Please sum up the last decade in JW history

by oldskool 38 Replies latest jw friends

  • oldskool

    Sounds like I left during the changing of the guard.

    If there was one dominant theme to mark the witnesses from Franz era up through 95' it was the generation doctrine. With time eventually rendering the concept incoherent, the religion was bound to change as a result.

    My gut feeling before I left around 04/05' was that witness leadership was quickly facing tough decisions about the future. Sounds like the changes have been made.

    The JW movement, including the Bible Students for that matter, were always print oriented. Written publications were the center of their religious experience.

    Being publication/print oriented, from my perspective, offered two distinct selling points for the faith:

    1. Access to intellectual pursuits for the "common man", cultivating the concept of the armchair bible scholar. The JW publications of up through the 70s reek of Pseudo-intellectual jibberish. For anyone who found it convincing, it would be seen as an attractive alternative to Christianity's theologians, higher education, ect. The style provided the appearance of giving theological power back to the masses.

    2. Comfort through simplicity. From the very beginning Russell's books were packaged as a set. The simplicity of providing "all your bible study needs in one location" makes selecting what to read a non issue. As an added bonus for the org, accepting the Watchtower as God's channel is the built in outcome of this convenience. Humans in general gravitate towards simplicity, so once you decide one of these books is true why not just accept the entire boxed set into your heart as your lord and savior.

    From what everyone has written, it appears that there appears to a shift going on regarding the experiential features of group membership. The written word content is still there, but it appears the trend of simplifying the content continues. The tone of the magazines/books definitely got progressively generic from the 1980s through the 1990s compared to their historical material (founding through 60s). By the mid 2000's I was starting to think the content was just laughable. What does the Bible Really Teach? was the last publication I remember, which almost played as a joke publication of what a satirist would make pretending to be a Jehovah's Witness.

    The cut in the quality of printed literature isn't all that surprising. The repetitive nature to what the Witnesses published from the 70s up through the 00s was staggering. I doubt even most devout JWs were reading those magazines regularly, as they had basically already read them hundred of times before.

    With an inability to write new and exciting content, given the risks associated with eschatological speculations, the move to video and media is also not surprising.

    What I am most curious to know is when will they start including some form of worship service that is not media oriented. At some point that is probably their next big leap, adopting generic worship elements from mainline protestant churches.

    My guess, anyway.

  • Simon

    Welcome, to the new world of JW lite!

    The same non-refreshing taste now with far less commitment but still with all the same bat-shit crazy rules.

    Buy now and get unlimited refills (of generations).

    Warning: may cause loss of life or family, call for help if you experience weekly meetings of more than four hours.

  • Wild_Thing

    Wow! I left the witnesses 15+ years ago, and I have never seen all of the changes over the past 15 years summarized in one place. It really is amazing!

    It almost doesn't even look like the same religion (almost). It just seems so bizarre.

    The creepiest change I have seen since i left are the Sophia and Caleb cartoons and their new slogan "Listen, Okay, and be Blessed". I watched one of those episodes and at the end, one of those creepy cartoon kids looked at the "camera" and said, "Listen, obey, and be blessed" and my hair stood on end!

  • oldskool

    I just started watching some of the videos

    The norm within the group, a norm I sensed stretched back many decades, was that the governing body were "out there" somewhere, doing magic behind the scenes and shouldn't be given glory. Helpless warriors of the cause, not to be put on too high of a pedestal. Not reality, but that was the perceived norm.

    My first reaction is shock at the teaching videos with GB members in them. Gone is the anonymity associated with the leaders.

    Having GB out there publicly speaking in this manner is a radical change in my opinion. A true return to form, as the JWs now rely less on exegetical extrapolations and more on easily digestible videos and media. JW lite for sure.

    I wonder how many older ones appreciate this change? Any nostalgia out there for the way some things used to be, like longer more wordy prophecy books and the like? Or has decades of wishy washy content made this transition mostly benign?

    One thing is for sure. This media stuff is the next step past the Fred Franz era. It transitioned through the early 00's, and from what you've shown me the old order is out. Things ain't like they use to be.

    All the more reason to start a JW restoration movement. We are the true christians that meet in private homes for bible study, and use print based material instead of videos. Brown song book only!

  • Simon
    Brown song book only!

    Stone the infidel - it's the pinky-purple one with the gold edges or nothing !!


  • steve2

    The slickness of grows as the growth slows.

    Baptisms shrivel

    magazines shrink

    Daniel languishes un-reinterpreted

    meetings shorten

    attention spans splutter

    JWs hide behind literature carts

    young ones get a life worth living outside the organization

    1914 gets yet another face lift, smiles bravely but recedes into the distance. Soon new JWs will ask, "19 what?"

    the end remains very, very, very near.....

    and every act of terrorism and earthquake will send back-sliden JWs back to the Hall for a week or two.

    And further generations of older JWs vanish into death off the face of the earth, gone, lives sacrificed to a publishing empire that struggles to remain relevant stuck on the fringes of mainstream society, an irrelevance to the world at large, less than a mosquitoe but more than an amoeba.

  • JW GoneBad
    JW GoneBad

    OUTLAW... that's about the size of it! :) :)

  • JW GoneBad
    JW GoneBad

    "Please sum up the last decade in JW history"

    Most JWs have lost the ability to use a literal Bible because now they are using electronic devices (ipads, smart phones etc) for personal study, field service and meetings.

    In the past when you heard someone called "J" you knew it was a shortened form of 'John', 'Jim' or 'James'. Now you can add 'Jehovah' to that in JWs,, JW Library, JW Broadcasting, JW Droid, JW Podcast, JW Planner etc, etc, etc.

    And now when most JWs pray, they start out with...YO J! :) :)

  • 2+2=5

    I know of a few elderly JWs who struggle even using thier own mobile phones, let alone navigating the Internet or using a Jah forsaken computer.

    I would say there are many loyal JWs who are not at all impressed with the new digital theocracy as produced by the JW broadcast crew. Most of these ones would be in the generation who are now around 70 - 270 years of age.

  • Wait For It
    Wait For It

    The way they count time is also different. Wives can now count family study as their time alongside their husband. However, only he can count it as a study.

    I believe this change is to inflate their dwindling field service stats. So even if you have a mate who does not do service, they can still clock around an hour a week if your family is having its weekly Family Worship Night.

    Family Worship replaced one of the weeknight meetings. The reasoning gave was to foster family bonds and to prepare JWs for the great tribulation where you might not have the luxury of attending meetings at a hall. My theory is that so many young people are leaving and they are trying to push parents to emotionally blackmail kids into "staying in the truth."

    I've also heard that there are major changes that will be made to the preaching campaign later this year during the annual meeting. I'm unclear on exactly what it'll be, only that it'll be a stronger focus on Armageddon.

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