Recently some secret “elders’ training videos” that are going to be used for the 2018 Ministerial Training School of Jehovah’s Witnesses were leaked online. One particular video was very disturbing; it showed a skit of three elders discussing what the religion calls “regular pioneers.” These are persons who spend a high amount of time in the preaching and proselytizing work of Jehovah’s Witnesses; in 2018, these pioneers were required to report a total of 840 hours for the year, equaling 70 hours per month.
The elders, in this demonstration, are discerning if three such pioneers in their congregation should be allowed to remain as pioneers, as each one has failed to meet that hourly requirement for the past year.
I’m Calling Their Preaching Reports Outright Fraudulent!
Jehovah’s Witnesses often brag about the hours they spend preaching and proselytizing, even claiming that they are the only religion known for such preaching. As an example, the May 2016 Watchtower simplified edition outright said, “Jehovah’s Witnesses are the only ones preaching the good news of God’s Kingdom.” Their book, God’s Kingdom Rules, in chapter 9, said about their preaching work, “…we rejoice that our work fulfills prophecy. Consider Jesus’ answer to his apostles when they asked: ‘What will be the sign of your presence and of the conclusion of the system of things?’ He told them that one feature of that sign would be a global preaching work.”
Not content to brag about the fact that they preach, Jehovah’s Witnesses like to talk about how much they preach. Their report for their 2017 service year claims that their members spent over 2 billion hours preaching.
That certainly seems like a lot of hours preaching to others, and these numbers are one reason why Jehovah’s Witnesses often feel they’re the true religion, and the only religion fulfilling that command to preach.
However, something was revealed in the recently leaked elders’ training videos for their 2018 ministerial training school; in one skit, the elders are discussing a regular pioneer named Chris, who is also an elder, and who is not spending enough time in their preaching work to fulfill his obligations as a regular pioneer. One reason for this shortcoming is that Chris works with a Jehovah’s Witness volunteer group that is involved in building and maintaining local Kingdom Halls, assembly halls, and other properties of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Note especially what is said about the 1:15 mark in this skit, as the elders discuss if Chris should be deleted as a regular pioneer:
The elders are reading a letter from their headquarters that discusses other work that a regular pioneer might be doing for the religion, and the “hour credit” they get for this work. These elders go on to note that those on their various volunteer committees get credit for that time they spend, which they can then report as part of their preaching for the month; the only limitation I’m hearing from this video is that they have a cap of 70 hours per month.
In other words, Chris, and other congregants like him who work on various volunteer projects, may report that they put in 70 hours preaching during one month, and those 70 hours are then added to the worldwide report published by Jehovah’s Witnesses. However, what is the reality of hours spent actually talking to people about the bible, versus maintaining JW properties or these other volunteer activities? What if Chris spends 60 hours every month maintaining Kingdom Halls, but only 10 hours in the actual preaching work?
Whatever the ratio or however it’s broken down, this makes the claim Jehovah’s Witnesses publish as to how many hours they spend preaching outright fraudulent! While the religion may say that their congregants spent 2 billion hours preaching in 2017, with similar numbers reported each year, how many of those hours were actually spent by congregants in other activities, such as property maintenance, visiting patients who may need a prohibited blood transfusion, preparing their conventions, and the like?
When I was in the religion, I knew that elders could count the 45-minute discourse they gave on Sunday to everyone in attendance at the Kingdom Hall, because it was assumed that non-Jehovah’s Witnesses might be in the audience, but what about persons who live at the religion’s world headquarters and branches around the world? I know some of those individuals go in the preaching work in addition to their full-time assignments, but are they allowed to also count hours spent in those volunteer assignments as part of their report of preaching? The men who are on the writing committees, on the committees that handle construction and building plans, those who handle disaster relief, the ones at the branch offices who answer questions from local elders; can they also count a good portion, if not all, of their hours in that work as part of their “preaching”?
Don’t get me wrong; I care very little about how Jehovah’s Witnesses figure their preaching work and numbers for their own internal use. It’s the deception of calling all this work “preaching” when no one really knows how much of it is actually work done to care for and maintain their own properties, and grow their own organization internally, that I have an issue with. Putting these fraudulent numbers out to the public, and to their own members, as a way of somehow proving that they’re the true religion because they spend so much time “preaching” is my concern. Those numbers in their yearbook, that they hide behind as some type of proof of being the true religion, are a complete fraud. Just like their claim of having special knowledge of the bible while having to backtrack on their predictions and flipflop on their own doctrine, and like their claims of being a loving religion while systemically hiding pedophiles and other abusers, everything on which they rest those claims are slowly being exposed as being nothing but fraudulent and deceitful.
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