Is the term "worldly" outdated?

by A.proclaimer 23 Replies latest jw friends

  • A.proclaimer
    Yesterday I had to listen to the CO from a Spanish congregation on the phone. He said the FDS has been gradually moving away from the word "worldly" and teaching JWs not to use the term anymore. Now it's "non-believers". Has anyone heard this in their congregation or heard the term "non-believers" used before?
  • steve2

    I am in no position to answer your good question. But for what it's worth, here are my thoughts.

    The word "worldly" probably rankles within the current organization's climate because it is used by at least two other cult-like religious groups that I know of; namely, the Exclusive Brethren and a commune of "Christians" located in the South Island of New Zealand. They also call people outside their respective ranks "worldly".

    The word "worldly" has accrued negative connotations over the years, not just because it is used by other groups to label "outsiders" but because it is also a frankly disparaging word, reeking of a cult-like "Us" versus "Them" mentality that doesn't sound good in this politically correct age in which we live. Nowadays, impression management is critical .

    That said, I'd be surprised if the word "worldly" was ditched entirely. At most, there may be a trend towards JWs bein more sensitive when and where they use the word lest they cast the organization in an unfavorable light that suggest they are a cult.

  • freemindfade
    In written form it was done away with sometime ago. So the official word fron a whole back was we call them "unbelievers". But still witnesses say it all the time still. The change never took. You won't likely see it in print or hear it from the stage though.
  • Oubliette
    Was it ever "indated"?
  • Wild_Thing

    I am pleased, yet really surprised, that they are letting go if this word. "Worldly" sounds offensive and insulting. I don't think they would drop this word without seeing something they might gain. Seeing how they are bleeding members and the majority of their new members are acquired from procreation within the ranks, I think they see the need to make their religion more palatable to the rest of the world. I think they are recognizing that, as the saying goes, you catch more flies with honey.

    Perhaps they will next drop the word "disfellowship" and call it "forced hiatus"!

  • Closer to Fine
    Closer to Fine

    It doesn't seem outdated, as I still hear jw's use the term. I am still referred to as 'worldly' by some of my husband's family. I was so naive back in the day, I didn't realize it was a derogatory term. I remember when I was introduced some would ask what congregation I was in and my sister-in-law would answer for me and say 'she's not in the truth, she's in the world'. Once I figured out it was meant as a criticism I hated the term

  • slimboyfat
    Hey what about "worldling"? Don't take that away from us!
  • OneEyedJoe

    I wouldn't say it's outdated exactly. It is no longer officially used and there's been some token admonition to stop using the term, instead favoring nonbeliever or non-JW. However, I only think I heard it officially advised against once which seems entirely insufficient given the decades of use the term got.

    Because I've seen no decline in the frequency with which the term worldly is used, I would be more inclined to categorize this as a new insider doctrine. It's yet another in a long line of things that are hidden from potential recruits and the world at large in order to protect their image, but once in long enough it will be learned.

  • New day
    New day
    Slinboyfat beat me to the mention of "worldling." That and "worldly" always made me cringe as being quite insulting, even when I was an elder. Ironic when you think that the phrase "worldly-wise" is often used to denote someone who is smart enough to avoid making mistakes when dealing with others. I don't often hear bros refer to worldling so much anymore but I still hear worldly pretty often, and that somebody is in the world.
  • punkofnice
    I would be interesting to do a word search on the CDRom or whatever they have these days (I don't have one), to see what hits there are on the term 'worldly'.....and the context used of course.

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