Found on a pro-JW site. Excellent read - enjoy. -BLC
A Ministry of Misery - Part 1Mental Illness and the Jehovah's Witnesses
"Happy is that people, whose God is the LORD" Psalm 144:15. This indicates if a person's God is the LORD, Jehovah, he will be happy. If his God isn't Jehovah he may not be happy. If he is miserable, certainly his God could not be Jehovah. If people are following God in the right way, they will be characterized by happiness. The mental health of the Jehovah's Witnesses speaks something of their relationship with God, or lack thereof.
Psychiatrists have an important tool they use to diagnose mental illness. For a parallel, consider medical doctors. They use tools like the thermometer and the stethoscope. If a person has a lot of germs in his body, the temperature will rise. A thermometer helps detect the problem. The doctor can also tell a lot about a person's physical health by the stethoscope. Psychiatrists likewise have a simple tool they use.
Question. The psychiatrists tool is a simple question. That question is, "Are you happy?" If the person says, "No. I am miserable," he has revealed the chief indicator of mental health problems. If a person is happy and is honest, we cannot really say he is sick. Mental health does not look at any disease process in the body tissue. It primarily looks at, are you happy?
Let's ask that question of Jehovah's Witnesses. "Are you, as a Jehovah's Witness, happy?" Dr. Jerry Bergman's experience from working with hundreds of Jehovah's Witnesses and congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses for over 20 years is, they are miserable people with very few exceptions! They know they are not happy. But are they going to tell you that? Obviously not. They are not going to sit down and tell you their problems. Doctors have an advantage from doing therapy with the Witnesses year by year. Naturally, when they are coming for help, they are going to tell what is wrong and what their problems are. That is why they pay doctors to help them. The patients know they have to be honest and tell how they feel in order to be helped. Imagine going to the doctor and the doctor says, "Well, how to do you feel?" The patient responds, "It is none of your business!" That patient could not be helped very much. Doctors have found a large number of Jehovah's Witnesses to be very unhappy people. They are miserable!
Depression. What are some of the problems the Witnesses have? All kinds of mental diseases could be listed. Essentially, the main problems are depression, feeling of helplessness, worry, doubt, and conflicts in the congregation. The elders try to enforce extremely rigid rules. For a few years wire-rimmed glasses were condemned. If a person came into a Kingdom Hall with wire rims, that individual would have to sit down for a conference. He would be told, "We notice you are wearing wire rims. You are falling out of the truth. We are concerned about this. We think you need help." It becomes absurd after a while. And as you can imagine, trying to enforce this much rigidity and this much conformity, creates problems. When one really believes the Watchtower is God's organization, the elder becomes God's representative. In a sense, what he says is almost like God saying it. Therefore, if an elder says a person is immature because of wearing wire-rimmed glasses, that is like God saying you are immature because you wear wire-rimmed glasses! This causes people to feel depressed and to say, "I'm a bad person! I'm terrible!" And naturally they feel guilt, worry and doubt.
Impressions. Of course, Witnesses try to paint a picture to outsiders that they are happy people to give a good impression of the Organization. They want to convey the idea, "We are all happy. Join the Watchtower Organization." Psychiatrists, psychologists, researchers and other sources have much to say about the emotional problems of the Jehovah's Witnesses. Hundreds of Jehovah's Witnesses were contacted including a number of high-ranking officials in the Watchtower. The leadership typically responds, "But we do not know what to do!" Then they reject solutions. While the Witnesses lack happiness, they are obligated to pretend as if they have it.
Contradictions. "Well," you might ask, "How do they rationalize this? How do they go around believing, 'We have the truth. God is with us. He is using us. And yet we are miserable'?" Some of the Witnesses conclusions sound rational even though they are false. First, they believe those inside the Watchtower Society are God's people. Everybody outside the Watchtower Society is of Satan. They reason, Satan would try to do everything he can to be nice to those outside of the Watchtower because he has all of them. They consider those inside the Watchtower to be Satan's failures. Therefore, Satan would try to make everyone inside the Watchtower Society miserable. The Witnesses reason that their general unhappiness, thinking the people on the outside are possibly happier, proves they are God's people. If you reason through the problem with them in this way, they would probably say, "No, not quite." But in conversation you can see they really believe it.
On the other hand, they teach the opposite. They teach the only ones who are truly happy are those within the organization. They say those outside are miserable because they are not in God's Organization. The contradiction is somewhat upsetting to the Witnesses; but they should at least think about it.
Many Jehovah's Witnesses are aware of the serene contentment of godly Christians. This can cause them some paranoia. Psychiatrically, the most common mental illness among Jehovah's Witnesses is known as paranoia schizophrenia. Most studies show that it is at least four times higher among the Witnesses than among the non-Witnesses.
One can understand how they would become paranoid. They see people outside of the Organization who seem to be happy while the Witnesses are not happy and they know they aren't. When a Christian talks to them about their error, it often makes sense. How would you expect the Witnesses to react? Frightened! It is frightening to people to feel they are wrong. At this point they can either change their beliefs or they become paranoid or crazy with mental illness! The Witnesses commonly refuse to acknowledge any value from what other people have to say.