A new video about the Warwick headquarters project has been released, with the Governing Body featuring prominently
A new video about the Warwick headquarters project has been released, with the Governing Body featuring prominently

Jehovah’s Witnesses are still buzzing from the 129th Annual Meeting, which saw the release of a newly revised Bible – already nicknamed the “silver sword” by some.

It was at this same meeting in which Governing Body member Guy Pierce spoke of a new video that would show the progress in the construction of the new World Headquarters at Warwick. “This video will be placed on the JW.org website for the benefit of all,” he revealed.

True to Pierce’s words, the video has now been uploaded. As expected it is a slick production packed with feel-good stories and interviews set to uplifting music. Words like “historic” and “monumental” are used repeatedly in the opening minutes. Anticipation is stoked for the moving of Watchtower’s Headquarters, which many Witnesses will regard as a defining moment for the organization.

As you will see, the Governing Body features very prominently in the above video. All eight members make appearances, and the term “Governing Body” is either spoken or appears in the titles 13 times. By contrast, “Jehovah” appears 16 times, and Jesus, the “head of the congregation,” is not referred to at all.

David Splane poses for a photo with a construction worker
David Splane poses for a photo with a construction worker

“We’re very appreciative of the support and visits of the Governing Body members to the site,” gushes Enrique Ford of the Construction Project Committee (CPC) at 09:11. “It’s really been very stimulating. It’s a shot in the arm to not only us on the committee but all of the workers. It helps us to stay focussed spiritually even though we have a very challenging project ahead of us.”

As evidence of this “shot in the arm,” footage is shown of Geoffrey Jackson and David Splane wearing high-visibility vests and mingling with a packed room of workers on the site. “We have a tremendous interest in what you’re doing,” David Splane tells his audience. “And thank you very very much for all you do.”

What is the reason for the move?

For a video that is over 13 minutes in length you would expect there to be at least some mention of the actual reason why the World Headquarters is being moved from Brooklyn to Warwick, but this is not touched on at all. I have a feeling this is mainly due to embarrassment. Why admit that the move is purely financially motivated, and that the Society will profit to the tune of over 1 billion dollars once the move is complete? Far easier to gloss over this small detail and instead make vague references throughout the video to this being Jehovah’s will.

There is also a certain element of duplicity in how one Governing Body member attempts to explain the move. “If we look at the history of those taking the lead, they’ve never been sentimental toward material things,” muses Steve Lett at 00:35. “We’re not attached to anything material.”

If Watchtower isn't sentimental about material things, why make a video just about the Brooklyn sign?
If Watchtower isn’t sentimental about material things, why make a video just about the Brooklyn sign?

If that is truly the case, I would be interested to hear Lett’s explanation for the recent production of a 3 minute 51 second promotional video solely about the Watchtower sign on the Brooklyn waterfront. The video features aerial shots from a helicopter flypast and a period re-enactment of the sign being erected including the use of at least one vintage vehicle. Not once throughout the entire video’s narration are the words “Bible” or “Jesus” uttered. “Jehovah” is referred to only in the name “Jehovah’s Witnesses.” The video is intended purely as a tribute to the Watchtower sign. And yet we are now supposed to believe that the Governing Body is not “sentimental toward material things?”

U-turn over Jehovah’s direction

I have already mentioned repeatedly that, when the Warwick project was announced at the 2011 Annual Meeting, Guy Pierce expressed some uncertainty as to whether it was Jehovah’s will or not. “Although we are not yet certain of Jehovah’s will regarding Warwick, we are proceeding to develop the site with the intention of relocating the world headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses there,” Pierce said at the time. (w12 8/15 p.17)

Guy Pierce has changed his tune about whether the Wallkill project has Jehovah's backing
Guy Pierce has changed his tune about whether the Wallkill project has Jehovah’s backing

But Pierce’s former uncertainty has now been completely whitewashed, and he now seems to be singing from the same hymn sheet as his fellow Governing Body members. “We see Jehovah’s direction in the procedure from the beginning to where we are now with the way it’s come together,” he now asserts. (01:10) And Mark Sanderson is only too happy to reaffirm these sentiments as though for emphasis, adding at 01:19, “The Governing Body is convinced that Jehovah is directing that the World Headquarters be moved to Warwick. We’re absolutely convinced of that.”

The apparent u-turn begs such questions as, “Why the initial uncertainty? And what changed in order to make the Governing Body ‘convinced’ of Jehovah’s direction?”

Jehovah’s spirit responsible for everything

A rather nauseating feature of the video is the way the success of the project is constantly attributed to Jehovah’s spirit. The most obvious example of this is the part where it is revealed that there were some problems over paperwork. At one stage it looked as though there would be a delay in starting construction because site approval documents had not been issued by the local planning authority.

“We went to the public hearing fully expecting to be turned down,” explained Richard Devine of the CPC at 04:28. “However, to our surprise, within 15 minutes of the start of the meeting the town board voted to approve our project. When the approval came through, we knew it was only by Jehovah’s spirit that that happened.”

Once again, a fairly mundane development that works out in Watchtower’s favor is attributed to divine intervention. This follows Geoffrey Jackson’s remarkable comments at the annual meeting in which he suggested that the mild summer enjoyed by the Wallkill printery was attributable to “Jehovah’s hand.” No thought is given that divine intervention in human affairs could be better justified in, say, preventing wars or natural disasters than in allowing extra bibles to be printed or replacement headquarters to be built.

Jehovah is attributed as having a hand in the project -  it is even suggested that the project would be impossible without divine help
Jehovah is attributed as having a hand in the project, and it is even suggested that the project would be impossible without divine help

With similar unashamed credulity, Kenneth Churnish of the CPC proclaims: “Doing close to a million and a half square feet of construction in less than four years will not be done without Jehovah’s spirit.” (07:15) Churnish sets the bar quite low for what constitutes a project too big for humans to achieve on their own without divine intervention. The Empire State Building has a total floor area of 2.7 million square feet and took less than a year and a half to build. The Pentagon is 6.5 million square feet and was completed in 16 months. Were these building projects also aided by Jehovah’s spirit?

More transparency, less ego-massaging

Of course, there is nothing inherently wrong in making a billion dollars by switching headquarters. It is, however, highly questionable that there is such a lack of transparency on the Governing Body’s part as to the true motivations behind the Warwick move.

Governing Body members should be less preoccupied with self-publicity and more focussed on being transparent
Governing Body members should be less preoccupied with self-publicity and more focussed on being transparent

The way the financial incentives are glossed over with insinuations that this is merely about following Jehovah’s will undervalues the intelligence of the brothers, and suggests an element of desperation. After all, if ordinary Witnesses were informed how much Watchtower is making out of this move, would they feel quite so motivated to make hefty donations?

It is also sad to note the increased attention being lavished on the Governing Body – or, more accurately, by the Governing Body on themselves. After all, this video was produced with their consent and involvement. Those like myself who can see through the propaganda will gasp at how cult-like Watchtower is becoming in the way a small group of men is so openly venerated. But for most unquestioning Witnesses, this video will only serve as further evidence that the Governing Body is both approachable and likeable, and has their interests and Jehovah’s will at heart.


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Further reading…

63 thoughts on “Governing Body takes center stage in new Warwick headquarters video

  • October 14, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    Who’s in charge? Why, of course it’s Satan himself, the “angel of light”, and his ministers (the GB) who keep proclaiming “new light”, are his evil “helpers in the kitchen”! If you want to see what wolves in sheep’s clothing look like, watch the video!

  • October 15, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    Very cult like video! Are all these people volunteering and not getting paid a single dime? All the while the society keeps pocketing more and more profits from selling off multi million dollar properties! I’m just in shock. I can’t believe how brainwashed some of these people are. How can they call this Jehovah’s Organization?! Truly a shame that they cannot figure it out on their own what a scam the whole thing is!

    • May 17, 2016 at 6:10 pm

      With all do respect I must say that us Jehovah’s witnesses and as whole make the decision whether or not we give “our money out our pockets ” to the “WORLDWIDE WORK”. The buildings that you see being built is from what we call contributions or the “money out our pockets” that we decide to contribute that make those Headquarters.

  • October 15, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    Kim Jong-Un visits the worksite and encourages the workers! Kim Jong-Un imparts wisdom on how best to build the new headquarters! We are so thankful to Kim Jong-Un and his wisdom! Let’s praise the Workers Party of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea! Let’s eat two meals a day to celebrate!

  • October 16, 2013 at 4:35 am

    Julia you hit the nail on the head!!

  • October 16, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    Real estate acquisitions and holiness have NOTHING to do with each other. The Vatican has BILLIONS in real estate and even more in artwork does that make them holier? Having thousands of volunteers working for free doesn’t mean that this cult is in good standing with God. It only means that the ‘Governing Body’ has done a good job brainwashing people who have naturally good intentions.

  • October 24, 2013 at 9:51 am

    According to the document-
    Watchtower Headquarters NY – Warwick – Final Environmental Impact Statement (June 6, 2012) – pdf

    The site will include an ‘infirmary’. Not sure has this word is used in American. Could it mean an old people’s residency?

  • October 25, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    “The site will include an ‘infirmary’. Not sure has this word is used in American. Could it mean an old people’s residency?”

    A medical clinic or in-house hospital to provide treatment for those who are infirm…

  • November 5, 2013 at 6:58 am

    I think it is wise to move from NYC to Warwick. Think of the funds saved on maintenance of dozens of building spread out over many blocks in NYC. Then add the expenses of the city. For example an elevated walkway over the street at the factory is charged rent by the city. And when they built the Sands building, only union workers could be hired for demolition. I think you put a negative spin it.

    As far as ‘profiting’ a billion dollars, the funds are not going into golden parachutes for retirement for them like corporate CEOs get. They are volunteers too. Rather the worldwide organization includes building branches, assembly halls, kingdom halls all around the earth especially impoverished area where funds are lacking. Please check the recent Yearbook for those countries for proof. In addition funds go toward disaster relief, another matter of record.

    Finally, donations are not slowing down nor the work of making new disciples. Latest numbers:
    Peak Pubs: 7,965,954 = 2.4% increase over last year
    Baptized: 277,344 = 3.2% increase over last year
    Hours: 1,844,182,235 = 5.3% increase
    Reg Pios: 997,123 = 8.2% increase
    Average Bible Studies: 9,254,963 (note: greater than the number of JWs).

  • November 6, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    Rob, if it was such a great idea, why did one of the GB say that they weren’t sure if it was the will of God or not, but they were going ahead anyway?

    If it is such a great idea, why didn’t they sell up and move when the property prices were at their highest (and Armageddon was a few years further away) instead of now?

    I am beginning to realise that you are probably Johnny B Goode in another guise.

    Why don’t you read the articles here and then your comments won’t appear so silly.

    Spin spin spin as much as you like. The simple truth is that the property sales, like many other things going on, are the result of necessity not choice.

    I shall relish your next attempt to spin spin spin your way out of any credibility at all.

    As ever, no malice old chap. Don’t feel as if I don’t appreciate your comments or respect them. It’s just that they are, so far, inaccurate and badly researched.

    Please read Cedar’s articles. They really are very good. Find some fault with them factually and he will re write the article.

    There is a challenge for you!

    Peace be with you


  • November 9, 2013 at 11:34 am

    Well I am not sure if it is Jehovah’s will or not but certainly it helps to have a Billion $$ to complete the project, rewrite the Bible into a New Truth and have a new songbook.
    I have always lived in sub-par conditions and if my shabby nest with cozy cracks can get me through Armageddon why can’t Brooklyn get the GB and Bethalites through it! Now really if Armageddon was so close why are they revamping “The Truth” Wouldn’t you need all the knowledge you can muster up to make it through Armageddon.

  • November 9, 2013 at 11:53 am

    How do you know if they are going into golden parachutes? You do not know everything that is going on in Betel. The WT has come out and said that those in impoverished areas set aside land to grow vegetables and other produce to sell and give the money to the world headquarters. Now I am not saying that is bad but lets face it the JWS are one of the richest religions in the world why would they need to take money from the poor? Also when the temple was being rebuilt in Jerusalem there was a call for donations and then when they had all the donations they needed they stopped the donations from coming in. How much money does the WT need? Even with their relief funds they collect donations for that! They loan money to the congregations for building KH and charge them interest even though the Bible says not to do that! Why are they putting members of the congregation in debt to pay for KH that the world headquarters own? I don’t understand that!
    Those increases you mention are not even that big! Why don’t they tell you how many leave the organization ever year because of the child molestation issue which by the way I remember being told by the conductor of the school on the platform at one of our meetings that those were false stories drummed up by the media I believed until a local Elder in our congregation was arrested for pedophilia and admitted to it! His story was all over the news as was his mugshot. Everyone in the KH stuck up for him believing that the media lied even though this brother admitted to doing it! How brain washed can you get! He was never disfellowshipped and is in the KH to this day with his brainwashed buddies supporting him! I was told at the KH that we were not allowed to discuss it at all! That was my last time I ever went back! JWS are brain washed into believing that elephants are really pink and to ignore the man behind the curtain because he doesn’t exist.

  • November 9, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    Ya right! So why are there child molesters in your midst? Why are there liars in your midst? Where is Jehovah and Jesus to clean out the org? JWS have been taught for decades that 1919 was the year that Jesus inspected the organization and chose it to represent the “Truth” But wait wouldn’t Holy Spirit have already been operating on the “True” religion? Then we are told in the July 15/2013 that Jesus did not inspect the organization in 1919 which explains why there are so many pedophiles in the KH! The same magazine also says that the F&D slave would be appointed over all the belongings AFTER the Great Tribulation! So why have the GB named THEMSELVES the F&D slave if that is Jesus job? Go back and ask your Elders that one!

  • December 24, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    The slick commercial for the Governing Body follows the precendent of most politicians and Corporations which attempt to appear approachable and helpful while consolidating power and money in their own hands. How many dollars of the 1 billion acquired form the sale of buildings constructed by volunteer labor is used for poor, needy Wintesses? Who determines how money received from volunteer labor is used? Where is any meaningful input by the brothers and sisters? Religious propaganda!

  • January 19, 2014 at 12:14 am

    Curiosity got me and I watched the video…I just about threw up in my mouth. All your comments inspire me and some of you make me smile. :)

  • March 5, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    Its sometimes a complete comedy to hear some of the Acting the Governing body does. Such as saying it was by Jehovah’s spirit! lol Allot of things go real good for allot of people this does not mean its divine. Them being inaccurate with the scales will not gain Jehovah’s support. What happened to them happens to many different people everyday. However I do understand they need to look good under the eyes of many so to pull out what they can.. and claim its from God is Natural coming from the haughty apostate slave class.

  • March 8, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    They’re stepping on Jesus whos supposed to be head of the congragation. They claim they will never fail Jehovah however as we all know even a third of the Angels in heaven rebelled So what makes these men invincible.

  • April 14, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    Their eyes are blinded, and they do not see. The move is touted as “growth” and “blessings”, the truth, in them needing the money from the sale in Brooklyn to help them pay off millions due to their losing in court with the child abuse cases, is hidden from the eyes of the believing ‘sheep’. One would think the gb telling the people, that ‘they’ are the channel, spokesman for God, and that Christ is only the mediator for 144,000 not for ALL people would open their eyes, but no, they are indoctrinated. How does one get them to open their eyes? Even doing a personal bible study is no longer approved, no but they must read the watchtower publications, funny I thought God gave us His word, not the watchtower!

  • June 13, 2014 at 4:15 am

    I thought your review was pretty sarcastic but you did manage to expose the incredible pride of the leadership – the exaltation of self to an unopposed and delusional position of pre-eminence. Not for nothing did the medievalists put pride at the top of the seven (or eight) deadly sins, above even the more juicy and spectacular sins like lust. Pride rots you from the inside out. You can’t listen to others, you can’t be corrected, you can’t grow and achieve solidarity, let alone compassion for your fellow human creatures. Yes pride is always the biggy!!!

  • August 28, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    Steve you are so right in what you say about pride and pride always comes before a fall.

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