Shocking Doctrinal Changes in 2024 Governing Body Update #2

2024 Governing Body update #2 with Governing Body member Mark Sanderson

Revised interpretations of three scriptures prompt organizational changes, accompanied by a recent decision regarding dress attire made by the Governing Body (aka Jehovah).

Written by Miss Usato first published March 15, 2024 

On March 15th, 2024, Governing Body Member Mark Sanderson, sporting a full beard conducted the Governing Body update #2 on the organization’s site. A change already recently occurred with the Governing Body update on December 15th, 2023, on the matter of men wearing beards being a personal choice- since there was no scriptural standing for it in the first place. Now this update is regarding women’s attire, greeting Disfellowshipped ones, Committees for baptized minors, and Apostates.

What Sanderson addresses causes big changes for the doctrinal practices they have strictly held firm on for many years. Below is the full 20-minute video, along with a breakdown of the video’s subject matters by the minute, quoting Mark Sanderson throughout. 

Mark Sanderson brings up the changes according to new understandings of 3 scriptures, and then some. He says that the Governing Body has realized “A pattern set for them to analyze from Jehovah.”

Beginning of Update:

2 Peter 3:9  “Jehovah is not slow concerning his promise, as some people consider slowness, but he is patient with you because he does not desire anyone to be destroyed but desires all to attain to repentance.”

Mark Sanderson bringing this scripture up is intended to show how merciful, patient, kind,  and understanding Jehovah can be  “So it’s not surprising that throughout the Bible record, we find Jehovah appealing to sinners repenting. He wants those to return.” Sanderson points out how Cain showed murderous hatred, but Jehovah reached out to him. When David sinned, Jehovah’s prophet Nathan led David to repentance. With Israel,  Jehovah kept appearing to them even though they showed no desire to change.

“While Jehovah does not force anyone to repent of his sins, he shows great compassion and has gone to great lengths to lead sinners to repent if at all possible.

Have you found yourself thinking a lot about Jehovah’s mercy? Well so has the Governing Body. By prayerful study, meditation, and discussions we focused our attention on how Jehovah has dealt with people who have engaged in serious sin. 

The Governing body has reflected a clearer understanding of wrongdoers in the congregation-“

2024 Governing Body Update #2

How wrongdoers should be dealt with

1st new scriptural meaning

Time:  4:12 

2 Timothy 2:24-25 “For a slave of the Lord does not need to fight but needs to be gentle toward all, qualified to teach, showing restraint when wronged,  instructing with mildness those not favorably disposed of. Perhaps God may give them repentance leading to an accurate knowledge of the truth.”

Sanderson brings up that due to the scriptures study notes, Paul uses a Greek word that in this context refers to people who resist Christian teachings or who place themselves in opposition to them. “Today this can include ones who disregard spiritual counsel, and become involved in serious wrongdoing. Someone who gets involved in serious wrongdoing needs help from the elders. The goal of these elders isn’t whether to judge if the wrongdoer is repentant, but for the elders to speak to the wrongdoer with mildness. What is their goal?”

In the past, elders have been instructed by the governing body to create a committee for the wrongdoer to decide 1. How serious the sin is by asking very personal questions 2. To decide (judge) if the wrongdoer seems repentant. 

In a 1995 Watchtower 1/1 Pg. 27-31 under “Applying Godly Principles” Is just one example of “suggested guidelines” for elders in a committee  (not judging) deciding if the wrongdoer is repentive enough of his sins. This includes watching (not judging) his mannerisms if he seems haughty or arrogant, evaluating (not judging) how he says things if he is repentant, and questioning (not judging) if he is heartfelt in his repentance by showing enough sorrow or if there is lack of heartfelt desire.

1995 Watchtower 1/1 Pg. 27-31 under “Applying Godly Principles”

Visiting the wrongdoer more than once

Time: 7:00 

Sanderson goes into the current arrangement on how though elders typically meet with the wrongdoer one time to discern whether they were repentant of their sins, now there is a clearer understanding that the elders can decide to visit the wrongdoer more than once. “Why? In Revelation 2:21 Jezebel the wrongdoer is referenced on how Jesus  “gave her time to repent” – this was to somehow align with how the elders handle shepherding calls to wrongdoers. “This is so that with the elder’s efforts, they can help a wayward Christian come back to their senses.”

Baptized minors (under 18s) who engage in serious wrongdoing

Time: 8:00

“Under our current arrangement, a baptized minor would meet a committee of elders with their parents. Under our new arrangement, 2 elders will meet with the minor and their Christian parents. The elders will find out what steps the parents are taking to help their child come to repentance. If the minor has a good attitude and the parents are reaching out to him, the 2 elders may decide not to take the matter any further. Of course, the elders will occasionally check with the parents to make sure the minor is getting what they need…However, what if the minor unrepentantly persists in wrongdoing? In that case, a committee of elders will meet with the minor and their parents.” 

On March 4th, 2024 A verdict was made for trial -Jehovah’s Witnesses vs. Norway that initially was brought to light due to the harmful practices of the Jehovah’s Witness Organization causing psychological violence and negative social control for Minors. A small part of the verdict is shown below.

Verdict from Jw vs. Norway Trial

In the Trial, the main matters questioned were: The parents’ influence on minors being baptized, what steps are there to protect the vulnerable youths in the Organization, the family dynamic after a minor commits wrongdoing, and whether these teachings of the organization are “guidelines” or strict rules. In the trial, they had 25 witnesses, current and former, testify on the matter. 

The Verdict in the end was that the Jehovah’s Witness Organization lost over the state’s stand- that they seriously violated children’s rights and freedom of expression. This update was released a week after the verdict in Norway.

The official verdict from Norway: Verdict from Oslo District Court- Trial JW vs. Norway

Elders returning to the wrongdoer

Time: 9:30

1 Corinthians 5:13 “While God judges those outside? Remove the wicked person from among yourselves.”

Sanderson suggests that a wicked person must be removed from the congregation because they refused to respond to repeated attempts of love and concern that the elders have shown him. Yet, the committee will not just simply explain what steps he can take, but they can also explain that they would like to meet with the individual again in a few months. When they meet again, they are to make a warm appeal to invite them back to the congregation and see if the wrongdoer is repetitive and wants to return. “- But what about individuals who were disfellowshipped in the past?

Time: 10:55

“-The governing body has decided, that the elders should visit, pray, and make a warm appeal for them to return. If a person has been away for a long time, even many years, he would no doubt be very weak spiritually”

The elders are now allowed to perform a bible study, even if the individual is not reinstated. “If you are a disfellowshipped person listening, we hope you accept the love of the elders to return to the congregation.”

"We do not need to avoid [a disfellowshipped person] completely"

2nd new Scriptural meaning

Time: 12:20

 1 Corinthians 5: 11 “But now I am writing to you to stop keeping company with anyone called a brother who is sexually immoral or a greedy person  or an idolater or a reviler or a drunkard or an extortioner,  not even eating with such a man.”

“When a person has been removed from the congregation, we stop keeping company, not even eating with a man. However, that does not mean that a Christian can not invite a disfellowshipped person to attend a congregation meeting. Therefore we do not need to avoid them completely.”

Time: 13:20

 A short video of a disfellowshipped woman attending a meeting is greeted by a brother and sister, the brother coming up to her says “Hello, it is great to see you here.” A sister next to him takes the disfellowshipped woman’s hand and holds it for a moment before they disperse and go to their seats. 

Now you are allowed to greet disfellowshipped members and invite them to meetings.

Watchtower 1981 expressing how a simple "Hello" can start a friendship with a disfellowshipped person

In 1952, the Watchtower introduced the disfellowshipping practice as it is currently practiced today. However, the extent to which the Watchtower employs this unchristian form of manipulation lacks Biblical justification. While there is Scriptural precedent to limit association with brothers engaged in wrongdoing, the Watchtower’s implementation goes beyond what is warranted. This has caused thousands of lives, families torn apart, and detrimental life changes.

The word “Disfellowshipped” is never mentioned in the Bible.

Apostates: "a contaminating influence ... actively promote wrongdoing"

3rd new scriptural meaning

Time: 14:00

2 John 9-11 “Everyone who pushes ahead and does not remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God. The one who does remain in this teaching is the one who has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your homes or say a greeting to him.  For the one who says a greeting to him is a sharer in his wicked works.”

“Doesn’t this scripture tell us not to say a greeting to someone who has been removed from the congregation? In the context of these verses, the Governing Body has concluded that the apostle John was really meaning “apostates” and others who actively promote wrong conduct. John strongly directed Christians not to even greet such a person, because of their contaminating influence. Therefore, if a person is known to actively promote wrongdoing,  the elders would not visit him, neither would Christians greet such a person.”

Not only is this creating a thick barrier isolating who Jehovah’s Witnesses associate with, and what they listen to- This also leaves a paranoid sense of who is an “apostate” and who is not, among them. They do not have freedom of expression, thought, or speech.  The February 2024 Update talked about apostasy and false news- similar to many,  given by Steve Hyatt titled “Speaking Truth though Labeled as Deceivers.” In the talk, he expressed his concern about “false/bad reports” of the Organization’s teachings, granted- these “false reports” he refers to are official news reports, legal documents, and evidential facts. He speaks as though these false facts should be treated as apostate.. since they also do not agree with the doctrinal teachings or way of the organization

“Speaking Truth though Labeled as Deceivers.”- Steve Hyatt 02/24 Update

Time: 15:50

Sanderson recaps the 3 scriptures they have a new understanding of.

2 Timothy 2: 24,25– A committee of elders will instruct the wrongdoer to lead him to repentance, and must not be quick to judge. 

1 Corinthians 5:11 A person who refuses to repent must be removed from the congregation, however, Jehovah’s Witnesses do not need to completely avoid them, allowing them to nicely greet them when they attend meetings. Elders are also allowed to conduct bible studies with disfellowshipped ones and do numerous Shepherding calls. 

2 John 9-11– specifically to apostates, or ones actively doing wrongdoing (disagreeing with the teachings or causing awareness to abuse in the organization is among their views of wrongdoing) must not be associated with nor greeted.

This new information will also be in a series of articles on the watchtower, along with elders receiving direction on how to apply these new spiritual understandings. 

Some things that were not mentioned in the Governing Body update:

  • 10. Details regarding minors who commit wrongdoing that become widely known in the congregation, an announcement is to be made that “A matter involving (the person name) is being handled by the elders” So Regardless of whether a child is to be disfellowshipped, if a “sin” becomes “widely known,” Elders will make a public announcement, naming the child.
  • 16. “Sins such as child abuse, apostasy, and scheming to end a marriage require special caution.” Notice they didn’t mention contacting the authorities about child abuse- an actual crime. They also insinuate having elders investigate into one’s marriage to (not judge) if there is some scheme at play.

A letter to elders worldwide was issued on March 15th, 2024 relating to the handling of disfellowshipped ones as discussed in Governing Body Update #2.

Introducing the Red Herring: New Guidelines on Dress Attire

Time: 18:00

“The Governing Body has asked me to read the following announcement. The Governing Body has decided that sisters may choose to wear slacks when participating in the ministry Christian meetings, assemblies, and conventions. The slacks should not be casual but dignified, modest, and appropriate. If she has a part in the program, she must wear a dress or skirt.”

In addition, brothers may choose not to wear a jacket or a tie. He should also still be wearing something that is not casual, but modest and dignified. The same whereabouts on when to wear this attire applies to the brothers as well.

Brothers and sisters should still wear the previous set of attire guidelines when visiting Bethel.

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Miss Usato

Aiding Transparency to Watchtowers teachings. If you have additional information about this topic or would like to reach the author- Please email [email protected]

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