Yesterday I reported that an extremely sensitive Watchtower document, the Circuit Overseer Guidelines, has been leaked by a disaffected circuit overseer.
While reviewing the document for my article, I noticed frequent references to another document called the Personal Qualifications Report, or S-326. I was anxious to take a look, because it seemed to be a very invasive document essentially designed for informing on elders and high-ranking Watchtower personnel.
I wondered whether I could obtain a copy simply by asking for it, and that is indeed how easy it was to come across. Again, my sincere thanks go to the courageous individual who, despite being in such a precarious situation, is willing to risk sharing important information for the greater good.
The S-326 form is now available elsewhere online (NOT on JWsurvey), and can be found by anyone willing to put forth effort.
My fears that the document would be little more than a snitching form were soon validated. It would be difficult to imagine the Jesus of the gospels asking the following questions about one of his followers behind their backs…
- How is this person handling his current privileges of service? In which aspects of his assignment does he excel (e.g., teaching ability, organizational ability, oversight)?
- Does he enjoy and promote good relations with others? Explain.
- Do others view him as a zealous, balanced Christian? Explain.
- Could he serve more effectively in another location? Is he willing and able to do so? If so, where do you suggest?
- Have you observed any personal problems or circumstances that could lead to his having to leave his current privilege of service? Explain.
- Based on your own observations or information that has come to your attention, does he have any chronic health problems or other physical limitations? If so, please explain.
- Have you found it necessary to counsel him? If so, state the nature of the problem and how he responded. Do you view this as a disqualifying factor?
Most of the above questions call directly on gossip and hearsay in gathering extremely personal and potentially damaging information on someone without their knowledge.
Watchtower frequently prints material about the perils of gossip in its literature, usually aimed at insulating congregation elders from criticism whether unfounded or not. But further up the hierarchical ladder it seems circuit overseers have free license to share their “observations,” or divulge information that has “come to [their] attention.”
It should go without saying that just because Brother A perceives Brother B to have done or said something objectionable, this doesn’t make that perception accurate. There could be any number of extenuating circumstances that Brother A is unaware of, leaving him with only half the story. But Watchtower wants to hear these half-stories regardless.
Apart from overtly encouraging a culture of gossip and snitching in Watchtower’s higher echelons, the form also seems to flagrantly violate data protection laws in countries like the UK, where individuals have a right to be aware of information being processed about them.
As the steady flow of information coming out of Watchtower increases, I suspect there will be more disturbing documents than this awaiting our attention. But if S-326 is any indication, “Jehovah’s organization” is even more cut-throat and Orwellian than we may have previously imagined.