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The Governing Body

By now you’re wondering, “Where do these people get their outlandish ideas?  Who is coming up with this wacked-out stuff?”

I’ll tell you.  It’s a group of men called the Governing Body.  What they say goes.  To question their authority or openly raise doubts about their teachings is to risk excommunication.

Who are they and what makes them so special?

To explain that I’ll have to start with a scripture in Matthew 24:45-47 which describes the “faithful and discreet slave whom his master [Jesus Christ] appointed over his domestics to give them their food at the proper time.”  Now, this is a vague parable at best, but JWs cling to this interpretation fervently:  In Christ’s figurative household, the Governing Body of the Watchtower Society claims to be that “slave” who provides spiritual “food” to the “domestics” who are members of the anointed class specifically, but can be extended to include the entire membership of JWs.  Therefore, without them everyone would starve spiritually.

Now it gets weird.  One of the core teachings of the JWs is that only 144,000 spirit-anointed individuals are destined for life in heaven.  This is based on Revelation 7:4.  Interestingly, the number “144,000” is the only number in the book of Revelation that JWs take literally.  (Sounds fishy, doesn’t it?) This exclusive group’s purpose is to rule with Christ for 1000 years while mankind cleans up from Armageddon and gradually moves toward perfection in body and mind.  After that 1000-year period, there’s no indication what they’ll do for the rest of eternity.  Take up the banjo, perhaps.

Christ started collecting this group beginning with his disciples back in the first century.  Supposedly, every Christian back then was anointed, but once the Great Apostasy started (after the death of the apostles) it was pick and choose for God, and who the heck knows who was worshipping truly enough to be picked?

In the late 1800s with the appearance of the International Bible Students (later renamed “Jehovah’s Witnesses) God began to find his type of people again in larger, economy-size quantities, and the anointing continued.  This number was apparently filled by 1935, and after that the only hope available was your basic life-in-paradise-on-earth-forever, which is roughly equivalent to flying coach.

Here’s how these favored people knew they had been chosen:  When someone is anointed by God, the only way they know is that “God’s spirit bears witness with their spirit that they are God’s children.” (Romans 8:16)  It’s kind of like knowing that the chimichanga you ate is going to keep you awake all night.  You just know.  Conversely, if you have not been anointed you also just know.  Sound flimsy?  Just wait.

Now, out of this large group of anointed ones some of them are on the board of directors of the Society, and they decide who gets to be part of the Governing Body.  They say they pray about it, and either Jesus Christ or God tells them who to pick.  Again, this is probably a “feeling,” rather like heartburn.

So, this group of benighted individuals, chosen by heartburn, gets to call the shots for the entire JW organization.  They decide doctrine and get to pick the next date for Armageddon not to come. They go so far as to decide what intimate acts are appropriate for married JWs.  Now, that’s pretty invasive.

They don’t do all the writing, but they decide on the content for all the magazines and books produced by the Watchtower Society.  Basically, every aspect of a JW’s life is decided by these guys. Interestingly, as in the first century, there are female members of the anointed.  Can they be members of the Governing Body?  Such a silly question.   Women have no voice whatsoever in the congregation or the Society.

Let’s recap for a second:   The Governing Body’s authority is based on a feeling that they are part of a special group mentioned in one of Jesus’ parables that probably has nothing to do with the modern day and bolstered by another scripture in Revelation where a number is taken literally, whereas the guy who wrote the book says it was written in signs – in other words, not literal.

Oh yeah, these are the guys I want deciding how I live my life and even how I might die.

You can easily identify who has heartburn…whoops…who is anointed every year at the Memorial of Christ’s Death which is held around the same time as Passover.  The solemn ceremony mimics the Last Supper in that unleavened bread and wine are passed among all those present.  Only the anointed ones are allowed to partake, so if you watch carefully you can figure out who in your congregation claims to be of the anointed.

Since the “first class” section was full by 1935, you would expect that very few anointed ones would be left on earth.  You’d be wrong.  Being human, some anointed ones have proven unfaithful and have lost their boarding passes to first class.  As a result, new ones have been selected to take their first-class seats.  Of course, these would likely be very few in number since who would want to give up their anointed status?

Every year the Society prints an annual report giving the preaching work totals – hours, placements, etc.  At the bottom of this report they indicate the number of partakers at the Memorial.  For many years when I was a JW this number declined steadily.  Lately, however, it has inexplicably begun to rise, leaving the Governing Body scrambling for an explanation.

Must be the chimichangas.

More next week.



15 responses »

  1. It all balls down to one thing I call, hope i spell it right. I call it “ABRACADABRA HOCUS POCUS” magic tricks, all an allusion. I tell my wife of 30yrs that i’m NOT GOING to believe everything that this governing tells us, Oh my, she gets bent out of shape calling me an apostate thinker,whatever that is, THATS WHY YOUR NOT PROGGESSING AND SUCH. I laugh because on any given day she will play the lotto, mega million………. YOU DONT BELIEVE IN EVERYTHING THEY SAY EITHER!!!………. POOF OH the odd life SCOTTLEBLOG OH THE LIFE . cant wait for the next episode. Peace

  2. The supposed close of the heavenly calling in 1935 marks a very interesting transition in WT belief. In Russell’s system, Armageddon was to have come by the end of 1914 or very shortly thereafter. The remaining members of anointed on earth would be taken to heaven and the “ancient worthies” would be resurrected to establish the earthly phase of the kingdom of God. According to Russell only the anointed had suffient light of the spirit to respond appropriately to the “present truth” which meant that humanity in general could neither align themselves with WT thinking nor could their rejection incur the penalty of the second death. So, what was to be destroyed at Armageddon was only the intitutions of church and state – not people. Then when they could see the obvious blessings following Armageddon, they would be able to respond and enjoy eternal life.

    But Armageddon didn’t come so everything else had to happen first. Hence the end of the heavenly calling, the expected resurrection of the “ancient worthies” (and the Beth Sarim fiasco) and the gathering of the great crowd. And everyone now has to make their response without the benefit of seeing the foretold wonders first.

  3. amazing how much I’m learning. not just from this blog, but from the interesting comments of your readers. keep it up!

  4. I agree with jimgenito. Not only is your blog excellent, but the replies can also be enlightening. Once again Sarah, thank you for sharing your time and energy by writing such an entertaining and educational blog with all of us. It is greatly appreciated.

  5. Thank you for yet another witty, albeit, true reckoning of the life and times of the JW’s. Hard to believe I endured this malarcky for years!

    • Perfect word………….Malarcky!

      I am laughing so hard that my bladder is overriding my brain. During a rare adult conversation I once told my devout JW parents that I believe I am a spiritual being in a human body. Their immediate response was one of celebration and immediate phone calls to several varied characters proclaiming that I received the calling and must be one of the 144,000 holy anointed. Leave it to a well indoctrinated JW to come up with a response like that! Even more ironic is the fact that I had been long dissociated/disfellowshipped when I made this comment to them. Hope springs eternal I suppose.

  6. ”You’ll never get sick. You will never grow old. And you will never die.”

    Although the above words come from the movie “Cocoon,” they could have come
    from the Watchtower Society because this is the same thing they have been proclaiming for decades as part of “the Creator’s promise of a peaceful and secure new world that is about to replace the present wicked, lawless system of things.”*

    This very appealing prospect attracts many people to begin to study the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses. It then sustains them as they eagerly wait for the fulfillment of this promise.

    But during the course of their study they get drawn into an illusionary concept involving the Watchtower organization that gradually takes over their decision-making process and even their conscience without them realizing it. It happens because of a mistake that everyone makes before they decide to become a Jehovah’s Witness.

    “Captives of a Concept” identifies both the concept and the mistake that causes people to become captives of it. The book also offers a few suggestions about how to help Jehovah’s Witnesses correct their mistake and teach themselves the truth about their religion.

    The book is designed to help the reader understand the illusionary concept mentioned by former Governing Body member Raymond Franz in his “Crisis of Conscience” which holds Jehovah’s Witnesses captive by dominating and controlling how they think and act.

    It explains how the leadership has been able to keep themselves and millions of Jehovah’s Witnesses convinced that “the Watchtower Society is God’s organization” no matter what the Bible says or what went on in the organization’s history.

    Additional information:

  7. I will never get tired of reading your posts. It seems so long ago that all this seemed real and you bring it back with such wit and wisdom!

    Thank you!

  8. Well at least you gave me hope. I love banjo!

  9. I remember when I was five, after the Memorial–I asked my mom, “Why couldn’t I drink the juice and eat the cracker?” (not realizing it was wine)

    My mom said that I wasn’t of “the anointed”. I noticed that only one person had actually partaken of the emblems, so I asked her: “So, how can I “know” if I am or not?”

    She said: “Are you a little girl or a little boy?” I said, “A little girl”, she said, “How do you know that?” I said…”I just know”.

    She said: “Exactly”.

    That was how mom explained the doctrine of the 144,000 to me. I didn’t dare ask if they had banjo’s.

    Great blog–as always!

  10. Pingback: Don’t Spoil a Good Doctrine by Strict Adherence to the Facts, Part 2 « scottleblog

  11. yes we had a partaker nack in the 70s this 1 little old lady late 80s polish quiet meek and humble all the earmarks. and every year i watched her partake and I remember thinking what it would be like when she died and went to heaven …Yup i believed hook line and sinker..I used to look at her like she was an angel..but in the back of my head i always wanted to ask her how she knew..I was told never to ask that question..

  12. Hey people. It just came to me about this statement that I am about to make.”Could it be that where the bible says that satan is out to mislead even the elect”? Well could it not be that Satan has taken control of those few old men and now he has control along with them? Why do people always think that satan is out to mislead the lowly great crowd? Could it be with all this child molesting that is going on and they are doing their best to cover it up?2 witness law. And when the molester does not confess to what he has been accused of that those slick elders just say” Lets leave it up to Jehovah.This sounds to me that something evil has taken them over.But I have to find out when Satan took over the Watchtower. Could it be in 1952 when they started to disfellowship people? Anyone ever think about this? Because I did believe for 32 years but then something seem to change at th`e Kingdom halls.I did not want to leave the so called truth so I could go out there and do what the world does. I just got up one Thursday night and I told an elder that I saw no love in this kingdom hall at all. I never went back.I was never disfellowshipped and I did say some bad things about them- But nothing has happened in 8 years since I left. I truly believe now that Satan took control of them around that time.


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