Okay. This is probably not news to you, since it’s from 5 years ago on Youtube, and there are now several knockoffs. but I just now discovered this video. (Someone posted it in a Facebook group to which I subscribe.)
I’m reeling from it.
Apparently a kingdom hall in Oregon had a talent show.
That’s shocker number one. A Jehovah’s Witness congregation having a talent show. Is that really a thing? (Tell us what you know about that in the comments.) This is the first sign of creativity I have encountered among rank-and-file JW’s. Granted, the governing bully is getting more creative, or is paying creative people, to produce pretty slick videos for their website. But “great crowd” congregation members doing something creative? I would be less surprised to find a rainbow-colored unicorn in my back yard.
Here are some reasons why I find this video to be seemingly impossible.
First, what local elders would approve of a talent show? I can almost see the scowls on the elders’ faces as a congregation member approached them with “Hey, here’s an idea I have–Let’s put on a talent show!” I can hear them saying, “Brother Upstart, don’t you think the brothers and sisters’ time and energy would be better used in the field ministry?”
Secondly, what local elders would approve of a musical skit using a rock-and-roll number (rock-and-roll: worldly, possibly bordering on satanic) by Queen (led by the famously gay Freddie Mercury, no less)? Aren’t the origins of that song more pagan than birthdays and Christmas?
Next, when do JW’s have the time, energy, and resources to write, produce, perform, record, and publish such a work? They’re overworked, stressed, and worn out. Who made all the set pieces, and painted the backdrop? Who rented the hall they performed in, and who paid for it? The funds could not have come from the kingdom hall budget, I’m thinking.
I have such conflicted feelings about the storyline of the skit. To summarize: A team of JW brothers and sisters in field ministry decide to visit just “one more house” instead of taking a break. Their efforts are rewarded with success in recruiting a prospect from worldly despair. They bring him to the kingdom hall, where he is indoctrinated and trained, also receiving a theocratic makeover (haircut, coat, and tie). He then begins field ministry, knocking on the door of another despairing prospect.
What I find disturbing is the effectiveness that this video could have in reinforcing doctrine and motivating action. The emotional manipulation is uncannily similar to the tactics used by the governing bully, but with the difference that this video is fun, humorous, and far more entertaining. It’s chilling to me how glibly the actors chant “There is no trinity,” “Living in the last days,” “Paradise we’ll see,” and “There is no hell.” (Pretty good summary of their doctrine, though. Compare that with the real gospel found in First Corinthians 15.) The newbie’s makeover into their image is very revealing. (Into cloning much?) And the tug on the viewer’s heartstrings when it comes full circle with a new prospect at the end–I was almost moved, until I recognized the monotonous, wearisome emptiness of it all. I found myself wishing it were a motivational video for a truly life-changing ministry instead of what it is.
The video makes both my brain and my heart hurt. And it’s still so cute! Dammit!
I’m hoping and praying along the lines of Joseph at the end of the book of Genesis: “What you meant for harm, God meant for good, and the saving of many lives.” I’m asking the Lord to take this video, with which Satan meant to deceive people, and it use it to wake up JW’s. Allow viewers to see the crassness of JW doctrine, defining themselves by what they don’t believe rather than by a vibrant relationship with God through Jesus. Allow them to see the futility of their recruitment, training, and indoctrination process. Allow them to see the impersonal, legalistic side of their religious system. Lord, use this video in ways not planned or foreseen by the enemy. Amen.