What do you feel is the reason the WTS succeeds in retaining its members?

by RULES & REGULATIONS 19 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • White Dove
    White Dove

    Cults appeal to depressed or otherwise having a bad day individuals.

    They prey on them.

    There is no retention to speak of.

    Fear and desperation keeps most inside, I'd wager.

    Edited to add: I guess that is only part of it. I stayed in because I thought it was absolutely the truth.

    That is until they proved themselves to be Pharisees. It was then that I knew it wasn't the truth.

    I still felt the Bible had the truth until I began reading it from cover to cover.

    Born-ins like me stay until they've had enough and are curious enough to examine the real world outside khall walls.

    I feel that they are like "The Truman Show," inside a bubble not knowing or allowed to know what's out there.

    Fear of the unknown could keep many of them in, I guess.

  • Sunnygal41

    because at first, it feels good to have someone else making all your decisions for you. Especially since through the study program it seems that they have all the answers to life's deepest questions.

    after awhile, though, some of us wake up and smell the coffee...........


  • tooktheredpill

    Why the WTS succeeds in retaining its members?

    Fear, Guilt, and keeping people numb by the "no higher education policy":

    Fear: "Everything is bad outside the organization. You can't have doubts about the GB... you can be sinning against the Holy Spirit". "You are going to die in Armaggedon if you don't go preach door to door"...

    Guilt: "I'm not doing enough in the ministry", "Jehovah is not going to bless me and my family if I miss the meetings"

    No higher education = no development of your thinking skills. The easiest way to subdue people is by maintain them dumb.

    I don't understand how I believed this all my life. Now I understand why my self-esteem was so bad...


  • still-fading

    I think it a few reasons for different groups of people. For example, born-ins like me, are afraid of losing everything from family right down to friends. And from what I've see, most "new ones" are doing it for social reasons. They may outcasts with nothing out there and here is this group that on the surface takes you in.

  • Pahpa

    I don't think the Watchtower "retains" its members as much as it recruits new ones to replace those leaving. And much of the recent increases have occurred in third world countries where desperation rules. We've already learned that 2/3rds of those "raised as Jehovah's Witnesses" leave the organization. And we see on the Forum that many more members have left in the last few years.

    Also, it takes less time and commitment for one to be considered as a member in good standing in the congregation. This tends to "pad" the statistics. And what of the number who go through the motions of being members but only stay because of fear or intimidation?

    I think the Watchtower is not "suceeding" as much as it is supressing its membership.

  • NewYork44M

    I agree with the comments. Once you have committed your life to a cause it is very very difficult to change directions. Compounding the difficulty is the fact that you will lose family and friends if you decide to change direction.

  • LongHairGal

    Sadly, the biggest reason I think is because the people spent most of their life there and are heavily invested. They have no outside friends or interests.

    In some cases, even their livelihood may be directly tied in with people in the congregation and so they keep their doubts to themselves. So, it isn't so easy to just get up and walk out. I have heard stories about people who had JW clients who deserted them because they disassociated themselves. So, the nature of the religion forces certain people who have much to lose to keep their feelings hidden.


  • BarefootServant

    Wobble said:

    I believe you have it spot on,but how can we break through that mindset,I have nearly all my close family,and some dear friends still"in". I know this has been discussed but how do we help them to open their eyes and hearts?

    From my experience so far, and I expect yours too, even those that love and trust us will recoil at any attempt to tell them the truth. They are so comfortable in, and comforted by, their beliefs that it feels almost unkind to try to unplug them. Really, change can only come from within them themselves, and at a time when they're ready for it, when they realise that it is not wrong (and not too painful) to face up to the possibility that they've been misled. A turning point for my wife was when she suddenly became conscious of the fact that her main reason for going to meetings and on the ministry was guilt, and that that could not be the right motive for serving God. But it has not been easy for her and we're not free yet. Like you we have family still 'in', and we are treading very carefully.

    I know that feeling of helplessness. We want a quick fix. But I think the most we can do is to be non-confrontational, plant a little seed, maybe a question or a piece of scriptual information which may get them to think. Other than that, love them and always be there for them. I don't know what else we can do.

  • Scarred for life
    Scarred for life
    Now I understand why my self-esteem was so bad...

    Yeah, being raised as a JW really does a number on your self-esteem. I know it has to me and I can really see it in my sister.

    This is a great thread. In my immediate family and in my extended family this is what I have observed.

    1. The absolute disbelief and horror that you could have allowed yourself to be fooled for approximately 25 years. I very much think that my father was struggling with this realization when he died suddenly. I'm not sure that he ever came to grips with it.

    2. Structure. Tuesday Night, Thursday Night , Sunday. You know where you're going to be and what you'll be doing. Add to that your weekly field service time and maybe even a JW social event.

    3. Support. If you remain an active JW and do all the right things you are pretty much guaranteed support and "friendship" through life's trying times. Deaths in the family, births, sicknesses. It's a ready-made support group. Many, many people are in and stay FOR THIS REASON ALONE.

    4. Fear. There is no doubt for the people that truly believe they live in fear all the time. Fear of God and his wrath and of dying in Armageddon. There is also a tremendous fear of being disfellowshipped and shunned and ostracized by all your family and friends and support network. Even for those that don't believe the JWs teachings in their hearts, they will walk the walk in order to avoid disfellowshipping or other punishment.

    5. No education- Just like in countries like Afghanistan that keep their people down and ignorant by not allowing education, the WTS excels at this. People are ignorant, unable to get a decent job, not prepared for retirement, unable to think for themselves.

    For those that are active it becomes their entire life. They have nothing else. What would they do if they left? What would they do on Thursday nights? Who would be their friend? Where would they get help to pay their bills?

    It's a horrible, horrible, psychic damaging organization.

  • minimus

    Some types of people simply go with the status quo and don't like making changes. Such ones are perfect for this cult.

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