What Has Happened To Us?

by Frenchy 33 Replies latest jw friends

  • Friend


    I appreciated your comments on this thread especially those about faith. They are insightful, and I agree with them in full.

    You mentioned something about brothers having more latitude in delivering public talks. That would help, but I’m sure you probably remember back when that luxury got quite a few into trouble. I’m not talking about doctrinal issues either. I’m talking about how far out into never-never land some speakers would go on issues like discipline of children, subjection within marriage, etc…. WOW! The problems some of those lunatics caused were tremendous!

    On the other hand, today we witness something that gives merit to your words about latitude. Today some of the best talks given are those public talks that are given impromptu by one of the more gifted local speakers. The nature of an impromptu talk is that the speaker has great latitude, and it usually shows.

    Anyway, I just wanted to applaud your comments on this thread.


  • Frenchy


    Thank you. I appreciate your comments as well and you are quite right about some going out into left field with the talks. It's a problem, isn't it?

  • Carmel


    Could you describe what an interesting meeting would be like? Do you want your faith confirmed or challenged? Do you want intellecual stimulation or idiotic rote repetition? Do you want all to participate or have a "leader" dispense information (light?). Do you want social stimulation through diversity or would you prefer that the group be of same color, class and economic status (comfort zone)?

    The last time I attended a KH meeting with my wife, it was identical to the one 25 years before. You can fill in which of the descriptions above probably fit what the meeting was like.


  • Frenchy

    Dear Tod,

    Do you want your faith confirmed or challenged?

    Like the muscles of the body, faith will atrophy without activity. What strengthens muscles? Challenge in the form of physical resistance. What strengthens faith? Challenges. The truth is just that, the truth. It is not dispelled by examination but rather it is vindicated by it. If something cannot stand such scrutiny then it is either false or something which cannot be proven. In either case, the point is made.

    Do you want intellecual stimulation or idiotic rote repetition? Do you want all to participate or have a "leader" dispense information (light?).

    I believe those questions are answered above as well.

    Do you want social stimulation through diversity or would you prefer that the group be of same color, class and economic status (comfort zone)?

    This question is a little more difficult to answer. This is especially true if that diversity includes a wide gap in education levels. Obviously what can be discussed on a college level might not be appreciated by individuals that never so much as completed grade school. On the other hand, if the discussion is too simplistic then it will hold no interest for those want a higher form of intellectual stimulation.
    The same principle would hold true for cultural and ethnic (I presume that is what you meant by 'color')groups. It's a sad mistake we make when we say that we treat people differently because of the color of their skin. That is simply not so. We aredifferent. Denying that adds to the problem. We need to recognize those differences and acknowledge that they exist.
    For example: I know that women are different from men and boy, do I love the difference! The 'differences' do not necessarily make one superior to the other, just different. But imagine if we ignored the differences and tried to pretend that men and women are the same...
    Anyway, I hope you see my point. The challenge here in what you are presenting in the form of a question (very good one!) is to take into account all the diversities of the group and togetherwork out a discussion that all can benefit from. Participationby all who want to participate, I believe, is the key.

    My slant on it. What about you?

    Edited by - Frenchy on 7 June 2000 7:59:25

  • Pathofthorns

    I enjoyed your comments Frenchy. I do think many of us have lost faith and love as compelling reasons for doing the things we do. Faith and love appear to be replaced by fear and guilt. Most are in a rut, a routine of simply "treading water" until the "end" comes and saves us from what has become a dull routine.

    Many are doing what they do because "they are supposed to". Few actually understand why. It could be why we have to have a good reason (excuse?) to miss a meetings or turn in a low hour report. Many of the so-called "witness illnesses" such as CFS, Fibromialgia, Burnout, Depression appear to be great reasons to limit activity and make it difficult for elders to say much to you. I don't mean this in any way to offend those that genuinely do suffer from such illnesses, and can see how those highly involved can easily develope them.

    As for the quality of meeting parts, quality takes time to think about your talks and time is not something many have these days. If there were fewer meetings, but better prepared content, perhaps more would attend.

    Good speakers never mattered so much to me as did speakers who spoke from the heart. A poor speaker who was genuine and speaking from the heart and cared and believed what he was saying was the best speaker in my book.

    I don't believe meeting attendance will improve until the number of meetings is reduced. Length of conventions have been shortened, Pioneer hours have been reduced. Time and necessity dictate that at some point there will be less meetings per week. Will this help meeting attendance? Perhaps in the short term. Long term probably not. The future of the organization is our young people, and from what I see they have no use for meetings, and many really have only a basic concept of what they even believe.

    (Sorry to ramble on) Lastly I think the poor meeting attendance is in part due to people having to work longer hours these days. Many Witnesses because they didn't get an education earn less than their "worldly" counterparts. Financially Witnesses are set back because thier parents spending all of their money on Kingdom pursuits. While such is not necessarily regretted, a heavy burden has fallen upon this generation. Not only do they have to care for their own families, they also have to financially care for their parents who did not exercise finacial balance. In addition this generation wants to leave something for thier children so they don't face the difficulties they do. In short this generation has way too many things on their plates. It appears many are evaluating just how much confidence they can place in "present truth" when they look at how things have fared for their parents.


  • Frenchy

    You're right when you say that times have changed. I know from my own experience that my children don't have the same values that I had --although I tried hard to instill it in them while they were growing up. It's difficult raising a family and providing for them when you are being told every week that the end is just around the corner and that to live your life any other way is tantamount to denying God. So what happens? Well, like you said, your children don't get the benefit of a higher education and you don't have a retirement plan. Why would you have a retirement plan? You are expecting the end any day now?
    As for the breakdown of faith, well we have heard the cry of 'wolf' one too many times. My personal view on the matter is that the WTS is not THE faithful and discreet slave. I don't know that there is one now.

  • waiting

    A retirement plan? College education? Not in this lifetime. My husband and I have come to the conclusion that we'll be working an extremely long time.

    But not as long as Ed Dunlap, who, according to Ray Franz, when he was disfellowshipped and "deported" from Bethel, started hanging wallpaper at the age of 73. I do my own wallpapering, and am much younger. My sympathy goes out to that old man - he didn't deserve his punishment - he basically was doing the same as us, speaking as he thought.

    I suspect, as we age, we'll still being doing manual labor, because that's all we've been taught to do. Don't get me wrong, we make an ok living, we'll just have to do it until we die.

    A friend of mine is a college graduate (before becoming a witness). She cleans houses now. Two young black sisters in our cong. graduated high honors in high school, teachers assured them of full scholorships (my kids knew them well), they turned them down. Both women married straight out of high school, have two kids each, live in trailers, and work nights at the mall as clerks 10 years later.

    But they try their best to get to the meetings.

  • mgm

    I'm agree with you about cutting the number of meetings down. Two "good quality" meetings would be enough. But which one should be cut away?
    The service meeting? Or the bookstudy?

    The WTS is slowly changing there policy about education and financial plans. They recommend to have an life insurance and retirement plan. But what about all the older brothers which didn't plan for the future according to the old teaching of the society?
    What about all the skillful and intelligent brothers which do a "low job"?
    What about all the brothers with art skills, painting, singing, playing an instrument or good in handicraft?
    They hardly have time to enjoy there hobbys and to make a living out of it is a dream!
    Why doesn't the society support chores, singing groups, music bands an so on, in order to praise Jehovah?
    Could you imagine how many would like to join in a chorus?
    Am I dreaming or what....for this kind of things is enough time in the new system....now go preaching!!

  • RedhorseWoman

    I definitely concur with all the comments here. I can remember the zeal I had as a teenager.

    I was going to pioneer! I would not be worldly and go to college! Additionally, I most likely wouldn't have time to complete a degree before the end.

    I was fortunate. I happened to be at the right place at the right time, and I received on-the-job training as a computer programmer when I was in my thirties.

    This training allowed me to get a job in companies that provide pension plans and 401K plans. So, I have made a start on retirement, but I lost 15 peak savings years to "kingdom interests".

    I'll probably be able to retire, but it won't be until I'm close to 70. At least that's better than looking forward to no retirement at all.

    Cutting down the number of meetings definitely makes sense. Most of the material is highly repetitious....it just rotates from one forum to the other. Rather than being a joy, meeting attendance becomes a burden.

    I can remember when District Assemblies were 7 to 10 days long. The program lasted from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. I was just a small child, and I can remember the exhaustion very well. All I learned from these marathon sessions was stoicism.

    Having meetings pretty much every other day becomes more a means of control than a means to impart knowledge.

  • Roamingfeline


    Where did you learn to be so smart? You really hit the nail on the head again. Hadn't realized you were one of "them". An ELDER. I haven't seen an elder in a long time who even Acknowledges what is happening in the Org, let alone why it is happening. I once knew a CO named William Osbeck, who could speak so well it WOULD bring you to tears of joy. He gave talks that would just uplift, and truly believed that love amongst ourselves was the way to go, and he practiced it. But that was a loooong time ago. I lost my faith, and honestly don't believe I will ever get it back. I've seen too much evil allowed, and heard too many lies. Sigh....

    Thanks for the good posts.

    Edited by - Roamingfeline on 12 June 2000 23:12:40

    Edited by - Roamingfeline on 12 June 2000 23:14:58

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