"-And your *personality* will be your salvation" ?

by Awakened07 6 Replies latest jw friends

  • Awakened07

    I remember thinking about this when I was still active, but was starting to doubt things I guess:

    -I had some friends that were naturally very outgoing and 'vibrant', and loved to conduct talks, loved the field ministry, loved pioneering and so on. Very upbeat, very energetic all the time, both "on- and off-the JW -'clock' ". When the opportunity to go to another country to build a Bethel (I think it was) arose, they jumped at it right away, even though it required moving to a country where they didn't know anyone and had to learn the language from scratch.

    This of course gave them their well deserved admiration and 'status' from the 'brothers and sisters'.

    I used to think that if they hadn't been JWs, they'd probably be doing something equally "crazy", like backpacking around the world, have an aggressive sales job that required "around the clock" enthusiasm, enjoying extreme sports etc. - In other words, this was the way they were; their personality, witnesses or not.

    Me, on the other hand, was probably of the opposite personality: A little introvert, at least with people I didn't know (but I could also be the center of attention in a group, if I knew them), shying away from responsibility in both the congregation as well as in my 'worldly' workplace. I have never liked responsibility, I have never liked standing in front of a large group, I have never liked knocking on doors, I have wanted to but never dared to take a big leap and just go out there and travel the globe. This is my personality. I admit - some of these things I could benefit from working on (and have done so over the years; my current job requires me to talk to new people face to face every day, for instance). But back then, this was me, and there wasn't a whole lot I could do about it.

    These friends of mine went on to become elders of course, and by now probably a couple of them have become circuit/district overseers or missionaries (I don't know though, but they were planning things of that sort last time we talked).

    -What struck me about all this, was that it seemed that it all came so easy to some people who happened to have the 'right' personality, while others had to really strive in order to do a tenth of what they did. To put it bluntly; if it was all True, and Armageddon was to come next year, one could argue that these people would be saved because they had a personality that made it easy for them and they did what came naturally to them, while I would die simply because I had a different personality which eventually lead to doubts and then unbelief.

    I do realize that a standard reply to this would be "You were just jealous", and maybe to some degree I was; who wouldn't want to have a personality like that, especially if it could save your life (as I thought then)?

    But that's a little beside my point; If we for the sake of argument say that JWs have the Truth, then some people would naturally have a great advantage over others in a congregation, simply because of their personality. I guess a JW would say that it's not about how much you do, but that you do it with all your heart - but is that really true, in that environment? It's a very slim comfort when you are getting looks and "encouraging" words from elders and well meaning brothers, and in the end you give up because you understand that you'll never measure up, in contrast to the friends you have who happen to have the right personalities.

    'Survival of the fittest' there as well, I guess...

    I dunno; I guess I'd just like to hear your thoughts on this.

  • changeling

    Extreverts do have the upper hand in many instances. Intorverts are sometimes regarded as having something wrong with them.

    This perception is incorrect, but popular.

    You might enjoy reading: "The Intorvert Advantage", sorry, I don't remeber the author.

    You also might enjoy finding out your personality type. I know I've said this on here a bunch of times but go to: humanmetrics.com and take their test. Read your profile and the other profiles as well.

    The more we learn about what makes people tick, the better we understand them and we realize our "differences" only enrich us.

    changeling (enfj)

  • WTWizard

    Either way you cannot win within the Watchtower Society. The more aggressive "upbeat" ones are likely to commit a sin and not "repent", while the more timid person is going to hate it and become inactive and start missing meetings. And neither is good enough. What they want is someone that is selectively upbeat--that is, they are timid when it comes to worldly pursuits but super-aggressive in the field misery. Plus they have to be willing to blindly obey a bunch of old fogeys with zero tolerance for youth. Such are extremely rare.

  • Tyrone van leyen
    Tyrone van leyen

    I'm not so sure personalities are set in stone. I was great public speaker. I don't mean the theocratic ministry school either. That in my opinion is a joke. I actually had charisma at one point in my life. This was something natural to me. I wasn't seeking this. I have an older brother who was an extrovert extreme. This to me was his need for attenton. Over doing things, stealing peoples thunder. Always putting on a big show and being a show off in general. This was not me. I didn't need to do this. I could stand somewhere and watch people come to me.

    In my case, this was a very bad thing. The elders were turning green, and blue and purple with jealousy and I became a target for their sick minds. They knew dam well they could change all that, because in truth, this is a cult. They don't want someone on a pedestal. They want sheep who will willingly lick their boots. Sorry guys, I just don't do that. So they hammered me and hammered me and even got my family involved in it. It worked, man that must have given them pleasure. It took a long time and a lot of planning but they suceeded, in making talking to me, a matter to be fearful of.

    It's funny, but now, I have been through such terrible experiences in my life, I have turned inwards on myself. I have lived alone now for three or so years, never go out, and never talk to anyone. I suppose now, if I didn't hate them so intensely, it would be a good time to swoop in and make me a bootlicker. And they have tried too. I have become an introvert. I go through rages and swearing even when I'm alone, I curse day and night, then I get depresssed, but rarely am I ever happy and almost never smile.

    I would like to think I could be that guy with charisma again, but the onslaught of garbage that has relentlesly filled my head with the support of my parents almost makes that seem impossible. They have literally changed the dynamics of the the group energy that i was raised in. I was never the same again after they did their number on me, and everyone that knows me, knows that. They murdered my soul, and all I can do is live for vengeance. Now as I age, I get even angrier because I know all of the time I have lost and what could have been.

    I don't understand why my dad hides all my athletic and public speaking trophies either. He's about the only guy, that none of this seems to bother.

  • Awakened07

    Thanks for the replies.

    I'm not so sure personalities are set in stone.

    No, I agree - we change over time. Now I'm a very different person than I used to be in this respect. At least at work, I'm now very outgoing and have no problems introducing myself to new people all the time. Privately though, I'm "introvert", but that's mostly because of my fade, and the feeling of therefore being caught between a rock and a hard place. I currently have no non-JW friends (other than acquaintances at work), and absolutely no JW friends. So I too am alone for the most part. Luckily I enjoy my own company.

    Thanks for your candid story; I guess in reality, it's not easy for anyone in the JW environment. Those who are naturally extrovert (and those who aren't naturally, but try to be) may become victims of jealousy, or they may get burned-out, and perhaps the reason they're so extrovert and active in the first place is that they feel more guilt if they are 'slacking' than those who take it more slow. The whip may crack harder on them. So I guess it's not easy either way.

    What initially sparked my line of thought on this subject though, was that from a JW point of view - those that I knew who were extrovert will get saved, while I who was more introvert will not (as the final outcome). Not that that bothers me anymore; some of the stuff I write here is also intended for those JWs who may be lurking here.

    But thanks for providing me with a perspective from the 'other side' of the coin; that's how we learn.

  • LongHairGal


    I know what you mean about 'personality'. There were certain people there who went around smiling and liked everybody (even people I despised). I was always baffled by this and I thought to myself that these people were just stupid! I am sure this has something to do with how our brains are wired.

    We cannot help what we see and what we feel and I have long since stopped beating myself up over it.


  • oompa
    they'd probably be doing something equally "crazy", like backpacking around the world,

    Hold on just a sec here Awakey! This sounds like a pretty good goal to me. Especially if you could link it to a good cause and raise some money. I would prefer to ride my motorcycle as much as possible though.

    send money and I will consider it....oompa

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