The Watchtower Org will die.
Mrmagic ....good post!
I haven't said this in a while, but organisms that cannot or will not adapt to a changing environment are doomed to extinction, and I'm having trouble imagining how the WTS will adapt - really successfully adapt - to the Information Age.
Just going by the content of this thread alone, there seems to be a wealth of arguments that favor the WTS's decline, as opposed to just a handful of reasons that support the assertion that it will happily live on.
At the very least, there definately seems to a lot more of us willing to consider the possibility of decline now than, say, five years ago.
The WTS. will not die anytime soon, it will slowly shrink in modernized countries but it will push to go where there are poorer and the less educated , we are seeing this right now a matter of fact.
The WTS. is a corrupt lying publishing house and it knows how to exploit and manipulate both people's emotions and ignorance.
I know I'm going to get red arrowed but... I have to disagree. I think the organization known as ''Jehovah's Witnesses'' will be over within the next 30 years, possibly a lot less. Within the next 10 years I think they will be almost gone from the West and will have relocated their foothold, to Africa and South America where internet access has a lot more growing to do.
One of the reasons why is because they only exist whilst people still believe Armageddon will come. Just how long can they keep that going? Really??? Watchtower built their business model thinking followers would live in a world as they knew it back then. Now there's the internet. Every new person who gets a witness will google them. It's already happening and look at the result. Empty Kingdom Halls except for a few crusties. Young ones, witness or not, google everything. No new members!
Another reason why I think they will be no more is due to the amount of laws that are now in place and are now coming into place. Undue influence - how long before the net is widened to Religious/cult mind control? Human rights laws, the right to a family life - how much longer will they get away with shunning policies? People are no longer suffering at home in silence. Everything is outed on places like Youtube and lawyers are only too eager to make a name for themselves by winning ground-breaking cases. What about discriminatory speeches given in public places like Anthony Morris' homophobic talk as just one example? Ok, you might say but religions are different but how long before society rebels and says no, the root cause of the hate is coming from these religions? The JW's are out of date with their teachings and it's a sorry affair when even the law of the land has to ban their practices. What will keep people in if mind control and shunning aren't used?
We have yet to see what happens in the UK's national inquiry into child sex abuse. After the ARC with 1006 cases, be sure that with the UK JW's who are hiding an archive containing more than 23,000 unreported paedophile cases, will cause a media frenzy, wait and see. This news will be covered internationally and seen by current witnesses internationally. And then what? Other countries will follow suit opening their own inquiries. And it won't end whilst ever the two-witness rule exists. JW's might be told not to read apostate stories on the internet but the old JW's who are propping up the org. still read daily newspapers! It will be hard not to know about it. Think of the relatives who want their loved ones out taking the clippings round to aunty Sally and nana Pat. And if the vigilantes start protesting, whoof. Smashed windows at the hall. Graffitti everywhere. Repair costs spiralling. The ARC hasn't mentioned compensation for victims as yet. How much will that be? What about the UK victims? Thousands of them, in hard currencies... and will this bring more victims forward in other lands like USA? Germany? Canada? New Zealand and other E.U. countries etc. We've all been telling our families where their contribution money is going but they haven't believed us... but the ARC hasn't started paying out yet. Never mind the UK inquiry! They're finished! Brother Lett saying it's all apostate lies on repeat... big mistake!
Ok, the org. has a lot of property. They're already selling some off and down-sizing because they suspect what's coming, be sure of that. But the fact is, they have endless, regular bills to pay. What will happen when the contributions are not enough to cover the bills in the local kingdom halls and they have to ask for a loan every month to pay the costs of running from the branch office? This could start happening overnight and altogether at once if the CSA inquiry breaks with a storm. This could lead to a situation where yes, they've got property but no cashflow and if it's anything like a company, at this point they will have to take out loans secured on their portfolio. That portfolio could be ceased for the CSA payouts - frozen assetts! Another big story to hit the headlines. And any whiff of money troubles, be sure the jdubs will whip any money they've loaned to the org. straight out. The whole house of cards could fall at this point.
And then we have the charity status being questioned. All these things are happening now and instead of Watchtower pre-emptively changing tact and adapting to the modern world, they're not. They're pissing the wrong people off and digging their heals in. Also this clergy debate - do they even have the right or not to with-hold information about crimes?
And for every Jdub who leaves, it's another exjdub trying to bring them down because we're all angry. (Some work needs to be done on looking at their accounts.) The fact is, the internet has made their publishing company redundant. Great, say the jdubs, our contributions cover the hall costs and our publications don't need printing anymore so the ever bigger elephant in the room is, why is Watchtower trying eagerly to make big money from real-estate and stocks and medical companies and care homes etc? Are we the truth or a money making scam?
This organization is in big trouble. They know it! The signs are all there! They've even tried to (too prematurely in my opinion) re-brand under JW.org. The question is, will they hide money, fold it and restart back up (noooo)... will they move their operation to surviving on places like Africa and South America or will they dry up to nothing and disappear? The latter would tell me that the operators of Watchtower thought they honestly had the truth... but I won't hold my breath - not with looking at the accounts and seeing how much money they're transferring to South America and Africa! But the evidence will remain of what they did and any jdubs left in the West, in my opinion will be left feeling redundant and able to see. The final nail will be, what happens when the third world starts looking into the history of the org. A nice chart should explain it with breaking news, timeline'd.
All of the above is just about the Org's failings. Whilst they're still stuck in the dark ages, the world who doesn't think the end is imminent, lives on. As much as the org hates it, they can't control the media, the government inquiries, the law or the ''APOSTATES''! And to change in order to keep going, is detriment to their manipulations keeping members in. Their business model sucks! IT suuuuucks! It's the equivalent of Disney world keeping customers at the front gate waiting for their entire life to get in when their's nothing behind the wall and then the government and apostates turn up and start knocking holes in the walls saying ''look, nothing to see ere!'' It's a doomsday cult with old news when people are feeling very optimistic about the corner we're turning in loving our Earth more and campaigning to help it and everything that lives on it! What they gonna do, change to a non doomsday cult?
From the outside looking in, as a non-JW, I can understand why many ex-JWs are not convinced the downfall will happen soon, if at all.
Consider this, however: the Watchtower no longer controls the message. In fact, the message (from the outside world) controls them. Why else would they become so reactive? Why else would the GB make those ridiculous broadcasts, which show them on the defensive?
Skedaddle is spot on, I think.
Moore's law was brought up. A good parallel might be the industrial revolution. Look the effects of it, in the span of a century, compared to the slow technological progress in the centuries leading up to it. The same thing is now happening with the information age: look at how much the 'borg' has changed in the past decade, compared to the 100 years prior. Who would've thought, back in...1982, that the GB would become money-begging tele-evangalists, fleecing money from their churches (halls), being grilled in front of judges for child abuse, cutting their once reknown publishing empire, closing branches, cutting the Bethel workers....all within a decade, and all coinciding with the seemingly exponential spread of information technology.
You might say, "well, the shakers & amish are still around, and so the JWs will still continue." To which I say, "agreed." Sure, they might endure in small, isolated pockets here and there. They might become a splintered fringe-cult. But even THAT outcome would be desirable IMO. They might not go extinct, but they'd certainly end up on the endangered species list.
Very good post, and that's why they don't have windows at KH's. No fun for rock throwers!
But, out of all the things you laid out, I think the demise of ALL the elderly and responsible sane adults in the religion is what would make it crumble. This is the most important factor, because some of the other things can happen and the religion will still exist, but as a shadow of its former self. I happen to know that too many idiots there are going around saying "we have to understand these men are imperfect". They are already making excuses for them!!
Those other things figure into it (scandals, changing laws worldwide, etc.) but the people are the backbone of it, IMO.
I hope you are right.
Beth Sarim - "The only way I can see the Watchtower Borg die is the Governments imposing a tax on Religion."
More likely would be the Watchtower Borg losing its tax-exempt status for legitimate reasons.
Not an unrealistic development, IMO, considering recent circumstances.
The other important thing to realize in this optimistic speculation is that this organization instills deep psychological and sociological controls upon its adherents. JWS are indoctrinated to not associate with non-JWS or to be tentatively cautious and restrained to many outside environments, including education.
An organization that even enforces its members to separate from people's own family if they are not devoted subservient members to the organization.
This rigidly structured control over its members can not be over looked by any stretch of the imagination when determining the WTS's demise.
Yes I agree!
How can Jehovah let us be embarrassed by child sexual abuse if we are his loving loyal servants? This question will wake the old ones. It just needs mass media coverage that can't be denied. I believe that is coming. The ARC which has not finished yet was a little warm-up and look how much damage that's done. And USA are just warming up with victims coming forward. There must be thousands! And MONEY always shouts the loudest. Let's wait for the payouts and see how the contributions fall. The old ones are paying for preaching work, not for pay-offs. And the British media is haaaaarsh! It's just my opinion but now we live in an age of 'here today, gone tomorrow!' I think they're over. Taking them out over child sex abuse might be a cheaper blessing for Watchtower. Think about it if people were suing for mind-control, or shunning. Whichever way people leave, their history remains on the internet for anyone to see. They are over!
mrmagic- Many of the comments here are interesting and certainly valid. One thing that is lacking here, however, is the mention/understanding of Moore's Law, as concerns the Internet/technology. The advancement of technology certainly has contributed to large numbers of people leaving and waking up. In the developed countries, there is a decline which is steadily increasing.
However, technology does not advance sequentially. Technology advances exponentially.We tend to calculate and analyze future probabilities for the Watchtower, based on our past experience of change within institutions in general. This is a mistake, as change is happening exponentially, not sequentially.With increasing exponential Internet/technology advancements, there come increasingly more new ways of change that none of us could have imagined. Who would have thought that social media, forums and the Internet would be so crucial in connecting us together back in the 60's, 70's, 80's and even 90's?
The cult organization may not change, however, the world around it is, and at an exponential rate. Generation gaps used to be 20 years. Now they're 5 years or so.
My guess is that the cult will still exist as a corporation, however, if it will have any viability or life left is another story.
If the Watchtower Org handles its accounting the same way it handles its child abuse scandals, then it certainly won't look good for them. My 2 cents.
Nice point about Moore's Law. I brought this up before, and have made a similar point. A good book that explains the concept of Moore's Law well, and its larger impact on society is The Second Machine Age - Work Progress and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies, by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee. In short, while the technology of doubling transistor, resistor and diode density on an integrated circuit and by extension processing power every 18-24 months or so has held steady since Gordon Moore first wrote about the concept in 1965, we are only beginning to see the era of an exponential impact on society that trajectory of technological advancement has brought. This will bring significant change to society over the next 50 years or so.
The WT is in no way prepared for this. Its business model was never designed to withstand not only the enormous information flow this is bringing, but also that information's impact on society as a whole as it forces changes on many long standing institutions. There is a reason for the changes we see in developed countries, and the common factor is a better informed society as a whole. Very soon the idea of end-times religion will sound as ridiculous as belief in the Easter bunny.