Are mentally ill people possessed by demons? Watchtower view.

by ThomasCovenant 20 Replies latest watchtower medical

  • ThomasCovenant

    Watchtower 15th March 1953 page 191.

    ''There is no reason to think that they [demons] cannot possess persons today.

    This is not to say that ALL those mentally sick are so possessed, for they are not.

    Mentally sick persons, however, in their weakened state, may present more vulnerable targets for their assaults and invasions.

    SOME show evidence of demon possession, whereas others show evidences of merely mental sickness or nervous breakdown.'' (Emphasis mine)

    I for one would not want to work with people with mental illness or depression just in case they were possessed by some of those pesky spirits.

  • Elsewhere

    > Mentally sick persons, however, in their weakened state, may present more vulnerable targets for their assaults and invasions.

    I love the way religious people say things like that without providing any evidence to support it. What is the mechanism by which a human is possessed? How does it work? Where are the mathematical models and mechanical schematics that demonstrate how such a thing would work?

    By what mechanism would a mentally ill person be more susceptible to attack?

    That's like someone speculating that the temperature in their freezer is governed by the positions of the planets and what day of the week it is.

  • agonus

    Oh, thank GOD the Faithful and Discreet slave has provided this timely wisdom! I was about to put a gun in my mouth because I thought that the mental breakdown I suffered because of the Watchtower's constantly contradicting itself and putting me in an impossible situation I had no idea I'd get into before I got baptized was somehow the work of Satan! Praise Jah!

  • blondie

    The WTS has moderated its position in recent years but still tends to speak out of both sides of its mouth leaving itself wiggle room.

    *** w03 5/1 p. 31 Questions From Readers ***

    If a Christian hears voices, does that necessarily mean that he is under demon attack?

    No. While demons have been reported to manifest themselves in that way, many individuals who hear voices or experience other inexplicable, disturbing sensations have learned upon investigation that they have a medical problem.

    Even in the first century, it was apparently recognized that demon attacks and physical conditions sometimes produce similar effects. At Matthew 17:14-18, we read of a young boy who was healed by Jesus. Although the young boy had manifested severe epileptic symptoms, his suffering was actually caused by a demon. However, on an earlier occasion when crowds of suffering people were brought to Jesus for healing, these included some who were "demon-possessed and epileptic." (Matthew 4:24) Evidently, it was recognized that some epileptics were not demon possessed. Their problems were physical.

    It is reported that some who suffer from schizophrenia, a disease often treatable with medication, hear voices or experience other symptoms that could appear to be something uncanny. Other physical conditions may also cause mental confusion that some could mistakenly think is caused by demons. Hence, while an individual who reports hearing voices or who has other disturbing sensations may not want to discount demon harassment, he should definitely be encouraged to consider investigating whether there is a physical explanation for what he is experiencing.


    See "Taking the Mystery out of Mental Illness," in the September 8, 1986, Awake!, companion magazine of TheWatchtower.

    *** w88 10/15 pp. 27-28 Mental Distress—When It Afflicts a Christian ***

    Afflicted by the Demons?

    Some victims of mental difficulties fear they are under demonic attack, claiming at times to hear "voices." True, the demons have been known to make sane individuals behave irrationally. (Mark 5:2-6, 15) There is no proof that the demons are involved in most cases of bizarre behavior, any more than that they are involved in all cases of speechlessness, blindness, and epilepsy. Yet, back in Bible times, the demons sometimes caused (or at least aggravated) these very ailments! (Matthew 9:32, 33; 12:22; 17:15-18) The Bible makes a clear distinction, though, between "those who were ill and those demon-possessed." (Mark 1:32-34; Matthew 4:24; Acts 5:16) Obviously, then, the vast majority of cases of blindness or epilepsy today are caused by physical—not demonic—factors. The same no doubt can be said of most cases of mental distress.

    Still, it must be remembered that Satan and his demons are ‘waging war’ with God’s people and have been known to harass faithful Christians. (Revelation 12:17; Ephesians 6:12) The demons are fiendish, and it should not surprise us that they take sadistic delight in tormenting some mentally distressed souls—compounding their difficulties.

    So if the elders have good reason to suspect that demonic influence is involved, there is no harm in their making some inquiry. Has the person, for example, received any suspicious items directly and deliberately from individuals who are involved in some form of demonism? Disposal of such objects may bring relief. (Acts 19:18-20) Since Christians are told to "oppose the Devil," the elders can also advise the afflicted one to reject any strange "voices" that could be of demonic origin. (James 4:7; Matthew 4:10) If a person feels under attack, he should pray fervently, calling upon Jehovah’s name out loud.—Ephesians 6:18; Proverbs 18:10.

    Demonic involvement, however, appears to be the exception—not the rule. One sister relates: "I thought I was possessed by a demon until I sought medical help and was informed that I had a chemical imbalance. It gave me great relief to find out that it was an illness that was causing my actions and not some demon person that was inside of me!"

    *** w83 7/1 p. 28 Does God Care About the Mentally Ill? ***

    The Basic Cause

    In the past it was commonly believed that almost all mental disorders had supernatural origins, and some think this is the Bible’s view of mental disorder or insanity. True, the Bible does tell of cases where persons were possessed by invisible wicked spirits, but this does not mean that it stamps all kinds of mental disorder as demonic possession.

    It must be remembered, of course, that the Bible is not a medical book describing the cause for different maladies. Yet it does explain what is the common cause for all human diseases, mental and physical. It shows that we are victims of the imperfection resulting in death that was passed on to the human race by our sinful forefather Adam. As the apostle Paul explains: "Through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because they had all sinned." (Romans 5:12) This means that every descendant of Adam is imperfect and thus somewhat deficient both mentally and physically. Therefore, mental aberrations are but extreme forms of an inherited weakness we all have.

  • Snoozy

    Interesting, and yet today they are finding all kinds of defects/problems in the brain that can cause people to hear voices, see things, and do irratic things that they wouldn't normally do.

    I wonder if the WTBTS plans on coming into this century any time soon? lol

    Demons?...if I started hearing voices or seeing imaginary people/things, I would head to a Physician ..immediately.


    Who would like to know just how many here actually believe in Demons?

  • zagor

    Through auto-suggestion i.e. self-hypnosis people can get experience as if they are haunted, reality is though it is their brain that creates experience and that is where healing needs to start

  • sacolton

    So, in a nutshell their opinion is: "they are, but they're not." Wow, that's a great indepth analysis.

  • Mad Sweeney
    Mad Sweeney

    I believed in them until coming to this site even though I already knew the WT was full of crap. I have since come to mostly disbelieve, but I have a family member who swears by his/her past demonic experiences who is mentally stable and does not lie. So I have to think he/she was either given some hallucinogen, or there were some sort of psychosomatic manifestations, or there are truly beings who either exist in a part of the em spectrum that we can't see or are able to hide themselves.

    I'm actually leaning toward the idea that he/she was given drugs as a kid when the 'demonic' stuff happened, but I can't discount the experience out of hand.

  • keyser soze
    keyser soze

    And we should listen to these people when it comes to life-saving medical procedures?


    It is a well known fact that demons are responsible for all problems in the world and out of it. Any problem that WT members have is always due to demon interference. Also all mental problems are due to a demon or more getting inside a persons head.

    It is easy to prove this. There is a devil who is roaming the earth looking for trouble before he is tossed into the fiery furnace and the demons are fallen angels who have joined the baddie. It's all in the bible so it must be true.

    By the way for those of you who haven't kept up; the bible is an ancient book that Christians used to base their faith upon until Jesus, now known as the word, visited them personaly and told them to believe the bits they want to and shred the rest.

  • discoveringlife

    WTF!!!!???? That is exteremely offensive to read. My sister who is year older than I is mentally incapacitated since birth. She is not demon possesed. It makes me angry that it can even be suggested that she or persons like her might be. The watchtower has knowledge about NOTHING.

  • Nephilim

    discoveringlife -

    They say 1 in 4 Americans has a dehibiliating disorder that will effect them GREATLY throughout their lives. 1 in 100 are skitzophrenic. 1 in 160 are autistic. Can you imagine how these people were treated in bible times?

    We think of depression and we have empathy for those who are afflicted yet one of the 7 deadly sins is "sloth"... Hmmmm..... I bet depression looks a lot like sloth.

    My point is the WBTS is just trying to be consistent with the bible which is completely outdated no matter how much they say it isn't.

    Having said that... they ARE bastards and you should do everything you can to bring the organization down! Rage against that machine!

  • Snoozy

    I think they printed that info because in the 80's the demons were a big excuse for a lot of ills...

    We had kind of a demon frenzy for a while..the witnesses were even bringing it up in field service.

    I pulled this up to find a thread about demons as I just talked to my grown son and we were talking about dreams. He said he has demon dreams once in a while. I was shocked. I couldn't believe he still believed and feared them. I told him I was so sorry for allowing him to be taught those things. I myself refused to teach my kids about demons as I never could laccept their existence but apparently they heard it from other jw playmates and it stuck in their heads.

    Now how do I get it out of his head?

    We were laughing and joking about it but deep down inside I don't want him fearing things like that.

    What a nutty fruitcake religion. I can't believe I actually became one of them..

    My kids still talk about the Easter bunny my mom got them for Easter. Another witness had told them it was possed as it was a relic of pagan religion. They actually saw it late at night get down and hop around the room..then when I appeared it went back on it's little rocking chair..we had to get rid of it. They still swear that happened...


  • pirata

    The 53 quote is a bit old school with the 80s quotes tending to be more balanced.

    But if a JW had a mental illness in the 50s, not only would they have to contend with the illness themselves, they'd have the extra burden/fear of worrying that they were more likely to have demon problems. That can only further excaberate the mental illness.

  • GrandmaJones

    This is another YOU HAVE TO BE KIDDING kind of thread. Demons causing blindness and epilepsy? This is all anyone who is mentally ill needs.

    Let's question him/her to see if they are demonized!

    Wow. How can anyone believe this? Perhaps those who believe this kind of garbage should be carefully questioned. Perhaps they are demonized too.

    I have to say, I don't understand how the Watchtower can let this kind of thinking go on.

  • Violia

    It is not just jws. Have you ever heard of deliverance ministeries? They do exorcisms. I saw one once. It was very frightening. They really believe in what they are doing.

    The last I recall about jws beliefs is they think it is easier for the demons to possess the mentally ill.

  • ProdigalSon

    So what else is new, blaming EVERYTHING on demons? Does this mean I should call an exorcist for my friend with Down's Syndrome? Or my other friend with Asperger's?

    All this organization does is judge, judge, judge, but they don't know their asses from their elbows. If they were REALLY God's channel of communication, they would have nothing but love, empathy and compassion for EVERYONE, good, bad, sane or insane, homosexual or straight, even "apostate".

    Just as a side note, once again a lot of the blame falls squarely on the alleged "Word of God" that came out of the Roman Councils. That little story about Mary Magdalene having a Legion of also says she was a prostitute. Do you know of any guy, no matter how horny the dude might be, who's going to have sex with a prostitute while she's vomiting green bile, talking with several different deep raspy voices, and her head is spinning around like Linda Blair? I think I'll pass, thanks!

    The Gnostic Gospels say that "demons" are egos (same as Hindus, Buddhists, and others teach). Could that be why the Roman Church tried to destroy them all? Really, would "Satan" or demons even EXIST if there were no humans for them to manifest themselves through?

    I challenge any JW, or anyone else for that matter, to name one single incident (except for the allegory in the Bible) where Satan can be directly and unmistakably blamed for causing one ounce of suffering without a human being to do it through.


  • Terry

    The actual "process" of possession by demons goes undefined--as it well should since nobody can explain what it consists of in actuality.

    The demon exists in some real way, it is supposed. Consequently, it must have dimension. (Height, width, depth, weight, etc.)

    Yet, the demon-possessed man in the NT had a Legion of such parasites "inside". How small were these evil spirits, anyway? Molecular?

    Apparently, the possessed person is like a Roach Motel: the demons check in but they can't check out! Jesus drove the spirits into pig and those spirits didn't just up and leave. They were driven to cause porkicide in drowing the pig for escape!!

    It is silly, of course, wrong-headed, superstitious and just plain weird that a Post-Enlightenment educated modern citizen of our planet can be persuaded to accept these notions and embrace them as feasible!

    But, they do!


    There is a foundational acceptance of bible-based pronouncements as ABOVE skeptical analysis.

    In other words, there is no doorman at the entrance of a believer's brain demanding credentials, proof, verification and such.

    Anything purported to come from Scripture can board the airplane of a believer's consciousness and blow it up willy-nilly.

  • smiddy

    This subject fascinated me when I was in 20 odd yrs ago.When the watchtower publications were referring to places like africa or 3rd world countries ,then the emphasis was on demon possesion,with people who were experincing problems.however when people were experincing mental problems in 1st world(,such as the western world), countries they had mental disorders that could be attributed to physical problems.This is with the knowledge we have today,what medical knowledge did they have in the 1st century compared with todays knowledge of mental illness?So how could anyone say that a person was demon possesed,and not merely have a physical condition that may give that impression to impressionable minds.


  • VIII


    The first WT quote Blondie put up is from 2003!!!

    How can someone read this and not burst into laughter during the Sunday meeting? (then get mad, especially if you or a family member are affected?)

    VIII going to put my Turkey in the oven hoping the demons get baked

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