GB Members: What's the Story?
I am not personally knowledgeable about these individuals, but I know enough about the way the JW's work to say this.
These guys go around like rock stars at various conventions and events surrounding their visits. They fraternize some with the rank-and-file, but mostly with the local big-whigs, branch overseers and C.O.'s and the more well-known elders. When they travel, they don't stay in some family's spare bedroom and eat oatmeal in the morning with the family, and they don't sit in the back of some sister's Toyota Corolla. If not at an expensive hotel, they will stay at in upscale accommodations that are available through the JDubs with some money.
They are mostly taken to dinners/lunches at upscale restaurants and they never pick up the check. If they do go to some local members' homes for a meal, it is all for show like the Pope washing someone's feet.
When the Wizard of Oz was forced to come out from behind the curtain, he wasn't so intimidating. When these guys started appearing on video regularly, they had to lose some of their mysticism, mysteriousness. In many ways, they are laughable now. But they sought the limelight.
About the worst appearance (but most JW's will never watch it) is G. Jackson's appearance at the Australian Royal Commission where he basically says he is just a corporate officer in a narrowly defined job and has no idea about what goes on outside of his narrow assignment, and that he would appreciate recommendations from the Commission. Sad, but whether that is believed or not believed, it minimizes peoples' opinions of these guys as just bumbling idiots, incompetent kiss-asses, or scheming liars.
Last year at the District Convention (Regional Convention), I sat in a position that was off to the side a bit, and near enough to the stage to see the back of the stage, where everyone "gets ready".
Our "guest speaker" was Splane. He did NOT come from out of the audience, where the other brothers who had parts were (they typically sit with their families, in various locations). He entered from a back room, within just a few minutes of his part. He stood nervously around, by himself, waiting for his cue. What struck me in that moment was that he looked lonely. No one accompanied him. Alone, with this as his only forum, his claim to fame. He got his cue, gave his part, left the stage, got a few handshakes and pats on the back, then left the building thru the back entrance. No fraternizing, no encouraging lunchtime chats with the pubs, nothing. In and out like a rockstar.
It struck me in that moment that these magic 7 are not normal, they are an elite group, put on a self-imposed pedestal, far removed from reality. They are worshipped and adored as if God's own. They give nothing back but rhetoric and rules. Their words are hollow, their actions perfunctory, unfeeling, and robotic.
I have to wonder if at times, they sit by themselves, looking out the window, knowing that with 1 slight mistake, their ENTIRE world could be gone in an instant, their "friends" turning on them overnight. I wonder if at times, they feel the lonely emptiness of their facade. What a sad and pitiful life to lead.
he [Jackson] basically says he is just a corporate officer in a narrowly defined job and has no idea about what goes on outside of his narrow assignment, and that he would appreciate recommendations from the Commission.
Good overview of his "performance, OTWO! As you alluded to, he was probably giving a strictly official "take" on his role (i.e., following advise from the organization's lawyers).
The Commission counsel ater commented after Jackson expressed empathy for the specified child sexual abuse victim who had given evidence to the Commission, how come Jackson claimed to know nothing about her experience, yet he knew all about the earlier appearing organization's Australian Bethelites' testimonies?
It is easy to say the "right" things in public - especially when impression management is so crucial.
Jack Barr and his wife Mildred served at London before his appointment to the GB
He was an overseer/operator of the Linotype machines and so always under time pressure. Quite shy and unassuming and appeared a bit nervous. There was surprise in London when he was appointed to the GB as the vacancy was from the removal of Ewart Chitty, also from London and it was thought the UK brothers had had their chance.
Mildred was a beautiful person and close friends with Grace Gooch, wife of the branch servant and Marion Clutterbook who's husband had died when at bethel. He was remembered as a kind hardworking person.
when Jack and Mildred appointed to Brooklyn branch it took many months for his work visa to be passed.
All Jack & Mildred's stuff packed in wooden crates and she took everything she had, they had to list the crates contents for US Customs
Customs ripped open all the crates and searched everything,, because they could not understand immigrants packing a 7oz tin of Heinz Vegetable Salad Heinz do not make it now but Mildred wanted every last bit of her stuff! Customs opened every tin of food to check!
On Wilf Gooch the branch servant, he was busy of course but every few weeks a Sister came in in office hours to see him She was suffering immense physical pressure at home and was at her wits end
she asked for Wilf and he always had Grace join them for most of the morning as this poor soul wanted to talk to someone. Wilf said his work would be upstairs waiting for him but this sister needed a hearing ear, no solutions just humanity. He said it was easy to work late for him but this soul needed unburden img herself. Not many decent people like him around today, sadly he has died. Wilf & Grace had been missionaries in Nigeria ant at that time Nigeria was split by civil war.
Just briefly a Nigerian was going thru the question before baptism as happened then. I was asked to do a session with this lovely man, I knew him from the kh but had never been to his flat.
i was stunned when after our question session he showed me some photos from Nigeria, all the women were naked! On broaching this as delicately as I could he pointed out his mother, wife and sisters and was astonished that the nudity seemed odd to me, "it is how we live" he said
John x was a lovely brother who had had to flee the civil war to the UK
aafter some years he returned but sadly I heard of him being killed in the ongoing conflict
Tech49 - "...I have to wonder if at times, they sit by themselves, looking out the window, knowing that with 1 slight mistake, their ENTIRE world could be gone in an instant, their 'friends' turning on them overnight..."
Without the WTS, these men would have nothing.
They would BE nothing.
Governing body members? There really isn't much to say in the grand scheme of things. They were simply in the right place at the right time.
There is no doubt that GB members enjoy the biggest perks at Bethel because of their perceived status but they are fairly static aside from the occasional zone visit or a$$embly appearance, but IMO circuit overseers had it the best.
One any one visit to a congo, families will take turns hosting them for dinner, setting forth their best meals and best wine. Occasionally, some would opt to take them out to fancy restaurants. Aside from that, the family with the biggest house and best accommodations would provide them a room. Additionally it was common for many to slip them a few bucks since it was perceived that they got so little from the bOrg. Gifts were also common: Chocolates, clothes, electronics, etc.
They always left with their pockets full of stuff and just drive to the next congo to receive the next round of good treatment.
LostandFound; I always wondered what Gooch was like as a person, I had a feeling he was a hard nosed leader like Knorr, I often remember him giving talks at Twickenham, he was a powerful speaker with a booming voice, we also had a Nigerian bro in our cong, nice guy but was DF'ed never knew what for.
Without the WTS, these men would have nothing.
They would BE nothing.
Given their utter lack of education, lack of charisma, lack of intelligence, lack of talent, I suspect none would be anything much more than a Walmart greeter or a car wash attendant.
Gooch was actually a people person surrounded by company men ! Ron Drage, Pryce Hughes, Peter Ellis, John Wynn way back then the Branch Servant was boss, not first among equals. Grace Gooch was compassionate and genuine. Wilf and Grace were visibly concerned over the fate of the Nigerian brothers they had left as this was a time of mass slaughter of the two tribes Hausa and Ibo (I think)
They did not Lord it over people. Many then did and do today. I was visiting bethel for something one day and was very tired as my wife and I had a new baby. Grace saw me after lunch and whisked me away to a room where she and Marion Clutterbuck were sorting out tray on tray of strawberries. Grace said words to the effect that a good cup of real tea and a snooze would do me good. They had a kettle and real teabags made in a cup not the gallon teapots served at dinner. Pryce Hughes the home overseer popped in and Grace told him to stop worrying and have a cup of tea. So for over an hour the two sisters, myself and Pryce Hughed dehulled strawberries, checking them for taste quality!
Would not happen today!