Public Talks Designed by the Watchtower Society

by The wanderer 15 Replies latest jw friends

  • The wanderer
    The wanderer
    An Interesting Public Talk

    Some years ago, there was an interesting talk based on Noah's ark and
    the brother giving the talk had a full model display scaled down so that
    individuals could appreciate the type of work that went into such a
    real life project.

    Such Talks Done Away with

    An elder related to me that the Watchtower Society had done away with
    such talks because the talks did not focus the complete attention on the
    Bible. It was one of my personal warning signs that something was terribly

    Recalling Further Conversations

    One day, in speaking to an elder, I questioned how the talks were
    designed, he mentioned that they were designed by outlines and
    that some of the talks were 20, 25 and even 30 years old. That
    struck me as odd—because I always created my own—something
    that I failed to mention to him.

    Question to the audience

    1.) Does anyone have any idea how the talks are structured in the organization?

    2.) Why are the talks so old?

    3.) Can someone relate any information regarding the talks?


    The Wanderer

  • sir82
    because the talks did not focus the complete attention on the Bible.


    If I had a nickel for every 45 minute talk in which the speaker cited 5 scriptures or less, and used the other 42 minutes to expound his personal, illogical rambling viewpoints on whatever the theme was (or whatever put a bee in his bonnet lately), I'd be writing this post from my villa in Tuscany while waiting for my Ferrari to come back from the detail shop.

    Answering your questions, there are about 160 or so Society-written outlines for talks. About 120 of them are from the early 90's (several of those are re-writes of outlines that go back probably 40 or 50 years). The latest 40 or so have come out in the last 5 or 6 years. Every year or 2 the Society has come out with 5-10 "new" outlines (many of which are only subtly different than ones from numbers 1 - 120).

    In the 70's & earlier there was far more leeway allowed in developing outlines for talks - some brothers were quite creative. Of course, the Society couldn't bear that, so all creativity was squelched and directives issued to strictly follow the outlines.

    Somewhere on this site is a link to a website with most of the outline titles, and a few of the actual outlines themselves.

  • SirNose586
    2.) Why are the talks are so old?

    Laziness? If it ain't broke, they probably don't want to fix it.

    Though I do know what you're saying about adding little creative touches. I haven't seen that lately. Many years ago, my dad used to make illustrations for use in his talks; one was of the Immense Image in Daniel 2 (head of gold, arms of silver, etc.). He also had one of two houses, one built on good foundation, the other on sand. The pictures are still in the house somewhere. But I have not seen a visual in a public talk for some time.

    The only thing that comes close was some months ago, the speaker brought a pair of Zildjan cymbals and started crashing away at one point! He was talking about the scripture in 1 Corinthians 13 where Paul talks about becoming a "sounding piece of brass" if you claim to do wonderful things, yet do not have love. I was in the sound booth and it was my first time doing it, so I frantically had to keep cutting off the main mic during each cymbal crash. It caught me totally by suprise. I'm sure the brother got counseled for being "too flashy," and "too loud."

    The lack of creativity allowed in talks, plus the simplifying of assemblies (no decorations, no orchestra, no food, etc.) gives the average dub less and less to look forward wonder the apathy is growing.

  • greendawn

    Strange behaviour for an org claiming to be modelled on the early church. Did the so called GB of that time send out talk plans that could not be changed? This is obviously a very centralised organisation because it wants to control tightly every religious activity that goes on in the JW society.

  • Wasanelder Once
    Wasanelder Once

    The most interesting talks are those that used the outline for just that, an outline. The details were filled in with illustrations and efforts to make it accessible to the listeners. I hated it when people presumed to have answers to questions that no one else had, ie: how old Adam was, what we would wear after armageddon and such. I stuck with the nuts and bolts of the info, using the scriptures and expounding on them and illustrating them. You can't go wrong if you do that. I downplayed the works for righteousness as often as I could. I focused on those parts of the outline that were specific to the scripture and not some big WT article.....

    When speakers try to use every line of the outline provided it was grueling and boring beyond endurance. Those talks sucked. There may not have been many props or physical illustrations allowed, but a good speaker could make those subjects really shine. I think that's why there is such a cult of personality when it comes to public speakers... The old, "He's a great brother... you should hear his talks!" crap.

    It's all smoke and mirrors, without the smoke and mirrors. They're not allowed.


  • fullofdoubtnow

    One of the first public talks I went to was illustrated, but that was the only time I ever saw that, which must have been early 1982.

    As for why some of the talks are so old, I have no idea, but Trev remembers after he'd given his first public talk in 1996, this brother said to him he'd given his first public talk on the same topic in 1980, so that was an old talk.

  • south african beef
    south african beef

    I gave a few talks and I (at that time) used to love giving talks on creation. I remember holding up a tennis ball and saying to the audience that if this was the sun, how far away would the earth be? Little things like that along with a bit of extra research used to liven up a talk, but I was told to stick to the outline more closely.

    Also for a while I arranged the Public Talk list - this involved phoning brothers from various congregations and arranging some of their elders to come along and give a talk at our hall and we would reciprocate and send one of our elders to them.

    I was told by our elders to give the talk marks out ten and I would discuss with them how well I thought the talk went - some speakers were crossed off the list and never asked again. If you knew that system was in operation you'd give a rubbish talk on purpose wouldn't you?!

  • serendipity
  • BluesBrother

    IMHO. the speakers are just too lazy to do anything more than present it just as the outline says. The standard of public speaking has plummeted with the simplification and dumbing down of the organization.

    They may have spared the flock from one or two dodgy home made illustrations , but they have created a generation of "yes men" who are afraid to depart from a virtual script - and they bore everyone to death zzzzzzz

  • Gilberto

    I still have the outlines of the talks I gave plus some others.

    One of the talks "The Sacredness of LIfe and Blood" dated 8/00 was the talk I never gave. It was while preparing for this talk I decided I ought to actually find out what the "abstain from blood" meant.

    Well I did find out.

Share this