Bethelite: Elder burnout, R&F disillusionment led to book study change

by pseattle2 61 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • mind my own
    mind my own

    Nice post Pseattle2. I do hope this is the situation. WE all know it here, but I am unsure if those in the org are actually aware.

    In my mind, I would love this to be the case and I am hoping others see the light as well!


  • undercover

    I remember the first elder that I knew that stepped down because of too much stress and pressure...and this was over twenty years ago. At the time, he was regarded as having little faith since he didn't rely on Jehovah to give him strenght to continue.

    But as time passed more and more elders followed his example and stepped down. One elder said it was like lifting a house off his shoulders. Now he could actually tend to his own family's needs instead of everyone else in the congregation.

    I've been sitting here trying to think of all the brothers that I grew up with (all of them over the age of 40 now) and how many are elders now. I came up with two names. One other guy had been made elder early but has since been DFd. There are a couple or three MSs but the rest are either inactive, DFd, or fringe members. The only elders that are under the age of 50 in the last two halls that I attended are people who have moved in, notably two or three Bethelites. None of the home grown JW males have reached out for being an elder.

  • easyreader1970

    I agree with this assessment. The congregation that I left recently was a perfect example of not having enough capable elders and ministerial servants. The elders were worked to death with all of the theocratic assignments they were given because there were too few of them to handle them sufficiently. It was so bad that some of the elders would admit to not studying or preparing and needing the help of the congregation. It was better than just making a fool of themselves.

    That same congregation recently had one elder run off with another woman (leaving his family flapping in the wind), another stepped down to take care of his sickly wife, and another left for unknown reasons. There might be four elders there, five maximum. The congregation has about 160 publishers or so. They can't find people to fill the slots. They asked one of the servants and he refused. He didn't want the hassle.

    If similar things are happening elsewhere, the WBTS is in trouble. The kids aren't staying in the Organization so they can't use them as a draft pool.


  • still_in74
    At the time, he was regarded as having little faith since he didn't rely on Jehovah to give him strenght to continue.

    100% TRUTH!!!

  • steve2

    I agree with an earlier poster's comment that the extent of the burnout differs from region to region and even country to country.

    Here in New Zealand, there seem to be pockets of increase JW activity but mainly among immigrant congregations. By and large the "mainstream" congregations are top-heavy with middle-aged and older JWs. There's a conspicuous absence of young men in particular. Young women still seem to stay on in the congregations but even their zeal looks mighty pedestrian.

    To me the most telling sign is that, despite a huge baby boom in the NZ congregations in the late 70s and 80s, there's not much young blood left today sitting on the seats.

    BTW, back in the late 70s, I remember hearing from the platform a warning about brothers who were running ahead of Jehovah and pressuring the organization to put in place programmes for younger people who even then were prone to leaving. Nearly 30 years later, nothing's been done of any note and, in fact, based on my family's first hand reports, it's even worse.

  • besty

    The WTS is an organisation top-heavy with needy older ones and a retention problem with younger ones who feel disenfranchised by an organisation that doesn't really understand them.

    How about a WTS sponsored initiative to get the youngsters helping the elderly in a practical way - shopping, housework, social time etc. This could take the place of weekend field service and be reportable on a time slip.

    This program would address the 'public benefit' requirement of charitable institutions, give the youngsters a reason to stay committed, take some workload off the elders and be of genuine help to the older ones.

    Likelihood of happening - 25%.

  • grassyknoll07

    This is what i suspected from the beginning. Burn-out is a huge problem in my area. In my hall the publisher to elder ration is 1/35. In another hall it's 1/55 (only 2 elders). Not to mention work, family, household responsibilities and personal study time; it really is too much. Add to that the occasional “the elders aren’t doing enough” attitude/comments from publisher and the CO; it makes you wonder if it’s worth-it. I tried voicing my concerns to another elder and I got the boilerplate remark of "I don't trust in Jehovah enough, I need to pray more etc..." Similar comments from the CO. Glad to see the word is getting thru to the big wigs. Future streamlining wish list... 1) Eliminate the "Pioneer's Assist" program (huge waste of time) 2) Eliminate the "Pre Service Meeting". 3) Allow shepherding to count towards service time. 4) Allow women to perform some of "mechanical" tasks (PO assistant, Secretary Assistant... etc).

  • yadda yadda 2
    yadda yadda 2

    pseattle2 should have acknowledged his other sources. It's nice to get this info repeated but shame on you for not doing that. Otherwise people will not bother coming on here and posting their inside scoops. It's not about egos Burn the ships. Bud2114 had every right to complain.

  • flipper

    P SEATTLE 2 - Very good thread ! Very informative - and much needed to see this from an angle that is not often discussed here. I truly believe the demise of any organization starts at the top - Jehovah's Witnesses are no exception. If the elders are feeling the stress and pressure of what this organization is putting on them - can you imagine how the rank and file are feeling the pressure from those same stressed out elders ? When getting counseled , or being at the receiving end of discipline from men already way too overloaded to perform their assignments adequately ? One can only imagine.

    When I was in the organization until late 2003 - I can remember at least 15 to 20 or more elders who either stepped down, were removed, or just got so damned stress they faded into oblivion- never being seen or heard from again. Can't say I blame them. It truly is criminal the stress and expectations the Watchtower society puts on it's elders to perform. I'm glad I never reached out to be one. Poor saps

  • Quandry

    easyreader says:

    The kids aren't staying in the Organization so they can't use them as a draft pool.

    This seems true, but as they are baptizing children younger and younger, perhaps they could use them before "burnout" sets in.

    Perhaps thirteen would be a good age to appoint a young man as "elder." Especially since at this age they know everything anyway!!

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