Musing the other day...This is my take on the evolution of the Watchtower.
Once upon a time, i am sure old Charles really was a believer...i reckon he probably still was when he died in his toga too, although perhaps somewhat befuddled that his cherished predictions were as successful as 'father' Miller's were. And by then he seemed to have inadvertantly started a sort of non organized organization that he could hide the $$ that came his way as a sort of bonus from the Lord.
Perhaps Rutherford, i should say,''Rogueford'', was a believer too at some point. But some time after Russel booted him out of bethel his inner killer instinct surfaced...waiting for the old man to pop his clogs. And when he did, Ol' Rogue was ready and able to pull a coup that left the infant organization fully in his grubby grasp. And grasp it he did, with two filthy hands as he plowed his way through his ill gotten gains and mistresses. His chief aim was power and he got it in bucketloads. The international Bible Students were a thorn in his side and they had to go. So he changed their name with much hoopla and conjuring much to the delight of the lost students. His aim was not much different to Constantines sudden conversion, a consolidation of control. With that and a fictional selection by Christ he made the most of the empire in all the world had to offer, wine, women and song. Not forgetting some shrewed real estate deals too...oh and the Cadillacs to out Capone Capone.
When the mantle fell to homophobe Knorr the real business began. Until then the prez was content to live of the fat of his land, not Knorr. He lacked the flair of old Rogue and despised his now dead leader. Bigger and better things were planned for the 'organization'. Mr businessman saw a whole bigger picture than his predecessor. Say hello to the new world society where bigger is better! The publishing house of Watchtower was turned into a huge business. Growth was king. And during his tyranical reign at Brooklyn grow it he did. He saw no doubt, the power of a 'religion' to bring in assets and the marketing of the brand 'Jehovah's Witnesses' was taken to knew highs. His obvious private battle against those who wanted his power highlighted how much he liked the power of being number 1. His loss of power as President in the end mattered not for he was soon dead. Nothing like seizing power when the king is dying. The king is dead, long live the governing body!
When Freddy shoe shuffle came to power, he was somewhat at a loss. Here he was, the supposed to be numero uno nothing more than a figurehead. Well at least he had all the adulation as a world class scholar to cosy himself to sleep at night. Nobody was taking that from him. Everywhere he got to go on his all expenses paid junkets around the world he was virtually worshipped...his name uttered in awe whispers...take that governing body! And he did get to make some of the most embarresing statements and prophecies of his time to boot. But at brooklyn i suspect he was on a short leash. Not a business man like Knorr and not a leader like Rogue, he got to while away his twilight years in the twilight zone having converstaions with left and right shoe. Nonetheless, his legacy was a huge growth in assets, not in a small way due of his grand speculations. More buildings had to be purchased to contain the printing enterprise that has eclipsed the message. But the JWs at ground level bought the line of Gods blessing hook line and sinker, some even swallowed the whole darn boat!
With the death of Franz the next president was...who? I have no idea off the cuff as i am sure most JWs have no idea either! And it doesn't even matter. By the time freddy was gone the organization was a machine. It had morphed into something that even Rogueford and Knorr wouldn't recognize. A giant corporation fuelled by a loyal rank and files ignorance and trust. The governing body was way way in the background in the 70s and 80s as the organization grew many heads in the form of corporations within corporations to hide away the money. Even the publishing house was now second to the asset collecting as more and more money was plowed into real estate all over the globe.
Come the 90s and the 00s and after how many forgotten boring presidents a new organization emerged. One controlled by Lawyers. As a giant corporation like all the other psychopathic corporations on the globe, it needed to protect itself and savage all opponants. Gradualy the religion was not the actual purpose, nor was the printing house. It was now all about real estate and investments. The brand ''Jehovah's Witnesses'' is still serving the higher ups very well. The higher ups not being the governing body who are desperatly trying to justify their existance via the writing commitees. The higher ups like lawyers and shareholders are the real kings in the Watchtower world.
What Charles started all those years ago has become a monster. Like all multinational giants, its chosen or perhaps, its inherited product, is merely the tool it sells to make the conglomerate richer. It might just as well be a diet pill or a factory making auto parts. Just as a factory changes its products specifications so does the Watchtower tweak its product to keep sales up to its selected customer base. It is on a winner and knows it. It doesn't need that many new beleivers as the millions it has suit it well. Anytime they want an injection of cash, which it does often, it pops out yet another regurgitated book and sell all the copies to the customer base who seem to think that the few they dont on sell can be a 'donation' anyway. Add to that the donations and estates willed and the sales from brooklyn real estate and they really are set.
The sands of time are shifting though, on all giant corporations and the watchtower is not alone. People and governments are demanding more transparancy, and asking more questions. The Watchtower is reacting by closing ranks. Downsize, pull out of unfavourable markets and demand tighter control. It will 'give a little'in concessions to the rank and file to make them gratefull and faithful. Up the ante on opponants and drown them in a sea of lawyers. All the while allowing the governing body to run the product brand and delude themselves with ideas of gods blessing. The governing body themselves must know what the real deal is but are unable to change it. Just like a board that bucks the higher levels, they could be out of a job with a quick ''new light flip flop'' from some smart legal eagle at the table.
It is possible, but not provable, that the real men at the top of the Watchtower may not even be Jehovah's Witnesses. Hidden away in oversees bank accounts and dummy corporations within corporations, some visible as billion dollar buildings are no doubt to me, some very fat cats enjoying all the cream.