The Phasing Out Of The Public Watchtower Magazine

by dontplaceliterature 44 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • dontplaceliterature

    I've been thinking about this for a while now. It seems to me that the WTBTS is taking steps towards phasing out public editions of The Watchtower.

    Here are a couple of points of evidence to see there is a real possibilty for a move in this direction:

    1. The monthly "Start Bible Studies On The Initial Call Service Day" is evidence of a more direct drive to recruit new members. On this day, Publishers are actively discouraged from placing magazines.

    2. Publishers no longer receive a personal subscription, or monthly allotment of the Watchtower and Awake!. Instead, there are general stacks of the monthly journals on the literature counter of the Kingdom Hall for members to use in the ministry. Whatever is not used, is to be returend to the counter at the end of the service day. This is a direct effort to reduce the amount of magazines being printed, and I know that I have been personally less likely to use them, if they are not available at home. So, indirectly, it may be a way to get the Publishers out of the habit of placing so many magazines monthly.

    3. A couple years ago, we started using the Study Edition and the number Public Edition sets was reduced to one per month. It could be, in addition to other reasons, that this was developed to reduce the shock that may come to some when the Public Edition is no longer in print. So, it won't be as if there is "No more Watchtower!?", rather it would be viewed as "a loving provision from The Faithful Slave" to streamline the ministry and make service "easier."

    I feel like this makes a lot of sense, logically. Here are some reasons:

    1. Most people don't read their magazines anyway. I know this, because I frequently am assigned the parts on the meetings to review the magazines, and the same 2 - 4 individuals comment on every article discussed. So, really, they are out placing literature they've never even read. Hypocritical? Most definitely. But, we get so much crap thrown at us, it's pretty difficult to find time to read anything BUT the WTBTS publications, and if we're lucky, The Bible.

    2. It would streamline the ministry. It's difficult for many to keep coming up with a new presentation for the magazines. I'm sure this discourages some from going in the ministry, as they feel like they are unprepared. If we only had one publication that we used in the Ministry, such as The Bible Teach Book, and were instructed to offer a Bible Study on the initial call every time, it would make service a lot less embarassing for some, and a lot less work.

    3. It would save the WTBTS a ton of money in printing, and would scale back necessary man-power. If people aren't comfortable placing a book at each call, there is a healthy supply of tracts on various topics, as well as brochures. Tracts are a heck of a lot cheaper to print.

    4. Really, the magazines are just a distraction from starting Bible Studies, or from having any meaningful Bible discussion with a householder. The majority of the members in the congregation are uncomfortable moving from Point A (Placing Magazines) to Point B (developing a PROGRESSIVE Bible Study).

    Thoughts? I apologize if someone else has already suggested this, but I haven't seen it on this forum yet.

  • james_woods

    I think that what you are saying has a definite logic going for it.

    This would, I guess, leave the monthly Awake for the public and a single copy of the private Watchtower for the rank & file. Or, even, a link to the private watchtower articles to be printed out locally for the study.

    Certainly they are logistically spinning their wheels by the huge amounts of paper being printed versus actual recruitments resulting from it.

  • undercover

    As long as they require dubs to go out in field service and place literature, they'll need the Public edition. They need it for outsiders to see that JWs are balanced, god-fearing, normal, Christians. The more bland, non-confrontational articles are presented here to lure/seduce people to the religion.

    The Kool-Aid edition is for JW eyes only (though easy enough for anyone to get). It's in the Kool-Aid edition where the heavy WT study indoctrination comes in. Laws/rules/counsel/changing doctrine is all layed out in these editions. They can also use the loaded language, buzzwords that connect with the cult mind. Outsiders won't get all that.

    The downside to focusing on Bible studies only is that JWs...or the WTS I should say...don't want people to really study the Bible. They want them to study WT publications. They use the Bible as reference material (often taken out of context) to support their claims/teachings. To actually study the Bible would undermine the attempt at getting new recruits. The WT magazine is the flagship magazine. It is easily recognized. It is their main marketing tool. To drop the public WT would be like RJ Reynolds dropping Camel cigarettes or Anheuser Busch dropping Budweiser.

  • james_woods
    To drop the public WT would be like RJ Reynolds dropping Camel cigarettes or Anheuser Busch dropping Budweiser.

    True, but Starbucks recently took the word COFFEE off their logos.

  • dontplaceliterature


    I was thinking that those would be the reasons not to do it. But honestly, the Bible Teach book is pretty fluffy stuff, especially if the conductor spins it the right way. I think that the dominance of brand "The Watchtower" may be exactly the reason to get away from using the Public Edition of the journals. It repels people, rather than lure them, IMHO. I've frequently been asked in service "Are you with 'The Watchtower?''. If the Society recognizes that it's getting a bad wrap for not being "Christian" enough, dropping the peddling of the magazine alone would do wonders in improving the public perception of the organization.

    It would be funny to see people start calling us "The Bible Teach" organization. But that will never happen.

  • wannabefree

    In my opinion, I don't see it going away. It is the flagship of The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.

    Now that there is a public edition, the public gets articles that may seem more mainstream to them, certainly the study articles would set off alarms to some of the public readers, with those gone, it is easier to appear reasonable.

  • dontplaceliterature

    People do not become Jehovah's Witnesses by reading The Watchtower. The rhetoric from Circiut Overseers in our area for the last 5-6 years has been that of steering people away from using that magazine in the ministry, honestly.

    One Circuit Overseer in particular told the publishers to stop being "Watchtower-Dropper-Offers" and to start focusing on Bible Studies instead of trying to build a good "Magazine Route."

    What about the possibility of coming out with a series of 20 (or so) "Watchtowers" that replace the brochures? These will be on various topics, and will be one-time standard issues, that people will use for several years. So the name "Watchtower" is still there, but the endless printing/writing of the magazines comes to a stop...and, a publisher can only place so many of them with a Return Visit before they run out of options.

  • undercover
    It repels people, rather than lure them, IMHO. I've frequently been asked in service "Are you with 'The Watchtower?''.

    If it was all about changing names that repel people, they'll need to change the name of religion at some point, sooner rather than later. When you identify yourself as a JW, you can see the eyes narrow and the lips tighten. Most people just don't like JWs, even if it's only because they keep knocking on their door early on Saturdays.

    But it could happen... the WTS has done crazier things. JF Rutherford invented the name Jehovah's witnesses to distance the WTS from the Bible Students that were part of Russell's legacy. There's no guessing what a cult leadership will do to try to keep their cult status.

  • Terry

    Jehovah's Witnesses can become a hermetic religion.

    Door to door work would be by appointment only.

    Secret handshakes.

    Baptism could become a mystery initiation rite.

    Eventually, mushrooms would become a part of the Kingdom Hall meetings and Armageddon could be declared an internal spiritual battle.

    "Paradise for all tonight at the Memorial service. Don't miss it!"

    Red Kool-Aid could be served. Everybody is encouraged to partake of the emblems just this once.

    We shall all read about it in the newspaper one day and scratch our heads at how 7 million people could die by their own hand.

  • dontplaceliterature
    dontplaceliterature don't think so man....

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