Alex Rover gave an excellent summary of the changed state of affairs in our Organization in his comment on my most recent post. It got me to thinking about how these changes came about. For instance, his third point reminds us that in the “old days” we did not know the names of the Governing Body members and their images were never shown in print. That changed with the release of the Proclaimers book 21 years ago. My wife was bothered by that, feeling that it was inappropriate for these men to be so prominently featured in a publication. It was but one more small step in the decades-long progression toward our current organizational environment.
It is by a slow but steady increase in temperature that the frog is boiled.
This got me to wondering how these changes could have progressed, seemingly unnoticed, to the point where we now readily accept the Governing Body as the embodiment of faithful and discreet slave of Matthew 24:45. These seven men are self-proclaiming that they are part of the fulfillment of a 2,000-year-old prophecy and no one is batting an eye. I do not believe that such an understanding would have been possible under the old guard.
This led me to recall the revelation Raymond Franz made about the Governing Body of his day. A decision affecting policy or doctrinal interpretation could be passed based on a two-thirds majority. If that rule continues to exist—and I have no reason to think otherwise—it takes five of the current seven members to pass a vote. So even if two disagreed with the Governing-Body-as-Faithful-Slave interpretation, the teaching would still become official because of the five.
This thought led me to consider the nature of spirit guidance. We must recall that the Governing Body now claim to be the appointed communication channel of God. They claim to be spirit directed. This means that Jehovah speaks to us through them.
How does the spirit of God direct the congregation? Certainly the choosing of one of the 12 apostles would constitute an event of greater significance than the choosing of a Governing Body member, would it not? When the office of Judas had to be filled, Peter spoke to the crowd of about one hundred and twenty (the sum total of the Christian congregation at that time) laying down the qualifications the man would need to manifest; then the crowd put forward two men and they cast lots so that the holy spirit could direct the outcome. There was no vote by the apostles, either unanimous or of a two-thirds majority.
As for directing the congregation, whether that of Israel or the Christian congregation, divine revelation almost always comes through the mouth of one individual. Has Jehovah ever revealed his word through a voting committee?
True, the spirit can also become active on a group. For example, we can point to the issue of the circumcision. (Acts 15:1-29) The older men of the Jerusalem congregation were the source of that problem, so naturally, they would have to be the ones to resolve it. Jehovah’s spirit directed them—not a committee, but all those in the congregation—on how to resolve a problem they themselves created.
There is no scriptural precedent for rule by voting committee; certainly no precedent for a two-thirds majority rule, which is a way to avoid deadlock. The spirit is never deadlocked. Nor does the Christ exist divided. (1 Cor. 1:13) Does holy spirit direct only two-thirds of the brothers in the Governing Body? Do those with a different opinion not have the spirit during a particular vote? Does the interpretation of prophecy depend not on God, but on a democratic voting process? (Ge 40:8)
There is an old saying that goes, “The proof is in the pudding.” A scriptural equivalent might be, “Taste and see that Jehovah is good.” So let us look at the results. Let us taste this process that guides and directs us and see if it is good, and therefore, from Jehovah. – Ps 34:8
Those posting and commenting on this site have revealed many significant errors in JW doctrine, as well as flawed and disastrous policy decisions that have resulted in the unnecessary persecution and suffering of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Our former policy on how to deal with child molesters has resulted in the spiritual shipwreck of untold numbers of little ones; little sheep. (John 21:17; Mt 18:6)
As we look back on the policy decisions and prophetic misinterpretations that have resulted from this two-thirds majority rule, it becomes evident that it was not holy spirit that was doing the directing—for God’s decisions are righteous and the burden the Christ imposes on us is light and easy to bear. There is no deception under the rule of Jesus, no need to apologize for past mistakes—for there are no mistakes. Only under the rule of men are such things in evidence and they do indeed leave a bad taste in the mouth.
The interesting thing i found with the “generation” issue is when you remove the tendency 2 attach a mathematical deduction & date 2 the scriptures, all thats left is logic. Scriptures such as Matt 24:36 & Acts 1:7 set the precedent as far as our limitations with respects 2 pinpointing Christ coming/presence. Assuredly, all would agree it was impossible 2 trip Jesus up with debates, loaded questions or the like. He said what he meant, & meant everything he said. No matter HOW they asked him 4 a timeframe, his answer wouldnt change. Many elements of his ‘sign’ were things… Read more »
It’s interesting that you mentioned that picture in the Proclaimers book. I was quite young then and it would take many years before I would see any problems within the Org. but that page bothered me back then. I remember thinking: this doesn’t feel quite right, was it really necessary to put these photos here?
I’ve been reading the posts here for a long time, and you have truly helped me to see the truth about what I always thought was the truth. I must admit to being a bit heartsick, as I do remember a time in my life when I believed that this was the truth without question. Then slowly but surely doubts, questions began to surface. I remember asking several questions, and rather than get satisfying, Bible-based answers, I was told to just ‘trust the elders, listen to and trust the slave. Once I was even told that my questions showed a… Read more »
Welcome, blessednubian. I think most of us who end up here are in your shoes. We knew something was not right, we went looking and found this site with like-minded Witnesses. Yes, it does make one feel sick at heart to find out what we touted as “the truth” really is no such thing. I went through a period of time where I was nearly physically sick all the time. But you will find many kind brothers and sisters who are struggling as we are to come to grips with our faith, our real faith. Our heavenly Father does not… Read more »
It was the overlapping generations doctrine that finally tipped the flower vase over for me as well. The previous interpretations at least had the benefit of being based on a bible definition of what a generation was. Though our conclusions were wrong, we tried to derive them from Scripture. Faulty deductive reasoning and scriptural misapplicaiton can be excused as misplaced zeal and over-eager self-delution. However, this latest interpretation is just made up; contrived and completely unscriptural. It cannot see how it can be excused.
Hi Meleti and fellow brothers. May peace be upon you. The overlapping generation is nowhere near the simple pronouncement of our Lord Jesus Christ who spoke of a “generation” which would refer to a 30-40 year life span. The present Governing Body has re-defined generation in a rather convoluted way, that it defies logic. How would Christ believe such an interpretation? Was God’s holy spirit lacking when the former FDS declared that the 1914 pertains to all those who were born in or before 1914 who would witness the fulfillment of the signs? They explained the generation in light of… Read more »
I never ever believed the first interpretation of the generation never mind the overlapping one .The first was always stretching it for me but this overlapping interpretation seems just to defy logic all together .They are really taking the mickey with that one oh yeah lets have a laugh here on these people they will believe anything .lets see how far we can take it ha ha .kev
Peter, you said “He said that modern Orthodox Rabbis were the continuation of the ancient Pharisees”.
Thank you for sharing that. If people are kept in isolation, they remain ignorant of such information. The real pity is that they do not realize they are kept in isolation. It is made out to be a safe place, when in fact it is a prison.
This is what ‘the old guard taught:
w81 3/1 pp 24-5 stated this- “The objectors may argue that not all of Christ’s anointed disciples have a share in preparing the spiritual food, so that perhaps the “slave” pictures only the leading ones and the domestics those they serve in the congregation. There is no point in trying to force an interpretation of the parable. Self deception is of no benefit and is spiritually damaging.”
By this measure, the ‘new guard’ are forcing an interpretation of the parable, are self deceived and are therefore causing damage.
It would appear that their condemnation comes form their own mouth.
There has indeed been a frog cooking effect happening. Although I am sure the idea of absolute obedience has existed for at least 50 years or longer, it has become more and more prominent in the last 20-30 years. I remember growing up that my dad sometimes would deny me to do stuff and he would tell me: What do you think the Slave thinks about this? And I still vividly remember my answer or inner thoughts were always, Slave Slave, what does the bible say? Why are you spending so much effort and emphasis on the Slave? Before my… Read more »
Yes, it took that long to figure out who they are. And we’re supposed to get some new instructions just before or during the great tribulation, (per some revelation received by a GB member), that’s going to be vital to our salvation? Wonder how long tha’ts going to take!
So where are the GB getting their instructions from?
Maybe if this 2014 insult to our spiritual intelligence continues to be perpetuated, like 1975 was, then we we will see a huge division open up, especially when it falls flat AGAIN. What’s next 2018, 2025, or perhaps 2114? They already have a track record of blaming the congregation and, by inference, blaming Jehovah for not fulfilling their own prophecies. There is a lot more beating of the fellow slaves to come I fear. For years I held on to mixed sense of anger, disbelief and sadness that it has come to this, but I find recently that I have… Read more »
Thanks for your encouraging comment.
InNeedofGrace, what a stroke of logic there. July 2013 states that our Lord Jesus Christ accompanied Jehovah and did an inspection, finding small group of brothers who were seen qualified and were appointed. If they were personally selected by the Master, then would it not make more sense if we put credence on their stand on the FDS identity than the current understanding. Take note that existing members of the GB are not the same as those comprising the 1919 group.
Wanted to take this moment to share some information here with everyone, I have a close friend who is Jewish…what he told me almost made me fall back from my seat..He said that modern Orthodox Rabbis were the continuation of the ancient Pharisees…he said there was five Iniquities of the Rabbis..what took me by surprise was Number 2 which he called Authority of the Rabbis…he said that one of the belief in Pharisaic Judaism, is that the Rabbis have Absolute authority to interpret Scripture, and what they say in religious matters is binding, even if it is known to be… Read more »
In discussing the principle of Acts 5:29 with a friend who serves as an elder in another congregation, I said that I would like to think that if the brothers found that direction from the Governing Body conflicted with the law of God, they would opt for obeying God over men. His quip reply was “Not us”. I was totally floored, because he was serious and answered reflexively as if he’d already considered the matter and made up his mind on a course of action in any such situation. I fear that his response indicates what is the standard knee-jerk… Read more »
“The older men of the Jerusalem congregation were the source of that problem, so naturally, they would have to be the ones to resolve it. Jehovah’s spirit directed them—not a committee, but all those in the congregation—on how to resolve a problem they themselves created”.
The account shows the Holy Spirit directing one man, James (verse 19), in making the final decision not all those who had discussed the circumcision issue. Other scriptures indicate that James had a position of oversight in the Jerusalem congregation. Acts 12:17; 21:18, Gal 2:12.
That’s an interesting point. James did write under inspiration, so his credentials as God’s spokesman on occasion were in place. However, verse 19 and 28 give slightly different viewpoints. Vs. 28 seems to indicate that the decision was not his alone.
Whatever the case, it clearly wasn’t a democratic process as vs. 28 shows.
Of course perhaps the most important and telling things are this.
The false teachers “went out from among us,” showing it wasn’t a governing body, just a congregation, and the whole congregation was present.
MichaelM is quoting from Acts 15:24
Hi Meleti, I believe it was announced two years ago at the annual meeting where they introduced the new teaching that while the Faithful Slave in the Bible was singular, and they were multiple individuals, for it to apply to them, it has to be as a “composite singular” body. Accordingly, they have changed their doctrinal voting policy to require unanimous agreement. My first objection to this was the phrase “composite singular”. They are squeezing the scripture here to make it fit a composite group. My second objection to this was the subsequent “generation” teaching change. I can’t believe that… Read more »
I would think you are right; that it is unlikely that everyone jumped readily onto the interpretive bandwagon when it came to the latest re-think of “this generation”. However, I’ve seen it time and again in elders meetings, particularly those presided over by the circuit overseer, that what passes for unanimity is either apathy or fear. Apathy in the case of those who really don’t care what decision is made and blindly trust those who they think know more than they do; and fear for those who do, but are pressured to conform for the sake of what passes for… Read more »