I had to consider this question very carefully myself. I was kind of a "live and let live" kind of person. To each his own. But I didn't know then about the belief on blood transfusions, which could ultimately be a matter of life and death. If an adult JW wants to sacrifice themselves, that is one thing, but their children didn't choose this. And in most cases, I don't believe anyone chooses it. I doubt that there would be many people jumping into a study session with the JWs, if they knew right up front everything that would be required of them, and had they studied the Bible before ever hearing the JW spin on things. I've read tons about cult mind control, and Steven Hassan's book Releasing The Bonds has given me a lot of insight on why you should not try to get someone out of a cult and then leave them with out any support. You can actually do more harm than good. You have to let it be their decision and just plant some food for thought. Things they haven't thought of on their own. Then, be there for them. Listen to them. Don't try to solve their problems, but lead them in the direction to solving it for themselves. If you merely want to show them how "right" you are and how "wrong" they are, then you are being cruel. This would not be ethical. But if you really care and you are in it for the long haul, and plan to take things slow and easy, then your heart is in the right place and you may actually help them. But it's going to take a lot of studying and patience. Don't even attempt it until you have done your homework.
Is it always ethical to try to help someone get out?
Excellent question! One I have pondered a fair bit. Even if I got chance to ever speak to my parents again I dont think they could handle the truth - it would kill them to knwo they have wasted their entire lives. I dont thinkl their brains would allow them to absorb the information. Its taken me 15 years to accept its not the truth. Do they even have 15 years left? I feel sure that would be rapidly curtailed were they to understand the full implications of how they have been misled and how they are to cope as they enter retirement with no pension and no home - just a rented house....
I would not try to help anyone out who doesn't want to talk about it. But I will continue to try to slay the beast. It is impossible to stay loyal to an organization that no longer exists.
No, there are some people that it's just better to leave alone. I will not tell my parents what I know about "the Truth", because, like Crumpet, I think it could (literally) kill them. To know that their entire lives were spent in a religion that is not "the one true religion" would be too much for them. There's also other Witnesses who go, who truly enjoy their lives. They might not like going to 5 meetings a week, but to their way of thinking, it's worth it because of the social aspect of it and they believe that they're worshipping Jehovah the way they're supposed to. If they're happy, then that's fine; knock yourselves out.
I've given a lot of thought to this question. I don't think it is ALWAYS ethical principally because not everyone can handle the trauma that can be occasioned by the realization.
In my case when I learned the truth about about the basis of my then JW faith following a deliberate search of the internet, I entered a most painful phase of my life and though I'm far much better psycho-emotionally than immediately after I came to the realization in Aug 2000, I've still some way to go 5 years down the line before I can claim to feel fully healthy. Living in the so called third world, I've not had any support that I can talk of from direct personal interaction with other ex-JWs.
I've also seen the pain that my assisting my parents and siblings out has caused some of them especially my parents and most of all my father whom I suspect is full of recriminations for having gotten the rest of us involved from 1969 and for having wasted his life and long periods of ours.
So my 2 cents worth of opinion is that as much as is prudent, we should do the most we can to assist loved ones out the WT's chains but with the caveat that the decision to or not to try and help any particular individual should be taken only after very careful consideration with the overiding concern being the overall and long term welfare of the person we are considering to help.
but to their way of thinking, it's worth it because of the social aspect of it and they believe that they're worshipping Jehovah the way they're supposed to. If they're happy, then that's fine; knock yourselves out.
That's my thought, too. Live and let live. I'm through judging other people.
You can't change people who don't want to change. Face it, some people want to be JWs and no amount of evidence against the WTS is going to change that.
There's a point where you have to take care of yourself, make sure you're in a good place and have come to grips with it and just let it go when you can't convert everyone from being a JW.
That's not to say that if a JW wants to talk about it that I wouldn't take the oppurtunity to give them something to think about, maybe create some doubts. But just as I want people to allow me to live my life without religion, I'll allow them to live theirs with it, if they so choose.
I'm reminded of the movie, "The Shawshank Redemption"...when old Brooks was released from prison, yet he was too "institutionalized" to cope in the "real" world. This also had to do with the fact that he had no support on the outside.
On the other hand, Morgan Freeman's character (forgot the name), ultimately had something and someone to turn to to make everything right...so I guess my point would be that an "institutionalized" person would require no shortage of love, support, and hope (faith?) in their future to get them through their release from the institution.
At a family gathering, one of my relatives said "even if it's not the truth, it's still a good way to live." Most others present nodded their heads in agreement. I decided if they're happy where they're at, let them be.
All your thoughts on this has certainly given me a lot more to mull over...even more than I already was
My mother has been a baptised JW for something like 55 years now. I was raised as a 4th gen JW but left and am DFed. She is not supposed to have anything to do with me, yet she does on a limited basis, and I know it plays havoc with her, pitting her maternal instincts against her WTS-trained conscience.
But I don't know how to do this dance any more. I don't know how to go on walking on eggshells to maintain this bizarre shadow-relationship with her, yet I know she is probably psychologically fragile. I just want my momI want to be able to talk openly with her, share honest thoughts and feelings and information.
And the more I say about this, the more I realize I just sound like a baby, and it's time to grow up, accept things as they are, and leave it alone. Damn. I hate this farce