What contributes to a "climate of fear" in the congregation?

by truthseeker 30 Replies latest jw friends

  • truthseeker

    I was thinking about how much fear there is among Jehovah's Witnesses in relating to each other.

    If you could read the private thoughts of JW's, you'd probably be surprised at the level of fear they have of each other.

    This fear is not likely to be the morbid kind of fear, but the other kind of fear that concerns "what will people think of me?"

    You watched a movie at the weekend, it was rated PG, but you are AFRAID to tell your friends that you went to see it.

    You were only able to report 4 hours of field service that month, but you are AFRAID to report this number so you tweak it.

    You missed several meetings due to sickness, you still feel unwell, but you FEAR what the congregation may think so you force yourself to go.

    You went on a weekend getaway, but you are AFRAID to tell the friends why you were missing that weekend in case they think you put kingdom interests last.

    You watched a good book, but you are AFRAID to talk about it to your friends because they might be stumbled.

    You heard of someone who got disfellowshipped but you are AFRAID to ask what happened.

    You were unable to take Friday off for the convention, but you FEAR what will be said about you.

    You did not auxiliary pioneer during the Memorial Season and you are AFRAID people will think of you as spiritually weak.

    Not everyone will let these things bother them, but many do.

    This climate of fear and worry about what the congregation may or may not think does not contribute to a loving atmosphere.

    What other things can you think of that contribute to a climate of fear?

  • blondie

    Who says you have to do something "wrong"? I have known JWs that more than willing to make something up and spread the word.


  • gumby
    What other things can you think of that contribute to a climate of fear?

    Giving the #4 talk and finding out your nutsack has been showing the whole time cuz you forgot to zip up.

    All cults have the same fear types......that being fearful of how you are percieved by others of the same faith. When god becomes second place to man/men, you always have a fear factor. With god you have the satisfaction that he will judge you and he knows your heart......with man there is no reading of the heart but rather a judgemental attitude based on your percievable actions.

    Gum-phil- osofer

  • truthseeker

    Good points Blondie.

    None of the above things are wrong in themselves, it's how others view them.

    One sister once said that if the Society tell you something is a conscience matter, you know the answer is going to be no.

  • hopie

    The Governing Body creates this climate of fear. If they have convinced you they are the "ONLY VOICE OF GOD" and your everlasting life is on line, you are in contant fear of not measuring up.

    This is spiritual abuse. You feel all eyes are watching, and they are. Another sign to prove they are a CULT.


  • Blueblades

    Cliques in the congregation create a climate of fear. How can I be included in that small circle that has the inside track on everyone else. Cliques invite each other out to places the rest of the congregation isn't told about, movies, return ( Coffee ) visits, outings, dinners, over to the Bethel room for food and drinks, what's new coming down the pipeline, etc.


  • avidbiblereader

    Instead of enjoying true christian freedom, they don't realize that they suffer from fear of man, as the Bible says , they enjoy or worry more about the praise from men instead of God. The fear is also an evidence that the HS is not there among them.


  • james_woods

    I have seen this develop way beyond the normal "fear the CO, fear the WTS, fear the end of the world" stuff. I think there can be several root causes that makes this much worse in certain congregations:

    a) - a particularly malevolent (and domineering) elder or two who have pretty much hijacked the congregation for their own power trip.

    b) - congregations who have formed a sort of clique of the "insiders" - sometimes by family relationships, sometimes by race or culture, sometimes by money verses no-money, or some such dividing factor.

    c) - sometimes a congregation can be literally ripped apart by an unpopular new Circuit or District Overseer, or by the event of an unpopular disfellowshipping & the resulting gossip.

    d) - most any congregation at all who is going through an "apostacy witch-hunt". You would be amazed at the radical turns that ordinary people can take when they start to rip through their own looking for the witch of the day.

  • compound complex
    compound complex

    Dear Truthseeker,

    Been there, FELT that. Some of us are still getting through the deeply- and purposefully-set phobias. One brother repeatedly refused to call on me during any meeting. At Book Study it was particularly awkward because it was so obvious what was going on. Though I am not an in-your-face sort of guy, I somehow was not intimidated and, per FDS directives, continued to raise my hand. Smartaleckness was not even my agenda [not too much]. Well, last night I dreamed I was back at the KH, he was conducting and DID call on me. He responded to my raised hand by calling me by my first name [not CoCo]. That was done at my hall only for interested persons who wished to participate. Even little dubs got the bro' and sis' titles. Well, now I'm in limbo about my real standing in the congregation. Only in my dreams........


  • LittleToe

    To be candid, I don't think that many JWs live out their lives in fear. I certainly didn't, as I had the self-righteous belief that I was in the right boat and believed 100% the right stuff.

    • Social fear, among the JWs, seems little worse than in any other social group. Few people like to be the odd-one-out in any setting.
    • Qualms do arise when aberrant thoughts arise concerning WTS doctrine, but these are usually pushed down. This isn't unique t6o the group either, though perhaps the effects are more pronounced due to the cognative dissonance associated with having to teach something that you may not fully believe.
    • The "plague" fear associated with being around someone who has left the group is more unique, however. For this reason I would place their shunning policy at the top of my list of things that they should be pilloried for!

    Hence I think the term "climate of fear" may be inappropriate, unless you're talking about the effect of CO visits on the Elder body

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