GOVERNING BODY MEMBERS
BARR; RAYMOND FRANZ; THEODORE JARACZ
(Investigator 142, 2012
Governing Body (GB)
members of Jehovah's Witnesses (JW) dominate
millions of people who consider them substitutes for God.
three who died in 2010.
John Edwin Barr
John Barr was born in
Scotland of parents who followed Charles Taze
Russell (1852-1916) whose cult developed into Jehovah's Witnesses.
Barr's grandmother was baptized in 1908, his father in 1912.
Barr was baptized in
1932; joined the British headquarters staff in
1939; is listed as an "ordained minister" in JW Yearbooks of the 1940s;
and served full time in the British Isles 1940-1977.
In 1960 Barr married
Mildred Willett a graduate of Gilead (the JW
missionary school) who was preaching in Ireland. In 1975 he was made
secretary/treasurer of the International Bible Students Association
(the JW legal channel in England).
Barr was appointed to
the Governing Body in 1977 and moved to the New
York headquarters. (Watchtower 1987 7/1)
Raymond Franz joined the
GB in 1971, resigned from it in 1980, and was
excommunicated in 1981.
Franz's parents, three
grandparents, and four uncles were Russellites.
His uncle Frederick Franz (1893-1992) was already influential in
administration and theology when Raymond and his sisters began
door-knocking in 1938 and became president of the Watchtower Society
(JWs main legal and publishing channel) in 1977. Another uncle (a
younger brother of Fred Franz) left the cult when its prophecy that the
Old Testament heroes would live again on Earth in 1925 and rule the
Raymond Franz was
baptized in 1939. In 1944 he did the five-month
missionary course at Gilead, and became a "circuit servant" (an
official representative, now called "circuit overseer", who visits
From 1946 Franz served
in Central America, married "Cynthia" in 1959,
and in 1965 moved to the New York headquarters. Franz worked in the
writing department as a collaborator on Aid to Bible Understanding
a Bible dictionary with JW interpretations.
excommunication Franz wrote Crisis of Conscience
(1983) which sold 70,000 copies, and In Search of Christian Freedom
On 30 May 2010 Franz
suffered a stroke and two days later doctors
removed life support.
"Ted" Jaracz was born in
Kentucky, baptized about 1941, and graduated
from Gilead in 1945. He became a circuit servant in Australia, and in
1951 was put in charge of headquarters in Sydney. He suffered from
migraine headaches due to which he sometimes cancelled speaking
Jaracz returned to the
USA in the mid 1950s, again served as a circuit
servant, married Melita Lasko a Canadian beautician, and was a
"district servant" through the 1960s.
In 1971 Jaracz partook
of the unleavened bread and wine at the yearly
Memorial of Jesus' death which only JWs do who claim to be of the
"heavenly class" or 144,000.
Since GB members have to be of this group,
Jaracz was clearly planning ahead. In 1974 he was invited to join the
GB, and by 1976 was in two of its most influential committees, the
Service Committee and Teaching Committee.
One topic Franz
researched as collaborator for the Aid book was
"Elder". He discovered that the JW arrangement of one "overseer" per
congregation was unbiblical. He presented this to "uncle Franz", the
vice president of JWs, who initially resisted making changes: "He said
calmly that he did not think it would cause a problem, that the
existing arrangement could be "accommodated" to the information in
Aid." (Crisis of Conscience, p. 24)
"Uncle" later changed
his mind and the adjustments were made in 1972.
Franz also had the topic
"Chronology" assigned to him:
research were spent on this one subject of "Chronology" and it resulted
in the longest article in the Aid publication. Much of the time was
spent endeavoring to find some proof, some backing history, for the 607
B.C.E. date so crucial to our calculations for 1914. Charles Ploeger, a
member of the headquarters staff, was at the time serving as a
secretary for me and he searched through the libraries of the New York
City area for anything that might substantiate that date historically.
We found absolutely nothing in support of 607 B.C.E. (Crisis, p. 25)
The date 1914 was the only piece of Charles Taze
still part of JW teaching. Every prophecy of Russell had failed and
only the date remained, but with different prophetic significance than
Russell had given it. To JWs 1914 marks the return of Christ, the end
of the "Gentiles times", the start of God's kingdom, the "time of the
end", the last generation before Armageddon, and the throwing out from
heaven of "Satan the Devil". A 3½ year addition to 1914 i.e.
1918/1919 marks the start of the resurrection to heaven of the 144,000,
the inspection of all religions by Christ, the appointment of Christ's
"faithful slave class", the "fall of Babylon", and the start of the
modern JW preaching.
With so many doctrines tied to 1914 the authority of the GB was also
tied to 1914 which therefore could not be discarded and wasn't.
In Crisis of Conscience Franz exposes the JW prophetic record
with photocopies from its publications. (Chapters 7-8) He shows that
despite attempts to connect the GB to the Apostles, the notion of a
"Governing Body" was not introduced until 1944, and the GB was not
fully functional until 1975. (Chapter 3)
Chapters 3 to 6 reveal the GB's efforts to rule the personal lives of
JWs, even legislating on permissible sexual conduct between husband and
wife. (Watchtower 1972 12/1 734-736) Many marriages broke up as a
result, but 7 years later the GB reversed its policy. Chapter 9 is
about the prophecy of Armageddon to occur in 1975 to coincide with the
start of the 7th millennium from Adam — JWs were even encouraged to
In 1980 Franz resigned from the GB and left headquarters. The monthly
meeting guide Our Kingdom Ministry (August) carried the
announcement, "This is a notification that Raymond Victor Franz is no
longer a member of the Governing Body and of the Brooklyn Bethel family
as of May 22, 1980."
Franz's employer at this time was "disassociated" — i.e. an ex JW who
left the sect by sending a letter saying in effect, "Count me out." The
GB now announced a change in policy — disassociation would henceforth
incur the same treatment, i.e. shunning or ostracism, as
excommunication, and any JW who talked with someone disassociated would
be excommunicated. (Watchtower 1981 9/15) When Franz subsequently ate
in a restaurant with his employer he was excommunicated.
In both his books Franz discusses the generation that experienced 1914
(which JWs predicted would live to see Armageddon), confessing he
didn't know what the new "truth" would be when that generation died
Franz quotes Awake! 1968, October 8 which suggests, "youngsters
15 years of age would be perceptive enough to realize the import of
what happened in 1914."
When Franz wrote Crisis of Conscience,
the 1914 youngsters were aged 84 — and would now [in 2012] be 112!
The Watchtower 1978 October 1 states, "the generation
logically would not apply to babies born during World War I." But The
Watchtower 1984 May 15 includes "those born around the time" and
says "the babies of that generation are now 70 years old or older."
Franz comments that the passage of six years between these two
references: "caused the illogical to become logical." (In Search of
Christian Freedom, p. 479)
Betsan Powys, reporter for the BBC current affairs program Panorama,
confronted Jaracz in 2002 regarding child abuse among JWs and their
secret database of over 20,000 suspected pedophiles:
JARACZ is one of the men responsible for the church's child protection
policy. For more than two months we've been asking them for an
interview. We want answers to some simple questions. Why do they keep
their database of suspected pedophiles secret? Why don't they report
all allegations of abuse to the police? Why do they send children back
to the arms of their abusers? They refused to talk to us. But here at
last we had our chance.
Mister JARACZ, tell me
about the database. How do you justify keeping a list of people, men in
some cases who have confessed to pedophilia, but you have not reported
them to the authorities. What justification is there for you to keep
Jaracz avoided a straight answer. (See transcript at:
Barbara Anderson, a JW for 43 years, assisted Jaracz in research for
his book Jehovah's Witnesses Proclaimers of God's Kingdom
She observed his preparedness "to let child molesters hold positions of
authority", and was excommunicated in 2002 after going public about it.
On the Internet Anderson says:
"For nearly 36 years,
was one of the most powerful members of Jehovah's Witnesses Governing
Body…responsible for…grief…to an enormous number of people… I could see
the fear of him present in many of his fellow workers at Bethel [i.e.
headquarters]. For almost eleven years I lived and worked in close
proximity to Ted Jaracz."
She says Jaracz was "humorless", "active in the field service", and
very emotional when giving talks about the large numbers joining JWs
and attending conventions: "His voice expressed so much emotion that
the audience was uncomfortable. We thought he was crying…"
Barr (Watchtower 1987 7/1) says his grandmother and her daughters, in
1906, read Russell's book The Divine Plan of the Ages (1886)
and: "began to see the light of truth shining through the mists
of false doctrine taught by the United Free Church of Scotland."
The GB routinely describe old WTS publications as containing "the
truth" and "light of truth", despite containing hundreds of teachings
that contradict later doctrine. The following sentence, for example,
has four claims (underlined) that contradict current doctrine:
proofs that the setting up of the Kingdom of God is already begun, that
it is pointed out in prophecy as due to begin the
exercise of power in A. D. 1878, and that the "battle of the
great day of God Almighty" (Rev. 16:14.), which will end in AD, 1915,
with the complete overthrow of earth's present rulership, is
already commenced. (The Time is at Hand, 1889, p. 101)
The GB claim that all their interpretations come from God and Jesus:
As fast as the
superior authorities Jehovah and Jesus Christ reveal the
interpretations through their provided channel that fast do God's
people publish them… (Watchtower 1952 4/15 253)
As Jehovah revealed
truths by means of the first-century Christian congregation so he
today… (Watchtower 1964, 6/15 365)
The 1914-generation prophecy was: "Jehovah's
prophetic word through Jesus Christ". (Watchtower 1984 5/15 6)
Such claims imply infallibility but when doctrines change and
prophecies fail amount to calling God and Jesus liars.
Many informed people have exposed the JW foolishness of professing to
believe the Bible when their "Bible truth" constantly changes. How then
does the GB prevent mass defection?
The method is:
Constant repetitive indoctrination affirming JW rightness and
everyone else's wrongness;
JWs have to obey the
following or risk excommunication:
Keep followers too busy to do research;
Remove old JW publications from circulation;
followers off from outside information.
Refuse to talk with ex JWs or informed others who criticize;
Refuse to read other religious literature;
Avoid internet discussion and religious websites;
Report anyone who flouts these requirements.
Franz says: "The climate
of fear…in the "spiritual paradise"…is
strikingly like that found in countries controlled by a totalitarian
system, where one must be constantly on guard due to an informer
system." (In Search of Christian Freedom, p. 592)
Jaracz, Barr and other
Governing Body members inherited positions built
on a rotten foundation that generates schism but also comes with
established methods for retaining power and control. Franz inherited
the same power but relinquished it to search for "Christian Freedom".
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