The real impact of "apostate" sites

by dozy 80 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Jankyn

    Dozy said:

    (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.

    I think this is truer than I ever realized.

    There are a handful of wannabe "Bible scholars" who are really into the doctrine, and a handful of "true believers" who keep up-to-date doctrinally. These folks are the most likely to become apostate, because they actually pay attention to what the WTS says.

    I was one of them as a kid. I struggled to understand and I wanted to believe. When it failed to make sense, I couldn't help myself but point out the inconsistencies.

    I think these are the types most likely to be "spiritually endangered" by sites like this. They're more likely to do independent research on doctrinal topics to satisfy their intellectual curiosity and spiritual thirst. And they're the ones the WTS really doesn't want to lose, because they produce results in the ministry and do a lot of the work. They're the active, faithful "sheep." That's why the WTS is so afraid of the internet.

    But over time--and after talking to a number of "former" JWs who claim to "still believe it's the Truth" or who think that "JWs are closer to the truth than anyone else"--I suspect that the vast majority of the rank-and-file aren't disturbed by the doctrinal changes and "new light" that makes me so crazy. It's not just that they don't notice; it that they don't care. As long as the Society assures them that they're on the right side, they don't even think about the details.

    I'd certainly put my mother in that category. She prides herself on her "Bible knowledge," but she can't go beyond a few basic texts. She can't explain, from the Bible, why she believes what she does. She just knows she does.

    My über-JW aunt, on the other hand, prides herself on her Bible knowledge. I actually think her belief in the "Truth" is not as strong as my mothers, because she expects it to make sense. If she ever gets on a site like this one and stays long enough to have some of her beliefs challenged, she probably won't be able to bear the cognitive dissonance.

    Perhaps it's just that you have to be "cognitive" before you can have "cognitive dissonance."

    In a nutshell, though, I think the guys Dozy's quoting in the original post are half-right. The number of people leaving probably hasn't changed much. But as other posters have pointed out that former JWs who find these sites may be less likely to go back, and new studies who find these sites are less likely to continue. I also think that people who expect logic and scholarship from the WT (and some do!) who "stumble" onto these sites will quickly become ex-JWs--and they will fall into the category of "apostates" as far as the WTS is concerned.

    That's why they're concerned. They don't worry about DF'ing for fornication and smoking. They worry about apostates, because that's where the threat to their power comes from.


  • done4good

    Faders are everywhere today. That was not the case years ago. You were either in or out. The truth is, there is no telling or quantifying where a fader will go, and hence what he/she will learn on the Internet. Besides, there is almost always something else the elders will try to d/f someone for before they get them on apostacy. That would explain why the numbers are not showing any increase. The org. will implode from the inside out.


  • LovesDubs

    If the internet has no affect then why does the Society maintain their own site? Obviously they must feel it has SOME impact. As soon as you start to say that JWs DONT look up apostate sites because there might be offensive stuff on them then you have to also say that JWs dont watch R rated movies in the privacy of their own homes where they know the elders are not looking...and that they dont celebrate holidays in their own little way thinking they are fooling people. And that they dont get drunk, and they dont swear, and they dont beat their kids and they dont commit fornication and they dont molest....

    The JWs do what all church goers do and that is they put on ONE FACE for the sake of the rank and file while in the presence of the rank and file and the Leaders of the rank and file...and then they pretty much go home and DO WHATEVER THE HELL THEY WANT TO.

    And that includes the internet.

    The internet has only been around what...15 years or less? I am positive it is having an effect. How many of you found out about Ray Franz and Crisis through this medium?

    The other thing the Society is really good at is DENIAL and DENIABILITY.

  • Warlock

    I think the real impact of "apostate" sites, is they actually make you confront your fears and doubts about the Org. I think this is one of the things the Org. is afraid of.

    When I finally had the courage to start reading what was on this site, it was like "Wow, there are others who have experienced what I have. I'm not alone". That is another thing the Org. fears. You find out that it's not you, it's them.

    These sites open your mind to the insanity of "Dubthink".


  • BluesBrother

    It is true that diehard dubs will just avoid sites on the net, and would not believe them anyway. Too often it is a case of "My religion - right or wrong!" because they are just set in it, like those in the churches whom they decry.

    But their sons and daughters may not be so entrenched. A good many youths leave for a while, or get very "weak" , but up until now a lot have returned because they did not have a firm reason to stay away. Now they can find the truth about "The Truth" they will have a reason to never come back.

    If the internet was not hurting, why did they shut down "Quotes"??

  • bennyk

    I agree that most only find the "apostate" websites AFTER they have already come to have serious doubts regarding the Organisation's claims and teachings. That the percentage of those DF'd for "apostasy" may seem unchanged (even if accurate [which I doubt]) does not take into consideration faders, nor those who are already secretly "apostate" (per WTS definition), but who are now caught in a moral lapse and officially ousted for reasons other than "Apostasy". The fact that the numbers of new converts in nations which are heavily internet-connected appear to be nearly uniformly DOWN suggests that the internet is having a significant effect on recruitment, which will bear its fruit over the long run.

    I think it is also important to consider the effect on the "walk-away believers". In the past, many who left because of the stress of the Witness lifestyle, or the lack of love in the congregations, continued to believe that the Organisation was nevertheless correct. Even those who had been DF'd often felt they had been rightfully expelled (AKA "penance syndrome") and would sometimes encourage other individuals on the fringes of the Organisation to remain with the WTS. "I know it's the right religion, and someday I'll return; I just have to get some things straightened out first..." (I personally know some who engaged in informal witnessing while outside the fold.) No longer. Now once they're outside, they find it as an opportunity to investigate various facets of the religion, and those who do NEVER (TRULY) return. Furthermore, walk-away believers seldom had reason to be very vocal, even about such things as the shunning. Many "apostates" today may not be screaming it from the rooftops, but they are fighting to get their relatives and friends out. And the Internet has given them the ammunition to do so.

    Perhaps the Internet may appear to be having only a small impact, but it is achieving results on a number of fronts, and the effects are beginning to "snowball".

  • katiekitten
    How many of you found out about Ray Franz and Crisis through this medium?

    Me for one.

    I think the internet is bound to be having an effect or else why would they be getting their knickers in a twist warning people off it so heavily?

    I think people are very media savy these days, and when the dubs exhort people to 'be like the boereans' and search things out for themselves I think a lot of bible studies and potential bible studies are taking them at their word and doing just that.

    And the internet makes it very easy to do that now. And whilever you are not a dub, then researching is not wrong!

  • Poztate

    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
    DO's and CO's are Company men. They will always back what is taught and thought at the highest levels. (Enron anybody) They will lie and coverup to protect the core business. I have no respect for any of them. I long for the day when this cult is flushed down the toilet of life.
  • jgnat
    In every public library I have been in, and that is quite a few. I have never seen either of these two books. WHich means one of two things:

    1. Public libraries ibraries are too politically-correct to have something controversial about a splinter cult of Christianity.

    2. This has been done already, which would mean that this method has been successful. I would hate to see the poor (literaly) pioneer's library charges.

    I can confirm this, third-hand. When my girlfriend went looking for CoC, the librarian said they don't stock it any more because the book kept disappearing from the shelves. By the way, Libraries are absolutely fanatical about freedom of expression/information. I doubt they would ban such a book because it was too "controversial".

  • Shining One
    Shining One

    There is another factor when one looks at why the ratio hasn't changed. I believe that is very clearly evident here: There is a utter disrespect and outright hostile attitude toward people who take their faith seriously, whether it is cultic JW faith or Christian. Not only that, but the very ones who chastise Christians for intolerance are very intolerant of the above.
    JWs take a glance at some of the titles of the posts and run screaming from here. If they dig a little deeper they find this is the norm. The Watchtower always warns them that 'apostates hate God, the Bible and just want to shipwreck the faith of Christians."
    So many of us 'apostates' are just exactly what they have been warned about. It is one thing to lose faith in a cult, it is another to have one's faith in God also at stake.

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