Was Simplification the Downfall of the Watchtower?

by NotBlind 48 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Fatfreek

    I agree with your premise, NotBlind. I believe it is a reflection of modern industry's LEAN initiative. Though retired now, I was on our company's LEAN team toward the end of my days there, and enjoyed that work. Doing away with all the unnecessaries, the redundancies, etc. At times we, too, went too far.

    The way it sounds, the Society went too far with abandonment of the more social type work that people enjoyed. Recently they laid off a bunch at Bethel headquarters. Perhaps this upcoming October program will be another in their series of LEANing things up.

    The Borg is trying to tack new shingles on a building that was constructed in the 9th ward of New Orleans.


  • under_believer

    My oh my, what a great post this is. How can someone capable of putting that together only have posted a hundred times in five years?
    I absolutely endorse this point. The Spiritual Paradise that I remember fondly from my youth (no doubt tinted by the hazy golden glow of false nostalgia) is utterly gone. The organization and the worship that people offer is a shadow of its former glory. People are depressed, sad, and businesslike. There is no joy in the congregations anymore, especially not springing from or related to their worship. The most joyful people get these days is when they are visiting with other believers before and after the meetings. People used to be able to point to the stuff that the Organization could pull off--food service, wonderfully produced and bound publications, construction work... sure, you and I know that this stuff was accomplished through free labor, but even so, it was pretty amazing. These days, challenge a JW to prove that it's the One True Religion and all they have to point to is the preaching work, a preaching work that every Witness in the Western world believes is happening off somewhere else across the sea. It's sure not happening to them, though.
    Was Simplification the downfall of the Watchtower? Or was the downfall of the Watchtower the cause of the simplification?
    I think both, it's a vicious cycle. This organization is clinically depressed. Have you ever suffered from depression? The depression makes you do and say things that cause effects in your life that in turn make you more depressed. We're observing a feedback loop.
    God, writing this depressed me. I bet I could still be a Witness if it was still like I remember it being in the 80's.

  • SirNose586

    The apathy is becoming a little more evident in my congregation. Our account funds used to hover between 1,300 and 1,000. Last night they read the accounts and we had a $400 deficit. After those two "resolutions" about the CO and the KHAA, people are NOT ponying up enough dough.

    The funds on hand at the end of the month were close to $500. This is the least we've had in quite some time. I saw a sister march up to the box with a wad of bills...but let's face it....nobody wanted to pony up for both resolutions. At the end of the accounts report, the brother giving the announcements had a detectable note of weariness in his voice when he said, "We thank the...congregrations for their fine donations this month."

    Our congregation was asked to give over $1200 (both resolutions), and I'm not sure how much we got, but I don't think it was much over half that amount.

  • willyloman
    simplification sucked the life out of Witness activities...

    Just want to add my voice to the chorus: This is a significant post that, along with the comments in response, has created a landmark thread.

    There is more truth here about the organization than you'll find in a year of public talks and WT "studies."

    For years I worked behind the scenes at District Conventions for three or four weeks in a row every summer, gladly using up my vacation time to "serve" in this unique capacity. It was hard physical labor, and the days were often 12 hours long, or longer. We were all exhausted by the end of the second week, near collapse by the end of week three, and in those years when there was a Week 4, well, we somehow endured. But I wouldn't have traded it for anything. The feeling of belonging and comaraderie was intense, coupled with a strong sense that we were laboring under spiritual direction and drawing close to God. We were doing something really important. And we were "special."

    This all went away with "simplification." I can still remember the first assembly I attended after the food service arrangement was dropped. I sat in the hot, stuffy auditorium and listened to the speakers as they droned on and on and thought, my God, how am I going to sit through this for four days! And how have all these people been doing it for years? I'd have traded four weeks on my feet for this in a hot second.

    I supposed that's when I started to realize I was mostly there because I felt needed or thought I was doing something that was visibly making a difference in people's lives. Once I realized that was no longer true (if it ever was), I began to look more critically at everything else. I wish I could say I walked away right after that, but in fact it took me seven or eight more years.

    So, yes, simplification was the death knell for the WTS. Further proof there is no divine direction at work in the JW organization.

  • sspo

    What does the proverb say? Expectations postponed will make the heart sick. How true, when they were looking to 1975, you had something to look forward to. When 1995 came and they changed the meaning of the generation, what do the witnesses have to look forward to?

    Just empty promises of hearing over and over again that the end is around the corner. Or we're living at the last hour of this system of things. It does not cut it anymore.

    That's why there is no more excitement on the part of the witnesses....... i notice if they try to be excited about the convention, it is because they have to, they have been programmed to show appreciation and try to be positive about it, how good it was and how the faithful and disreet slave provides.

    If you attend a convention nowdays, there is nothing new, It's the same message of do more in the organization because we live in the last days.

  • daniel-p

    I think the fundamental factor is/was friendship. When you vollunteered for preparing meals at the conventions you were able to associate with your friends and make new friends. The only thing that really encourages people and builds them up is good friendship - you can see how it affects everything the JW's do. Pioneering sucks without a friend. Going to the meetings is dull and boring unless you have friends to talk to before and after. Conventions are horribly boring and lonely unless you have friends to find and talk to and maybe sit with. (You'll notice how members from the same congregation will often sit in the same section). Quick-builds are a sterling example of this. I was involved in the RBC for a few years and what was really encouraging for me was going with friends, seeing old friends, and working with them. Quick-builds are insanely popular - probably the most popular event in the JW world - because its just a bunch of friends getting together and working and having fun (some work more than others, lol).

    All the "streamlining" and "simplifying" undermines the intensity of the shared experience. As Garybuss mentioned above, as soon as congregation members see the fruits of their labor, the congregation is split in half, just so its easier to control for the elders. It all just goes to show, the times of the WTS having a human face are long gone... surpassed by the out-of-touch, anonymous Bethel-lifers who are writing all this policy.

  • truthseeker

    Some good points!

    What a great post!

    My dad used to say that on the way home from the convention, they would sing Kingdom Songs. I used to volunteer at conventions in Southampton, even emptying the garbage cans was more fun that hearing their B.S. I made sandwhiches once at Twickers.

    There's no reason to get together for anything now.

    Case in point:

    Does anyone remember simplication at Haisbridge?

    First you had hot meals

    Then you had tea, coffee and biscuits

    Now you have nothing. It's called a dining hall, yet there's no cooking, no waiters, nothing. You bring your skimpy little lunch, eat and go to the afternoon session. Rare were the times you could sit on the grass and eat.

    I think the DCs and assemblies simply give the dubs "Let's get it out the way" mentality.

  • jstalin

    It sounds like the dubs have scrapped any remaining esprit de corps amongst the members. The simple acts of working together to organize conventions or even cook the meals builds that bond between people which makes them feel like they are part of something. Now the organization dictates and doesn't require any group participation in anything more meaningful than a book study, where nothing concrete gets accomplished.

    The organization is managing its own decline, and the actions it is taking to try and cut costs is contributing to its further decline.

  • LDH


    Some years back I asked "Norm" (any of you remember him--Norm Hovland) to compose an essay on "Simplification." Much to my chagrin, he never did.

    You have made up for it. However with an essay this good, you have now caused me to ask, WHAT TOOK YA SO LONG since you only have, like, 110 posts in 4 years. GET WITH IT.

    Just wait till they start studying the Revelation book for a record 4th time.

    Yes, but it should be more exciting this time around because of the 4 pages of corrections distributed in the September KM. LOL!


  • willyloman
    and doesn't require any group participation in anything more meaningful than a book study, where nothing concrete gets accomplished.

    You said a lot there!

Share this