Will the relatively increasing number of non-American, non-white witnesses have an effect on the Watchtower?

by dgp 7 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • dgp

    On another thread ( http://www.jehovahs-witness.net/Post/Edit/12/4103481) I asked what the Watchtower corporate ladder would be like, and whether brothers from non-English speaking countries could conceivably make it to the Governing Body.

    As a result of the answers I got, I thought that, if I understand things correctly, most witnesses around the world basically live in three countries: the United States, Mexico and Brazil. Since real growth is happening mostly in Brazil and Mexico, rather than the US, I would expect that, sooner or later, the relative weight of brothers from those two countries would need to show.

    Whoever manages the Watchtower in either Sao Paulo or Mexico City (which are ranked eighth and ninth largest metropolitan areas in the world, according to the Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_urban_areas_by_population) has much more real weight than the branch overseers in several European countries (according to the same source, Moscow is the largest metropolitan area in Europe, and it has seven million fewer people than either Sao Paulo or Mexico City).

    What do you guys think? Can you speculate whether this will have an effect?

    By way of comparison, it was only under John Paul II that Latin Americans had a real chance of ever electing one of their own as Pope. I understand that Honduran cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga stood a very good chance, but they elected Benedict XVI instead. Some time ago, rumor had it that John Paul II had a preference for Bernardin Gantin, a black cardinal from Benin.

  • blondie

    Did you forget Nigeria? 320,000+


    In the end it is the GB in New York and their assistants that are still in control, especially those assistants. They are still all white men, living in the US if not Americans. It was only in 2000 that a token black man was added to the GB. And while more of the assistants are black, the change has been slow. Until that changes, there could be 3/4 jws who are brown or black and they would still not be in control. The WTS is not a democracy.

  • dgp

    Sorry I missed Nigeria .

    I know the WTS is not a democracy. Religions are not democracies; at best, they claim to be theocracies. But one would assume that the Lord would make no distinctions, and, if more and more of its faithful are not white Americans, it will be increasingly harder to hold that none of the other brothers should have real power within the organization.

    The Catholic Church is not a democracy either, but John Paul II recognized the simple fact that half of his followers were in Latin America. I speculate this also had to do with their future growth. I understand the Catholic Church very much wanted to promote the idea that more young men should become priests, particularly in Africa, and their having a black pope would have helped them immensely. A black pope would have had a more direct connection to Africa, just as a Latin American pope would have a more direct connection with Latin Americans.

    For something like 500 years, all the popes were Italians. That changed with John Paul II. Benedict XVI was considered "the natural sucessor", but the list of the "papabili" included Francis Arinze (Nigeria), Darío Castrillón (Colombia), Iván Días (India), Claudio Hummes (Brazil), Carlo María Martini (Italy), Giovanni Battista Re (Italy), Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga (Honduras), Antonio María Rouco Varela (Spain), Jaime Lachica Sin (Phillippines), Christoph Schönbron (Austria), Dionigi Tettamanzi (Italy) and Jean-Claude Turcotte (Canada), plus Ratzinger himself (Germany). As you can see, there was plenty of representation from around the world.

    My speculation is that the Watchtowerology (for lack of theology) would need to change as well. It would also be necessary to change the approach to the needs of an increasingly diverse community. Growing up "spiritually" in Brooklyn would be too little real world experience.

  • Anony Mous
    Anony Mous

    American black Witnesses imho are more lax and less uptight than American white Witnesses. European, Latin and African Witnesses have far less respect for the "fundamental Christian" (American) doctrine and like to believe that respectively scientific facts, family bonds and rituals can overshadow their faith.

    I've been an active Witness in all situations (raised in Europe, preached in African communities, vacationed in Latin countries and am currently living in the US) and that's my viewpoint on it.

    Will there ever be a token Mexican like there is a token Black Guy? Yes there will be however just as the current token his opinion won't count for very much as it still would be 5 to 2 (and in doctrinal matters, it IS a democracy but only among those 7 guys). Maybe when they include more 'foreign' influence, they'll expand the GB to 9 or 11 (predominantly white, American) people - they've been hinting at that in their most recent books and publications - "the apostles and older men in Jerusalem as the Governing Body" is a phrase I've been hearing more instead of "Governing Body in the First Century Christian Congregation". So the white men will be the apostles and the slaves non-white remains will be the older men.

  • dgp

    I posted this on another thread, but I think it's appropriate to post it here as well.

    Just as a comment: When Napoleon invaded Spain and Portugal, the king of Portugal took his court to Rio de Janeiro and continued to rule his overseas empire from there. During that time, Brazilians got used to being the center of the empire. They were certainly the largest and most prosperous part of it. When Napoleon left, the king of Portugal decided to go back to Lisbon, and had the curious idea of trying to get Brazilians to get used to their old status as one colony among others. It didn't work out, and Brazil eventually came to declare its independence, with no other but the king's own son as "emperor".

    The problem was that the king of Portugal couldn't understand that his empire was the sum of the many parts. In his mind, Portugal was the head, and all others the subordinates. If only he had been smarter, his own power would have grown.

    I think the WT has the same view of itself. It sees itself as an American institution. I sincerely hope they never realize that such a time is already a thing of the past.

    I understand that Julius Caesar and Alexander did understand that their respective empires were the sum of many peoples and traditions, but their old guards, those that originally made them great, refused to be one among equals with those they saw as barbarians. I have the feeling that this will happen as well with the WT.

  • RubaDub

    Changes are already happening.

    I heard that beginning with the Memorial in 2012, the matzo bread and red wine will be changed to tortillas and a pitcher of sangria.

    Rub a Dub

  • dgp

    Tacos and jamaica would be much better, Rub a Dub. And a caipirinha just so the Brazilians won't complain. Or, so they complain less than they usually do.

  • Quendi

    This is an interesting thread and I especially appreciated Anony Mous' take on it due to his experience. The WTS response to the demographic makeup of its Governing Body is to blame God for it. After all, he is the one who anoints people with his spirit, and so that limits the number of candidates for poistions on that Body who can be considered. That's how they explained the fact that the Governing Body was completely white and overwhelmingly English-speaking for decades. "Don't blame us, it's Jehovah who has chosen these men!"

    Will the Governing Body eventually expand and invite more men to join? I think they have no choice. Thirty-five years ago, the Governing Body numbered eighteen men who oversaw the activities of less than three million Witnesses. Now you have seven men supervising seven million people. There's no way they can keep up with the workload that entails. So they will have to invite more men, but you can bet that demographic considerations will be given short shrift. Any future candidates will be required to undergo a rigorous litmus test to see if they are truly "company" men before being invited into the ruling coterie. Will any men of color be considered? Time will tell.


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