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They turned reporting into a metrics game


The following article comes from the FORTUNE magazine, a magazine that deals with business, and 500 Fortune companies that trade in the US Stock Market. Funny that they will cover Jehovah's Witnesses, but of course the Watchtower is a business too. But they do indeed and this article is an in depth analysis from an outsider's viewpoint for the reasons that led to the recent doctrinal changes ,especially the fact that people can come into the truth even during the Great Tribulstion, and the end of recording hours in the ministry..I will concentrate on the recording of hours today and next time on the doctrinal changes.

So, under the title "The Jehovah’s Witnesses turned preaching into a metrics game that broke up marriages and made careers, but they just changed their door-to-door strategy for the first time since 1920" the article has this to say:

"Jehovah’s Witnesses are well-known for proselytizing door-to-door and handing out their literature on city streets. Less known to the general public, their adherents have been required for the past century to make regular reports to their congregation’s leaders on how many hours they put into such ministry.

Those hourly reports were a key metric for a congregation’s spiritual vitality and a factor in deciding who rose to leadership. Former adherents tell of pressure to meet these quotas and guilt when they didn’t.

But in a historic shift, that practice ended this month. (=that is in November 2023).

Jehovah’s Witnesses are well-known for proselytizing door-to-door and handing out their literature on city streets. Less known to the general public, their adherents have been required for the past century to make regular reports to their congregation’s leaders on how many hours they put into such ministry.Those hourly reports were a key metric for a congregation’s spiritual vitality and a factor in deciding who rose to leadership. Former adherents tell of pressure to meet these quotas and guilt when they didn’t.

But in a historic shift, that practice ended this month.

For the first time since 1920, leaders of the Jehovah’s Witnesses have removed the hours-reporting requirement for rank-and-file adherents. (=more specifically 1919 when Rutherford the second president of the Watchtower instructed Jehovah's Witnesses to go from door to door to "Advertise, advertise, advertise the King and his Kingdom")

“Our ministry involves much more than counting time,” Samuel Herd, a member of the denomination’s Governing Body, said in announcing the policy change to applause at the October annual meeting of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, a legal entity central to the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ work.

Herd said the Governing Body is “confident that you dear ones will continue to render whole-souled service,” motivated not by obligation but devotion to God, whom they call Jehovah. But he acknowledged leaders would have to adapt.

Jehovah’s Witnesses are well-known for proselytizing door-to-door and handing out their literature on city streets. Less known to the general public, their adherents have been required for the past century to make regular reports to their congregation’s leaders on how many hours they put into such ministry.Those hourly reports were a key metric for a congregation’s spiritual vitality and a factor in deciding who rose to leadership. Former adherents tell of pressure to meet these quotas and guilt when they didn’t.

But in a historic shift, that practice ended this month.

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For the first time since 1920, leaders of the Jehovah’s Witnesses have removed the hours-reporting requirement for rank-and-file adherents.

“Our ministry involves much more than counting time,” Samuel Herd, a member of the denomination’s Governing Body, said in announcing the policy change to applause at the October annual meeting of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, a legal entity central to the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ work.

Herd said the Governing Body is “confident that you dear ones will continue to render whole-souled service,” motivated not by obligation but devotion to God, whom they call Jehovah. But he acknowledged leaders would have to adapt.

“You will have to know the flock well,” he said. “Evaluating a congregation’s spiritual health or a brother’s qualifications to serve (in leadership positions such) as an elder or ministerial servant will not simply be a matter of computing averages, time spent in the ministry, literature placements and so forth.”(=but that can work the other way around and be open to abuse, in the past you had to put in the others to show that you were serious for qualifying for a position of authority but now all you have to do is just tick a box)

The video of the meeting, held in Newburgh, New York, was publicly posted by the organization in early November, though leaked recordings circulated for weeks earlier on unofficial websites.

“This is one of the biggest changes I ever remember” in the organization, said former elder Martin Haugh of York Haven, Pennsylvania.

Removal of the hours requirement applies to “publishers,” or rank-and-file adherents involved in active ministry. They will now only need to file monthly reports saying whether they’ve conducted any evangelistic activity and Bible studies, without specifying hours.

Those who sign up for more extensive service, known as “pioneers” or “missionaries,” will continue to record their hours.

(Now the real reason why they stopped reporting hours that even a "wordly" financial magazine can figure out.)

Hours fell since the pandemic

Skeptical former adherents, however, are speculating different motives are at play — that adherents’ ministry hours have dropped so noticeably, particularly since the pandemic.

When numbers were growing, “it was always brought up at meetings or in their publications to show the growth of the organization,” said Mitch Melin of Washington state, a former adherent now working to bring awareness to what he calls the “darker side” of the organization, such as its control of Witnesses and the practice of shunning certain members. He speculated that “if they’re declining, it might be embarrassing to show” the numbers.

Jarrod Lopes, a spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses based at their world headquarters in New York state, disputed this notion. He said ministry time had been increasing yearly until the pandemic, peaking above 2 billion hours worldwide. While the hours are below pre-pandemic levels, he said they began rising from 1.4 billion in 2021 to 1.5 billion hours in 2022 as Witnesses resumed door-to-door visits and other ministry. (=still this is half a billion hours since pre pandemic and it shows the lack of interest of rank and file to go back out in the ministry,right? And that's the real reason and what they didn't counton. Given enough time away from the meetings the Witnesses will start figuring out that the they a life and things to do rather than engaging in a meaningless, negative experience which is the door to door ministry)

Former elder Haugh, who left over what he saw as the denomination’s mishandling of sexual abuse and other matters, said the hours requirement was once central in adherents’ lives.

“It showed you how loyal you were to Jehovah by how much time was put in,” he said. (=yes, correct! And that's why by stopping reporting they have now aggregated the older generation of jws that spend decades in reporting )

Haugh recalled how a regional supervisor (=circuit overseer) yelled at elders if their congregation’s performance lagged. Haugh said marriages broke up over spouses’ different levels of commitment, and people who were judged as failing at ministry would spiral into depression. “Now they don’t have to have that stigmatization that they’re not putting in the hours,” he said.

On a recent weekday afternoon, Jehovah’s Witnesses were handing out literature to passers-by at various downtown locations in Pittsburgh — the 19th century birthplace of the movement.

Those interviewed said they planned to do as much ministry as ever and hadn’t focused on the hours. “It doesn’t affect our day-to-day life,” said Chuck Ghee, a local elder. “We give the best out of our heart.”

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