not an absolute trend, and there is some overlap in terms of experience. Some of the older members may still value prophecy more, but the younger members are likely to adopt the newer "lifestyle" as presented by the organization.

    I also tend to think that major changes will not take place. The current leadership tends to view the model established by the followers of Knorr and Franz as a sound one that will only need tweaked as time progresses (think changes to theocratic ministry school, meetings, magazines, ect.). Without a dominant eccentric to lead the pack, I think the organization is likely to continue on a path towards adopting moderate changes that do not substantially change the organization.

    Your thoughts?

  • truthseeker


    You make some profound comments.

    There's very little interest in deep study among the youth. They're content to read (if they do even that) and underline. Policy and procedure has taken the place of research.

    At private gatherings, any talk of "deeper" things is met with suspicion, unease, and silence.

    Even the new songs forom the songbook are dull and vacuous, with "how good it is to obey unquestioningly!" type lyrics and plodding melodies that would depress a puppy.

    Congregations interact at just the most superficial level now. As my wife is prone to say, "we're not friends any more, we're just coworkers".

    Your wife hit the nail on the head. Coworkers - ever since the GB got rid of the book study, which was the only meeting where you could at least have a serious chat on a social level, the interaction between witnesses is at an all time low.

  • TheListener


    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.

    I believe, as you, that the catalyst for adding more members was the realization that the end wasn't as near as it was once thought. I just think that the GB1.0 was too nervous to add a bunch of new guys to the GB without "introducing" them first. The Nethinim article served as the introduction. Who knows, maybe the GB1.0 wasn't sure which of the butt-kissers to actually appoint so the Nethinim position allowed them to openly test the candidates.

    I also agree that the Nethinim parallel has not been reiterated or discussed since its inception. But, I think it served its purpose. It allowed the GB time to select specific members for addition to the GB and it did so without upsetting the JW applecart.

    I believe the doctrinal changes show us one thing for sure. The GB1.0 truly believed that the end was near until the mid-90s; and once it dawned on them that it wasn't they put doctrines in place that allowed for date pushing and body enlargement. They still seem to be in that same mode. Which means the GB2.0 may not feel the end is imminent either.

  • besty

    Barbara Anderson has written extensively about the Nethinim here

  • Paulapollos

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    I must say that I found this discussion very thought-provoking. It would seem that there is a shying-away from the “prophecies” that used to be discussed, but I genuinely believe that this is more to do with the idea that the prophetic foundations of the organisation are fundamentally sound, and the focus now should be on being morally clean to be ready for Armageddon.

    Although there has been a softening of tone in the more available WT's and so forth, there most certainly has not been in the instructions to elders, nor in the organisational approach to problems. The key here is that the organisation seem to be pursuing a twin-track approach. On one hand, they seem to be focusing on more “surface” doctrines that can easily be digested, and more easily defended – things like “Paradise”, the “last days”, and so forth. On the other hand,when any “deeper” issues are discussed, it tends to be as skipped over as possible, with the organisation taking it for granted that the doctrine is sound. One result of the drift away from the “deeper” articles of the 50;s onwards is that it seems the younger generation of elders are not really au-fait with these, and so tend to view these discussions with some reserve.

    This was certainly the case when I was around at Bethel – there was a deliberate and noticeable move away from “deeper” things. However, I would like to say that this was in one way false, since the “deeper things” were often Fred Franz inspired, and to the best of my knowledge, nobody in Writing was able to step up to that particular plate. It was not so much that they wanted to, it was that they had to. And now, that has become an ingrained habit.


  • TheListener

    Thank you for that link Betsy,

    I didn't want to cut/paste Barbara's article (or even portions thereof), however, Barbara's footnote #17 sums up my feelings about the Nethinim. It is/was used as a proving ground for new GB members.

    Instead of helping the GB grow and expand mentally it has actually made them more insular. Only those individuals who fit the already created GB mold get sifted through and eventually join the GB. The rest are consigned to OS prospects and Nethinim status forever...

  • Mad Sweeney
    Mad Sweeney

    Another reason they refuse to change is that many of them DO believe their own hype. They believe Armageddon IS coming and that they ARE God's organization. Not all, probably, but enough to maintain the status quo.

  • flipper

    DREW- Very good thread. Enjoyed all the comments. Having been born in and raised in this God forsaken cult 44 years from birth ( exited in 2003) I agree with some sentiments on the thread and posts- yet disagree with other sentiments.

    I don't agree that the Jehovah's Witnesses and WT society will become mainstream at all. Like many mind control cults- they try to APPEAR mainstream to newly interested people and love bomb new members , but once someone is INSIDE the cult and officially " baptized " - the hardcore indoctrination and emphasis on submission to the " faithful & discreet slave " is pounded into members heads.

    Steve Hassan mentioned in one of his 2 books on mind control - that when a organization or cult gets desperate to retain members and not lose control of them , often they will print 2 versions of the so-called allegedly " inspired truth " . One version for the uninformed " newer " members , i.e. " interested ones " or " Bible Studies " and another version for the firm indoctrination and control tactics used to keep members in line. And THAT is exactly what the WT sopciety has done the last few years. Print 2 versions of the Watchtower so they can appear kind, caring, and loving to unsuspecting NEWER ones - yet still come off as AUTHORITATIVE to rank and file JW's with the study versions of the Watchtower.

    I do agree that the WT society is becoming MORE controlling and insisting on subjection to the governing body and " faihful slave " and they are consolidating their power more and more through manipulative and persuasive WT articles, assembly parts , and controlling JW's through fear and guilt tactics to separate them more and more from inactive witness relatives , non-witnesses, and ANYBODY that breathes or says ANYTHING negative whatsoever towards the organization. Thus the WT society is closing ranks, becoming MORE paranoid in protecting it's $$$$$ interest in members , especially aging members with $$$$$ .

    Look - to me, it's all a ploy, a scam. Thus we have the newly revised " generation overlap " theory where the WT society can make this scam last 50 , perhaps 90 more years- then they'll think up something else to control members. According to Barbara Anderson, most of these GB members were handpicked by Ted Jaracz himself - don't you think they will have the same Nazi type influence and carry on the tradition of control towards JW's ? You bet. They're in it for power, in it for control, and whatever $$$$$ and security in old age they can benefit from living at Bethel - they will lie, beg, borrow, or steal people's lives away to keep the game going. The individual Jehovah's Witness is just a statistic reported on a monthly field service report - you as a person do not matter. The organization matters, not individual members.

    O.K. Gonna exhale now. End of my rant and take

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