Are changes coming to the Watchtower?

January 9th, 2011

Editor’s Note: Be sure to check out our new permanent page:
Changes and Challenges Facing the Watchtower.


I’ve been looking at the Watchtower from the outside the organization since the mid-1960s. As many former Jehovah’s Witnesses will attest, you can be away from the religion for many years, but somehow the effects of the cult continue to affect your life forever.

Now that I’ve been out for so many years, certain facts and truths about the Watchtower are clear as a bell to me. I don’t even think twice about them now. And yet I often wonder if I can see these things so clearly, why can’t those who are closer to the organization – those who live within its grasp every day of their lives – why can’t they see it even clearer than I?

Why can’t they find the facts about the Watchtower’s unsavory past? Facts are everywhere, including right in their own publications, CD libraries, and outside resources.

Why don’t they admit that they are bored and unsatisfied with the quality of their meetings, the writing style and depth of research found in their magazines and publications, and the actual amount of love and understanding they get from their local leaders?  Want an example of “boring”? Try listening (and singing) to the songs from their latest Kingdom Songbook.

Why do they allow themselves and their friends and family to be treated like the “sheep” they claim to be? They are often prodded, abused, and sheared by their shepherds – and then thrown to the wolves when they want to leave the flock.

Why do JWs continue to silently ignore the errors of the Watchtower’s teachings? Don’t they ever wonder why a college student can challenge and question a professor – someone obviously more educated than he – and yet not be afraid of being ejected from school? So why can’t Jehovah’s Witnesses question and challenge their leaders whenever something is confusing and just doesn’t ring true? Don’t they rate honest, quality answers to their questions from their “teachers”?

Why don’t JWs stop and consider why it is that the writers of the Watchtower publications, supposedly working under the inspiration of Jehovah’s holy spirit, always use terms like “apparently,” “perhaps,” and (their favorite at the moment) “evidently”? If the writers aren’t sure, perhaps they should save that article for a later date and publish it after they have gathered more specific information or received more “inspiration”?

The fact is that thousands of Jehovah’s Witnesses are leaving the religion every year, just as I did over 40 years ago. Many more want to leave, but are locked in because of the Watchtower’s cruel shunning rules.

It is also a fact that many finally get to a breaking point and leave anyway – if not physically – in mind and spirit. They just go through the motions, but they are not Jehovah’s Witnesses at heart. They are no longer afraid of “being destroyed at Armageddon” – because they know that Armageddon is just a myth. They will die, as we all must, but due to old age, natural causes or disease, or from an accident.  They realize that Jehovah will never drop an asteroid on their house or pick them out of a crowd and zap them with lightning.

I give the Watchtower, at most, thirty more years – unless they make some major changes – not only with their teachings, but also with their attitude toward their flock. They have their backs up against the wall with their ridiculous “generation” teaching, the real lack of historical support for “1914” as a date for Jesus’ return and “invisible” presence, and their unsatisfactory explanations for the current annual increases of Memorial partakers.

The Watchtower may also begin to feel greater resistance to their constant demand for more donations from the rank and file. How long will it be before the average JW refuses to donate, not only at his own Kingdom Hall, but also at as many as five different assemblies, conventions, and special meetings? I’ve heard several JWs secretly complain that as the economy worsened, the Watchtower leaders actually ratcheted up their demand for more donations. They are fed up with it and many are actually refusing to donate anything, even at their own Kingdom Halls. (Is that why they station monitors next to the donation boxes at assembly halls to make sure that the brothers are actually dropping money in – and not just slips of paper?)

So exactly what can we expect the Watchtower Society to do? What circumstances will force them to modify their current approach to managing their religion, their properties, and their followers?

That’s why I recommend that you read our new permanent page, Changes and Challenges Facing the Watchtower. Written by a young former Jehovah’s Witness familiar with the processes and resources of the Watchtower Society, the article explores not only “what” the Watchtower must do to survive, but also the “why.”

Comments will be allowed on that page, so feel free to express your own opinions and ideas about the future of the Watchtower. Ex-JW.com is always open to article submissions that not only explore the past history of the Watchtower, but also the possibilities for its future.

Categories: Documents & History, Opinion

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  1. Hewwo

    I’m going to call this dissallusionment…, which, I’m not even sure if I spelled right, and am too lazy to look up right now…

    Can I ask whoever wrote this, that, if they left the religion 40 years ago, what are you now?
    What do you believe now?
    ……..that’s all. xD

  2. Editor

    “Hewwo,” You are right, you got the word “dissa-whatever” wrong. But I’ll give you a pass on that. That word has more than five letters and two syllables, so it’s a tough one.

    I wrote this introductory article, and all I can tell you is that I am most certainly not a Jehovah’s Witness anymore. Once you’ve escaped, why would any sane person want to go back?

    I’m not sure what points you are trying to make on any of your comments. None of them make any sense, and none can be considered valid rebuttals.

  3. to editor

    Dear Editor,
    The ” the songs in their songbook is boring’ was truly unecessary , but anyway about the station moniters for the donation boxes theres actually a good reason for that but since you’re no longer a JW there’s no point in explaing right? And like ‘Hewwo’ I would also like to know what are your beliefs now? And if you stopped being a JW 40 yrs ago , why do you still bother to write about them or research about them , can’t you go on with your life? I’m assuming that you probably dont believe in any religion or practice any sort of faith since you said that Armaggedon was a myth, and in the Bible its not a myth so I’m assuming you don’t believe what’s in the Bible. Well just wanted to point those few things out.

  4. s0rt3d

    @to editor – No matter how a person leaves the WBTS, DF or DA or just faded out, ” you can be away from the religion for many years, but somehow the effects of the cult continue to affect your life forever.”
    It’s not that we haven’t moved on, it’s that there is a real need to speak out and speak up, to tell the real truth about ‘The Truth,’ and in so doing perhaps prevent someone else from being duped and ultimately harmed by this whitewashed, tomblike organisation which is ‘beautiful on the outside but full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean.’ (Mt 23:27)

  5. Editor

    “s0rt3d,”
    You are so correct. All most ex-JWs want is to either fade away and be left alone or leave the organization, but reach back and help free other prisoners of the Watchtower Society.

    These people were our brothers and sisters. We loved most of them; some of them were our family members or close friends. Many of them are still trapped in the cult, going to meetings they really hate, reading books and magazines that are really boring, subjecting themselves to the rules and regulations of the Society – as well as the whims and power-plays of their local elders. They take abuse, and yet call it “Jehovah’s discipline.” They drag themselves to meetings and occasionally out in the door-to-door service – most of the time secretly hating every minute spent in those activities. They spend their vacations sitting through several days of boring and uncomfortable sessions at District and Regional Conventions. They are forced to shun and ignore the advances of their family members who have had enough and have left the organization.

    Is it not our duty to show them the light, the real truth? What are we to do? Ignore them? Pretend that they are happy doing what they do? Don’t we feel deep inside that if they knew the truth that they’d want to get out and really be free?

    That’s why this website, and dozens more like it, exist and are freely supported by former members like us. We invite everyone who feels the same way to step forward and contribute, NOT MONEY, but stories and personal testimonies that can be shared with those JWs who have the nerve to come here and read what we have to offer.

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