Drastic Upcoming Changes? (accelerated by the pandemic)
If the religion does get smaller post covid. I can see this been a good thing. PIMOS are a dead weight, and are costly to keep. What they need is a more devoted group of followers who are prepared to part with their money.
They will go back to the Kingdom Halls, but many Halls will be sold.
C.O.'s are a big part of keeping them in check, keeping local elders in line. There will be C.O.'s. They could reduce their numbers, but I imagine they will keep visiting Kingdom Halls.
As they consolidate congregations to sell off Kingdom Halls, they will consolidate circuits. The huge reductions in numbers will be their cry that Jehovah has shaken out the unworthy ones and the end is closer than ever.
They might as well use the pandemic as an excuse to end door-to-door witnessing. It is such a time-waster and they really don't make any money from that work. They could push the cart witnessing or just declare that the end is closer than ever and so the warning message has changed. There will be some kind of monthly reports still. Gotta control the members.
I don't know why they would change anything about disfellowshipping. If they do, it would probably be a secret among the elders that disfellowshipping should be rare, but still drag members to a JC and reprove them.
C.O.'s are a big part of keeping them in check, keeping local elders in line. There will be C.O.'s. They could reduce their numbers,
Some COs will be shaking in their boots right now
Historically, actual tangible in-person meetings and door-to-door ministry have been critical in maintaining organizational cohesion and discipline...
...at least amongst average rank-and-filers.
Transitioning to an "e-church", however, can't help but undercut that somewhat for them...
...but I think the loyalists would still toe the line.
And since I suspect the Org leadership privately wants to prune the membership down to just the loyalists, this would theoretically serve that agenda.
I posted this item a few weeks ago with a compilation of items that could happen as the organization unravels - even though many (including myself) may find it unlikely, improbable or simply too much of a change to believe.
As an active PIMO though, I came up with the improbable list simply due to the reality that very significant changes have been occurring on an ongoing basis and sometimes I think even very active witnesses do not realize it. A few major items that have been ongoing or were singular events listed below. I have seen so many downsizing changes since the 1970s when I was a young boy that it seems unrealistic to not embrace other coming massive changes that have been accelerated by Covid.
These are basically structural changes in the org....doctrinal changes would be another lengthy list that is brought here many times as well. Given the many downsizing changes in recent history - what could be off of the table?
1. Elimination of District Overseers
2. Layoffs at Bethel (we left bethel around the time these were starting in the late 1990s - thankfully, we left on our own)
3. Awake magazine is no more....is this true?
4. Consolidation of Congregations and sale of Kingdom Halls - In our area, we saw the sale of five Kingdom Halls starting around the year 2000 and continuing up until now (likely more, these were just the ones we knew of). Also, many of these were simply Kingdom Halls that were eliminated - no new hall built.
5. Reduction in the length of assemblies/conventions. Slowly becoming fewer and fewer days compared with assemblies in 1970s timeframe.
6. Elimination of Watchtower magazine content. I am guessing most active JWs do not even realize that the public Watchtower magazine has been reduced to just a handful of pages for the whole calendar year (mentioned on another post).
7. Elimination of the Book Study.
I wouldn't be surprised if all the Awake and Watchtower printed magazines are gone soon.
At least in North America and certain European countries.
They will most likely only keep printing small tracts on occasion, as hand outs and to place on street carts, possibility bibles as well .
Must look righteous in the public's eyes.
If all I been hearing about is true involving so many Kingdom Halls being sold off , that in itself is a indication this religion is on a downward trend in numbers .
The Top leaders of the Org (GB) have still millions to use at their discretion so they may produce expensive video productions and whatever strikes their fancy but eventually the money is going to steam out the door and they will try then to make some dramatic changes.
I think there will be a consolidation of Circuits, and a reduction the respective number of CO’s. The visits to congregations would be twice a year, but one of those would be via zoom; end of career CO’s that require a wage and a house - experienced (retired?) elders living within the circuit could step in and, with travel expenses covered by the congregations and a small stipend to help cover for domestic use of internet, computer etc. provided by the Society.
Less kingdom halls, albeit larger and high-tech with less congregations with more people in each. I agree that presencial meetings would be narrowed to once every weekend, with a mid-week meeting conducted by zoom from the local branch. All KHs ultimately owed by one of Watchtower’s satellite corporations exclusively devoted to real estate management.
Door-to-door witnessing dropped altogether, replaced by cart witnessing. Emphasis on informal witnessing and “witnessing by example”. This would require a re-interpretation of Acts 20:20, and it shouldn’t be difficult at all. I don’t think it’s too far-fetched that they will come up with some software online tool to conduct bible studies remotely.
Ramping efforts into multimedia production and online presence, while printed publications become almost residual (NWT, one current study book, tri-monthly 32-page Watchtower magazine public edition, pamphlets. Watchtower study articles moved to digital publishing only). Investment in online advertising.
Larger gatherings reduced to a once-a-year weekend event, with a lot of eye-filling spectacle and multimedia content. They are going down the evangelical avenue, with a streak of their own.
Disfellowshipping will continue, with more offenses getting included, (I suspect that inactivity will become subject to disfellowshipping) but punishment somehow less strict on the surface, to avoid problems with secular authorities regarding human rights.
607 BCE/1914 - based chronology will be quietly faded out, replaced by a “as Jesus said, we don’t know exactly when, but anytime now” Armageddon expectation.
I expect that the blood doctrine to be further softened when it comes to medical use.