Has Watchtower taken the joy out of 'the good news of the kingdom'

by UnshackleTheChains 29 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Giordano
    What we should have done is checked independently.....

    Almost impossible before their history and scandals surfaced on the internet.

    Back in my day the late 50's early 60's being a JW was a hoot in the greater New York Area. Plenty of parties. We dated, danced and do tell...... pranced a bit with our hands.

    My Personal blue collar adviser....... Eric Hoffer said:

    Not only does a mass movement depict the present as mean and miserable - it deliberately makes it so. It fashions a pattern of individual existence that is dour, hard, repressive and dull. It decries pleasures and comforts and extols the rigorous life. It views ordinary enjoyment as trivial or even discreditable, and represents the pursuit of personal happiness as immoral.

  • Ding

    Legalistic groups just clamp down tighter and tighter to keep control.

    Then they tell you how grateful and happy you are supposed to be and make you feel guilty because you aren't.

  • compound complex
    compound complex

    I don't understand.

    Brother Breaux, on the video, warmly reassured (at least twice) the Bethel brothers and sisters how much the Governing Body loves them. And by extension (WT favorite term), they love us.

    You got a problem and broke some rules?

    Let us help you!

  • steve2

    This organization has never been joyful and indeed has been on the joyless side. So the organization cannot go from joyful to joyless.

    What I have noticed is that the organization is even more joyless now than it once was.

  • Athanasius

    I don't recall the JW religion as being anything joyful. However, growing up in the 1950s and 60s, JWism was more intellectually stimulating back then. Of course that's only comparing pre-1980 JWism with its 21st century version, and not to say that there was ever anything intellectual about this religion.

    However, during the 1970s the GB enacted several reforms that gave some of us hope that the religion would cease being legalistic and become more mainstream. Locally we even had a few independent Bible study groups where we studied the Scriptures without using Watchtower publications. But when Ray Franz was booted from the GB and the liberal wing silenced, locally independent Bible study ceased and the witch hunts began.

    So while there may have been a few joyful moments during my 30 year sojourn in JW land, for the most part it was a sorrowful experience.

  • FedUpJW

    Has Watchtower taken the joy out of 'the good news of the kingdom'

    No. Cannot take something that never existed.

  • steve2

    However, growing up in the 1950s and 60s, JWism was more intellectually stimulating back then.

    Agreed Athanasius. I think the "heyday" of JW organization was from post World War Two through to the 1980s (with the exception of the immediate years post 1975): The religion enjoyed ongoing growth and often quite spectacular growth in the West and kingdom halls were often completely full.

    That thriving religion has now gone for good. JW organization no longer strikes a note in the West in terms of growth from door-to-door converts. Plateauing of numbers has set in (or to put it with more feeling, Stagnation of numbers has set in...)

  • scratchme1010
    Has Watchtower taken the joy out of 'the good news of the kingdom'

    When have they ever had anything joyful. Oh, never mind, I forgot that now they dance in assemblies.

  • Juan Viejo2
    Juan Viejo2
    Athanasius is quite right about the 1950s and 60s for Jehovah's Witnesses. The biggest downer was that young brothers just getting out of high school still faced the possibility of being drafted and by refusing, likely to go to prison. We had one brother that spent 3 years in federal prison (messed him up some, too) and another young man in his early 20s (and a recent JW convert) who did go to prison for 18 months around 1960. I sweated a few bullets over that at the time, but getting married and having a baby daughter, bad knees, and being color blind got me through it unscathed.

    But going to meetings and even out in the door to door service was kinda fun and a chance to mix with a lot of people of various ages. Going to conventions for a teenager was great fun and I met a lot of new friends and cute girls while roaming the hallways.

    But the mid-1960s saw a major change in attitudes. Everything started feeling uncomfortable. In 1966 the idea of Armageddon coming in the mid-1970s was just hitting the ground. Rules became stricter. Public talks began to move from being self-prepared from an outline to being delivered from a rigid script that allowed very little modification by speakers. So we heard the same 8-10 talks nearly word for word about three times a year. For young people teens and up - who and how you dated them suddenly became more restrictive. I met my first wife in high school and dated her for well over a year before we got engaged. I never tried to change her from being a Catholic - and she didn't mind being around Jehovah's Witnesses - so she came to meetings and also went out with me in service while she was unbaptized. Yes, she was encouraged by my parents and the congregation members to consider becoming a JW, but I felt no pressure by my parents or JW friends to break up with my fiance or restrict who I married. Of course, all of that also changed in the 1960s. So my wife became one - and I soon "unbecame" one.

    Everyone was being encouraged to "go where the need was greater." Our congregation saw several families (including my parents and siblings) sell their homes and move to remote cities in the midwest (USA) and southeast states like Mississippi and South Carolina. My parents moved to Nebraska and then later to Arkansas. They saw their savings dissipate and had great difficulty finding reasonable jobs in order to survive. Some brothers were rewarded by their Kingdom Hall by being assigned as servants in their local congregation - but many also found the preaching work in strange places to be quite stressful. Many couldn't deal with it and eventually returned to their hometowns to try to pick up where they left off.

    Being a JW wasn't much fun after that - at least nothing like it was in the late 1940s to early 1960s. There was no longer any joy in Watchtowerland. Many of my former acquaintances experienced major mental and physical problems that could be directly tied to the new policies that the Society embraced and enforced. Shunning, lots of shunning - unlike anything we'd seen before.


  • Scully

    Was there *ever* joy in The Preaching Work™?

    If there was, I'd never noticed it.

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