Poster Westiewilly quoted on another thread the
Biblical proverb “expectation lost is sickness to the heart”. The KJV puts it
well, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick but a longing fulfilled is a tree of
Does this not encapsulate the emotional tone of the JW organization today; “heartsick”?
Those who saw the total failure of the Watchtower promises of the twentieth century must be heartsick from the disappointment. What I am exploring is how would we expect the faithful to respond to this fundamental problem? Their lives were geared to this hope, the rigid certainty of the Kingdom by the end of the last century was guaranteed by none other than the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society-- "the generation of 1914" was often quoted, it was undisputed, JWs thought it was a Bible certainty, it was their ticket to paradise. . .
Psychologically even wearing the mask of a kingdom smile, today the heart has gone out of the whole enterprise, the abysmal attempts at squaring the generation of 1914 to accommodate successive generations by “overlapping” has only meant a further loss of confidence, and the GB must know it.
How then have the flock reacted?
As we know, what the JW org offers the public is a quick fix to all life's problems: never dying, a life of bliss in paradise; the hope of a permanent world of “no worries” with cuddly pandas thrown in for good measure. As we also know this is moonshine but the world is full of sad punters who in the past have lapped it up.
So with the expectation now lost, for those who didn't leave the organisation, the first thing was a re-evaluation and this meant finding justification for what has happened. It was akin to having foolish parents who made a very foolish mistake, you don’t blame them do you? You put up with them ‘cos they are the only ones you have.
For those unthinking and infantilised JWs, the governing body had become the surrogate parent.
So the remaining JWs at the turn of the twenty first century then started to look for new dates, not a promising line of enquiry since WT dates have always been wrong in the past.
Outwardly the remaining JWs continued performing the meeting and preaching rituals but egged on by HQ, shifted the emphasis away from a date limit to stressing the imminence of Armageddon. Having lost a marker point JWs were now focused just on the nearness—always round the corner, always round this enormous one hundred and forty year long corner. Are Jehovah’s Witnesses round the bend yet? Of course, The Watchtower has always been round the bend!
What other alternatives are available to the JW?
Stay put and enjoy your friends and family? As the WT told the flock in 1980 after their previous major prophetic disaster of 1975, “we still have our brothers and sisters don’t we?” Yes it's a good social club if you are partially brain dead.
Or one could just leave-- however leaving the JW club carries a big penalty. The cult goes to great lengths to avoid defectors and the flock knows it well. Being ”sent to Coventry” as we say in England or shunning, is the technique used to harm the feelings of the would-be leaver to induce them to stay. It often works, and the consequence of this is that the kingdom halls are filling with physically present but mentally alienated members. . . lots of them. . . it’s part and parcel of the heartsick membership.
There is however one significant response not often discussed and that is the hidden token protest JWs are practising now by not contributing money.
Have you practised this or heard of others doing it?
( And by the way, has anyone found the tree of life Proverbs mentions?)