Report on “The New World Society in Action” in Europe and the Americas
ON April 3, 1954, the first copy of the Watch Tower’s moving-picture film “The New World Society in Action” was shown to 1,110 persons at a New York city circuit assembly. More than forty times during that first showing the excited audience interrupted with applause—a foretaste of the enthusiasm with which this film has been received.
It conveys a true picture of the theocratic organization, showing that the New World society is not a small, insignificant denomination, but rather a world-embracing preaching organization proclaiming the good news of God’s kingdom earth-wide. Thus far 177 copies of this film have been produced. These have been shown to audiences in more than 75 lands, totaling over 1,290,745 persons.
From France the Watch Tower’s branch servant writes: “Even many of the brothers did not realize the magnitude of Jehovah’s visible organization, nor how it operates with brothers assigned to care for the very smallest detail—caring for the various machines in the printery, the radio station WBBR, the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead, etc. As for the persons of good will, they are astounded at the vision of Jehovah’s organization and of its purposes, and all this works for the building up of their faith and to draw them closer to the New World society.”
The Netherlands branch reports: “The showing of the film has enriched the understanding of the organization on the part of the brothers, and has spurred many of our brothers who had faded away into inactivity to action, and has helped many interested ones to take a firmer stand for the truth. Many strangers who have seen this film returned home with an entirely different view of the New World society.”
From Italy comes the report: “This medium being used by Jehovah’s organization world-wide is causing the Shepherd’s voice to be heard by many more of his ‘other sheep.’ Its good effect is already telling. Those who have seen the film recognize that the people and organization shown therein are guided by the commandments and principles of Jehovah.”
Yes, the film has a good effect upon those who see it. In France one brother whose family and friends had ridiculed the truth succeeded in bringing his wife and brother-in-law to see it. They did not come because they were interested, but out of curiosity. After seeing the picture, however, they observed: “It is more serious and far more powerful than we thought. We must reconsider our position.”
Even those long within the theocratic organization have been powerfully strengthened by actually seeing the scope of its activity. A 75-year-old French brother who had been in the truth for fifty years expressed his joy this way: “My ears have heard people talk of Jehovah’s power, of the splendor of his organization and of the fruitfulness of Zion, and my soul has desired to see all these things. Feeling that I am approaching the end of my course, I doubted whether I should see my wish fulfilled. But now my eyes have seen more than I ever hoped to see. Now I can go with the heart glad and with peace of mind. Nothing can stop the victorious march of the New World society toward the new life the other side of Armageddon.”
Seeing the theocratic order of things also helps Christians to develop a more mature appreciation of their position in the organization. Thus a young French publisher confessed: “I used to think I was useful to the organization because of my studies, and I was somewhat proud of the fact, but now I can see that the organization can do without me. But I cannot do without the organization, and that has humbled me.”
It is good, too, for everyone actually to see that the work of the Christian organization is carried on by dedicated persons. After seeing pictures of the Watch Tower’s Brooklyn publishing plant where Jehovah’s witnesses’ literature is produced, an interested technician commented: “You certainly are the only organization to have all workers who have the same ideology. I work in a printery that puts out a newspaper of Catholic tendency, but among the employees you will find good Catholics and also Protestants and even Communists. It is the same in other printeries, but your organization is different.”
ITALY AND THE NETHERLANDS
“But you should show this movie in the largest theater in Turin,” one Italian woman said. “I’ll be glad to contribute toward the expenses. Everyone should see this picture, then they will certainly appreciate how Christians should live and comport themselves.” A well-educated elderly man had been reading the Society’s publications, but would never take a firm hold of the truth. After seeing the film he said: “I’ve been looking for an organization all my life that lifts the people morally and spiritually and at last I’ve found it. I’ve found something good and I’m certainly going to hang onto it.”
Even opposers have seen the importance of New World society activity. A Watch Tower missionary had been conducting a Bible study with an Italian woman for about eight months. Her husband was definitely opposed to her studying and preaching. However, to the missionary’s surprise he accepted the invitation to come to see the film. He was so impressed by what he saw and by the way the organization functions that he has been attending the congregational meetings ever since. He even offered his home for an area Bible study.
Another man came up to the district servant to say that from now on when the witnesses study with his wife he certainly wants to study too, for he now realizes that he has a lot to learn. His previous course of action? He had so scoffed at the message and at the hope of the New World that his wife was becoming discouraged and was thinking of dropping the study.
The impression such a Christian film makes upon its viewers might well be illustrated by the view of a little three-year-old Italian who had seen “The New World Society in Action.” When later invited to go to the movies he replied: “No, mommy, let’s go to the Kingdom Hall where you see those nice people, and not those who kill all the time.”
In just over seven months the copy of “The New World Society in Action” that was sent to the Watch Tower’s branch in the Netherlands was shown 106 times to 24,306 persons, and it continues to be in regular use there. One unusual showing was to the personnel and inmates of that country’s camp for conscientious objectors. Usually about 45 of the 75 persons in the camp show up for a film or cultural program, but this time all but three of them were present. The camp boss and others spoke very well of the film, and much opportunity for witnessing was provided.
In the town of Doorn the congregation servant brought his next-door neighbor to see the film. After seeing it, this 75-year-old lady, who several times had had Bible studies but had never seen the importance of joining in the work, said: “One can see that this is the true church of God; there is so much love and unity that it must be God’s organization.” She resumed her study, attended the circuit assembly, has participated in service and plans to be baptized this summer.
Another woman had been contacted ten years ago but had not seen the importance of becoming active in Kingdom service. After seeing the film she took the initiative in asking a mature publisher to take her out in the service. With great joy she told the people at the doors that she had known for ten years that this was the truth, but never before was she so determined to live up to it as since she had seen the film. She told them how people from all parts of the earth, colored and white, work together in harmony in the interests of pure worship. And she said: “I am firmly determined never again to give up the truth.”
In Cuba, as elsewhere, this moving picture impresses its viewers with the firm Christian background of the activity of Jehovah’s witnesses. On leaving the hall in Havana one good-will person was heard to say: “This picture is proof that this is the true organization of God.” A young man, after seeing the film, said: “I want to be a part of that New World society.” New ones have been strengthened to go out in the door-to-door service for the first time. One woman told the district servant: “I know now that I am going to be a genuine witness for Jehovah.” And many of Jehovah’s witnesses have expressed themselves as desiring to do much more in Kingdom service since they have seen how their brothers serve so diligently in the factory and at Gilead.
At one circuit assembly in Cuba there was a Friday night attendance of 400. But on Saturday night, in this town of no more than 5,000 people (Cumanayagua, Las Villas), a total of 1,600 came to see the picture—indeed a considerable percentage of the population! The townspeople enjoyed it so much that all in the community knew what had happened, and the film was a popular subject of discussion. Some of the people even came back the next day hoping that they would see it. The public talk attendance on Sunday was 769.
From Cuba the film was taken over to the nearby Isle of Pines where a new congregation of just five publishers was recently organized. A theater was rented for $5, and with not too much advertising 420 people filled this assembly place—412 more persons than the number of Jehovah’s witnesses who were present! From mid-May to mid-December there were 79 showings of the film in Cuba with a total of 25,233 different persons present.
CHILE, URUGUAY AND BRAZIL
In Chile the Watch Tower’s branch servant took the film to La Serena for the benefit of the four missionaries who are assigned there. This has been considered difficult witnessing territory, yet the film was shown on five different nights. The total attendance? It amounted to 762 persons! For one showing, a half-day’s house-to-house advertising by five publishers, plus some handbills put up in local stores and a sign on the building where the picture was to be shown, brought 300 people out to see the picture and to learn of the activity of the New World society!
In Uruguay excellent results have been obtained when the film was shown outside. It has been shown in patios, parks, and even on the sidewalks and in the streets. When the Kingdom Hall is too small for the crowd, the equipment is set up on the sidewalk out front and the neighborhood moves in to see what is happening—and to see the film. On one Saturday the picture was shown in the Central Town Square in San José to more than 300 people. When the baptism of 4,640 persons at the Yankee Stadium assembly was shown, one man in the crowd shouted out loud: “It is too bad that Padre Fernando [the local priest] wasn’t at that assembly; he would have gotten rich collecting $5 each from those getting baptized.” Everyone laughed, because this “padre” has a reputation in the whole town.
Twenty thousand Brazilians have seen the film, and have made such comments as: “I lived really an hour and a half in God’s new world.” A congregation servant in the interior said enthusiastically: “That film woke up more interest in the work than all the talks given by visiting servants. Now our hall is full.” A soldier in the city of Sorocaba said: “If you folks aren’t God’s people, then there aren’t any in the world.” The Watch Tower’s Brazilian office writes that the thing that has really surprised them is to see how the film produced by the Society has done more for the enthusiasm, zeal and maturity of some publishers than years and years of counsel given by servants and public speakers. “With only an hour and a half of projection,” the report said, “many have decided to take their position and to fortify their forces, and many who reluctantly listened to discourses even resolved to make dedication vows, submitting to baptism.”
In a good-sized congregation in one city in the interior of Brazil there was some disorganization because of internal disunity. It is reported that as a result of seeing the activity of the organization earth-wide the brothers reorganized their activity and show renewed spirit and vigor in Jehovah’s service. The film was shown in one of the capital cities at a congregation where the brothers were having difficulty in moving to another hall. The enthusiasm grew so that they immediately subscribed to providing quite a large sum of money for the purpose. Now they have one of the nicest halls in the country.
“The New World Society in Action” continues to be used throughout the earth to explain the purpose and the scope of the activity of Jehovah’s witnesses. As this short report indicates, it is being used under widely varying circumstances, and with excellent results. This will be even more evident when a later report discusses the use of the film in Asia and Africa. Have you seen this film? If not, by all means take advantage of the first opportunity to do so. And when it is shown again in your area encourage everyone that you know to see it, so that they too may learn of the amazing accomplishments that have been made in preaching earth-wide the glorious message of Jehovah’s new world.