2004 10-year project?

by careful 7 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • careful

    I just finished the Barb Anderson video linked here:


    Of course, a lot is present there, but one thing hit me. At the end of it, in the last minute, she mentioned that in 2004 there was a conscious decision within the org, evidently instigated by the GB to revamp and remake the organization within 10 years. That sure seems to fit what has happened during that time period: the closing of so many Bethels/branches and the consolidation of administration; axing the DO and book study; shortening the assemblies/conventions; the switch from print to electronic media; cutting back on personnel and dumping the middle-aged and elderly Bethelites; producing "music-videos"; a leaner org overall. On and on the list could go. Like many have stated here on various threads, it has changed so much that it's not easy for us old-timers to recognize it anymore.

    Does anyone else know of this plan? Would someone like to share more info about it? Has anyone who writes WTS history published on this matter?

  • Magnum

    I don't have any inside info, but it does seem that there was a deliberate, planned rebranding. There was a lot of discussion about that on this site a few years ago (5? or 6?). We might have become sort of accustomed to the new JWdom now, but the change was really shocking at first. There were a lot of comments a few years ago about how old-timers (like some of our parents and grandparents) were rolling over in their graves. There was discussion about the possibility of the org's hiring outside consulting firms for rebranding.

    It seems to me that the org realized it had lost the doctrinal battle, so it decided to try to survive by becoming more mainstream. As the substance decreased, the flashiness and shininess increased. The org now does what it used to criticize Christendom for doing. For example, today I watched one of the convention videos from a link I got on this site. I commented to my wife that the video exemplified exactly one of the things we used to say was wrong with "Christendom". The entire video was an appeal to emotion and was entirely devoid of any substance, instruction, information, etc.

    JWdom is now something that in the 80's and 90's I could never have imagined that it would become. It is not the same religion. Just today, I asked a JW relative what our zealous JW grandfather would think about JWdom if he were resurrected today to see it. He would be shocked.

  • LevelThePlayingField

    Yeah, I didn't know about this at all, but it sure fits. Fits to a Tee.

  • sir82

    A "10 year plan" from 2004 would seem to indicate that they are done - but I don't think they are.

    There have been still more changes since 2014. The CLM was introduced in 2017, for example, 13 years after 2004. There are only 3 editions of "Awake" per year, and only 3 public editions of the "Watchtower" per year - that started in 2018.

    I'm sure they have had some plan in the works for some time, but I don't think it has any time limit.

  • slimboyfat

    That struck me too, among others details in an extraordinary interview. (Comments on Franz, Jaracz, Knorr and Peolyan, among others)

    I don’t think Anderson mentioned her source for this information about a 10 year plan, though no doubt it’s good. There have been a few comments on this forum over the years about such a plan: those could have been genuine leaks that have partially filtered out.

    At the same time, just because they had a plan in 2004, doesn’t mean they had all the details worked out back then, or that everything necessarily went to plan. In some ways there is evidence that the plan predates 2004, since GB members are known to have commented, following 9/11 in New York, “we’re getting out of here in case that happens again”. And the move upstate has been a huge change,

    The GB in 2004 couldn’t have predicted the importance of tablet devices, the iPhone/iPad not having been invented yet, which has been a major driver of their move to digital and away from print. They also appear to have been overtaken by financial crisis in 2015, indicating that the extent of their cutbacks was not entirely anticipated as early as 2004. Plus they presumably did not plan to handle the abuse issue quite as badly as they have in the Australian Royal Commision and elsewhere, which has been a pressure for change and downscaling.

    And Jaracz was still in charge in 2004. Was this his plan? Did the plan change at all after he died?

  • dozy

    I just don't buy into the GB as individuals capable of strategic intelligent long term planning. They don't exactly strike me as the brightest of all time - I honestly don't think they could organise a p**s up in a brewery. They got their position by being extremely conservative ( with a small c ) , being total "Society Yes men" and agreeing with pretty much everything that the Organisation stands for.

    They genuinely feel they are anointed and are totally convinced that imminently Armageddon will come. "Long term" for them is what to have for lunch ( or a glass or three of whisky in the evening. ) So the idea that these guys would sit down and make some fundamental changes in doctrine and process - it just doesn't add up.

    The one take I would have is that the "Society" ( as in the accountants / lawyers / and the few really able guys in the upper echelons ) saw the way things were going with regard to the collapse of the publishing model and the rise of the internet and decided to gradually switch things to electronic publishing ( which costs very little ) and property development ( which is hugely profitable.)

  • zeb

    I have always felt there is others behind 'the curtain' that are running the show. There is a huge amount of money present in the wt brand and assets and as the proverb goes; "Where the carcass lies there the eagles gather".

  • careful

    Thanks for your comments, posters. Magnum, I'm intrigued by your "It seems to me that the org realized it had lost the doctrinal battle." I'm not sure how to understand that. Do you mean that people (potential converts) were just not interested in doctrine anymore or that the org just gave up on dealing with it b/c R&F members didn't care about it? Or something else?

    SBF, yes, BA's sources are usually reliable. I did notice, however, that age is taking its toll on the poor woman. She'll be 80 next year. Also, yes, her comments on those key men were noteworthy. I've long suspected that Jaracz was the main force behind the CSA policies back in the 80s and 90s. He himself being attracted to young girls and acting on it would explain a lot here. Now all that has come back on the current GB's heads! Yes too, they surely did not see many things coming and that are still coming upon them when they opted for going with this major makeover. Now they are juggling with how to continue with their "vision."

    sir82, yes their course is continuing—it's sort of set now. They can't turn back the clock. They're stuck with their decisions and course.

    dozy, I can understand your feelings about how incompetent these chaps are. If you look at WTS history, it's been full of daft men in charge. Nevertheless, at each change of power substantial transformations have been implemented. Look at Rutherford and how he revamped the democratically organized congs under Russell to a strict top-down hierarchy. He got rid of Xmas and birthday celebrations, the cross, most of Russell's chronologies, etc. When he died, Knorr and Franz dumped Beth-Sarim, began Gilead and the TMS, and even set about producing their own Bible translation, no small task. When GB I ended, it should be no surprise that the new group, daft as they are, also wanted to change things.

    For what it's worth, the was a trend for large organizations in the USA during the early 2000s to adopt "ten-year plans." Numerous governments, universities, and corporations were influenced by a small number of consulting firms to adopt such a plan. It looks like GB II also jumped on that bandwagon.

    zeb, I'm not so sure about any in-house "power behind the throne" within the org. The GB has got all the remaining underlings worshiping them. But one could certainly apply that proverb to the lawyers like Zalkin who have been chewing on the org's carcass for years now!

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