Must See "TV"?JW Broadcasting has been inaccurately compared to TV evangelism. Televangelist ministers primarily or exclusively use television broadcasting to spread their message, with the goal of conversion. Opposers compare JW Broadcasting to televangelism to upset us by equating it with a form of preaching that has been rocked by greed and scandal. The idea is to compare us to the worst thing possible so as to transfer all that negativity over to us. It is a propaganda trick. However, when was the last time you saw Jehovah's Witness on TV trying to convert you? (Beyond the occasional television commercial that acted as nothing more than a tract.) Have you ever? What are Jehovah's Witnesses known for? For visiting you personally and knocking on your door. That has not changed. (Luke 10:1; Acts 20:20)
By a brief examination, we will see that the comparison doesn't fit for the following reasons:
Target AudienceConsider this: if JW Broadcasting is a form of TV televangelism, would not the target audience be the general public instead of Jehovah's Witnesses? Note what Anthony Morris of the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses said about the station during a convention in 2015:
"The news agencies, you don't see them hardly ever do a story about us because, guess who runs the media? . . . We'll make our own news, we'll put it on JW Broadcast . . . its audience is Jehovah's people. . ."
The station is therefore directed at current Jehovah's Witnesses. The fact is, Jehovah's Witnesses do not need to be evangelized, or converted, by their own religion. They are already baptized and thus converted. So the TV Televangelism comparison makes absolutely no sense.
ContentSome of the content on JW Broadcasting is designed to teach us how to go about our ministry, but it is not evangelistic in nature. Take our Monthly Programs for example, the flagship program of the station. These programs are about an hour long on average, and speaks to Jehovah's Witnesses worldwide. These programs generally speak beyond the understanding of non-Witnesses because it is not tailored to them. It assumes listeners have at least a basic understanding of the Bible and our beliefs. The goal of these programs is to strengthen the household of faith, and draw us together as a brotherhood.
Other Witness-directed content includes a two-part documentary of our organization's history, faith-strengthening experiences of fellow believers world-wide, and featured-length movies specifically aimed at increasing faith in Jehovah and his saving power.
Knowing the above facts, does this mean that non-Witnesses or interested ones are not really invited to enjoy the channel and its contents?
Keeping it 'In House'?Many of our opposers claim that JW is a "secret society" or are "secretive" and that they do not want the world to know the truth about them. How does JW Broadcasting further dispel this myth?
Aside from the fact that Witnesses have distributed their literature for more than 130 years, there are no subscriptions, no members-only logins, no viewing restrictions or anything of the like and never have been. Jehovah's Witness, and you, have access to the same information. Then couple this with the fact that we have an entire Sample Meeting of Jehovah's Witnesses available to the public, and a short video about What Happens in a Kingdom Hall. A video about what to expect on a Bible Study is also available to you. These types of videos are designed with the public in mind.
Would a "secret society" give you unrestricted access to details about its organization and how it operates? Secret societies go to great lengths to make its operations hidden and restricted to public access. This channel makes Jehovah's Witnesses more open to the public than ever before. You do not even have to personally visit a Kingdom Hall to get a thorough, yet accurate look at Jehovah's Witness meetings. This effort at convenience and transparency should be applauded, not criticized.
However, with this access comes another tired and baseless accusation.
Oh The Limelight . . .Seekers of prominence sure did not have to wait until the advent of the internet to get it. Keeping oneself prominently featured in a book or magazine did the job well. Likewise, the governing body of Jehovah's Witnesses did not have to wait until the advent of JW Broadcasting to allegedly seek prominence. They could have had their pictures regularly placed in our literature, credited themselves with writing a particular Watchtower article, written their own individual books, or used some other means to seek the prominence that our opposers claim they now want. Why haven't they? Because, in actality, these men evidently seek no prominence. (Matthew 23:8)
Knowing this, why are they featured on JW Broadcasting at all? Because one cannot really get to know an organization without knowing at least who its leadership is, so this is a way for the governing body to introduce itself to the world in a non self-aggrandizing way. How so? As you will notice, they do not formally introduce themselves. Before each program, they give a brief synopsis on what to expect on the month's program, and welcome you to the broadcast. This prepares your mind to absorb the content, taking the focus off the hosting member. If you did not already know who the member is, you'll find out when his name appears at the bottom of the screen when the program begins.
Can they do any less prominence seeking?
. . . Or The Background?Initially, JW Broadcasting monthly programs were hosted exclusively by a member of the Governing Body until all seven members had an opportunity to host. Beginning around mid-2015, it was announced that each Governing Body member would host every other month on a rotation, with in-between monthly programs being hosted by a Helper to the Governing Body. This rotation appears to be permanent. So Governing Body members are seen every other month. Another change is that various Governing Body members have co-hosts when its their turn to host. Under this arrangement, the hosting Governing Body member gives the opening talk, which typically lasts between 7 and 15 minutes, and the co-host runs the remainder of the program, which is usually the remaining 45 minutes or so.
This format satisfies two objectives: (1) It introduces the world to the Governing Body, thus dispelling any myths of us having a "secret leadership", and (2) the format is set up in such a way that it does not give undue prominence to anyone.
Can it be said that the Governing Body now have prominence? Yes. Can it be said that they are seeking prominence? Absolutely not. Why? Firstly, this kind of prominence is a natural consequence of having exposure on an internet station available to billions of people, and secondly, no seekers of prominence would sacrifice that much time in the limelight, would they?
Will You Watch?Despite the unwarranted attacks and jealous criticism, JW Broadcasting has been a huge success. How so? Consider the fact that it was initially on a trail basis, in the English language only. Whether the station would be permanent or not depended on the response from viewers. What has that response been? Consider this expression from the 2016 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses:
“I have been serving Jehovah for 16 years, but the emotion and joy that I felt today can only be compared to the way I felt when I was baptized. Thank you, dear brothers, for JW Broadcasting.”
You can read many more expressions like this one using that same link. So what does the evidence show? It shows that the station has survived even in the face of intense hatred and criticism. It also shows that many people, Witnesses and non-Witnesses alike, are making their own minds up and finding out for themselves exactly what we are all about in detail. This is reflected in the fact that JW Broadcasting is now available in 70 languages with more to come and is being updated with new content multiple times weekly.
Seeing the UnseenThe end game of our opposers is to discourage you from enjoying JW Broadcasting and from finding out about Jehovah's Witnesses from Jehovah's Witnesses, while the only alternative they offer is more lies and more criticism. What is our goal? There are many non-Witnesses interested in us who will make good use of JW Broadcasting. This, in part, is why it was created. New content is added all the time, and you have access to that too. This is an excellent opportunity to learn about us.
Something not readily seen by others but which has been noticed by Witnesses is that this channel has helped us to become more connected with our brothers and sisters around the world very quickly. We do not necessarily have to wait for reports to be released in Yearbooks or other printed publications. Thus, we are more sensitive to the plights of our brothers and sisters and can petition God specifically on each other's behalf, and we know where we can reach out to help our brothers who are in need. We had the news page before, but the broadcast has engaged the membership.
Jehovah's Witnesses have covered the cost to provide members with an abundance of high-quality, well-researched, digital information. There are also many brief videos provided for members to use in their house to house ministries. Why not spend some time viewing some of our videos. We think you will be pleased with what you learn.