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.