Giving talks and self dellusion

by Tyrone van leyen 11 Replies latest jw friends

  • Tyrone van leyen
    Tyrone van leyen

    Hey folks, you know another way of looking at a Kingdom Hall beleive it or not, is a public speaking club. In my opinion, and I'm a born in, I was enrolled early in the minisrty school. Was it the same for you other born ins?

    This means that this building is a club, in which you are trained to be a public speaker. My assessment is that the audience is coaxed somewhat, into giving a heavier applaude for early beginners. But is it real feedback, or audince politeness. To be honest I was a guy in High School with a lot of homework, and I always waited to the last hour sometimes, to prepare my talks. I guess the fact that I could do this gave me some confidence, but does that mean I'm good? Not necessarily. Did you really feel you were trained well to give talks? How would you honestly rate yourself? Did you ever give a big talk at a district convention? Did it make you feel powerful, scared, disassociated somewhat?

    For me as a born in, I beleived what I was teaching, this gave me conviction. Did you really beleive what you were teaching?

    My family is mostly male and we always gave talks, so maybe it even got a little competitive. I was winning public speaking contests at school, almost every year since grade one, so based on outside data, I would have rated myself as very good..... then.

    To be honest I havn't spoken in 25 years. I know I could still do it. But who knows, mediocre to good? I never gave biggie talks, or hour long and I am amazed at folks who can take over at the last minute, when somebody calls in sick. I would say thats gotta be some pressure.

    Are you women glad you never had to do it, or did you want to? If it wasn't a public speaking club for you, what was it? Were those presentations a humilating stifling of your real abilities, or did you really see that as being your place?

    If you ever seen American Idol ,you see somefolks who no matter how awful they sound, they think they sound great? It's a self dellusion.

    I've come to reverse my thinking on the matter with regards to the hall, somewhat. What the hall is also training you for, is subjection, and order, and no fire and brimstone. Does mean charisma wasn't possible, and that the more you subject yourself to the higher talks, the more in subjection you become to the style they wish of you. Bible talks are a serious busines you know. Your material is all important. If you joke too much, they won't take it serious. What makes you even think your jokes were funny? If you look back now, were they?

    Sorry I like taking things apart. The last thing anyone wants in a Kingdom Hall is to be bored to death. But wern't we all bored to death? If you think about it, there's definately ego gratification in here, for a real dull environment. A real male dominated enviornment, a real Rutherford constructed, ego enviornment. Where the biggest illusion may be our own self agrandisement.

    The Pecking order for public speakers consisted of Rutherford at the top. I would imagine the ego dynamics change, as you climb the pyramid. ( No pun intended)

    Remember Freddies 75 speech..... People were in awe! But the truth is, no one understood a friggin word of his typical atypical nonsense. The garblings of a crusty old nutbar! To be honest it was his material. What could be more exciting than everybody dieing in 1975, and you moving into their empty homes. No need to answer all questions. Just a few things to ponder.

  • sacolton

    I always saw Public Talks ("public?") not so much as teaching, but regurgitation of what was already in the publications. It's not like these men actually did any real research of what they are speaking about. All the information comes from Watchtower literature with scriptures taken out of context and twisted. Oh, they wanted me to do talks. I refused. I just couldn't get over the hypocracy of brothers who gave talks on matters that still indulged in. My JW brother-in-law gave a talk on the evils of internet and porn, yet he admitted to me that he had a paid account to some lewd XXX websites. Also, there's no open discussion afterward. It's all scripted. No debate. Looking for an answer to a question from the platform? It's right there in paragraph 2!

    It's all spoon-fed to the congregation.

  • compound complex
    compound complex

    Hey Tyrone,

    You've posed a lot of good questions here.

    I have always enjoyed speaking, having started in grade school with the Gavel Club (junior affiliate of Toastmasters). Once a JW, my going outside the box of prescribed presentations was a given. Delivering talks at foreign language circuit assemblies and district conventions was, I honestly felt, a privilege and opportunity to honor Jehovah the King. I was totally into it and sincerely felt that I was helping others onto the Highway of Holiness.

    My religious outlook has changed, of course, but I certainly don't regret the opportunities once given me. At one time JWism seemed a true and wonderful spiritual paradise.

    Thanks for asking.


  • wobble

    I never really wanted to get into the Public Talk thing,but was prevailed upon so to do. I found the WT outlines soooo dry and boring that I beat them to death and brought in a lot of other material,from Bible Commentaries etc.

    I always tried to find something that excited me a bit so that I could enthuse,I never forgot what a Scottish brother (C.O) said to us,

    "If you canna put fire in ya Talk,put your Talk in the fire!"

    I must have been a cut above the others as I used to be requested by other Congos. in our Circuit,even though I was only ever a Min. Servant.

    Before they gave an edict saying "Only Societies outlines to be used" (Heaven forbid someone may apply the Bible properly !) I used to write my own outlines,much better even if I do blow my own trumpet,but the old controlling spirit of the WT put a stop to that.

    Shortly thereafter I requested no more PT's please "until further notice" (I never did another)

    I can honestly say that in the last five years of attending I only heard two or three talks that were not mind and bum numbingly boring and uninformative. Love Wobble

  • WTWizard

    I remember giving talks in the Theocraptic Misery "School(??)". Most of them would be a subject that I didn't really want to focus too much on. And I had to give them anyways, as if I somehow believed them. I would try to focus it away from what I didn't want focused on, with mixed results. I doubt that I would have been able even to do that today.

  • flipper

    TYRONE- Interesting thread . I agree - It seemed that we were always being " trained " ( god, I hate that word ) to be good speakers so we could excel out in service marketing the WT societies Watchtower and Awake magazines - as well as promoting the JW cult. Yes- I was one of those mind controlled drones for many years who actually believed the scam - until I left 5 years ago. I had some doubts about things ; but never dare spoke them out of fear of reprisal !

    But to get back to your question - As a ministerial servant I gave traveling hour talks at different congregations , talks and parts at assemblies, etc. I was complimented on my expressive way of speaking - as yes, like you said I really believed in the horse$hit I was giving talks on. I look back on it now - and I can't believe I fell for it. But like you, I was raised in it from birth - it took me until age 44 to finally get out 5 years ago. Glad I did though. Freedom of mind is sweet ! Peace out, Mr. Flipper

  • shopaholic

    My first talk was when I was 8 years old and it was on sex. I was told a did a good job to cover an adult topic.

    I think a number of JWs get a kick out of a giving a talk because most do not have any other venue to do this. This kind of off topic, but I used to loved it when folks would bring their non-JW relatives and they would shout out like they do in church. Then the elders would be scurrying trying to figure out how to hush them.


    I gave talks from the time I could read,in the ministry school..Hated it.....My mom wrote them..I read them out loud to the congregation.....How is a little kid supposed to know,what the hell he is preaching about..Most grown JW`s don`t know what their preaching about!!..LOL!!......................Laughing Mutley...OUTLAW

  • stillajwexelder

    No - I was extremely confident in giving talks at the Hall and then elsewhere etc.

  • jaguarbass

    I was born in and forced to go to meetings. Looking back I almost escaped when I was 18 but I fell in love with a girl from the hall, then to be the people pleaser that I was I had to get baptized so we could use the hall and have a big Italian wedding.

    I got married in 72 and all the Armegeddon talk, got to me and I took the faith serious from 73 to 75.

    During that time, I believed, and I believed I was fortunate to believe. The talks that I gave during that time were a reflection of that belief, trying to do the right thing to be saved and to save others.

    I was a pioneer and ministerial servant for those 2 years. So getting to give an hour talk was like the coolest thing in my sorry life at that time. I think I gave about 6 hour talks in 2 years.

    As I remember the hour long talk was easier to give than the instruction talk or talk 5 because everything was there on the manuscript and you just had to talk and read slow enough to fill up 50 minutes.

    After January 1, 1976, I had a hard time going to meetings or giving talks, I didnt realize it but I was fading.

    I got a job working 2nd shift afternoons and evenings and was able to miss all the meetings but the Sunday talk.

    I was only a servant for 2 years but I do remember 1 time I gave an hour talk with about 5 minutes notice. The speaker didnt show up. I believed at the time and everything seemed natural and good.

    Looking back, I can see the elders were grooming me and I was progressing to their satisfaction.

    It's too bad 1976 came when it did.

    My life could have had meaning and purpose.

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