Jehovah’s Witnesses are under a grand and multi-faceted illusion that has been fabricated and is being maintained by ‘the Society’. One such facet of that great illusion is that JW’s are actually proclaiming God’s Kingdom and teaching people the truth about God and Jesus.
It was only a few years ago (hey, I’m not the brightest candle on the cake!) after hearing a couple of talks that stayed in my mind (most do not) and then listening to a Service Meeting part that it dawned on me that we, as JW’s, were not allowed to teach anything and that at best we were nothing more than instruments for the delivery of the printed material that did the actual preaching and teaching. That revelation had a profound effect on me as that realization took form in my mind.
After that I realized that we were not studying the Bible with our Bible Studies but were merely using the Bible (which in my area is still revered by the majority of people) to validate what was being ‘preached’ by the book. It was a book study, not a Bible study. Once the householder ‘progressed’ to the point of no longer questioning what we told them, the Bible was seldom used after that. The book did the proclaiming and the teaching, we just read the questions off and listened to the answers.
Someone pointed out to me much later on that it was interesting that our official designation as witnesses of the Most High God was simply: Publisher. And that the only statistics or information that our beloved shepherds cared about keeping and knowing about us was literature placed (sold), time spent doing so, and efforts at conversion (Return visits, Bible Studies). Not one space on the Congregation Publisher Card about that person’s character or love for God or generosity or faithfulness or any such thing as a Christian might reasonably assume to be important.
The congregation’s primary raison d’etre is for making converts. (I once stated that very concisely on a SM part. I got some very curious glances) Everything else is subsidiary to this. The Service Meeting and Ministry School exist for that sole purpose. The Public Talk is for that purpose as well. The Book Study group is primarily an arrangement for a more manageable, smaller group for field service and as a place to bring in that ‘interested person’ who’s too shy to go to the Kingdom Hall but can be coerced into attending ‘a small gathering in a private home’.
The Watchtower Study exists to keep the doctrines before the publishers so that they won’t be too surprised to read them in the ‘current study publication’ on those rare instances where they actually do snag someone with their spiel. It’s also a forum wherein the illusion of allowing publishers to ‘share their faith’ with ‘fellow believers’ is perpetuated. Their ‘faith’, of course, consists of what that particular article says it is. The ‘discussion’ is no discussion at all but merely an attempt to repeat the precise thought of the paragraph in their own words subject to the critical ear of the WT Conductor who, if he does not hear certain key words or phrases, is wont to keep calling until someone furnishes that precise buzz word that will bring a condescending smile to his lips. The Watchtower Study is also a convenient way to get people together to pick up their literature, make their donation to the World Wide Work (Hey, that’s WWW, where’s the dot com?!) and to have them all together to make that final pitch at the end of the meetings to “let’s get out in field service for at least an hour (now fifteen minutes will do it) before we eat lunch.” Yeah, like I can wait until 1:30 for that!
Forgive me, I’m venting.