from the Summer 1999 issue of the Free Minds Journal

The Governing Body Grows Old

by Randy Watters

MORE about the Governing Body with pictures (8/25/05)

More on the new Governing Body members discussion (8/25/05)

Having worked at Watchtower headquarters in Brooklyn from 1974 to 1980, I just happened to be at the “right place at the right time,” so-to-speak, when it comes to getting a good glimpse at the inner workings of the Watch Tower Society. A new Governing Body arrangement had just been put into effect, replacing the former arrangement where almost all decisions were made by the president and vice-president, who at that time were N. H. Knorr and Frederick W. Franz, respectively.

The new arrangement was not particularly welcomed by Knorr and Franz, and while attending the Gilead Graduation ceremony of the WT’s missionary class in 1975, Franz spared no words in saying that he and Knorr did not like forfeiting some of their power in the organization’s decision-making process. A decades-old tradition of honoring the “forefathers” and assigning somewhat of a lesser honorable position to the new powers-that-be was still being played out.

When C. T. Russell founded the Watchtower in 1879, he expected the end before or during 1914. As more and more began to claim to be of the Watchtower’s special “anointed” class, there began a tradition of assigning a lesser “status” to each successive class of leadership. The older “anointed” were sometimes referred to as the “Naomi” class, as opposed to the younger and more inexperienced “Ruth” class of anointed. Those who were determined to be of the “other sheep” and who were said by Judge Rutherford to have the inferior “earthly calling” were sometimes referred to as the “water-drawers” or servants of the “anointed,” and the New Testament Scriptures were supposedly not even written to these ones, who had to rely on the interpretation of the Bible as handed down by the “anointed.” Yet even these of the “anointed” had no real authority, but were represented by the leaders.

In 1975, a total of 18 men were to share that most-favored status of being God’s interpreters of the Bible for all mankind. To question their interpretation was to speak out against Jehovah himself. (For proof of such arrogance, see the book, Thus Saith  Jehovah’s Witnesses by Randall Watters.)

This most-favored Caucasian leadership was already well up in years in the mid-70s, and several have passed on since their appointment. Two were supposedly removed for being practicing homosexuals, and Raymond Franz, nephew of Fred Franz, was disfellowshipped for talking about his knowledge of the corruption manifest in the GB collective. (See the book, Crisis of Conscience by Raymond Franz).

This dwindling body of older men are aware that they have not long to live, and have arranged a lesser body of leaders referred to as the “given ones” to carry the mantle of power as they pass from the scene. Many of these are not of the special “anointed” class, now numbering less than 8800 worldwide.

Rumors of Power Play

As yet there is no indication of any form of outright dissent within Bethel or the current leadership, but rumors are that GB member Ted Jaracz is the hard-line boss squelching all reform at present. He is in charge of the organization’s “storm troopers,” the Service Dept. One dissenter writes:

There is a big philosophical split between the Writing Dept. and the Service Dept. — liberals versus conservatives. The Writing Dept. (was) headed by GB member Lloyd Barry, who I've heard mixed reviews about. I've been told by people who know him that he's fairly hard-line or fairly soft-line. I suppose it depends on one's point of view. Ted Jaracz heads up the Service Dept. and those who have commented about him are unanimous that he's a hard-line (omitted). The other GB members call him "The Boss" and they aren't just making fun. Barry and Jaracz, and of course their respective departments, have major disagreements about how JWs should behave and how the JW organization should be run. The nasty, hard-line approach of the last 20 years is due almost entirely to Jaracz' dominance.

A couple of weeks ago when I was in New York I took some time and took the Bethel tours. While there I contacted the author of the Creation book. Naturally, I took him to task for the misrepresentations in his book, but was able to keep him talking for 1 1/2 hours. At the end, he told me that he (presumably this reflects the attitude of the Writing Dept. generally) was quite unhappy with how the elders in general don't follow the advice given in The Watchtower. It was surprising that he would admit this but no surprise that the Writing Dept. feels this way. It also shows the great gulf between the liberal and conservative camps, because the elders don't act just on what's in The Watchtower but on what they get from COs and in private letters from the WTS directly to elders. This all comes from the Service Dept. So whenever there are conflicting directions from the Writing Dept. in The Watchtower and from the Service Dept. via the CO and direct letter channels, naturally the elders will follow the privately-given instructions. This is how the elders have ended up with the extreme nastiness and conservatism of Ted Jaracz. The amazing thing is that the Bethel people like this author don't seem to understand this. They seem to think, in the usual JW fashion, that God will fix everything in due time. So this lunatic attitude on the part of the leading WTS "thinkers" filters down to the JW community and sets the tone… In my opinion we're going to see some big cracks open up within 2-3 years after 2000, with increasing unrest until then.

Jaracz, however, is one of the youngest of the GB members. Perhaps before his light fades away his rule will be toppled, much as happened to Knorr in 1975. All it really takes is a change of assignment, a tactic used at Bethel to move people in and out of key positions. Sometimes your greatest danger is from those you work alongside.

UPDATE (10/3/99) Four new Governing Body members

Speaking of working alongside, four new members have just been added to the Watchtower's Governing Body this year (1999) All claim to be of the anointed. In contrast to the other eight, they are presumably fairly young. They are:

Samuel Herd - former district overseer, living at Bethel this past year, also the first African/American on the GB.
Guy Pierce - former circuit overseer, living at Bethel this past year,
Steve Lett - (our) former circuit overseer, living at Bethel this past year,
David Splane - was missionary in Canada, Bethel for some years, graduated from the 42nd class of Gilead September 1966.

UPDATE (8/25/05) Two new Governing Body members

Anthony Morris raised a family and then went into the traveling work. Later they were called to Patterson.
Geoffrey Jackson is an Australian who was a missionary and a branch committee member before being going to Patterson. 


These are the current officers of the Watch Tower organization as of 11/27/06

Governing body members (current as of 11/27/06)

John Barr
Carey Barber (deceased April 2007)
Samuel Herd
Geoffrey Jackson (new 8/25/05)
Theodore Jaracz
Steven Lett
Gerrit Lösch
Anthony Morris (new 8/25/05)
Guy Pierce
Albert Schroeder  (deceased March 9, 2006)
David Splane
Daniel Sydlik  (deceased April 19, 2006)

Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania (Incorporated 1884)
President Don A. Adams
Vice Presidents Robert W. Wallen, William F. Malenfant
Secretary/Treasurer Richard E. Abrahamson
Directors Danny L. Bland, Philip D. Wilcox, John N. Wischuk

Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc. (Incorporated 1909)
President Max H. Larson
Vice Presidents George M. Couch, Lonnie R. Schilling
Secretary/Treasurer Gerald F. Simonis
Directors Gerald D. Grizzle, David G. Sinclair, Robert M. Pevy

Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses (Incorporated 2000)
President William L. Van De Wall
Vice Presidents Charles I. Woody, Leon Weaver, Jr.
Secretary/Treasurer William H. Nonkes
Directors Harold K. Jackson, Merton V. Campbell, Stanley F. Weigel

Religious Order of Jehovah's Witnesses (Incorporated 2000)
President Patrick J. LaFranca
Vice Presidents Peter D. Molchan, Ralph E. Walls
Secretary/Treasurer Joseph D. Mercante
Directors Marvin G. Smalley, Kenneth J. Pulcifer, Eugene D. Rosam, Jr.

Kingdom Support Services, Inc. (Incorporated 2000)
President Harold L. Corkern
Vice Presidents Alan D. Janzen, Robert L. Butler
Secretary/Treasurer Alexander W. Reinmueller
Directors James F. Mantz, Jr., Thomas Kalimeris, Alan G. Browning

Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New Jersey, Inc. (Incorporated 1955)
President Charles V. Molohan
Vice Presidents James L. Bauer, J. Richard Brown
Secretary/Treasurer Alan K. Flowers
Directors Allen E. Shuster, David L. Walker, Vernon C. Wisegarver

Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Florida, Inc. (Incorporated 1986)
President Leonard R. Pearson
Vice Presidents Alejandro G. Rodriguez, Maurice C. Turcot
Secretary/Treasurer Mark L. Questell
Directors Jim Moody, Sr., Anselm J. Packnett, Donald R. Krebs

Valley Farms Corporation (Incorporated 1987)
President Charles J. Rice
Vice Presidents Kent E. Fischer, Robert L. Rains
Secretary/Treasurer Albert L. Harrell
Directors John R. Strandberg, Samuel D. Buck, Louis A. Travis

Summary of five presidential eras within the Watchtower

New book on Net! Thus Saith Jehovah's Witnesses!

How much control over you do they want? Read a sampling of some of their Famous Sayings of the Eighties!


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