Circuit Overseers, their roles, and their spouses

by garyneal 23 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • garyneal

    My wife and I took a trip yesterday to deliver her camera to her mom so she may take it with her as she goes to Kentucky where the Need Is Great TM . Her mom is currently still in Virginia staying with some brothers there while she gets schooled in giving talks (at least I think that is what she is doing). I met the CO's wife at the Petersburg KH and after we dropped the camera off, my wife and I went to have dinner before returning home.

    I ask about Circuit Overseers and their role because I was intrigued to learn that the KH we went to had an apartment for the CO.

    Apparently, CO's have no job of their own outside the Watchtower activities and while my wife insisted that they did not 'take a vow of poverty' like the Catholic clergy do, they technically do. CO's and their wives have no children as the CO is too busy with theocratic activity to ever have time for a family. I guess the wife seldom sees the CO since he is busying himself on theocratic activities but she must travel with him when he goes to the various KH's.

    I did not ask about the green handshake. LOL

    I would assume too, that since a CO must be a true company man, he cannot be bothered with an education.

    I tell you, I think that would really suck if he should ever find himself put out of his position. Demoted to an elder or something similar.

    My wife counters with, "Well, if he should ever look for a job, he would have the best resume." But she admitted that in our world, education matters. I said, "He would basically have the resume of a clergyman, though I guess he could spin the leadership part and become a manager somewhere." Of course, I can see where that would go, brother CO looses his priveleges and becomes spiritually weak because he is now spending a lot of hours on his secular managerial job.

    But what if the CO's wife wants a family? What does the CO do? I would imagine that given the setup the CO has, he would be a fool to give it up. It sounds like CO's, like civil servants, would try to keep their jobs for life. A CO would have to die first before another brother could get that privelege.

    Any thoughts?

  • EmptyInside

    A lot of the Circuit Overseers in our circuit have been older. And a few have had children and jobs prior to being in the circuit work. It's true there are some that never had children. And there seems to be a trend for younger, single brothers getting in the circuit work, too.

  • metatron

    It all depends. Don't think for a minute that being a C.O. is a desirable life especially for the wife. Take careful note of how many of these poor oppressed women have had odd health problems like hypersensitivity to perfume or weird chronic illnesses no doctor can pin down.

    It probably has changed due to necessity but the Society has often treated C.O.'s like sh*t. They didn't provide proper housing or compensation. If the Service Dept. Bureaucrats don't like you, you'll end up in some horrid Circuit in Alaska or poor a$$ bleak place with NO greenhandshakes.

    Don't get me wrong, some of these guys have been intinerant sociopaths and cold hearted predators. But the Society has contributed to this mess.


  • babygirl30

    I always assumed that since the CO took a 'vow' to serve as a 'slave' in that capacity, that his wife also had to take that vow to live the SAME way and to support her man?! As for having a children, I know of one CO who had kids before getting into the work...but again, always believed that NOT having children was part of the position.

  • DaCheech

    in the true spirit of the bible, the society is not following trough.......... the first CO (paul) worked for a living.

    he was not a burden to anyone.

    CO's are burden to cong

    1. apt

    2. car & insurance

    3. health insurance

    4. weekly re-inbursement receipts: gas, drycleaning, groceries, supplies, etc..........

  • sherah

    I'm pretty sure that CO's take a vow of poverty like Bethelites. And most wives of CO's seem aloof, lonely and miserable. They are just along for the ride on the WT corporate ladder. They have their own groupies, the pioneers and elderettes.

  • jwfacts

    Gary, what you are saying applies at times but is not really correct.

    My father has spent 20 years as a CO. He went to university prior to becoming a JW and was a CPA (qualified accountant). He had me and my sister and built up some assets prior to going on the circuit. Some Circuit Overseers have children and go CO after the children leave home.

    Like with the vow of poverty in Bethel, a CO can earn money from investments and can get permission to have additional work, such as during holidays. They get a small allowance from bethel, food and accommodation provided by the congregation, a car and lots of donations - though that depends on the affluence of the circuit they are in.

    CO's get to spend at least as much time with their wives as the average JW. They go preaching during the week, are at the lodgers home together some evenings and have a day off on Mondays for moving congregations.

    I feel most sorry for CO's that start earlier in life with no assets behind them and no children. They eventually retire in poverty.

    "Well, if he should ever look for a job, he would have the best resume."

    That made me laugh. What employee wants a nomad speaker, unless it is to be a priest for some other religion. I was told the same about my time in Bethel, that I was getting skills that would help me through life. Not the case. I went to university before bethel and then spent 3 years in cleaning and waitering. When I left I couldn't get a proper accounting job as I had no experience and the good jobs were going people just leaving uni on graduate programs. I even struggled to get a waitering job as I had no ordering and cash handling experience.

  • wasblind

    No pot to pee in + No window to throw it out of = CO

  • Simon Morley
    Simon Morley

    other things they are a burden to a circuit (from the recent CO):

    1 Apt with free telephone/internet/fax line - CO "insisted on a high speed connection" (probably so he can monitor this post of mine or prepare talks on Girls Gone Wild)

    2 Apt with free cable and a really nice HD ready LCD TV and the HD package (must have sports)

    3 Apt with a new Gas BBQ every 3 - 4 years (the old one (3 years old was not "big" enough

    4 Whip round of the elder bodies to help him take a nice trip home

    In 25 years I only met no more than 4 that were "great couples". The others included one who was known for "copping a feel' fo younger sisters every visit, made me throw up. MOST CO's always had the "important-Branch-work-to-take-care-of-this-afternoon-so-I-wont-be-out-routine". MOST of the wives were unapproachable unless they approached you (form of validation). I was shocked at how many had dietary restrictions - I swear being CO's wife (and many of the CO's) comes equipped with IBS or worse IBD. The number of letters that had "and by the way we are both alergic to this and that, can't eat, this and that - we don't drink alcohol, we get hives with red wonder no one wants them over - all you can serve is a cold glass of water and left over bread from the last Memorial celebration.

  • garyneal

    Cool, thanks for the feedback everyone.

  • wheres caleb?
    wheres caleb?

    I loved all the co's that I ever met. They were great examples and people that I can always call my friends because they cared about me. They loved me more than I was worthy of. I was privileged to know them.


    Idealism that can never live up to the hype. As a jw, you have to accept the crap that you are left with. A well-intentioned company man and a wife who supports that endeavor.

    Witnesses are not spiritual people. They are religious people. There is a difference.

    The organization creates corporate men, not spiritual men. Any claim other than that is a product of their own delusion.

  • Broken Promises
    Broken Promises

    In the 70s and 80s, most COs I knew lived in caravans as they traveled from town to town.

    In the 90s, they all developed mysterious food allergies, as the other poster said. Some were hypoglycemic, others couldn’t eat wheat and other certain foods. It made it very difficult to cater for them, and it always seemed that the same ones looked after them. Usually the elders and pioneers.

  • DaCheech

    I knew 2 CO's including Mario Beltrami, where he and his wife were "allergic" to food cooked in aluminum

  • Aussie Oz
    Aussie Oz

    All the ones i knew had a big V8 ford to pull a big caravan that was always parked behind the kingdom hall.

    I always found them pretty ok, and the wives hot, sexy babes... HAHAHA NOT!

    I do remember some having food alergies thats for sure

    I see the wives as having been made to be a regular pioneer so that husband can climb the corporate ladder. Lots of times the wife is out in F/S while the C/O gets to do secret mens business with his underlings...


  • metatron

    The financial burden of having a C.O. isn't that great - with one exception: potential liability.

    You've got these guys leading groups out in service with their Buicks, pretending to be volunteers, when they're actually employees of the WBTS, Inc. Think about auto accidents. Think about the Chain of Command, the Hierarchical Structure. Think about 'Deep Pockets' of the Watchtower, if anything goes wrong.

    You've got a Catholic structure without the Catholic Cash. This has to have the Society's lawyers scared.


  • CuriousButterfly
    Apparently, CO's have no job of their own outside the Watchtower activities and while my wife insisted that they did not 'take a vow of poverty' like the Catholic clergy do, they technically do.

    They do take a vow of poverty since they do not have a regular paying job. Some have families and when their kids go off, the couple enters the circuit work. Most are given an apartment in the kingdom hall where they pay nothing. It used to be for years a pioneer couple or one spouse who was pioneering would rent the apartments. That all changed about 7-10 years ago they WTS did away with that and asked all who were not CO's/DO's to leave and find other housing. I heard it had to do with liability and plus the congregation was receiving rent, minimal but none the less they were making a little $ and that could lead to potential problems being a non-profit.

  • CuriousButterfly
    CO's are burden to cong
    1. apt
    2. car & insurance
    3. health insurance
    4. weekly re-inbursement receipts: gas, drycleaning, groceries, supplies, etc..........

    Yes they can be. One "tour" of a CO he was trying to be reimbursed for a $75 dinner. He decided to take his wife out on a date(s) and was notorious for passing the bill on to the ocngregation he was serving that week. I vocally questioned it and from what I heard he was talked to and was asked never to submit that again. MOST are frugal (at least the ones I see coming/going) but the younger ones feel entitled and IMO THEY chose to do this work and giving up the nice things is part of the deal.

    That same CO who took his wife out and expensed it....his wife was always dressed to the nines, nail professionally done etc. She would show up like she was a high priced lawyer. I laughed and did not care, I wear and enjoy nice clothes too. It was humorous to see someone who is supposed to be simplifying their life look better than most.

  • SnakesInTheTower

    CO's are part of the Special Order of Full-Time Servants. This was a religious order set up in response to the Internal Revenue Service (US) and SSA (Social Security Administration) and Department of Labor. They do take a vow of "poverty and obedience"...basically the equivalent of "barefoot and pregnant" ...with the CO and their wives being reliant on the Society and the local yokels for everything.

    Society does not pay them more than a monthly stipend, plus an annual allowance for clothes,etc. Because they are part of an officially sanctioned Religious Order per IRS rules, the Society does not pay payroll taxes on them and no state or federal taxes are taken out. Neither are OASDI or SSD (retirement and disability) payments.

    I wonder how this works if a single MTS (Ministerial Training School) graduate goes into the circuit work (or goes to bethel) early in life, never works a paying gig where he earns SSI credits, then gets hurt or eventually retires. What happens at age 62/65/69...where is their pension. And heaven help the poor sap that realizes the truth about the Truth and wants to leave the Lie.... no skills, no retirement....nothing but the street.

    Glad I woke up before it was too late. I went through MTS...before MTS, I wanted to be a CO....after MTS...I thought hell no. How do I get off this sinking ship. Left the MTS program 4 months after graduating....left the WT 5 years later.

    Snakes (Rich )

  • Desilusionnee

    The wife of our last CO really prayed not to be sent in a territory they had been years before. And try to guess where they sent them...

    She really wanted to cry but accepted it as Jehova's decision in order to mold her.

    Poor thing...


  • chickpea

    dont forget their dry cleaning bills!

    one CO who had "served" the KH i had attended
    ended up leaving the racket when his wife ended
    up pregnant... the joke was the baby was a

    "circuit breaker"

Share this topic

Related Topics