Were you religious BEFORE becoming a JW?

by LittleToe 20 Replies latest jw friends

  • choosing life
    choosing life

    I was raised as a Lutheran, confirmed and all. When I was 17, I decided that the religion was hypocritical and stopped going. I always believed that the Bible was God's word and still prayed regularly.

    My husband, on the other hand. was not raised in any religion and it was through him that we became involved with the jws. I went into the jws rather reluctantly. I think his lack of knowledge of the Bible made him a better convert than me. He is still a true believer in it all.

    I do think the jws tend to prey on those who have no Bible knowledge or religious experience. I remember being told to find out if a Bible study believed in the trinity and if not, just kinda skip that subject. Reasoning was that we might accidently introduce them to the belief of the trinity and they would believe it. Ignorance is bliss to a jw.

  • LittleToe

    I was also raised a JW, as were my parents before me (mum was 8 and Dad was 5, when all four of my grandparents joined).

    I guess the mainstay of my curiosity is that all the time I was a zealot JW I didn't see anyone who I could really have called "really religious" join up. Though quite a number had some religion or other: they were either dissatisfied with the religion of their birth; or they had never really got into it or understood what it was all about. The "bible studies" seemed to give them so much assurance of their "facts" (albeit, as we now know, on a crumbling foundation) that it was perhaps the first "sure" thing they had found.

    So far this observation seems to have been generally borne out here. I don't doubt there must be some who had been really into it and for whatever reason became disillusioned (maybe by the people at their church or weak teaching); or were convinced by an especially ardently evangelistic, old-timer Pioneer; but they seem to be few and far between.

  • LittleToe

    That reminds me of a story my Dad used to tell, of when he was a young Pioneer. He once got into conversation using an introduction of the Trinity, and after a couple of hours of conversation they householder said "yup, that's what I believe!". Apparently my Dad groaned and then attempted to go through the whole thing again to re-educate the guy, to no avail

    Out of interest, what was it that you felt was hypocritical, at that time?

  • choosing life
    choosing life

    Little Toe

    I felt that the church was all about money. Those that had it were treated better. They even published a statement at the end of the year telling the total amount each church member had donated to the church. They claimed it was for tax purposes, but that could have been done individually. Each member had an envelope with a number on it so they could know who donated what.

    That was one thing that attracted me to the jws, not passing a plate and no one knowing who gave what. I later found out that money is just important in the jws.

    I also felt that very few tried to actually apply the Bible's direction in their lives. This was all through the eyes of a teenager. I don't know if I would see people the same now with a lot more experience in life. One thing I know, the Lutheran's don't shun you when you leave and have always treated me with respect even after I left the church.

  • esw1966

    I was a nine-year-old boy, whining to my non-church going parents to bring me to church. I snuck into CCD classes (Catholic) with kids from school.

    My parents were religiously raised, but they never went to church. They were curious about the last days and listened to Church of God on TV or radio. That was in 1975.

    I view my parents as being churched enough to know they should be doing something, but not churched enough to know WHAT to be doing.

  • AuldSoul

    I was a zygote before becoming a JW. Is a zygote religious? I understand some religions believe it is. If so, then yes.

  • Lady Lee
    Lady Lee

    My path to the WTS was a rather twisted one with lots of shifts and bends in the road

    As a little kid I was going to church alone.

    My mother had been brought up a Catholic but she had a lot of resentment towards them (justified if her stories were correct). She never took me to church.

    As far as I know my father was Salvation Army but that was when he was young. He had nothing to do with religion as far as I know.

    So in search of something but not knowing what it was I went to chirch with my girlfriend. We were 8 years old and went off to Sunday School together. My mother bought me a Sunday hat and white gloves (proper dress for young ladies in church at that time) and gave me a nicjkel or dime for the collection plate.

    Once my parents separated I wound up with my father. He started to sexually abuse me and I think going to church was my way of pleading to God to help me. I know I desperately needed a place to belong and I wasn't getting it at home. By the time I was ten I was going on the bus alone to go to church.

    I know I tried several different churches, Anglican, United (I was baptized in the United Church as an infant). I even tried Baptist but that kinda scared me. And I might have tried Pentacostal too. I know I didn't go near the Catholic church. My mama taught me well

    I went to live with my mother when I had just turned 11. She had started studying with the Witnesses. Well my deep need to belong soon swept me up by all the love bombing. My mother was going to meetings but because she was "living in sin" she wasn't allowed to go door to door. But that didn't stop me. Off I went like a little trooper to serve God.

    Well I lived with my mother for just one year before I was sent to foster care (a very long contorted story that many have read). In foster care I was not allowed to go anywhere without my foster mother and she would have died before stepping into a Kingdom hall. But at school I was the good little dub sitting in the hall during flag salute and prayer or in the room where they put all the dub kids during holiday assemblies. Since I never went to meetings the other kids never accepted the idea that I was a JW too so they ignored me or laughed at me. It wasn't nice.

    Occasionally I was able to get a couple of WTs from some JWs who were on the street. They even came to visit me once but my foster mother sat listening and refused to let them come back

    When I went back to my mother at 16 she immediatley had me back to the meetings. I arrived in Montreal in the morning and that night we were at a meeting and I was love-bombed to my hearts content.

    Now what was the question? Oh yea was I religious.

    Well I didn't know too many 8-10 year olds who were getting dressed up and went off to Sunday School by themselves. Through all the abuse and abandonment I was realy hoping God would not forget me. I really needed something but as a little kid I didn't know what it was.

    The witnesses led me to believe I had found it.

    They were wrong

    Was that religious? What does a little 10 yr old know? I sure was looking

  • Blueblades

    I was raised a Roman Catholic, went to Catholic School where the Nuns taught us Religious instructions. The Catholic Brothers also gave us instructions. I was baptized, received my first Holy Communion, Confirmation, confession and regularly was taken to church, mass, by my mom ( Dad was not a church goer ) when I was growing up with my seven sisters and two brothers. As we got older we went to church less and less until it was Christmas Mass and Easter Sunday only. As the family grew apart,marriages etc. I became a non - practicing Catholic.

    When the witnesses knocked at my door, married at the time they came around, I was not religious in any sense of the word. We took a home Bible study and for 33 years slaved for the Watchtower Society. It was the "Carrot" that hooked us.

    Now, I am still not religious, I am in limbo so to speak, waiting for I know not what.


  • Abandoned

    I wasn't religious before becoming a jw. I had just gotten married, though, and was shopping around for a church we could attend together. My ex-wife and I were both raised Lutheran, but for some reason I felt like examining outside of that world.

    I think what originally got me to listen to the jw, besides the marital problems I was having at the time, was a bible verse I remember hearing as a kid. It was the one that said that Jesus would come like a thief in the night and catch people unawares. That stuck with me because I alwasys wondered at how that was talked about in church but nobody seemed to be living like they thought Jesus was coming (at least in my church they didn't). So, that scripture came back to me when I started studying and caused me to give them more credence than I otherwise would have.

    Also, I remember one particular bible lesson when I was a kid. It was the one where we learned about Job and all he went through. I remember thinking how cool it would be to suffer to show God that you loved him. I have since updated my opinion on that because it seems that a hug of appreciation wouldn't be too much to ask in return, but that attitude played a part as well I'm sure.

  • LittleToe

    I'm just attempting to grapple with a generalisation here, and so what I'm about to say is only useful up to a point; there always beingceptions to the rule:.

    Do you think that being young and idealistic can cause folks to become disillusioned with the religion of their birth and seek something that appears to have the answers (I'm not talking about those leaving the WTS here)?

    The ages of those leaving the WTS seem to be in contradistinction to that, and maybe that shows that a level of maturity can help folks see it for what it is. I note that most of the posters here are 30+, whereas a good number of those who got involved in the JWs as adults were less than 30. I suspect there's a good reason for that, hence my interest.

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