Where to begin? New here... I was raised Jehovah's Witness and am still confused by the experience. Heh, deep down I think I still feel guilty for even coming here. My father was an elder though I haven't been active since I was twelve. I'm twenty three now. Whenever I raise the topic of growing up the way I did to people they always say the same thing... "Oh I'm sorry" or "How horrible *chuckle* *chuckle*" or something to this effect. They call my raised relegion a cult and it hurts deep down, I laugh it off but deep down I want to cry. It's a mixed feeling of hurt, confusion and misunderstanding. I read books that call the Jehovah's Witnesses a cult and it angers me yet I really don't believe in most of the Society's teachings anymore, so why should it still hurt? Why should my heart BURN when it comes to this subject? I believe that being raised this way has only made me better in most ways, funny enough. Getting up in front of the congregation to do "Talks" when I was eight and going door to door enabled me to develop skills to a point I wouldn't have otherwise. I'm happy for the lessons it brought. When people call it a cult it makes me ill. It denotes to me that my parents weren't anymore than brainless zombies willing to accept any drivel passed under their noses. My father is one of the smartest men I have ever met, so this simply can't be the case. Though not being involved feels better... not going to meetings four times a week feels liberating, like a great weight has been lifted, even to this day. I don't want to go back. I HAVE had bible studies within the past two years and it failed to spark anything, they tried too hard to envoke some sort of primordially emotion within me. If I ever went back I think it would involve the aftermath of a train wreck or falling out of a car, something causing mental and/or traumatic injury to my reasoning capacities. I'm Taoist now and if you'd like a better indication as to my current beliefs you're more than welcome to visit my blog: http://www.myblogspace.net/inaneframe I'm not trying to advertise it because the blog is all for me to express myself(no advertising), it's only if you'd be silly enough to be interested in lil ol' me. I look forward to readin your replies, thank you for your time :')
It REALLY does hurt
I think part of the pain comes from thinking you could have been such a dupe. What do others see that you missed? I don't think there is anything wrong with acknowledging the positive things you learned from the society. As long as you have worked out your own motivations and feelings.
It always hurts to admit we were fooled. It doesn't matter how smart people are; they can still be taken in by something that sounds good at the time. And being raised as a JW doesn't help. Children want to believe what they are taught by their parents; parents are supposed to be trusted sources. (Many of us here have had bad experiences with parents.) Your father may be very intelligent, but it doesn't mean he can always see the truth.
There is also really deep seated conditioning to defend the organization and not to do anything that would tarnish it's name. It goes down to a much more subconscious level than one might expect and is extremly hard to root out.
Hi there inaneframe :) thanks for sharing a bit of your story, no doubt there's a great deal more to it than you can actually put into words right now.
Just remember that you always feel the way you feel for very good reaons, don't ever doubt that, or think that there must be something fundamentally flawed about you. It sounds as though you have quite an inquring mind, and you can be sure that if you continue to search for real truth and answers you will find them. Just allow yourself to go through the motions of releasing yourself from the org, and most importantly don't allow yourself to be wracked with guilt for doing something that comes so naturally to you.
And of course you feel hurt and pain regarding the things you're hearing about the org that have been hidden from you. You invested a huge portion of your life into the WT organisation and it feels like a huge part of who you are. But I've no doubt that there is much more to you that you are only just begining to become aware of. It should hurt you very much to leave such a big part of your life behind, you will grieve about it for some time to come yet, especially since your immediate family are still attached to it, and perhaps anyone you've ever really known well.
Take heart though friend that you will come through it. I was about your age (22) when left and I've survived it even though there were times when I thought I couldn't. It involved a very painful process of letting go and reworking my working view of the world. On that note though, I highly recommend getting your hands on a copy of 'The Road Less Travelled' by Scott Beck you will find it in the States. It's not so-called "apostate" literature so it won't frighten you as much as say Crisis of Conscience by Ray Franz would. Just remember though that the Governing Body puts their own very bizarre twist on the term apostate, and apply it liberally to anyone who chooses to think outside the square. Think of JWD more as a support group for people that understand. Your posting here doesn't have to define who you are, you just take from it what you need and believe and dismiss the rest, you are in full control, so give yourself credit for that.
All the best to you matey. And just remember hundreds if not thousands here have been exactly where you are, and you have my word that despite the hardship right now it's the best place (within yourself) you can be right now.
Take care, frog x
Thanx for sharing. I know how the term 'cult' can cut to the quick. I felt the same right after leaving. For me, after 40 years plus a witness, the word evoked personal trauma, because it indicates that somehow I was not smart enough to see thru the sham. Time has helped. I am not stupid, I was controlled by a form of brainwashing that is common in religious high control groups like the JW's. Your parents are/were not stupid for accepting the false reasoning and control of this group either. They were duped. Many intellegent people get duped everyday by scam artists of all sorts and religious charlatans of all shades.
Glad to have you onboard. BTW, I now refer to the JW's as a cult, not because it is a comfortable term for me to use, but because they meet the criteria established by experts in this area. Take it with a grain of salt. You will see the term here often, but these people have all been thru what you have in one way of another.
Maybe you could do some research on what a cult is? Margaret Singer is an excellent place to start. Steve Hassan also has some newer books out on the subject. He was once a Moonie. Lifton is an excellent resource as well. It may be hurtful to you for other people to look at the jw's as a cult, but they certainly do fit the bill. Find out why. Look into mind control. It may be hurtful because you look at cults as all the same, sitting around chanting, selling flowers in airports, and undying love for their 'leader'. Become educated about cults and the jw's. Why do you suppose so many people think they are a cult?
Thanks everybody, I should've expected this kind of supportive atmosphere.
I'm also pleased by the grammar I've seen here so far, very nice :D MUCH better than any other forums I've visited. Makes me feel giddy to see. I know I'm weird.
I'm flying out of Vegas today, moving to Reno for college and I was too anxious to sleep. Amidst my usual computer nerd oriented web travelings I came across the WINE HQ (Windows emulator for Linux) and spotted the 2005 Watchtower CD on the platinum compatibility list... I googled "watchtower" spun around awhile and found this site. I'm glad that I did find it. It's good to know that I'm not alone. I have my sisters with whom I talk to infrequently on this topice but I find the discussion too sparse. It feels so GOOD to be here amongst "brothers and sisters", thank you.
That's another thing that always bothered me in the JWs. The limited role of women in the congregation. I always dispised most of Paul's teachings, am I alone here?
BTW the "brothers and sisters" remark was a joke... I forgot to add a "hehe" afterward. hehe
Yes, labels hurt. Actually they are never "objective": they always reflect the social setting of the speaker. You can understand "cult" as a word of "mainstream culture" screening out "fringe subcultures". Then you can see the attempt at self-justification of "normal" people, and their underlying fear, behind the label.
One great thing with the Tao is its consciousness of the relativity of language.
My late father too was regarded as a very intelligent person, yet he became a JW. There are many intelligent JWs by many standards. Just, "intelligence" is rarely universal in its application. Most intelligent people have very dumb aspects.