Lurkers! What Happened to the Puritans?

by metatron 13 Replies latest jw friends

  • metatron

    Yes, what ever happened to the Puritans? In the US, these were the guys with

    the funny belt bucket hats who ate turkey with the Indians (oops, native Americans).

    They were religious fanatics who thought The End Was Soon, just like some folks

    you may know.

    As time went on, they ran into some trouble. The Pilgrim kiddies and grandkids

    lost zeal and got tired of being fanatics. Things got so bad the Puritans had to

    create "The Half Way Covenant" (do a web search) to try to hold on to church

    attendance as their children faded away - and the Puritans faded into history.

    And where is the Watchtower headed? Just like past fanatics, the KIDS

    are fading away. I see the 15 minute publishers and 70 hour pioneers

    and dumped subscriptions as adjustments just like the "Half Way Covenant".

    ---- the final stage before history swallows the dead-end WTS.

    metatron (your history lesson for today)

  • Euphemism


    I think that the process of acclimatization is one that all new religions go through, as they shift from bein composed primarily of converts, to being made up primarily of individuals born into the religion. When I was still loyal to the org, I could see the process going on, and it disturbed me that Jehovah's Holy Organization was following the same sociological pattern as every other, man-made religion.

    The Half-Way Covenant allowed partial church membership to individuals who had not had a 'conversion experience', which was required for full church membership. Many of the 'raised-in-the-faith' Puritans were not having conversion experiences. This exemplifies two problems that religions face in this transition.

    1. They are no longer self-selecting. Conversion only brings in people who are passionate about the religion. Birth brings in people who may turn out to be apathetic, but will stay out of habit and circumstance.

    2. Individuals raised in the faith (call them RITFs) are often not emotionally affected by the beliefs or ideology. The problem is that they hear these beliefs before they are capable of understanding their import. Personally, I know that happened in my case. By the time I was old enough to fully appreciate the idea of the ransom, for example, I had already heard it repeated so many times that it was a cliche to me. Many ideas that are strong and beautiful--whether or not they are true--can be reduced to powerlessness by being turned into cliches to young ears.

    Many RITFs do have an emotional attachment to their religion, but it's usually to the organization or the institution, rather than the beliefs. After all, that's what actually mattered to them growing up. That's what affected them emotionally. And so that's what's impressed on their minds, for good or for bad.

    That's evident among Witnesses today. Many, if not most, of the Witness RITFs have never gone beyond the basic level in doctrine. It was never important to them... it was something they were forced to learn out of duty, rather than moved to learn out of a questioning spirit.

    Also, the bulk of their knowledge usually comes from meetings--where teachings are usually presented with little proof, and WT ideas are fluidly mixed with actual biblical concepts--rather than from formal, analytical study. By the time that a JW parents studies the Knowledge book with their child, the kid has already heard at the meetings all the teachings that it contains. The reasoning and argument--such as there is--matters little to him, because he already knows and believes the teachings. So he (or she) never develops the ability to actually think about doctrine.

  • RN


    Beautifully stated. Thank you.

    RN, RITF

  • Satanus

    While the puritans themselves have dissappeared, and the fanatacism has calmed a bit, imo there is still a basic fanatacism remaining, that has permeated the whole nation and been transfered to new doctrines.

    SS heading for the hills

  • Joyzabel

    Thanks for the history lesson, Metatron. If we don't pay attention to history, it will repeat itself.

    Euphemism said: "following the same sociological pattern as every other, man-made religion" so true, so true.

    I think the WTBTs will implode on itself, but not soon enough. Or it will turn into another Catholic Church and just go on forever, but in a kinder, gentler (gag) way.


  • proplog2


    You are expressing wishful thinking that plays well to the biased crowd that populates this forum.

    Jehovah's Witnesses will disolve IF they are wrong. Even though they don't have a specific date in mind their continued existence depends completely on future events occurring in the world. World War I & II plus nuclear weapons gave them a pretty good run. Sept. 11 2001, American Imperialism, and failure of nuclear arms agreements is confirmation that the world continues in a dangerous direction.

    You have a tendency to drug yourself on the false optimism of popular futurology.

    The basic message of the Bible is that man can't be a success on this planet without love and somethings got to change drastically for that to happen.

    How things actually will work out can't be predicted for certain. In the mean time the JW message is still viable. The criticism from mal-contents like you is just noise in the machinery. Time will tell - the REAL truth.

  • metatron

    wrong again, proplog

    The decay and mass exodus of Witness kids is threatening to become an open scandal.

    The compromises I cited are real. You can't deny them - and there will be more of them as the Watchtower

    confronts hard reality.

    None of us "malcontents" need to wish for the Watchtower's actual destruction, it is sufficient that it simply becomes

    irrelevant , an anachronism like slide rules and buggy whips.

    And as for their endless supply of failed prophecy, "you must not fear [them]" (Deu. 18) is the wisest advice.


  • GentlyFeral


    By the time that a JW parents studies the Knowledge book with their child, the kid has already heard at the meetings all the teachings that it contains.

    I respectfully disagree. Many's the time I've mentioned a concept that was done to death in meetings, only to hear my children express surprise that they were ever expected to believe it.

    "What, you thought I was paying attention?" <-- direct quote


  • Euphemism

    Interesting, GF. I guess it does depend on the kid. I'm going on the experience of the kids I've studied with (in the 10-12 range).

  • AnnOMaly

    What happened to the Puritans?

    Well, the JW Puritans discovered the internet. Then they became lurkers. Then they learnt some stuff. Then they went mainstream.

    (Very perceptive post, Eu!)

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