Coordinators any older than Samuel Herd (pictured) must now stand down from their positions
Coordinators any older than Samuel Herd (pictured) must now stand down from their positions

A remarkable letter has been circulated to all bodies of elders stipulating that the Coordinator of the Body of Elders must stand down from his role if he is 80, or approaching that age.

The letter, dated June 1 2014, cites no scriptures in support of this strange new discriminatory rule.

“As the organization continues to expand,” it says, “there is a need for more brothers to reach out and a need for those who now serve as elders to take on more responsibility. To assist in this effort, the Governing Body has decided that, effective September 1, 2014, brothers who are 80 years of age or older will no longer serve as a coordinator of the body of elders.”

It is unknown precisely why the organization is deemed to be “expanding” amidst record levels of branch closures, and the down-scaling of magazine printing.

It is further baffling that a need for more elders to assume responsibility should have anything to do with what age the coordinator of a congregation happens to be.

The letter in full reads as follows…


Re: Coordinator of the body of elders

Dear Brothers:

The Governing Body appreciates the fine brothers who serve as congregation elders and the work they do in advancing Kingdom interests. Many elders have served in this capacity for decades, and we benefit from their wisdom and fine example of faith and loyalty in caring for Jehovah’s sheep.—Acts 20:28; 1 Pet. 5:2, 3.

As the organization continues to expand, there is a need for more brothers to reach out and a need for those who now serve as elders to take on more responsibility. To assist in this effort, the Governing Body has decided that, effective September 1, 2014, brothers who are 80 years of age or older will no longer serve as a coordinator of the body of elders. Of course, a coordinator of the body of elders who is not yet 80 years of age might also modestly decide that it would now be best to have another brother take on this role.—Mic. 6:8.

If, in view of the foregoing, it will be necessary to recommend a change in the brother serving as the coordinator of the body of elders, this matter should be given due consideration at an up-coming elders’ meeting. If the next visit of the circuit overseer to your congregation will not be until after September 1, the recommendation could be held until his visit.—ks10 chap. 2 par. 13.

In the Shepherding textbook, chapter 2, paragraph 11, after the first sentence, each elder should insert “He must be less than 80 years of age.”

We thank you for your loyal support of these theocratic refinements. (Isa. 60:17; Rev. 1:20) Please accept an expression of our warm Christian love.

Your brothers,

Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses

A download is available here (click the blue box that says “Click here to start download from sendspace”)

It is worth noting that certain Governing Body members are no spring chickens themselves.

Three of the current members are aged 70 years or older (including David Splane, 70, and Gerrit Lösch, 73), with one member (Samuel Herd, born in 1935) on the cusp of turning 80 himself. Are these men to similarly ‘modestly’ stand down from coordinating the organization once they hit the big eight-zero?



68 thoughts on “No scriptures required: Elder Coordinators to stand down if they are over 80

  • June 6, 2014 at 2:53 am

    The GB members will not stand down. Just as the pope they feel that they have a lifetime appointment. Ironic how little this organization differs from the Catholic Church they so despise.

  • June 6, 2014 at 2:56 am

    So kicking someone out of their position will “assist” them into taking on more responsibility? Sorry can’t follow the logic at all, rather seems counterproductive to me.

  • June 6, 2014 at 3:08 am

    Hard to believe that the GB can make rules like these when they are almost 80 themselves. It is so hypocritical as the GB have much bigger responsibilities than a ‘lowly’ congregation coordinator.

  • June 6, 2014 at 3:08 am

    More gibberish and rule making. Whatever reasoning they have they don’t mention it. It is just “The governing body has decided” and that is the way it is! They may come out and say something like we want to relieve responsibilities from an aging Elder? I know many people 80 and older who are very sharp and in great shape.

  • June 6, 2014 at 3:17 am

    Guys calm down! Nobody will step down because Armageddon will come any day now and nobody will get any older! remember?!?

    Any day now they will be stroking tigers in the garden’s of the mansions they occupy once the wicked worldly ones are destroyed on Jehovah’s glorious day!

  • June 6, 2014 at 3:18 am

    Im a bit surprised there was no explanation… as stupid as it probably would have been. What a kick in the guts to all those life time serving elders. They could have at least based their reasoning on ‘making life easier for our elderly elders’ or something that sounds like it was a ‘loving arrangement’. A very cold letter from a cold, cruel GB.

  • June 6, 2014 at 3:47 am

    did not the levites at age 70 , have relief from thier responsibilities? they got to retire.
    listening to an 80 yr old give a talk takes too long. and slow moving 80 yr olds going out in service, a waste of time and gas. Ive even seen 70 yr olds that were loosing their ‘reasoning’ skills and making up stuff. my mom is one of those who applies her own ‘understanding’ of scripture.
    I wish she would get to ‘retire’ too,but she’d only stop going out in service if the society told her it was ok.
    I agree 100 percent, make a rule, you apply it to thyself!
    but rules are made to be broken, arent they. so I say,
    retire you slave.

    • June 6, 2014 at 3:51 am

      Levites actually retired at 50. (Numbers 8:25)

      And that’s some very sweeping, age-discriminatory rhetoric you have there. Does the same “waste of time and gas” apply to Sam Herd?

  • June 6, 2014 at 3:48 am

    And just after two WT study articles on respecting the older b/s.

    I think the GB just want to give orders, they are power drunk since they have elected themselves to be the only FDS!!

    I think they just like sending letters, the back board is over flowing with letters from the GB, never seen so many letters and this is just the ones the r/f see. LOL

  • June 6, 2014 at 3:49 am

    forgot to mention, i guess there is another inspection, or rather ‘cleansing’ to do at the society
    to replace those elderly men.
    to be continued….

    • June 6, 2014 at 3:54 am

      The organization has supposedly been being “cleansed” since 1914. If it takes 100 years and counting to cleanse the darn thing, you have to wonder how dirty it was to begin with.

  • June 6, 2014 at 4:01 am

    I didn’t mention it in the article because it isn’t really that important, but I am intrigued as to whether the timing of this decision is significant.

    Guy Pierce dies aged 79 leaving only Sam Herd of a similar age on the body, and three months later we get this decision?

    Bear in mind, after Pierce’s death the under-70s are now in the majority (Sanderson, 49, Jackson, 59, Morris, 64, Lett, 65). It’s 4 against 3. Could all be coincidence, but I’m not so sure.

  • June 6, 2014 at 4:26 am

    LOl I almost had my coffee come out of my nose…that was funny

  • June 6, 2014 at 5:07 am

    Absolutely. And coming just a few years after the deaths of the last old-timers, Barr and Jaracz, it would appear to be a putsch.

    Hence, the inordinate amount of changes just in the last 12 months, or less.

  • June 6, 2014 at 5:19 am

    Yet another refinement. So many in such a short space of time. You are right John this cleansing is taking quite a while.

  • June 6, 2014 at 5:37 am

    I love how they pop in the scripture Micah 6:8 as if it agrees with their twisted discriminatory “logic” when all it says is: “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

    It’s pathetic yet not surprising. The Watchtower Society has a history of squeezing the life out of it’s followers then throwing them away and forgetting about them once they’re old. With this same logic, Moses should have stepped aside and Noah and pretty much every other bible character.

  • June 6, 2014 at 5:41 am

    So they can stay elders but not be Coordinators? Wow this is so random. At the same time they are saying that the elders must take on “more” responsibilities which sounds like they need men who can react faster in an emergency. We all know what a shortage there already is of men who can become elders at all so how would this improve that problem? This is just about as weird and random as the grading system they are starting!

  • June 6, 2014 at 5:52 am

    Micah 6:8 – (New) New World Translation
    “He has told you, O man, what is good. And what is Jehovah requiring of you? Only to exercise justice, to cherish loyalty, And to walk in modesty with your God!”

    Micah 6:8 – (Old) New World Translation
    “He has told you, O earthling man, what is good. And what is Jehovah asking back from you but to exercise justice and to love kindness and to be modest in walking with your God?”

    So one has to wonder why did they change it to “cherish Loyalty” in the (New) New World Translation? Was there an ulterior motive for changing the wording?

    Are they going to use it to emphasize that we need to be loyal to the organization (or God’s channel the GB)?

    Looks to me like that is why they changed the wording, and why they are referencing that scripture here.

  • June 6, 2014 at 5:58 am

    What strikes me as particularly bizarre is that their have been recent WT study articles about honouring the aged, making the older ones feel part of it all and so on, then this happens. It flies in the face of the latest study articles. On the one hand they are saying the older ones are super and great and then a week later they are almost saying if you are over 80 you are useless. Another example of the WTs double standards. I can bet good money that when it comes to retiring these elders, the way it will be done is or will be to suggest that it is the decision of the elder who is standing down to stand down. The rank and file witnesses will not be privy to this letter and will in effect be hoodwinked into believing “A” when in fact “B” is the truth.

  • June 6, 2014 at 6:09 am

    Moses ur sacked.

  • June 6, 2014 at 6:14 am

    Sorry got it wrong. . Moses you have been deleted.

  • June 6, 2014 at 6:25 am

    Wow they’ve put a big bet on God’s table. The governing body is statisticly getting younger? So there must be new anointed ones as the generation has died. Got it, of course! 1935 must have been wrong & the generation must be overlapping. Silly me.

  • June 6, 2014 at 6:26 am

    Personally I think it is a good move from an organisational point of view. Co ordinator of the body of elders is a demanding job I am sure. The vast majority of 80 year olds cannot successfully carry out that assignment as well as a younger man.
    There doesn’t need to be any scriptual precedent for it as it is based totally on how a 21st century man can do a demanding job. Remember they are still elders just not doing the extra work a co ordinator needs to do.
    If you had your own business would you like to have an 80 year old running things and making final decisions on many important matters?

    • June 6, 2014 at 6:33 am

      Wow, alanv, you never cease to amaze me. So local elder bodies are incapable of determining whether their coordinator is up to the job? This decision MUST be taken out of their hands and made for them by a group of men half of whom are nearing the same age?

      ALL 80-year-olds are incapable of doing the coordinator job, period? Even though Sam Herd at 79 is a Governing Body member jetting all over the world attending conventions and dedications?

      And there doesn’t need to be a scriptural precedent for a such a change in an organization that purports to be based on the bible?

      Another thing, who said anything about coordinators making “final decisions on many important matters?” Do you know anything about the role they do, or is everything you say based on pure guesswork?

      It amazes me when folks like you happily leap to the defense of a policy that is fundamentally discriminatory, and try to prop it up with sweeping generalizations and misrepresentations as to what the job in question actually entails.

  • June 6, 2014 at 6:39 am

    Of course there was an over lapping generation in the 1st century. Taking Christ words literally in 33ce-70ce would mean a generation is approx two overlapping generations. Easy.

  • June 6, 2014 at 7:55 am

    Their almighty governing body has spoken!!! So it is written, so it shall be done!

  • June 6, 2014 at 8:14 am

    This is extremely odd.

    If someone is fit to be an elder, especially the coordinator, wouldn’t it be assumed that they themselves would know when it was time to step down? Or, if the rest of that location’s BOE noticed a lack of competence, they could discuss that with the powers that be on a situation-by-situation basis?

    Perhaps the GB is afraid that these old timers remember too much of the flawed prophecies and old light, and they’ve decided to find a way to discount them by removing power?

    One has to wonder how many of these aged ones are members of the “anointed.” Surely if god himself has chosen them to be leaders in heaven after death, men should have no argument against them leading the flock on earth during life.

  • June 6, 2014 at 8:29 am

    Jeni, I agree I think you have made a valid point one I have considered.

  • June 6, 2014 at 9:36 am

    Rules always apply to others never to themselves

  • June 6, 2014 at 9:38 am

    Maybe they just watched dumb and dumber with Jim Carrey and realized how insidious older people can be. LOL

    Jim Carrery as Loyd Christmas asks an older lady to watch all of his stuff while he gets change to get his wallet out of the newspaper dispenser it fell into “Hey, I guess their right, senior citizens although slow and dangerous behind the wheel can still serve a purpose. I’ll be right back, don’t you go dying on me.”

    He returns to find all of his stuff stolen, next scene at the apartment, Jeff Daniels “Where’s the booze?” Jim Carrey “I got robbed by a sweet old lady on a cart.” LOL

    Hey maybe the GB are on to something sweet older elders are robbing people of their booze.

    More likely, once again they have an affinity for irony, Sam Heard can run the entire Organization but the rank and file are to useless to do it. Another bad punchline to another terrible joke.

  • June 6, 2014 at 10:04 am

    I like how John Cedars points out the fact that there’s no scripture cited to support this arrangement and anyone who has read the Elder’s Manual isn’t surprised by this either; for there are many things they enforce without any scriptural support either–like holding back valuable information from a sister whose husband lied about his adultery or not removing and Elder of MS for having committed a disfellowshiping offense, never confessed it, and can keep serving without even lifting one finger against him while at he same time disfellowshipping THOUSANDS. Although Jehovah did appoint other men to help Moses, notice what it says on Volume 2 of “Insight on the Scriptures” pg 435, 2nd to last paragraph on the page. It reads: “Though reproving him, God did not cancel Moses’ assignments because of reluctance to take up the tremendous task as deliverer of Isreal. Moses HAD NOT demurred because of old age, even though he was 80.” Interesting contradiction between what the Bible shows and this arrangment ;)

  • June 6, 2014 at 10:36 am

    Are you sure! No scripture required? Here is one they shoud have used:

    (Psalm 90:3-10) . . .You make mortal man go back to crushed matter, And you say: “GO back, YOU sons of men.”  […].  5 You have swept them away; they become a mere sleep; In the morning [they are] just like green grass that changes.  6 In the morning it puts forth blossoms and must change; At evening it withers and certainly dries up.  7 For we have come to an end in your anger, And by your rage we have been disturbed.  […] our days have come to their decline in your fury; We have finished our years just like a whisper. 10 In themselves [HUMAN BEINGS] the Yet their insistence is on trouble and hurtful things; For it must quickly pass by, and away we fly.

    The days of the GB old people killing our children and youth are seventy years; And if because of special mightiness they are eighty years,… eighty years of foolish reasoning with scriptures…Aren’t they suffering of DEMENTIA?

  • June 6, 2014 at 10:43 am

    I call it another attempt to tell people what to do. I do not think an 80 old would keep this responsibility if they could not do it. Another interesting note though, It is more than likely an 80 year old person would be retired and could handle a bigger load and delegate what they could not handle. So how would a younger man who might work and potentially have a family be better off in this role? Unless you are strictly going to put single brothers or married brothers, pioneers brothers in this role, the increase responsibilities maybe to much for them as well.

  • June 6, 2014 at 11:41 am

    Scrubmaster and Hakizimana: You both make very, very good and valid points. Just 2 weeks ago here where we live, a brother who served as an Elder, married with 3 children recently was deleted because his wife was reproved. The brother told me he feels he is somewhat responsible for what happened because he was taking on more responsibility in the congregation and not giving his wife/family the time and attention they need. When we look at the letter attached that there is a need for those who serve as Elders to take on more responsibility, it’s easy to see the danger in this as many have painfully learned. This is just one of MANY examples and all of these brothers have said the exact same thing that this brother personally said to me. It goes against all practical wisdom and the GB probably didn’t even look at what the Bible has to say when they made this decision. There’s no scriptures cited to support it.

  • June 6, 2014 at 11:52 am

    I meant to say married brothers without children..

  • June 6, 2014 at 11:55 am

    I had brother at Brooklyn Bethel. There were rumors recently that brother Herd was in poor health. I do not know if that is true. He may have recovered since then. I don’t think that whoever is running the org believes the end is near. The governing body members keep getting younger with marky mark Sanderson. I think they are trying to make changes to help them long teRm At its current pace the org will be defunct in 10 years. If they overhaul management, they might survive yet.

  • June 6, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    Reply to joe blow.
    I agree with you. As the saying goes they ‘have put all their eggs in one basket’. They are banking on the fact, regarding the generation teaching, that the end will come before a 3rd generation of anointed ones appear. That’s a huge gamble. It is fairly obvious, regarding the anointed, that the numbers did not stack up hence the 1935 cessation. The problem they faced with that teaching was the fact that all of the original 1914 generation have died & the end has not come, hence to prolong the Society’s lifespan, they were forced to introduce the ‘overlapping’concept. The dilemma the Society now faces is either the end must come within the 2nd generation or drop the 1914 entirely. That’s a big gamble. Either way the Society’s end is close.

  • June 6, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    Let them “modestly stand down”.
    This flies in the face of 1 Tim 5:17.
    So why?? Surely the wisdom of these older men is to be cherished in whatever capacity they are capable of?
    In one congregation we attended, the ageing P.O., as they were then called, was removed whilst on his holidays and replaced with a younger man. It nearly broke his heart.
    The majority of these older men have spent decades upholding what they perceive as truth. In fact they have lived and breathed it, probably keeping them alive!!
    As you say, Cedars, perhaps it would be more pertinent for the GB to modestly stand down; let’s not wait until they’re 80 – please, please, do it now! Then it could finally be revealed to everyone the lies that have been told, and the deception that has been concealed.
    Of course, this would not happen. All the JWs would be in complete darkness, saying “What will we do now? There is nobody to tell us what to do!
    Wishful thinking!

  • June 6, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    As regards age, & I agree with you Cedars, what’s age got to do with it if you can do the job? As regards scriptural support why does the Society need that?
    Personally all a person needs is dignity & appreciation to do the job, even if they can’t.

  • June 6, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    Perhaps it is financially motivated, as the GB no longer has to pay them a pension, though they will still keep their health coverage. I think it is a shift to take the financial burden off of the GB, meagre that it may be, and shift the financial assistance to the local congregation they attend.

    Also, the older ones are much more knowledgeable and could use their influence to speak out against all the rapid changes the GB is making, so they must figure take them out before they could use their influence against them.

  • June 6, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    I love the Society, it’s like watching an endless pantomime:-)

  • June 6, 2014 at 10:51 pm

    One of the fruits of the Spirit is KINDNESS

    This is extremely unkind to those who have served half their lives for the good of the congregations.

    This includes my Father… now, deleted at 85… appointed in 1972. We have lost Mum, the congregation has been split, amalgamating with 40 from another congregation. No one is calling or ‘phoning, he is still VERY active in Field Service and….very lonely.

    We are trying to move him to the coast into a small apartment where he can flourish in a less pressured environment. In the hope of stemming the rapid onset, now, of Dementia.

    Thank you Watchtower for all your loving care. Hypocrites!

    Guess what, on her death bed my mother (bitterly opposed to the JW movement) said she would never forgive my Father for 45 years of loneliness.. sometimes every night of the week on her own.

    I still love him but I don’t know I can tell him this.. it would kill him I am sure.

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