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TowerWatch Ministries
Helping Christians Reach Jehovah's Witnesses
with the Gospel of Our Savior Jesus Christ



The Faithful and Discreet Slave

Fact or Fiction?

By James Caputo

"You know that the rulers of the world have power over them, and the leaders have complete authority, this, however, is not the way it shall be among you." – Matthew 20:25,26

Jehovah's Witnesses look to the faithful and discrete slave class as an entity that God employs to give both spiritual and practical guidance to all true Christians. It is believed that this composite group of individuals comprises a divinely appointed channel of communication between God and mankind. It is also alleged that failure to recognize and submit to the teachings of this channel leads to God's disapproval. We read the following:

"No question about it. We all need help to understand the Bible, and we cannot find the Scriptural guidance we need outside the faithful and discreet slave' organization."
Watchtower 2/15/81

"Your attitude toward the anointed is the determining factor whether you go into everlasting cutting off or everlasting life." WT 8/1/1981, p. 26

Recognition of that governing body and its place in God’s theocratic arrangement of things is necessary for the submission of headship to God’s Son" WT 12/15/1972, p. 755

"Unless we are in touch with this channel of communication that God is using, we will not progress along the road to life, no matter how much Bible reading we do." WT 12/1/1981, p.27

Appreciating the reverence Jehovah's Witnesses accord this entity, it is my sincere desire to broach the subject with respect and dignity. I ask that what I say be considered for its truth value and not as a diatribe against Jehovah's Witnesses. 

Having met and associated with several members of the governing body, I am persuaded that the majority of them are sincere God-fearing men. I am equally convinced, however, that their claim to divine authority is unsubstantiated in light of scripture, Christian history and the Watchtower's history. 

A systematic examination of the Watchtower's premise-teaching of the faithful and discrete slave is the only logical starting-point in considering Watchtower doctrines and claims.  In fact, the preponderance of  the Watchtower's unique teachings (which are allegedly necessary to believe for salvation) stems from this foundational doctrine. Therefore, this critical analysis is not a "rehash of the past" as much as it is an effort to examine the cornerstone of the entire Watchtower structure. If the premise is secure, it should logically lead to the conclusions embraced by Jehovah's Witnesses. If the Watchtower's claim of divine authority were true and solidly founded on fact, there would be nothing to fear from such an examination. To the contrary, such would result in a confirmation of the truthfulness of their divine claim.

The only way one can arrive at historical truth is to go to the origin of the particular truth claim that is being asserted. This in fact is the entire task of the Christian - who must prove that there was a man named Jesus who died and rose from the dead. Indeed, Christianity stands or falls on the truthfulness of that historical claim alone. As the Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:13-14:  

If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.

One could not argue backwards, as it were, and say that because there are a billion Christians today it follows logically and of necessity  that Christianity be true. The antecedent claim of Christ' life, death and resurrection must be proven first before such a conclusion can be considered as a viable possibility. I make this important distinction because Jehovah's Witnesses will often  point to the "unity" or size of their organization as empirical evidence that the faithful and discreet slave (as taught by the Watchtower) is used by God as his sole channel of communication.  In effect, they argue their case backwards. They refer to the present to establish the past - that is, they inverse the order of true historic inquiry. 

Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence.  Man can make no greater claim then to speak for God. It behooves us, therefore, to test such an extraordinary claim with soberness of mind and intellectual honesty .

 Why The Watchtower?

It is alleged that  Jesus examined his earthly temple between the years 1918-1919 to ascertain who was worthy to be given all the earthly belongings of the master. The Watchtower establishes Jesus Criteria in making this decision as follows:

"The serving of food, the right sort of food, at the proper time was the issue. It had to be according to this that a decision must be rendered by the returned master...Down to 1919 C.E. they had endeavored to give food at the proper time' to the household of faith' or the domestics' of the heavenly Master...but the quality of the food itself was to be considered. In this respect the body of hated, persecuted Christians, who always sought to be faithful slaves of Jesus Christ, met the test."
God's kingdom of a thousand years p. 350

Here we see that the first criterion that Jesus had in regard to selecting his faithful slave was that he find that slave serving "the right sort of food." In fact, it is asserted that the very quality of this food was under examination.  What sort of food was the slave serving God's household at the time and what was it's quality so as to distinguish it from all other Christian provender?

A cursory glance at the publications of the Society during Jesus' alleged examination period gives a good idea of the nature of the spiritual food that was being served . In 1917 the watchtower had published the book The Finished Mystery.   Consider the quality of the teaching of that book.

speaking of leviathan as:

 "Thou wilt lengthen out leviathan [the locomotive] with a hook [automatic coupler] and a snare [coupling-pin] which will cause his tongue [coupling-link] to drop down" pgs. 84-86

Speaking of Revelation 14:20:

"By the space of a thousand and [six] TWO hundred furlongs" is defined as "Shortest distance from place where the winepress was trodden the Feet Members of the Lord" that is the distance from Scranton, PA to Brooklyn, NY by way of the Hoboken Ferry. pg.230

"Even the republics will disappear in the fall of 1920...Every kingdom of the earth will pass away, be swallowed up in anarchy...The three days in which Pharaoh's host pursued the Israelites into the wilderness represent the three years from 1917 to 1920 at which time all of Pharaoh's messengers will be swallowed up in the sea of anarchy...Also, in the year 1918, when God destroys the churches wholesale and church members by the millions...the inheritance of desolation that will be Christendom's after 1918 so will God do the successful revolutionary movement; it shall be utterly desolated even all of it' Not one vestige of it shall survive the revenges of world-wide all embracing anarchy, in the fall of 1920" pg.258

1917 Some interesting developments in connection with the setting up of the Kingdom may occur in 1920, six years after the great Time of Trouble began. It would not be strange if this were so, when we recall that after forty years wandering in the wilderness the Israelites came into possession of the land of Canaan after a further six years. As these matters are still future we can but wait to see. We anticipate that the "earthquake" will occur early in 1918, and that the "fire" will come in the fall of 1920. [The Finished Mystery, 1917, p. 178, Comments on Revelation 11:13. [The 1926 ed. reads: "and that the 'fire' will follow in due course."])

1917 "And the mountains were not found. Even the republics will disappear in the fall of 1920. And the mountains were not found. Every kingdom of earth will pass away, be swallowed up in anarchy." (The Finished Mystery, 1917 edition, p. 258)

1917 Pastor Russell's mission, in large part, was to advise Christendom of its impending end, in the time of world-wide trouble. It is the Divine judgment upon the nations. … There will be no chance of escaping from destruction, through the nations. … The trouble is due to the dawning of the Day of Christ, the Millennium. It is the Day of Vengeance, which began in the world war of 1914 and which will break like a furious morning storm in 1918." (The Finished Mystery, 1917, p. 404)

The Finished Mystery

It must be said that these quotes from the book _ The Finished Mystery_ are not the exception. They are, in fact, representative of the general fanciful flavor of the  book as a whole. 

In 1918, on the heels of the publication of the Finished Mystery, the great "millions campaign" was promoted by the society as "the truth of the hour." What sort of food constituted that campaign? Did it evidence exceptional discretion and outstanding faithfulness so as to merit a Christ-appointed divine office? We read:

"Based upon the argument heretofore set forth then, the old order of things, the old world, is ending and is therefore passing away, and that the new order is coming in, and that 1925 shall mark the resurrection of the faithful worthies of old and the beginning of reconstruction, it is reasonable to conclude that millions of people now on earth will still be on earth in 1925. Then, based upon the promises set forth in the divine Word, we must reach the positive and indisputable conclusion that millions now living will never die." Millions now living will never die pg. 97

1918 "Therefore we may confidently expect that 1925 will mark the return of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the faithful prophets of old, particularly those named by the Apostle in Hebrews 11, to the condition of human perfection." (Millions Now Living Will Never Die, p. 89)

Millions Now Living Will Never Die

It should noted that the society at the time was teaching a completely different chronology from the one they teach today. As the following Watchtower informs:

"'The time of the end' embraces a period from 1799 A.D., as above indicated, to the time of the complete overthrow of Satan's empire and the establishment of the kingdom of the Messiah. The time of the Lord's second presence dates from 1874, as above stated. The latter period is within the first named, of course, and in the latter part of the period known as "the time of the end." (The Harp of God, 1921 p. 236)

Notice the dogmatic manner in which this erroneous chronology was preached.

 "This chronology is not of man, but of God. Being of divine origin and divinely corroborated, present-truth chronology stands in a class by itself, absolutely and unqualifiedly correct...." (Watchtower, July 15, 1922 p. 217)

Having examined the quality of some of the spiritual provender provided by the society at the time of Christ' alleged selection of the faithful slave and the time period just there after, can one imagine Christ Choosing the Watchtower's leadership as his representatives of faithfulness and discretion? 

It's interesting to note that Jehovah's Witnesses today could never study even a single chapter of their own organization's publications from the time period in which a purported divine appointment took place, a period in which Christ is said to have made his appointment based on the 'quality' of the spiritual food. The fallacious undependable nature of these works has relegated them to the mere status of memorabilia and invariably the recollection they stir is one of embarrassment.  A superficial analysis of the content of the said publications evidences that the spiritual food found therein has, on every count,  long reached its expiration date. Contrarily,  Christians can and do utilize the timeless spiritual writings and Bible commentaries that faithful men of Christendom penned  during the same 1914-1919 period.

How old is the faithful slave?

According to the Watchtower of March 1, 1981,  the Faithful and Discreet Slave had its beginning in 33 CE with the first century congregation.  We read the following:

"Witnesses of Jehovah understand that the "slave" is comprised of all anointed Christians as a group on earth at any given time during the 19 centuries since Pentecost." 

How did this 19-centuries old slave perpetuate its unique teachings? That is, how was the "spiritual baton" passed from one generation of the slave to the next? The Watchtower furnishes the following reply in the January 15, 1975 Watchtower :

Jesus Christ is the head of the congregation, his slave, and his words show that he would strengthen them to feed his "domestics" right down through the centuries. Apparently one generation of the "slave" class fed the succeeding generation thereof, as well as continuing to feed themselves.

What was the nature of the food dispensed? The Watchtower of July 15, 1960 defines it as such:

Down through the years the slave like congregation has been feeding its true members faithfully and discreetly, from Pentecost, A.D. 33, up to this very present hour] this has been lovingly and carefully performed.  Yes, and these "domestics" have been fed on progressive spiritual food that keeps them abreast of the "bright light that is getting lighter and lighter until the day is firmly established." 

To summarize, The Watchtower teaches that the faithful and discreet slave has existed since Pentecost 33 CE and that each generation of this slave class has fed the succeeding generation. The quality of the food dispensed, according to the Watchtower Society,  has always been of a superior nature than that of the previous generation. Or has it?

In speaking to Jehovah's Witnesses I have noticed a disconcerting confusion on their part as to when the slave had its beginning. In fact, among the rank and file there seems to be no true consensus as to the time of its origin. This is because; contrary to what we just read, the Watchtower has also said the following:

 "Thirty years later found a small group of men, not associated with the Adventists or affiliated with any of the religious sects of Christendom, studying the Holy Scriptures at Pittsburgh (Allegheny), Pennsylvania, U.S.A. ...They studied independently so as to avoid looking at the Bible through sectarian spectacles."
God's Kingdom of a Thousand Years Has Approached pgs 185,186

"The true doctrines of the Bible had been so twisted throughout the period of apostasy that no clear vision of Christ's second presence would be possible until these doctrines themselves had been cleared up....It was not yet God's due time to bring about his restoration of true worship."
Jehovah's Witnesses in the Divine Purpose pg. 14

Here it becomes evident that the society has taught two contradictory teachings about "the faithful and discrete slave." On the one hand they claim that it has always functioned from 33 CE continually dispensing  progressive spiritual  food down through the centuries, and on the other hand they claim that rather than a perpetual feeding of healthful teachings, it wasn't until 1914 that true worship was restored. This, however, flies in the face of the above-quoted Watchtowers. 

If the "slave" has nourished Christians on essentially healthful spiritual food, and if it has done so continuously and uninterruptedly down through the centuries, then why would the great teachings of Jesus and the apostles need to be restored as claimed by the Watchtower? Wouldn't they be perfectly in tact?

Lets say for arguments sake that there really was a faithful and discrete slave class functioning down through the centuries. The following questions would emerge:

1. After the post- apostolic period we find that Christians were in a very wide spread area of the earth.  Who formed this one and only "Slave Class?" Who comprised this collective group that allegedly served as God's sole channel of communication to supply the same spiritual food for the genuine Christians of the second, third, and fourth centuries?

2. What about historically? Since history is by no means silent on religious development down through the centuries, why is it nothing can be found that acceptably fits the Watchtower Society's description of a single on-going entity functioning down through the centuries as the one and only feeding source for all true Christians in all places?

3. Why not point to the "slave class" in the 18th and 19th centuries when information is more abundant and where history can be found in minutiae?

4. If the Bible cannot be understood without the "slave class," and if just private study of the Bible is deemed ineffectual and contrary to God's historical way of providing understanding, why didn’t C.T. Russell contact the 1900 year old" Faithful Slave" to understand his Bible?

5. Didn’t Russell act untheocratically by striking out on his own in 1879 "independent" of the then existing "faithful slave organization"?

6. If one generation's spiritual light was followed by even greater spiritual light in the succeeding generation, then it only stands to reason that after 1900 years of ever illuminating light, this light would be dazzling with a blinding brilliance! Why is it then that we find C.T.Russell in 1879 heralding a false presence of Christ, a false resurrection date, teaching that blacks will become white in the millennium, (Watchtower 4/1/1914 Watchtower4/15/1900) looking forward to going to the star Alcyone, believing Michael the archangel to be the pope of Rome, (The Finished Mystery) measuring the floors of the pyramid of Gizeh and making scores of prophetic statements that would one and all prove to be utterly false?

7. Why is it that there is archeological evidence to support the people mentioned in the Bible (which adds to the Bible's credibility and authenticity) and yet such evidence is missing in regard to the" Faithful Slave"?

8. Furthermore, if throughout two-thousand years one is categorically unable to identify a composite body of believers who fits the Watchtower's description of the faithful slave, how is it possible to claim it ever existed - let alone define its teaching content as "progressive"? Based on what data can one make such a qualification if one is unable to identify "the slave" in the first place? 

These questions merit answers. Jehovah's Witnesses usually respond to such queries by saying that "there have always been faithful men," or that "Jehovah knows his people." Such vacuous replies however do not even approximate a valid answer.  Just imagine if one were to respond in such an imprecise and evasive manner if the historicity of Christ were called into question. 

In fact, Unlike the Watchtower's "faithful and discrete slave" teaching which cannot furnish one visible body of individuals over the last 2000 years as a historical link to it's alleged modern-day counterpart, the succession of witnesses to the historical event of the resurrection can be traced generation after generation to our present day.  

The chain of invisible links

Interestingly, the Watchtower asks for historic evidence when similar claims of authority are made by other religious organizations.

Under the heading Apostolic Succession in the book _ Reasoning From The Scriptures_  (pg.37) we find that in an effort to undermine the claimed authority of the Catholic Church, Jehovah's Witnesses are encouraged to ask the following question:

  Has an unbroken line of successors been traced from Peter to modern day popes? (pg.41)

While putting the Catholic on the defense to provide such "an unbroken line of successors" Jehovah's Witnesses are unwittingly asking Catholics to provide the exact same evidence they cannot furnish concerning their historic understanding of the "faithful and discrete slave."

Promotion or Punishment?

The situation becomes more convoluted when one considers the fact that there is yet another contradictory teaching regarding the appointment of the slave. 

So far we have learned that Christ was so pleased with the quality of the Watchtower's spiritual food that he rewarded them with all his belongings. In fact, the Watchtower uses the following scripture to describe exactly what transpired between Christ and the 'faithful slave' at that time:

"His master replied, "Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things."
Matt 25:21 NIV

The Watchtower of WT 12/15/77 pg. 751 says the following:

"Their faithfulness and spiritual wisdom in the Master's service determines their worthiness to be put in charge of all the earthly belongings of their Master."

Yet here is where the Watchtower's web tangles even further. This same period of time is also portrayed as a time of divine chastisement. We read the following:

"But the Scriptures describe them as having unclean garments because of their long association with Christian apostasy. They had many practices, characteristics and beliefs similar to the weed-like sects of Christendom. So from 1914 to 1918 a period of fiery testing came upon them, not unlike the ancient period of Babylonish captivity of the Jews back in 607-537 B.C.E...All this came to pass in connection with transgression on their part in having the fear of man, not conducting themselves in a strictly neutral way during the war years and being tainted with many religiously unclean practices."
WT 7/15/60 pg 435, 436

This leaves us with a logical dilemma. Either the Watchtower in 1919 had "met the test" and were thereby  faithful in "a few things" meriting Christ' commendation and his transference of all earthly goods to them as a unique channel of communication between God and man, or they were guilty of egregious transgressions and led into "babylonish captivity" as a result. 

The book God's Kingdom of a Thousand Years (pg 352, 353) says the following about the year 1919:

"Similarly, in the year 1919...the Lord Jesus did return to his house and inspect the situation within it. He did find there a "faithful and discreet slave" class...So the Lord showed his favor...It meant their being retained in the service of their heavenly Master."

It is reasonable to assume that before promoting the backsliding slave class to a office of complete authority, the master would expect it to correct the babylonish course that caused its captivity in the first place. 

What things on the part of the Watchtower caused Jesus to permit the slave to go into babylonish captivity? The brochure Jehovah's Witnesses in the divine purpose on page 9 informs us that it was a series of wrong doctrines that provoked their captive-like state. Yet as demonstrated by the chart below, the babylonish doctrines which caused the society's captivity were not corrected until years after Jesus had allegedly promoted the slave for its faithful course. Hence Jesus is said to have both punished and rewarded the slave class - The latter he did while permitting them to continue in their defiled state.


1914 Doctrines that allegedly lead the faithful slave into "babylonish captivity." The year the faithful slave officially discontinued the "babylonish doctrines."

They had accepted the earthly political government as the "superior authorities" that God had ordained according to Romans 13:1; and as a result the Witnesses had been held in fear of man.


(WT June 1929 pgs 163-169)

Many were putting emphasis on so-called "character development

In 1919 the so-called "character development" was still taught. Sometime later all articles about such things as kindness, love, mercy, marriage development were no longer written because these were considered "character development"
There was considerable creature worship in the organization.


"It was the published and accepted down till 1927 that he (Russell) was "that servant" of Matthew 24:45"

Pagan holidays such as Christmas were being celebrated.

Christmas continued to be celebrated for years after 1919. In fact, the "Bethel family" celebrated Christmas until 1927.

Even the symbol of the cross was used as a sign of Christian devotion.

The Cross continued to be used on the cover of the Watchtower until Oct. 15, 1931

Although the name Jehovah was used from time to time, it was held in the background.

Jehovah's name did not take a "forefront" until 1931 when the name change to Jehovah's witnesses took place

The Witnesses were still practicing the democratic style of local government.

1932 Jehovah's Witnesses in the Divine Purpose pg 127

Progressive Understanding?

The Watchtower makes the claim that God uses the "slave class"  by giving it a "progressive understanding" of scripture. Yet, where does the Bible incontestably teach that God would break with his historic method of inspiring individual men (i.e. prophets) to communicate his divine will and instead use a channel of communication comprised of thousands of uninspired men that would have a "progressive understanding" of scripture? 

Ironically, while not claiming to be prophets in the "biblical sense," the Watchtower has consistently aligned themselves with biblical prophets. Watchtower leaders have unblushingly dubbed themselves the Ezekiel, Jeremiah and  John "class" after the great inspired prophets of the Bible. They have arrogated the authority of such prophets while conveniently exempting themselves from the accountability and responsibility that accompany that divine office. They accomplish this by claiming to be God's channel of communication while making an open admission to non-inspiration. It should be noted, however, that any attempted parallel between uninspired men and inspired men is nothing more than a false analogy; for the differences far outweigh the similarities. 

As proof of their office and divine authority, the appointment of such men of scripture was invariably accompanied by signs and portents. Hence, it was objective. Its objectivity was evidenced in that even pagan nations often recognized such individuals as bona fide representatives of Jehovah. As God's spokesmen they stood accountable for all that they preached and foretold. That being the case, the faithful servant of God had to weigh each of their prophetic declarations (be them predictive or instructive) in light of God's expressed will.

The Watchtower's divine claim, however, is unverifiable. In fact, it's based on an alleged invisible event. Yet, anyone can claim that Christ returned invisibly in a particular year. The Watchtower Society has claimed this twice in its 120 year history. (1874, 1914) Contrary to the inspired prophets of the Bible whose utterances were to be weighed by each individual Israelite, the Watchtower asks its devotees to humbly accept  the "spiritual food" they serve without reservation. In fact, failure to do so could have grave consequences resulting in the questioner bearing the label of apostate.  Hence, the Watchtower's writings are never to be submitted to scrutiny or openly challenged. To do so would evidence a prideful spirit and lack of appreciation for "God's arrangement of things."  Judicial Committee Meetings

Did early Christians believe that they would have a progressive knowledge of God's will? This question could be answered with an emphatic no! Much to the contrary, second and third century Christians proved their beliefs by pointing back to what the apostles had unambiguously handed down to them. They believed the apostles to be in possession of "perfect knowledge" and that such knowledge was more than adequately articulated to their successors.

In the second century Iranaeus (a prominent presbyter of Lyons) says the following in this regard:

“It is unlawful to assert that the apostles preached before they possessed “perfect Knowledge,” as some do even venture to say, boasting themselves as being improvers of the apostles. For, after our Lord rose from the dead, the apostles were energized with power from on High when the Holy Spirit came down upon them. They were completely filled and had perfect knowledge. They departed to the ends of the earth, preaching the glad tidings of the good things sent to us from God.” (s. 180 E/W), 1.414

In the third century Tertullian (a prominent presbyter of Carthage) said the following:

The heretics usually tell us that the apostles did not know all things…. Exposing Christ to blame for having sent forth apostles who had either too much ignorance, or too little simplicity. What man of sound mind can possibly suppose that they were ignorant of anything, whom the Lord ordained to be teachers? (c. 197, W), 3.253.


“When He, the Spirit of truth, will come, He will lead you into all truth.” He thus shows that there was nothing of which the apostle were ignorant, to whom He had promised the future attainment of all truth by the help of the Spirit of truth. (c. 197, W), 3.253.

While these statements were admittedly made to the Gnostics who were claiming a further revelation regarding Christ, the principle still stands - Christians of subsequent generations unanimously believed themselves to be in possession of apostolic doctrine which needed no accretions or crystallization. They viewed the deposit of faith given to the apostles as a perfect amalgamation of the Hebrew scriptures and the Greek Christian scriptures. They never assumed, therefore, that the apostles excluded important aspects or failed to explain salient features of the good news of God's Kingdom that would only be understood in latter days by uninspired men. To the contrary, they contended for the faith that was delivered once and for all  times to the holy ones. 

In line with that, the apostle Paul says the following in his epistle to the Galatians: 

"However, even if we or an angel out of heaven should declare to you as good news something beyond what we declared to you as good news, let him be accursed. As we have said above, I also now say again, whoever it is that is declaring to you as good news something beyond what you accepted let him be accursed." (What is the good news?)

Upon reflection, it becomes clear that there is nothing similar between God's historic method of communication as found in scripture and history and the Watchtower's faithful and discrete slave teaching. Furthermore, the New Testament does not remotely justify a compulsory promulgation of error or a 'follow-the-leader' doctrinal approach regardless of one's individual Christian's conscience. To the contrary, the book of Romans says that it is sin to do or believe something without faith. (Romans 14:23) 

The Truth About The Watchtower's "Faithful Slave"

As we have seen, the Watchtower Society's teaching of a 1900 year-old progressive food dispensing Faithful and Discreet Slave class is a fictional, contrived concept that collapses under scrutiny. There is not a shred of evidence that the apostle Paul or any of his first century brothers ever considered themselves as a composite "slave class," the one mentioned in Matthew chapter twenty-four. Christian history attests to no group or individuals remotely meeting the criteria of the Watchtower Society's "faithful slave" or of anyone believing themselves to constitute such an entity.  Furthermore, an honest consideration of the Watchtower's own history reveals that its leadership demonstrated a lamentable indiscretion for some thirty years prior to the alleged selection of the slave, and that such indiscretion persisted a decade subsequent to the 1914-19 period with the herald of the return of the princes expected in 1925. 

What is the truth regarding the "faithful slave"? Has the Watchtower's spiritual food really been furnished by a composite group of thousands of  "anointed" Christians dispersed through out the world? It might come as a surprise to learn that the Watchtower has functioned from its inception as a monarchical arrangement and did so until the years 1975-1976.

In his first book appropriately titled _Crisis of Conscience_  nine year former governing body  member Raymond Franz documents that all teachings from the period of 1879-1916 were the fruit of C. T. Russell as he was the organization's sole theologian. The teachings from the years 1916-1941 were the theological vagaries of none other than J. F. Rutherford. And under the presidency of Nathan Knorr (1941-1975) the doctrines that Jehovah's Witnesses came to embrace were fundamentally the theology of F. W. Franz.


 "The Faithful and Discreet slave class" 



This wizard-of-Oz" situation can be better understood if viewed historically.  Following in the foot steps of Russell, for some years Judge Rutherford signed his name on all WT literature. He sternly warned that the repudiation of Russell's fanciful doctrines was tantamount to repudiating the LORD. 

After the schism of Russell's devotees it became apparent that Rutherford had to re-anchor the "divine authority" of the Watchtower in someone or something other than pastor Russell. Hence, "The Judge," recognizing his inability to fill the shoes of his predecessor, sagaciously transferred the willing loyalty and submission conferred upon Pastor Russell to the magic word and concept of "organization."  

In true Wizard-of-Oz fashion Rutherford then slipped behind the Watchtower curtain and continued his monarchical rule. He would go on to anonymously author virtually all Watchtower literature throughout his presidency. Jehovah's Witnesses from that point on would now credit 'Jehovah' for the content found there-in. Rutherford had effectively effectuated the Watchtower's transition from Russell's "cult of personality" to today's  "cult of anonymity." 

Joseph Rutherford authored a rainbow colored array of books that were considered the "Lord's instruments." The Watchtower today, however, would not reissue as much as one chapter of any of his, Russell's or Frederick Franz' books - their fanciful content has relegated them to mere memorabilia. 

It was between the years 1975-1976 that the presidency was stripped of its all-embracing power. That power was then shared among an elite body of men (12-16 at the time). Doctrines and policies would then be formulated by a 2/3 majority-rule. So, for example; if 6 members out of 12  felt blood transfusions should be a "conscience matter" the policy could not be altered unless 8 or more - that is, the "super-majority" motioned for a change. This "new arrangement" of governance was not won without force and considerable power tensions at Brooklyn headquarters. In fact, Frederick Franz gave a discourse to the Bethel family  arguing strongly against the concept of body of men sharing power. (Tape available)

Raymond Franz recounts that during the governing body's private meetings the Bible was rarely appealed to, and that the multiplicity of members provoked disagreement, sometimes on the very foundational teachings of Jehovah's Witnesses such as the validity of 1914. Hence, the "unity" demanded of the rank and file was not shared by the governing body of Jehovah's Witnesses.  

Why would the leadership of the Watchtower mask the reality of this wizard-of-oz-arrangement by which a small group of men assumes the right to determine not only what all the "anointed" but in fact all witnesses will read, study, believe, and practice? This fictional concept enables the real authority structure, (which in reality is the dozen or so members of the Governing Body) to ask for almost total obedience to their own directives without appearing as arrogant or self-serving. By its stress on a "class" it hides the real authority structure with anonymity, giving the appearance of a wide global membership, which is simply not true. 

The men behind the Watchtower curtain 

By asking for constant submission and loyalty to "The Faithful and Discreet Slave" and by issuing all teachings and policies through that seemingly larger-than-life entity, attention is diverted from a few men and directed to a faceless, nameless, world-wide authority, (at least in the minds of Jehovah's Witnesses) which in its vagueness is impressive, intimidating and easier to submit to.

Yet, what have recent developments in the organization revealed about its teaching regarding the faithful slave? In order to be eligible for the "anointed class," one *generally* is understood to have had a pre-1935 baptism as it is in the mid-thirties that the gathering of the "great crowd" is said to have begun. Such a proposition would mean that today the youngest of the "anointed" would be octogenarians. (That is if we assume a minimum age of 15 for baptism)

The Watchtower of January 1, 2000 informs us that the number of anointed is "dwindling." How much has the number diminished? The 1998 figures show that there were 8,756 partaking of the emblems, while in 1999 only 8,755 partook. Rather than "dwindling," the 1999 figure shows an increase of 21 persons over that of a decade previous!  Yet, mortality rate studies estimate that out of 8,800 seventy and eighty year-olds, more than 50% will die in the arch of a decade.  Therefore,   the 1999 figure would be in the vicinity of 4,350 if the Watchtower's "anointed class" truly reflected a realistic mortality rate. 

Many Jehovah's Witnesses with whom I've discussed this issue explain the unnatural mortality rate of the "anointed" by claiming that members of the "great crowd" (who are considerably younger and have a  post -1935 baptism) have replaced unfaithful "anointed."  

Yet, this is not possible as I shall demonstrate.
It is asserted that the standard for the "anointed" and that of the "great crowd" are one and the same - that is, both groups must prove faithful as God will not act partially toward either. Therefore, if the unrealistic mortality rate of the anointed is explained away by assuming that the numeric difference is comprised of "replacements," (i. e. younger "great crowd" members) then what does that say of the "anointed" as a people?

It would mean that literally half of the 8,000 anointed have been replaced due to their unfaithfulness.  But since far less than half of the "great crowd" have been disfellowshiped since 1935,  this would translate to there being a higher rate of faithfulness among the "great crowd" than among the "anointed. Thus the exhortations to submit to the "faithful slave" would seem odd in light of the slave's less than sterling numeric record of faithfulness as a class of people." 

If the "anointed" found within the Watchtower organization do not collectively constitute the "faithful and discreet slave" class, then who does? What was Jesus trying to communicate in Matthew 24 regarding the faithful and evil slave? This will be discussed in a future article.

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