I've got my own opinion on this but I'm very interested to hear from anyone who has viewpoints on what impact they think the internet is going to have on the WTBS say over the next 5 - 10 years.-SolidSender
The Beginning of the End
Let's face it the net is going to become as prolific as the phone and TV. In fact phone, tv, net and audio are all set to combine and go wireless at that but that's another story. For example I think it's got to get to the stage where: Witness starts study. Study says to Witness "what's the JW www. address, so I can go check out all the their online resources, you know all your publications online, JW publication archives back to year dot, etc etc ( Study lists natural expectations about any credible web site )?" Witness says duh, "We don't have one"
Study says "Why Not", Witness ( goes into spin control ) says " a) it's Satanic, b) The internet is banned amongst JW's
- etc, etc. regurgitating WTBS dogma, anything but an original thought. Witness honestly expects Study's gullibility levels to be equal to, or less, than his or her own. Next thing study does is goes to the internet, pulls up a search engine, types in Jehovah and begins to learnt that the truth about the truth is that it's a lie.
I can't see the WTBS heading down the this ignore the internet and hope it goes away path, head in the sand strategy as being the best PR move. On the other hand it seems to me that if they decide to enter the 20th century and officially go online ( I mean post more than the couple of dead static pages that they presently do ) it's going to be just as disasterous for them. Why? Because they can not have any archival material online. We all know why. Which will lead to the obvious question by any "newones" - How come? To my mind I find it hard to see the internet as anything but poetic justice to the WTBS. A threat to their power base that not even in their wildest dreams they could have anticipated. In conclusion, I've knocked this post out fast and it's more a sketch than a complete picture of what I wanted to say but it's late and I gotta get home.-SolidSender
oops another typo! - line should read - WITNESS EXPECTS STUDYS GULLIBILITY LEVELS TO BE EQUAL TO OR GREATER THAN HIS/HER OWN.
I believe the internet will have a severe impact, but most Witnesses are not connected and the Society has done a good job of demonizing it.
There will always be a loyal core who will disbelieve even the most well-supported facts. The religion will survive, but with heavy losses in the West and perhaps some fragmentation.
The real enemy is "no end in the near future" mentality, combined with that "treading water" feeling as we all burn out. Past policies will come back to haunt them as an aging, uneducated people with thinking children face reality.
The internet has merely hastened what would have been and simply explained why we feel the way we do. It has been a double edged sword, in that not only does it take away power from the Society, it gives strength and support to those who leave.
It is a nightmare come true. A cheap way of spreading information to the world, puts a single individual on the same level as a billion dollar publishing company.
Yes, I have to admit, that even though I was considered "weak" in the truth, back in 96, before I got onto the net in 1997, I would still have defended it to my death as the "Truth" and thought I just must not be good enough for it. Once I typed in Jehovah's Witnesses into a search engine, that was all she wrote. I first found H20, and wrote to Liberal Elder, thinking he was a real elder and would tell me I would be ok, that what I thought I was seeing, I wasn't seeing! LOL He never even wrote me back. I wasn't worth the bother.
Then, I found the Blood site. I printed the entire thing PLUS the flock book. Took them home and read them, and started to realize that the truth was a lie, a very BIG lie. I then went and bought a copy of Crisis of Conscience at the local "Christian" book outlet. What I read there solidified all my suspicions into the REAL truth, that the WTBTS had lied and contrived to control my mind. That I had given my marriage up, my family up, my education up, my HAPPINESS up for a big fat lie that would never come true.
You bet the internet will work. All you have to do is get someone to type those two words into a search engine, and that's all it takes.
I think that most if not all of us here agree that the internet has been a big factor in many JW's leaving. However, personally, I don't see the WTBS folding. If you look carefully at its history you will see that it is very resilient. There has never been a time when it has not been attacked from without and within and yet it perseveres. The leadership is totally committed. The organization is firmly established world wide. Its pursuit of new recruits is relentless. It has an uncanny ability to rewrite its history and even those who know better believe the rewrite. It has made its members feel like they are part of a global brotherhood. The writing staff is very, very good. Embarrassing mistakes are brushed aside with an ease that makes Clinton look clumsy.
IMHO, the WTS will adapt and survive. They will use their past mistakes as examples of how the 'spirit' has progressively led them out of the darkness and into that ever increasing 'light' that is continually getting brighter as we relentlessly march into these last days in what will remain for all time, the time of the end.
I read somewhere that 90% of what Russell taught is now abandoned if not outright condemned. Think about that for a moment. A religion that is less that is only two generations (the real ones) old and already 90% of their original doctrine has been replaced and yet it grows more and more.
I do predict, however, a new mentality that will develop among witnesses. I see JW's become more like the Catholic which reveres his Pope but still practices birth control with no conscience pangs whatsoever. I see the JW like the Baptist that parades up and down the street protesting the new proposed city ordinance that will allow liquor to be sold and then goes home and gets polluted with the liquor he has hidden there. He, also, has no qualms about it.
What we are looking at here is the outline of what will become more like the 'others' in time. There will still be a few 'stupid' doctrines as it seems that no religion can do without at least two or three of those just for shock value. But those doctrines will be ignored by the masses and only observed by the fanatically devout...just like in all the other faiths.
Well, I'll see you guys and gals later... hope to get your comments on this.
-Say what you mean, mean what you say-
They'll either re-invent, re-interpret or die.....Honestly, the internet makes a big difference for me.If there ever was any chance of me becoming a witness its almost dead from the research and info i've been able to get my hands on online.
Unless they really do have the truth (highly unlikely at the moment from my perspective) they're finished, atleast in their present state.
They'll re-invent...they've done it before and they'll do it again.....maybe?
I honestly think Frenchy's right, about their resiliency. I don't think the entire tower will fall, I just think they will somehow become mainstream, albeit slowly then their followers would like to see. And yes, they will keep marching to the endless ending. Sigh...
If the society becomes more mainstream, what claim to fame will they have left? Of course over time, who knows? I believe it's true that 90% of what they taught in Russel's day has been trashed. Heck, look at what was taught just 30-40 years ago. If you want to act like someone else, just get a transfusion!
It's hard to believe that the WTS published the articles on health and other topics that they did. There was some pretty rediculous stuff. What gets me the most is that Jesus supposedly chose the WTS for what they taught in 1918. They think the rank and file are stupid, because they continually rewrite their history. Maybe they think the r&f won't look at the older publications. Just look at what they taught back then! Yet they survive to this day.
I think that in the future, the WTS will be hounded to death by thousands of former members and many within. The internet has made it possible for thousands of members to find out their bogus teachings and history all at once.
"Enjoy God's creation, ride a dirt bike!"
The mainstreaming of the Society is something I have felt will happen for some time now.
Rigid adherence to the old rules will not be attractive for new recruits.
I think that there has been a gradual progression along this path for some time. Hour requirements for pioneers have been lessened, assembly times have been cut back, iron-clad Biblical "laws" are being tweaked.
The Society needs to maintain a "sales force"....so they will do what is necessary to keep them in line.