What Has Happened To Us?

by Frenchy 33 Replies latest jw friends

  • Frenchy

    A few months ago during the elders' meeting with the C.O. I could not help but express myself to him when the subject of meeting attendance came up. Now this is a nice guy as far as C.O.'s go. He's young and all pumped up with Brooklyn sunshine but I believe that he's sincerely trying to help where he can. I raised my hand and this is what I told him in front of the group:

    Sometime ago we had a ks (school for elders and m.servants) that was totally devoted to Improving the Quality of Our Meetings . Now I can't imagine anyone arguing against improving the quality of our meetings. BUT the information was presented in such a way (all through the program) as to make it perfectly clear to all of us present that the reason meeting attendance was dropping off was due to the poor quality of our meetings. Not 'the information' mind you, just how it was presented to the congregation. Now I'm wondering why the same amount of consideration given to the presentation had not been given to the information. We were told, in essence, that the reason for the drop in attendance was our fault. Now just in case we didn't 'get' it, we had a followup to the school shortly thereafter and spent another entire day talking about the same thing.

    Now mind you, no comments or suggestions were solicited from the elders who deal with their respective congregations on a daily basis. The only questions that were asked were leading questions like we ask our Bible Studies, something for which we already have an answer and, I might add like the questions asked of the elders at these elders' meetings.

    When I was a young man we drove twenty miles to the nearest kingdom hall twice a week. No easy feat when you consider that although gasoline was less than fifty cents a gallon, my father only made twenty five dollars a week working from dark to dark in a filling station, six days a week. Anyway, we went. At that time we met in a small, rented hall near the railroad track (on the 'wrong' side of town) and sat in metal folding chairs. We listened to men who could barely sign their name and some who could not even read beyond the first grade level. The quality of the meetings by today's standards was deplorable but we went every week!. Why? Why did we go then and we felt so good about it and today we don't want to go?

    THATwas what should have been addressed at that ks school. THAT is the issue that we need to address today. You see, I know what the problem is. It's not how fluent the speaker on the platform is, or how nicely decorated our halls are, or how well-rehearsed the demonstrations are. That has NOTHINGto do with meeting attendance.

    "Do you know what the problem is?" I asked him and he didn't say a word. "Faith. We don't have it anymore. We don't believe anymore. Bring that back and you can forget about all those meeting parts threatening our people with destruction at armageddon for not attending meetings. Give them back their faith and they will fill our kingdom halls to overflowing. They'll be out in service every day. Until and unless we do this, nothing will improve."

    Then I asked him because I could see that he was really listening. "When was the last time you cried at a meeting? How long has it been since you heard a talk that really moved you, one that wanted to make you go out and shout to the world about the goodness of God and Christ?"

    He put his head down for a few seconds. He resumed the meeting but that Sunday, out in service, he told me that he appreciated what I had said and I could see that he was thinking about it. Those are my feelings on the matter.

    What about all of you here? What do you think has happened to us? Can what's left be salvaged? If not, then where do we go?

    Edited by - Frenchy on 29 May 2000 8:12:23

    Edited by - Frenchy on 29 May 2000 8:14:19

  • waiting

    Hey, Frenchy, I'm sorry to say, the last moving talk I heard was about 25 years ago by an elder in Indiana. He was a long time pioneer, and an excellent speaker. I also heard a talk given by a black brother who actually was funny and informative. But talks like that are few.

    I've always complained about the lack of quality speakers in the local area I live in. My husband pointed out to me that there are few articulate people, even less articulate blacks in our area. I am not being racist - blacks make up 80% of our congregation, and 6 our of 7 of our elders. For all their kindness, they, in general, in our congregation, are not good speakers.

    But your right - they are not the main problem - the main problem is that the information is dry and repeated. But when some brothers get off the beaten track - they really make ignorant statements, so I can see the Society's point to go from the outline. One black brother who was a good speaker, went out on his own thought and said that Geronomo was like Satan. I took offense at that one, seeing that my children are half Indian.

    I also feel that as a whole, the Watchtowers studies are in the same boat. My husband and I just talked about this matter. We have many children in our congregation, and they are called upon in abundance. I know the argument that the reason that the books, meetings, articles, etc. have become (for the most part) simplistic is because of all the new people in the organization - and they couldn't keep up with us older ones - so we stay at their level. Which, by the way, is probably why so many children are able to answer so many questions.

    However, it does make for the going over the same information on a forever basis. Such as the Greatest Man book two times in a row in our book study.

    Perhaps our faith is dependent on Jehovah and we have over the years become dependent on the Society instead. That would be our fault - but we were taught to do so by our beloved Society. Perhaps we just put our faith and free thought aside so we could stay, so that we and our families would not die, so that Jehovah would accept us. And, perhaps, we are finding out that this doesn't work.

    Either you or another Frenchy are posting elsewhere. I enjoy your posts where ever I find them.

  • Frenchy

    Thank you, waiting. I post on H20 from time to time as well as on the LeftBehind Message board (that's really a kick in the head there! Have had a lot of fun with the trinity thing!)

    Your comments about there not being very many articulate speakers addresses another one of my 'pet peeves'. I believe that at least 75% (maybe higher) of the brothers giving talks are not qualified to do so and I don't believe they should be allowed to. We had one come to our congregation a while back that stuttered so badly it aggravated the devil out of me to have to sit there and listen to him for 45 minutes. After the meeting I went to the brother assigned to schedule the public talks and told him to make sure that he doesn't invite this guy back! The local elders can choose not to invite anyone that they feel is not a good speaker. Of course this is not done very much because it's so hard to get a speaker to even show up these days.

    I really enjoy delivering public talks(talks on circuit and district assemblies programs as well) and I always get off the beaten path. I take a certain 'perverse' pleasure in using expressions with double meanings and then watching the audience's reaction. Most, of course, merely nod their heads in agreement. These are the ones that can only think in one dimension, in other words, the ideal witness. But there is always one, sometimes two that will cock their head slightly to one side and I can almost hear the wheels turning in their heads. That is my reward.

    I've done it a thousand times and I have taken particular delight in doing it on parts when the C.O. is visiting. Sad to say, they are the ones with the narrowest vision, they never get it! Okay, so I'm a rascal.

    I also share your sentiments about this going over the same stuff over and over again. I believe there should be a program for newer ones so that they can 'catch up' with things. I don't believe that the rest of the congregation ought to be made to go over the abc's just because one or two don't know them yet. This produces boredom. I believe the TMSchool should be completely re-vamped and used to train those who will be giving public talks and those that read the WT and at the Book Study. The service meeting should be abolished and that small amount of information in the km that's actually of any use should be incorporated into the 'meeting for field service'. In it's place the congregation book study should be inserted. That would free up one night for us to be with our families.

    I also think that all the public talks should be scrapped and a whole new batch produced. Although there are over a hundred titles, there are only about ten talks...all the others are just the same thing with a different title!

    Outlines for the talks should be very general with the brothers given great latitude on how they will present this to the local congregation. If a brother can't do that then he should't be giving talks. Either that or just have some brother in Brooklyn tape all the talks and we'll just play them! (Ugh! can you imagine that!). Anyway, that's my 2 cents worth.

  • spectromize

    The last moving talk that I heard was from one of our district overseer at a circuit assembly. He encouraged the youth's not to leave the truth using all the experiences that his many years of knowledge brought traveling the district. In fact his talk was so moving that many a tears were shed in the audience that day and forever recounted .

    While on the platform the district overseer shed tears himself recounting on how many youth's were forsaking Jehovah for the world and bringing many problems for themselves, their families and the cong.

    After giving this magnificent talk full of encouragement and self help analyses, the poor sap got caught sleeping around with a pioneer sister a short while later. He was disfellowshipped along with the pioneer sister and moved in with her. He dumped his wife of many years and the gossip spread like wild fire. All who knew him felt a tremendous let down from one circuit to circuit.

    So getting back to the question:"What has happened to us?"

    Answer= Let's not be big hypocrites, people are not stupid they catch on sooner or later. So this means we as an organization have a lot to learn. from projecting a holier than thou attitude.

  • Scorpion


    Where is the board you mentioned, LeftBehind? Can you post the URL on this thread.

    Also, I agree with you about the quality of the talks being given and the mundane atmosphere at the Kingdom Hall. I find myself day dreaming more and more lately. Maybe this is because I feel in a way I am not learning anything new that builds and uplifts me spiritually. The last year I pioneered, I felt as though I was just going through the motions. I feel like this more and more. Maybe our focus is not where Jehovah wants it to be.

    You asked can what is left be salvaged, if not, where do we go? The more I read of the Bible, the more I understand that it is Jehovah through his son whom we should put our trust in. The apostle Peter answered Jesus in verse 68 of the book of John, "Lord, whom shall we go away to? You have sayings of everlasting life.

    When our focus is taken off of Jesus the Son of God, everything seems to fall apart. It seems that our focus is more on meeting attendance and counting hours of field service.

  • mgm

    I'm fully agree with you, guys!
    But as long as the speakers don't have more freedom in choosing topics and words, how can it ever be more interesting?
    They have to stick to the manuscript from the WTS. How can one have great motivation to have a good public talk?
    Doesn't say the bible that some of you are speakers, some preachers and so on...The bible doesn't say, every elder has to hold public talks!
    Everyone shall do according to his personal skills.

    Another point: You say, that the information is dry and repeated. But what more information could be given than now? Almost everybody knows everything about the teachings. It is not the wish of the dfS to go more into details. If so, more questions from brothers would come up to be answered....even more than now...

    The style of the meetings should be completly changed, from a school type to seminars with workgroups and projects.
    Kids should be separated and receive a teaching matching to there age.

  • Frenchy

    This is the address to the LeftBehind board. This thing has been down for a couple of days, though. I don't know when it will be up again.


  • Scorpion

    Thanks Frenchy. The board is still down. I will check it later.

  • Frenchy

    SC, try the link below. They have been having problems with the board and it's been moved somehow. This link should get you in. Go to the 'narrow road' forum for the heavy stuff!


  • waiting

    mgm stated that he felt kids should be separated in the meetings. Having had 3 young ones - I agree, at least during the Watchtower studies. 45 minutes is 43 minutes longer than their attention span during public talks. That's enough sitting-still training for one day.

    They could have a meeting of their own, through books and answers, milk and graham crackers, which they could comprehend and enjoy.

    If there were 100 people in WT study, 20% of answers in our congr. would be young children. Another 50/70% of answers would be of adults quoting the paragraphs just like the young children. Approx. 30/10% of answers are thoughtful - and at least 2/5 of them are thoughtfully wrong. ('course if they're brothers, you can't correct them- so the wrong statement stands)

    Just thought I'd rant for a while.

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