What of all these Changes in Recent Months? Part 2

See Part 1:

Vomodog’s crew are beside themselves with, ‘These guys are afraid to tie their shoe unless their organization gives them permission!’ That’s how they’re responding to new changes—which changes should smooth out Witness life going forward, but it is not the draw to prior Witnesses that some in the congregation seem to think it is.

Then again, nothing ever will be. For the most part, Vic and chums have gone on full ‘Search and Destroy’ mode, not to be placated even were there to be apologies for changes not made before. Not saying that any are in the works, or ought be. Brother Winder had it right. You don’t have to apologize for previous understandings made in good conscience. It may even blow up In your face if you do (my point, not his). Apologies these days are taken as admissions of guilt, to be made use of in future campaigns. I think of how President Obama, in the early days of his presidency, went on a campaign of what was roundly ridiculed as his ‘Apology Tours.’

Still, will no good come of it among the ex-Witnesses at all? They are crazy as can be over on the ex places I have seen, woke to the nines, many giving the impression that they think the world is a near-paradise and all would know it were it not for JWs with their ‘scare tactics.’ I mean, someone over there must have both oars in the water! Maybe some of them will appreciate the bigger picture.

I don’t think the Witnesses’ governing body particularly likes saying, ‘Okay, now you can do this or that.’ But apparently they have come to feel sheeplike people need that from time to time. In 2017, they said beards are fine where local norms don’t get in the way. I think they were dismayed that so few took them up on it. I think it is with a certain annoyance that they did a later GB update, complete with bells, whistles, video history, and chariot, to say, “Look! We have no issue with beards!

‘Annoyance’ might be too strong a word. How can you be annoyed at the characteristics of the animal God has selected to represent those he favors? If annoyance is the word, they may be annoyance at themselves, for not having realized and adjusted to it long ago, annoyance that they allowed pesky matters to build up so until it looks like an ‘Old-JW Going out of Business Sale’ when done all at once. It may be annoyance that they didn’t defuse these things more gradually, and instead, postponed them for so long that, when they finally tackle the job, Vomodog paints them as jailers easing up on their charges.

Humans overswing in nearly everything. Eventually, the consequences of overswing comes back to bite. This prompts them to modify that swing. To take a trivial matter first, why did Witnesses hold on to ties and dresses as long as they did? There was a time when everyone wore ties and dresses to attend church. Even going downtown shopping was an occasion for men to don a tie and women to wear a dress.

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the book ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the book, 'In the Last of the Last Days: Faith in the Age of Dysfunction'

You Can Remain Confident During Uncertain Times

Now that Jehovah’s Witnesses are no longer the ‘counting time’ religion or the ‘no beard’ religion, it is almost as though a rebranding is taking place.

Any time the Watchtower trots out Haggai and Zechariah, as was done in the 1/28/24 study article, ‘You Can Remain Confident During Uncertain Times,’ you know it’s a reinvigorating work going on.

From para 7: ‘Jehovah wants us to focus on the lifesaving work of making disciples. As mentioned in paragraph 7, Haggai urged Jehovah’s people to make a fresh start in their sacred service, as if they were laying the temple’s foundation again.’ [bolding mine]

Clear out some trash, just like the ‘messenger preparing the way did’ long ago, and you can tackle the building work once more. Doesn’t negate what’s been done before, but it is still time for a ‘fresh start.’

Brother Splane asked in the latest Update, ‘Did you ever work a street and nobody is home, then pass by Sunday afternoon and notice a car in every drive?’ Yeah, I did notice that. It used to drive me nuts. Why are we visiting when people aren’t home?

Other publishers in that Update expressed happiness that, ‘Now, all I have to focus on is starting conversations.’ It suggests the question, ‘Well, what did they have to focus on before that they no longer do, a focus that interfered with starting conversations?’ ‘Counting time’ comes to mind. The friends used to have to do it, now they don’t. One reason Sunday after the meeting has long been unpopular for field service is that you can’t count much time that way. Better to go out on a weekday morning where you can generally count much more time. If few people are home—well, at least we got to count more time. 

That’s done. Finished. ‘Now all we have to do is think about starting conversations.’ Maybe an even greater ‘heresy’ will happen later with regard to evening worship, where a half hour of activity can produce more conversations than 2 hours of when people aren’t home. Plus, you reach a different sort of people, often more relaxed because the day is done.

Maybe the end of suggested presentations also factors in. It’s long been stated their use is optional (I kicked them to the curb long ago), but many friends seemed to feel it was all but mandatory to use them, lest you appear to be saying ‘contemptible bread’ of the produced food. 

No more. You can’t focus on those suggested presentations even if you want to. They’re not there.

Tom Whitepebble may be on to something when he suggests the Governing Body must sometimes be aghast at what they have unleashed as regards following men. It’s hard to find just the right emphasis—one person says, ‘Thanks for the new rule!’ while his neighbor says, ‘Huh? Did you say something?’ So, they strive for the right emphasis, but do they always find it?

‘Look, we said facial hair is not an issue,’ they said back in 2017. ‘Nobody listened to us! So now we’ll devote an entire Update, complete with video and chariot, to show we’re serious about it—we don’t care about beards!’

Will we see parallel developments in other areas?

 

None of the above was the overall focus of the article, though. In the first paragraph was the statement:

“You may be concerned about your family’s safety because of unstable political conditions, persecution, or opposition to the preaching work. Are you facing any of these issues? If so, you will benefit from considering how Jehovah helped the ancient Israelites when they were confronted with similar problems.” The discussion that followed was the challenged of those released from Babylon to rebuild worship in their former home. They got off to a quick start, but then languished, cowed by that day’s counterpart of the above trio.

“Unstable political conditions” is among that trio of woes that cause Christians problems today. In country after country, the political right and left are at each others’ throats to the point that civil war is floated as a possibility.

The world is run by crazy people. Lunatics of whatever side are no longer marginalized but rise to the top. Any time something whacky happens, ‘conspiracy’ is always a possible reason. If sane people ran the world, it would not be so: one of those things would be just ‘one of those things,’ but not with crazy people running the show. I’ve heard people say that, given the lunacy of those in charge, any conspiracy theory will be accepted on sight until proven wrong, an 180 degree reversal from how things have always been.

Whenever you undertake a challenging work, you want to make sure you have good footing. The above trio might suggest our footing is not very solid at all. So I liked the article’s encouragement to stay focused on what truly is good footing, really the mainstays of Christian faith: gathering together, prayer, scripture reading and meditation, and speaking to others of God’s purposes.

 

******  The bookstore

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the book ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the book, 'In the Last of the Last Days: Faith in the Age of Dysfunction'