Original text posted on r/exjw on December 19, 2021.
This visit I listened to the 60 minute portion of the CO visit with the elders and MS more intently than I ever have. This was the result: Jehovah – 6 times; Jesus – 3 times; God – 0; Jesus – 0; Governing Body – 37 times.
Anyone that has ever served as an Elder or Ministerial Servant knows that the visit of the Circuit Overseer is the worst two weeks of the year. It’s bad when you are a PIMI however when you are PIMO it’s insufferable. Remember those sweet Circuit Overseers of the 70s and 80s? They are long gone and replaced by Brothers that are 100% company men and in fear of being “reassigned” if they don’t perform well enough.
An employee (Circuit Overseer) that is managed by fear (being reassigned as a regular pioneer thus having to work) cares less about their customers (local congregations) than how they look to their manager (Governing Body).
Because of that lack of job security, Circuit Overseers are much more stressed and driven solely by making the Governing Body happy. And what makes the Governing Body happy? Talking about how great the Governing Body is.
One of my JW “mentors” is a brother who was in the Circuit work for decades. A truly wonderful man. He was someone that was absolutely adored and loved by all. At the end of one of his visits I remember him giving the green handshake envelope to a single mother in the congregation saying she needed it more than him. He did this nearly every visit to a needy one in the congregation and always told that person as a condition they would not be allowed to tell anyone. Never once did I hear him say “Governing Body” – it was all about the brothers and sisters and their happiness. He didn’t make ones feel bad, he didn’t pressure anyone, all he did was compliment and praise and give out positivity. Nowadays the man wouldn’t have lasted three years as a Circuit Overseer.
The last two Circuit Overseer visits I’ve drank since it’s on Zoom. Start a little pregame at 6:00PM, by the time the Elder/MS meeting starts at 7:00PM the buzz is going and usually good enough to get me through the meeting. This year I added a little twist to at last get something out of the meeting.
sidenote: go with gin or vodka and you can drink on camera, I went with vodka tonics
Just this week I had the CO visit. I am currently a PIMO elder and attended the Friday night meeting with the Circuit Overseer that he has with the Elders and Ministerial Servants. The first half is 60 minutes with both the MS and elders where he asks questions from an outline, the last half is where elders do all the gossiping and the CO whips out his junk to show the elders who their daddy is. You know that good guy persona the CO puts on in front of the congregation? Well it’s just like your favorite asshole elder that you see kissing ass to the CO when he visits however when he’s around you he’s a complete dick. The CO is that dick when he’s with the elders alone. So at least take solace in that elders do get what’s coming to them from time to time. Circuit Overseers hate elders for the most part so they enjoy taking them down a couple notches during their meeting.
Anyway, this visit I listened to the 60 minute portion of the CO visit with the elders and MS more intently than I ever have. Like every word. Literally. I counted every time the Circuit Overseer said the following:
- Governing Body
This is the section of the meeting that the Circuit Overseer has an outline to follow. An outline given to him by…you guessed it, the Governing Body.
So is it any surprise that this was the result:
- Jehovah – 6 times
- Jesus – 3
- God – 0
- Love – 0
- Governing Body – 37 times
That’s correct. Governing Body was mentioned more than 4 times as much as Jehovah, Jesus, God and Love combined. I knew the push for near God-like worship of the Governing Body is at an all time high, however even these numbers surprised me. It was way worse than I ever imagined.
The Circuit Overseer mostly reads from a script. Some of the questions he asked the Elders and Ministerial Servants:
- How did you benefit from following the direction provided by the Governing Body during the pandemic?
- How did the Governing Body show their appreciation for the elders in this difficult time?
- How can we show our trust in the Governing Body in following future direction we may receive in light of the current world situation?
Picture a few of the Governing Body members in their conference room working on this outline over the summer. What message do we want the Circuit Overseers to convey to the Elders and Ministerial Servants their next visit? Hmmm…how about how wonderful the Governing Body is? How they should obey us? How they need to remember how wise we are?
It. Just. Keeps. Getting. Worse.
Nothing about God. Nothing about Jesus. Nothing about showing love to each other. It was all about the Governing Body.
Jehovah’s Witnesses have always been a cult. But since about 2013 the cult-ness has gone up exponentially. No longer is the focus on Jehovah or Jesus – it’s on the Governing Body. A group of seven men based in New York. A group that’s never had a single African, Asian, or Latino as a member. A group that is supposedly chosen by God himself. If God really does appoint each man personally as the Governing Body proclaims – what does that tell you how God thinks about Africans, Asians, and Latinos when he has never appointed a single one to serve on the Governing Body? The fastest growth is in Africa yet no representation on the Governing Body. The biggest potential is in Asia – not a single Asian selected. The most language congregations in the world? Spanish. No native Spanish speakers on the GB.
When the last Governing Body member was appointed in 2018, selected was a 58 year old American white male named Kenneth Cook, I really was expecting a choice that wasn’t white and not American. At least once of those. But alas, Watchtower didn’t disappoint and stayed true to who they are. Another white American guy picked by God to serve on the Governing Body.
This just tells me how oblivious the Governing Body is. The more they continue to double down on the “Governing Body” rhetoric, the more they put themselves in an echo chamber.
Hearing “Governing Body” mentioned 37 times and Jehovah only six times really shows the direction Watchtower is headed. And it’s bad for them. Really, really bad. We have a fairly large elder body and I never saw so many disinterested faces during that 60 minute part. Eyes glazed over, cameras being turned on and off, lifeless comments, just a general lack of interest.
God is this mythical being. Billions of people believe in some sort of supernatural being. A higher power. For many having a belief is necessary to survival. Yet Watchtower has turned away from being a religion that is focused on God and they’ve pivoted into a religion based on obedience and adherence to Governing Body members such as Anthony Morris. A man who has conspiracy theories about the fashion industry and their master plan to ogle over men in tight pants so they can see the outline of their penis. This is who Watchtower is telling you to put your trust in now – God is just an afterthought.
Watchtower has made crucial missteps over the last 8-9 years. If a religion keeps focus on God or a higher power they usually have staying power. When a religion focuses on worship of humans instead it indicates there is limited time for it’s survival. And when Watchtower elevated the status of the Governing Body to a near God-like status back in 2012 they unknowingly put themselves on the clock. JW Broadcasting just sped that clock up into turbo mode. The 1975 debacle pales in comparison to these two miscalculations. I really believe that.
The future has never looked worse for Watchtower. The dive into televangelism with JW Broadcasting, deepening financial problems, selling off thousands of properties to keep afloat, courts challenging the practice of disfellowshipping, constant bad press through print, web and TV, hundreds of millions paid out in child sexual abuse lawsuits, quickly aging membership, class action lawsuits, and a complete inability to attract and keep in younger members. Personally I don’t think there will be a big implosion but rather it will be death by a thousand cuts. And those cuts have already been made and the bleeding is quickly speeding up.
* And if anyone was curious – there were also the usual reminders about pornography and avoiding clothing such as tight pants. Every. Damn. Meeting.