A look at how things got to where they are now...
The 1970 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses noted that the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania was the organization used to plan the activity of Jehovah's Witnesses and provide them with "spiritual food", then declared: "So really the governing body of Jehovah's Witnesses is the board of directors of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania.
The Watchtower of December 15, 1971 was the first to unambiguously capitalize the term "Governing Body of Jehovah's witnesses" as the defined group leading the religion, with a series of articles explaining its role and its relationship with the Watch Tower Society.
After its formal establishment in 1971, the Governing Body met regularly but, according to Raymond Franz, only briefly; Franz claims meetings were sometimes as short as seven minutes.
The Governing Body voted in December 1975 to establish six operating committees to oversee the various administrative requirement of the organization's worldwide activities that formerly had been under the direction of the president; furthermore, each branch overseer was to be replaced by a branch committee of at least three members.
The change, which took effect on January 1, 1976, was described in the Watch Tower Society's 1993 history book, Jehovah's Witnesses—Proclaimers of God's Kingdom, as "one of the most significant organizational readjustments in the modern-day history of Jehovah's Witnesses.
In 1980, dissent arose among members of the Governing Body regarding the significance of 1914 in Jehovah's Witnesses' doctrines.
Consequently, dissenting members were expelled from the Brooklyn headquarters staff in the same year.
In his 1997 study of the religion, Penton concluded that since Raymond Franz's expulsion in 1980, the Governing Body displayed an increased level of conservatism, sturdy resistance to changes of policy and doctrines, and an increased tendency to isolate dissidents within the organization by means of disfellowshipping.