How many of your elders & servants are "Preachers Who Are Not Believers?"

by Franklin Massey 30 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Franklin Massey
    Franklin Massey

    Many people in positions of teaching others the doctrine of their particular religion do not actually believe the doctrine themselves. This is a fascinating article from Daniel Dennett and Linda LaScola. I could relate to some of the expressions made.

    One preacher quoted in the article:

    "Even if Christianity isn’t true, is it best to leave the people alone in their ignorance? And I struggle with that feeling of superiority intellectually, which I’ve read all kinds of faith literature, and they say that’s just a struggle you’ve got to deal with. But is it better to leave them ---? And they’re happy, and they have hope in a life to come, and so it helps them through their suffering, which is a strong selling point of Christianity. You know what I’m saying? I look at things a lot more in kind of a marketing form now."

    Meanwhile, he struggles through his job, hiding his beliefs.

    "Here’s how I’m handling my job on Sunday mornings: I see it as play acting. I kind of see myself as taking on a role of a believer in a worship service, and performing. Because I know what to say. I know how to pray publicly. I can lead singing. I love singing. I don’t believe what I’m saying anymore in some of these songs. But I see it as taking on the role and performing. Maybe that’s what it takes for me to get myself through this, but that’s what I’m doing."

  • nugget

    A lot of elders profess to believe but deep down many show they do not by their actions. It seems that after a while it becomes a way of life more of a habit. Some love the power trip and being seen as important. How can any believe that god is with them they know about the dirty secrets in the congregation, they know about the high level of immorality, they know about the policy files they must surely see mans hand in all this not gods.

  • miseryloveselders

    If this forum's activity is any indication, especially when it comes to threads that have several thousand views, yet only four pages of comments, I believe there's a significant amount of appointed men who aren't believers. The same way the preacher in your link justifies playing the role of a believer for the sake of other believers, many appointed JWs do the same thing. This message board wouldn't exist if it wasn't for undercover nonbelievers needing an outlet to express themselves while outwardly appeasing family members and close friends.

    One of the main eye openers for me that there are a lot of nonbelievers in Kingdom Halls across the country was, field service time. I'd look at the field service time of various, random publishers, including elders and ministerial servants. Their time would in many cases be less than the national average, or right at the national average. Rarely did anyone exceed the national average by even single digits. Double digits, forget about it, its just not happening. The thing is, I know the congregation, I know the families that make it up, I know what they do for a living, I'm very familiar with their schedule. These folks, myself included, were and are all capable of putting more time in the field ministry, but we don't. I would ask myself why aren't they getting more hours? Then I'd ask myself the same question, and the answer kinda scared me. The best part is, all of us would sit in those service meetings and comment about the joy we have from participating in the ministry. I'd ask myself again, if its so joyful, then why do I and so many others have to force ourselves to get only 10 hours a month? Why do Service Meeting parts have to bend our arms and give us guilt trips in order to get out in field service? If we really believe in the importance of the preaching work, why aren't we doing it. Why aren't those taking the lead in the average congregation, doing it in a exemplary fashion?

    I think it all falls back to a lack of beliefs. It would be easier to appease family and friends by showing up at the Kingdom Hall every Sunday for an hour and a half, and nothing more throughout the week. But trying do all of the things that make a JW exemplary despite not believing in it all, is difficult to say the least. Something has to give eventually. The proof is in the pudding, namely people's field service times, and the literature's constant theme of "do more, you're not doing enough!" When a nonbeliever's heart isn't in it, there's only so much guilt tripping to get him motivated to do what he doesn't believe in doing.

  • sabastious

    MLE, would you say your position on field service apathy is debatable from a Witness perspective? Or is it just too blantent for debate?


  • Franklin Massey
    Franklin Massey

    In regard to the comments on field service, I'm reminded of something that I have heard so many JWs, including myself, say when the final few days of the month are rolling around, "I HAVE to get out in service. My field service time is so low this month and this is the last Saturday."

    It's common knowledge that there is an unstated minimum number of hours one should get so as to keep the elders off their back. Even the elders play this game.

    As a preacher with differing views from the organization for which I profess to preach, I am struggling with field service right now. I don't feel right placing much of what JWs publish and at the same time, I don't feel right counting time when I am having a truly enlightening spiritual discussion with someone because deep down I know that isn't the kind of "time" the Society wants to see on a report.

    My apologies. Don't let me get this thread off topic with too much personal info. More comments on being/knowing a preacher with doubts please...

  • jay88

    It is interesting, to hear how field service is still used as a measure of one's spiritual devotion to god(or at least to an organization) Especially when there are so many creative ways for time to be counted. The 'V' made mention on about how time is counted and he concluded:

    1.6 billion hours is really about 133 million hours in real conversation. Still a lot. But divide that by publishers (7.5 million) and all you get is 1.4 hours per publisher per month. That average includes missionaries and pioneers! Like I said, fake hours.


    I wonder if there is some type of ratio there, with the 7 million followers that the WTBTS claim to have? How many publishers are unbelievers?

  • sabastious
    I don't feel right counting time when I am having a truly enlightening spiritual discussion with someone because deep down I know that isn't the kind of "time" the Society wants to see on a report.

    I never thought of that. I don't think the Society has an offical policy on what makes for acceptable time record... other than Witnessing to a non-baptised person.


  • sabastious
    1.6 billion hours is really about 133 million hours in real conversation.

    Explain this algorithm.


  • Giordano

    I could do the pretend thing at the KH because I was responsibile for a number of things, Ministry School, Assistant Presiding minister etc. in our small congregation .

    I pretended for a while longer then I should have because it was all I knew. I also pretended because I was hoping it would become real again ...if that makes any sense. When I realized that it wasn't going to become 'real' again we wraped it up and made a dignified exit out of the 'truth'. This was in the 1960's........ if your interested in 'my story' do a search of my name.

    Like the above article points out it's one thing to be helpful, kind and well organized if your dealing with true belivers. It's easy to feed someone when they are hungry even if you kinda don't believe in it that much. But I felt It's another thing to manipulate that hunger with bible studies. I couldn't do that.


    Franklin Massey:

    I haven't been out in service in years. I hated service and don't see how anyone would enjoy going out in service besides putting in time. What is the difference today out in field service than 10 years ago? What is the message today and what is the response from householders?

    Today,my wife said that 2 brothers came to the door and handed her a tract and left. All they said was, '' We hope you'll find time and read it.''

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