Attended the DC this weekend in California with a JW acquaintance of mine that wanted to go 'JW man-hunting' and didn't want to go alone. She knows I'm not active and haven't been to a meeting in a long time and have no interest in JW men. I think she feels like she has the best of both worlds with me, anyway it was interesting...the GB appears to be changing their tune and I don't think the masses even realize it.
Br. Splane (the GB member) was there and a number of other speakers from Bethel. Based on what I heard, feels like the JWs are on their way to going mainstream sooner than they would like. It will be the only way to keep their members. Why do I say this? Because Br. Splane quoted Br. Franz (Ray's brother) as saying something similar to "even if the end of this system doesn't come for a million years, we will continue to serve Jehovah as that is what we ought to be doing". He then continued that no one knows when the end is coming and that many of us may grow old and die in this system and our job is to make Jehovah's heart rejoice and that service to Jehovah should not be based on how close we believe the end to be. (I was surprised that folks didn't get up and start walking out.) If our loyalty is based on when the end comes then we are just as Satan said, serving Jehovah for we what we will get and not out of love and respect for him as our Creator.
Then there was talk on wrong expectations. That many have looked to current events to determine how close we are to the end and that is not the correct approach. It was stated that its true that we are living in the last days but we do not know where we are in the last days but we can be sure that the end is not far off from Jehovah's viewpoint. The speaker said that Jehovah has his timetable and that it is not based on current or news events and that all the atrocities in the world will not cause Jehovah to adjusts his date. The reason for the atrocities are due to Satan and his followers not living according to Jehovah's righteous standards and have no bearing on when Jehovah will put an end to this system. So at this point I'm looking at my friend and say, "I hope you're listening to this" Then of course 1975 and other dates were mentioned and all were reminded that even the apostles had wrong expectations and had to be readjusted.
Then there was talk on Saturday that warned against putting our trust in leaders of the nations as they appear to want to help people but they are still a part of Satan's world. He mentioned that its true that they may cooperate with Jehovah (yes, that's what he said) and create programs that will lift the burden of Jehovah's faithful witnesses, but "regardless of how good looking they are, how well-spoken they are and how charming they may be"...our confidence should only be in Jehovah and his promises. He should have just come out and said, "We know with the election of Obama, many of you are starting to lose confidence in the truth..."
Then on Sunday, Br. Splane gave another talk mentioning that the world says "Live it up, you're only young once." Then went on to say, that he has gotten old, lost his hair, has bad knees, etc, etc, but rejoices because we are only old once and know that we will be young again and it will be forever. The audience went crazy with thunderous applause as if he had just rocked the house. Then he peppered it with the fact that we don't know the day or hour but must 'Keep on the Watch'. That we don't want to be fooled with all thats occurring in the world and being lulled to a spiritual sleep because the end has not come in our time. That we need to adjust our thinking and not live waiting for the end but live to praise Jehovah's name.
During one of the symposiums it was asked if our focus on the end was due to selfish reasons with scriptures from Habakkuk. Then there were four interviews of older JWs that have been in for many decades and each spoke of why they were glad that the end had not come yet. Also, they were asked why they continued with the organization after so many years. Personally, I thought this was the most pathetic part of the entire convention.
Its seems to me that they GB is changing their tune, letting folks know that they don't know when the end is coming but you still need to hurry up and be a JW because its coming, it may not be for a million years but its coming. My friend and I talked about the "expectations" and she mentioned how its the brothers fault for running ahead, I asked her where did they get the information to "run ahead" and that folks didn't pull 1975 out of the air. Her response, "Well, we just need to keep on the watch. If we love Jehovah it doesn't matter when the end comes." I simply replied "The two have nothing to do with each other."
BTW, the drama was corny. It was basically a scare tactic...leave your parents house, you'll fall out of the truth and get into a horrible accident because you and your friends will hang out at clubs and drive drunk. They definitely tried to be contemporary. There were demonstrations where teenagers teased a young JW girl for not having a boyfriend and they called her gay (I found it funny and inappropriate at the same time). Then there was the JW man that had the co-worker throughing herself at him.
Also, it was mentioned several times that other religions highlight that JWs change their teachings while they haven't changed for a thousand years. The Br then asked, where we would rather be...in an organization that has remained the same for a thousand years or one that changes as the light becomes brighter and brighter. Example was the new song book, updated to remove obsolete terms and correct phrases based on a clearer understanding of our role in Jehovah's purpose.
Well, that's my recap...not much gloom and doom at all but it felt like they were trying to appease the restless. LOTS of emphasis on not knowing when the end will come and that it may not be in our lifetime but to focus on the other benefits of being a witness.
Once the scales have fallen off...its easy to see through the mind games,