The new “tv.jw.org” website is barely off the ground, but it is wasting no time in posting some intriguing content.
I have already discussed the October broadcast featuring Steven Lett in one of my latest YouTube videos. As I mentioned, giving members of the Governing Body increasing prominence could easily backfire as perceptions of their supposed ‘humility’ erode – especially among older generations of Witnesses who can remember a time when even a group photograph in the publications was a rarity.
A curious example of the Governing Body’s apparent appetite for the limelight can be found in the latest video to be uploaded to JW Broadcasting – namely the full four-hour recording of the 2014 Annual Meeting.
In the closing stages of the meeting, all seven members emerge on stage to sing along to one of the new songs. “We notice we have seven honorary members to our chorus here to my right,” says the choir conductor as the leaders walk on to applause.
This is the first time (at least, to my knowledge) that all incumbent members of a Governing Body have appeared side-by-side on film. I have a feeling it won’t be the last.
There is a nagging sense of irony in seeing seven men whose authority must never be challenged on pain of punishment by family estrangement singing “Jehovah, Jehovah, there is no God like you. There’s no other in the heavens, or on the earth below. You alone are God Almighty, and this all men must know. Jehovah, Jehovah, we have no other God but you.”
It would be easier to take these words seriously if the Governing Body were not falling over themselves to get in front of the camera at almost every opportunity, and chastising any Witnesses who refuse to show them the loyalty they crave.
To those like me who feel the effects of daring to defy these men on a daily basis, they seem very much like Gods “on the earth below” – especially when they are free to decipher the thoughts and commands of the Almighty without any need for their conclusions to make sense, stand the test of time, or even correspond with the scriptures.
Then there is the remarkable onus on the logo for the JW.org website, which is increasingly used as a vehicle for their publicity. A cursory glance at the “jw_witnesses” instagram page shows an unnerving devotion to the symbol in its various settings, whether affixed to a kingdom hall or branch office, or adorning a tote bag or t-shirt.
Adoration of a man-made symbol that would once have been considered idolatrous, a denial that there is “no other God like Jehovah,” is now deemed perfectly kosher – and all because it has the Governing Body’s seal of approval.
The Watchtower organization of 2014 is quickly becoming unrecognizable from that which I grew up in. Surely it wasn’t that long ago when even the Watchtower symbol wasn’t given too much prominence, and any depiction of the Governing Body in the literature or videos was greeted with surprise.
I can only hope that my sense of bewilderment at the ever-more obtrusive exploits of Dave, Tony, Geoff, Sam, Mark, Steve and Gerrit, and the increasingly gaudy outfit they preside over, is shared by at least some indoctrinated Witnesses – perhaps prompting some soul searching on their part.
When the ‘humble’ men you are pinning everything on start morphing into the same tacky televangelists they once delighted in taunting and condemning, you know it’s time for a reality check.
- Coming soon to a web browser near you – Governing Body TV (on demand!)
- Televangelism and youth – tried tested and failing
- Friendly Atheist article
- BETHEL LEAK: Three new kingdom songs…