[From ws1/16 p. 12 for March 7-13]
“Thanks be to God for his indescribable free gift.”—2 Cor. 9:15
This week’s study is really a continuation of last week’s. We are being encouraged in paragraph 10 “to look through our wardrobe, our movie and music collections, perhaps even the material stored on our computers, smartphones, and tablets” with a view to getting rid of worldly influences. Paragraph 11 encourages us to get out in the preaching work more, striving to auxiliary pioneer by putting in 30 or 50 hours in the field service. (More on this later.) The photo for paragraph 14 encourages young ones to help older ones get out in the ministry more during Memorial Season. Paragraphs 15 thru 18 speak of forgiveness, mercy and tolerating the faults of others.
For the first time, I noticed something that had escaped my attention in the past. The term “Memorial Season” is used 9 times in this magazine alone. Since when did the memorial of Christ’s death become “a season”? Other churches have their seasons. “Season’s Greetings” is used to denote the time leading up to and including the Christmas and New Year’s celebrations. But there is no basis for turning the commemoration of the Last Supper into a season. When did this start?
A quick search of the use of this phrase in past issues of The Watchtower shows that it was used 6 times during the decade of the Fifties, but then for the next 42 years only occurred twice more. So for a half century, the term only appears 8 times in The Watchtower. Yet now, in a single magazine, we have 9 occurrences. With the tract campaigns and the special appeals following the Memorial discourse, the Governing Body has been using this solemn occasion as a recruiting drive and as a season for infusing new zeal in the flagging troops.
We’ve always thought of Central and South American nations as places where the need for preachers is great. I’ve recently learned that this is no longer the case in most areas. Particularly in urban areas, congregation territories are being worked to exhaustion. It is not uncommon to hear elders complain that many maps get worked weekly, some even twice a week. Yet you can be sure that in all these congregations with severely overworked territories, the brothers and sisters have dutifully filled out their auxiliary pioneer applications to have a “fuller share” during this “Memorial Season.”
What sense does it make to go back to territories so often that the work verges on harassment? How is God’s name exalted by hounding people?
That we do this indicates that the prime concern isn’t the spreading of the good news, but the maintaining of a culture of compliance. We are taught that the more we go from door to door, the more Jehovah will approve of us and the more likely we are to survive Armageddon. It doesn’t matter that our overworking of the territory actually has a negative impact on the message of the Good News. What counts is that we can “count the time.”
Of course, no one dares to suggest that any of this is ill-conceived. We are taught that all of this is being guided by Jehovah God himself. To question is to doubt. To doubt is to risk being ostracized. So all must go along pretending that the Emperor is fully clothed.
[…] I hope that’s clear, but if not, I can go over it again. (For more on this, see Identifying the Slave.) […]
The WT misses the point that it is free gift, one that cannot be repaid no matter how hard we try and how pure our motives. The logic in the article is basically “You got an amazing free gift that you don’t deserve – these are all the things that you should be motivated to do”
Another example of WT twisting the scriptures to tighten their control over their members. FOG – Fear Obligation and Guilt
FOG. I like it!
When I was an active JW, I noticed the creating of special campaigns–seasons, if you will–to invite the general public to the memorial and even to conventions which were 150 miles away. On many occasions, I openly commented to other JWs that the purpose was clearly to build anticipation among JWs for these events, not really to invite the public. And it was very effective!
Thanks Meleti for that writ up. I remember talk about the memorial season since the mid 90s. Speaking about overworking the territory. Lets not for get about the district assembly invitation campaign starting mid May, depending which month your assembly falls, June or July. Then we have another campaign that starts in November. Who knows what panic message they will be printing for that one. It never ends. But that’s what keeps the populous busy or distracted so they cant think for themselves. Yes the org knows best, we must do what they say, with no questions asked because they… Read more »
Yes, it sounds all too familiar.
I also remember one person who never, and I mean never went into service but reported 2 hours every month….I guess that was a voluntary choice …
Door to door is mainly writing not at homes here, and then returning in a few days and finding maybe one out of fifty home, its burdensome, and boring.
Hi all really enjoy the articles, I remember when the 30hr a month was introduced, We had 75 auxiliary pioneers during the “memorial season” now we have a handful of brothers and sisters pioneer. It just gets old, the brothers and sisters are tired of doing the same thing over and over again not accomplishing anything. Maybe that’s why the Watchtower repeats “memorial season” over so many times. That’s why world merchants repeat “Season’s Greetings Celebrations” four months in advance they have to get people out shopping it works. But as we can see they to get tired of doing… Read more »
Also….. “What counts is that we can “count the time.”” I see all manner of logistical gymnastics being performed to count time. From doing one door near the meeting place then driving to the territory 30 minutes so you can count the time, or ‘finishing’ a road on one map before travelling 30 minutes to start another map and gleefully and shamelessly reporting 3 hours when half of it was in the car. Have you noticed that on the official website where we have the shop window FAQ , there was one on how we calculate the number of publishers.… Read more »
I’d missed that FAQ answer. Thanks MarthaMartha. Voluntary, is it? What a hoot! The importance of reporting is seen in the fact that after six months, you’ll be considered inactive and taken off the membership list of Service Groups. Essentially, you will no longer be considered a member of the congregation. Even if you go out regularly with the field service groups and are seen by one and all doing so, you’ll still be considered inactive. However–and this happened in my former congregation with one brother–if you regularly report, but are never seen at any service group, you will still… Read more »
‘What sense does it make to go back to territories so often that the work verges on harassment? How is God’s name exalted by hounding people.’ We’ve been having this same conversation for a while. I even had a non witness relative ask me pointedly why the organisation insists on having us go irritating people when they want to be left alone. Would it not be more productive to be more interactive with our neighbours around us? How many hours of harassing people do you need to get one new convert? I had to agree. In 5 decades I’ve never… Read more »
Thanks Meleti. You make a good point. I think the term “memorial season” is a good example of how traditions evolve and establish themselves. Of course Jesus gave clear instructions regarding this meal, a truly special occasion, but Watchtower has strayed further and further from that path and turned the focus increasingly on themselves. Their version of this occasion includes some false premises, and the longer it goes on like this the more it will become just another man-made tradition like any other. Jesus condemned the Pharisees for doing exactly the same – invalidating the word of God by means… Read more »