From the time of being young, to the being an adult Witness, I had always thought it was odd that Witnesses put so much into turning in and recording time. Religion to me, was about a relationship with God and not about how much time you reported doing that. In all my days, and multiple studies of why we did this, it never really seemed like it was something the Bible taught. I did not read a scripture, where Jesus turned to his apostles and said, "Okay brother, how many hours did you preach today, how many Bible studies and how many return visits." I think this is all the more backed up, by the fact that the Witnesses were one of the few Christian religions I have ever heard of doing this. Not to mention the fact that the hours were not even audited or watched closely. Anyone could turn in, what ever suited their desire, and besides a special needs talk from time to time on "being honest and accurate with reporting time." It was pretty much a conscience matter. We would claim over a billion hours preaching, like we had some other religions figures to compare too, when we did not. We used those hours as the reason for so many things; appointing servants and elders, seeing who was spiritual, seeing who was active, seeing who was worthy of assembly parts, etc. Yet did those hours really measure the Witness? Most of the time, the majority of hours were housewives with no jobs, or young people who did not work and had no family responsibility? Yet the man working three jobs to support his family and only able to spend one hour a month preaching, was looked at as courageous, but not really spiritual enough to be an elder. Why would the Christian God need such a tally? If he supposedly tracks all the sand pebbles of the sea, and knows your heart, wouldn't he know how much time you preached or spoke of him, without the tally? Just something that never settled with me, even when I was Pioneering and writing them all down and on more then one occasion, other Pioneers and Witnesses I knew, brought this up and felt the same. Religion is not a job with clock in and clock out, yet with the Witnesses, it is!
Turning in time, my main thing that bothered me.
the majority of hours were housewives with no jobs
If those housewives had children, they had jobs.
The recording of time is not scriptural and puts too much emphasis on outward displays. I think Christ condemned the pharisees for doing that.
Free, how clearly and eloquently you describe the angst I have felt but could not articulate so well, nor dared to.
so mechanized, so business like, like advertising to the world (or God) the amount of hours proves you are the true worshipers.
Puzzling and tormenting to the soul who would fall prey to this form of worship and wonder why he/she never feels like they are doing enough for God.
Good points. As the Holy Spirit is said to guide the appointment of MS and Elders than a report is not necessary, the Holy Spirit should already know.