...or So It Begins.
Firstly, pre-1991 ex-JWs (a term which I find preferable to apostates) felt fairly isolated from one another, had few lifelines to the outside world, and were unlikely to find out much more than whatever they left because of. Hearing experiences of people returning to the bOrg after a horrible experience on the outside was not uncommon at all. Without a support structure and generally having lost even family support through the disfellowshipping/disassociation policy, returning seemed the only way to establish a modicum of stability. Although hearing the stories of those who did not return because (presumably) they did not have a horrible experience on the outside was nearly impossible.
Then something extraordinary began happening in the PC community. Networks of electronic messages (like FidoNet) distributed and received over bulletin board systems (like the Remote Access bulletin board I ran back in '85-'90) began to pop up all over the country and across the oceans. My first modem was 1200 baud rate (1200 bps or 1.2 kbps). Message boards where people with common interests could meet and share thoughts and ideas began to emerge and people began to realize that almost ANY taste or interest or experience has been shared by someone else, usually by many other people.
The dawn of the Internet being publicly available in 1991 was against a backdrop of slow connection speeds, protocols like XModem, and frequent dropped connection due to phone lines that were poorly suited to data transmission—especially since as far as the phone companies were concerned voice ALWAYS took precedent over data. However, it did open the Internet up to many more people.
As homes have gotten saturated with the Internet, so it has gotten saturated with the sense of shared experience. It is a place young people readily think of to find out who else is experiencing what they are experiencing and provides a sense of global normalcy and stability. It is a lifeline to the outside world.
Streaming video practically requires high-speed access. Now high-speed is mainstream and is quickly becoming the standard connection type. Now we have the ability to download entire CD-ROM disks, an unthinkably large download in 1995. Hard-drives can store incredibly large amounts of data now. People can download and archive their data ON THEIR HARD DRIVES, whereas in 1995 you'd better have a big supply of 3.5" DSDD floppy disks and a file splitter to archive your large data files.
Why does all this matter? Let's look back at the last three months.
- Quotes' site goes dark.
- Kerry Louderback-Wood gets wide-spread Internet publicity (for good or ill) on the release of the article "Jehovah's Witnesses, Blood Transfusions and the Tort of Misrepresentation" in Baylor University's Journal of Church and State.
- Mirror sites of Quotes' site begin popping up all over the place, with many of them having the full content as fresh of a few weeks before the site went dark.
- www.reexamine.org was launched, with a copy of Quotes' site and a publications downloads section that contains items I have not seen hosted for free anywhere else.
- Other notable sites are launched (please add links in this thread at will).
- Many more mirror sites of content go up, including the addition of at least some of the old watchtowerobserver site to reexamine.org.
- The AP News article by Richard Ostling that drew attention to Kerry Louderback-Wood's article gets widespread publication in print and Internet media—for the first time public attention is draw to the fact that JWs do NOT reject all blood components and derivatives, but that they pick and choose what they will accept and what they will not accept—only being instructed to reject the constituents of blood when they are all together in their naturally occurring form: whole blood.
- The first major amateur ex-JW video release (that I am aware of)—a doorstep disfellowship notification caught on digital.
- A request from mouthy to host audio tapes in digital format of ex-JW testemonials.
- A request from alamb to convert VHS into digital that contains footage of an elder and City Overseer committing perjury on the witness stand in court.
What is next? More of this sort of thing and better examples as we get more skillful at baiting and springing these PR nightmares. In just three short months our available resource pool has taken a sharp upturn—because of technology. Knowledge is the death of this beast and the Internet is the vehicle through which we are sharing what we know. They cannot survive the Internet. I don't believe many high-control organizations can.