What I'm about to describe may have some bearing on the question of motives in the organization and the degree to which the Governing Body or the high-ranking men beneath them are self-aware.
A few months before the organization began teaching that the Faithful Slave meant the Governing Body and not the 144,000, so around early 2013, a Circuit Overseer visited one of the congregations where I was gathering data. He introduced this teaching subtly in two of his three talks (the extra midweek meeting, the midweek meeting, and the weekend meeting). I wrote down one of these remarks word-for-word and the other I remember well enough to repeat it:
1. "Jehovah uses Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit to direct this preaching work, of course their method of communication has changed, Jehovah still uses Jesus and still uses the Holy Spirit but now he directs that Faithful Slave class as its termed in the scriptures, a group of overseers and they through the Branch offices and traveling overseers and local Elders convey the direction..."
2. "Jehovah, Jesus, and the Faithful Slave want us to _________..." A minute or two later he said, "Jehovah, Jesus, and the Governing Body want us to _________..."
What do you make of this? It seems like he's subtly preparing the congregation for the doctrinal shift. It feels intentional, in other words. He doesn't say that the Governing Body is the Faithful Slave, but he implies it very strongly. Perhaps these remarks came from an outline, in which case, perhaps he was only repeating remarks word for word. But I welcome your thoughts.