Governing Body 2.0

by drew sagan 65 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • TheListener

    Flipper is right, and AuldSoul years ago, when they say not to expect a softening with new GB members.

    -my initial thoughts were that with one less meeting, shorter Sunday talk and a few other changes that a softening was on the horizon. Now I see that in reality the mental control is tighter. The WTS controls less physical time of the dubs but more mental control.

    The newer members that make up GB2.0 were COs and DOs. Who controlled that department? Jaracz.

  • drew sagan
    drew sagan

    Good comments everyone.

    Something I would like to add. I think that some may be confusing what constitutes a religion going "mainstream".

    During the Rutherford era the organization was confrontational and hostile with society. Open protests on street corners and heated rhetoric against people (by name!). Read the article Armageddon, Inc. that appeared in the Satruday Evening Post in 1940, that should give you an idea of this.

    Eventually the hostile elements faded somewhat, and Witnesses became more integrated with the society they inhabit. Sure, they are insular, but not completely. They do not live in compounds (at least not all of them!).

    Going "mainstream" imo should not be put within a black/white framework, where all changes are seen as either positive or negative. The organization and its members are far more apart of "this world" then they want to believe. While elements of the movement deny personal freedom and as some argue create personal injury, this doesn't detract from the fact that the group is loosing its exclusionary nature. In fact, the ever diminishing role of prophetic significance has probably assisted in this regard.

    In recent years I have tended to back away from some of the more intense rhetoric regarding "cults". That the social environment created by the JWs is intense and limits personal freedoms is without question. This in turn can create negative consequences for individuals. However, far too many people attach the label of cult to something that the do not like, a factor that diminishes the usefulness of the term. Even worse, I believe former members of religious movements sometimes use anti-cult rhetoric to the extreme, using it as an excuse to justify their previous way of life. The argument that "I had no control, my mind was being controlled" just doesn't cut it for me.

  • neverendingjourney
    Something I would like to add. I think that some may be confusing what constitutes a religion going "mainstream".
    However, far too many people attach the label of cult to something that the do not like, a factor that diminishes the usefulness of the term

    James Penton uses the terms "sect" to describe religious movements that are insular and not integrated into society at large. That term still carries with it negative connotations, but not nearly to the degree that the term "cult" does. Cult is a pejorative that is not very useful to throw around, in my opinion. No one would admit to being an "idiot" more than anyone would admit to being a member of a cult.

    What's interesting, as Penton points out, is how long the JWs have resisted integration into society at large. If you look at the LDS, which started more or less around the same time as the JWs, they are far more integrated at this point in their history. They sponsor hospitals and universities. They have governors, senators, and even presidential candidates among their members. By contrast, the JWs still largely operate outside of society. Few Witnesses leave a lasting imprint on society at large. Very few lawyers, doctors, artists, public figures, etc. among their members. The revolving-door nature of JWs whereby its membership is almost completely renewed every few decades is probably behind this.

  • Mad Sweeney
    Mad Sweeney

    Drew, I think the term "mind control" is just as slippery as the term "cult" because both words evoke ideas in the average reader that they do not intend in the sociological sense. Using those terms makes it easy for anyone actually in a "mind control cult" to deny that it is such because so much of what that phrase evokes is absent from their real, everyday, high-control religious group.

    That said, the oppression and violation of the basic human right of free thought and behavior based on the free availability of information cannot be denied in the case of Jehovah's Witnesses and other groups many of us here describe as "mind control cults."

    So what do we call them instead? High control religious group is probably more accurate but far less powerful. I don't know. I see where you're coming from to an extent but I think you might underestimate the gross violation of basic human rights perpetrated by these "cults."

  • drew sagan
    drew sagan


    I believe some of what you are saying comes from what the Witnesses actually do provide for people. I believe that Andrew Holden's argument (2002) is probably the best around. Essentially, the witnesses provide an escape from modernity. However, unlike other religious orders and movements that do this in extreme ways, such as engaging in complete physical and social isolation, the witnesses have found other mechanisms with which to maintain the balance between worldly engagement and exclusion.

    This of course leads to contradictions. They fully embrace technology for the sake of their printing work, but openly condemn other aspects of modern science as a tool of the devil. There are other examples that could be added. My main feeling is that the Watchtower has developed a system where people can have their cake and eat it too. They can live in the modern world and enjoy all its benefits and at the same time enjoy being apart of an exclusive god ordained organization. JWs really are one of the few groups that provide this type of experience.

    In essence, the appeal the Watchtower Society to some may be derived from the fact that they are not fully integrated into society. In this way the Watchtower is fulfilling a particular need for people who want to enjoy modernity, but with caveat.

  • donuthole

    As it relates to the Classic Governing Body, Ray Franz' memoirs indicate that they believed in the JW end-time mythos to the same extent the publishers did. I have little reason to believe that GB 2.0, feels any differently. It wouldn't be surprising if they are experiencing the same sort of anxiety at the dragging on of the system, yet still holding out hope that the end is "very near". The GB 2.0 have all been in the Organization for a long time, and have held the same hopes that the end was coming "soon" as the rest of the publishers.

    While the rhetoric of the end being "soon" is still be trumpeted I'm seeing an almost veiled admission to the growing unease within the ranks. A song in the new song book speaks of the resurrection hope for current witnesses who have grown old as did a recent Watchtower. The idea presented is that older ones may not live to see the end as was expected but that their faithful servivce is recognized and will be rewarded with a resurrection. Similarly, the new drama gives tacit acknowledgement to the idea that the end didn't come when expected, but that they needed to be continue with the preaching work, and be patient. A couple of characters in the drama even flat out implicate that they didn't expect the end of Jerusalem would come in their lifetime.

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