Narcissism is a term of psychiatry. How is it defined and characterized? The Narcissist consider themselves to be unique and can only be understood by other special people. The Narcissist requires excessive admiration, possesses a strong sense of entitlement and willingly takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends.
the Narcissist lacks empathy and often believes others are envious of him/her.
The Narcissist displays arrogant behavior.
In view of the above I would assert that the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses individually and as a collective embody the above description.
The history of the organization of Bible Students (under C.T.Russell) and subsequent Jehovah's Witnesses (under Judge Rutherford, et al) demonstrates this assertion.
The "personality" of what has become known as "the organization" is an extension (or projection) of individual mental disorder among the elite and is passed down to influence (infect) the thinking (and outward personality) of the rank and file.
Let's look at the particular personalities.
Charles Taze Russell and William Miller are our first personalities.
Although reared in a home dominated by Scottish Presbyterian doctrinal thinking, young Russell strayed from orthodoxy. His behavior indicates he was "above" or "exempt" from thinking himself worthy of commonplace judgement by God Almighty. He was "special". Instead of submitting to the belief and practices of his family--Russell pulled away and became radicalized in beliefs.
The end of the 19th Century in America brought about much religious unrest among the devout who had sought to bring about the City of God on Earth by means of social programs and proselytising. Misfits within local churches felt something more dramatic was due them personally than mere "waiting on the Lord". These persons became eager for Christ to return NOW! It was only a matter of finding a way to force God to establish his Kingdom within their lifetime!
William Miller was the lynchpin of this thinking. Miller spurned his family's religious thinking just like the latter-day C.T.Russell would after him. Miller/Russell became as close to unbelieving as was sustainable. Eventually, each was persuaded that God had a "different" message than everyone else (ordinary believers) for them personally!
Each (Miller/Russell) did not attend Seminary or learn the original languages. No, for THEM it was unnecessary! Both, applied their own personal thinking to bible study and the reading of radical literature (dealing with End Times.)
Each, (Miller/Russell) emerged with a firm conviction that THEY ALONE knew God's secrets! Each sought to persuade (at first reluctantly) others less fortunate. Each dedicated their life and personal possessions to spreading the (personal and special) message that Christ was about to arrive!
Let us pause and review.
Look at the above list of 9 symptoms of Narcissism consider the self-attitude of Miller and Russell.
Miller's group grew because those who joined were of the same mindset. In other words, other narcissitic free-thinkers who wanted their reward now/soon liked the immediacy of Miller's message. They were "special" because THEY ALONE knew the "truth". They alone saw the "light growing brighter". These 2nd Adventists grew arrogant and impertinent.
When the failure (Great Disappointment) happened they were unrepentant at first. Instead of owning up to the error the group continued to justify the nearness of the coming of Jesus in actual date-setting. (Miller eventually apologized for his error yet continued believing it would happen until the day he died.)
C.T.Russell came along after Miller and found the group of narcissitic stragglers preaching Miller's SAME MESSAGE with unrepentant zeal!
Russell embraced 2nd Adventist thinking with the"special" add-on twist: Jesus really had come invisibly.
Time after Time Pastor Russell (as he was now called) presented himself as unique, chosen, special and alone in possession of the Truth. His acceptance of a brand-new doctrine (Maria Russell's idea) of selection as god's "mouthpiece" illuminated his self-appraisal. The narcissism enfolded Russell's personality and transformed his writing and his followers into "Russellites".
What made C.T.Russell different from Miller in this regard? Miller, at least, was by all accounts a humble man who repented of his public error in date-setting. Russell, when proved wrong by events, fudged the numbers and rewrote (in later editions) the adjoining "explanations" for events to clean them up and make them invisible to disproof.
In short, Russell became dishonest and arrogant and began using others to make his self-delusion stay alive.
Subsequent Governing Body personality #2
Russell's successor, Judge Rutherford is no exception to the arrogance of Narcissism!
Judge Rutherford saw himself in a specially chosen role as god's mouthpiece. Rutherford used insider legal knowledge to wrest control of the Watchtower Corporation away from Russell's explicitly chosen sucessors.
Rutherford blasted verbally anybody who differed with him. Rutherford maligned, challenged, decried and bad-mouthed his own nation, leaders, fellow Christians with a superiority unequalled for Narcissism's profile!
He and his board were arrested for fomenting Sedition among members of the Armed Forces during WWI. Upon release, Rutherford sought to control all the Bible Students' groups throughout the world by sending "helpers" to organize local congregations and get lists of members and appointing local elders sympathetic to his leadership.
In short, Judge Rutherford was everything you read (above) on the list of Narcissistic traits and then some!
If Russell could spout prophecy so could Rutherford! Rutherford set the date of 1925 as the resurrection of the faithful dead (ancient worthies) and later had a mansion built for their use. (For his own use, actually!)
Rutherford flouted the laws against illegal alcohol with regularity. Clearly, he thought himself above the law and above all other men. He ran Bethel as he pleased and filled books and magazines with his crackpot ideas about religion, health, politics and the "truth" of God's kingdom.
Rutherford even had the unmitigated ego to find a better name for Christians than the King himself! Instead of being "merely" Christian, "true" believers were now Jehovah's Witnesses. (The term "witness" appealed to this ex-Judge particularly). He set up the local congregations like a court with Districts and Circuits and appointed his own henchmen to visit regularly and implement his dictates.
What members became was a public spectacle reflecting Rutherford's ideas and personality. Court cases were public displays of contrarian behavior and belief. Blood refusal was a public display of self-righteousness. Military avoidance was public demonstration of a holier-than-thou pacifism trumping Christendom's patriotism.
The idea and concept of the FAITHFUL AND DISCREET SLAVE being C.T. Russell was forthwith changed to that of the Society itself. Specifically, only Rutherford had the legal leadership of this body. His fellow board members were a front and without power.
This was step one in converting the FDS into a Narcissistic surrogate for Rutherford's megalomanical fantasies.
When Rutherford died a puppet ruler replaced him.
Personality #3 Fred Franz
Nathan Knorr was the sock puppet of the real Narcissistic Leader: Fred Franz. Franz was the guru who, himself, was another Miller. Self-taught, self-regulated, appointed by god and in the know from divine control. The FDS was, in essence, the narcissist Franz who wrote the dynamic blatherings of dispensationalism. (Every book went on and on about how bible characters "pictured" latter-day Jehovah's Witnesses.)
Franz, in effect, pulled his peculiar theology out of his own alimentary canal by applying every scripture in the bible to Jehovah's Witnesses in the 20th Century!!
The conventions in the 1920's became the fulfillment of the book of Revelation (pouring bowls of wrath) upon Christendom! The death of the two Witnesses became the imprisonment of Rutherford and his board. Etc. etc.
Without Fred Franz and his narcissistic imagination, Knorr would have been just another businessman.
When Franz finally prevailed in pushing ahead his agenda of END TIMES speculations, phoney chronologies and speculations--he was demonstrating to all the world what only a true NARCISSIST would attempt. Franz was showing the world that God worked through HIM ALONE! The sham of "faithful and discreet slave" receiving angelic guidance was a pretense for the rank and file (and Knorr). In reality, one man who was above all others (Franz) was able to control millions of true-believers and steer them left and right as he ordained!
The dramatic plunge ahead toward certain destruction (1974/75) would forever prove to the world who was right and who was wrong!
Except, a true narcissist is too arrogant to repent, relent and face reality!
The FDS became a tool of revenge upon those who sought to disparage the "special mouthpiece of God" in pointing out his errors and self-myths!! A turnabout in policy ensued that sought payback for the humiliations brought on by the Armageddon no-show!)
The remaining decade of the 70's led up to the crackdown of the 80's.
Narcissists must be admired alone! The FDS is alone the true prophet of god!
Let us pause to review.
Read the list of 9 symptoms of the Narcissist.
Apply each to the dictates, policies and writings of the Governing Body as it has transformed over this history!
Today this Governing Body is an iron fist of pure ego, entitlement and arrogance!
The Governing Body are the be-all and end-all of Jehovah's mercy and embrace. The bible was written (not for all mankind but) for them alone!
They easily see themselves as Kings and Priests and co-mediators with Christ.
"The Truth" and "accurate knowledge" stem from this body alone in all the earth; according to them.
Narcissists frequently attract admirers, fans, worshippers who are willing to do anything to feel special by obtaining their approval.
When you were a Jehovah's Witness did you.....
1. Possess a grand sense of importance that you alone had found the True religion? Willingly expose yourself to humilation and social disconnect with your peers outside
this religion just to obtain approval from this Governing Body?
2.Share in the fantasies of a righteous New Order where you'd live forever in a perfect peace with your loved ones while all the rest of mankind died a horrifying death at Armageddon?
3.Believe you were "special" as a true witness about Jehovah in using his true name and carrying his message to those perishing in Christendom?
4.Believe your status as a Jehovah's Witness made your religious views superior to all others and made your works and faith more acceptable to God than other christians no matter how sincere?
5.Have a strong sense of entitlement to God's promises by virtue of the fact you had given up worldly connections, holidays, education, fame, career and recreation time?
6.Take advantage of others' ignorance of the true meaning of scripture by explaining to them the real meaning and purpose of Jehovah's Kingdom in order to replace their own faulty understanding?
7.Lack empathy for those who would perish at Armageddon because they didn't listen when you offered them the Watchtower at their doorstep? Lack empathy for the young, old or suffering in volunteering for charity work since you knew your JW ministry was more important?
8.Envy the elders who had more privileges or thought yourself enviable because you knew and practised a better way of life?
9.Display arrogance against authorities, seminary graduates, teachers, government officials because their status came from a dying old world system soon to be replaced?
It all comes down to an infection by ideas reflecting Narcissism by Leaders.
The body follows the head in its bidding. If the head has a mental disorder the body will follow.
Once we followed our head: the Governing Body of narcissists. Once we were special IF we did their exact bidding!
Now, we know better.
Now, our purpose has become exposing the disorder and psychology of these miscreants before they twist more potential victims into their web of feckless deceit!
See the Watchtower Society for what it is: the result of narcissistic personality disorder.