The Mental Regulating of Jehovah is CHILD ABUSE

by PublishingCult 14 Replies latest watchtower child-abuse

  • PublishingCult

    I was born and raised in the Jehovah's Witness cult. Looking back at my childhood growing up in the organization and seeing the results of my own life, and dealing with the consequences of indoctrinating my own children with these beliefs, I am sickened and disgusted. It's never too late to learn, however. The part that makes me the saddest is that there are no do-overs once action has been taken, the damage is done to a child, and you are left with fragments of what a healthy and whole person might otherwise have been. The horror lies in the realization, "holy shit, I did that to these beautiful children. It was me!" The realization that you were abused and deprived, that you unwittingly did the same to your child under the guise of love can be unsettling when you take a good hard look at what has actually been done.

    The truth really does set you free, however. Today, I can tell my children how wrong I was. I can tell them honestly what a terrible parent I was, a truly shitty parent. I can admit to them how I systematically fucked them up for the sake of brainwashing them into a lifetime commitment to peddling WTBTS publications. And if I am ever in the unique position to parent young children again, I know I am completely free to really love them, eduate them, and with far more compassion and tenderness. Their understanding and compassion is much more than I deserve. Their forgiveness, however, has not been as liberating as you'd think, and they have forgiven me generously. I am left, still, to find a way to forgive myself.

    *** w06 7/1 p. 27 par. 6 Youths, Make It Your Choice to Serve Jehovah ***
    “6 Are Christian parents unfairly influencing their children when they raise them in “the discipline and mental-regulating of Jehovah”? No. Who can criticize parents for teaching their children what they consider to be right and morally beneficial? Atheists are not criticized for teaching their children that God does not exist. Roman Catholics feel duty-bound to bring up their children in the Catholic faith, and they are rarely criticized for endeavoring to do so. Similarly, Jehovah’s Witnesses should not be accused of manipulating the minds of their children when they raise them to adopt Jehovah’s thinking on basic truths and moral principles.”

    As with any and all religion, it is vitally important for the WTBTS to get their hands on the young, tender, observant minds of children as soon as they possibly can. They justify this process with Scripture.

    *** w06 7/1 pp. 27-28 par. 8 Youths, Make It Your Choice to Serve Jehovah ***
    “8 The apostle Paul wrote to the young man Timothy: “Continue in the things that you learned and were persuaded to believe, knowing from what persons you learned them and that from infancy you have known the holy writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through the faith in connection with Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:14, 15) From Timothy’s early childhood, his mother and grandmother had firmly grounded his faith in God on knowledge of the Holy Scriptures. (Acts 16:1; 2 Timothy 1:5) Later, when they became Christians, they did not force Timothy to believe but “persuaded” him by means of sound reasoning based on Scriptural knowledge.”

    The purpose of this process (from infancy) isindoctrination, not education. It is vital to prevent exposure to other ideas that may inevitably call their irrational conclusions into question. Religious indoctrination is an assault on children, an assault on their capacity for individuation, curiosity, self-validation, and critical thinking skills.

    The harm is this; if I have all the answers, why would I bother to continue searching for the answers?

    The harm also lies in a parent’s justification for brutality, violence, and other abuses. Religious indoctrination is always accompanied by trauma inflicted upon a child. It instills an irrational fear of something that does not exist. Fear is the polar opposite of love. Fear is paralyzing and deprives the child of the psychological need for parental bonding and the development of healthy boundaries, and will ultimately result in a child who grows up with depression, emotional instability, and the child begins to inflict these terrors on others. It is all a made up story to justify a parent’s cruelty to children.

    Religion is fundamentally a scar tissue of emotional trauma – a form of post-traumatic stress disorder – which forms around the fears of abandonment and punishment that children experience if they dare to question the superstitions of their elders.” – Stefan Molyneux

  • NewChapter

    I'm not one to stand up for anything WT, but I think some perspective is valuable. Yes I taught my child, as all parents do. But I also loved her. I think the term indoctrination may not encompass the spirit of what happens. ALL parents teach their children a religion, or non-religion, or some way to view the world. It would not be possible to teach any child without passing on your morals, values and opinions. My daughter is very much a humanist today. I may have taught my daughter about Armedggedon, but I certainly never told her she would burn forever in Hell.

    I never needed to justify cruelty to my child, I was not cruel to her. If I were cruel to her, I would not blame my religion, I would blame me. I just take issue when posters act like all JW parents were abusive. I was not. If anyone thinks they put an organizations desires ahead of their own and hurt their children, they need to look inward.

    Here are some other things I indoctrinated into my child:

    Don't put that in your mouth.

    Don't touch the electrical outlet.

    Be good to others as long as your actions are helping them and not making them dependant.

    Feed your dog.

    Don't steal.

    Pick up your toys.

    Don't drink--but if you do, call me for a ride.

    Don't do drugs, but if you do, call me for a ride.

    Sex is serious, I'd prefer you wait---but let me be sure you understand condems.

    That too is indoctrination. It seems, the difference between indoctrination and education is simply how you view the information imparted.


  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    I have the scars! Growing up, I tried to not fall asleep lest demons attack me. Being a child in the 1950s was not fun. We hid under desks and put our hands over our eyes to survive a nuclear blast, ten miles from Manhattan. Right! Russians murdering me became old hat. But Jehovah was going to wipe out all creation, esp. the people I most cared about. Not a single person I liked would survive.

    My Christmas tree is tacky, full of exquisite ornaments to celebrate not being a Witness as much as the Incarnation of Christ. I have a keen appreciation for ciivl rights after the prejudice I encountered as a little kid. We barely had enough food but my classmates had abundant food and went on vacations. My mother explained that the years my father should have established himself, he was Bethel playing body guard to Rutherford and Knorr. Veterans were given preference but my father did not serve. Classmates lost relatives in WWII. WWII was on TV 24/7. Korea just skipped by. Knowing D-Day and seeing all the vets with limbs missing, I felt they should be preferred over someone who did not serve and lived on the ritzy Brooklyn Heights and Columbia Heights section of Brooklyn.

    I gave up so much for JW, toys, fun, flag salute, catechism class (this I did not mind giving up) yet my classmates declared I was NOT a Christian b/c I did not cross myself or go to Catholic Church.

    Birthdays and Christmas are nice. I used to pray so hard to get utterly painful menstrual cramps on meeting nights. Now I look forward to Episcopal Church where women are full partners (though vestiges of discrimination remain. Women get selected by low status churches. Few elite churches choose women. The same goes for gay priests). I sit with NIV or New English Bible and read consecutive sentences. When I make comments about nonJesus Jesus behavior, his messianic consciousness, or whatever I am not disfellowship. On many occasions I publicy pray to "OUr Mother" to break conditioning of thinking of God as male. No one stones me. Many women commend me for the practice, even a few man support it.

  • PublishingCult

    NewChapter, I'm very much a humanist today as well, and I am not saying we cannot grow and evolve from the pathetic archaic abusive mysticism from which we came. In spite of my abuse, my children, too, grew up to become decent moral humanistic people. I am pretty sure I was clear about who I blame for the outcome I experience today.

    Religion, in and of itself is abusive by nature.

    If you teach your child the irrationality of believing and fearing an invisible all-powerful, all-knowing sky deity, that is abuse, period. If you indoctrinate your child in any religion, you are insisting that child give up all reason, independent thinking, etc to believe in the lunacy of irrationality. We call that a "mind-f@ck". You have the responsibility to educate your child about the world around us, the factual and scientifically proven physical elements that actually exist. The morals, principles and ethics that can be gleaned from the Bible and that are preached by most religions are not in and of themselves the sole property religion. Those things are common sense. We don't need religion to teach us how to treat another human being. What we also do not need is to impose irrational belief in a god you cannot even prove exists upon the young minds and hearts of children. The idea that He will punish you for not believing in him is lunacy, and when you impose this idea upon a child, it is abuse. You cannot indoctrinate a child with any kind of religion without including the idea of God punishing that child for disbelief. Guess who ends up reinforcing that lie and irrationality? You do. You are just the same insisting that he believe in Santa with traumatic and devastating consequences to follow if he does not.

    There is another reason why irrational ideologies will always lead to the abuse and cruelty toward children. Children, naturally, are highly rational, observant, and very curious little souls. As the parent models the behavior for the child, they will pick up on all the confusing inconsistencies begot by irrational beliefs. Like little spawns of Socrates, they can only respond to this confusion by asking those endless little questions. Quite irritating if you’re trying to maintain a false belief system. When the truth is revealed to us by our own children, the only way to secure ourselves in our made up world of answers is to attack the child and force him or her to stop revealing a truth we do not wish to acknowledge.

    You seem to confuse education with indoctrination. They are not the same things.


  • Mad Sweeney
    Mad Sweeney

    I think the term indoctrination may not encompass the spirit of what happens. ALL parents teach their children a religion, or non-religion, or some way to view the world. It would not be possible to teach any child without passing on your morals, values and opinions. My daughter is very much a humanist today. I may have taught my daughter about Armedggedon, but I certainly never told her she would burn forever in Hell.

    I never needed to justify cruelty to my child, I was not cruel to her. If I were cruel to her, I would not blame my religion, I would blame me. I just take issue when posters act like all JW parents were abusive. I was not. If anyone thinks they put an organizations desires ahead of their own and hurt their children, they need to look inward.

    Perspective is one thing. Making rationalizations is something else entirely. There is a difference between teaching a child to think in order to make sound decisions for themselves and indoctrinating them that if they do not make decisions based on rules handed down by a publishing cult they will be destroyed at Armageddon (which, don't kid yourself, is every bit as evil a teaching as hellfire). Bringing up a kid in the Borg IS abuse, whether you hit your kid like the GB commands you to or not, because it uses fear and lies to indoctrinate. Abuse doesn't have to be intentional to be abuse.

    I'm glad you and your daughter both escaped the cult because the cult abuses its members and its members abuse each other.

    Perhaps the strong word "abuse" is disconcerting. It hurts to even consider that we were abused and probably handed out a share of abuse, too. But accepting it is a step toward moving on from it, IMO.

  • carla

    Mad Sweeney is spot on.

    Reading the boards for years now I don't see how one could come to any other conclusion than the jw's are abusive to children, physically, mentally and spiritually. How many who have posted here as adults have been diagnosed with PTSD? a direct result of growing up in the jw's.

  • TotallyADD

    I agree with Mad Sweeney and carla. Its one thing to teach your children to think and make sound decisions for themselves but as we all know the indoctrination by JW is only based on rules that are handed down by a cult. So for a parent in this cult it is impossible not to scar your child. Everthing the cult touches ends up in abuse intentional or not. As one with PTSD casued by a elder when I was a child I have the same feelings that Publishingcult has. It has put a really bad taste in my mouth when it comes to my childhood memoirs. Those brought up in this cult have had their childhood stolen from them. I understand the bitterness that Publishingcult has. Like you I had to ask for forgiveness from my grown children. Thankfully they forgave me and we have a good relationship now. My own opinion is this organization only attracts emtionally or mentally ill people who are looking for someone to tell them what to do because they have no structure in their life's and this cult gives them structure. I truly feel the pain. Totally ADD

  • dgp

    Jehovah’s Witnesses should not be accused of manipulating the minds of their children when they raise them to adopt Jehovah’s thinking on basic truths and moral principles.

    You seem to confuse education with indoctrination. They are not the same things.

    I was not raised as a Jehovah's witness, but as a very devout Catholic. When I finally decided I wouldn't be a Catholic anymore, no one prevented me from leaving. I was able to maintain the very same family ties I had. My mother did encourage me to go back (she still does, so many years later) but it has never taken the form of forcing me to do what I don't want to do.

    I make my atheist comments to her and on occasion she even agrees. All my friends and relatives know I am an atheist.

    You might even indoctrinate your children, as I was, but if they are free to leave, something is very different compared to the Watchtower.

  • NewChapter

    What I'm saying is...

    I'm glad to be free of the teachings, I really am. But I don't accept that I was an abusive parent. I was not cruel to my child. My house was full of love. Most religions have unpleasant teachings, but that doesn't make all parents abusive. A vegan parent will indoctrinate her child to be vegan. She will do this simply by diet choices for her child, but also by shopping, cooking, and discussing food. Mom may insist that it is wrong to kill an animal for food. She may even get quite explicit about it. I've seen it happen. It's inevitable. When the child realizes it is okay to eat meat, perhaps they will feel cheated. But that doesn't mean her mother was abusive.

    Another parent loves his country and raises his son to be excessivly patriotic. My country right or wrong. The child is raised to believe that serving his country is the finest, most noble thing he can do, so he enlists in the military. Then he gets his legs blown off in Iraq. He rethinks his position on country right or wrong. He may feel cheated. He may feel misled. But he was not abused.

    I was not raised in any real religion, and I still have scars from childhood too. It happens. My grandmother was scarred because she grew up in the depression and knew what hunger and cold felt like. Her mother was not abusive.

    Okay. Everyone has their spin on this. But I was not a child abuser. Nobody ever coerced me to do anything to my child that I would have thought was abusive. I wouldn't allow it. My grandma taught me that whistling was not lady like, and made me stop. I wish I could have kept whistling--but I wasn't abused. I'll leave it at that. Perhaps I never needed to say anything--except I'm not a child abuser and wanted to say it. I don't think most of the people I knew were child abusers. Most of them really loved their children and spent a great deal of time with them.

  • NewChapter

    I've been thinking about this, and I want to make this clear. If you were abused as a child--I believe you. If the religion was used in such a way, my heart hurts for you. I didn't mean to sound insensitive. If you have scars, then you have them. It's disgusting, and you have been wronged.

    I may not have had the typical JW household. I'm artisitic and so is my daughter, so much of what I taught her was through creativity. I taught her about creation by sitting with her and drawing animals or making them from clay. I made "convention packets" for her where I created puzzles, games, pictures to color, and little books with spiritual themes to give her things age appropriate. She remembers those fondly, and she did enjoy playing with them.

    If she was restless, I got up with her. If she was disruptive, I took her outside and let her play or walk. If she was tired, I stayed home. I didn't talk a lot about armegeddon--but I'm sure she heard it at the hall. But I had her the most, and I didn't think it was right to scare her, so I concentrated on the positive things. She studied flute and violin all through school, she played with the band, and she went to her prom. She went to college with my full support. She never took to the religion, and I didn't feel right forcing it on her. So maybe if I had done it right, she would have felt abused. I don't know.

    I have so many good memories of her childhood and she does too. We did many many things together, and most of it was not theocratic. That is perhaps the big difference.

    I'm sorry if I made anyone feel bad. I feel bad that you were abused. I think I always thought that people were misusing the teachings if they were abusive. Perhaps it was the other way around. If you weren't abusive, you were misusing the teachings. She didn't grow up to be a witness, so I failed miserably. But she grew into a wonderful young woman. I'm pretty happy about that.

  • strawberry cake
    strawberry cake

    Well, I left 3 years ago. I was very worried at the time about my 3 children and the impact my leaving would have on them mentally, after I had indoctrinated them with the belief that the watchtower was absolutely right and even if mum left they must not. I got fantastic support and advice right here in this forum and realised they would be more mentally abused if I stayed.

    I totally lived and breathed the Watchtower, pioneering with young children, yet I believe, I had a perspective which was foremost christian based. So I followed Jesus example of being loving, understanding and gentle with my children. Some Witnesses, went to extremes. I could see this was just plain cruelty and nothing to do with love.

    I took my children on ministry regularly, but only for an hour, if that, and we always ended up in the park or in our favourite cafe. This became a weekend ritual and the cafe people still remember us. We did family study and did plays, and always ended it with a tasty treat, that the children picked.

    However, I knew of parents who used up the whole of Saturday and Sunday on ministry and did not take their kids out enough. Also, those, who even prevented their child from reading too many childrens books so that they would have time to study.

    I tried making word searches etc for the long assemblies. Encouraged them to find words etc, but nothing could stop that level of boredom. my 2 youngest would peel their nails till it bled.I used to despair at what to do, and knew the WT was failing the children. This was abusive.

    I also stopped my boys from joining football teams, but encouraged them to play each weekend with the brothers. There is one brother who used to pick them up diligently each week to take them. I will always be eternally grateful to him. He even purchased a people carrier so that he could fit every one in.

    I encouraged sleep overs and took my children and other peoples children on day trips or out camping for years. Had fantastic times and still have fond memories. We even did the watchtower in a dark tent with torches. We made it fun.

    When it was time for my eldest to decided if he wanted to pioneer, I listened when he said, but mum I don't want to work in a supermarket all my life. I want more. How will I look after my family in the future. I helped him to get qualifications and now he doing well.

    I adore my children and wanted everlasting life for them. When I found out it was a lie, I loved them enough to be honest. Now we are all free. I have appologised for them not being famous footballers. We laugh at the ridiculous WT rules and have hopefully moved on.

  • TotallyADD

    Dear Strawberry Cake, it is so nice to hear from one who was a loving parent while in the JW cult. As a born-in I knew of only one set of parents that treated their children in such a loving manner in all the years I was in the JW cult. When Misses Totally ADD and I had children I remember full well how the others in the congregation looked and treated my wife and child. Every time he cried every head would turn with a scowl on their face. Telling my wife what to do and not do to keep the baby quiet and still. Not one would even offer to help her during the meeting. Field service was a another matter. We were usually sent on our own. Growing up in this cult and being treated badly most of the time makes one become abusive also. True there are various degrees of it, but abusive anyway. PublishingCult like many others realize when you are abused you also become abusive and thats were the anger comes in when you realize the JW cult caused it. Totally ADD

  • strawberry cake
    strawberry cake

    yes, totally add I do see what publishingcult is saying.

    I think it was easier for me as I came in as an adult and had a different perspective on things. I was not brought up a JW myself, so I didn't have that mind set.

  • PublishingCult

    I am not bitter about my upbringing these days. I'm living in the moment more and more as I grow older, and enjoying my life. I have always had a mind that could not rest until I understood the mechanics of how things move and work. I've always had a burning desire to understand the specific actions that were taken in order to have gotten a specific result. I need to understand cause and effect. As a child, if I saw a magician performing tricks, my gut automatically told me it was an illusion and I would not stop until I either figured it out or found it out. It only followed that I would want to know exactly how the cult of the publishing corporation screwed us all up and how they got me to screw up my own kids. When you discover the three parts of a magic trick are; the pledge, the turn, and the prestige- all of the mysticism, superstition, and belief in the supernatural just fades away leaving you to accept with a clear mind that was nothing more than a made up story designed to control you. It's a gimmick. Once you see how the trick is performed, you can only really wonder at how you fell for something so simple and obvious.

    When it comes to abusing our children with religion, it's really no different than the gimmicks used by Hitler to get an entire nation to be apathetic in response to horrific mass genocide. The truth, in this case, as Jehovah's Witness parents, we were all acting in accordance with the true tradition and bipolar roots of Christianity in that we were prepared to sacrifice the lives of our children to an imaginary God. We were conditioning and indoctrinating our children to accept a life peddling WTBTS publications. Lunacy.

    The Pledge: The magician shows you something ordinary: a deck of cards, a bird or a man. He shows you this object. Perhaps he asks you to inspect it to see if it is indeed real, unaltered, normal. But of course... it probably isn't. With the WTBTS, they show us something seemingly based in reality, the Bible, more specifically, a trick Bible called the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures.

    The Turn: The magician takes the ordinary something and makes it do something extraordinary. The WTBTS shows us passages in their trick Bible to support their assertion that we are all ordained ministers of God and the only logical way to imitate Jesus and 1st Century Christians is to peddle WT publications at every opportunity. The NWT is the magician's hat, seemingly ordinary, but is rigged with special compartments, or altered language and deliberate mistranslation to support their assertions. You don't look for the secret, the gimmick, because you really don't want to know, and therefore, you're not really looking. You want to be fooled. You want to believe the WTBTS has the truth, and now YOU have the truth, and this makes you a true Christian.

    The Prestige: Every single baptized JW, all 7.2 million, are ordained ministers and fulfilling Jesus' commandment to preach the Good News of God's Kingdom in all the inhabited earth! This is somehow evidence that JW’s have real Christian love among themselves. Ta da! Amazing! Truly a people for God’s name! Bravo!

    NewChapter, whether you want to see it or not, whether you want to believe it or not, if you were training up your child in the mental regulating of Jehovah, if you were taking them (making them go) to meetings at the Kingdom Hall, if you were reading to them from the WTBTS publications, if you ever supported the idea that your children would not inherit the imaginary mystical kingdom of God unless they were inside the organization of JW’s and having a share in the preaching work (publication peddling) either directly or indirectly, you were by definition, an abusive parent.

    Yes, the organization of JW’s has some sweet old ladies who walk into the KH with beaming smiles, seeming joy, gentleness, piousness, and reverence for God and Scripture. But no matter what you believe, there always lies a vicious brutality. Mad people are always nice when you agree with them, even Hitler was kind to kittens and sweet as honey when people nodded in sycophantic agreement. When we follow the life-wasting road of the WTBTS’s syllogistic reasoning from a false premise, where do we end up?

    There is a reason why these “sweet” old ladies are still sweet. There is a reason why you do not confront these kinds of people on their irrational beliefs and prejudices, and yourself about your own actions.

    The reason is that you are afraid.

    You are afraid of the vicious attack dog that guards their superstitious bigotry that is the basis for any and all religion. You are afraid and do not want to admit that you are afraid, so naturally you too must make up answers to explain away your fear. You must rationalize that your intentions were good, that you did what you did with a smile on your face, and therefore you were not abusive. Naturally you must turn what is otherwise called cowardice into a kind of virtue. Naturally you must adopt a position of “tolerance” as a cover for your vehement denial of the frightening truth, and what happens when someone begins to talk to you about the things discussed here? What beast lies beneath your own mad rejection of reason and evidence? What molten rage flows beneath the repression and denial of your fears?

    I speak to you with all due respect and compassion, for I, too, once reasoned that I was a good parent, and did what I did in the best interests of my children. I was deluded.


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