2014 Global Survey now launched!
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The 2014 Global Survey has been launched, and is already receiving votes

The 2014 Global Survey has been launched, and is already receiving votes

I’m thrilled to announce that the 2014 Global Survey has now been launched! Hosted by surveymonkey.com, it promises a much smoother voting experience, and results that are far more easily discernible.

JWsurvey is not just a blog site covering Watchtower-related events. We aim to give a voice to the “silent majority” by giving Witnesses and non-Witnesses alike the opportunity to say what they really think about the organization.

So far, despite having far-reaching influence over the lives of millions, the Governing Body has shown no tangible interest in what “rank and file” Witnesses truly think of the religion and its practices. Our goal is to redress that balance.

With this in mind, the 2014 Global Survey was launched less than 48 hours ago on 4th January, and has already gathered the votes of 234 current and former Witnesses – a promising start!

To take part in this new survey, please click here!

Of course, this means that our 2013 Global Survey has now closed. Supporters of this website will be pleased to learn that we finished with a final votes total of 1,775 – an improvement on our 2012 tally of 1,488.

Who knows, maybe in 2014 we can break the elusive 2,000 votes barrier?!

A wide spread of votes

It was encouraging to see so many from different backgrounds taking part in last year’s survey. 316 active Witnesses took part, including 49 serving elders and 17 memorial partakers. We also had 657 inactive/faders participate, as well as 557 former Witnesses, and 245 who were never baptized.

It is hoped that a comprehensive review of the results will be published at some point in the next few weeks, with the results dossier due to be forwarded to the Governing Body (whether they read it or not).

Special thanks

I would like to thank all supporters of this website for your continued backing, not to mention the hundreds who voted last year. This new paid surveymonkey service in which we are investing is a big improvement to JWsurvey, and it would not be possible without the kind contributions we receive from our donors.

Please continue with your kind support, and let’s make the voice of the silent majority in 2014 louder than ever!

 

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38 Responses to 2014 Global Survey now launched!

  1. Imacountrygirl says:

    Special Thanks to you Cedars, for making it possible for us to have a voice!

    Maybe I missed it, but how do we get to see the results after we finish the survey?

    • Cedars says:

      Good question!

      Unfortunately, surveymonkey doesn’t provide “as you vote” results as our previous surveys did, but it does make it easier for me to post the results for everyone to see at various stages of the survey (i.e. 500 votes, 1,000 votes, 1,500 votes landmarks). I will do my best to keep JWsurvey readers updated with various stats and charts as the survey progresses. I hope that should keep everyone happy! :)

      To demonstrate, here is an example of the kind of graphs I can now produce…

      stats-sample

  2. Acadianlion says:

    I was pleased to take the new survey. I feel this survey is considerably better than last year’s. I have one comment to make and that is in the continual use of the term “cult”. Clearly, the Jehovah’s Witnesses are not a cult as the religion fails all the usual linguistic meanings of the word. The JW’s are also recognized as a religion by most if not all modern world governments. Calling the followers of the Watchtower members of a “cult” seems like petty name calling by little boys playing on a playground searching for something nasty to say about other little boys. Whether or not one feels this kind of denigration is useful or productive isn’t relevant. In point of fact Charles Taze Russel described the faith he developed as a “cult” years ago, so calling The Watchtower a “cult” may be historically a compliment.

    • Cedars says:

      Thanks Acadianlion, I’m glad you found this survey easier to fill out. I hope greater ease translates to more voters!

      It seems you and I are at odds over the meaning of the word cult, but we are all entitled to our opinion – that’s the whole point.

      Hopefully you will also have noticed that nowhere does the survey itself call Jehovah’s Witnesses a cult. It merely gives voters the opportunity to click on that answer if they so wish. So far, that particular option (in the non-baptized category, I believe?!) is getting A LOT of clicks, so it seems you have some convincing to do.

  3. Excelsior, formerly known as George says:

    Acadianlion,

    I have looked up the word cult in my dictionary:

    “A system of religious worship especially as expressed in ritual devotion or homage to a person or thing”

    JWs have the ritual of meeting attendance, field service, a bizarre Memorial celebration, etc. they aren’t just meetings, try missing a few and see if they are happy about it!

    The JWs pay homage to “God’s theocratic organisation” and even agree to follow this organisation when they are baptised. The Governing Body have emerged into the public eye and are not treated as fellow followers of Christ, but as leaders to be followed.

    You are entitled to your interpretation, but I think that the Jehovah’s Witnesses are a cult.

    It’s not just a playground scuffle! Many, many people have suffered greatly under the yoke of this cult. I have known people commit suicide, and there are countless examples of the destructive and unChristian practices of this cult described on this and other sites.

    There is nothing rude or childish in using the correct term for something.

    Peace be with you

    Excelsior!

    • Dr. Cecil Scott says:

      It is indeed a cult since it controls people’s minds and force them to shun their relatives. This cult got started less than 200 years ago as an American religion. There were no jws in apostolic times. Jws used to be known as bible students or international bible students. Then they became known as jws I believe in 1935. Also, there was no requirement to study for six months to be baptized during the time of the early christians. 3,000 persons were added to the church in one day in the book of Acts. They did not study like the jw cult brainwashes people to do. More later.

    • Dr. Cecil Scott says:

      It is indeed a cult since it controls people’s minds and force them to shun their relatives. This cult got started less than 200 years ago as an American religion. There were no jws in apostolic times. Jws used to be known as bible students or international bible students. Then they became known as jws I believe in 1935. Also, there was no requirement to study for six months to be baptized during the time of the early christians. 3,000 persons were added to the church in one day in the book of Acts. They did not study like the jw cult brainwashes people to do. More later.

  4. Excelsior, formerly known as George says:

    Hello Cedars,

    I have just completed the survey, and it is a fine testament to your honesty and decency.

    It was very easy to complete and I would recommend that everyone who posts on this site fill it in.

    I look forward to examining the stats when they are produced. I wonder if everyone else ticked all the boxes in the section about JW teachings I disagree with?!

    Peace be with you

    Excelsior!

    • I think the only two I didn’t tick were ones I don’t necessarily disagree with but don’t really care about that much (I remember Christmas; yes it’s a pagan holiday but who cares?). His fill-in boxes also were not big enough for me to add in all the other teachings I disagree with (shunning rape victims, elders hiding serious sins, the list goes on…)

  5. Here is another definition of cult, from dictionary.com: “a quasi-religious organization using devious psychological techniques to gain and control adherents”

    First note “quasi-religious.” You might think JWs are a religion but how much attention is paid to the literature of the Watchtower versus the bible? An hour-long WT study might include two, maybe three scriptures at most. They really worship the WT teachings with a sprinkling of scriptures tossed in here and there.

    Now, “devious psychological techniques to gain and control adherents.” If that’s not JWs to a tee, I don’t know what is. The love-bomb you from the beginning to make you feel like they’re all peace and smiles and harmony which is a bold-face lie, don’t tell you everything involved with being a JW (the elders’ handbook is kept secret, for example), don’t tell you that they shun you even when you’re in the organization (“marking”), don’t tell you about the domestic violence that’s common and even endorsed by many elders and the pedophiles they make elders (the October 2012 letter was for elders’ eyes only), don’t allow you to research the religion or anything else on your own, and threaten family members with shunning if they dare leave or even fade away. Look at what’s happening to Cedars, just because he can’t wrap his head around the flip-flopping doctrine, the governing body elevating themselves practically to the position of Jesus himself, etc. If they’re not devious, why isn’t all the correspondence to elders made public? Why tell adherents not to research things or even visit websites and blogs that are critical of the WT? All of this to control their adherents.

    No, they don’t fail “all the linguistic meanings of the word.” They fit the BITE model (controlling behavior, information, thoughts, emotions), and as Excelsior brought out, they are very ritualistic. Most cults demand their followers spend an inordinate amount of time devoted to the religion, and that too is JWs to a tee. Meetings, study, service; that’s just throughout the week, then you have conventions and assembly days, and of course reporting the time spent in service along with literature placed so the leaders can keep an eye on you and constantly being told that you can and should do more; that’s very cult-like.

    Just because some countries recognize them as an official religion, that doesn’t mean they’re not a cult. A government has no interest in finding out every detail about a religion when they file paperwork to be recognized, and a cult isn’t always a few hundred people living in a hippie compound and following one man.

  6. kat says:

    Great questions, and helped me to really think about my stand on a personal level, thanks for another excellent survey, better this year!

  7. Brandon says:

    Just finished taking your survey. Very well done. I’m currently on of Jehovah’s witness… but for years I have just been going through the motions and doing just enough to get by. The only reason I haven’t left is they have you by the balls. I’m not ready to have my family shun me. I hate how they control everything you do and say. Maybe one day I will have to courage to leave … but for now I keep pretending… to keep the peace…

  8. kat says:

    Understand totally brother Brendon, its so hard when you have family in, and that is all you know, and one knows just how much one leaving is going to hurt those you love so much, especially when you don’t have any family to support you, you go you lose them all.

    On the crossroads, but being here one will eventually have to go for their own sanity, it can’t stay that way forever, one can only hope that others close to you will also see the light, and no amount of trying to help them will do anything until they themselves have come to a certain plane we are on.
    Keep strong.

  9. JB says:

    What if …

    - The GB remained as humble servants for providing spiritual material based upon the Bible – and we even wouldn’t know who they actually are ?
    - The Watchtower would contain solid, thoroughly studied honest material, intellectually stimulating, more than fancy pictures ?
    - Brothers and sisters would take more time to study the Bible first and then preach solid arguments ?
    - The amount of time you offer to Jehovah from your own life remains a matter between Him and you ?
    - There were no Judicial Committees ? No reprimends, and no “spying upon …”, keeping an eye on you ?
    - People were more encouraged to build a strong faith, based upon solid knowledge and love, focusing on good rather than telling them whom they should shun / avoid – leaving the decisions for their actions to them, based upon their own faith ?
    - Brothers and sisters were only encouraged to live a strong faith ALL THEIR LIVES, not in view of an imminent destruction or a “bounty” for the faithful ones ?
    - WTS apologized openly and humbly for all wrong acts/teachings/…. making it up to wronged people ?
    - The victimes are put under kind protection, more than their predators ?
    - Only the biblical principles were encourged upon, without baby-sitting people on how they should adjust their (daily) lives ?
    - All tricky calculations were dropped in benefit of the beauty of the message of hope and love in the Bible ?
    - Science was left to the scientists, history and archeology to the relevant scholars who have been dedicating their lives in studying this, and we would just try to follow their findings and try to understand the universe around us in link to the faith ?
    - …… etc, etc

    How many ex-JW would consider going back ? How many current JW would feel stronger and happier in their faith ?

    Do you think there would be less pioneers ? Elders ? Publishers ? What would be the interest of people, with religious inclinations or not, for the JW’s ?

    How more/less efficient the preaching work would become ?

    I think the survey addresses the above from a slightly different angle but I happen to wonder about these questions. Could it have been better than this ?

    If we consider some “apostates” leaving for having an open critical mind and virtue of courage of stating the facts despite what overcomes to them, don’t you think such people would be able to make positive contributions to the congregations and to the “body of knowledge” ?

    It would be way too pretentious of me to say “it should happen this way”, but I still cannot help but wondering.

    • You’re talking about changing their entire identity. The governing body exists for their own sense of power and self-righteousness, as do 95% of the elders I’ve ever met, and a good portion of the ministerial servants and pioneers (no offense to the 5% of decent ones).

      They’re not interested in how many JWs come back or never leave; they’re only interested in maintaining their position. Look at the Pharisees; they didn’t care how many of the common people they stepped on or how burdensome the law was, they only cared about their power and position and status. Same with the governing body, as far as I can see. IMHO it’s only getting worse with each passing year.

  10. kat says:

    good hypothetical, but I doubt if any reform would happen its become a survival game now to keep the WTBTS going, money has become their God.

    But back to the hypothetical if they did repent and started to put the sheep first, not becoming masters of their faith, I would probably stay and be much happier as the one thing that has kept some belief is the hope of the Kingdom to bring an end to the atrocities, suffering and injustice.

  11. Excelsior, formerly known as George says:

    JB, speaking as an agnostic veering towards atheism, I, too, would like to see the WTBTS be more as you describe.

    Sadly, the only way the GB are going to change is if they’re forced to. They just can’t give up the power that they’ve become accustomed to. Their arrogance is a major impediment to any positive change.

    Still, we must retain hope that they will voluntarily change their policies, and continue to press ahead with the exposure of their activities, and the devastating results they wreak.

    Peace be with you

    Excelsior!

  12. KateWild says:

    I have completed it, Cedars, I clicked on the link, so it is still possible to vote more than once, can you do something about that?
    Sam xx

  13. Dr. Cecil Scott says:

    Correction to the year that they became known as Jehovah’s Witnesses. The year was 1931 and not 1935. Yes, indeed this is a cult.

  14. Hakizimana Jean de Dieu says:

    Dr. Cecil Scott,
    And which year they became known as having the angel of the abyss as their leader?” *** re chap. 22 p. 148 par. 20 The First Woe—Locusts ***
    Rather than announce the incoming Kingdom of God, Christendom’s clergy have chosen to remain with Satan’s world. They want no part with the locust band and their King, concerning whom John now observes: “They have over them a king, the angel of the abyss. In Hebrew his name is Abaddon [meaning “Destruction”], but in Greek he has the name Apollyon [meaning “Destroyer”].” (Revelation 9:11) As “angel of the abyss” and “Destroyer,” Jesus had truly released a plaguing woe on Christendom. But more is to follow!

  15. dino m "Mirsad Mujkic" says:

    Koga briga za glasanje . WTS uvjek ima zamjenske igrace . Na hiljade volontera koji uz boziju pomoc moraju izgraditi novo sjediste . Boziji zadatak koji se uz boziju pomoc mora zavrsiti . I svaki drugi boziji zadatak . Bog i bozije , teokracija , jehova , tko vise pominje te pojmove od njih ? Niko . Tko zeli napravit novu Boziju Religiju samo neka uci od njih . Oni su majstori u tome . “Tko kaze da medju njima ima pedofila ? Pa to je teokratski vodjena organizacija . Oni su svoje haljine ubjelili u krvi Janjetovoj . “

  16. dino m "Mirsad Mujkic" says:

    “Bog nestrpjivo ceka da pobije sve ljude i djecu koji nisu Jehovini svjedoci i stvori raj . Pogotovo silovanu djecu od strane Jehovinih svjedoka . Ona su najvise osramotila Jehovino ime ” . Rekose iz GB WTS .

  17. slimboyevenfatter says:

    I filled it out, looks good to me.

  18. JB says:

    Alex, Kat, Excelsior,

    Sadly, I think very much the same. It’s gone just too far to make any change. It’s actually impossible to “make it up” to some, due to past inconsistencies, as there is a number of people who lost their lives.

    It’s regrettable that a movement to which people feel attracted at first, with the promise of finding the “truth”, has such a track record, since the beginning. Although Jesus said “when two or three gather in my name, I’m among them”.

    Maybe the transition from being “Bible Students” to “Bible Teachers” didn’t work out too well … Maybe the so-called “apostates” deserved a little more attention and maybe, they could bring some “new light”.

    At the expense of being laughed at with this comment, maybe the “new light” could be the result of better understanding through different scientific and historical, and even linguistic discoveries that could consolidate our understanding of different biblical accounts and the meaning of prophecies, rather then turning around a verse in every sense to “fit the need” …

    In a world where the faith and convictions may be as personal as fingerprints, pretending to “know” the “truth” sounds so unrealistic … I think being two or three and looking for it with candor would be good enough …

    I’m not too sure if Jesus needed a “board of directors” in that way, to lead people to learn about the truth.

  19. Excelsior, formerly known as George says:

    JB, exactly sir! Where two or three are gathered. No mention of international conventions and billions of followers.

    Being a closet atheist, I look at Jesus as a very compassionate Jewish man, who saw the religion he followed spiralling into itself. He sought to return his faith to positivity with simple principles rather than endless rules.

    I don’t believe for a second that he expected so many to follow his way. He left no reasonable infrastructure to cope with such demand. The result is – an endless list of rules, started by Saul of Tarsus, and continued ever since.

    He can’t be an immortal demigod, because he believed in the worldwide flood, that didn’t happen. He got things wrong. He wasn’t perfect, or a ransom sacrifice.

    Were on our own. It’s not a bad thing. Humans invented morality, and we can work things out because we are amazing!

    Jesus’ teachings still have much to offer. His compassionate interactions with his fellow people is still an inspiration to decent people everywhere.

    There were never meant to be millions of Christians. No one expected the chance circumstances that lead to it being such a massive part of modern life.

    I am not trying to change peoples’ minds here. If you want to believe in God, then I will defend your right to do so. I am not anti religion or anti God.

    I only ask that everybody consider that there are always consequences and the ends never justify the means.

    I hope that Cedars’ survey will reach even more decent hearted people and the WTBTS will respond. But I’m not holding my breath!

    Peace be with you

    Excelsior!

  20. Kyle Racki says:

    Nice work Cedars.

    One correction: Number 5 has a typo where it says “I know know” I think you meant “I don’t know”

  21. JB says:

    Hi Excelsior, although I base my beliefs upon a superior intelligence and a purpose to the creation, hearing the opinion of my atheist or agnostic friends turned out to be a rich experience, it’s most certainly a much more rewarding experience than talking with someone who share the same ideas if they’re not interested in discussing them. I like venturing towards a more practical interpretation of many biblical matters. It seems to me like, although I believe we’re God’s creation, I tend to think God doesn’t intervene as much as we’d think when reading the biblical history from the Bible itself. I think of a scenario where the rules are set initially and things don’t happen just because God made it happen or He allowed at a particular point in time. I am also doubtful about God chosing people or nations, and not a scenario where some people in the past using properly their reasoning capacities to gain more understanding on spiritual matters instead. I think it’s all there, only that people may have varying ways to evolve in their spiritual journey.

    This certainly wouldn’t explain everything in the Bible, but I think without doing additional research and reasoning, we might have a very partial understanding. And sometimes, it may be necessary to go back to the drawing board. This is why I’m so much interested in the support of science and listening to others’ opinions.

    Although I wouldn’t like to undermine the value of the Bible, I’m not sure if all scriptures are representative of God’s message and purpose. I can’t get myself to admit God would support wars and give support or allow armies to kill populations. A nation may pretend this, maybe in historical writings (even today in any proud nation’s history we can find claims of their force, righteousness, etc – why would they say the contrary), but I’m not sure if this is meant to be God’s purpose and not their pretention of having God’s support in their warfare. When in our days the same pretention is made with similar actions, we talk about shocking religious radicalism. We can’t believe God would allow killings in His name, then why it would be differently back then ?

    If I may express a slightly different opinion as you mentioned the morality being invented by humans, I tend to think that the morality could be inherent to human nature (it’s just that some people hide it really good :-)). Saying this, I was thinking about various experiments on very young babies or adults who seem to feel happier by giving what they possess in hands at some particular experiment, rather than keeping it for themselves. Or things like the polygraph … When, quite a percentage of us lie, our body revolts to it and even if the origin of this reaction is the fear of being cought, still we admit that it’s not right and this, from quite an early age. So in that sense, I think Jesus “reminded” the importance of these so straightforward principles. And he was so right doing this, as the code of good conduct seems to be way too complex.

  22. Conan71 says:

    Great comment, really appreciated it.

  23. MM says:

    Thank you Cedars for continously giving a voice to the voiceless….
    I’m a current awakened JW. …going through the motions ,doing as little as I can to keep the elders from hounding me , to avoid my family being torn away from me ……and I do believe that JWs are a cult ,even going by their own defination of ‘cult’ in the Reasoning Book.

    It’s a great survey, but I do miss the previous feature of seeing how others voted. ..
    Looking forward to your updates on the survey.

  24. Acadianlion says:

    The point I wish to make is that if the use of the word “cult” is intended in some manner or form to be denigrating to the organization, then the word is being misused. Note my mention of the fact that Russel himself used the term “cult” to describe the religion. Whether or not the word “cult” is appropriate in describing the religion I think is moot. It is recognized as a religion by most of the governments in the civilized world. I think the way the word “cult” is thrown around implies it is more like the groupies who followed Charles Manson than the earnest people within “the Truth” who are trying to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.

  25. Acadianlion says:

    Again, my point is not that the word “cult” is necessarily an incorrect term. If the word “cult” is being used to denigrate the Watchtower, then it’s pretty weak, since Charles Taze Russel used the term himself. I cannot comment about “mind control” within the organization because I have no experience with that. My wife is a baptised witness and I can assure you that her mind isn’t controlled by that organization any more than it is controlled by me, or National Public Broadcasting. I know there are some whose minds are controlled by The Watchtower, but I also know many whose minds are unalterably controlled by the Vatican, The United Church of Christ and a hoard of other religious organizations for their betterment or otherwise.

  26. Samiam says:

    I was a Witness for just about 40 years.. And left over a year ago now. It feels like I left a cult. Or maybe like someone I loved died?? The anger, guilt, loneliness, fear, confusion, doubt.. If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck.. It’s a duck! JW’s are a cult.

  27. jimbo baggans says:

    I agree samiam. The shoe fits, and it fits well. Why do cults hate that term? It’s not name calling. It’s behavior. It’s a method of operation. They my be called a religion by most. It still doesn’t mean, that because they are considered a religion, then they can’t be a cult. No, they are not like Charles Manson. They are much worse.

  28. Samiam says:

    Every decision I ever made, from major to minor, was dictated at least in part by this cult. College or not? (Not :/ ) how many children? (After all we are in the last days) cut off from family(disfellowshipped) my parents :( what movies or books (no Harry Potter)..and more.. Just before I left I got sooo depressed.. I knew what I had to do but it was so overwhelming. I’m just now starting to feel better. This is partly due to all of you who share here and other places. Thank you!

  29. Shane says:

    Thanks for doing this Cedars,

    Always fascinated to see the results of previous surveys. Any idea when we might see the results of the 2013 survey?

    Regards,

    Shane

  30. Roman says:

    I have just taken the survey and I couldn’t help noticing the term ”cult”. As much as some folks might feel offended by it, I think that the JW group behavior falls in just that mold; in what degree (from individual to individual) impossible to say. Management/doctrine/group behavior make it so. There are countless scientific studies on this. Reality is raw data, can’t twist it. (Facts are facts, the earth is round, 2+2 = 4) Time to grow up.

  31. Hubert Cumberdale says:

    I just filled in the survey and I loved it! I have Aspergers Syndrome, Im gay, and Im a cult survivor and apostate puffed up with pride. Im also a Pastafarian! <3

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