Friday, December 14, 2012

TV Ministry A No Go For Watchtower Society....Ever Wonder Why?

 By Terry Walstrom

Pastor Russell had 20 million readers of his newspaper columns worldwide and as many eager students of his topical bible study, Studies in the Scriptures.

He advertised for 1000 preachers to sell his books door to door!

The Photo Drama of Creation  wowed 9 million people in the early 1914 synchronizing film, hand colored frames and phonograph recordings.
State of the Art!

Judge Rutherford availed himself of Victrola recordings of "Religion is a Snare and a Racket!" He engaged in vast stadium filled preachments where he made wild prophetic claims and grisly accusations.

A radio program called Frank and Ernest used a question and answer format to spread the teachings of the bible students.
Seems like no stone was left unturned to reach as wide an audience as possible. Right?

Historically, however, the tale is a bit different. The audience to Russell and Rutherford were mostly disaffected Adventists and End Times speculators. After the Great Disappointment of William Miller these audiences were twofold.
1.Sincere amateur bible readers curious about all the changes going on in the world around them
2.Eager half-cracked conspiracy minded End Times nut jobs.
Reaching them was where the money and the following was.

After the death of Pastor Russell (who had his hands full of indpendant rebellions by the bible student community) and the new President of the Watchtower, Judge Rutherford---it was a free-for-all battle between groups on all sides with antagonistic views and counter-arguments about who was right.
The mission of the Watchtower was tied up in this in-fighting until 1931.
Books, pamphlets, movies, phonograph records, conventions and radio became the instruments of publicity. But, with often counter-productive results!
Years passed.

But TV.....nope!   Every Tom, Dick, Harry and Joyce Meyers can make millions of people watch and send in money too.  but, not the Watchtower Society.

Aren't they interested in reaching as many millions of people with their URGENT MESSAGE as possible?

In the 1960's when the GB was convinced there were only a few years of witnessing left to warn mankind concerning 1975 and the end of 6000 years of mankind on earth--STAY ALIVE TILL 75 was the most important mission of true believers.  Ask yourself why---if it was really that important--didn't the Watchtower Society spend its millions of dollars on TV SPECIALS in PRIMETIME warning everybody???
Instead, they sent amateur book peddlers door to door with a .25 cent blue book titled THE TRUTH THAT LEADS TO ETERNAL LIFE.

Surely you are curious as to the disconnect between policy of urgent witness and the utter disregard for the most proven effective medium of TELEVISION.


Rutherford believed in publicity, publishing and pugnacity to solve his problems.  But, he soon learned you couldn't successfully take everybody on at the same time and win.

By 1928 radio was the most advanced technology accessible to the public at large. Popular and free to any who owned one, radio reached audiences in the millions.
Rutherford denounced various religious leaders by name on his radio tirades. This led to a congressional hearing in support of shutting down his venomous speech.
From 1916 to 1931  battles raged among various former brethern AS WELL AS the various mainstream religious groups Rutherford had abused in his radio sermons.
Meanwhile, the brother of Clayton Woodworth (writer of many of the Society's published works) sided with the Bible Students group against Rutherford.
In 1928 Norman Woodworth (Clayton Woodworth's brother) went to Luxemborg to begin counter-attack against the radical new teachings of the Watchtower Society. In this effort he was aided by the Bible Students in Brooklyn.

Volunteer at Bethel, Nathan H. Knorr, was witness to all these upheavals. As a factory manager he heard the gossip and saw the result of rancor and head butting disagreement.  When Rutherford died in 1942 and Knorr replaced him, almost immediately a 180 degree turn was made in how theology was dispensed to the public.
Knorr wanted a more mature readership with education as the focus of his work. He started the Theocratic Ministry School and the Gilead Missionary School.

Within 10 years the reputation of Jehovah's Witnesses went from being troublemakers and rabble rousers to that of clean cut, strait-laced mainstream looking ministers.
The legacy of non-stop war that plagued his predecessor imprinted a total rejection of uncontrollable publicity for this religion.  A TV ministry would attract critics from all sides surely!
Instead of choosing what to publish and how to present it, the Watchtower Society would undoubtedly spend all of its time and money defending itself against every denomination it had burned in its books and magazines.  What was to prevent these wealthy religious groups from mounting a non-stop rebuttal on TV that could never be turned aside?
And so it went. The publicity department would focus on the tidy, clean-up-after-themselves, wouldn't-hurt-a-fly JW's as squares and egg-heads in the Press Releases given to the newspapers when Assemblies and Conventions were in town.
Knorr would let Fred Franz control the agenda in thickly worded strangulated sentences so murkey
no theologian would spend more than half a minute before tossing it aside.  So be it!

if you asked one thousand people what Jehovah's Witnesses'd not find more than five who could tell you with any accuracy.
More likely you'd hear people tell you what JW's DON'T believe instead.
This comes after over 100 years of door to door preaching.
Does that astonish you?

It should not.
It works to their advantage.

Think of it this way.
A popular TV animated series (South Park) presented a program mocking Scientology and revealing its secret teachings. Suddenly the whole world caught a glimpse of the hidden craziness of that religion.  The same thing happened when the Mormon Church was revealed as to its teachings.
The more public and plain spoken a cult's teachings are made- the easier it is to turn people off when those teachings are made clear to people otherwise disinterested!
Jehovah's Witnesses find new members BECAUSE nobody really knows and understands their inner theology of craziness!
A TV ministry?  No way!

Did you know that as long as Pastor Russell stuck to teaching the bible topically he was okay. It wasn't until around 1909 when his views on the New Covenant changed.
He was called out and a retraction was called for.  He had gone off the reservation!  The first of 3 schisms took place!

What is the moral of the story?
A mainstream religion can go on TV because it doesn't have any crazy cult doctrines to be exposed and villified publicly and scare away new victims.
But, a religion like Mormons or Scientologists or Jehovah's Witnesses DO NOT HAVE A TV MINISTRY for a good reason!

Tell that to your next door knocker!


The Watchtower CUSTOMER Battles. By Terry Walstrom If we think of Jehovah's Witnesses as salesmen and their books and magazines as Product and their purpose as gaining customers we can gain several important insights into their proprietary Theology and its gradual development over time. Who were Pastor Russell's customers and what product did he offer? Thousands of people in America were the beneficiaries of new inventions in technology in the 1870's. The typewriter, the telephone and the light bulb would change how people communicated and how much time was extended for personal study of religious publications. Russell's customers were people in turmoil who were frightened by monumental changes. The Civil War had turned brother against brother in bloody unchristian demonstrations of incredible devastation. The Watchtower corporation would come only 14 years afterward. Simple people who understood the world through their own religion were upset, puzzled and scared about what was happening! Russell had a knack for titillating simple folks by drawing them in to the notion everything was understandable as SIGNS OF THE END. Studies in the Scriptures were sold door to door like any other product. These books were said to make the Bible "understandable" and were of greater value than the Bible itself! Gradually, using the Great Pyramid as god's witness in stone, Russell patched together his theology toward a date: 1914. Adventist sectarians were particularly interested in this. The daily newspaper was the number one source of information used by citizens of the world to gain understanding of what was going on. Russell used this to great advantage to gain new customers. In fact, by 1913 it was estimated that through 2,000 newspapers Russell’s sermons were reaching 15,000,000 readers! By using door to door salesmen (colporteurs), public discourse, books, magazines, newspapers and personal charisma Russell was able to cobble together a CUSTOMER BASE. After Russell's death in 1916, J.F.Rutherford sought to gain access to this customer base for purposes of building his own business interests. Rutherford knew CONTROL of information access was vital--but--various bible student groups were independent of central authority. How could he seize leadership of independent groups who went their own way without outside influence?? 1.He sent emissary's with offers of "help" in a series of outreach, venue change, policy adoption and re-organized the many into the one. 2.He created us vs them paranoia. The enemy of my enemy is my friend as the saying goes, so, Rutherford finger-pointed to ENEMIES everywhere in Government, churches, demons and among their own brethren--who should be resisted, opposed and removed. 3.He replaced bible study with the study OF the bible using official Watchtower publications. 4.He rode the coat tails of Pastor Russell admiration by claiming that Russell himself was supervising from heaven itself! 5.He created a sense urgency and life or death immediacy for End Times. The Products he sold were Time-Sensitive! 6.He crafted a personal theology of ONLY true religion in a world of demon controlled false religion. 7.He turned the members into radical contrarians who did the opposite of mainstream Christianity so that the bridge back to "normal" worship was impossible. The crazier the beliefs were---the easier it was for ordinary Christians to oppose and persecute them. The PRODUCT of the Watchtower organization became PARANOIA. The theology was one of vast Conspiracy theories through history. Jehovah had narrowly preserved a tiny band of pure worshipers with correct understanding since the time of the Apostles. Jehovah's Witnesses were being led by such a group! The central engine of this pure truth amid a lying world was Maria Russell's idea that the "faithful and wise servant" was actually a person selected at the End of Time to tell people (customers) the truth (sell books). This "remnant" had God's spirit and were His instrument. If you wanted access you had to pay for access. The religion of JW's was one of being customers served by a Central clearing house of the Jehovah channel. This was a closed intranet. Each subsequent President of the Watchtower Society has sought subscribers to service with this channel of VITAL warning. There were only three things that would make this work. 1.THE END (Armageddon) must always be just about to happen. This made the subscription to the channel one of urgent emergency information of life-saving importance. 2. The subscribers had to have a password to access their account. This meant a public advertisement speaking the word JEHOVAH (which is the brand) and demonstrating that branding by contrarian activities in regard to holidays and theology and lifestyle. 3.Referrals (new customers) must be added through the word of mouth testimonials of current members. 4.Strict observance of policy would lead to termination of account and blacklisting! (disfellowshipped). The actual product has to be New and Improved from time to time (New Light) and old product discarded to insure a steady sense of better and better service and customer satisfaction. Most importantly, loyal customers must be encouraged to see all competitors as liars with bad faith false claims that can poison and misrepresent the goodness of the genuine product. Disgruntled Ex-customers must be advertised as untrustworthy mental defectives because it is the only way to explain dissatisfaction with the Watchtower mangagement. The business of the Jehovah's Witnesses today does not differ much at all from a Mary Kay cult of weird religious activity. The product today has two markets: outside and inside information. The unclaimed customer gets one Watchtower and the insider gets special editions. The "profit" of the non-profit corporation is converted into real estate and leveraged against the worldwide salesforce's future earnings. In any business, Risk is assessed as an ACTUAL NUMBER. This is evident in the obsession over statistics in preaching and bible study success of salesmen in the field. Preaching Goals are merely Sales Goals. The enemy of business is UNCERTAINTY which is the UNKNOWN number whereby risk cannot be assessed. Recent lawsuits have cast a long shadow over risk assessment. As in any business, risk management has followed with the compartmentalizing of each tier of leadership from actual liability. Evidence of Leverage is manifest in pleas for money. As never before the "profit and loss" is squeezed out of the shadows by downturn in business futures. This Religion is merely business as usual.