Why do churches still make me panic ?

by Aiesha Harley 36 Replies latest jw friends

  • Aiesha Harley
    Aiesha Harley

    Hi Under74. Thanks for the explanation and the warm welcome. I'm here to stay, now I've found you guys I've no intention of popping off.

  • under74

    OH, and I have many of the same issues as you...although my father was never and elder...although my grandfather is. Up until a year ago my closest friends didn't know I was raised JW. Some friends still don't know...it's not that I'm ashamed anymore, it's more like I don't want to deal with what a couple other people have done when I told them. That is, comparing it to their mainstream religion and acting like they knew more about controlling religions and cults than I do. But then again, I guess they mean well or some of them anyway and I'm making assumptions about friends that I probably shouldn't. I think I'm just at a point right now where I don't want to deal with that anymore because of other things going on. BUT I also don't want to feel like I'm keeping things from friends...which I do feel sometimes.

  • mrsjones5

    I loved your story Reaper and what you said about kingdom halls

    the dark Satanic Kingdom Halls

    is exactyly what I feel every time I pass one, especially at night.


  • jgnat

    Hi, aiesha. I'm a regular churchgoer and my husband is a JW. I've seen him break in to a sweat at weddings and funerals. We sit at the back and near an aisle. I'm not surprised you have that reaction. First of all, you've been drilled from birth about the evils of "Babylon the Great". My hubby always has a sharp eye out for pagan symbolism and all that. He sits there, sweating, mumbling under his breath. He sits when everyone stands. He tries so hard to maintain his apart-ness. Poor man.

    Another factor, I think, is that a lot of emotion and restrictions are attached to the church building. You can't feel neutral, too many triggers are set off. I have a similar reaction to Easter, as I went to a rather strict church that drilled in to us that bunnies were pagan. Even though I have loosened up, I can't relate to the Easter bunny and I haven't found a decent tradition or ritual to replace it.

    And, finally, the service may be TOO MUCH like a Kingdom Hall service. I am sure even an innocent introduction would set you off wondering if they are going to try and convert you.

    Here's some tips if you are ever in the mood to confront that phobia. Though I echo other's advice that there is no need to hurry.

    • See if you can excise some of the JW language from your speech. I see you still refer to the society as the "truth". By refusing to say so, you can help your mind view them differently.
    • I use my active curiosity when visiting different churches. I've developed a healthy appreciation for the ritual and pageantry of the Catholics, and the poetic scripts in the Anglican church (do you know the priest says their scripted part and the WHOLE AUDIENCE responds in kind? It gave me delicious thrills the first time I saw it.)
    • If you have a choice (obviously with weddings and funerals you don't) attend one of the modern churches. Many of them are much plainer, and the auditorium looks like...a regular auditorium.
  • LittleToe

    Actually I once got triggered from a modern church that looked so very much like a Kingdum Hall. But I got better...

    A word to the wise

  • james_woods


    You touched a little memory for me from 20+ years back. For a long long time I was totally creeped out by most any church, but especially by the really big Gothic cathedral style (Anglican or Catholic, Buddhist or whatever).

    I think I noticed that you are in UK? In 1991 I had a 2Week Amex tour of England + Scotland and as you can guess, we got taken to a lot of small churches and big cathedrals. The ones that really made me think were Westminster, the new modern one in Liverpool, the little chapel in Balmoral Scotland, and even the ruins of the bombed out one in Coventry. This was less spooky because we were just looking at the buildings, the history, art, etc. Then, I got to thinking - there was nothing wrong with the people who go to these (mostly). What I was having trouble with was the whole organized religion thing (for very good reasons) and not really these people, their various beliefs, or their beautiful art and architecture. And, these things were not just for their own followers, they were part of the legacy of all human society - even including the doctrines and beliefs. Example- ancient Greek and Romon pagan ruins and mythology.

    You know, maybe if WT had tried a little harder to be more open and less selfish we might not have been made so prejudiced toward all other attempts to worship.

    Welcome, I am new here too - James from Dallas Tx.

  • LittleToe

    Hi James welcome to the board. You're in party central, with Dallas boasting the place that has the most posters from this board.

    You know, maybe if WT had tried a little harder to be more open and less selfish we might not have been made so prejudiced toward all other attempts to worship.

    But that would undermine it's aims. The joy of cults - exclusivity...

  • james_woods

    Hi back, Aiesha & LittleToe -

    Did not know that about Dallas! However, I think that Okla City, just up north, may have been the scene of a really good part of the walkouts over the v1981 Bethel scandal. As posted before, both M.E.Dunlap and Ed Dunlap were close friends and I got DFd in 1981 because I wrote committee a letter supporting their position.

    Now after that progressive stance I took in last post here, I admit that there is one religious place that STILL gives me the willies. It is just north of Dallas W. outside Denton, Tx on 380. It's a big circuit-district assembly site complete with all kind of Watchtower signage etc. Sometimes if I drive by it I can see boatloads of the lemmings creeping along in a line to turn in, all with a WT stuck in their back windows.

    I get past it all by turning on my power key on the black Corvette and going to a lower gear to blow by them.

    Seriously, the wife and I are thinking about coming back and doing something like that tour we took perhaps next year; so maybe I can give you guys a PersMsg and get some recent advice on what to do and see. Have not been back to UK except just 3-4 times to London airport and then my company office.

    Later, James

  • Aiesha Harley
    Aiesha Harley

    This is great ! jgnat, thanks for the tips, though ironically i hadn't been using the term 'the truth' for a long long time until i started writing on these forums, ooops. The rest was really great though, huge thanks.

    The funny thing is some churches, especially the older ones are actually beautiful buildings to look at - on the outside. I can actually look at them from afar and appreciate all the hard work that went into building them, it's just when i go in them that the heebie jeebies start.

    I only do weddings, funerals and recently a christening (which sent me loooooopy!). I'm so anti christening i felt such a hypocrit for being there but i didn't want to let me friend down by not going.

    I don't want to single anyone else out in particular as you're all saying terrific stuff so thank you to all for keeping my little query going. ooo gosh I think i'm going to be doing lots of chatting on here over time, apologies in advance for the waffling i do later.

  • Aiesha Harley
    Aiesha Harley

    Oo by the way, James_woods will happily send you lots of stuff, though have been completely in my own bubble and haven't travelled around England much at all - am trying to rectify that now though.

Share this