Are older women holding the congregations together (at least in the US)?

by Spiral 21 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Spiral

    So I went and had a facial yesterday, and the aesthetician (and business owner) was a 30 something women, and we got on very well from the start. The conversation came around to how many new churches are being built in this area, and I said I was surprised by it all. She had a very interesting take on the situation. She feels that the influx of well-off retired people (55 plus) contributes to the new churches, because the women especially want to go to church, and enjoy lots of church activities. The men go along to keep the women happy (although not nearly as engaged in the religion) and then they are free to golf as much as they want. She had several well-thought out reasons behind her assertion, including the fact that this age group of women may be the last that will follow men (subjection as wives) but they really do have their own agenda, and this is how they achieve it. On the surface the men are still the preachers (mostly) and "take the lead" (not her exact words, but of course that's the phrase that comes to my mind) but the women do the actual work.

    BUT - once this age group dies out, the churches will shrink, because younger women like herself just don't want to follow men around like puppies in a religious environment. Far too independent, and many more are single.

    I think this is really an interesting observation. And what about the JWs? What will happen to the congregations once the older generation of women die off? I really don't know any young women in the congregation at present, but are younger ones as interested in being tied to following men? Are they able to be more independent? Are they getting any higher education? Do they like the way single women are treated (I'm sure not)? What will happen if there continues to be a shortage of "capable men reaching out" (ugh)?

    I'm sure the GB has no intention of including women in any meaningful way in the congregations, so could this contribute to the shrinkage? Your thoughts......

  • Ireneus

    It is likely to happen, I feel.

  • scratchme1010

    Interesting topic. Here is Pew research on Generational cohort among Christians by age group:

    Here's the Gender composition among Christians by age group:

    There plenty of reliable sources of information if you don't trust this one.

  • Giordano

    Hi Spiral,

    Ageing women and men for sure.

    According to the Pew religious survey:

    Most Jehovah’s Witnesses – roughly two-thirds (65%) – are women, while only 35% are men.
    but within Christianity the greatest net losses, by far, have been experienced by Catholics. Nearly one-third of American adults (31.7%) say they were raised Catholic. Among that group, fully 41% no longer identify with Catholicism.

    Could this in part mean that the Catholic pedophile scandal is a major cause? Do you attend a church service if you know they failed criminally to protect the most innocent among them.

    More JW born-in's are leaving the religion they were born into.
    Compared with other U.S. religious groups, Jehovah’s Witnesses tend to be less educated. A solid majority of adult Jehovah’s Witnesses (63%) have no more than a high school diploma, compared with, for example, 43% of evangelical Protestants and 37% of mainline Protestants.
    Jehovah’s Witnesses have a low retention rate relative to other U.S. religious groups. Among all U.S. adults who were raised as Jehovah’s Witnesses, two-thirds (66%) no longer identify with the group. By contrast, about two-thirds of those who were raised as evangelical Protestants (65%) and Mormons (64%) still say they are members of those respective groups.
    Like many other highly religious Christians, Jehovah’s Witnesses tend to take conservative positions on social issues. For example, three-quarters (75%) say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, while similar shares oppose same-sex marriage and say homosexuality should be discouraged by society (76% each). Roughly three-quarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses (74%) also reject evolution, saying humans have always existed in their present form since the beginning of time.

    Unless there is a complete revamping of the JW ideology, a serious role for women within the structure, easing on shunning, allowing blood to be a choice. A place for children to be in a safe and entertaining environment......... I see no way going forward other then the diminishing of their beliefs and corporation for the JW's.

  • joe134cd

    I think churches generally are diversifying and at the same time becoming more of the same. Wt (if it wants to survive) will be forced to follow suite. I'll give 2 examples of this.

    (1) 40 years ago there was a big emphasis on individuality of beliefs and this been the reason that they are the true religion e.g sabbath, book of Mormon, no birthdays. I think the christian community is becoming more now on the love of God, christ dying for our sins, been a good moral person, and It dosnt matter what church you go to as long as you follow christ.

    (2) I think the idea of a church been a place where you sing a song and listen to a sermon is gone. I went to a pentecostal church last week with a friend. (Btw I love going to different churches, and observing). This church certainly had the right mix, as far as getting the punters in. To me it resembled more of a night club on a Saturday night with its techno christian music pumping, fog machines and disco lights, and the pastor was rock'n it for jesus. Thoroughly entertaining and so much so I might go back this week. Although I wondered how many would still be there if you took away the night club aspect of it, this church must of had a seating capacity of about 400. It was packed out and 95% of those attending were in the 18-35 years of age. Something that would make Wt blind with envy. I think Wt will be forced to follow suite, and to a degree it has with some you tube videos showing regional conventions that resemble a pentecostal revival meeting. Something that was unthinkable not even 5 years ago.

  • Finkelstein

    Maybe one day the GB members will let woman hold microphones ?

    You got to retain the membership because membership = money $$$

    Its makes one wonder why there are more woman/females JWS than men, when the WTS degrades woman in such a misogynistic fashion.

    Woman should always be subservient and in subjection to men

  • bamse
    What will happen to the congregations once the older generation of women die off?

    There will always be older women in the congregations.

  • Spiral

    @joe134cd, I agree, Christians in general seem less concerned about dogma, and more concerned about believing in Jesus. Not a bad thing.

    I bet that church with music brought a lot of people in. Although I'm sure some wouldn't attend without the night club atmosphere, I have to say that a place of worship should be joyful, as an expression of faith. If I had any faith in God left, I would want to go somewhere to worship that had a happy vibe to it. The churches here are into all sorts of things, some practical (food banks and shelters) and many social (spaghetti dinners, book clubs, zumba classes, breakfast socials). These events are run, for the most part, by women of the 55+ age group.

    @bamse, IDK. I don't think the younger generation wants to go for years, just hoping that maybe, just maybe, the GB will relent and (as Finkelstein proposes) get to hold the microphones.

    There's just not much excitement in this religion. Only a special few get to be really involved in what goes on. You can't even go to an International Convention, on your own dime, if you don't have permission. And it's all just drab, repetitive meetings, service, clean the hall, man the cart, etc. Nothing much exciting for women at all, just service, giving basic pre-scripted talks, cleaning the hall, etc. The older generation of women accept that this is their "place", being in subjection to all men, but I just don't see loads of younger women growing old in this organization. I don't think they'll be interested.

  • Spiral

    Finkelstein Its makes one wonder why there are more woman/females JWS than men, when the WTS degrades woman in such a misogynistic fashion.

    Yes, it does.

  • Spiral

    Giordano, do you foresee the GB either diluting the dogma (even further) or revamping the idealogy to allow women a bigger share? I think they need to as a way to keep members, but they sure seem like a stubborn group of old men.

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