Mason Miller, a journalist for the website Vice.com, has published an insightful article on his experience as an outsider attending the 2014 New Orleans International Convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Having personally been an attendee at these events in my youth, I was immediately reminded of my own convention experiences. As an adult looking back, I must say his assessment is delightfully accurate.
The article entitled “The Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Annual Convention Was So Organized It Was Creepy” gives an account of Miller’s strange day at the New Orleans event, minus any personal bias or political correctness.
Miller begins by mentioning a few pieces of odd Witness trivia, including Watchtower’s ties to Prince and the 144,000 doctrine. He also shares his preconceived ideas about Jehovah’s Witnesses before attending, and relates some of his interactions with other attendees throughout the day.
The homemade lunches get a mention, with their all-too-memorable aromas filling the air. It is also noted that concession stands were closed to attendees who may not have remembered to pack their own food.
The article tells of a B movie-esque video drama complete with bad acting and make-up that elicited laughter even from some in the crowd. The anticipatory “Quiet Please” signs held by attendants were also the subject of some bemusement.
Miller also includes five photos of convention goings on. Two of the images are attributed to the PR Team of Jehovah’s Witnesses, including one that blatantly shows three very young girls being readied for what the author describes as “mass baptism.”
As this website has repeatedly emphasized, the increasing onus on child baptism is one of Watchtower’s more disturbing trends. Once a child is baptized as a Witness they become prone to shunning in their later years, but this is a risk the Governing Body is more than willing to take since child indoctrination is fast becoming the only truly effective means of acquiring fresh converts.
In his concluding remarks, Miller sums up by saying, “while I still don’t understand the Jehovah’s Witness faith or its people, and while I may still think of them as cult-addled nuts, they’re still just people.”
Those of us who have grown tired of the obligatory flattering convention report in the local newspaper will appreciate this man’s honesty, and his ability to look through the crowds of “cult-addled nuts” and see real people trying to navigate their lives of indoctrination and ceremony as best they can.