It’s not hard to figure out why so many JW children are conditioned from an early age to associate drudgery with the meetings and assemblies. There isn’t anything designed or built into the programs that work with the attention spans of young children. Other churches offer separate classes, services, or groups for children compatible with their maturity level and get them acclimated to going to church. The Watchtower stubbornly sticks to a “one size fits all” approach for everyone. How many schools group preschoolers, high school students, and graduate students into the same classroom?
By the time many young JWs reach their teens, not only have they been conditioned to associate worshipping Jehovah with great displeasure, but they still don’t have any groups or programs tailored to their age group or to meet their needs. This has to be a huge factor in the turnover of young people leaving the organization.
I went to my first Kingdom Hall meeting last week and I want to write some of my thoughts about how a meeting is for an “outsider” like me.
My first impression was that everything at the Hall was very well-kept and tidy. There was even a small garden made up of flowering bushes and decorative rocks. I doubt that I could have found a single stain on anything inside the Hall.
The conductor never strayed from that formula throughout the meeting. I learned later that this is how these meetings are run. On the other hand, he did manage to sneak in a joke or two. However, his management of the subject article was done with a greater focus than I’d ever seen in a class at college. What struck me half way through was how far back during my time in school I’d have to go to find a similar class conducted this way, e.g. the reading each paragraph out loud and the teacher asking questions that could literally be answered by simply reading a sentence directly from the article.
My wife came through the sliding doors carrying a letter in her hand. “This just came for you. Looks like it’s from your father. It’s marked ‘Personal.’ I wonder why he would send you a letter like that?”
She was right. Dad never wrote letters to me or anyone. Mom did. He rarely called me on the phone. Mom did. This was totally out of character for him. Holding the envelope in my hand, my first thoughts were that maybe my mother was ill, or that Dad needed money, or he was trying to tell me something he found very uncomfortable discussing (like he was when he told me about “the birds and bees”). So I took a deep breath and opened the envelope…
This is the second part of Mad Sweeney’s articles on JWs and education. A young person contemplating college in the mid-1960s when the Watchtower published this article in the Awake! would be in his 60s now. Imagine the many thousands of people whose thoughts and emotions were manipulated and indoctrinated by this propaganda,and then fearfully avoided education as something “dangerous and detrimental.” How many of these young Jehovah’s Witnesses actually followed the Society’s advice? Far too many to count, we’re afraid. Where are they now? What are they doing? How are they faring financially?
Sweeney quotes directly from the Watchtower’s own publications to make his point. Hear the Society’s own representatives explain their illogical and damaging policy.