yes tiss an oxymorone weak = thinkers
The GB tightening their grip! Straw to break a camel's back?
From my viewpoint the GB is definitely tightening its grip on the rank and file. I noticed this even when I was still on the inside. What particular action got my attention? It was the new rules about who could use the Kingdom Hall for a wedding. The couple who wanted a Hall wedding had to be interrogated by an elder as to their conduct during courtship as well as pass muster with the service committee. Maybe it had always been that way, but the Service Meeting part that covered this listed the questions the couple had to answer as well as the onerous rules that were imposed as to the music played, who could be in the wedding party, etc. While listening to this part I thought to myself, "If I were thinking about a wedding ceremony, I'd rather have a civil one than go through this nonsense!"
The new Flock book has only reinforced the belief of tighter control. I think back to what I know of the organization's history and wonder how a small group of "Bible Students" whose only concern was to learn more about the Bible through reading and study could have morphed into the Pharisaical, tyrannical monster it is today. I suppose all the "new light" that has flashed forth over the last 120+ years has blinded the Society's leadership.
Anyone who thinks the GB is NOT tightening their grip simply needs to read the new 'Flock Book'.
Yes, the new definition of BRAZEN CONDUCT allows them to "take action" on ANYTHING that they conclude is "brazen" -- your attitude, your opinions, not to mention your actions. It does not have to be in violation of the 10 Commandments, just the 10 Thousand Rules & Regularions regarding Brazen Conduct.
I noticed a tightening of their grip, or rather an attempt to do so, becoming a regular feature of the mag/rags when I was in.
Baltar 447 said "to the point of idolatry IMO" . That was my opinion in 2008 when I left, I felt they were demanding worship, and were claiming a position that only belonged to Jesus.
They have got more strident and shrill in their demands since I left, almost screaming that "you will obey our authority ! "
I do hope it is "the straw ..." for many more than just me.
I'm still in the Borg. If you miss handing in your field service report (no boxes for FS), an elder will approach you quickly now and you will be asked for your slave time. How's that for control and privacy. The WT$ has no book study groups but now has control groups for FS.
PUNK OF NICE - Good thread . I'll give my take on your questions.
1. Yes- The GB IS really tightening the grip on rank and file JW's and it's NOT like it was before. The WT society is getting more exposed in the media around the world due to child abuse cases, blood transfusion cases, occasional JW's who murder people, and general access to information about their quirky teachings is more available than it was years ago due to the Internet. So to counter that access to info JW's may get- the WT society comes down harder now trying to prohibit JW's from even LOOKING at the Internet so as not to be exposed to negative comments about the WT society.
2. Yes, I think it already is becoming a burden on JW's- especially those aged 18-35 seem to be leaving the WT organization in droves. These are people who don't want to waste the rest of their lives living for a pipedream. Older JW's have too much invested and usually stay put.
3. Indeed the WT society became MUCH stricter in the early 1980's after Ray Franz left Bethel. I remember congregations where we'd have huge picnics with about 100 people or 50 sometimes. That was discouraged having big group gatherings because it was not able to be controlled by elders. The GB got spooked by Bethel members getting together to read the Bible- so they passed tht paranoia and fear down through the ranks to ALL Witnesses discouraging people to get together casually in large groups because they thought people would uprise and form their own group ideas on things. But todays modern younger JW's see through this I believe- thus you see more of them exiting the JW cult and bolting for freedom ! Good for them. Hope more follow them out
It's a publishing corporation, evolving to SURVIVE. At times, this may require tightening. At other times, it may require loosening.
Do you think those still there have the business acumen to keep pulling it off? I have to think anyone with any business sense has to be going insane dealing with the Seven Headed Clown on a regular basis. There are many things the corporation could be doing to make more money but they don't. The tightrope walk between remaining a cult and remaining a viable business gets harder and harder in the information age.
Wishing for or expecting their demise is probably too much to ask but I am very optimistic that their growth in the western world is at or near its peak.
Just to follow up on Mr. Flipper's comments, its easy to understand why the WTS. would be tightening up their grip over people.
The age of information his changed the game for the WTS., what was easily hidden out and away from peoples eyes is not so easy anymore.
The leaders (GB) have invested interest to keep the people they've got as means of financial support.
Watching and looking out for dissenters has now become an evermore important concern.
Speaking in terms of the (GB), if I had all that adulation, power, control, personal status, hands on obtainable grasp of 100s of millions.
I would probably fight and protect all of that as well.
The WTS. has always been a power and money game, its just a matter if your willing to play the game or not.
a family relative (mid 70 years of age) telsl me all the time that this is not the organization that he knew in the fifties and early sixties. There is a lot more control now than ever before.
He was lamenting that "witnesses have to keep their opinions to themselves or else be labeled as one who dares to question the governing body"
Personally , I think it was always restrictive. I only remember a time in the very late 70s and early 80s when there seemed to be a relaxing of rules. There were a number of talks on using one's conscience and thinking ability. This was the time when the rank and file got a different light on "sacred service"
Whereas before sacred service was only the preaching work- during this relaxed time, "sacred service" entailed all aspects of one life.
This lasted a very short time and then it went back to the old way.
After reading Ray's book I realized this was a time Ray's Franz influence.
The only thing that is more prevalent is almost a worship for the governing body members. The congregation is beat over the head week after week with reminders that the governing body wants this and wants that. It nauseating.
I can't remember seeing so many appeals to human authority as I have since the Study Editions of the Watchtower came out. Before the appeals of authority seemed to be geared more towards obedience to Jehovah and Jesus and the Bible. Now they seem very much geared toward obedience toward the "faithful slave", with some Bible scriptures to try to give credibility to their authority.
I also note a noticeable change in terminology over the past 10 years:
In the 80s and 90s, I remember hearing the phrase "The Society says" all the time. People have substituted this with "The Faithful Slave says".
While there is still quite a bit of "Jehovah has provided.." talk, there is more and more "The faithful slave has provided" going around.
I hear the use of "the Faithful Slave" a lot in comments and talks a lot more than I remember. Last meeting there were at least 3 mentions of the Faithful Slave in the Bible Highlight comments alone (which were based on the book of Job; Funny Jesus didn't get any mention).