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Governing Body claim of infallibility.


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Copying JW Insider's idea of coming up with a question you might have to wrestle with at someone's door, I thought this might be interesting to see how you would reply to this question:

If the men on the WTS Governing Body were to come right out and say they are infallible, would they lay claim to anything different than what they've already claimed?

Here's some background research you might be presented with.

They are men who claim to be God's sole channel of communication to mankind, they claim what they teach is directly from God (this goes all the way back to Russell who claimed his inaccurate dates were God's dates), they claim you can't understand the Bible without them to teach you, and they claim you have to believe their teachings so thoroughly you aren't to even harbor thoughts that differ from what they are teaching, on pain of excommunication.

ZWT July 1, 1894 ::R1677 : page 226:

We see no reason for changing the figures-- nor could we change them if we would. They are, we believe, God's dates, not ours. But bear in mind that the end of 1914 is not the date for the beginning, but for the end of the time of trouble. We see no reason for changing from our opinion expressed in the View presented in the WATCH TOWER of Jan. 15, '92. We advise that it be read again. ZWT - 1894 - R1611 thru R1747 / R1668 (211)

WT February 1, 1952, p.79-8:

We should eat and digest and assimilate what is set before us, without shying away from parts of the food because it may not suit the fancy of our mental taste. The truths we are to publish are the ones provided through the discreet-slave organization, not some personal opinions contrary to what the slave has provided as timely food. Jehovah and Christ direct and correct the slave as needed, not we as individuals.

WT June 15, 1957, p.370:

Such is true not by their determination of it, but because God himself has so directed. “God has set the members in the body, each one of them, just as he pleased,” is the way it is pictured in 1 Corinthians 12:18 (NW). It is vital that we appreciate this fact and respond to the directions of the “slave” as we would to the voice of God, because it is His provision.

WT October 1, 1967, p.591:

Make haste to identify the visible theocratic organization of God that represents his king, Jesus Christ. It is essential for life. Doing so, be complete in accepting its every aspect.  

WT December 1, 1981, p.27-28:

Unless we are in touch with this channel of communication that God is using, we will not progress along the road to life, no matter how much Bible reading we do.  

WT August 1, 2001, p.14:

First, since “oneness” is to be observed, a mature Christian must be in unity and full harmony with fellow believers as far as faith and knowledge are concerned. He does not advocate or insist on personal opinions or harbor private ideas when it comes to Bible understanding. Rather, he has complete confidence in the truth as it is revealed by Jehovah God through his Son, Jesus Christ, and “the faithful and discreet slave.” By regularly taking in the spiritual food provided “at the proper time”—through Christian publications, meetings, assemblies, and conventions—we can be sure that we maintain “oneness” with fellow Christians in faith and knowledge.—Matthew 24:45. 

WT November 15, 2013, p.20:

At that time, the direction that you receive from Jehovah’s organization may seem strange or unusual. But all of us must be ready to obey any instructions we may receive, whether we agree with them or not, because obeying these instructions will save our lives.

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I think this is a good question. I know from comments some Witnesses have made that they already believe that we should treat the spiritual food at the proper time as if it came from an infallible sou

Copying JW Insider's idea of coming up with a question you might have to wrestle with at someone's door, I thought this might be interesting to see how you would reply to this question: If the me

Thank you!   From the quotes in my OP, it's obvious that the men on the GB don't have to ever claim they are infallible because JWs already treat them as though they are---and that's because they

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On 9/26/2016 at 11:59 AM, HollyW said:

If the men on the WTS Governing Body were to come right out and say they are infallible, would they lay claim to anything different than what they've already claimed?

I think this is a good question. I know from comments some Witnesses have made that they already believe that we should treat the spiritual food at the proper time as if it came from an infallible source. One of the elders in our congregation (who offered the closing prayer at the mid-week meeting this week) often "gushes" about the Governing Body in his prayer, and I cringe for how this sounds to any new ones. It is very common to hear many brothers mention (in prayer) how thankful we are for the provisions that the "faithful and discreet slave" has made for us, and this seems to be in better taste.

But the real answer to your question is that they never would and never will. They don't believe they are, and they never will. If any one of them suggested it, he would likely be kicked off the Governing Body for suggesting something so fallible. They definitely don't treat each other as infallible. Bethelites say that the argumentative spirit is even more palpable among them now than it was in 1980 when political factions among them reached a peak that I thought it could never reach again. But the arguing is now done by proxy through the Governing Body "Helpers," and appears to be getting worse as they all get older. If anyone doubts this, just ask any Bethelite who has been anywhere near the door of the Helpers meeting in the last few months.

So it's an impossible hypothetical. But I'm guessing that the real question is whether we already treat the Governing Body as if they were infallible.

I think there are a few factors that can lead to this, and the types of quotations you made from Watch Tower publications provide the primary basis. The repetition of similar sentiments in congregation talks and prayers is the secondary basis.

The third basis is the way that we cover for them when errors are made, and this is partly due to appreciation for the unity of the organization and for the international brotherhood that has developed from this organization. To that extent, what we are doing is fine and right, for "love covers a multitude of sins."

But it's dangerous is when pride becomes the factor by which we defend any past lapse in judgment. This happens to all of us to some extent, because we can become prideful and arrogant that we have the only true religion, that Jehovah loves us more than our fellow man, that we are preaching to others because we are better and more righteous than they are, that our doctrines are not only correct but that opposing doctrines come Satan rather than human error.

This attitude of pride goes right to the top of our organization, and this is why it sometimes shows up in the self-righteous statements that sometimes slip through the editing process and appear in print. At the highest levels people saw this in Brother Rutherford, and one well-known and well-respected brother even won a case in court against him for Rutherford's abusive behavior. An old friend of mine at Bethel (A.Worsely) who was in court that day defended Rutherford and felt badly for having lied in court to do it, yet he says he lied because of fear of the same abusiveness. Brother Knorr was also known as a vindictive, petty "dictator" when it came to anyone who questioned his decisions. Knorr thought of many of the jobs at Bethel as menial and demeaning and would therefore use them as punishment when someone spoke up about an injustice. He punished older brothers by changing their job from the Home Office to the factory-bindery. He removed privileges from people he saw as gaining too much attention for themselves, even if it was only for the sin of writing "Faith on the March" (A.H.MacMillan) or defending Cassius Clay (H.Covington). A friend of mine, the former editor of the Awake! magazine (C.Quackenbush) was only one of several older brothers invited back to Bethel immediately upon Knorr's death, while I was at Bethel. People (including myself) saw this attitude continue in F W Franz and Ted Jaracz who would also become abusive and vindictive when their views were not seen as 100% correct.

From what I'm told, the current Governing Body are a much more peaceful group, but the Helpers, the ones who prep them on issues (and who are now involved in voting them into office) are vying and jockeying on a lot of issues these days, some doctrinal and some financial.

That background should help you see why such a claim would never happen, but our own pride in our organization makes us treat our doctrine as sacrosanct. Even if we know it could change at any time, we defend current doctrine because of the teaching about the "faithful and discreet slave" who gives us "food at the proper time." The idea is that even if it isn't 100% true, it's "true for now" which is sometimes implied by "food at the proper time." This used to be taught using the same words that Seventh Day Adventists use (and other Second Adventists and Bible Student groups). They called it "present truth" based on the same misunderstanding that Russell and others had about 2 Peter 1:12. The Watchtower has used expressions to defend past incorrect teachings as incorrect but really just 'the right thing but at the wrong time' or 'the right time, but expecting the wrong thing.' Our view of Romans 13:1 between the 1929 and 1961 has been treated as an incorrect doctrine, but sometimes it's pointed out that this wrong doctrine was important for the progress of the organization at the time. Other wrong doctrines have been treated as tools for "testing and refining" of God's people.

A better view of changing doctrines is put in better perspective here:

*** w72 8/15 p. 501 God Readjusts the Thinking of His People ***
JEHOVAH is infallible, and he is the Great Teacher and Leader of his people. (Ps. 143:10) They are fallible, and at no point do they understand all things. God leads them progressively so that the truth constantly grows brighter, they reflect more fully God’s glory, and they are transformed more and more into his image. (2 Cor. 3:18) They come to know him more intimately. Their needs are fully supplied, everything for their spiritual welfare being provided. (Phil. 4:19) Such progress involves changes, readjustment of their thinking.
Some persons, however, object to changes in viewpoint, changes in understanding of certain scriptures or procedures. For example, since the 1940’s Jehovah’s witnesses have refused to give or accept blood transfusions, whereas prior to that they did not take this position. Since 1962 they understand the “superior authorities” of Romans 13:1 to be the rulers of worldly governments, whereas up to that time, since 1929, they had held a different viewpoint. Other examples could be cited. Does this show that Jehovah’s witnesses do not have the truth? Does this bring into question the basic principles of their teachings?
Not at all. Jehovah’s witnesses do not claim infallibility. They are being taught by God. (Isa. 54:13) Never will they know all things, but they will continually be learning from the inexhaustible wisdom of God as they walk in his truth.

The article goes on to discuss some issues, including the importance of believing in "types and anti-types" although this has recently changed again (2014).

Most Witnesses have the proper attitude, because we have been taught that the GB is not infallible, even during that one meeting a week when they meet together and make decisions.


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8 hours ago, JW Insider said:

But the real answer to your question is that they never would and never will.


But I'm guessing that the real question is whether we already treat the Governing Body as if they were infallible.

Thank you!  

From the quotes in my OP, it's obvious that the men on the GB don't have to ever claim they are infallible because JWs already treat them as though they are---and that's because they've been told to (as the quoted material shows).  

In essence, then, the leaders of the WTS have accorded themselves the advantages of being infallible while skirting the responsibilities that come with it.  

Bottom line: If the men on the Governing Body were to come right out and say they are infallible, they would not lay claim to anything different than what they've already laid claim to.  In short: nothing would change for JWs.

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      ג Guimel
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      Je voudrais être prêt à vous servir toute au long de ma vie.
      La source de mes secrets, vous est révelé devant vous;
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      afin que je vive et que j’obéisse à vos paroles?
      Ouvre mes yeux pour que je vois clairement
      les choses merveilleuses de votre loi qui sont inscrites
      à l'intérieur des paroles de votre livre merveilleux.
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