Yes indeed pistolpete...the world wide web has in effect been a two edged sword...especially for the JW organization...the internet has resulted in both favorable & unfavorable consequences. Unfortunately for the WT the web ain't going anywhere...and the problems will only intensify and worsen for this cult...Yay!
What do you think will be different in the Organization after the pandemic is over?
Real in depth information about the JWS is now available on the net which is a real problem for the WTS/JWS
Where there is power and money there will be zeal as well self serving corruption and targeted agendas.
Most of the big families in the halls I have attended , three generations deep ( not overlappers LoL ) , where just a product of a GI returning from the battlefields of WW2 and was attracted to the WTS by the horrors of war.
Sadly I can see Covid as this next event to really attract the masses.
Shit there was been more healthcare workers die in California on the front lines of covid than soldiers in Afghanistan.
Valid point Steel
Fear has always been a marketing commodity which the WTS has used repetitively.
This pandemic could be exploited toward creating emotional fear and alertness, back it up by the acceptance and believably in the Holy bible and wallah you have new interested converts.
The WTS has had a lot of practice in the past promoting fear and utilizing that fear to lure in new coverts.
Watchtower will demand more blind obedience and give and give to us till it hurts. ofcourse, there will be even more people waking up only the real stupid will put up with their crap. And a desperate attempt to get new members but not by door to door. More simple means. And hanging on to those stuck in.
Correlation to ww2 is not the same. At the peak Westeen Union was delivering 3000 telegrams a DAY. And the ones coming back had witnessed it first hand.
I expect sales in window stickers or signs along the lines of "No JW's etc due to COVID" given we are going to have the virus for many years like other flus.
I don't think there will be a mass exodus, but there will be Witnesses who don't come back to the Kingdom Hall. Being a Jehovah's Witness from what I've seen is stressful and costs a lot emotionally, socially, sometimes financially. I wouldn't be surprised if people who want out will see this as their opportunity, whether they call it fading or not.
In my local area. One orthodox elder has moved way out into the country. At least a good half hour drive to the hall. His reasoning been that location is no longer important to been a JW. In his opinion they won’t be going back to the hall. I have a super PIMI relative who has similar sentiments. Ironically, when I questioned them about where they thought the money would go for the sales of these halls. They said they were been used to build halls in Africa where people don’t have access to JWdot borg on the internet. I tell you the BS I contend with is unbelievable.
Wt has a critical decision to make here, with no face to face contact. Sure they remove their liability for CSA and the like. But they are also going to lose the level of control they can exude on the rank and file. Only 12 months in and already mother is complaining about people having study groups that open and close with prayer. There are certainly pros and cons.
My family has been here since THE beginning. I served as an elder for 20 years. My dad probably for longer. His dad was Company Servant before that. Family occasions would have 4 PO/CoBE at the dinner table.
Today, I no longer serve. Neither does dad. My brother would like to find a face-saving way to give up the title too. My dad has said he likely won't go back. He intends to stay on zoom.
IIRC, just before the pandemic there was a letter about adding web cams to KH's. This would allow an opportunity to attend in a variety of ways; phone, web, in-person. This might be the (inadvertent?) bridge to e-religion.