Rationales behind Elimination of the Book Study and Likely Effects Thereof

by Olin Moyles Ghost 18 Replies latest jw friends

  • Olin Moyles Ghost
    Olin Moyles Ghost

    I realize that the book study news has been discussed ad nauseam, but I would like to join the fun.

    Lots of potential reasons have been bandied about on the board. For example, legal liability for crimes/torts that take place at the bookstudy homes may make the Society nervous. This seems reasonable, but it's probably not the primary reason. Another potential reason identified by some is the fear of apostate talk or questions due to the intimate nature of a home book study. I am skeptical of this. In general, I think many ex-JWs fall into one of the same traps that JWs fall into. That trap is overstating their own significance. No doubt the Society is concerned about apostates, but probably no more so than with materialism, porn, divorce, apathy, depression, etc.

    I think the main reasons for the change are practical. First, compared to the other meetings the book study is poorly attended. Second, because of the high cost of living in the U.S., the friends have to work longer hours. Three meetings per week is a burden for lots of these friends, esp. those with children.

    I wonder if this change will make it easier for JW kids to play school sports. When I was in school, the fact that we had 2 meeting nights per week effectively foreclosed any opportunity to play...I would simply miss too many practices (as well as some games). Now, with only one meeting night per week, more JW parents may rationalize allowing their kids to play school sports.

  • CaptainSchmideo

    Where I live, no school or sport events are scheduled on Wednesday night. Why? Because it seems that every church in town (save one) has their mid week service on Wednesday, and this accomodates the schedule. But the ol' oddball JW's have (or had) their meetings on Tuesday and Thursday, which always creates conflicts for school functions and assignments.

    If my congregation would move the meeting to Wednesday as well, then Band functions, sporting events, and other school function could be attended by my family and others at the Hall, guilt free!

  • moshe
    Where I live, no school or sport events are scheduled on Wednesday night.

    I wonder, if any KH's will be brave enought to do reschedule to Wednesday nights? Imagine JW kids mixing it up at school- that will surely put them on a path to normalcy.

  • Olin Moyles Ghost
    Olin Moyles Ghost

    Also, I think that eliminating the book study has been on the GB's radar for some time. It has probably taken this long for them to reach a 2/3 majority. I find it difficult to believe that some of the more hardcore/old school members would go along with this (e.g., Jaracz, Losch). Perhaps the newer GB members who are ex COs and DOs realized that 3 meetings per week is a burden on the friends. In other words, perhaps the explanation given in the letter is...dare I say it...true.

    As has been stated in other threads, the Society is almost certain to retain the small groups for field service. Thus, there will still be an overseer over small groups that will keep tabs on the field service and "spirituality" of the members, including being the point man for any shepherding. That overseer just won't have to conduct a meeting anymore.

  • BluesBrother

    I have just entered on another post that perhaps the name change to "Bible Study" is significant. If they do not have to put resource into writing and printing study books then they save money...Or maybe they have run out of ideas?

  • startingover

    My wife told me the change makes her sad. She's a very social person so it's taking away a time to hang out and socialize with friends. I really think the burden thing is being overblown, at least from my experience. If you happen to be in a book study where you like the people there, I don't think it's ever thought of as a burden. Just another chance to hang out, which allows you to overlook the fact you are studying the same book for the 4th time.

    If there was only one cong. using a hall, I bet the switch to Wed. will eventually happen. With so many mutli cong halls that are common today, there is no room for it to happen.

  • yknot

    Thanks for sharing your opinion Just to let you know we are going through a 80's style clamp-down......sports have already been addressed at the DCs, it is far better to have your children participate in FS after school then be led by the worldly competitive associations that sports bring. The June08 Awake even winks at the toy issue, sparking most of us born-ins raised in the 80's to have flash-backs of the widespread toy burnings of the era. On one hand they are tightening behaviors and the other they are making changes that seem to mainstream us in image alone and all of these changes are to be seen as manna from heaven due to the increased restrictions and therefore easily accepted as proof of the end and such concern about the flock by the Faithful and Discreet Shepherds, yet they are also distancing themselves be reminding all that they are not 'inspired' but yet appointed in 1919..............it is so classic cult control. I see two different factions at work in a compromise to achieve their group's goals..or..a plan organized by someone who truly love mind games.

  • yknot

    Umm.....just got a call from a Sp congo Sister from the KH bathroom..............

    There "Bible Study" will be on Wednesday night same as their current "Book Study"

    She said Bro. Dominguez told the KH the English will get Thursday nights.....same as our current BS.

    Of course this prompt the question .......

    If all the BSs are toward the end of the week ......does this means rumors of CO changes are true?

  • Olin Moyles Ghost
    Olin Moyles Ghost

    yknot, I've noticed the clampdown too. I don't specifically remember sports being mentioned recently, but higher education has been beaten to death over the past couple of years.

    On the surface this change appears to be opposed to the Society's current hard-line direction. Perhaps there are competing factions on the GB? No matter what, there is no way this was a unanimous vote!

  • Narkissos
    Another potential reason identified by some is the fear of apostate talk or questions due to the intimate nature of a home book study.

    I have been wondering about that too. There is no doubt that a small group is potentially a favourable structure for asking questions and expressing personal opinions, but whether that would actually happen (beside the odd exception) is another matter.

    I have been out for 22 years. If (as I have gathered from discussions on French xJW boards) the WT gave moreimportance to the "book study" structure during the 90s they must not have been particularly concerned about that "risk" -- in spite of the frustrating effect of going through the same books over and over again, another new feature (if I dare say) that I haven't experienced either. Perhaps it was just an optimistic period, as the organisation was growing again and before the popularisation of the Internet...

    Still, I would be surprised that JWs would engage in free discussion of the WT material either during or after the book study. Most JWs I have known would practically never discuss "spiritual" matters together if they weren't meant to (e.g. before or after meetings, or in "social gatherings"). If this has changed, or if it is any different in the English-speaking JW-world, I'm curious to know...

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