The real impact of "apostate" sites

by dozy 80 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • dozy

    In a recent discussion with a couple of District Overseers and other “heavies” , the topic of the internet and “apostate” sites came up. I asked what impact these were making , numerically , among Jws. The prevailing view was that , numerically , there was negligible impact. There aren’t any more being disfellowshipped for apostasy , percentage wise ,than there were in the 70’s and 80’s , although it is possible that more are inclined to fade , or that bible studies were “googling” JWs and stopping their study. Comments such as “If these sites were having an effect , we would be seeing an increase - it just isn’t happening on the ground” “The brothers are just not inclined to look up apostate sites - they just aren‘t interested.” “ Its still 70 25 5 (70% porneia , 25% smoking , fraud etc 5% apostasy) and its been that ratio for decades.“ So what impact (if any) has there been? Where there has been a real effect , they all admitted, was on WT policy - the WT was much more careful in checking what was printed in the magazines because any minor error & the apostates were all over it and Bethel were deluged with letters and phone calls. One DO admitted “They have shifted the agenda on occasions.”

    My views now - the real value of the ex-witness / apostate movement is in “moderating” the JW hierarchy. The changes in child abuse policy and the cancelling of the UN registration , for example , have come almost wholly from apostate pressure. Likewise the moderation in the blood policy - I suspect many HLC members inevitably log on to AJWRB (in fact , I know of one who has it in his IE favourites , along with no etc.) Some of the alterations in the Revelation book (the number of witnesses who died in Nazi Germany and the change in terminology of the Watchtower Eight , for example) have the fingerprints of apostate influence all over them.

    Will this process continue? I think that it will accelerate , as a younger , more internet savvy leadership emerges. The WTS has tied its reputation to the insistence that Armageddon is near and has never wavered on 1914 - the longer this process continues without a “result” , the more pressure they will be under to reform. My best guess - a “splinter” between a more mainstream Org and a fundamental hard core , not unlike what happened in the early 20’s (and what could have developed in the late seventies). And in that respect , the internet has had a genuine , tangible effect.

  • AuldSoul

    The real impact of unsubstantiated JW-think being posted here:

    Swing and a MISS!

    If we are only talking DA or DF FOR APOSTASY, then I agree. However, the faders on here are rarely DF for apostasy and still contribute nothing to the finances or growth of the org. They may as well be out. And because of the venting allowed by the Internet, fading is becoming much more popular and more successful. Your poor CO's, DO's, and WTS beancounters can't count them correctly. The best indication they have is meeting attendance contributions (which have both dropped severely in developed lands).

    Also, the Internet is having an innoculative impact on the public against future organizational growth. While the CO's and DO's you spoke with may not see the threat, the WTS certainly does. But keep on kidding yourself that reform will occur.


  • luna2

    Interesting information, dozy. Although, I do think the percentage of those leaving due to finding out that "The Truth" is no such thing is suspect, just as all WTS figures are suspect. I agree that exJW criticisms have had an impact on the good old, "Holy Spirit-inspired" Society, causing them to back peddle and issue patches to try to cover their exposed hind quarters.

  • jgnat

    Even so, AuldSoul, I'd believe this is where the CO's are living. I do hope you are right, though, and sites like this are having an inoculative effect on new recruits.

    and Bethel were deluged with letters and phone calls. One DO admitted “They have shifted the agenda on occasions.”

    HAH! I KNEW letter-writing campaigns would annoy the heck out of them.

  • wednesday

    They are having an effect. What that CO alluded to is the faders. the fader, like me, eventually we look up the apostate sites and when we learn the "truth" about the org, we don't go back. and he's right bible studies are savy and google stuff now. Teens look at these sites. I dont' imagine the old hardliners will ever peek here--UNTIL SOMETHING HAPPENS TO THEM PERSONALLY. and that is when they start looking and we win. b/c once they learn what is really going on -they seldom go back, not for real anyhow. some may return to be alble to see their family, but they dont go to meetings very much and all that.

    the net is having an effect. effecting policy is a major thing.


  • slimboyfat

    An interesting figure to lay your hands on would be the number of disfellowshipped and disassociated who return nowadays. I have a feeling that fewer return than was once the case.


  • carla

    If the internet wasn't having some measurable effect they would not have felt the need to make mention of staying away from it at the dc and include it in the resolution this year.

  • slimboyfat
    If the internet wasn't having some measurable effect they would not have felt the need to make mention of staying away from it ;at the dc and include it in the resolution this year.

    That does not necessarily follow. It is perfectly possible for both of the following to be true: 1) The govering body believe the Internet is drawing people away so include parts on the DC programme. 2) The Internet is having little effect. In other words, even if it can be shown that the Society is worried that the Internet is having an effect, this does not necessarily mean that the reality is equal to such fears. They could be as wrong in estimating the impact as anyone else. So it is not enough to show that the Society believes the Internet is having a serious impact, what we need is some direct hard evidence. Slim

  • KW13

    as much as it may affect those still in, causing them to want to leave i firmly believe the real success is in helping those who have left strengthen their position and not go back.

  • dozy
    If the internet wasn't having some measurable effect they would not have felt the need to ... include it in the resolution

    The resolution actually condemned "chatrooms" rather than "apostate sites" as such - the WTS seem to be more concerned with internet porn and youngsters conversing in chatrooms and message boards rather than apostasy per se. It is true that there was a demonstration about the brother doing research on Hurricane Katrina & JWs , so there is undoubtedly a concern , but probably not much of a material one.

    There is a bit of a "triple whammy" that prevents most JWs from looking at such websites:

    (1) It is viewed as wrong and a sin.

    (2) The tone , language and attitude of most sites repel most enquiring witnesses.

    (3) Frankly , most JWs are almost completely disinterested in doctrine and the history of the WTS , which most "apostate" sites focus on. For them , it is a way of life and such matters are only of a vague academic interest and any objections are easily explained away.

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