They said we are all the same in god’s eyes. That everyone is equal. To prove this they call everyone “brother” and “sister.” Sadly, this really isn’t the case. There are those in every Kingdom Hall who are definitely considered more “spiritual” than others. That being said, this is a partial list of their rankings as a Jehovah’s Witnesses in all the congregations around the world. This rank does make a difference in how people treat and respect you. These are some of the rankings as of 2001. They have changed very little over the years.
1. Unbaptized, irregular, publisher. Someone that is going out in field service inconsistently and is not baptized yet. This rank is OK if you are a child, not if you are an adult.
2. Inactive Publisher. Someone is baptized and who has not gone out in field service for over six months. This person is weak spiritually and should be avoided.
3. Irregular Publisher. Someone is baptized who might miss a full month of field service every now and then. This person is also weak spiritually but not as bad as inactive publisher.
4.A regular Publisher. Someone who never misses a month in field service. This person is in “good standing.”
5. Auxiliary Pioneer. Someone who is putting in a minimum of 60 hours (hours have been lowered over the years) in field service a month. This is a super charged publisher and is admired by others.
6.Pioneer. A person that puts in a minimum of 100 hours a month (hours have been lowered over the years) in field service a month. Except for being an Elder this is the highest rank in the congregation.
7. Special Pioneer. Someone who puts in a minimum of 150 hours (hours have been lowered over the years) in field service a month. There are very few of these around now, if any.
8. Ministerial servant. These are males who want to be promoted to the rank of Elder someday. You must first be a ministerial servant. The ministerial servants do all the jobs in the Kingdom hall that the Elders don’t have time to do, or want to do. After many years of this activity, the Elders can then decide if you can join their club.
9.Book study overseer. This position was held by a ministerial servant or Elder.
10. Elders. This is the most respected position a male can have in the congregation. In a congregation of hundred there are anywhere from three to ten of these guys. Women can never hold this position.
11. The Anointed ones. These people could be either male or female. They are part of the select group called the 144,000 or “Little Flock” These people have a heavenly hope and plan to rule as kings and priest with Christ in heaven. Surprisingly, even though they will be kings in Heaven these people (unless they are elders) have virtual have no power or authority in the congregation while they are still alive.
12. Elder’s wife. This position technically has no power, if you believe men never listen to their wives. Plus many times the elders will find out from their wives what is really happening in the congregation.
So as you can see there is a definite pecking order in the congregation. Though they say they are all equal in god’s eyes they definitely don’t look at each other in that same way. It’s a male dominated religion with women and children coming in second and third.
Women can be publishers, axillary pioneers and pioneers. Women are not allowed to be ministerial servants or elders. In fact a male elder in the kingdom hall can be removed as such, if his wife is not “submissive” enough to him or to any other males in the kingdom hall.
You have ten or more different rankings in a congregation of less than 150 people. Most everyone knows his ranking and the rankings of those around you. If you don’t know their rank. Many will bring it up to you after you first met them. “Yes I’m a pioneer!” or “I’m servicing as an elder.” or "Sister Lazy is weak spiritually, she is a irregular publisher and should be avoided."
There are other rankings outside the local congregation.
1. City Overseer. He (males only) is in charge of the whole city. These are cities with many congregations in them.
2. Circuit Overseer. He (males only) is in charge of 12 to 15 different congregations or one circuit.
3. District Overseer. He (males only) is charge of 12 to 15 circuits.
4. Zone Overseer. He (males only) is in charge of a whole country.
5. Gilead Student. A missionary assigned to a foreign country. These can be male or female.
6. Bethelite. A worker at one of the branches or the world headquarters. These can be male or female. There are too many rankings to even mention here. Service department, writing department, kitchen, laundry, toilet cleaners etc. etc.
7. The 144,000 or “little flock” or anointed ones. This is a select group of people who believe they will go to heaven to reign as kings and priest which Christ. The older ones in this group are generally respected. The younger anointed not so much so. The judgement here is that god would only choose “older and wiser” ones before he would pick a young person, with little or no track record. This group has no power unless they are in the select group of anointed ones known as “The governing body” (males only) in which case they have all the power. They are ten to twenty “Bethel Elders” who run the whole organization. They are appointed to do this by Holy Spirit which really means by god himself. Though they say they are just imperfect men, (false modesty) their word is law.
Since I have been out for 16 years if there are any corrections in this pecking order information please let me know because I'm putting this into my book.