Content is King- Why the Meetings Fail

by LostGeneration 30 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • LostGeneration

    One of the big sayings for those that run websites is that "Content is King" It makes perfect sense, as sites like this one have entertaining content for the targeted audience. Even better, more content is added everyday bringing users back repeatedly. Poptular TV shows and movies are loved because they entertain customers for a low cost or free.

    On the other hand, you have the content provided by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, delivered though the pages of the Watchtower and through weekly meetings. Several threads lately have discussed meetings and what value, or lack thereof they offer to their audience. With Flippers latest thread discussing how the WT hammers meeting on the sheep, obviously they feel too many Witnesses are skipping out on their spiritual food, and there is good reason.

    The CONTENT of the meetings is getting worse and worse. People are not learning anything new, they are only getting a rehash of everything they already know. They are specifically told NOT to research the bible outside of WT publications, meaning they only take in the material through the rose colored glasses of the GB. They are told that when they comment, they should stick to the paragraph, and not take up too much time in their comment. Even the WT conductor who used to have a little leeway has been reigned in lately - walk the line and keep your own input to a minimum.

    Add to that the business like nature of the meetings. If people go to Church, they are looking for a spiritual experience, a connection with their God. I can say in the thirty-something years I went to meetings, I never once felt a "spiritual connection" to a higher power. It felt like the annual shareholders meeting, with different people getting up there and explaining God with very little passion in their mind or heart.

    Now there is one less meeting, a loving provision from the Governing Body. Except they forgot to consider that the one meeting where people actually did find a bit of refreshment from was the book study, a time and place where the rigid Kingdom hall atmosphere was replaced by someone's home. A place where even on rare occasions bible discussions could vary away from the material and a real discussion might break out for a few minutes. But control is more important to the powers in NYC, and you can't have people thinking for themselves- not even for a minute..

    Assemblies and DCs are more of the same. Bigger meetings in bigger buildings. The one departure from this is the drama at the DC, something JWs rave about, because its the one hour a year they get some entertaining content from the Watchtower. Despite its revisionist history, at least the drama isn't some elder pounding on them to "do more" or be killed at Armageddon.

    I don't expect the WT to change their content, they have enough people around to keep them afloat for a long time to come. But their days of growth are over, as their meetings have become too stale for anyone who thinks.

  • WTWizard

    This is precisely what makes a TV serial so interesting. Some are such good performances that you never tire of them. Some add new content, like that game show that keeps tweaking the rules and adding new features to keep people addicted. But, there are some that become old because they all look the same--how many people would keep buying music from The Partridge Family, which started strong but could not stay fresh? (Which is so common--an artist will have 6 or 7 hits within a few years, but after that they continue getting less and less attention because they are no longer fresh).

    The Washtowel Slaveholdery lacks everything. You lack stellar performance and story line that could have made up for lack of freshness. You lack freshness. In fact, the boasting sessions are so repetitive and boring that they are a complete waste of everyone's time. Sometimes they are nothing more than guilt trips because they want everyone to pio-sneer. Most of the Washtowel articles follow the story line from Adam through the end of the Millennial Reign. (And is hardly accurate.) You get more time wasted in getting the whole congregation in field circus. Heck, I have seen the Kingdumb Miserys telling people how to get the most out of the boasting sessions, including the admonition against missing them! If I had one round of silver per time I have heard someone discussing meeting attendance (or lack thereof) from the platform, I would make out like a bandit when silver finally catches up with gold--and quite likely end up with more than the Washtowel Slaveholdery.

  • baltar447

    I don't think it's necessary to be entertained constantly but I do agree that the endless repetitive content and business like nature of the meetings causes many to be fatigued about attending them.

  • JuanMiguel

    Insightful post, LostGeneration. I was thinking something similar as I looked at recent Watchtower study articles released for use in weekly studies.

    I've just come into my 40s, and we're talking about 20 years now since I've been in a Kingdom Hall, attended a meeting or heard a talk at a convention or assembly.

    The most remarkable thing I found in these new pages--the thing that made my jaw fall on the floor and literally caused me to gasp--was that it was so stale, filled with what we used to consider "basic" information you teach new Bible studies, using vocabulary and sentence structure that was akin to those brochures we used with people who used English as a second language.

    What happened?

    Granted, I don't believe in the doctrine of the Watchtower anymore, but this was the organization that wrote and published The Truth That Leads to Everlasting Life--simple, short, but fiery. Who can recall the unecessarily overly researched "All Scripture Is Inspired By God," or even the somewhat funny melon-pink Paradise book (with pictures of poorly drawn people falling into an earth used by Jehovah to digest the wicked)!

    In the early 1980s the Watchtower itself was burning with explosive articles about apostates and false teachers, and how close the end was--all due to failure of the 1975 prediction and the awakening at Bethel. Sure, the illustrations and one or two-color printings made it look like a comic book (even moreso when they first started printing them in color, I have to sadly admit), but it wasn't my imagination.

    Again, even by the time I was getting ready to leave I could see through their bombastic stylings that their information could not hold its own water, but it made for a fascinating read--you used to be able to say that these were the "ramblings" of "crazy folk!"

    To quote a character from the British comedy Absolutely Fabulous and apply it to Watchtower publications of the past regarding how frazzled they could make you as they tangled the reader up in drawn-out but nonetheless wildly fancy narrative: "I don't understand a word of it, but it's forcing me to believe it!"

    I've never felt sorry for them before, was once a little envious of the amount of publications instantly available for them after I left. But now I see them in this wasteland. They are so far behind! So few publications, nothing like what is now available to various religious or people who adopt other types of convictional stands--and what they do have enducing narcolepsy?

    Yeah, there was a lot of rehashing in the past--but by comparison, now that I've looked over a couple of recent years it's like comparing a bowl of fruit to a silo filled with tasteless kibble for animal feed.

    What happened? Did the Faithful and Discreet Slave class die off and forget to tell everybody else? This is not the same religion I left. It's an empty shadow of it.

    P.S.: The only new thing I can see is that practically everything demands loyalty to the Governing Body (F & S class--which is really just those guys). If you don't follow what they say, you're out. It's almost like they're not telling people to obey Jehovah or Jesus anymore.

  • Room 215
    Room 215

    What happens to a restaurant when the quality of the food deteriorates? They lose business and eventually fold up. In the case of the WTS, it never occurs to them that the CONTENT of the meetings is what turns people off, some sooner than later. So what to they do, improve the quality of the "food" or blame the consumer? We all know the answer.....

  • NVR2L8

    The format of the meetings and assemblies has been changed to keep the attention of those attending. The week night meeting is like speed dating - more subjects are discussed in shorter parts...once it's all said and done another painless night as gone by and the brainwash is maintained...until the next session. The only meaningfull meeting we ever had was the bookstudy in private homes where some would dare express their true beliefs during or after the meeting. My guess is that this is one of the reason this meeting was cancelled.

  • DesirousOfChange

    LostGeneration: their meetings have become too stale for anyone who thinks

    It seems to me that the meetings in more recent years have been "dumbed down". Is the average intelligence level such that it is not possible to discuss anything in a meaninful way anymore? And now, with the introduction of the new simplified WT, I guess we will have both the Dumb & Dumber editions. How can it be simplified any more? Or, is it that all the "deeper things", i.e., chronology, historical comparisons, timelines, etc. just got them into trouble? More and more of it is just all fluff. And yet people walk away praising all the "new light" with expressions of "wasn't that just the most encouraging assembly ever!" etc etc ....when it was really the dullest, repetitive stuff ever. And no one catches the rewriting of history and the changing of facts. Instead, people buy it! Event the ones who were there and should know better! How many people will say, "Well, the Society never said anything specific about 1975...." BS! I was there. They said & wrote plenty. And it's all been proven false. Young people who decided to forego higher education in the late 60's because they would never finish it are now at retirement age. The promise of completing the preaching work in the 20th Century......false.....and rewritten (to in our day). I guess that is the worst of it -- No one will stand up and take responsibility! It would be nice to hear a humble: "WE WERE WRONG ABOUT THAT!" And, if someone is wrong one time about something, what's to say they won't be wrong again?

    [Stepping down off of my soapbox] Having moved past the "lurker" phase, thanks for letting me vent.

  • Vidiot

    They're weeding out the fence-sitters, apostate-sympathizers, and anyone else who doesn't full-on subscribe to the ideology and/or have a stake in the status quo, leaving only the dominant alphas and subservient omegas of the pack.

    That way, if and when the WTS fragments/collapses, they'll have all they feel they need to batten up the hatches in upstate NY (either above ground or otherwise) and ride out the Big A.

  • NVR2L8

    Room 215:

    Good analogy. The first thing that came to my mind was McDonald's...people keep on going back to eat the very same meal...all they need is to fill their stomach and it doesn't matter if the food isn't good for their health. How many times have we been told that humans were created with a "spritual appetite" and the WT is there to fill it with their happy meal.

  • TD


    What happened? Did the Faithful and Discreet Slave class die off and forget to tell everybody else? This is not the same religion I left. It's an empty shadow of it.

    You hit that nail on the head. It's possible to admire the intricacy and precision of a belief system in the same way you would admire really a good work of fiction that works on many different levels at once.

    My early exposure to the Witnesses was via a book entitled "Things In Which It Is Impossible For God To Lie." It was written at a level I haven't seen come from the Witness community in decades. Even though I don't agree with much of it, I can still see that the author was obviously an intelligent person who had the gift of playing the "other side of the chess board" and anticipating how someone might object to his reasoning.

    Not only are modern Witness authors apparently unable to fill those shoes, they demonstrate time and again that they don't even understand the basic theological precepts under which existing doctrine was formulated before they came on the scene.

    I think the sorriest I've ever felt for them was recently when I watched the "Faith In Action" DVD. The various members of their governing body all assume the guise of "church historians" when in fact there is no such thing in the JW community and it is the governing body members themselves who make the most obvious historical errors when they speak publicly.

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