Elders and Governing Body

Is the Governing Body Inspired? Reflections on the November 2016 JW Broadcasting

In JW broadcasting for November 2016, Garret Loesch, the longest serving member of the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses, reminded his listeners that the Governing Body does not claim to be inspired. Some may think this is a new admission or revelation, but in reality, this has always been Watchtower policy. The question naturally arises from those of us who have been Jehovah’s Witnesses, but who are now awake and wonder why we think this is a new teaching. The answer is surprisingly simple, and gets to the very nature of the personality of the Watchtower Corporation. That corporation has indeed taken on a personality of its own, forged by the likes of Russell, Rutherford, Knorr and Fred Franz.

In my opinion, the corporate personality of the Watchtower is hypocritical to the very core of its being. What Garret said is, indeed, not a new teaching. The reason why so many think that it might be, is because the Governing Body acts as if they are inspired, and demand to be treated as if they are inspired.  For example, if you disagree with the Governing Body, you are subject to disfellowshipping [excommunication and shunning]. Disagreeing with the Governing Body is equated to disagreeing with God. Their literature oftentimes compares those who disagree with the Watchtower authority structure to those who are disagreeing with God, and rebelling against him.

“Jesus, in turn, has assigned his “faithful and discreet slave” to look after the spiritual needs of God’s people on earth. (Matthew 24:45-47) The Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses serves as “the faithful and discreet slave.” As in the first-century Christian congregations, elders today receive instructions and counsel from the Governing Body, either directly or through its representatives, such as traveling overseers. When we as individuals respect the authority of Christian elders, we are obeying Jehovah.”
~ Keep Yourselves in God’s Love book, page 43

The impact is that they, the Governing Body, act as if they are inspired, and demand to be treated as if they are inspired, under pain of severe punishment – shunning – but say they are not inspired. If that is not hypocrisy, then I must not understand the word.

The explanation of how this works was described by George Orwell in his book 1984. I can’t remember the exact words, or where in the book they are to be found, but it goes something like this: “To be a successful party member, one must have the ability to hold two conflicting beliefs at the same time.  They must know when to bring up the correct belief, and when they do, it must be their absolute truth.”

The party in Orwell’s book corresponds to being an indoctrinated Jehovah’s Witness. In this particular case, Jehovah’s Witnesses must know the that the Governing Body teaches that they are not inspired, yet they also know that they must treat the Governing Body as if they are inspired by God, and as if they speak for him. They hold those two strongly conflicting beliefs, and bring up the proper one at the proper time, always believing that whichever belief is correct for the time is the absolute truth.

gbThis plays out in the day to day lives of JWs. They know that their teachings are constantly changing, many times contradicting older teachings.  To a neutral observer, it is fairly simple to see that such changes indicate that it is impossible for God to be directing or using such a group of charlatans. However, the JW ability to believe the right thing at the right time causes them to see this proof of lack of inspiration as directly the opposite. They never stop to think that, what the Governing Body is saying about their God, is that he either doesn’t know what he is doing, or he has no plan and constantly changes his mind, or worse, he is just maliciously playing with people so that their expectations are never met.

The striking irony of the November 2016 JW broadcasting is that Garret Loesch also takes this time to go to pains to explain to people what a lie is, what the different degrees of lying are, and how to be a champion of truth. This, coming from an organization that, in their most recent history book, in my opinion purposefully falsified their own history, and actively hides the information from their followers. I think they cover every level of lying in that single action.  They say things which on some level could be argued to be true; that is the Bible Students didn’t know what to expect in 1914. However, that is at best a half truth, because the Bible Students indeed had great expectations for 1914. Those expectations were taught as sure truths for decades by Russell.

weasel-wordsHowever, not a single one of those expectations came true. God’s self-proclaimed mouth piece, Pastor Charles T Russell, got everything totally wrong.  But, since he didn’t specifically say he was inspired, the Watchtower gives him a pass. It seems to be irrelevant to them that to claim to be “God’s mouth-piece” is exactly the same thing as claiming to be inspired.  They go to any length in their use of weasel words to avoid this plain and simple truth.

In the most recent Watchtower History book, “God’s Kingdom Rules” published in 2014, they dishonestly state in a caption on a picture in page 20 “In 1914, the Bible Students began to discern the sign of Christ’s invisible presence.”  This book quotes articles going back to the very earliest of Russell’s writings in the 1880s. So, there is no excuse for the authors of this book not to know the Bible Students at that time taught that Christ presence began in 1874 with him taking kingdom power in 1878.  They taught this until the 1930s, possibly up to the early 1940s. Books published by Rutherford, including “The Harp of God,” published in 1921, contain this teaching; 1921 is after 1914, so there is no possible way the Bible Students “began to discern” the signs of Christ’s presence.  In truth, they thought he had been invisibly present for decades by then.  The only reason the Watchtower can get away with publishing such dishonest statements about their own history, while obviously in possession of the clear evidence of their dishonesty, is because the vast majority of their followers do not have access to this information.  The Watchtower purposefully hides it from them.

The action described above, again in my opinion, constitutes a malicious lie on the part of the Watchtower.  They seem to purposefully lie about their past, and they go out of their way to hide the truth, vilifying those who attempt to make it known.  The aim of this action is to get people to become their followers.  When a person does so, they are forced to ignore their own desires in life, and start performing free service for the Watchtower corporation in the form of distributing literature, attending meetings, recruiting others, and building Watchtower buildings for free, all while donating money to the organization.  They are also forced to abandon any friends or family they have who are not Jehovah’s Witnesses, associating only with other Jehovah’s Witnesses.  Some lose their lives when they refuse blood transfusions under Watchtower strict coercion (you are considered to disassociate yourself and are shunned if you accept a blood transfusion).  Some are forced back into abusive relationships, and child abusers have been shielded from prosecution as was made manifestly clear in the Australian Royal Commission hearings.  In short, the Watchtower uses their dishonesty to assist them in stealing the very lives of their adherents.  That, in my view and in my experience, is extremely malicious.

If indeed the Watchtower is acting out of purity of motive, I hereby challenge them to make easily available to the public all of their old publications, and encourage your followers to study them.  There are several libraries around the world where such literature already sits, and several private collections.  Stories are out there about people who woke up just by reading the old publications.  If, indeed, the Watchtower is a champion of truth, I challenge them: Prove it.

1506460_270647163083248_594169496_nHonestly admit to your followers the truth of the Australian Royal Commission.  Show your followers the website set up by that government commission that chronicles the proceedings.  Show them that a Governing Body member pretended to have no knowledge of the inner workings of the Watchtower when he was under oath.  Show them that a high branch official tried to act as if that GB member, Jackson, only had responsibility for translation.

So Watchtower, I put the ball squarely in your court.  Demonstrate that you are not malicious liars and slanderers.  Come clean.  Prove us wrong using proper documentation.  We refuse to believe the mere baseless assertions of a group that has a history over 130 years long of being wrong about their predictions, and then misleading people about what they predicted.  Champions of truth, indeed.

The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society stand as one of the most hypocritical, dishonest organizations currently in existence.  Prove me wrong, and I’ll retract everything and issue an apology.  I’m waiting.  Until then, you are, and remain, scared senseless of anything that resembles truth.  As such you are utterly incapable of honesty, and completely not worthy of any trust.  Prove my opinion to be wrong.  I believe I have facts to back it up.  Show me otherwise, and I’ll recant.

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Editor’s Note: Lest anyone from Watchtower actually try to use lack of an address as an excuse, you can visit the About page and use the contact form there to send a message, and I’ll gladly forward it to Spike Raynor myself. You can also visit his YouTube channel and leave a comment or message him.

~ Alexandra James

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