The Internet is worse for the Watchtower than 1975 was: here's proof.
I really want to buy into your premise, but I just don't see it, at least not on the scale that you're suggesting.
One thing to keep in mind is that the number of persuadable Witnesses has likely been on the decline since the widespread use of the internet in the late 90s, when we would expect most of them were reached.
You see evidence of that in this forum and others like it. I only caught a passing glimpse of the late 90s/early 00s ex-JW online community as I was still a JW, but it was incredibly more vibrant than what we see today. There were extensive debates about doctrine, complex manifestos being written, just a wealth of intellectually stimulating threads
Even in 2006 when I first visited this forum those days had largely disappeared. Now the online community is a shadow of what it once it once was, likely a reflection of the fact that the flood of those early JWs who had been reached by the internet and were persuaded to leave the JWs for intellectual reasons have gotten on with their lives and moved on.
That's not to say that the internet can't continue to be a force, particularly for those born-in JWs who start reaching the age of reason, but I'd expect the data to show a large exodus beggining around 1998, peaking around 2003, and steadily declining ever since.
Its both ironic and hypocritical in that the WTS back in the 1980's demeaned and ridiculed the use of computers as time wasters and evil perhaps to their connection with science and the transference of information.
Now days the WTS has its very own web site and just about every JWS goes to door to door with Ipads under their arms.
One way or another the IBSA and JWS were always a commercialized religion in design and structure selling a Gospel which was designed to enhance the proliferation of literature..
SBF - Mormons did an analysis of their figures and concluded the Internet was not an important factor in growth or decline.
I would like to see their reasoning.
When it is said that the internet is not the only factor, do they mean that apostate sites are not the only factor, or the internet in general. Whilst apostate sites have limited reach, the Internet is critical to the collapse of Watchtower and religion in general.
There are a range of factors in addition to apostate sites. The generation changes since 1995, 100 years of no-show from Jesus in 2014, porn and the relaxation of attitudes to sex, the rise of acceptance of homosexuality, finding support groups through social media. Each of these have some relationship to the internet and access to information in general.
The decline of religion in general is largely to do with information, which is being more and more rapidly dispersed due to the internet. There are two areas that information helps, the shrinking God of the Gaps due to Science, and the realization that it does not make sense to say God resides in only one religion, when religion affiliation is mostly decided by one's place of birth.
I don't know how it would be possible to work out how much affect each attribute has to the overall decline of Watchtower, but it needs to be recognized that the internet is tied very much to so many of the reasons for declining growth.
Apathy not apostasy kills active JWs.
Nothing "Internet" about that . Crediting JWs with checking stuff out on the internet then making a decision about leaving is crediting them with too much interest in doctrine and practise . I've yet to see evidence most people leave in that frame of mind.
How any JWs walk away convinced it ain't the truth? Very few .
Most drift away harborng lots of FOG (fear, obligation and guilt) and of these a fair few come running back when the chips are down .
Very human nature and very not internet.
The internet does damage mainly by extension. Everything the WTS has ever said and put into print is their worse problem.
The internet may aid in the destruction of the borg as we knew it, but, it will also likely be the thing that will "pheonix" it into the future as well.
I can't see your reasoning Sparrowdown, how could the internet in the future be less informative or open than at present?
Organised religion is less appealing than it used to be world-wide. Today there are more attractive and less boring social clubs than a church and even in the US, belief in God has recently rapidly declined.
Isn't the internet the first port of call for most people when confronted with the need for information on a new topic? I don't think this behaviour will diminish nor can I imagine how it could favour repressive cults in any way in the future.
I just mean that organized religion as we have known it as physical bricks and mortar buildings that people go to worship in, is dying in the arse. Internet religions, websites and you tube channels dedicated to popular religious leaders, sermons, dvds, books etc where you can get your daily dose of your fave preacher whenever and wherever you like is possibly the way of the future for religion, and I suspect WT has cottoned on to this.
Of course, I'm in no way attached to being right about this, I could be wrong, I'm just speculating.
In the book of Daniel it does say that "Many will rove about and true knowledge will become abondant". So it seems that all that has been hidden is openly available. The internet is truly a good tool for exposing corruption.