JW Broadcasting is the likely end of the road for JWs

by oldskool 25 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • oldskool

    I started leaving the group in 04', and quit following what they do around 08'. My recent posts express my reaction to what has happened since.

    I just "tuned in" to the JW Broadcasting episode for May 2016. It is worth a viewing. GB member Anthony Morris describes what is basically the thrust of why this entire effort exists. Regarding the materials created for children he states:

    - Two postings of an item every month is making quite an impression on little hearts.

    - With bible principles being impressed on the hearts and minds of children so early, we prayerfully anticipate many spiritually minded teenagers in the years to come.

    It's not unusual for a religion to target their youth for conversion, indoctrination, ect. But it actually is new for JWs.

    The problem for JW broadcasting and other media driven modes of interaction with youth, is that it fails at understanding that actual in the flesh experiences matter too. This is something the JW leaders have never been good at, and still appear struggling to understand.

    Let us say that this GB member gets his wish. Lots of young kids, dedicated to the religion, by being brought up since youth with videos and media. Is that what is going to be the motivating force that keeps kids around?

    Digital technology is new, and at this point in the western world it is everywhere. We know that people become nostalgic for the media they watched as children. This will likely occur with kid JWs now.

    However, to simply broadcast ideas through video is not to create memorable and lasting experiences children carry with them through life.

    Watching what the JWs are doing with media, it is clear that they are attempting to follow in the footsteps of the Mormon faith by working to project a squeaky clean "family focused" faith that is projected through media. However, the Mormons are older, more refined, more unique, and more liberal (if you can believe it), probably have more money, and invest more in social efforts than JWs ever will. I am not defending mormonism, but simply mentioning that they are known for their creation of the "cultural hall" with a baskeball court in nearly every church.

    What happens when all these JW kids are told how great their religion is but are never actually given pleasurable and memorable experiences with the group, except through media alone that tells them its good? Digital media may be powerful, but at the end of the day you need to back up words/images with action.

    JW Broadcasting will likely do more harm than good. The kids will go along, because they are kids. But when they grow up, their loyalty is going out the door. Without real world activities, outreach and experiences for kids, the WTS is playing with fire by pretending it exists through visual media. These kids will eventually see right through the charade, be resentful, and probably leave in higher numbers than those the WTS has already lost.

  • Simon

    From an individuals perspective, the change is obvious and the re-invention of the religion disconcerting to some and may cause them to question things. It's likely no longer the religion they were sold or what made it appealing to them.

    But, from the organizations perspective, so what? They have one of the highest membership churn rates of any religion so it's unlikely to really hurt them. It's more likely that the simpler, more media friendly approach will win over more people than they lose because of it. In a decade or so it will be all most of their members remember or may have ever known. Paper watchtowers at meetings will be remembered fondly like the old songbooks.

  • OneEyedJoe

    You make a great point about real-life experiences. Growing up as a JW, and looking back (even before I left) I realized that there was literally nothing in my life that was good that was because I was a JW. The only reason I was a JW was because I was scared they might be right. If that's the only thing keeping you in, you're much more likely to actually examine the question of whether or not they're right - if they bring benefits NOW (instead of just the claimed benefit of surviving armageddon) it would make people much less likely to even start questioning whether it's true. Most people are, at a basic level, practical about such things - even if it's not true if it benefits you to be a JW you'd not bother looking at whether it's true or not.

    Of course they love to tout that being a JW is the "best way of living" and that they're the "happiest people on earth" but I suspect that most who've grown up as a JW have had some serious reservations about those two claims at one time or another. They rely solely on indoctrination to keep the kids going, and that's a weakness for them - if they reinforced it with some (even just a token) actual benefits I think it would keep a lot more kids trapped in the cult. The problem is that said benefits cost money/time that could be better used if donated to the central org, and therefore it is seen as a waste to do anything like that.

    I'm glad that they're failing so miserably to retain the youth.

  • oldskool

    Similar to most political alliances, the membership within the JW org is filled with different factions, each with their own set of expectations (or lack thereof) for what the faith is all about. The task for the leadership is to create one vision that gets everybody moving in the same direction, without much loss, and stability for funding.

    It's more likely that the simpler, more media friendly approach will win over more people than they lose because of it

    If they are moving towards a more casual type of JW membership experience then this is possible. They still have the problem of moving beyond the apocalypticism that defined the group for so long. I think of the video with a GB member casually suggesting armageddeon will be before 2040 is an example of how the family values christian faith ethos still isn't all that JWs are. Their media never told the whole story about who they are as a group, its also about the situation on the ground.

    If they were a generic christian faith with non mainstream beliefs they are still faced with the same issue that occurred during print based era. There is no real structure for youth to become attached to faith. Videos are a disposable media. Use it up and move on. Video can also be alienating, because the only interaction is between viewer and the screen.

    I'm nostalgic for the tv/video of my youth, but I don't think you can draw a straight line between watching videos and remaining committed to a religious faith in an ever increasing non religious world (at least western world).

  • Doubtfully Yours
    Doubtfully Yours


    Many other Orgs, religious/political and otherwise, have taken severe hits in the past, then they rebrand/evolve/merge/whatever and continue on.

    These SOBs are going through a whole transformation now; we the old and disgruntled due to their failed promises/prophecies will die off or fall away and the newer version will remain and continue strong as ever, under new management/policies so to speak.

    Look them up 20 years down the road, still alive and ticking.


  • sir82

    I tend to agree.

    There is a major disconnect between the videos, showing highly attractive JWs living in exotic locations, enjoying a life of ease, strolling down a beach or a romantic road as oxcarts slowly lumber past, outfitted in beautiful clean modern clothes, and warbling about their "best life ever"....

    ....contrasted with the reality JW kids will see as they grow older: morbidly obese JWs in ill-fitting clothes gossiping and sniping at each other, working the same old tired territories over and over again. Even if they do end up in a "need-greater" land, they ill quickly be disillusioned by the poverty, filth, and disease, not to mention congregational politics and jealousy over the "need-greaters" with wealthy relatives who keep them in the latest fashion and give them 2 or 3 months of vacations per year.

    Kids aren't stupid. They'll grow up, expecting a happifying Caleb-and-Sofia sort of life, become disillusioned by age 16, and leave by age 20....just like 2/3 do already.

  • dubstepped

    They've targeted kids for generations. The youth book, young people ask, videos, etc., and it's just more of the same but done better. Young people have lacked good experiences for generations too. The Borg aren't going anywhere. There will always be people susceptible to their indoctrination.

  • Giordano

    We all put away the things from our childhood. If we take our children to an animated movie today it has to be able to speak to the child but also have a level of observation and or humor that an adult will find interesting.

    The WT has never mastered that.......... it either ignores the child and a child's interest or bores an adult by being chronically dumbed down.

    This is by far one of the dumbest and reckless religions out there.

  • oldskool

    In one of the Caleb videos about gay couples it ends with a mother/daughter discussion on how to preach in school.

    The WTS looses more kids as members than any other religion. I don't see JW broadcasting help this. There may be a tendency to this that they are now catering to kids better now by getting more sophisticated with media. They are still ignoring children. It's a gimmic that will backfire.

    They've targeted kids for generations. The youth book, young people ask, videos, etc., and it's just more of the same but done better. Young people have lacked good experiences for generations too. The Borg aren't going anywhere. There will always be people susceptible to their indoctrination.

    Correct, a media driven approach that doesn't take into consideration what creates memorable lasting value. They still don't get it, and by dabbling in video, only enhance the inevitable disparity between a youths experience and what is portrayed on screen.

  • xjwsrock

    They've gotten by with so little before (tools specifically for youth), it's hard to argue these videos aren't a step up.

    The truth is this org doesn't give a good damn about kids. Now they are showing an interest suddenly but purely for self serving reasons. The leadership sees them as future members (donars).

    The sudden interest in children (I thought JW's werent supposed to have them) is actually another sign of their desperation as oldskool pointed out in other threads.

    Their biggest problem by far is apostasy on the internet. Apostasy has led to stalled growth. So they are resorting to ramping up customer retention methods and winning back old customers (inactive).

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