Here's a morbid thought...
I think I understand what you are saying Cold Steel. In the Roman Catholic church the pope is technically fallible in regard to his opinions. He only become infallible when he pronounces something 'ex cathedra', which would be binding on all practicing catholics to accept. As a man he's fallible, as pope he is infallible.
But the GB doesn't have a system like the Catholics. There's no distinction between fundamental beliefs (such that you might find in a catechism or confession of faith) and just any old opinion the GB might happen to spout in the magazines. Theoretically, believing in vegetarian lions, 1914, and the ransom death of Jesus are all on the same doctrinal level even though, in terms of actual biblical support and relative importance, they obviously are not the same.
Didn't Cedars once do a survey to see how many active JWs would be willing to take an "unidentified pill" if the GB told them to (a la Jonestown)?
Rainbow_Troll - "...There's no distinction between fundamental beliefs (such that you might find in a catechism or confession of faith) and just any old opinion the GB might happen to spout in the magazines..."
I think these days, the GB just pull stuff out of their asses. :smirk:
Rainbow_Troll - "...vegetarian lions, 1914, and the ransom death of Jesus are all on the same doctrinal level..."
I just had this weird image in my head of Letto the Clown telling the rank-and-file that "True Christians" should now be pogo-sticking naked under a full moon.
Hell, a really creative theologian could probably make a scriptural case for that. :smirk:
As I understand it the reason Jim Jones resorted to a death pact was because he faced extended jail time for fraud. Otherwise he probably would have been happy to continue as a cult leader indefinitely and it never would have happened.
The GB would similarly need to be in a corner and facing existential crisis for this to even arise as a possibility. As it is at then moment they have a comfortable lifestyle with few problems. This is nowhere near on the horizon.
Even if some of the GB were to face prosecution and a lifetime in jail for some reason at some point, because of the developed structure of JWs it is likely there would be others in the organisation who would take over control and replace them. So even if the JW leadership faced a serious crisis, their developed structure also militates against them successfully taking down the membership with them in any death pact.
So I don't think this is at all likely or worth discussing much. In some ways it reflects a sort of ex-JW fantasy because it would deliver final and conclusive proof that the JW leadership are morally bankrupt. But we don't need the GB to initiate a death pact in order to prove they are morally deficient. Their everyday decisions and actions to date already prove that for most clear thinking people looking at the evidence.
There are probably some who have followed the Watchtower's flawed logic and saw suicide as being a shortcut to the new system, but only if they were seriously disturbed to begin with. the problem is that suicide, per Watchtower teaching, is considered a serious sin and anyone deliberately engaging in such a serious sin might not be eligible to be resurrected.
I have not read all of the comments yet. The GB will never do something like that. You are making the apostates look bad by your morbid thoughts.
slimboyfat - "...The GB would similarly need to be in a corner and facing existential crisis..."
I think that the right set of circumstances could do that.
If the higher-ups were indicted for fraud, wrongful death, aiding and abetting, obstruction of justice, etc. (and RICO laws were used to seize all WT assets)...
...second- and third-tier guys were offered immunity in exchange for testimony, and/or more importantly, the GB offered the same (or at least reduced sentences) if they comply and publicly renounce WT ideology on CNN.
The rank-and-file would have a tremendously difficult time dismissing it as video trickery, since the GB have been plastering their names and faces all over everything the Org has been publishing, these days.
Similar situations have happened before.
During WW2, Shinto in Imperial Japan ended almost overnight when Emperor Hirohito announced Japan's surrender over state radio.