I think about this every time I pass a Kingdom Hall. I usually pass 2 of them on my way to and from church. Even on Sunday morning at 8:45 - 9:10 AM the parking lots are empty. I head home around 2 PM on Sunday afternoon to grab a nap before evening worship. The Northernmost KH has approximately 50 - 60 cars in the lot then because 2 congregations share the building. The one closest to my home is empty. Sunday afternoon at 5:15 - 5:40 PM I pass 2 empty parking lots on the way to evening worship.On Wednesday afternoon from 5:15 - 5:40 PM I pass them again on the way to our Prayer Meeting and Bible Study at church. Again, 2 empty parking lots. On Friday AM when I go by them on the way to church at 9 AM - 9:20 AM there are usually 1-2 cars in the Southernmost KH lot and approximately 5 - 10 in the Northernmost KH lot where 2 congregations share the building. I assume these vehicles belong to the WTBTS's volunteer sales force.
When I was an active dub, the most spiritual comments I heard coming out of any other JW's mouth was, "That was suuuch a goood meeeting". This I normally heard on Sunday right after the Watchtower Study ended. I learned early on not to ask for specifics as this would get one branded as a 'nosy' person engaged in other people's personal business. Within 15 - 20 minutes of a meeting's end the discussions always were centered around names and locations and quality of food and service at whichever particular resturant each group was headed off to for some 'upbuilding' conversation and fellowship.
In my day to day life I had little contact with dubs outside my own immediate family circle. On the rare occassion I happened upon a JW in public the conversations never were centered around Jehoobie except in his role of allowing the WTBTS take charge of spiritual matters on earth. In those settings, the conversation invariably was centered on how grateful the individual dub was that the Society was able to help us discern where we are in the 'stream of time' and how bad everything in 'Satan's' world is and just wait cuz Jehoobie is going to take action soon, soon, soon. At the mention of Jesus, I would always receive a blank stare of disbelief which was followed by the silence of misunderstanding so typical of the average JW whenever the Savior's name is mentioned.
I am reminded of the scripture/comment that talks about a person's heart is where their treasure is located and out of one's mouth a person speaks about what is in their heart. I have never been able to figure that one out when thinking about the religious group known as Jehovah's Witnesses other than what I have actually experienced. The majority of any conversation I have ever engaged a JW in has always been centered around doom and gloom or what they are having for supper or what project is going on at their home as they prepare it for the new system (new plumbing, a fresh coat of paint and/or wallpaper, how much time they spend in their flower beds, etc). For instance, this world is soooo bad; I can't wait until the new system gets here; how do you like our new concrete driveway and isn't it so much better than that nasty looking asphalt we put down last year, how did you like the last episode of X-Files (remember, I haven't been to a meeting other than the memorial for almost 4 years so don't laugh as I'm sure some new program has demanded their attention by now), we're having a get together Friday night at Bro. and Sis. XXXX's are you invited?, etc. I am not going to go into any of the many conversations centered around an individual JW and/or his/her family because it is too depressing to dredge up all the negative and uncomplimentary comments I have heard spiritually strong, mature brothers and sisters utter out of their mouths about another member of their congregation. Thinking back on what I have personally both seen and heard from pioneers, elders, ministerial servants, the rank and file, and others associated with the religious arm of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society I am a bit confused as to why they themselves can't see the absence of Christ in their personal lives. I say this because in almost 20 years of close contact with JW's I probably heard His name mentioned less than a dozen times in casual conversation with the JW's.
Since I consider spirituality as a very personal experience and inherent on one's relationship with Jesus I can't even begin to rate another's spiritual condition or lack thereof. However, going on the experiences I've had with JW's and with a thorough understanding that the spiritual food they are consuming on a regular basis centers almost entirely on what the Faithful Discreet Slave has done for the good of mankind I strongly suspect that their hearts are very empty and somewhat calloused towards the plight of other humans because they are waiting on the new system and realise that if Jesus were on earth today He and His disciples would not be doing the same things they did in the first Century A.D. You can read what activities they were involved in in the synoptic Gospel accounts and in the Book of Acts, all of which are found in a very old manuscript called the Bible. It seems as if they were actively involved in ministering and physically helping other people who did not believe as they did. As a matter of fact, many of the people they ministered to were non-jews and considered 'pagan' by Bible standards.
BTW Jeff, I believe this is an excellent thread you have started as it may allow the occassional lurking and 'active' JW to reflect upon their own personal relationship with the Lord and Savior of the world and how much joy thay can have in serving and supporting Him instead of a group of megalomaniacs who reside in the ivory towers of the Watchtower Society.