Mental condition of Jehovah's Witnesses, healthy or not ?

by Handsome Dan 34 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Handsome Dan
    Handsome Dan

    I thought I'd open a discussion on the mental health condition of most practicing JWS. and get viewpoints on what kinds of mental health effects the WTS.

    may have for most of the people that are practicing witnesses. The idea of this topic was actually derived from a brief conversation from another poster

    who stated that a real sister of hers tried to commit suicide and this girl was a JWS, fortunately she's ok now but her mental health may not be very good.

    As for myself I can remember a least 3 young JWS. that did in fact do this to themselves and all unfortunately died as a result.

    So this bacons the questions does the WTS. in it's teachings cause mental instability in its followers. For example the professed notion that just about everything in the world

    is either worldly, demonic, or controlled by Satan must only lead to fear, anxiety and depression for some people. It is said that most institutions like schools universities, governments

    or any active social community event are all godless and evil and should be avoided and of course any people that are not connected with the JWS. as well. Also the predominant pushing

    of Armageddon and the total destruction of just about everything on this planet including the majority of its human inhabitants.

    This has to cause a certain degree of emotional and mental instability which presents its self on a individual basis among the body of followers, would it not ?

    I must be up front in making this observation as a person that still has some of my own family that is a part of this religion and I do see a degree of depression within them.

    This might be a cause of concern and of importance to other folks as well, particularly because were aware of the crooked and invalid behaviour of the WTS in its selling and

    marketing tactics.

  • Honesty

    Many JW's suffer from cognitive dissonance, post-traumatic stress syndrome, general depression and the list goes on and on.

  • looking_glass

    I have seen many a JW w/ mental problems, some of which were family members. I have wondered about this for a long time, in my human mind I have come to this conclusion: 1) they either start out w/ having mental problems and are looking for something better and are susceptible to the JW or 2) they are fine until they are in the religion for an extended period of time and are worn down mentally by all the "you are not worthy" and "the end is soon to come" brainwashing (but since they will not allow their members to seek therapy, the disease of the mind just continues)

  • Handsome Dan
    Handsome Dan

    That's a good point looking glass made that if a person was perhaps on a downward trend emotionally and started studying with the witnesses over a period of time, it could develop

    into other emotional problems which would appear to be not good and unstabling. The saddest story that I'm aware of is a 14 yr.old boy that hung himself in his parents garage, their home was

    next door to a kingdom hall and actually they sold or gave the property to the witnesses so that they could build a hall there. It was unnerving to go to that hall because the parking lot was right

    next to the garage where the boy killed himself, we had to glance over at it when you walked inside. It would also be apparent that when this does happen it gets quieted down quickly they

    wouldn't want of course for this to shine a bad light on the organization, you know.

  • A Paduan
    A Paduan

    Mental health is a fundamental part of christian spirituality, of being Christ-like - knowing who you are - I Am who I Am - being fair dinkum and down to earth about it (humble: from humous/earth)

    Jws have fear upon fear, and concerns about demon possessed items, demons under the bed or jumping in their head, and 'postates, and the world ending (real soon anytime now), and not being worthy etc etc,

    Aside from even all those bizarre distractions is the basic idea about not even being who you are, not thinking for yourself, denying what you believe and forcing a belief that doesn't gel while you simply deny the flaws in it. One becomes unwhole - not wholly

    Good mental health is about being holy (whole) - saying and accepting what is true regardless of whether it seems to be disadvantageous.

    In the story of the emporer's new clothes who was healthy mentally - I'd say the boy,

  • DannyHaszard
    dorrance_1938_23837323.gif TOP ranked news for Jehovah Witness (singular) keywords Note 3X's as many searches are done for Jehovah Witness singular as Jehovah's Witnesses (plural) Fontana resident Kelley shares powerful message in book
    Fontana Herald-News, CA - 3 hours ago
    ... trying to find her way in the world and understand her family and fellow human beings, Kelley found her way to God through the Jehovah's Witness faith. ...
    Fontana resident Kelley shares powerful message in book By FONTANA HERALD NEWS
    Fontana resident Diane Kelley is courageously sharing her battle against her demons in a powerful autobiographical book.

    After years of struggle as a child and a teenager, trying to find her way in the world and understand her family and fellow human beings, Kelley found her way to God through the Jehovah's Witness faith.

    Finally, she believed she had a calling and a purpose in life -- serving Jehovah by bringing others into the fold, thus receiving showers of blessings.
    Much to her dismay, things went awry immediately and she said she suddenly found herself in "Satan's World."

    Kelley said Satan was determined to thwart her and her family at every move and even sent a horde of demons to plague her until she found herself admitted to a mental hospital, diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic who was having hallucinations and hearing voices.
    But now Kelley said she has overcome these evil influences and, through her book "Satan's World," is telling her story of her battle against her demons -- both those sent by Satan and those in the everyday world -- hoping that she can help others escape from "Satan's World."
    Having written her autobiography from birth to present in an effort to understand what has happened to her and help others benefit from her experiences, Kelley has been attending the Institute of Children's Literature with the goal of writing children's books as a new career.

    "Satan's World" has been published by Dorrance Publishing Co. To place a book order, call 1-800-788-7654 .

    Satan's World

    Author: Diane Kelley
    Format: Paperback, 208 pages
    Publication Date: November 2004 Publisher: Dorrance Pub Co
    ISBN-10: 0805966544
    ISBN-13: 9780805966541
    List Price: $16.00
  • Confession

    The following is taken from the book, “Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Problem of Mental Illness,” by Jerry Bergman, Ph.D.

    “Licensed therapist Montague monitored the admissions to state and private mental hospitals, and local mental health clinics in Ohio from 1972 to 1986.[21] From this data (n=102) he estimated that "The mental illness rate of JW's is approximately 10 to 16 times higher than the rate for the general, nonWitness population [and that]...about 10% of the publishers (full members) in the average congregation are in serious need of professional help...[although they are often] able to hide this fact quite well, especially from outsiders." [22] From his intensive interviews with Witness patients and others, Montague concluded that persons who had emotional problems were attracted to the Witnesses but Watchtower involvement also caused many of the emotional problems that they suffered. This is evident from the fact that many with problems reported they were far happier after they left.

    Another study was completed by Potter [23] as part of his Ph.D. thesis on religion and mental health. He concluded that there exists "a strong positive correlation between Witness membership and clinical schizophrenia."

    In addition, a German study by Elmer Koppl [25] also came to similar conclusions as did a study by Norwegian psychologist, Kjell Totland [26] Using Oakland County court records from 1965 to 1973, Bergman concluded that not only is the mental illness rate above average, but the suicide and crime rates are also high, especially aggressive crimes against persons [27] This is the extent of published empirical studies about the mental health of Jehovah's Witnesses, an area in which a need exists for more research.

    Jehovah's Witnesses who have mental difficulties are typically ashamed of them because they often believe good Witnesses do not become mentally ill. Due to the fear that their illness may bring reproach upon the Watchtower, they not uncommonly are not open with a therapist or researcher about their problems. Often they will undergo intense suffering to protect the Watchtower reputation. [31] When a Witness becomes "mentally ill," regardless of the reason, much personal guilt results because of the belief that faithfulness to the Watchtower will usually protect one from emotional problems. Witnesses often believe that mental problems are evidence of personal shortcomings that are usually religious in nature. Active Witnesses are instructed to believe that "if I am not happy, I must not be pleasing God or doing what God desires of me" as interpreted by the Watchtower [32]”

  • penny2

    Some examples of mental health issues amount JWs:

    • Young people especially, who suffer from panic attacks when they are expected to go from door to door or give talks. Anxiety due to fear of being seen in field service by friends from school or work and then being ridiculed;
    • Depression and anxiety when JWs think they can't make the grade;
    • Depression when they have committed a "sin" and think they need to confess to the elders;
    • Depression and hopelessness when a loved one is disfellowshipped. Guilt when they are unable to totally shun the loved one;
    • Anxiety due to fear of being disfellowshipped themselves and shunned by all family and friends;
    • Anxiety and depression when a JW starts doubting their faith and their whole belief system falls apart.

    JWs believe that if they don't preach, they will bear bloodguilt for the lives of those who are destroyed in Armaggedon. Therefore, they really do have the weight of the world on their shoulders.


  • Junction-Guy

    The emotional and psychological damage this cult does to children is horrible.------------Danny, is this book written by a current JW or one that left the org due to all of the demon problems?

  • Doug Mason
    Doug Mason

    In 1975, Dr D. J. Spencer a psychiatrist working at the Heathcote Hospital near Perth, Western Australia, issued a study declaring that statistically, Jehovah’s Witnesses were three times more likely to be admitted to the Psychiatric Hospital for schizophrenia than any other member of the community, picked at random.

    His study did not prove if the movement attracted people who had a propensity for the illness or if the environment created the problem.

    In May 1975, I wrote to the doctor, just before his paper was published. In his reply to me, he wrote (in part):

    "I am afraid I am unable to answer as to whether or not Witnesses respond as readily to treatment as other patients and this could be a subject of future study.

    "Schizophrenia is regarded by most authorities as an illness which carries a considerable degree of inheritance, but the exact nature of this is still not clear.

    "The expression 'three times' indicates that according to our statistics Jehovah’s Witnesses are three times more likely to be admitted to Psychiatric Hospital for schizophrenia than any other member of the community picked at random. As this was mainly a statistical survey it was impossible to know how long the individuals had been suffering from their illness." (personal letter dated May 26, 1975.)

    I have other studies from earlier times that also describe an unusually high representation of JWs displaying mental instabilities.

    1975 was a time of high expectation. People sold their homes, gave the money to the WTS and moved to places where they could give the final message. Later, it was a time of great disappointment. I saw 200 members leave one congregation. What terrible emotional and mental stresses!


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