The Governing Body - Elusive & Strong

by the-illuminator81 8 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • the-illuminator81

    When it comes to cults, Jehovah's Witnesses have a very strong hierarchical leadership system. In many ways it enforces their control on the individual. One of the tricks is that the lower levels of followers never get direct contact beyond the circuit overseer level. They know who the district overseer is, because they see him in the circuit assembly or at the district assemblies, but they usually can't talk to him. The zone overseer is rarely seen and bethel is a big mystery. And then after bethel comes the highest level, the governing body. Most JWs don't know who is in it, their names, for how long, or any personal information about the individuals that make up the governing body.

    As a cult leader the governing body is in the best position possible. They don't even have to face their followers. They are anonymous. Whatever mistakes they make can be scapegoated down the chain of command. There is no way for lowly followers to contact them. In the worst case scenario they can even scapegoat one of the GB members. They are immune to criticism of a true believer. How can you criticize somebody you don't know and you are not even sure what they do? Most JWs don't even know how they get appointed or how to become one if they wanted to. Because of the great mystery surrounding them they become infallible. They are an invisible target.

    This strong position also means that they fully control the information that reaches the followers. As a cult leader in small group, you have to interact with your followers personally, and they might see you when you are not at your best or catch body language that indicates you are not agreeing with what you are saying. No such problems for the governing body. Only what they want to say gets communicated and only when they want to. They leave out much information that would intrigue their followers, for example, how they get new light. They never have to answer difficult questions. They are fully in control.

    Because of this they are able to make many statements without explanation. When they say that overlapping generations are divinely inspired, how are you going to factcheck that? You can't. The only explanation they have is that the holy spirit is guiding them through prayer. More vague mysticism. They are hiding behind the bushes, with a big megaphone shouting out commands. It doesn't get any more man-behind-the-curtains than that.

    When the watchtower society decided to draw power away from the big-name presidents such as Rutherford and Knorr and anonymize the leadership, they made a very important and powerful change that would tighten the grip on their followers.

  • punkofnice

    They really are a cult among cults. They dare to print articles knocking cult practice as evil but are actually doing the things they preach against.

    Sad that their mind control has ensnared way too many innocent people (including my family), making them act out of character in some instances.

    Most JW's I speak to are tired, depressed and awaiting the big 'A' ''soon''. Many I've spoken to actually feel guilty about being depressed when the GB tell them they are 'Jehovah's happy people.' when they are not. The remedy for depression? = Do more ministry and give more money and power to the GB or god will murder you....soon! Thus the depression gets worse. One elder committed suicide and another is on 'suicide watch' currently.

    The GB are now bulletproof!

  • ambersun

    Really good topic. Would the GB have this much impact if all its members were known as individual middle aged and elderly men with faces and names, their background histories and whether or not they were married etc?

    My guess is that they would be in danger of being viewed as imperfect humans doing their best but prone to mistakes like the rest of us. They have actually admitted that God does not talk to them directly, which is why 'New Light' has to come out every few years to replace the doctrines they have got wrong.

    The subtle way they have changed wording in the songs and the baptism oath placing the emphasis on obeying the Organisation rather than God would raise a few concerns on the issue of idolatry and worshipping men which the bible tells us is deffinately not on. Much better to remain faceless and rather mystical so nobody can actually relate to you.

  • Sayswho

    A good practice would be when speaking about “them” --“GB” would be to use their name(s) not their title…

    Make it personal…as it is. This should be the current list:

    John E. Barr - born 1913-2010
    Guy H. Pierce - born 1934
    Samuel F. Herd - born 1935
    Gerrit Lösch - born 1941
    David H. Splane - 1944

    Stephen Lett – born 1949

    Anthony Morris III – born 1950
    Geoffrey Jackson – born 1955

    These “men” are responsible and need to be held accountable for their actions.

    GOOD POINTS "the-illuminator81"


  • Mad Sweeney
    Mad Sweeney


  • Apognophos

    On my last job, I worked at a division of an international corporation with thousands of employees. The top leadership was in another country, and I did not know (or could not pronounce) any of the company's most important names. About once a year, the international head company president, who was fluent in English, would come over and briefly speak in front of us on the state of the company. The rest of his visit was spent conferring with management, making sure they were all on the same page, since after all if he were to speak to every employee he would be there until next year came around.

    In the U.S. division of our specific sub-company, the leadership was two states away from my office. My department's regional boss reported to his national boss who reported to his international boss who reported to our sub-company's president. This was all on the American side, thus this American president was still some levels under the foreign CEO. I knew my boss's boss, but I never met my boss's boss's boss, who was two states away. I did know his name and his boss's name. I would not have recognized them if I passed them on the street, however, nor did I know how any of my bosses attained their positions.

    Question: did I work for a cult?

  • rory-ks

    Apognophos, no, you worked for a faceless soul-sucking corporation. And if you're making a parallel with the Society...

  • Phizzy

    Could it be that now the GB want to get their names and faces "out there" that the mystique will evaporate, and with it the control ?

    They don't exactly come over as leaders to be followed or feared when you see them in the flesh, nor do they come over as the most "thinkingest"* of people.

    * "Thinkingest" a neologism by AM the Turd, which will not find its way in to the Oxford Dictionary.

  • Apognophos

    Oh, hey, one of my first posts. I was being a bit long-winded there, but my point was that any large organization resembles the OP's description of a cult. rory-ks's response to my post is very valid. It was a soul-sucking corporation (I only lasted a year before I quit the best-paying job of my life). And it is like the JW religion. Now that my eyes are open, I continue to see parallels between the large corporations I've worked at and the Watchtower Society.

    In answer to Phizzy, I think that there's still a fair amount of mystique because the GB are only appearing once a year (we assume) at each AGM. They used to appear at the occasional DC, so it's not like they were ever invisible. Are they inspiring as leaders? To the flock, sure. You have to take off your apostate goggles :-)

    They may not seem to us to have a clue what they're doing, but JWs cut the brothers a lot of slack. I remember how I could give a middling talk in the Hall and get lots of praise just because I said the things that people wanted to hear. This is much more the case with the leaders of the org. They're loved and admired simply because they're the leaders; obviously they must be special to have gotten to that point. That's the mindset of a Witness.

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