JW.org has just announced that an additional eighth member of the Governing Body has been appointed: longtime writing committee helper Kenneth Cook.
This is the first new appointment since that of Mark Sanderson in 2012, and the first notable change to Governing Body personnel since the death of Guy Pierce in 2014.
The Statement, which can be read on JW.org here, reads:
On Wednesday morning, January 24, 2018, it was announced to the United States and Canada Bethel families that Kenneth Cook had been appointed to the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Prior to being appointed to the Governing Body, Brother Cook was a helper to the Writing Committee.
Brother Cook started pioneering on September 1, 1982, and began serving at the United States branch on October 12, 1984. The Governing Body is now composed of eight anointed brothers.
It is our united prayer that Jehovah continue to bless the Governing Body as it oversees the activities of Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide.—1 Thessalonians 5:12, 13
Cook’s appointment comes at a very difficult time for the religion, which is being rocked by an ongoing worldwide child sexual abuse scandal. We have covered the story many times but you can find a selection of articles below:
Not only this but the religion’s overall growth appears to be stagnating, with some countries, especially those in Western Europe, seeing notable declines in their Witness populations. In other parts of the world such as Russia, members of the religion are being arrested and persecuted by the police. Additionally, the religion is coming under increasing fire for its practice of shunning those who choose to leave, with the influential Australian Royal Commission labelling the practice as “cruel” in its report.
Lastly, there have been a number of high profile and tragic deaths due to refusal of blood, including that of Eloise Dupuis, which have caught the public attention and proved to be a PR disaster for the religion.
Overall, Cook is stepping into a leadership role within an organisation facing significant challenges both now in the coming years. So far it seems that the current Governing Body team has been unable to make much headway with these issues; it remains to be seen if Cook will be able to bring fresh insight that could shift the religion in a new direction, or whether he will continue to follow the path set by his fellow Governing Body members.
We will bring you a more detailed profile of the new Governing Body member soon.
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