Why is God’s earthly organization so slow?

If Jehovah’s holy spirit is directing the Watch Tower Society, why is it so slow to provide information about new developments?

2012 has certainly been a very eventful year for the Watch Tower Society. Not only did they unveil a profound new understanding of the “Faithful and Discreet Slave” at the Annual Meeting in October – they also spent the latter half of the year managing the fall-out from the Candace Conti verdict. Additionally, a new version of JW.org went online, and a new 47-year-old member of the Governing Body was unveiled to the world. The Society has definitely been keeping me busy with things to write about, that’s for sure!

As I look back on this eventful year, and the surprising developments that have affected the organization, I can’t help but look at the Society in a different way from how I viewed it only twelve months ago. You see, I grew up thinking of the Watch Tower Society as being a highly organized, well-oiled machine that could respond quickly to any situation. Now though, I am genuinely dumbfounded by how slow and clumsy the Society has proved to be when responding to developments or dispensing important information to the worldwide brotherhood. This doesn’t seem to correspond with how Jehovah’s organization is supposed to operate in the literature.

A lightning-quick organization?

The Society applies Ezekiel’s vision of Jehovah’s celestial chariot to God’s heavenly organization. In chapter 1 of Ezekiel, the ancient prophet describes the heavenly chariot moving with lightning speed. (Ezekiel 1:14) A recent Watchtower article explained how God’s holy spirit was the driving force behind the chariot-like organization, and urged that we keep pace with it by remaining “obedient and loyal” to the Faithful Slave.

“Jehovah uses his spirit to lead his organization in the direction that he wants it to go. In Ezekiel’s vision, the heavenly part of Jehovah’s organization is depicted as a celestial chariot that is irresistibly on the move to fulfill Jehovah’s purpose. What impels the chariot to move in a certain direction? Holy spirit. (Ezek. 1:20, 21) Let us remember that Jehovah’s organization is made up of two parts, one in heaven and the other on earth. If the heavenly part is directed by holy spirit, the same must be true of the earthly part. By being obedient and loyal to the direction received from the earthly part of God’s organization, you show that you are keeping pace with Jehovah’s celestial chariot and are working in harmony with his holy spirit.—Heb. 13:17.” (The Watchtower, 4/15 2010 pp. 9-10.)

You might read the above and think it would be unfair to expect Jehovah’s earthly organization to move with great speed simply because God’s heavenly organization does. Surely that would be like asking the tortoise to keep up with the hare! However, consider these comments from a 1991 Watchtower article…

There is no question that God’s visible organization is keeping up with his celestial chariotlike organization. As did Ezekiel, Jehovah’s servants today must obediently carry out their prophetic commission despite indifference, ridicule, or even opposition. Keeping pace leads to many blessings now and everlasting life in God’s fast-approaching new world.” (The Watchtower 1/15 1991 page 26)

So we are led to believe that God’s visible (or earthly) organization is “keeping up” with God’s heavenly chariot-like organization. If this is true, then Jehovah’s heavenly chariot, or organization, is not quite as agile as Ezekiel’s words seem to convey. As an example, consider three developments from this year, each of which demonstrate extreme lethargy and slowness on the part of the Society.

Slow with responding to the Candace Conti verdict

The Candace Conti verdict may well go down as the single most damaging legal defeat in the Society’s history, regardless of whether the Society prevails with their current appeal or not. It exposed a series of events in which Watchtower allowed a nine-year-old girl to be abused at the hands of a man in her congregation who was already known to the elders as a child molester.

It took six days for the Society’s PR department under J. R. Brown (pictured) to issue a response to the Candace Conti verdict

Within hours of the news breaking on 14th June, numerous reputable news websites were carrying the story. The internet was awash with details of the verdict and the reasons why the Society had been found legally responsible. Even so, it took six days for the Society to finally muster up a paltry 211-word statement on its official web pages. The statement, dated June 20th, did not address any of the key issues raised by the judgment, and merely attempted to shift blame for what happened onto “individual members” of the organization.

Six days may not sound like too much of a delay, but given the enormous implications of the verdict and the intense media scrutiny, the Society’s silence in the immediate aftermath of the judgment spoke volumes. It gave the impression that they were struggling to come to terms with what had happened, or were simply unable to formulate a timely and eloquent response.

Bear in mind that Watchtower knew about this verdict at the same time as everyone else, because they were on the receiving end of it! It is therefore hard for one to understand why the Society dragged their feet to the extent they did on this issue without concluding that the organization is nowhere near as slick and efficient as they often lead us to believe.

Slow with announcing a new Governing Body member

At morning worship on September 5th, 2012, Mark Sanderson was unveiled to the Bethel family in New York as a newly appointed member of the Governing Body. The news quickly spread on JW forums, but initially there was no official confirmation on the Society’s new website.

Bethel workers received confirmation of Mark Sanderson’s appointment months before ordinary publishers

Months passed before current Governing Body member Anthony Morris III finally mentioned Brother Sanderson’s new status as part of his narration of a short video about the Gilead graduation that was released on JW.org at the end of November.

Some would perhaps argue that this lengthy delay in confirming the appointment to the worldwide brotherhood demonstrates that the Society doesn’t give undue esteem to the role of a Governing Body member. However, such ones are perhaps overlooking the fact that being on the Governing Body now effectively makes you a member of the faithful and discreet slave class mentioned in the bible! Also, Governing Body members can hardly be said to downplay the significance of their position when they demand such prominence on DVD releases, and have their positions announced ahead of them whenever they give talks at conventions or assemblies.

As with the delay to the news of the Conti verdict, we can rightly ask: just what was the Writing Department (especially those responsible for posting relevant news on JW.org) doing for two and a half months while the news of Mark’s appointment was being spread online? Do they not consider it important to update the brothers on these sorts of developments? Would they rather give third-party websites such as this the opportunity to break the news instead?

Slow with dispensing “spiritual food at the proper time”

The most obvious example of the slowness and ineptitude of the organization in 2012 has to be the shoddy and ill-thought-out manner in which the news of the “new light” announced at the Annual Meeting was disseminated to the worldwide brotherhood.

The profound news that the Governing Body is now to be considered as the manifestation of the “faithful and discreet slave” spoken of in Matthew 24:45 was announced on October 5th at the Stanley Theater, New Jersey, to an initial audience of some 15,000 privileged guests and onlookers.

Within 24 hours of the words being uttered from the platform by the Governing Body members, websites such as this were carrying news of the new understanding to the farthest reaches of the planet. Even so, it took more than a month for the news to be finally confirmed on the Society’s official web pages. Moreover, unless you are able to read English, you would have been oblivious to the new understanding (unless through word of mouth) for a further month before the JW.org article was finally made available in languages other than English as late as December. This hardly attests to the organization being truly united in viewing brothers of all nations and languages with equal importance. (Acts 10:34)

Whether the Governing Body now looks back on this mess with a feeling of regret that things could not have been done more smoothly, only they will know. What is certain is that the whole fiasco made a mockery of the claim that they, as Christ’s composite “faithful and discreet slave”, deliver spiritual food “at the proper time” to ALL of their brothers around the globe, regardless of what language they speak or whether they have access to the internet. The shambolic way in which the “new light” was disseminated proved that, in order to receive timely spiritual food, you need a good knowledge of the English language, and an internet connection! This is hardly what Christ would have had in mind when he was talking to his disciples about dispensing spiritual food on the Mount of Olives.

Rather than a lightning-quick celestial chariot, the Watchtower organization would be more closely likened to a broken down cart

When considering the above three examples of the organization’s slowness and ineptitude, it is difficult to accept the premise from the beginning of this article that the Society truly represents God’s earthly organization, which is so fast and agile that it is “keeping up with [God’s] celestial chariot-like organization.”

If Jehovah’s celestial chariot, as envisioned by Ezekiel, was a broken and twisted old cart, it wouldn’t be too hard to see the likeness! However, we are talking about a heavenly organization that was symbolically described as moving like lightning in any direction. When we look at the cumbersome and belated manner in which the organization has responded to a few straightforward PR/doctrinal matters, “lightning” is not a word that springs to mind in describing the speed or manner in which these things were dealt with. But this begs the question, why is the Society so very slow?

An organization obsessed with itself

Perhaps a clue as to why the Society has been so slow to respond over the past year can be found in a video that was recently uploaded to JW.org. The video, which runs to 3 minutes, 50 seconds, is a tribute to the iconic “Watchtower” sign on the roof of the World Headquarters in Brooklyn. The video is finished to an extremely high standard, and must have entailed considerable production costs. It features overhead helicopter shots of the sign itself, and even a period re-enactment of the events leading up to the sign being first installed in 1969, complete with vintage vehicles from that era. After viewing the video, and considering how much it must have cost both in donated money and volunteer hours to make, many thinking publishers will be left scratching their heads asking: “What was the point of all that?”

The Society has devoted one of its latest videos to its sign on the Brooklyn waterfront

Not once in the audio to the video was a scripture cited. In fact, the words “God” and “Bible” were not mentioned once. It is therefore hard to comprehend how an organization that prides itself on its bible education work could have justified devoting so much time and money to a video that essentially glorifies its own manmade organization and a piece of its architectural heritage. Shouldn’t videos of this sort be focusing on Jehovah God and his inspired word, rather than the achievements of men?

The reason why the Society evidently felt the need to make this video is because it has become obsessed with itself and its image rather than its message. The Governing Body and senior figures at World Headquarters now unknowingly treat themselves and their legal corporations with the same reverence as they do God. They therefore see glorifying themselves and glorifying God as one and the same thing. It is because they are so distracted by their own self-importance that they are slow in responding to the needs and concerns of those on the outside – especially their brothers in remote parts of the world.

In their view, those who live and work at New York Bethel are the main priority, so there is nothing wrong or unusual in these exalted ones learning about “new light” or important organizational developments weeks or even months ahead of ordinary “rank and file” publishers elsewhere. The three examples cited above, where the Society showed varying degrees of apathy or lethargy in responding to pressing matters, were clear evidence of this inward-looking attitude. If you are outside World Headquarters, it doesn’t matter what you know or don’t know. You can “read all about it” when the Society is ready to tell you in its own good time, if at all.

Just like the mythical Narcissus, the Society has fallen in love with its own image, leaving it slow to take action when needed

The Society’s self-loving attitude is reminiscent of Narcissus – a character from Greek mythology. Narcissus was a hunter, and the son of a nymph and a river-god. He was extremely good-looking, and was urged to look at his reflection in a pool of water. He fell so deeply in love with his own face that he couldn’t leave the pool, and died there. It is from this account that the term “narcissism” comes – meaning a fixation with oneself.

This is precisely what has happened to the Watch Tower Society. They are so in love with their wondrous history and manmade organization that they have grown disinterested in anything else, including those who follow their teachings around the world. This narcissism on their part renders them slow to confirm new developments to brothers globally, and slow to respond to negative media stories. In their view, nothing truly matters beyond the confines of the three New York Bethels. They simply cannot help but be spellbound by their own importance.

Some will doubtless think I am being unfair, or reading too much into things. However, I believe the events I have described above, among others, clearly demonstrate that the Society is not as fast and agile as it claims to be in the publications. The reasons to this are open to conjecture, but I believe the recent video of the “Watchtower” sign is clear evidence of narcissism on the part of the Society, and this would certainly go some way to explaining why they find it so difficult to respond quickly to important developments.

If I am right, and the Society is simply powerless to react quickly and decisively as perhaps it once did, then this certainly doesn’t bode well for the organization’s future prospects. Not only is their legal situation precarious due to the Conti case, but recent branch closures and operational downsizing seem to indicate that the Society could be running out of money, potentially leaving it more vulnerable than ever before. In such a volatile situation, quick and decisive action can often make the difference between success and failure. And the Society has recently demonstrated repeatedly that speed is not an attribute that it can rightfully boast of having anymore.




Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to Why is God’s earthly organization so slow?

  1. alan says:

    Interesting article Cedars. The trouble is you are speaking as one who has been a witness and totally conditioned to think how wonderful the gov body are.
    However for anyone not involved with the org, it has been evident for decades that this org has little idea about anything. At a stroke they have finally got rid of Charles Russell and his wack ideas. But look how lokg it has taken them. The generation fiasco, they clung on and clung on to that idea until it was no longer possable to say the 1914 would generation would not die off before Armaggeddon.
    In his book Crisis of Conscience, Ray Franz said exactly the same as you regarding putting the organisation first, several decades ago.
    So it is nothing new. They always hold on until the last moment to an idea or doctrine, and then disgard it, simply because they have no choice.
    As far as putting out a statement in hundreds of languages at the same time, I think even you would agree that it would be very difficult. As I remember, English versions of study material always went out first to English speaking countries, and the others followed when translaters had finished their translating. Sometimes it would be months later.
    You like many of us were taught how wonderful and quick and with it the gov body are. In fact the opposite is true. Look how long it has taken them to imbrace the interenet. There are millions of companies that embraced it before the society. And again, they really had no choice.
    The best news for any ex witness these days is that everything is under the microscope, and the society are now showing everybody how hopeless they are when their words and doctrines are really looked at closely. They simply are not used to everything being questioned as it is in the 21st century. This ultimately I hope will finally finish them off.

  2. Cedars says:

    Thanks Alan. I realize that much of what I say will be old news to those like you who have been “awakened” for much longer. But for active Witnesses reading my blog, I see nothing wrong in taking them with me on my discoveries. At least the examples cited are recent, even if the conclusions I arrive at were reached by others many years before me.


  3. Buzz says:

    Thank you Cedars for someone like us who have recently left the WT organization after 26 year, “you are doing fine” its not easy for us and we are having to relearn all over again.

    Thank you for the confidence you give us. x


  4. John Hoyle says:

    I am becoming a believer in the Watchtower’s concept of “new light.” The light truly is “shining brighter” for those of us now on the outside. We can look back in toward the organization and see things so clearly now as each week passes. As I watched the videos about the sign and the Annual Meeting, I saw those beaming faces and broad smiles and they reminded me of other meetings just like them: Multi-level marketing management meetings -Amway, Shaklee, Mona Vie, and dozens more like them. Auditoriums filled with hundreds of “happy people” all on a mission to spread the word. Not a negative vibe in those places.

    But then you realize that only the ones at the top, the very top, and a few of their chosen underlings, are truly benefiting financially or otherwise. Those in the audience are being told that they are “winning the prize” and “becoming wealthy,” but they all know that they are not. But they already have so much invested – and negative energy and undesirable facts are not allowed within those meetings. No! Everyone must be up and cheering at nearly every new announcement.

    In that annual meeting there must have been dozens, if not scores of brothers and sisters in the audience that were saying “WTF” and “OMG” as the members of the Governing Body took them on their long and winding road of faulty logic that eventually led to where everyone in the audience knew they were going: The Governing Body is the “Faithful and Discreet Slave.”

    Not one in that audience could have spoken out to question that self-serving position by the members of the Governing Body. If they had, they would have been tossed out of the theater, their rooms and plane tickets home would have been cancelled, and they would have been disfellowshipped as soon as they managed to get home. And they all knew that. So no questions – only applause, grudgingly given or not.

    Yes, we on the outside can truly see the “new light.” We also know that sharing it with others is a nearly futile task. Just like our family and friends that get sucked into multi-level marketing schemes on the faint hope that they too will “win the prize,” we understand that against all the facts and logic we can present, those fine people will continue to believe in the organization, hoping against hope that someday their promises might just come true.

  5. 00DAD says:

    Great article! I especially liked your assessment that the WTBTS has become obsessed with themselves. They’re self-referential to the point of it resembling spiritual masturbation.

  6. Alden says:

    I think you hit the nail on the head this time, Cedars. Narcissism seems to be the root of it all. “We’re God’s people and the rest of the world can go to pot.” I know a lot of narcissistic people – I’m one of them. We’re attracted to things bigger than ourselves to make ourselves big. Instead we should be content to be the puny things God has made us and enjoy the life He gave us. Thank you for your criticism – it helps keep us honest with ourselves.

  7. Richard E.Kelly says:

    Cedars, I have to commend you for your patience in helping JWs to see what for many of us is pure silliness. “God’s earthly organization,” surely you jest. I know, you know, some readers know, that this is poppycock. But for those thoroughly brainwashed, it does take time. Lots of time. And for your patience, loving kindness, a let’s-report-it-as-I-see-it type of guy, kudos to you. You are a top-notch doctor in my opinion, with tons of patience.

  8. alan says:

    I realize that Cedars, and I am always very grateful to you for your well informed articles. However I do think it should be made clear that what you have related is just another case of Watchtower not doing their job properly. It is nothing new with the society acting in this way. Having said that, there is no doubt in my mind that they are much more in trouble now than they have been in past decades.
    So many things going wrong for them. Hopefully all of this will come together to make it obvious even to staunch witnesses that something is seriously wrong.

  9. sabastious says:

    Awesome article, Cedars. Your comparison to Narcissus is spot on. The Watchtower has always been especially obsessed with itself, but there seems to be sizable increase in that obsession of late. It’s their overinflated sense of self importance that will be their undoing.

  10. anonymous says:

    have you read Matthew 25:31-46? how do you understand it?

  11. John Hoyle says:

    anonymous – How do you understand that passage? It makes no sense in the context of Cedar’s post or the thread of these comments. Just when do you expect the Watchtower to “start feeding the poor” with something more palatable than the horse manure they consistently dish out?

  12. Magusknight1974 says:

    I was freed in 1998 from the ball and chain doctrine. I knew about their many fallacies but continued because of family and friends. When you have so many people you love within the organization it is so hard to leave. I would rejoin just on the basis of being close to all those I hold dear but this would be false thinking on my part. I still love all those that continue to fall to their false teachings but what do we do? Cedars is one of many attempting to support his loving brothers and sisters through sharing real truth. If anything this organization has proven that fellow believers are loyal servants of Jehovah at the cost of being hypnotized. The image is what they thrive on to show they are different in the world as Cedars has shown us. I realize that those that have left are stuck in limbo or a confused state. I know the future seems bleak for those in transition as I once felt the same. Never feel guilty when searching for the real truth because when the hard facts are revealed a new understanding will emerge. We Love and Support all those that are facing this choice to remove yourself from a vain organization.

  13. Alden says:

    Dear Magnus,
    Who told you that it would be ‘false thinking on your part’ to continue to attend meetings? The very same “consequential” thinking that we are trying to free ourselves of, the ‘get out of her my people’ attitude? The Christian congregation still exists even though it’s not bound exclusively to the WTS. There are still persons who belong to Christ in the congregations, their not being ‘up-to-date’ does not change that; those ‘little sheep’ of whom Jesus spoke to Peter that he should feed. They are the ones that are not calling the shots; the wives with unbelieving husbands, the downtrodden who have great difficulty to exist in this world, the elderly and frail. Do you have a better place to go to on Sunday mornings to offer your encouragement? Let me know where; I’d like to go there, too!

  14. gorbatchov says:

    I think the watchtower is strugling with the need of transformation, just like other global organisations. Just like the USSR in the 80’s and the current EU problems. It is not possible to stand still.

  15. ricki peel says:

    its faster than this rubbish , quit whinging and get a life

  16. John Hoyle says:

    I “have a life,” thank you and I rarely “whing,” even at my advanced age.

  17. Cedars,

    This is a very incisive presentation of information. The Watchtower organization has become an association that’s run by staffers for staffers. It’s made clearer every day.

    Thanks for all your fine work!

    Marvin Shilmer

  18. Magusknight1974 says:

    A church of the past is trying to emerge. Why try to show the struggles and triumphs of the past to its members? It is to try to inspire them and carry them through these tough economic times. So many sacrifice all they have to attend these conventions which is to only fill the coffers of the organization. A business needs money and these conventions are the best way to get large piles of cash. I know because i worked at a spot as the collector and watched hundreds go in every hour. Yes i realize the cost aspect of it all but worldwide it can really add up quickly. I worry with this no part of the world teaching if they have a program within to help those in need. If I were still a member I would be proud to create such a group. When i was a young man i traveled to many Kingdom Halls in search of the truth and love. Yes the spirit of love is among all of its members but they willingly sacrifice all they have for that love. I admire the followers for their devotion and dedication to their beliefs. In the end our Creator defends itself from those that attempt to claim ownership of the name. I personally see that this group is under a large spell of some sort and believe 8 men and no women still show the old school of thought. If you wish to believe that in Paradise all your desires come true then this is wishful thinking. I tell you that the only Paradise that will arise is the one we all help build together. Love from a ranter and former member.

    • Christine says:

      It appears that weed sown within the congregation (even at the top) – is causing the society to lose Jehovah’s Holy Spirit – and also the propecy of how God will judge his own people first and the parables of christ where he speaks of waiting until the end to pull out the weeds. I believe that taking all of this into consideration indicates that the society is soon going to come crashing down. We are watching this drama occur right before our eyes. The Bible says — “Who is more blind than god’s servants.? – “Who is more blind than my servant, and more deaf than the messenger I send? Who is more blind than the one committed to me, blind like the servant of Jehovah ? (Isaiah 42:19)

  19. vera says:

    Ezekiel 1 describes a UFO,,,,THE WITCHTOWER HAS DECEIVED THE MASSES,,,read it,,,its a ufo,,,,but the witchtower wants to keep the masses ignorant to that fact,,,guess why

  20. Andrew says:

    Dear Mr Cedars
    Are you actually a JW? Just curious. If not are you a Christian? What is your view of other Christians and other churches?

  21. Shane Hubenig says:

    Very good annolyogy to multi-level marketing, it is very much like that! RA RA RA! We are doing so great and so will you soon!

  22. telemu says:

    Jehovah leads us

  23. Excelsior! says:


    Welcome to JW Survey and thank you for your comment.

    Please can you explain to me just how JEHOVAH leads the WTBTS?

    I look forward to your explanation.

    Peace be with you, Excelsior!

  24. . says:

    Your blog just proves the accuracy of Bible prophecy. Acts 20:29, 30 has been fulfilled…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Comment posting guidelines:

Kindly observe the following requirements before posting any comments to our articles or pages:

  • ABUSIVE COMMENTS - Do not post comments that include swear words or may be considered abusive, lewd, blasphemous, obscene or threatening
  • ILLEGAL COMMENTS - Do not post comments that condone or propose illegal activity, or that breach copyright law
  • OFF-TOPIC COMMENTS - Do not post comments that are off-topic and bear no relation to the page or article
  • RELIGIOUS NEUTRALITY - Do not post comments that are evangelical in nature or may be construed as imposing one person's religious beliefs (or lack thereof) over those of another
  • LANGUAGE - Visitors from all countries and language groups are welcome. You may post comments in languages other than English, but we would appreciate if you could make any such comments brief. We would also be grateful if you could run any such comments through Google Translate and convert these to English, but this is not an absolute requirement.
  • LINKS - You may post links to third party websites, so long as (1) you limit these to 2 links per comment, and (2) the content on these links doesn't contravene ANY of the first four points. Specifically, you may not post URLs to websites that are evangelical in nature. Our links page has an extensive list of such sites for any who are curious about Christian beliefs in the context of Jehovah's Witnesses.

JWSurvey.org thanks all visitors in advance for respectfully observing these guidelines. Any who persistently fail to do so, despite warnings, may find themselves blocked from making further comments at the discretion of the site moderators, whose decision will be final and not open for debate.