Confusing... but this set me straight

by possibilities 14 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • possibilities

    I'm new to this site... just looking for confirmations of thoughts I've been having during my investigation of this organization. I'm attending meetings while studying and thought this forum might provide some insight. It surely does. I look forward to getting a new perspective.

    I was confused, though, by a post made about the letter read to the congregations this week. I was present for the reading of that letter and found posts here talking very negatively about the letter. One said the letter stated that there is concern about lack of attention to JW families... about brothers and sisters leaving the truth...about families coming unprepared to meetings. The poster of that message said they were purposely remaining anonymous, and I can see why. Those statements were not in the letter at all. I knew whatI had heard, but couldn't understand how this person could have heard something different. There hadn't been anything sinister about the contents - in fact, it had a very positive tone - ... then, I found a post that had a copy of the letter in it and I knew I wasn't crazy. Here is what the letter really said, and I'd like to thank the person who posted it in that other thread for reassuring me that I heard it right the first time:

    The following is not the English original, but a translation:


    Dear Brothers:

    As indicated in the Bible at 1 Corinthians 7:31, "the scene of this world is changing." Each passing day confirms that these words are inspired and true. As the "great tribulation" approaches, Satan demonstrates increasing rage against us. -- Matthew 24:21; 1 Peter 5:8, 9; Revelation 12:17.

    The Governing Body understands very well the increasing pressures that confront you, the Lord's beloved sheep. Just like the Governing Body of the first century, we do not want you to bear any more burdens than those that are necessary. (Acts 15:6, 28) Consequently, after engaging in a great amount of meditation and prayer, we have decided to adopt measures to alleviate those burdens by modifying the weekly program of meetings. (Matthew 11:28-30)

    Beginning January 1, 2009, the Congregation Book Study will be combined with the Theocratic Ministry School and Service Meeting. No longer will it be known as the Congregation Book Study. Instead, it will be called the Congregation Bible Study. Following a song and prayer, the length of the study will be twenty-five minutes, and it will be conducted similar to the way it is now. It will be led by a rotation of qualified elders. Next there will come the Theocratic Ministry School, which will last thirty minutes. Then, after another song, the Service Meeting will begin, and it will last thirty-five minutes. The meeting will conclude with a song and prayer. Combined in this way, these meetings will total an hour and forty five minutes, including the prayers and songs.

    Meetings for field service will be according to the current system, and will consist of small groups. Later we will be sending additional information about the Congregation Bible Studies and meetings for field service.

    This change in our weekly program offers several benefĂ­ts. For example, making less trips for congregation meetings will save much time as well as fuel which in numerous countries is more and more expensive. But there is a benefit of even greater significance. It will offer more time for the important responsibility of Bible study on a personal and family level.

    In effect, the changes in the weekly program will allow us to strengthen the spirituality of the family, devoting one night to Family Worship. Family heads must assume the responsibility that Jehovah has given to them of leading their households in a significant weekly study of the Bible. (Deuteronomy 6:6, 7) And single brothers and sisters who do not have family responsibilities should use this time for their personal study of the Bible. It is essential to be "buying out the opportune time" and to strengthen one another as we consider the events that are soon to occur. (Ephesians 5:15, 16) The day of Jehovah is indeed approaching rapidly. (Zephaniah 1:14; 2 Peter 3:12) So it is more urgent than ever that we make use of the time that remains to build up one another upon our "most holy faith." (Jude 20)

    Let's make good use of these changes while we keep on following the lead of the Great Shepherd who guides us to grassy pastures where we find peace and refreshment. (Psalm 23:2, 3) We pray Jehovah will keep on protecting you and giving you spiritual strength in these difficult times. With Christian love,

    Your brothers,

    Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses

    P.S. to the presiding overseer:

    Once the letter has been read in all the congregations that share the same Kingdom Hall, please place this letter on the announcements board, where it should remain for two weeks and then filed.

  • undercover
    One said the letter stated that there is concern about lack of attention to JW families... about brothers and sisters leaving the truth...about families coming unprepared to meetings. The poster of that message said they were purposely remaining anonymous, and I can see why. Those statements were not in the letter at all.

    What has happened is that some elders have made some editorial comments that included similar remarks. Even though they're supposed to read the letter word for word and not add to it, there are some pompous asses that just can't help but add to the material.

    There were also some elders that got wind of the news before it was read and speculated aloud to fellow elders and other JW buddies. Thus the rumor mill ran rampant.

    It is good to have the letter posted as it was written so everyone can see what was read verbatim...though it won't stop people from speculating about what was written between the lines.

    ...and...Welcome to the board!

  • Eyes Open
    Eyes Open

    Hi there possibilities. Welcome to the site.

    One said the letter stated that there is concern about lack of attention to JW families... about brothers and sisters leaving the truth...about families coming unprepared to meetings. The poster of that message said they were purposely remaining anonymous, and I can see why. Those statements were not in the letter at all.

    The poster would have been using their knowledge of the Watchtower Society's motives based on the history of the organisation and their previous experiences. When significant changes are made to the way that the high control group is run, we who have been affected by it (especially those of us with family who are still trapped in the group believing what they are indoctrinated with) like to try and work out why.

    Edit: Reading undercover's reply above, I realise I misunderstood your query, possibilities.

    It's good you're doing your research properly while you are studying. It's very likely that the person/people whom you are studying with are very sincere in their attempts to bring you into their religion; unfortunately this doesn't stop the group ultimately being very harmful. Keep researching, using a variety of sources.

    Just one site for you: Facts About Jehovah's Witnesses

    All the best and, of course, feel free to post any questions.

  • Caedes


    I would encourage you to learn as much as you can about the organisation from as many sources as possible. You are right however that the tone of the letter is positive, all of the speculation on this and no doubt other boards regarding some sinister purpose for cancelling the bs is nothing more than opinion. There is no evidence that the governing body had any other reasons than those outlined in the letter.

    Whilst I have no doubt that some of the policies of the wbts are destructive I am of the opinion that painting every change they make in the worst possible light does not help. I may not be optimistic for the chance of large scale positive change but anything that improves the lives of ordinary witnesses can only be a good thing.

  • journey-on

    "Now isn't that special." (Said in the voice of the Church Lady on SNL).

    Yes, they make it sound like a simple adjustment to benefit the brothers and sisters. You, being new to their ways,

    don't get the little nuanced wording like those of us that have been associated with this "religion" (I will here refrain from

    using the "c" word) do. It will all be revealed about this time next year. Wait and see what the REAL reason will be when

    they start pressing more and more people to consider the pioneer work. They need $$$ and new sales people publishers

    and have got to find a way to guilt-trip the publishers and increase sales. Just my opinion and that of a lot of other old-timers

    that know them too well.

    You are right to give them the benefit of the doubt, however. Follow your own heart with prayerful intention. We cynics could be wrong.....(nah!)

  • yknot


    To JWD Possibilities....

    Perhaps you could provide a link to the original post.

    Keep posting!

  • OnTheWayOut

    Any changes they make will be made with a positive tone.

    The announcement is contrary to many of their past positive thoughts about
    the smaller bookstudy groups. They said these were a provision from Jehovah
    and allowed for a closer, family-type feeling to the meeting. They said the
    smaller groups allowed for more participation.

    They have said in the past that people have had to walk miles to their meetings,
    but now they say the price of gas is high. The price of gas has been high in
    many parts of the world for a long time. If time saved was important, why the
    delay until January. We poke fun at that, assuming that they just want us to
    waste gas and time until January.

    They say not to forsake the gathering together at the meetings, but the fact is
    that this will cause one less gathering every week, so that flies in opposition to
    what they have always said.

    You have to understand that many here have experience with the WT organization
    and we don't believe they would admit any true negative reasons for the change.
    Among those reasons we speculate are:
    Not enough qualified bookstudy overseers.
    Poor attendence anyway, so might as well combine it with the other meetings.
    Members are tired of studying the same old books over and over.
    WT wants to reduce the actual publication of new books because they are not
    recovering the printing cost, so it is necessary to stretch the time to cover new books.
    Fear that small groups are actually not sticking strictly to the material and are
    possibly using outside materials to research, causing more independent thinking.

  • Bring_the_Light

    LOL, I distinctly remember that previous loving guidance from the Slave was that we could not possibly get enough "spiritual food" and that meetings were "refreshment". Now, getting rid of meetings is a reduction of a burden.

    Possibilities, the Devil isn't so much in the teachings its in the social details. Lots of religions teach things that just ain't true, that isn't the issue the JW detractors here have with the Cult. The Devil is in the Social Controls, Brainwashing, Emotional Blackmail, suppression of ANYTHING that might make you happy "in this system of things", conditional love of "friends" who will choose the Organization over any respect for you. You'll just need to take it under advisement that there are tens/hundreds of thousands of Ex-JW's who feel SEVERLY victimized by the cult.

    That said, if you never surrender your freedom of thought, and don't get too deep into the social controls, I really don't think studying with JWs and going to meetings as a newbie is "dangerous".If you're comparing what you read here to the nice, apparently sincere people you're meeting, just understand that its not like that, these are severe issues that arise when you're deep in the swing of things. Its almost impossible to explain to an non-JW. Just watch yourself. I think JW's are some nice people too. Nice people with crazy views that will destroy you if you aren't careful.

    I really doubt many people here are upset that JW's exist and we don't think they have "the truth", its much more than a theocratic debate. People here will respond cynically to just about anything the Filthful and Disgraced Slavekeeper does or says. It feels good after what we've been through. If you keep in mind that the "Faithful and Discreet Slave" is 9 very human old guys in New York, you'll be miles ahead of the really dangerous JW's.

    KEEP FRIENDS OUTSIDE OF THE ORGANIZATION - My parting advice (err for now, I guess we may get to chat a lot, so I don't want to sound so final)


  • Bring_the_Light

    TO "Possibilities" - If "confirmation of thoughts" means you can already smell the madness and want someone to confirm it for you. I and most others here will get greater pleasure confirming that for you and keeping you out (thereby saving you) than whomever is trying to get you in would get from your dunking. We are at your disposal.

    I'm giddy with the prospect of saving my first soul (I'm pretty new here too, was raised a JW been out 10 years)

  • FireNBandits

    Those bastids MEDITATE???? No way Jose'.

    The "Governing Body of the first century"? HAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Hey, to any Governating Body members that may be reading this:

    **** YOU!

    Saint Martin the Culpable

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