Jehovah’s Witnesses are spending three weekends in August (2013) attending their annual “district conventions” in Memphis, Tennessee. They have been holding conventions in Memphis for many years, but they are now threatening to move future conventions to competing cities.
One of the convention elders told reporters that the Watchtower organization may redirect many or all of their delegates to other southern USA cities starting next year.
According to Elder Earl Lester, Memphis is a convenient and a central location for most of the region’s Jehovah’s Witnesses. On the other hand, they feel that convention parking is inadequate – bad enough that they may take their business elsewhere and not return to Memphis in future years.
The city’s response is that there is more than enough available parking spots, but some are metered or have daily parking lot fees.
The issue may not be as simple as it appears. The Watchtower may using a strategy that has served them well in the past. Cook Convention Center management and Memphis City officials may not know that the Watchtower has threatened to pull their conventions out of other cities and used “paid parking” as their excuse. Maybe these officials will do the city and the convention center a service by researching how the Watchtower has used this threat in the past when negotiating with other civic governments. They need to know that the Watchtower uses “theocratic strategy” to gain an advantage over local officials who are desperate to bring convention business to their city.
In 2008 the Witnesses pulled their Alabama district conventions out of Huntsville and moved them to Birmingham over a parking dispute. See a copy of the newspaper article HERE.
While this has been going on for several years, an incident in Tacoma, Washington in 2000 really exposed what the Watchtower convention committee strategy is all about. In fact, it was one of the Jehovah’s Witness convention servants who revealed the scam. He was not only removed from his position as an elder in Salem, Oregon but was also disfellowshipped for revealing the truth about what was going on. Read the full story and see documentation HERE.
What Memphis and other convention cities may not know is that the Watchtower is planning on reducing the number of days or eliminating “district conventions” altogether starting next year. The city may think that it is negotiating for a longer term relationship when the reality is that Jehovah’s Witnesses may not be planning to hold conventions in Memphis public facilities in future years.
The Memphis, TN conventions began on August 2nd. The last gathering will take place August 23 through the 25th.
Here is a link to the original article: http://wreg.com/2013/08/09/jehovahs-witness-group-hopes-to-return-to-memphis/
[Original publication: Copyright © 2013 – WREG, Memphis, TN 38103]