In recent years, the “faithful slave” has encouraged Jehovah’s Witnesses to present their beliefs as though the Witness came to these beliefs as a result of their private study of the Bible.
Here is the quote from the 3/15/98 WT, page 19, para 4. After discussing the difference between the Watchtower Society and the “faithful slave,” the article says:
“In order to avoid misunderstandings, Jehovah’s Witnesses try to be careful about how they express themselves. Instead of saying ‘the Society teaches,’ many Witnesses prefer to use such expressions as, ‘the Bible says,’ or, ‘I understand the Bible to teach.’ In this way they emphasize the personal decision that each Witness has made in accepting Bible teachings and also avoid giving the false impression that Witnesses are somehow bound to the dictates of some religious sect.”
This quote is interesting on a couple of levels. First, any distinction between the Watchtower Society and the “faithful slave” is a distinction without a difference. The Watchtower Society publishes exactly what the “faithful slave” sends to it – nothing more, nothing less. Second, the vast majority of Jehovah’s Witnesses immediately adopt whatever teaching is transmitted to them by the “faithful slave” by means of the Watchtower Society. As a friend of mine puts it, “Every time the ‘faithful slave’ changes directions, 6 million people get whiplash.”