Ok so the thread from LITS on the ‘Armageddon to go bag’ got me thinking that the WTBS have missed a trick here.
Why not teach all JW’s first aid and simple survival techniques ready for Armageddon and as a side benefit they become disaster savy helpers, basically trained good Samaritans? Could this be a future strategic sideline for the WBTS?
Biblical precedent (aka WBTS precedent): they have taught for many years that proof the bible is inspired of God in some small part is due to survival techniques used by the Israelites in the desert (hygiene etc). Jesus was also prepared to help those in need.
The benefits for the WBTS: Greater control over the flock as it would create the atmosphere Armageddon is very close. Improved credibility with governments who might consider this as a public service or public benefit. They could get more members through the door (more members = more power & money).
Training model: an elder / MS could be trained from each Cong at a special assembly day (paid for by each congregation) who would then go back and teach the congregation at regular dedicated meetings. The associated material could be issued online and updated regularly when there was new light on medical techniques. This would be low cost met by the congregations. Any profit made on these assembly days would offset the cost of getting the initial training right (expert advice from medics from a range of countries as some countries may require different training or follow alternative procedures). All legal aspects covered off too (i.e. some limited liability legal directive that JW's sign saying they do everything as a volunteer).
PR opportunity: 7 million first aiders who also have simple survival techniques that could help their local communities in times of disaster. There are bound to be examples of their aid rendered which would create positive internal as well as external publicity.
In line with current WBTS policy: They have encouraged learning things like sign language and they have already tried to promote their disaster response activities (Haiti).
The benefits for existing JW’s: It would create a buzz that the end is nigh. A new unique selling point on FS for people to join (become a first aider and learn other useful skills like better family life from the bible). Improve their reputation in the community due to publicised good works (local newspaper articles etc). JW’s would become more credible on FS as they were trained at first aid (fuzzy logic but I’m sure their perception would improve). Meetings would become more interesting. Appreciation for the WBTS who were lovingly caring for them and preparing them for Armageddon. Another opportunity for JW's to feel like they are educated without going to worldly institutions. They could feel even more superior to worldlings that they were trained and ready for Armageddon.
Clearly not all JW's are healthy enough to carry out the first aid side of things, but it doesn't prevent them from having the knowledge so they feel part of the programme and learning survival techniques.
These are my initial thoughts and I may have missed plenty of issues - but I thought it was a radical way of getting that "Armageddon is round the corner" feeling by physical preparation. Perhaps too radical for those old men in their ivory towers.