Is the Watchtower organisation facing the biggest crisis of its history?
I dunno...I think there is just some restructuring going on.
The "religion" of the Jehovah's Witnesses is being cut-off from the main money making schemes of the Watchtower Society.
The "money grabbing" is simply the Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses desperately trying to make itself over into an acceptable mainstream charitable organization that must rely on donations in order to qualify for tax exemption. Many of the changes that we see happening with the religion are the result of tax laws changing.
Of course the JW religion is changing - but that is only camoflague - the beast is still alive and feeding. The WTS isn't the religion per se - they are the money machine. The religion is getting the boot from mama - they are being told to fly out of the nest.
The Watchtower Society will survive - it already does and it will. They have been busy splitting off their money makers into separate corporations for years and years now. And paying off their pimps - the JWs in various professions. All this financial activity is just shuffling in order to maximize profits and still fly under the radar as a tax exempt organization.
In the meantime....many wealthy JWs are lining their pockets with all the revenue generated for their busineers and careers by the doctrines of the JWs and the activities of the WTS. Catching the dollars as they drop from the sky while the robbers run and hide.
The problem that always faces totalitarian authority structures is that when they implode - which appears to be happening - is that the power vacuum that is left in its demise is almost always taken over with a even more despotic power base.
The Watchtower Society itself will emerge from the ashes with feathers singed, and maybe a new name at some point...and a whole piss pot full of money stashed off shore. The Watchtower Society is a whore and she has been prostituing herself for a long, long time. Her pimps grow fat and they will continue to sell her out to the highest bidder.
fundamentalism is in a growth spurt - I think this applies to jehovahs witnesses too because as individuals they are still willing to make costly committments and sacrifices for the group - as long as they do this they will grow imo because this attracts people more than beliefs. the only question is how will they display these features via the internet? once they work that out they will grow again in the west. perhaps by featuring the pioneer work in Africa?More individualistic members have left and will continue to leave but I think people value community more than they value individuality. Just look at the US and the growth of charismatic religion.
The religion will stay in tact but I believe some will leave. The critical thinkers will fly the coup unless they have family or need the social life.
The one thing that really makes us feel good about it, we are NOT contributing any money to the beast. Not for over 3 years. The money we are making will go to enjoy the remainder of our life and send our youngest to college.
I look at many JW's facebook pages and some have that sad look about them. I really think it is a mind set that they can't enjoy life until a future date. No kids, no learning/college, no home, no large gatherings, etc. The list goes on and on. Well...WT we are enjoying our lives with a big fat smile on our faces!
There is a quote from the movie Shawshank Redemtion (oh oh Rated R!!) ..."get busy living or get busy dying."
Sad but with the sell off of Brooklyn properties for Billions, money may not be a problem for awhile.
Personally I believe their fall will come from the fact they are losing their young people. They have an 1800's religion in a modern world. Kids are smarter today then ever before. With the technology of today kids just have to jump on their computers for 30 minutes and research their parents religion and know it's bull shit. With only 1% to 2% coming from the door to door work and most of the new witnesses coming form JWs having sex with other JWs....their time is numbered. Thank god for the next generation.
nelim, why do JWs depend on growth? One good reason is that they've been telling people for decades that Jehovah is only delaying Armageddon so as many can be saved as possible. If JWs are in decline that makes no sense at all. Sometimes we forget JWs actually believe this nonsense, and contradictions like that really unsettle them.
Yeah the Worldwide Church of God framed their crisis in terms of a conversion to evangelicalism, but it's not hard to read between the lines that money was the driving force. They restructured as a mainline church because it was the only way they saw of keeping going financially. It suited evangelicals to accept and promote their "conversion" story because the story of a "cult" repenting of their ways and accepting evangelical doctrines is music to their ears.
Sure the GB could explain decline as an attack by Satan, but actually someone posted a transcript the other day where Morris (I think it was him) said the most moronic thing yet. He said something like: "what will make the organisation prosper? Obedience will make it prosper." In other words it looks like they are preparing to blame ordinary Witnesses for the decline due to "lack of obedience". What genius! That'll motivate the troops - yeah right. This GB are clueless in the extreme. Handle decline? They can't stop shooting themselves in the foot!
Thoughtful OP - I'm late reading through it.
One other change not explicitly mentioned so far in this thread is the sudden - and unexpected - announcement to elders late last year (2015) of the cessation of the Special Pioneer arrangement in western countries, effective this month. Existing Special Pioneers were "given" a couple of months to make the adjustments with the recommendation they apply for the role of Regular Pioneer - unpaid of course and fewer hours required.
Hmmmmm. Hardly the move for an organization expecting to prosper as the years beyond 1914 drag on and on.
Who saw the cessation of Special Pioneers coming?
The change erodes the whole concept of "putting the kingdom first" - among other things, it will make it even less likely young ones will strive for any form of full time witnessing. Look at the massive drop in auxiliary pioneers in the last year.
This brings to the fore the stagnation evident for well over a decade in many, if not most, western "lands" - to use the organization's favored word for countries.
cessation of the Special Pioneer arrangement in western countries,
Not entirely, certain older ones are grandfathered in (still have a couple here). But definitely reduced by a large percentage.
I think the situation is very grave for the corporation and the 15% increase in funds for the last 2 months a out right lie or produced by some creative book keeping.
Also I wouldn't trust the organization figures about growth because they are in serious denial of anything negative happening to the corporation. Their tract record of lying and misinterpretation of situations needs to be brought to the table when analyzing anything they put in print or say. The fact that they are putting a halt to all these project should be a very real indicator that they are in serious trouble, which is no doubt exacerbated by their own denial to face the facts and a deep retreat into their delusional appointment by a supreme Deity(believing their own bullshit hype).
I've always wanted to read Trumpet of Prophecy
A decline could easily be explained as Jehovah refining the flock just before Armageddon. This is how we know we're very very close! No matter what happens it can always be spun as proof of the nearness of the Great Tribulation.