Dear Ozzie... peace to you... and thank you for that! I actually came to know personally that a lot of that took place (folks being appointed because of appearances) when they wanted to make my ex an MS. Okay, this was a guy who, at home, openly stated that he HATED JWs ("They're cons, Shel. I know because I used to be a con. And we know our kind"). But since he was the epitome of attentiveness during his Bible Study sessions, well... He actually conned a couple/few JWs (because "they wanted it, Shel. I tried to tell them that it wasn't a good deal, but they GAVE it to me!") - and they did!
He even eventually sunk to using drugs (with other MSs... who were also patrons of prostitution)... and drinking (with elders who, IMHO, were full on alcoholics any time except meeting time). But that didn't matter: he was a tall, VERY good-looking (lick your lips, ladies, 'cause here comes Bro. J!) charismatic guy who "came up from the streets" to be a JW! They LOVED him. From the tiniest child... to the oldest relic. Single "sisters" AND married (the way some of the "sisters" acted when he came around... single OR married... OMG. Scandalous!) The "brothers" thought he was the "sh*t"... cause he could beat the sh*t out of any one of them... and they knew it. And once or twice he came close to showing them. He was their local "Lion to a Lamb" pariah (yes, we both "came up hard", dear Oz... but because he was a man, his story was more intriguing to them... and I didn't tell much of mine).
So, yep, he was the "man" for them... because everyone listened to him. No, seriously. Not just JWs, either. I remember once, he took the kids to the local library. He just happened to have on some yellow sweat pants and a "Lakers" tank top. According to the kids... virtually everyone at the library SWARMED him... child AND adult... asking for his autograph (he was 6'4" and weighed about 240 at the time). I said, "You told them you weren't a Laker, right?" Of course, he didn't. He signed autographs for about an hour. Seriously!
So, I can totally relate to your story: they will take anyone that "looks" like they need them to look... and can place magazines even with the illiterate (which my ex could).
Again, thank you for sharing!
A slave of Christ,