The WTBTS has finally decided to join the rest of us in the 21st century and has begun rebranding. They've dropped the iconic Watchtower sign from their heaquarters, and it's only a matter of time till they drop the now embarrassing Watchtower name completely; a name synonymous with failure on the one hand and concentration camps on the other.
The organisation will soon be known solely as JW.org, bringing them right up-to-date with the Web 2.0 revolution of 15 years ago, and making them the only company still to use a full web address as their main identifier, very forward-thinking of them.
It's inevitable that they'll gradually rebrand everything. What methods do you think they'll go with? I have a few ideas that you may or may not agree with:
The Watchtower & Awake magazines will be phased out completely within 5-10 years, eventually replaced by online-only articles, with Watchtower & Awake-style articles consolidated onto that singular medium. The physical yearbook and daily text will also be gone within 10 years, moved online as a year-in-review article and a text for the day post, respectively. The Kingdom ministry will be moved online as a downloadable PDF for JW tablets, renamed JW newsletter. The song book will likely be online-only by 2030.
The only physical releases will be increasingly short & child-friendly illustrated books, released with decreasing frequency, and with gradually fewer doctrine-centric themes. Within 20 years the physical books will be gone as well, replaced with online-only publications.
They'll also continue to print bibles and 5-page tracts with pretty pictures & fluff, to use on the ministry, which will be entirely cart & call-based by 2030. Younger members, those born after 1970, will be encouraged to preach through social media.
Meetings will be consolidated further, with only one meeting per-week within the next 10-15 years. A 90 minute Sunday meeting with a 30 minute public talk, a 30 minute JW.org article review and a 30 minute JW newsletter review, bookended with a song & prayer.
The theocratic ministry school will be phased out entirely, it's already seen as archaic by many JWs, and it gives members the opportunity to speak their minds, which is against the principles of JW.org. Members will also be encouraged to watch JW Broadcast daily.
Assemblies will be consolidated to one annual special assembly in October, smaller in size and comprised of puff-pieces, experiences, baptism and screened dramas.
Attire for meetings & ministry etc will gradually become more casual over the next 20-30 years as the religion outwardly mainstreams, due to the influx of members from countries where the suit & tie look is unfashionable. It'll remain internally cult-like of course.
As the religion tries to become more cool in order to attract & retain younger members, those born after 1950, it'll change a lot of its labels as well:
Members will simply be called JWs.
Kingdom halls will just be called halls.
Kingdom melodies will just be called songs.
Ministry will be called work.
Assemblies will be called JW-cons.
The NWT will eventually be re-released as the JW Bible.
The memorial will remain as it is.
Bonus prediction: 2033-34 will be unofficially earmarked for Armageddon over the next few years, as it's 120 years since 1914 and 2000 years since Pentecost 33.
My last prediction is that all of my predictions are more likely to come true than any of the Watchtower's predictions, though that's a low bar I'll admit.
The "Watchtower" brand was truly ugly and had to go. The name "Jehovah" is likewise unattractive so perhaps it too will have to be pushed overboard as the organisation struggles for survival in the future. Some New York PR guru will likely recommend something more palatable like 'God's True Congregation' when the "Jehovah" brand has been stained to a degree beyond which PR scrubbing will no longer get it clean.
The main thing for a doomsday cult to remain even partially credible is to keep renewing your image and cutting off your roots so that you are no longer associated with the perpetual failure of your earlier prophecies.
Observing this manoeuvre is also one way of spotting a doomsday cult.
They've dropped the iconic Watchtower sign from their heaquarters
Ah, they sold the building with the sign in Brooklyn.
That's why its gone dude.
You give them ideas for free...
Speaking about giving ideas for free....there's gonna be a monthly pot-luck for each congregation to improve social ties....and guess what? New light...all the attendees at the Memorial are now the "great crowd". Also you go to the house to house whenever you want, no more compulsory time. Pipe dreams.
No I meant they didn't take the sign with them or put up a new one as a lot of people expected them to. I'm obviously aware that they relocated.
I doubt they will reduce the meeting so drastically. You can't keep people indoctrinated by lessening the burden. I can understand adjustments where ever possible, like not having a book study at a private home. Back then that meant more people needing the KH (when congregations were supposed to get a loan to build it, remember?). I actually think that eventually they may return to that mode. Whether it is to study a book or watch broadcasts, whether it is for a formal meeting but they need to keep foot traffic at the KH at a point where the building will not be destroyed but keep up its value. Not going also to the extreme where a new one will be needed, unless there is a real state potential in the area.
The 144k will become a symbolic number. 1914 will either get dropped or become less relevant. A lot more physical buildings are sold and money moved off shore. A more pentecostal (e.g happy clappy) flavor to meetings - if that hasn' happened all ready. I digress and say they stop short of speaking in tounges. I think the no holidays / blood / shunning will remain. To many would walk if they changed it. They will become more internet and social media based, with movies taking the place of the printed word. Unless they can turn things around I think their membership has peaked so in 30 years time there could 5-6 million members world wide.
"The Watchtower & Awake magazines will be phased out completely within 5-10 years,"
"Within 20 years the physical books will be gone as well, replaced with online-only publications"
It's possible that the books and magazines may become a thing of the past, even sooner than that. According to a family member at Bethel, a lot of the "work" they are doing is focusing on the production of videos and the printing is being phased out little by little.
At least the Watchtower and Awake magazines and the books brought in some money when the 8 million JW's paid/contributed for them at the literature counter. I'm not sure how they'll be able to make up for this loss of revenue from the magazines and books unless they convince the JW's that as part of their duty to Jehovah they must contribute to the world wide work, by purchasing a yearly online subscription/membership that will allow them to access the videos etc. at JW dot Org .
I think the online subscription model seems highly plausible, it'd be a way of getting the rank & file to tithe without realising. They could even have a tiered system whereby elders and MS + family get a cheaper subscription, and bethelites get it for free, which would encourage members to reach out.
I could also see them dropping the literal 144K and liberalising the blood doctrine, i.e. making it a matter of personal conscience. I doubt that 1914 is going anywhere though, not this side of 2034 anyway, it's too important. They'll stop mentioning 607BCE though I'm sure, it's a collosal embarrassment.