I need help with a discussion with my parents!

by jwfacts 36 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • jwfacts

    My parents are on the Circuit, well educated, well intentioned and totally committed to the WTS. For years i have argued with them over issues and doctrine. They know most things that are wrong with the WTS but refuse to budge on the idea that it is the only true religion.
    They have noticed that lately i am at peace with myself after a year of absolute anger at finding the truth about the WTS and so they seem to think it is time to convert me back.

    They have asked for a discussion with me on Monday night. I agreed but stipulated that I will chair it and that i will not be sucked into fallacious rhetorical arguments. I also made clear that i understand what is wrong with the WTS, i will not be converted, so I will only talk to them if they truly want to know the truth. Where I need help is, how do i open their minds?
    I know almost every JW doctrine inside out, i know why virtually every doctrine that disagrees with Christianity is either wrong, or unresolvable. But in the past in every discussion they push the WTS line without the slightest indication it could be wrong.
    They know the dramatic changes - it is the light getting brighter
    They know the double standard with blood - God will fix that
    They know the UN scandle - they cant see why anyone thinks it is a big deal
    They know about pedophilia (Dad has dealt with a number of cases himself) - but it is lucky were not as bad as the world
    They know the failed prophecies - the light gets brighter
    They know 607 - of course the WTS is correct
    How do I unlock the mind?????
    I am a sales executive and know the power of questions. I plan to run the meeting like a sales call. Ask a very thought provoking and make sure it is answered logically. I need a list of the most important questions. I also need an idea of how to make them understand how their mind works in regards to cognitive dissonance. I did ask Mum to consider before the discussion why she is convinced that she is correct when there are many equally sincere and educated people in other religions that are equally convinced that they are correct. What is it that is convincing them that they are correct and what is it that convinces her that she is correct, and how can a person distinguish that they are not the one with the wrong set of viewpoints?
    I really appreciate if you can guide me to some good information, methods or questions that may get through to them.

  • Pubsinger

    ask them what WOULD prove to them that it wasn't the one true religion.

    And if God was trying to tell them that it wasn't how would he do it?

    And ask them, if it turned out at the "end" that it wasn't the "One True Religion" would they expect God to destroy them or to look into their hearts and judge them on the basis of what he saw within.

  • ozziepost

    G'day jwfacts! The short answer is "You can't!" (unlock their minds that is)

    They will need to have their COC before they are jolted into action.

    You're at peace with yourself - show it, is my advice.

    Show that your new life is happy, that you're fully occupied, that you have worthwhile things to do, even tell them what's spiritually driving you.

    The thing that'll absolutely drive the dubs mad is to have someone leave and actually find a better life! They've been conditioned to believe it's not possible. We know that it is, of course, but show how good your life is.

    Personally, I think it's futile getting involved in any debate. You know their minds are shut to any new ideas, so don't go down that track. Remember, they want you to, because it plays into their hands - so don't.

    I know from my experience that family have to acknowledge that Mrs Ozzie and I are happier with our lives now that we're post-borg. They acknowledge too that our lives are better. Slowly, slowly, eh?

    Now, we must meetup soon. The last one was way too short.

  • Ingenuous

    I'd recommend reading Captives of a Concept by Don Cameron and perhaps approaching things as he suggests in his book, using the Proclaimers book as a launching point.

  • hooberus

    Good questions Pubsinger. The following quotes are from an arcticle by Randy Watters: http://www.freeminds.org/psych/openmind.htm

    It is rare to find a Witness who has not seen or heard information exposing the dishonesty of the Watchtower. Why, then, do they not see a problem? Evidently, something else has prevented them from objectively analyzing factual information. Their minds are trained to stop short of doubting the organization - a wall has been erected which says, in effect, "This far you may go, and no further."
    What kind of powerful motivation prevents the Witness from entering the "dangerous" waters of critical investigation? The motivation is fear; the underlying problem is misplaced securities. The Christian concept of trusting a supernatural God is replaced with a more visible and concrete symbol, namely, the organization; God's organization. The Witness learns that serving the organization is the same as serving God. The organization is the mother, God is the father, and the Witness is to obey his "parents." Since the Witness cannot see nor experience real interaction with God, his only tie with God is through the visible organization. It is, in effect, "God" to him (though he would not admit to or recognize it).
    Convincing the Witness that the organization is deceptive is like trying to convince a 5-year-old child who loves his parents that his father is in jail for armed robbery - he simply doesn't believe his father is dishonest. In fact, he can't tolerate the thought, since he has placed all of his security and trust in his father and mother. The truth is too fearful and devastating to consider. Therefore, to protect his source of security, he rejects the factual information as being a lie.
    The same is true of the Witness. He knows that if the organization is not really directed by God, he has no other tangible security to go to. He says, "Where else can I go?" So he remains within the system as years go by, continuing to ignore the barrage of factual information undermining the entire Watchtower structure. The more and more he ignores the facts, the more narrow-minded and adamant he becomes that he will never change, and he is more convinced than ever that he has the truth. He digs himself into a trench, erecting all sorts of mental barricades against his real enemy, which is doubt. While this seems incredible to the person trying to reach the Witness with the facts, it is just a simple protective mechanism, keeping the Witness from the trauma of losing his sense of security. In order to rationalize away the false prophecies and inconsistencies of the organization, the Witness must, in effect, deceive himself into thinking there is really no discrepancy in the organization. 1
    While Christians have their security in a spiritual relationship with the person of Christ, Witnesses are taught to put faith in an organization. If they have faith in the organization, they have faith in God. The two are inseparable; so much so, that to lose faith in the organization means a corresponding loss of faith in God. This is precisely why the Witness must protect himself through the process of self-deception. He cannot bear the pain of losing his faith.

    From the above arcticle (as well as other sources such as Ray Franz) we learn that in the Witness mind faith in the Organization is the same as faith in God, leaving "Jehovah's Organization" is the same as leaving Jehovah himself. Doubting the organization is the same as doubting Jehovah. So before bringing up damaging information it is helpful to separate the Witnesses faith in God (which we want them to keep) from faith in the WT Organization (which we want them to loose) The above arcticle continues with questions to ask JW's. Also I have found a WT arcticle which deals with many of the same issues as brought up in the above arcticle. The January 15, 1970 Watchtower p. 37-40 contains arcticle titled:

    "Which Comes First- Your Church or God?"

    "The "first man" represents the believers who remain faithful to their church out of loyalty to the religion they were brought to believe in. Thier attitude is: Right or wrong, it is my religion! Is that the way you feel? If so, you are certainly a loyal person. But to whom do you owe the greater loyalty-to your church, or to God? With so much disbelief rife throughout the earth, you are to be commended for maintaining your faith, but where should your faith be placed-in a religious organization, or in God?" p.37

    "The "second man" mentioned in the Nouvel Observateur represents those Catholics and Protestants who stay with their church because they do not know where else to go. They havebeen taught that their church represents God, and they do not want to turn away from him. They disapprove of many church practices or doctrines, but they hope to reform their church from within. Typical of these are the 744 French Catholics who, in November 1968, sent a long open letter to the pope. In it they stated: "Today the Christian needs to live in a 'true' Church . . . Therefore all that is false, contrary to the Gospel and scandalous within the Church today wounds the Christian." Then followed a long list of grievances against the Catholic Church and it current teachings and practices. Yet, toward the end, these catholics expressed their unconditional adherence to their church by alluding to John 6:68 and stating: "Who could we go to? In her [the Roman Catholic Church] we find the One who has words of eternal life." p.39

    I believe that this Watchtower arcticle can with a few simple questions (see below) can be used effectively to separate the witnesses "Loyalty to God" from "Loyalty to the Organization". The Issue of faith in a religious organization being separate from faith in God is addressed nicely. Also issues of "where else to go" and the misappication of John 6:68 from Christ to a "church" or "organization" can be very effectively brought up using this arcticle.

    In an earlier post the follwing was given by a former witness as some of the reasons for staying in the Watchtower Organization: "Obstacles/hinderances: Loyalty. Thinking that there was no where else to go. Fear of the unknown. Believing God and the Watchtower were inseperable. Believing we would lose Gods protective barrier and bring death on our family (Like Job) if we left."

    I believe that the above article can be used effectively and non-offensively to deal with these common issues. Here are some questions which can be brought up using the above 1970 Watchtower arcticle in which while speaking of other groups they contradict the above principals which they usually drum into JW minds:

    Is questioning a religious organization that claims to represent God the same as questioning God?

    Is doubting a religious organization that claims to represent God the same as doubting God?

    Where should we place our ultimate faith: in a religious organization or in God?

    If for some reason you lost faith in your religious organization would you still have faith in God?

    To whom do we owe the greater loyaly to a religious organization or God?

    Does John 6:68 refer to a church organization or to a person (Jesus Christ)? Should a religious organizaion take a passage applied to Jesus Christ and apply it to itself?

    If for some reason you left your religious organization to whom whould you go?

    To whom does John 6:68 say to go?

  • FreeWilly

    Here's a few that have made my folks pause....

    Faithful and Discrete Slave

    Who makeup the FDS? .......Does Jehovah direct this worldwide remnant (FDS)?

    How does this worldwide remnant (FDS) collect all of the information the receive from Jehovah so it can be printed in the Watchtower? Email, Fax? Telephone?

    How come when the WT revised the meaning of "this Generation", that the worldwide remnant (FDS) didn't find out about it until they were mailed their Watchtowers? Shouldn't they have been the first to know?

    Did God direct them to predict 1914, 1925, 1941 or 1975 as the end of the world, or did they come up with these on their own?

    If they come up with their own teahings, should we listen to them?

    Did God ever allow "imperfect humans" to make teachings without being inspired before?

    Has God ever had to revise a mistaken teaching before?

    Do you think Jehovah will actually kill all people who noticed the Society's false predictions and changed teachings and consider them unreliable sources?

    How come the number of annointed ones reported annually keeps going up?

    Did Jesus say anywhere that people would need to find the correct "organization" and join it to be saved?


    Explain this Scripture: " He said: “Look out that YOU are not misled; for many will come on the basis of my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The due time has approached.’ Do not go after them. " Luke 21:8 NWT

    Who today is saying "The due time has approached"?

    What do you suppose was the reason Jesus warned people to avoid those who say "The due time has approached"?

    Do you think maybe these people are like the boy who cried wolf ?


    What Chapter of the Bible teaches us about "The Issue of Univeral Sovereignty"?

    If this is why people will be executed (over the issue of sovereignty), why do you suppose Jesus and the Apostles never taught about this?

    What percentage of the worlds population did the JW's have Bible studies with last year (6 million or <0.1% in 2004)

    When will JW's get around to teaching the rest of Earths population so they may learn about the Bible?

    Do you really believe that 99.9% of the Earths Population will be killed by God?

    Why would God make sure the Bible was the most availible book in the world, yet only let a few people (JWs) understand it?

    PS ...I'd have a few WT quotes preprinted. Like the ones that say only JW's will be saved, 1975 stuff, whacky medical teachings, etc.

  • Crumpet

    I would begin with asking them why they want this conversation now? Is it because they've noticed how mellowed you are? Can they think why that may be? see power of questions. You ask all the questions and let them think of the answers. It does seem like most of the doctrinal stuff isnt going to work with them at this time - so actions and your positive mental attitude speak much louder. I am curious though how is it you have been able to discuss such things with them at all in the past without them accusing you of apostasy etc? Have you been dfed? I read in another post you had been at bethel - why do they think you left?

    I would love to be a fly on the wall at your place however when the discussion takes place. Go well armed mentally and emotionally. I wish you courage and a breakthrough however small.

  • Annointed2

    I agree with the person who said not to waste your time having the conversation. I tried to have a conversation with my mom this past Sunday and it ended up with me being upset and hanging the phone up. I have been having this "conversation" for the past 8 years (to no avail). I thought, AGAIN, that if I tried to reason from another perspective, maybe this time it would work. I have just had to realize that once a person is brainwashed, there is nothing that can change that except God. Having this conversation is only going to leave you more frustrated. Like you said, you know all the comebacks that they will use and the same ones that my mother DID use on Sunday -- "the light will get brighter", "in time, Jehovah will clean house," "we are not in the organization for people", and all the other sayings that they use. Like I tried to explain to her, life is not black and white like the Witnesses try to make it seem. In life, there are a lot of "gray" areas and they need to realize that. Of course, it went unheard. I am just more determined now to live my life and find my "own" way for me and my family instead of waiting for the "light to get brighter" in the organization and in my mothers eyes. It hurts to know that a family can become so divided on something like this but it happens. I'm a living witness to that (no pun intended).

  • serendipity

    Hi Annointed2.

    Welcome to the forum!

  • Finally-Free
    They know most things that are wrong with the WTS but refuse to budge on the idea that it is the only true religion.

    The Watchtower has gone to great lengths to undermine other world religions, particularly the Catholic church. They have disputed their doctrines and policies. When pointing out the flaws in other religions, they call them "Babylon the Great" and say they're controlled by Satan. Yet when exactly the same flaws are pointed out in the Watchtower Society, they shrug it off, saying that they're "imperfect men", and "Jehovah will correct it in his own time". They are, in effect saying the following:

    1. Jehovah's organization and Satan's organization are both guilty of the same mistakes.
    2. Jehovah approves of these mistakes - the only difference is in who is making them.

    The reasoning that "Jehovah will correct things in his own time" is flawed. If that were the case, there never would have been a need to break away from other religions in the first place. After all, Jehovah could have corrected those other religions in his own time too, couldn't he?

    If they say they're only ones preaching, they are wrong. Other religions preach too, but they use more effective methods. They don't knock on doors because they know damn well no one is home. They claim they use the method Jesus used. They are wrong. Jesus used the most effective method that was available at the time. If he had radio, TV, and the internet he may very well have used those mediums, but he certainly would not have wasted the little time he had knocking on doors, knowing full well the majority of people were not home. Jehovah's Witnesses do not use the most effective preaching methods available. And very little of their preaching or literature speaks of the kingdom. The kingdom is an afterthought, and generally allocated only a few vague sentences in each magazine.


Share this