Jerry Bergman, Ph.D. (psy) - JW insights

by AhHah 54 Replies latest jw friends

  • AhHah


    Thanks for the link. I found the associated link below to be especially relevant. It is apparently an objective review of one of Bergman's books (even though the site is pro-JW). I haven't seen the book, but this review documents sloppy research and questionable editing and credibility.

    He is apparently very self-indulgent even with his "professional" writings and hurts his credibility. Seems very immature and unprofessional, as has been pointed out by others on this thread who are more familiar with his work than I am.

    I still believe that he has some research that is potentially insightful to JWs and ex-JWs. It is a shame that he makes it all seem suspect by his indulgences. As Waiting suggested, he should have gone through enough therapy before attempting his work.

    Even then, I wonder how objective a person could ever be after having had part of their life taken from them by a cult association. On the other hand, who else (other than an ex-JW) would ever care enough to work as tirelessly as he seems to have in attempting to document the potential harm of this religion (biased as it may be). Ironically, it is probably the well-read ex-JWs who are past the anger, who are in the best position to critically evaluate his work and conclusions -- and they are probably the least in need of it. C'est la vie.

    Flawed as his work may be, perhaps it is better than silence. If nothing else, a big caution flag is being waved to the world. In view of all the wasted lives (including mine) and potential wasted lives, there is a real need for big flags to be waved.

    I wish there was some way to gather from every ex-JW a standardized survey of damages sustained through membership and have one place for persons to view them and assess the total impact. This would be relevant to anyone interested in cult influences. The dark side of this scenario is those who would use such data to justify the denial of religious and other personal freedoms. Since membership is voluntary (except for children of members), the danger of cult involvement is a sad but necessary price that society pays. The answer to this dilemma is not loss of freedoms, but rather education. When everyone has access to objective information, then the cults are robbed of much of their power and influence over gullible victims. Hopefully, the Internet will prove to be a valuable resource for such information, and not just a vehicle for those would prey on the unwary.

    Edited by - AhHah on 4 November 2000 2:55:30

  • Pathofthorns
  • Xandit


    The problem in these matters always boils down to objectivity. One person's objectivity is another's bias if you know what I mean. I doubt if it is even possible to be objective when dealing with an issue that almost by definition is completely subjective. A book called "The Politics of Religious Apostacy" is very good on the subject. I'm sure you would find it interesting.

  • RedhorseWoman

    AhHah, I agree with your point about getting the word out about the harm JW's can cause.

    I think, however, that any sort of widespread, organized effort would be construed by JW's and others as persecution by disgruntled former members who couldn't live up to the "high standards" set by the group.

    As limited as it is, I think that just by having discussion boards such as this and other support boards where anyone can ask questions, as well as individual "witnessing" about our experiences, can be very helpful.

    The numbers of active publishers are slowly dropping every year. People are beginning to gain knowledge. Knowledge is anathema to the WTBTS.

  • Kismet

    Sorry to only come into this discussion at this point.

    While working with the Society';s legal Dept I had some dealings with Mr. Bergman.

    I personally found him to be an angry little man. In the three cases wherein his involvement was requested by the non-JW or "apostate (sorry. I hate that term too)" the judge refused to allow him to testify refusing to acknowledge that Jerry bergman was an "expert witness".

    I too would love to see an un-biased (is there such a thing????) study done on the effects of the JW's doctrines on the average persons psyche, etc. But unfortunately and contrary to the beliefs of the JW's people just don't give that much thought to them to consider it a worthwhile study (reward/profitability)


    Oh and on a personal note I apologize for my long absence here on the board. I think of many of you often but I have decided to take a step back from being an ex-JW and just allow myself to be me without the baggage. It has felt good to do so. Feel free to ICQ me anytime.


  • AhHah


    Thanks very much for that info! I would be very interested to hear your impressions on the formation of the Society's new corporations.

  • Sandgroper

    Hi all, this is my first post here, so please be gentle with me.

    A lot has been written about the alleged 'mental health problems' of Jehovahs Witnesses. From what is on the WWW, anyone would be forgiven for believing that only JWs have these problems.

    Are 'mental health problems' found amongst members of the Baptists, Methodists, Church of Christ?

    Of couse there are. So why single out JWs?

    Jerry Bergman makes it sound as if 'mental health problems' are unique to JWs, or at the very least, if you are a JW, you will end up with 'mental health problems'.

    In recent history, there have occured within the western('Christian')world, numerous shootings and bombings in schools and elesewhere, caused by people with 'mental health problems'. You can be rest assured that none of these massacres were the work of any JWs. How can we be so sure?

    Because if there was a JW involved in any of these occurrences, the whole world would know the religious affiliation of that person.



  • Frenchy

    Welcome to the board. We look forward to seeing more of your posts. From time to time my alter ego, The French Knight makes a rare post. Perhaps you'll meet him later. For some reason he has failed to disclose to me he seems to be partial to posting to Seven, however.

    -Seen it all, done it all, can't remember most of it-

    Edited by - Frenchy on 16 November 2000 22:23:57

  • AhHah

    Welcome Sandgroper!

    I would agree that JW's have no corner on the "mentally disturbed" market.

    What I find concerning is the dysfunctional effects that can be caused or, at least exacerbated, by membership in a very controlling organization, such as the JW's. The effects may be on an unconscious level, and in the mind of the affected there may be no conscious connection between the religion and the personality disorder. In fact, there may not even be a conscious awareness of any dysfunction. The gulit and stress caused from an inablilty to measure up to the impossible demands that are placed (especially on those who are conscientious and devout) have definite effects -- something has to give. When the affected person cannot consciously allow himself to recognize the true cause, the psyche finds escape in a different way, often a dysfunctional way. Unfortunately, I speak from personal experience.

    It would be very naive for a person to pretend that this relationship does not exist in the JW org. Sadly, they are just one of many such organizations.

    Sorry to burst your bubble, but there have been notorious murders among the JW members. No massacres that they have committed yet. One could argue, however, that the massacre of JW's in African countries were at least partly caused by the unreasonable (and inconsistent) policies of the Governing Body. Most of the suffering that is caused by membership is endured in silence. Make no mistake, however -- many lives have been and are being ruined by JW membership.

    Hope I haven't scared you off. I look forward to hearing from you again.

    p.s. Does your name have any Aussie significance? Sounds like the name of a bird or something (or would that be sandpiper)? It doesn't have to do with dates on the beach, does it?

  • RedhorseWoman

    "Dates on the beach"? AhHah, you are a DOM. LOL

    Sandgroper, from my own experiences and the experiences of others I have known as JW's, I have to disagree that there is not an excess of mental illness amongst JW's.

    Go to any JW board and read the posts from those who are suffering with depression and anxiety. The constant demands to do "more" and the constant feeling that you're never quite "good enough" definitely help to foster feelings of depression. The guilt that comes from being afraid that every little thing you do might be construed as a "sin" doesn't help either. Then there's the fear that you'll "fall short of the prize". None of this results in a healthy mental outlook.

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