I remember in 1992 when the Proclaimers book was released, the JW growth was skyrocketting. Since the internet became available in most homes by 2000, we can see the beginnings of effects that forums such as this one have had as exJW could further increase their reach. People inside had anonymous ways to research and learn. However, look at how the internet has changed since 2000. YouTube is only 5-6 years old. Social networking has only been around for about 8 or 9 years. Now everyone has smart phones with wifi, secured and anonymous browsing. Even 5 or 6 years ago, it was tough for kids (or sleazy spouses) to cover their naughty browsing history on the family computer. With smart phones, wireless laptops and ipads all under $500, even the strictest JW households cannot monitor everything their curious family members investigate on the web. The major changes brought up in this thread only started snowballing recently. Since 2004, we've had:
major editing on the blood issue,
removal of studies from private homes,
TWO (2) changes of the understanding of "generation" (one in 2008, the other last year),
a new, stricter elder book,
a new TMS structure,
shortened meeting times on Sunday,
2 propaganda DVDs in the last year, QFR articles and WT articles focusing on the 3 main weaknesses that we apostates exploit: early JW history, "don't bug us, research yourself or ask a local elder" and the 587/607 debate,
privatizing the study articles in a separate edition of WT,
focusing on 5 new threats: atheistm, apostacy, DFed people, internet and college education (while false religion, sex, governments, bad association and the threat of persecution have been placed on the back burner).
I think this new media is driving these changes. It's having a devastating effect. They are having to respond to us for the first time! All we have to do is look at the 2011 service report in a few months. Subtract the number baptized from the difference of peak pubs in 2011-2010 and the TRUTH of what's happening will be apparent! In the meantime, I PREDICT the following issues will force more, dramatic changes:
Unthink's Austrailian law suit (will require a letter being read at all meetings much like the one after the Dateline incident and perhaps a global policy change on spiritual appointments)
Debit/Credit cards for contributions will result in more guilt-ridden articles about giving.
All their files being posted online (I bet they will make literature only available to regular meeting attendees or may even require minimum monthly service hours to "qualify" to get your KM and WT study copy)
2014. This is big. Too big to ignore. Many who are active, JW lemmings today will stop and realize something is definitely not right. The GB will begin publishing strange articles---even stranger than ones we've seen in the last year---to pave the road for escape when 2014 comes and goes and we're still here. 100 years is a significant milestone and I'd bet many many MANY JWs who are still in are just like I was 3 years ago: Still attending, still going in FS, still shunning, still avoiding apostates...but deeply depressed and struggling with cognitive dissonance because they know... but they're just gonna hold out til 2014. I bet many dubs have "bail dates" in mind.
If this newer, younger, stricter GB enforces the new elders manual as it's written and "demotes" brothers from spiritual appointments because they or their family members decide to attend college and starts nailing people under the "brazen" clause, we will see a massive, MASSIVE pushback from the R&F. MASSIVE. I promise...just watch!!!
Final Note: A few years ago (2007--2008), there was a WT study article that talked about the exodus of the jews from Egypt. I distinctly remember it because I was still clinging on to "da trooff" at the time and I talked about it with many friends because we all thought it was exciting. Anyone remember this??? The main point of the article was the strange, meandering detour Jehovah led the Israelites on in the wilderness on the way to the promised land. They even showed a map of the route. Then, the paragraph clearly stated that as God leads His Organization in these last days, they may be directed by holy spirit to instruct the flock in ways that may not appear to make much sense at the time. And whaddya know... sense that article, look at all the drastic changes in infrastructure, delegation, policy and doctrine that have taken place! They always give us a warning first to pave the way. COA insurance.