blondie - I wonder if the higher ups were having a deliberate purge to keep the elders 'submissive(tm)'?
Are there 'ultra strict' congregations?
He was making a statement...pointed toward the white shirt only congregation and put emphasis on it
I have seen the WTS purge congregations of all the kind elders from my mother's generation who did not goose-step to the WTS music.
List of hang-ups that I remember (not complete, as I've forgotten more than I remember):
No sport jackets/dress pants. Must be a 'suit'
No 'colored' shirts. Must be white (relaxed later, but still applied for Sunday speakers)
No bowties. Had to be standard. (later, younger brothers got in hot water for the 80s skinny ties)
Socks had to be worn (thanks Miami Vice)
No beards, of course, but mustaches had to meet Bethel standards. No 'soul patches'
No 'flaired' dress pants on stage (mid 70s as Disco came to power)
No 'short' over jackets in field service. Had to be 'full' length (think trench coat).
No necklaces or bracelets for brothers
No pants for sisters, not just in service or at KH, but anytime in public. Pants were for house work or gardening.
Sisters HAD to wear stockings/hose...no bare legs
No sundresses for sisters. Cover those shoulders at all times
No dresses/skirts above the knee
No slits in long skirts. (basically Sharia law on sisters if you think about it. Surprised they didn't assign burkas)
2 door cars highly discouraged. They gave talks chastising anyone who purchased a sports car over a family sedan that could be used in service
Unmarried brother and sister in same car - sister to ride in back seat.
Unmarried brother and sister at hall - if they sat beside each other more than two meetings in a row, then the congregation should expect a marriage announcement (that is paraphrased from a CO's talk on the subject, I shit you not)
Okay, that's enough... the more I think about it, the more I'm taken back to that time.
I was the assistant WT conductor a while back.
In an elders meeting, I was told by the principal WT conductor that I should always wear a (matching pants & jacket) suit on Sundays, in case for some reason I had to take over for him at the last minute. And, in fact, by not wearing a suit on Sundays (as was my custom), I was intentionally and personally disrespecting him and my "privilege" of being assistant WT conductor.
In case you are wondering, I did not change my dressing habits.
As I wrote on a similar Thread, I came from a very liberal, independent minded Congregation, but we were one of the largest in the Circuit, had the most Regular Pioneers, and the made the biggest contribution in labour, expertise and equipment to the "Quick build" campaign when it was the number one thing.
The ultra strict Congregations would struggle for growth, struggle to pay their bills, had few Pioneers etc etc.
I don't think it ever dawned on C.O's, and certainly not higher up, that there was a connection.
People used to move in to our Congo. when they came from way outside of our "territory", one guy traveled 40 miles, passing through three other Congos. to get to us. Eventually these people moved in.
I think all that is in the past now, it has split into two not very vibrant Congos. now, with young Elders of the "Society Man" frame of mind in control, the old rebels have died or faded away.