Have you noticed the Watchtower's slow drift into another self-destructive trap of their own design?
I know I will get a couple of responses from some. The opinions will generally come from two camps:
- The Society will never die because there will always be ones willing to write a mental "blank check"and embrace "God" through his "Orginization".
- The Society will prosper because it IS God's Orginzation in our times.
The first bullet has merit. As long as mankind lives and breaths a "sucker" will be born every minute, willing to buy into the co-dependent swill spewed out by the FDS class. (the Publishing company). Even if the WT went to "0" growth today it would take years for all of today's members to die out.
The second bullet drives the title of this post. If this is God's Orginzation in out time how will the Watchtower continue to be effective in 'preaching the word"? The changes in the Theocratic Ministry School indicate a cancer in the system. As a group, the Witnesses are seeing a steady loss of intellectual capacity that hinders will contibute to the demise of the Orginization.
Why did the Society develop the TMS? To educate a better breed of salesperson. The very word educate is a key here. Setting motives and doctine aside, the TMS training did teach many to be very effective, thousands of "average" people have been taught to effiently bring others to there point of veiw. And giving credit where credit is due the TMS has helped many to become very able and enjoyable speakers in the past. So why would the Watchtower reduce the TMS to a mere "reading practice session"?
I think they just don't have the "brain power" in the ranks to carry on the TMS program in a meaningful format. And the Society fears publishers with any reasearch skills.
Over the years the actual people making up the Rank and File have changed. Back in the old days (Russell to the early 70's or so) "Worldly" people were converting in great numbers. This group brought two things with it. Practical educational skills and work background. Most of these people in that era learned basic composition, and math to graduate high school and those that did'nt had dealt with the world through the "College of Hard Knocks". The Society built it's empire on the backs of a workforce that came to them with a skills set, pre-trained and functional at no charge to the WTBTS.
Now we are at the point in time were this core groups children (second and third even fourth generations) are the working core of the Rank and File. This group had been sheilded from the world, and just dont have the same background or ability of those who "came in" years ago. What "spiritual" knowlege these people has has been handed to them -pre digested. While the earlier generations escaped the "world" (with the benefits of being trained in some things by the world), the offspring is trapped. They have for the most part never had to exercize the "mental gymnastics" to accept the teachings- they are simply "the way it is" for many of them.
The Witness "experience" along with a general demise in what we expect from public education has the Watchtower in a bind. Soon they will have a hard time developing the talent to "preach" the word using their traditional methods. We are seeing this already.
I sat through a TMS/Service Meeting recently. In my opinion, I sensed a real drop in quality. The male speakers spoke in a fashion that, well, they verbalized the bullet points of the outline, but did'nt offer much for fillers or tie points together well. At face value they seemed bored, but I have to think that the TMS's gradual decline (they have been gutting the program for years) has given them a cadre of underqualified speakers.
The Service Meeting was the same. The Service Demos were by grown men-- giving what would have passed for a young childs magizine presentation years ago. Some recent departees in this forum seem to indicate that they had not used ( or been encourage too, for that matter) use a BIBLE in service. Perhaps you were never trained to, from my observation the goal of the Society has been to not teach much to a "minister" of God? For any one Lurking to read this post-- examine the quality of your MINISTRY ("service" is a WT buzz word). Ask any of us EX old timers- we were expected and trained to defend and Teach our beliefs to the folks we metat the door. Sermons were not sucessful unless you got to quote a scripture or two and get a little engagment from the audience. When was the last time you got in the home and worked "off the cuff" preaching with your Bible for an hour? Used to happen all the time. I won't debate the message but I will say that the ability to deliver it has been compromised.
Will the proposed changes to the TMS help the Society gain converts? I can't see how the WTBTS can sustain a base of qualified speakers, and doorstep minister long term. If the current trend continues, the WT will rely "the stones" crying out soon enough.
Remember a few years ago when the average Witness could fight a Blood Transfusion or other issue ALL by Hisself, with nothing but the Bible? Now we need to issue a booklet to School teachers for our kids or have a Committee negotiate our medical needs.
I was always confident in my ability to defend my faith- now a Body or Committe needs to do the "heavy lifting" and I just have to make sure I mark "no" on the form, so to speak? Yes, the Society has a vested intrest to skew the outcome in many encouters but it seems discouraging to me not to be able to "take the point" in battles of faith. Christians are supposed to fight there own fights of faith and "older men" are supposed to offer support. That's what concience is all about, is it not?
So to sum this up........In a few short years the Watchtower will be reduced get the "word" out and sustain growth (read:cashflow)
I see a return to Media, like TV and Radio . They used to be in the radio business on the front of the "qualified minister" curve. The "Infomercial" is a natural for the WTBTS. As Qualified speakers ( and paranoia about manuscript deviation grows) I see Public Talks and Meeting parts prepared by "Mother" in PowerPoint or DVD. The Rank and File can't produce the talent and the Society seem to want out of that aspect of training. Now we are on the backside of the curve and the Rank and file just cant do the Society's work-only support it.
(edited this cause i couldnt get the Html codes out-- long story)
Edited by - hillbilly on 1 January 2003 13:22:39
Edited by - hillbilly on 1 January 2003 13:24:19
Edited by - hillbilly on 1 January 2003 13:25:40