I know now what was behind many of the simplification procedures that were adopted at the assemblies over the years. The books and food were given away to avoid tax problems. I know that now. But what did you think about it when you were a JW?
Here is what I thought. When the society eliminated the orchestra for canned music, it was a shame because the quality just wasn't the same. What happened to art? Eliminated for cost reasons. The music our orchestras produced had soul, and now we had canned "art." Still, it saved those poor brothers countless hours of practice, so I accepted it.
Then other changes came. Books that used to be plentiful, we could only have one per family "because Jehovah's organization was growing."
Unlike Jesus turning water into wine and multiplying loaves and fishes, nutritious meals were miraculously transformed into junk food. It was explained that because they now had so many people to feed in such a short time, that they had to adopt the marketing strategies of McDonald's. Didn't that make you think? Didn't you begin to wonder? My nephew called it "the pudding meeting." All of those cafeterias we worked so hard on in all of those assembly halls! What good were they now? So we started eating sandwiches mashed in tin foil. So there we were at assemblies sucking our brains out on frozen orange juice. And the only thing on the menu that could actually be considered nutritious was the fruit bag, except most of the fruit in it was still green. After eating it you had to make extra trips to the restroom, where we were allowed only one towel.
Did you begin to feel like less of a person and like more of a number? Did you begin to resent that you had extra meal tickets unused on Sunday because they "ran out of food?" Did your stomach ever growl on Sunday because you hadn't found any hoagies left? Basically now those tickets were a donation, unless by chance you were one of the few who liked Shasta lemon-lime.
I began to dread assembly time, and the KM that announced more simplification procedures. I began to resent my hard earned vacation time being used up for these days of hardships that left you hungry for more than a gassy burrito and bone weary at the end of the day.
Go this way. Turn that way. Don't park there. Keep moving. No talking in the halls. Take your seats when the canned music starts (25 minutes before the talk). I got so blasted tired of it!
Why? Why? Why? I asked myself. It didn't used to be this way. We used to be able to eat what we wanted, get hot vegetables with our meals, and dry our hands. What happened?
"Jehovah's organization is growing by leaps and bounds!" was the answer. I really began to wonder then. 6 million JWs worldwide and Jehovah couldn't take care of us? He did with the Israelites? What was going on here? What was he going to do after the big A? How would the WTBTS take care of us after armageddon? What would happen when all of those people were resurrected? If the WTBTS couldn't handle large numbers now, how would they ever manage in the "new system?"
Sitting there at those boring assemblies I thought about all these things. The next summer I didn't use my vacation days to go to the District Convention. I made up the excuse that I had a project I was working on that I couldn't afford to take time off for. I went only on the weekend.
The summer after that, I didn't go at all. By the next January I sent in my DA letter.
So did you think there was something wrong when the simplified stuff started?