As a JW did you ever have a personal relationship with God?

by Evanescence 60 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • dorayakii

    Daystar, it sound like you experienced "Atman", the totality of the world as known subjectively (but seemingly objectively).

    One line of thought might suggest I met my Holy Guardian Angel, or Inner Self, or True Self. Perhaps it was nothing like that. The entity did seem to be part of me, but also very distinctly not-me.

    Just because the being did not seem like you, it does not rule out the possibility that it is you. The reason being is because "you" (or the Self) is seperate from, the body, the ego and the mind. Once we realise that we are neither our bodies, nor our ego, nor even our mind, we realise that we are the Atman: the still, permanent and silent witness that underlies all the fluctuations of the mind, body and ego. It is said to have never been born and will never die. True liberation is said to come from a realisation that that which really matters can never be hurt or damaged. The phrase "Tat twam asi" means "you are that" and means that the divisions between Self and All are merely an illusion. It is this realisation which is a beginning of "liberation".

    An exercise to try to capture the "Atman" is to sit still, remove all senory input as well as thoughts and try to "think" of one spot. Diminish the spot in your mind and try to see the observer who is observing the spot. It is tremendously difficult, if not impossible for the vast majority to observe the observer without an object that it is observing. The observer is only percieved by its reaction to other things. Without other things, it itself is unobservable for many. Philosophers argue til they are blue in the face about whether the Atman is a being in itself or whether it is only produced by the presence of the Other.

    In Hinduism the Atman is the essence of All, but in different branches of Buddhism it is at the Source of all ignorance which is the Cause of all misery. The realisation that only the Atman matters can sometimes be compared to the state of Nirvana.

    I hope that was clear enough, these subjects tend to have an inbuilt vagueness to them, lol. I don't know if you've already looked at the Buddhist or Vedanta (Hindu) conceptions of the Atman, but you may find some parallells there.

    If this had happened to me, i would shy away from the appellation "God" because of my disdain of the Judeo-Christian and Islamic concepts. However, i'm sure some of the other concepts are just as wacky and bizarre.

  • LittleToe

    I genuinely thought I did, but then the real deal came along and I realised what I had been missing. No longer do I pray to a blank ceiling!

  • LittleToe


  • Crumpet

    i purposefully avoided this thread but the appearance two favourite posters dragged me here - dorayki and LT. I can agree on one point - it was only a blank ceiling.

  • LittleToe

    How ya doing, our kid?

  • daystar


    I hope that was clear enough, these subjects tend to have an inbuilt vagueness to them, lol.

    Clear enough as can be. As subjective as these sorts of things generally are, expressing such experiences adequately, verbally, is a real impossibility.

    Just because the being did not seem like you, it does not rule out the possibility that it is you.

    Certainly. Well, not so certainly, but possibly.

  • bailabklyn

    I feel that I did. But I didn't fear "him." I didn't pray much b4 baptism. I prayed frequently thereafter. i got the feeling Jehovah didn't want me there living as a JW. I looked at JWs as a bunch of liars and hippocrites. I couldn't see them through rose-tinted glasses at all. WHen I wasn't praying, I thought that I was the bad person in the mix. AFter my baptism I realized that I wasn't really a bad person.

    I was honest w/ my prayers. I prayed for guidance, etc. The best guidance I received was to leave the organization and to get honest w/ my Mom.

    I still pray a lot. not necessarily to "Jehovah." One in a while I might mistakenly slip the name in. But, that's OK. Sometimes saying "Jehovah" makes God more tangible since it's so familiar.

  • daniel-p

    The above comments are quite deep and meaningful... I don't know if I have anything to add, but this topic thoroughly interested me, so here goes.

    To Defd'd original reply on page 1: You say a "faithful and active JW" would affirm that they have a relationship with God. I say that most JW's would admit that it is sometimes (i.e. most of the time) hard to feel like Jehovah is listening to them and answering their prayers. We are told that the answers to our prayers come from the kind words of a fellow worshiper, the platform, a scripture, or a WT article. But all these things are merely words of reassurance created by fellow humans who, in turn, struggle with their own relationship with Jehovah. We are told that we must have faith, and strive for "perfect faith" like Abraham. But Abraham also had Jehovah speaking directly to him and experienced the presense of angels and the direct fulfillment of miracles. How hard would it be to have perfect faith in those situations? So why should Jehovah expect ME to have faith like Abraham? Does he feel that I am stronger than Abraham? That I am so much stronger because I have the Bible, whereas Abraham didn't? That is astounding - that a book should be more faith-strengething than hearing the very voice of God telling me what to do.

    So, did I (and do I) have a relationship with God?
    I have relationships with people whom I have physical or audible interchanges with. After all, I am a human, a physical creature, and I cannot communicate on any other level than what is effective among humans. no matter how hard you pray, how much of the Bible you read, or how regularly you read it, no matter how much you acossiate with fellow worshipers, it still boils down to self-reassurance. Am I better than Abraham? I want God himself to speak to me! Not other humans claiming to speak for God. I do not belive, in my heart of hearts, that Jehovah would deliberately make it hard for people to believe in him - to do that is to sink to the lowest level of egotism.

  • defd

    daniel you are looking for Jehovah to talk to you? You need to fall of a cliff to believe in gravity? You need to HEAR the wind to know that it is blowing?


  • Confession

    Nice topic, Evanescence. Did I have a relationship with God? Yes and no. I believed God exists--and still do. As part of His creation, we had a Creator/Creation relationship--in the same way I have a relationship with George W. Bush. (President/Citizen) Beyond that, there were periods of time when I would pray a great deal--and sometimes I would think I had a relationship with Him. But I couldn't help but realize that any of the positive things that happened to me--were also happening to others who didn't lift a finger to "serve God."

    I wanted to believe in the Holy Spirit. We always taught that when you're speaking at the door--and just the right comment or scripture occurs to you, THAT's the Holy Spirit. But, again, precisely the same sort of thing would happen to me when engaged in other areas--such as my work as a writer of advertising. Was this also God?

    I believe having a special, intimate relationship with God is very difficult for most JWs, since--despite what the Watchtower Society says it wants for us--they require people to look to *them* as the ultimate source of right and wrong during this time.

    Consider: if I tell you I want you to have a relationship with God, but create the guidelines for almost every single area of your life, convincing you that you can only understand God by virtue of your relationship with me, sadly, you end up worshipping me. Oh, you won't say you're worshipping me. But ultimately you are doing what I say, and placing my words and requirments as paramount in your life.

    You can claim you have a relationship with God. You can say it with conviction, with a furrowed brow as you pound your fist on the table. If you do that enough--and since no one can deny or prove that you're right--you can get to believing that you really do. But I'll suggest that in most cases it's entirely imaginary for JWs. I believe your relationship with God may occur only after you eliminate the meddling human middlemen.

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