Convention talks on education?

by Quandry 19 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Quandry
    Quandry work next week I will be spending an entire day in a room with a young JW woman. (I work at an elementary school and we will be doing photocopying and other assorted things)

    This young woman is a gung-ho witness but she is going to be going to college. I asked her if anyone knew as higher education is frowned upon. She insisted that it wasn't....I said that a new directive stated that any with priviledges could lose them if they encouraged higher ed. and that she should be careful who she told of her plans. She could not get away from me fast enough.

    I am sure that she was one of the first in the door at the summer Convention. Does anyone know of any talks downing higher ed.? I'd like to discuss the issue further with her....if she does not run out the door yelling "Apostate!" first.

  • DesirousOfChange

    I did not think the talks were worded as strongly against it this year as in the past.

  • WTWizard

    The religion is geared to stop people from doing what they otherwise would have. If they are not hammering higher education like they used to, it could be that they believe that hyperinflation (especially in tuition costs) will do the job for them. Or, they could believe that, if they can stop the witlesses from making enough money, they can stop them from going to college that way. This means more in the way of crap jobs and cutting way back on work to pio-sneer.

    No matter what, they are hellbent on leading people into stagnation. No higher education. No Internet. No looking beyond what the Filthful and Disgraceful Slavebugger says. No unnecessary secular work. No work in fields that produce excitement. No investing in stocks (in the 1980s) or silver (today). No retirement. Just a lifetime of mindless door to door work, while the few at the top get all the money and the thrill of knowing they have ruined people's lives.

  • Quendi

    The stance the WTS takes against higher education is somewhat more nuanced than Quandry may believe. A person will not automatically lose "service privileges" if s/he gets involved with higher education. The directive states that if the children of an elder or ministerial servant enter college or university, then that elder or ministerial servant will have his privileges reviewed. The body of elders can then delete such a person, but that deletion is not an automatic thing. That is not to say that there are no repercussions to a man's decision to encourage or allow family members to seek higher education. The fact that his qualifications and privileges would be examined shows that. I don't doubt that some have been deleted, but it is up to the local body of elders to make that decision.

    The WTS has sent headquarters staff to college for training in fields it wanted its people to have. And we all know the "cattle call" it put out for college-educated workers for its Patterson construction projects. So there is a love/hate relationship it has with higher education, although it must be said it hates college more than it loves it. The Society has never liked free-thinkers, and college educated people are too much into that for its taste. However, I think it fair to say that it may be finally paying the price for its hostility toward higher education. There is a real "brain drain" happening now.


  • Sulla

    Quendi, I don't necessrily disagree with what you are saying here in terms of the shades of the Wt stance against education. But I have two questions/comments to make.

    First, a review of an elder's qualifications, while not as bad as automatic deletion, is plenty bad, it seems to me. It's on a par with a company reviewing whether it needs your position -- it isn't as bad as a layoff, but you'd put a similar level of effort into avoiding the review as you would avoiding the layoff. Nothing good can come from a review of an elder's qualifications, from the elder's perspective.

    I wonder if the brain drain is explained by the much greater level of higher education among regular middle class people. By that I simply mean that, 40 years ago, it may have been relatively easy to find enough competent guys to run the shop among those with a basic education. Higher education was not considered to be for everyone with average or better intelligence. Nowadays, it seems to be the case that we want everyone who can get through high school without a catastrophe to go on to college. Opposition to college is now forcing hard choices on a larger number of people, even those with unexceptional, but solid, ability.

    On the other hand, and why I question that line of reasoning, there seems to be a real drive to the blisteringly ignorant in Wt literature, procedures, etc. How hard can it posibly be to run an average congregation these days? When it comes to printing the literature, you really only need a couple dozen well-trained guys, and the writing becomes less and less sophisticated every day. From this perspective, attacking higher education seems like a net benefit -- and it isn't even close.

    Your thoughts?

  • wearewatchingyouman

    WTwizard... can you point me to the no investing in silver clause...

  • Quandry

    Thanks for the comments so far....has anyone actually heard a talk given in which higher education is discussed? I just don't want to let a golden opportunity like this pass by.

  • Pistoff
    The stance the WTS takes against higher education is somewhat more nuanced than Quandry may believe.

    Their stance is not nuanced at all, as expressed in the WT and at conventions.

    Those who go for a 4 year degree are painted as ambitious and greedy of fame, wealth and recognition.

    This is not a nuanced position.

    When you threaten judicial action to elders and MS for having children who go to college, your stance is quite clear: you are anti-college.

  • Pistoff

    A nuanced position would discuss the benefits of higher education, possible negative factors and encourage the reader or listener to decide for themselves.

    I know of no part on the conventions that told the truth about unemployment stats regarding those with a 4 year degree: the number is half of those with no 4 year degree. Half.

    They did quote, out of context, the US government website that acknowledged that not all find work in their degree field, but the numbers indicate that they still get work quicker, and get paid more (which means that it makes work more efficient, no?).

    I have sat through the college bashing sessions; I take issue with it being described as nuanced.

  • Quendi


    You make a valid point about how higher education is discussed from the platform, be that in a local congregation or at an international assembly. The WTS hostility toward it is on open display. I was making reference to what one can find in printed material, but I certainly did not make that clear. The criticism is toned down there, particularly when some expert is to be interviewed on a particular point. The Awake! articles on evolution that have appeared down through the years illustrate that very well. The correspondent talked to people like Michael Behe of Lehigh University as well as Witnesses who were involved in serious research at the Max Planck Institute. So thank you for giving me the chance to clarify my remarks as well as your own thoughts on this topic.


    You're right to say that a review of an elder's or ministerial servant's qualifications would not be something to look forward to. In some congregations, that would lead to automatic deletion. But I know of several congregations in the Boulder, Colorado area where elders held master's degrees and doctorates. In situations like those, I very much doubt an elder who allowed his children to attend college would be deleted. Indeed, he might not even have to face the dreaded review.

    As for the dumbing down of the literature we are now seeing, I don't doubt this is a tacit acknowledgment of the brain drain that is occurring in the organization, particularly in Europe and North America. If you cannot recruit men with a solid educational background to be elders and ministerial servants, then that will affect operational procedures. I agree that running a congregation should not be that difficult. However, considering how elders also function as star chamber jurists and are expected to control different aspects of people's personal lives and decisions, the organization may well have seen fit to simplify the language in which its hundreds of rules and directives are given.


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