"Rutherford, a prominent member of the Governing Body" (David Splane, 2010 DC)

by pirata 23 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • pirata

    In David Splane's talk, "Remain in the Secret Place of the Most High", at the 2010 District Convention he referred to "Rutherford, a prominent member of the Governing Body".

    While technically correct (the governing body is a technical term for a board of directors), the term "governing body" currently has a spiritual meaning, seperate from "board of directors", in the eyes of JWs: the representatives of the faithful and discreet slave who make the decisions on spiritual matters. My understanding is that the "board of directors" handle other business/legal operations (since the 80s re-org).

    Please correct my if I am wrong, but retroactively applying the modern-day understanding of the term "governing body" to the board of directors in the Rutherford/Knorr era suggests that the board of directors had equal input on spiritual matters. My understanding though is that the President/Vice-president made the majority of decisions on spiritual matters during that time.

    Does anyone know of any quotes or references from Watchtower material that states who actually made the spiritual decisions during the Rutherford/Knorr era?

  • sir82
    retroactively applying the modern-day understanding of the term

    Good grief, that's in every WT ever written!

    Didn't you see this year's DC drama? The 1st century "secretary" was "reviewing congregation records" and was "encouraged" by the "increased meeting attendance"!

    If I allowed my eyes to roll as vigorously as they'd like to at every anachronistic WT reference, I'd have Schwarzenegger-style eyeballs.

  • donuthole

    As I understand it, originally the board of directors was the governing body. However what resulted in an early schism was that Rutherford was unilaterally making decisions (such as authorizing the writing and printing of the Finished Mystery) without the approval of the board. Whereas, Russell envisioned that the board would share in making decisions. Rutherford was the Boss. He was in charge and he didn't share in making decisions. Knorr acted similarly, though he defaulted to Franz on theological matters.

  • minimus

    There was no "GB" then. Rutherfraud was God.

  • designs

    Doesn't this self-promotion of the Governing Body epitomize the reason the Society is out of touch with humanity.

    Apostolic succession and 18,000 children starve to death every day for lack of food. At least other 'Christian' groups who are so hung up on The Return of Christ help out in the Food programs.

  • St George of England
    St George of England

    If you can stand to read it there was an article in the WT Dec 15, 1971 p755 which explained how the GB started in 33 CE and what happened in the 1800's etc. However I think any rational person would have to admit that the GB really started on Oct 1, 1971 and has been applied retrospectively since then. Certainly there are fewer index references pre 1971 than post 1971.

    The article concludes:

    w71 12/15 p.762AGoverningBodyasDifferentfromaLegalCorporation



    At the close of discussing matters such as the above at the annual chartered meeting of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania at Buckingham, Pa., on October 1, 1971, an interesting problem was posed for the audience, especially for the voting members present of the said Society. It was this: Nineteen hundred years ago, the “faithful and discreet slave” class with its governing body functioned without a legal corporation chartered by Caesar, and it did so—successfully, magnificently. What about the governing body of the “faithful and discreet slave” class of the present time? Can it also function without the legal nonprofit corporation known as Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania? and succeed? In the light of the precedent established by the apostles and fellow elders of the Jerusalem congregation in the first century C.E., we leave you to answer the question for yourself.


  • Balsam

    I became a JW in 1971 and there was no Governing Body then. There was the President Nathan Knorr and basically he had sole control over what the WTBTS taught. It wasn't until idea of a body of Elders working as leadership in the congregations that we began to hear of the Governing Body sometime in the late 1970's. I remember Knorr then Frantz were the Presidental leaders till they popped up with the idea of the so called Governing body took over after Fred Frantz died.

    Your right Rutherford was not part of a governing body at all. When he took over he dismissed all the men on the body that controlled the financial operations of the WTBTS. That is when the split off happen and the Bible Students split off with the help of those dismissed group. They are just lying pain and simple.

  • St George of England
    St George of England
    I remember Knorr then Frantz were the Presidental leaders till they popped up with the idea of the so called Governing body took over after Fred Frantz died.

    The GB was formed in 1971, Freddie Franz died in 1992. The GB was formed when both he and Knorr were alive reputedly as a protection against Franz who was a nut case, having full control when Knorr died.


  • straightshooter

    Rutherford was the President of the WTS. He made the decisions. It is so misleading today, because the WTS has purposely removed all references to President from their recent publications, therefore giving the impression that there was no one human leader of the WTS. But all the older publication truly refer to Rutherford, Knorr, Franz as President of the WTS.

  • Leolaia

    It's historical revisionism.

    Before the rise of the Governing Body, it was the office of the President that had the primary leadership of the Society.

    "We recognize that the Lord has placed special responsibility upon Brother Rutherford as the president of the WATCHTOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY, and that the Lord has given to him a special measure of his spirit whereby he has been enabled to serve the people of the Lord, that is, his brethren, in an unselfish manner, and has so been able to help them to fulfill their covenant obligations to the Highest faithfully" (Watchtower, 11/1/1939, p. 335)

    "The Theocracy is the promised administration of earth's affairs by Jehovah God, the Creator, through the King appointed for that purpose, Christ Jesus....The Theocracy is at present administered by the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY, of which Judge Rutherford is the president and general manager" (Consolation, 9/4/1940, p. 25)

    "Since the days of Jesus, the Lord God has had no visible earthly leader of His organization. We recognize that Jehovah has an orderly and systematic way of carrying on His work, according to His will, and the law of the land properly requires that someone occupy the office of president of the Society, which Society is used by His people under the direction of Christ Jesus, God's anointed King and our Leader" (Watchtower, 2/13/1942, p. 62)

    "Jehovah's witnesses bear identification cards with the signature of the president or of the Society. Such, however, is merely to identify them in case of investigation to prove they are true representatives of the Society" (Watchtower, 4/1/1942, p. 105)

    "Instructions come to the Lord's people on earth from the office of the President of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society" (1943 Yearbook, pp. 226-227).

Share this