I asked Mark if he had a favorite scripture verse. He told me “Matthew 24:45. ‘Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics, to give them their food at the proper time?'”
“Why is that your favorite?” I asked. Then he explained to me the JW view that the “faithful and discreet slave” (F&DS) is the Watchtower organization, dishing out the spiritual food from scripture to the rest of the JW’s. At the time I told him how angry I was over such a manipulation of scripture. Mark is truly patient. Almost any other JW would have broken fellowship with me then and there. Mark knows that I disagree with him over many topics, but he keeps his relationship with me. I don’t know whether that’s due to his gentle personality, or whether it’s due to God’s working in his life. Or perhaps both.
On Tuesday night (Jan 1), I went to the local kingdom hall to meet my friend Aaron and whoever else God allowed. It turns out that the circuit overseer was speaking, and came up to me after the meeting. I asked him about something I noticed during his talk. It seems he would alternate between saying “faithful and discreet slave” and “faithful and discreet slaves” (singular and plural). “So how many are there?” I asked. “One,” he answered. He noticed my puzzled look, and explained that the F&DS is a collective group which, granted, could be allowed for in the grammar (review your jr. high lesson on “collective nouns”). But then he went on to describe the group to be a small collective of men, alluding to the governing body. I asked if this was a recent change from the JW view that the F&DS is a class of people numbering 144,000. He confirmed that yes, it is a recent “doctrinal adjustment” which is sketchy at this point but was announced in the October 2012 Annual Meeting. He referred me to the jw.org website for more info. “That’s huge,” I said to him. “I’m surprised it isn’t being announced from up front, or buzzing through the congregation. How many of these people do you think know about the change?” He guessed about half.
The next day I found the info. But it was not front page news on the website–I had to hunt for it. The circuit overseer had explained to me that things in the JW organization don’t really become news until it appears in the Watchtower magazine, which he guessed would happen sometime in February or March. So now, maybe you heard it here first. There’s a major doctrinal change coming, and most JW’s are blissfully unaware of it. It’s surreal to me. But I’m hopefull that God will use it to spark many good conversations between me and my JW friends.