These days it's pretty clear that the JW organization is running on autopilot. Charles Taze
Russell, Joe Booze Rutherford, Nathan Knorr and Freddie Franz all had a certain amount of vision
for where the JW organization should go. They ruled as despots and marked the organization with
their own peculiar personalities.
Now that these luminaries are gone, the JWs are run by committee. Things have deteriorated in
the usual way they do after the founders and early leaders of most any organization die off.
The organization falls into the hands of bureaucrats who are mainly concerned with keeping the
organization going so as to keep their place in it. The founder's goals are given lip service
but play little part in the real activities. This applies equally to political, economic and
The leaders of today's JW organization have been thoroughly trained as yes-men. They had to
be yes-men in order to survive the sifting out that Rutherford, Knorr and Franz performed.
They brooked no dissent, and demanded absolute loyalty to their persons. Often these strong
leaders would order their underlings to perform tasks that the underlings didn't agree with,
or even knew were wrong. Only those who could sear their consciences continually and not be
bothered could survive that process.
For example, Rutherford fell heavily into alcoholism after his prediction for "the end" in 1925
failed and he was massively embarrassed. He took a mistress, and made her his cook so that
they could travel together. By 1929 Rutherford was so out of control that it appears that his
underlings had the San Diego mansion Beth Sarim built for him so as to get him out of the way
for half the year. There is even evidence that Rutherford died, not from the rectal cancer he
would have died from anyway, but from injuries suffered in a fall down a flight of stairs in a
drunken stupor in Beth Sarim. His underlings like Knorr and Franz certainly had to know what was
going on, but because they thought that old Joe was "God's anointed", they made great allowances.
More bluntly, they saw Rutherford constantly drunk, committing adultery, abusing most everyone
around him, and generally causing havoc. But because they felt that God had put Rutherford in
his place, they would not do anything to oust this piece of scum from office. Apparently they
thought of Rutherford as being like the unfaithful King Saul, and refused to "touch Jehovah's
Think what kind of personality a couple of decades of being under a man like Rutherford would
create. It is one that can see badness and abuse going on all around, and yet not be bothered.
It is one of blind, amoral loyalty. It is the same spirit that allowed Adolph Hitler and so
many other despots to continue their wicked ways. When Knorr and Franz came into power in 1942
after Rutherford died, they made many changes to the JW organization. They cleaned up a lot of
the crap Rutherford had left. However, they demanded the same kind of blind loyalty that the
old boy had demanded.
The current Governing Body members are all in their positions as a result of showing such
conscienceless loyalty for many decades. The same goes for the present assistants to the GB,
and pretty much everyone in a leadership position. In other words, they're not leaders because
of showing the qualities of a good leader, but because of being good, conscienceless followers.
Having taken such a mental set, they don't know what to do in new situations except try to
apply old policies and ideas in ways that will patch up the new problems. They've become old
Eventually this mindset leads to organizational stagnation. That is certainly where the JW
organization is now. Old ideas are gradually being abandoned as solid facts prove them wrong,
and new ones point the organization continually towards the mainstream of Christianity.
Watchtower articles consist almost entirely of recycled material. Decisions are made largely
to avoid problems caused by past bad policies. The organization is simply lurching down a path
that it happened to fall onto when Knorr and Franz lost power in the 1970s.
A good description of how organizations generally fall into decay is found in the article
"Imprisoned Ideas" by W. P. Brown. It can be found here:
I think it gives a nearly perfect description of how the Watchtower organization has evolved and
will continue to evolve. It is certainly in what Brown describes as the third, degenerate stage
where the organization is on autopilot because anyone with vision has been weeded out.