What the hell is a "land?"

by stillin 11 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • stillin

    The service reports for JW's always toots their horn about all of the "lands" that the good news is being preached in.

    Has anybody got a clue? How many lands are there, total? Are lands the same as countries?

  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    I don't know. They use stilted, outdated language. When I was young, very old books talked of foreign lands. I have one theory. Colonialism may be a factor for not using the term countries. After WWII, the pressure on empires to grant independence increased. Many new countries were formed. During the 1950s, we always had to learn about a new country gaining independence. Now it seems a rarity. Africa is the most obvious example of a few colonies becoming many countries.

    There are stil somel colonies and territories. I don't know the international public law terms anymore. If I recall correctly, Puerto Rico is a colony. Guam, American Samoa are more confusing to me. Are there still U.S. protectorates in the Pacific? The Witnesses could be stating that we preach everywhere on earth. The usage of "lands" is dated. Have you read any Russell era literature? When it is not completely nuts, it still sounds nuts to a contemporary ear.

    Does the King James Version use "lands"? People here tell me special jargon is one sign of a cult. When you have your own codewords that the rest of the world no longer uses.

    I don't know. Sometimes the WT strikes me as just funny.

  • stillin

    BotR: that's probably as good of an answer as I'm going to get.

    Now, how about "peoples, tribes, anions and tongues?"


  • adamah

    I suspect it's alot like 'kinds', the mysterious groups that God supposedly created animals according to, of their own 'kind'. It's not a recognized term in biology, and doesn't mean 'species' (which change over time).

    I'm not sure about 'lands', but I suspect it may refer to independent Nation/states in their Modern Day usage, although in the Bible it could refer to the entire Earth or the area controlled by a tribe or single individual. Who knows? Sounds like a good candidate for submitting as a "Questions From the Readers"....


  • stillin

    Maybe I can ask the CO when he comes around. See whether he gets that deer-in-the-headlights look in his eye.

  • Island Man
    Island Man

    What the hell is a "land?"

    I presume that the Watchtower is using a definition akin to: any inhabited land that can be distinctly delineated by either political, geographical or language boundaries. So one country could be counted as 1 land, while another, single country that consists of 2 islands can be counted as 2 lands.

    Basically, it appears to be a very clever ploy by the Watchtower to give the false impression and feeling that they are preaching in over 135 countries. 135 lands sounds more impressive than say - and I'm just pulling a random number as an example - 35 countries. In otherwords using "lands" enables them to give a larger figure to make their worldwide preaching effort seem more impressive.

  • Julia Orwell
    Julia Orwell

    I reckon 'land' is used because it's broader than 'country' because a 'land' can also mean a protectorate or territory, which is technically under the sovereignty of a country but quite autonomous. And as JWs are all about numbers, there are more 'lands' than countries. It looks more impressive to have 200 odd 'lands' on their list than less than 200 actual countries.

  • Cold Steel
    Cold Steel

    I don't know, but I think one is my front yard.

  • Jeffro

    The JW use of "lands" almost equates to "countries". The exceptions are mostly islands that are actually sovereign territory of another country or constituents of a larger island group. They also count a couple of disputed territories as separate "lands". For more information, see the footnotes at the Wikipedia article, Jehovah's Witnesses by country. A few years ago, they stopped counting Alaska and Hawaii as separate "lands".

  • Julia Orwell
    Julia Orwell

    They really did that even though they're just states of one country? Hell we could had counted Tasmania as a 'land'. Break up Indonesia, Japan and th philippines and you've got hundreds more 'lands'. Impressive eh, that jws can be found in 1000 lands...

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