A summer regional convention that was all about loyalty to Jehovah and the Organization. During the same period, a series of Watchtower articles hammering on the same theme. And now the August 2016 Broadcast on tv.jw.org delivers one of the strongest messages yet about being loyal to the leaders of the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Why so much emphasis on this? Is there a Bible basis for this message? Does it show the end is near? Will our salvation depend on our loyalty to the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses and the local body of elders? Or is something else becoming manifest?
The real theme of the Broadcast becomes evident around the 3:30 minute mark when Ronald Curzan, a Helper to the Teaching Committee, speaks about David’s attitude toward Saul by reading from 1 Samuel.
“He said to his men: “It is unthinkable from Jehovah’s standpoint that I should do such a thing to my lord, the anointed of Jehovah, by lifting my hand against him, for he is the anointed of Jehovah.”” (1Sa 24:6)
Ronald says that David humbly put aside his personal feelings concerning Saul and chose to wait patiently for Jehovah to act. Most Witnesses will understand the message to be that even if one has doubts about the direction the leadership of the Organization is taking, no one should lift up their hand against it, but wait on Jehovah.
This is as far as the Organization would want us to take this example. If we ask, “Who is Saul in the modern scenario?” the answer is obviously, the Governing Body. But Saul was a good king turned bad. Does that fit? Also, while David didn’t kill Saul when he had the chance, neither did he follow Saul nor obey him. David withdrew from Saul for his own welfare. Finally, Saul was actually appointed by a prophet of God, but who appointed the Governing Body?
Ronald next says: “We’ll soon be facing life changing events foretold in the Bible that will test our loyalty to Jehovah and his organization.” Presumably, Ronald says this because the doctrine of the overlapping generations proves that the end is very near. But could it be that we are already facing circumstances that test our loyalty to Jehovah?
Ronald next explains three areas wherein our loyalty is tested.
Loyally Defend Jehovah
Using the example of Elihu who came to Jehovah’s defence in the time of Job’s trials, Ronald speaks about being loyal when Jehovah’s name comes under attack. Who of us would not agree with this?
Now if you were preparing this part, what would logically be your second point? Who would come right after Jehovah when speaking of someone we must loyally defend when he comes under attack?
While I’m sure you are thinking of Jesus for the number two spot, the Governing Body has put themselves there.
Be Loyal to the Faithful Slave
Ronald says: “Second, we could be loyal to Jehovah by being loyal to “the faithful and discreet slave—the Governing Body.” So it is now very clear that in the mind of all in the Organization, “the faithful and discreet slave” is the Governing Body and the Governing Body is “the faithful and discreet slave”. They are one and the same.
I prefer to use the Governing Body, or GB for short, over “the faithful and discreet slave” when referring to the seven men at headquarters because they are definitely the body that governs Jehovah’s Witnesses. As to being a slave of Jesus that is faithful and discreet, we will let the facts speak for themselves.
Ronald tells us that “Jehovah and Jesus are using the [Governing Body] to feed us spiritual food, so we owe our loyalty to that [Body]….There is no perfect person nor organization on the globe, but as a long-time faithful brother used to say, ‘This is the best imperfect organization on earth’.” The validity of that brother’s assessment aside, expecting us to be loyal to an organization because it is the least bad of many choices is hardly a recipe for salvation. Saying it is the only true faith while all others are false is a binary choice, but being the lesser of many evils hardly qualifies as an endorsement from God.
Nevertheless, there would be no problem with this but for the fact that we are being asked for unconditional loyalty to this organization. Make no mistake. Loyalty here is a synonym for obedience and support.
Ronald continues: “The way we listen to and obey the [GB] has a direct bearing on the strength of our friendship with God. In fact, it means our very life.”
Ronald would have us believe that to be saved, we must be loyal and obedient to the Governing Body. He doesn’t see the contradiction in this. He acknowledges that they are imperfect and make mistakes, yet our salvation depends on our listening to and obeying their every word.
How can we be loyal to the Christ and to men as the same time? Inevitably, men will let us down. Men will misguide us. Men will tell us to do things that are wrong. That’s what comes of imperfection. This has already happened more times than we can count in the 100-year history of the Governing Body and it will happen again. In fact, it is happening right now in this broadcast.
The Governing Body Equals Jesus
Ronald asks: “But what if the Governing Body serves some spiritual food that is not to our liking. Or what if we do not fully understand or agree with a clarification of a belief?” To show how we should respond he refers to the book of John:
“60When they heard this, many of his disciples said: “This speech is shocking; who can listen to it?…66Because of this, many of his disciples went off to the things behind and would no longer walk with him….68Simon Peter answered him: “Lord, whom shall we go away to? You have sayings of everlasting life.” (Joh 6:60, 66, 68)
He then says that, “Peter’s loyalty was based on solid evidence that Jesus was the Messiah. His loyalty was evidence of his faith. That is the kind of loyalty we want to imitate today.”
The problem with this is that in the context of his talk, he is using this as an example of the kind of loyalty we want to display for the Governing Body. So he is equating the Governing Body with Jesus. If Peter’s loyalty was based on evidence that Jesus was the Messiah or anointed one, what evidence do we have that the Governing Body anointed as the faithful slave? We have only their word to go by. They are self-appointed.
Peter’s words work for us today, because Jesus is not dead. He is very much alive and he still has sayings of everlasting life. However, the Governing Body would have us replace Jesus and turn to them as those who now have sayings of everlasting life. If they say something that shocks us or that we might disagree with, no matter. We should be like Peter was with Jesus and say—as this passage is often misquoted—“Where else would we go. This Organization has sayings of everlasting life.”
Loyal to the Elders
Ronald tells us about the importance of loyalty to the local elders by saying, “Why then is it so important for us to strengthen our loyalty to our hardworking, loving shepherds?…As the great tribulation nears, our survival will depend on our readiness to respond to their direction as they follow the Governing Body’s direction. Our loyalty is not to men, but to Jehovah’s arrangement made up of imperfect, but loyal men.”
So we are not really being loyal to men, but to Jehovah’s arrangement. And what is Jehovah’s arrangement according to this broadcast? It is to have an organization directed by the Governing Body to give us life-saving direction when the time comes for the end of this system of things. We must therefore conclude that Jehovah will reveal his direction to the Governing Body, and they will instruct the elders, who in turn will instruct us. As the illustration to Ronald’s right at the time he relates this information shows, we will be hiding out in basements while God’s fury passes over when that time comes.
The Governing Body is Moses
To show how important our obedience to men is, the broadcast next plays part of the drama about Korah’s rebellion against Moses. The Governing Body in this scenario is Moses. They ignore the fact that the Greater Moses is Jesus Christ. (He 3:1-6) They also ignore the fact that this tactic has been used before to enforce compliance with the authority of men.
“The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the seat of Moses.” (Mt 23:2)
The scribes and Pharisees were not appointed by God as Moses was. Can the Governing Body show any credentials similar to those of Moses? He was a prophet whose prophecies never failed to come true. He wrote under inspiration. He performed miracles. On any one of these counts can the Governing Body show reason why we should view them as Moses?
Korah wanted the people to view him as Moses—the leader of the nation. He tried to replace God’s anointed one. The word “Christ” means anointed one. Jesus Christ is God’s anointed one. The Governing Body gives him lip-service—he is barely mentioned throughout the length of this broadcast—but they are really trying to replace him. This is evidenced graphically by the featured picture above. It was evident two years ago when they published the picture below. Again, Jesus is missing.
Why do they engage in this Korah scare tactic so often? The reason is frighten the flock into compliance. Their position is so fragile doctrinally and morally, that it will not stand up to scrutiny. So by making any hint of criticism equivalent to the rebellion of Korah, they hope to avoid having to explain themselves to the rank and file. This tactic has proven very, very successful. Consider the fact that, usually, when you tell a Witness about the child abuse scandal in Australia or the UN membership of the 1990s, they are wholly ignorant of the facts. In this world where gossip and news fly around the globe at the speed of light, Witnesses do not share these facts even with close friends. They fear being reported on as apostates. So they remain silent.
This is the so-called “faithful and discreet slave” that is demanding our full compliance lest we perish at Armageddon.
If we had been shown a video like this 40 years ago, it would have caused considerable division. We didn’t even know the names of most of the Governing Body members back then.
But that was then. This is now. For years we have been slowly indoctrinated, little by little, to the point that if someone were to object that Jesus is not being represented by the illustrations above, he would be labelled an apostate. Imagine being called an apostate for trying to return one’s brothers to Jesus.
Jesus has been given a throne by God. He is the Greater Moses. The modern-day Korah wishes to sit in the throne of Jesus. He would want God’s people to believe that they must obey him to be saved. Like Korah, he claims that God speaks through him.
But the son does not take it lightly when he is not shown the respect that is his due.
“Kiss the son, that He may not become incensed And YOU may not perish [from] the way, For his anger flares up easily. Happy are all those taking refuge in him.” (Ps 2:12)
It is not an Organization that the Bible points to for a place of refuge, but to the Son of God. Those who will not bow before him will perish.