Jehovah's Witness Leader Allegedly Responsible for Attempting to Mainstream Dies

Guy Pierce, a member of the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses, has reportedly died of a stroke on Tuesday March 18, 2014.

Now down to 7 members, the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses is the directing council responsible for formulating doctrine and governing the other 7.9 million members of the Jehovah’s Witness religion.

Previously considered as a composite “spokesman” for those among the Jehovah’s Witnesses who claimed to be of the 144,000 (the 144,000 supposedly acted as an international “teaching class”), the Governing Body recently elevated their status above them and declared that only Governing Body members can rightfully claim to act as the mouthpiece of God. It was while Pierce was a member of the Governing Body at their 2012 Annual Meeting of the Watch Tower Society that this became official doctrine, dismissing all previous claims of members of their 144,000 group.*

It has been rumored that Guy Pierce was attempting to make the religion of the Jehovah Witnesses more acceptable to the non-WItness public. In fact it was in 2011 that Pierce allegedly sparked controversy when he stated that the Governing Body was engaging in building a new Watchtower center in Warwick, New York, without their having knowledge of Jehovah’s will or direction in the matter.--The Watchtower, August 15, 2012.

Pierce is survived by his wife, sons, and grandchildren.

  • The 144,000 are members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses who claim to be the only ones among the religion’s adherents to be personally selected by God for heavenly life. Prior to the 2012 announcement by the Governing Body, it was taught that this international group was guided by God to understand the Scriptures and proclaim the “truths” they learned, with the Governing Body only being a representative of theirs. With the first of their number claimed to have been chosen in the 1st century AD, only a “remnant” of them exists, a number which according to official doctrine is to decrease as we approach the end of the world. While it has been a matter of pride for the Witnesses to point to this dwindling number of “anointed ones” as “proof positive” that we are living in the last days, their numbers have recently increased by 5000 additional claimants, from around 8000 in the 1980s to over 13,000 as of 2013.

So all it takes to be among the 144k is to claim that one is such a member? Is there no sort of validation process?

I asked this of the JWs I spoke to many years ago. They said the “chosen” just “knew” and were the only people to participate in their yearly version of “communion.”

Yes, but in the atmosphere of their religion there is so much fear that one can be killed by God for doing something wrong (even by mistake), that it is very rare to find someone who will make such a self-proclamation.

As explained by their own doctrine, those who are called by God to heavenly life receive “verification” through an internal witness when they read the Bible. Being that they hold the Scriptures as God’s supreme and ultimate revelation (instead of Jesus), they also claim that the Bible is God’s letter written only to his ‘spiritually adopted children who are chose for heavenly life.’ Only these can truly understand the Scriptures. When they read the Bible, according to this teaching, the Spirit somehow makes it clear to them that it is speaking only to them and not to just anyone else in the world. One “just knows” that God is calling them to heaven.

However the Witnesses also acknowledge, as does the Church, that God intends to recreate the physical universe. For the majority of Jehovah’s Witnesses, they hope in living in a restored earth, after the re-creation, in paradise.

This hope (instead of a heavenly one) is usually chosen by the many for two reasons:

  1. Up until 2007 it was taught that God stopped choosing people for heavenly life because the number of 144,000 was filled in 1935. After decades of proclaiming they knew this to be true, they now state that they have no precise answer from God on what year this ended and if the number is filled.

Though a major doctrine, it was changed with little fanfare, the official presentation of this change published via a minor article series at the end of a Watchtower magazine, entitled “Question From Readers.” The majority of Jehovah’s Witnesses joined prior to this announced change and, except for the additional 5000, still hold to their original hope of eternal life on a paradise earth.

  1. Before and after the 2007 change, the Governing Body has published information which attributes the claims of new claimants to holding to “false” religious views from previous religions, pride, even mental instability. Claiming to be of the “anointed remnant” is practically warned against, and new claimants are often subjected to cruelty and ridicule.

Oh I wish I cared.

An “internal witness” is not verification to a third party, rather a form of easy charlatanism with which to take advantage of the pious and gullible. And obviously there can’t be too much fear about being struck down by God if there are currently 13,000 people who claim to be among this special group.

You are correct.

It is being suggested by many critics of the religion that the recent growth of the claimants is likely a sign that the Governing Body is losing its grip over their adherents. What once worked to instill “fear” on the previous generation of Witnesses doesn’t seem to work today.

The growth in numbers seems to be the real reason why the 2007 teaching was introduced. It is also seen as a reason why, with the late Guy Pierce, the Governing Body elevated itself to sole mouthpiece of God over the 144,000 claimants as the 144,000 was the teaching class from God prior to this. Now only the Governing Body can make this claim. To what extent Pierce had to do with this other new teaching is currently unknown.

Is there a list of these claimants or is it just an estimation? Is there controversy among Jehovah’s Witnesses which of these 13,000 are legitimate and which aren’t, or is it not spoken of much?

The number is taken from the yearly attendance at their “Memorial of Christ’s Death.” Jehovah’s Witnesses observe a communion-like ritual annually on Nisan 14 of the Jewish calendar (the same night that Erev Pesach/Passover occurs).

After a discourse where a Jehovah’s Witness elder explains that only 144,000 are included in the New Covenant (according to them), and after all are told that only those with an authentic heavenly hope may do so, guests are passed matzo and red wine to partake of, but only if they are claimants to being in the New Covenant.

Like every other meeting of Jehovah’s Witnesses, attendance is taken including the number of “partakers”. This is sent to world headquarters in New York, and the tally is reported yearly.

As mentioned before, there is much to fear from other Witnesses when one claims to be of this number–even if they are an older one who has been claiming this for decades. They are often the subject of ridicule, jealousy, calumny, and are often visited by their congregation elders in an attempt to discourage their claims (even though officially the Governing Body tells elders not to do so, turning a blind eye to this “regular” practice of discouragement).

*The Watchtower *has repeatedly stated that relatively new claimants (obviously among the additional 5000 of late) are being prideful, perhaps outright lying to themselves and others, seeking power or attention, or even mental unstable.

i pray for the repose of his soul and for him to be enveloped with God’s mercy.

The saddest part is what Guy Pierce’s grand daughter, Heather, is going through.

From her own words…

“I was just told by my mother that if I traveled to Cali to see my family, that they would not welcome me. I then was trying to go to New York to go to the memorial and am finding out that I probably am not going to be welcome there for the memorial either since it will be at Bethel… So, when it comes down to it, I’m being shut out again because I decided to not be a part of the organization and they are lacking to recognize that as his granddaughter that I should be able to go to is memorial.”

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