Normally I don’t cover current events in the traditional sense. However, this is one of those exceptions. I was searching around a bit for some Jehovah’s Witness news on the internet. Out of respect to copyright laws, I won’t post it here but if you take a little bit of time and search, you’ll find the Annual Meeting Announcements. This letter, assuming it’s real is dated October 7, 2017 and has a number of interesting tidbits of information. I’ll briefly discuss what this covers:
- There’s going to be an emphasis in “starting Bible studies.” So essentially what’s going to happen is the average Jehovah’s Witness may get more studies started however, they may not get more people into the organization. The organization keeping people busy by starting studies is a subtle way of making the problem when it comes to retaining people once in. The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society already has significant retention problems.
- There is now a REDUCTION in Watchtower Bible and Tract Society material produced. Significance is this-the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society is a publishing company. Reductions start with the public edition of The Watchtower. Three times per year down from six per year. Not only that, there is going to be less material both print and video used when the average rank and file Witness goes door to door. One thing that struck me is What Does the Bible Really Teach? that was recently released as a revised version in 2014 is now done. This is probably one of the shortest shelf lives for a publication. I believe the shortest one (going off memory) is Way to Paradise released in 1925 and done two years later. This is a publishing company coming to grips in part to the signs of the times regarding the age of the internet.
- “More emphasis will be place on starting and continuing conversations” is within the third bullet point. Does this mean that the average Jehovah’s Witness will now continue studies regardless of how many questions they get asked?
- They are revising How to Remain in God’s Love and releasing under the title Keep Yourselves in God’s Love. As it’s released in a language, the older version will be discontinued. My question is what sort of changes go along with “simplifying?” Will there be some sort of doctrinal changes or is the focus simply on language?
- There is talk of “encouraging reports” on the official website and accompanying videos. Therefore, they will no longer be publishing the Yearbook anymore. Although this may be the case, I do believe this is a way of conveniently hiding numbers regarding how badly the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society is not “speeding up the work” since numbers are either stagnating or declining. Another aspected that is conveniently left out is the number of increasing partakers (attributed now to a “mental imbalance”) which has steadily risen even though the following quote should be the case:
- Sixth, the number of genuine anointed disciples of Christ is dwindling, though some will evidently still be on earth when the great tribulation begins. Most of the remnant are quite elderly, and over the years the number of those who are truly anointed has been getting smaller. The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom. January 15, 2000 p. 13
- There is going to be no new changes (as of now) within nine separate areas of the organization’s official website. If there are changes, it’ll be slightly more difficult to find them. However, the Wayback Machine will help people out.
- The letter ends with Acts 13:48 and the “goal of teaching all.” I again contend if you look at the Yearbook which is set to be discontinued in 2018, the organization has ZERO numbers for the countries in the Middle East. My guess is that this will continue. However, we will never easily or officially know anymore.
With that done, here’s just a few random thoughts:
I had a position at a previous employer. When an employer starts reductions of it’s generally not a good sign. This prior employer whom I left in 2011 is still having problems and hasn’t recovered. A number of offices in the Northeast United States closed down. My work experience is limited but they have a similar model to the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (focus on getting new customers and those on the backend are “on their own”).
Those who are Bethel workers should be very alarmed at the number of reductions that are still occurring. These are folks who have given “their lives to Jehovah” and have no real employable skills. Hopefully when their “turn comes,” they can find something or the local circuit from which they came from will lend a hand.
As I’ve been working on my Armageddon project, I noticed that from the beginning until now, the book length has steadily been decreasing. The older publications particularly in Rutherford’s era were pretty devoid of pictures and focused specifically and solely on content. Rough guess is they were an average of 350 pages in length. Today, perhaps as a sign of the times, more pictures are included now along with less content overall. “Simplifying” is either making things easier or it could merely be a sign of the times when it comes to reading material. Regardless, perhaps this is leading to the average Jehovah’s Witness from being able to answer questions. With the Watchtower Society not preparing them like they used to back in the “good old days,” this will only contribute to their problems they already have.
I did see online (link below) that Leah Remini has gotten a flood of requests for other similar cult groups. This article highlighted that she may turn her attention to the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. If this is done, aside from the general introduction/background information of the organization, there is already a highlight of Candace Conti and the child sexual abuse issue that the Society continues to cover up.
My time examining Armageddon in Watchtower publications is drawing to a close. I’m thankfully getting closer to the end of it. When done, it’ll highlight the centrality of the message even though it’s mentioned just once in scripture. I’m revising and guessing that this will end up being in excess of 3,000 pages but time will tell.
Here’s a teaser from the Knorr era:
Further the last "Operation Frigid", Armageddon, is described: “He giveth snow like wool; he scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes. He casteth forth his ice like morsels: who can stand before his cold?” (Psalm 147:16, 17)
Awake! February 8, 1947 p. 16
And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon." Armageddon is the trail's end for man government.
Awake! March 8, 1947 p. 7
How long will Chinese girls continue to laugh at Western-world women? Probably till Armageddon has swept away the bondage of vain and sexy fashion and people once again "get their feet on the ground".
Awake! March 22, 1947 p. 16
At the start we say, upon the basis of the Scriptures, that the true Christians, begotten by God's spirit, and who share the victory over this world at the battle of Armageddon with their Captain Jesus Christ, are the called ones of God and are also His chosen or elect ones (eklektoi, Greek).
Awake! April 22, 1947 p. 24
He must be faithful to God unto the death of his fleshly body, in order to do this. Christ Jesus, who will overcome the united nations of the world at the battle of Armageddon, will share the victory with those who "with him are called, and chosen [elect], and faithful".
Awake! April 22, 1947 p. 25
Consequently all the efforts of the political, commercial and religious giants of the earth to by-pass, postpone or cancel these famines will come to nought. The sign will continue until Armageddon.
Awake! May 22, 1947 p. 7
All accounts will be settled at Armageddon.
Awake! May 22, 1947 p. 16