I was deep into my Jehovah's Witness life pre 1975 as the drumbeat to that mysterious yet specific date loomed large.
It was presented as a countdown to Jehovah's promise of a 1000 year reign. "How fitting" was the popular phrase!
But, it was more like a countdown of a different sort.
It was like a hearbeat of a patient on life support. Credibility was on life support. The GB either was or was not guided by Jehovah!
____^____^_____^ Each day was a blip on the cardiac machine counting down to LIFE or DEATH.____^____^_____^____^____^_____^
By the end of 1975 even the most ardent JW could see nothing but FLATLINE______________________________________!
The world at large laughed.
But, the brothers and sisters who had toiled 7+ years advertising a....a.... spectacular....NON-event?
Now, even a truly incurious person knows when the joke falls flat and nobody laughs it is embarassing.
This was a VERY PUBLIC reckoning. The whole world was watching Jehovah's Witnesses' collective face grow redder and redder.
The GB knew you can't e-x-p-l-a-i-n a joke and MAKE it funny. They zipped a lip.
Fart in the elevator. Everybody smells it. Nobody says anything.
Well..maybe not everybody.
You see, there is really no proper etiquette for how to deal with 7 million people telling a whopper because they were gullible.
You want to laugh. You sorta feel empathy...but...nah--you don't really.
Poking fun--is it rude? Or, maybe it's called for!
The patient on life support (credibility) circled the drain and flushed down like the stinking turd it really was.
What a sad and pathetic display of hubris!
Once burned-twice cautious is the old saying.
Suddenly quite a few upset people started whispering questions very hard to answer.
Most of those people are no longer JW's. Many of them are us here on JW-net.
But, what about the ones who watched the patient DIE?
Is simply saying "cognitive dissonance" enough to explain their willingness to continue pretending?
Is it enough to explain loyalty to a disproved religion through the word "fear"?
Can it be intellectual dishonesty or laziness or stubborn insistence?
There are many opinions, conjectures and explanation--but--do any of them even begin to suggest a total answer?
If a wife catches her husband cheating she faces a terrible reckoning and moment of decision.
She can't just go with the anger and everything else be damned. She looks at the total blowback on her own well-being, her family, friends, reputation...
She can sometimes....forgive. But, such forgiveness almost certainly includes an apology and promise to never do it again by the cheating spouse.
This DOES NOT APPLY to the Governing Body and the wronged JW's who remained behind when the other disaffected members left in disgust.
No meaningful Apology exists to this day from the Watchtower leadership. What people got was more of a weasel-worded shrug about being "eager" for Jehovah's promises.
That's not much to go on if you are searching your heart and mind for a basis to forgive and stay with them!
No, it must be something deeper at work.
I once attended a wedding in Las Vegas connected to extended family. The mother of the bride was known to be a person with a huge gambling addiction.
There was enough worry to go around!
She had blown through a sizeable inheritance by gambling and losing and losing and losing. She borrowed money from relatives to sustain her family and often gambled that away as well.
I mention this because I think it has a strong connection to the topic above.
I'll call that lady's name: Suzy.
I was stuck in the lobby of our Las Vegas hotel with Suzy for about 45 minutes waiting on just about everybody who was late to arrive and assemble to
leave for the wedding in the limo.
We had a chat. Suzy and myself.
It got around to gambling. Suzy was completely uninhibited about the subject. Particularly her own feelings.
"Everybody seems to be watching me like I was Russian spy" she laughed.
I responded with polite curiousity.
"They are soooo afraid I'm going to go to the tables and blow a wad of money!" her voiced was amused and jaunty.
I tried to give a neutral reply.
"They think I have an addiction but they are dead wrong. I'm addicted to these cigarettes--but, not gambling."
I think I just made appropriate facial expressions and kept silent.
"Gambling is alot of goddam FUN! You stand to lose everything---but--what the others just don't get about it---WHAT IF YOU WIN? You win BIG!"
And--that made a lot of sense to her! She knew about the losing part of it. She was a person who had a positive spin on the wild possibility of WINNING BIG. That was enough. It gave excitement to an otherwise humdrum life.
I can remember Suzy saying:"What those fuddy duddies don't understand is that you don't win BIG unless you risk something big."
I don't know for sure. But, couldn't it be something like that? The "What if" is the reason?
"WHAT IF Armageddon comes THIS TIME?"
Inveterate gamblers shrug off the last loss and focus everything on the next time....and next time...and next time......
They only have to hit the jackpot and it ALL will have been worth the risk.
What do you think?