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Virtual technology offers continuity and answers for millions

A group of people waves to each other while meeting virtually on ZOOM. Photo submitted

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Tamas Mondovics
Editor

“Necessity is the mother of invention” is a well-known proverb. It means, roughly, that the primary driving force for most new inventions is a need.
The need to meet virtually through programs and applications such as Zoom, Facetime, or Teams now brings many together in groups, some bigger than others.
But, what if one group or one single organization manages to use such a platform (ZOOM), numbering its attendees into the double-digit millions several times per week, not to mention a special, 30-minute annual event, which is now expected to welcome more than 20 million within one 24-hour period across the world?
That is just what the Jehovah’s Witnesses are looking to accomplish on March 27, at 7:30 p.m. as the organization is readying to celebrate what it calls the “Memorial of Christ’s Death,” or the “Lord’s Evening Meal.” The free program is designed to “help attendees to attain peace and a sense of security even now.”
Interestingly, the event’s success is not new for the group that has reportedly seen nearly 21 million, meeting virtually for the same event last year following the outbreak of COVID-19.
This use of modern technology is a major change for the group that has, for decades, held the same annual event at their cement and brick places of worship called Kingdom Halls. Since the pandemic’s start, the Witnesses have halted all their public meetings and evangelizing; instead now reaching interested ones through phone calls and letter writing.

So, what prompts millions of people to take the time out of their busy lives and log onto Zoom to be among millions attending a virtual lecture?
Due to the pandemic, many have lost the things they thought were of the highest value and prioritized their spirituality. They feel like the merchant in an ancient parable who found a pearl of such great worth that he sold everything he had to obtain it.
“The pandemic changed our lives within weeks, bringing the economic, educational, and social systems to their knees,” said Robert Hendriks, U.S. spokesman for the Witnesses. “What has not changed is spirituality and its powerful effect on people’s lives.”
An example of this occurred early in the pandemic when a coworker prompted a 23-year-old college student to read an article about the four horsemen of the Apocalypse on jw.org.
As an aspiring writer who loved to pen the mythological and magical, the student found the horsemen intriguing—from the charging white horse with its royal rider to the pale, sickly horse saddled by a skeleton.
“I wanted my questions answered,” she said.
Soon after, she started studying the Bible every morning at 8 a.m. via videoconference. Bible prophecy came to life for her, revealing a brighter future. “I’m just happier than I’ve ever been in my life,” she said.
Now, instead of writing about myths and magic, she plans to write about something spiritual—the Biblical hope of a global paradise.
“We invite anyone searching for peace, security, comfort, and hope to attend,” Hendriks said. “The Memorial of Jesus Christ’s death will also show people how they can obtain something priceless that will make their lives better, not only now, but also in the future, even forever.”
For more information, or to learn more about how to attend locally, visit www.jw.org.