My first visit to the Kingdom Hall

by FlyAway2 12 Replies latest jw friends

  • FlyAway2

    Let me just start off by saying WOW. Never thought the day would come I'd see myself write THAT kind of title.

    So, you may or may not remember me from my post a few weeks ago about my ex-JW g/f from Europe wanting to see what a meeting was like in the States. Well, obviously, she finally got me to go yesterday. Mind you, I grew up Catholic, in the neighboring town to WT Farms, always listening to my father bash the Witnesses who would come to our neighborhood, which I think in turn sparked a very open mind on my part (I always felt so bad for the people at the door who he'd yell at for just trying to talk to him for a few moments..) It wasn't until I learned of the abuse my girlfriend suffered that I developed a real distain for the "religion". I digress... getting off-topic here. My point is, I tried to approach this meeting in the same way I would have in the past: with an open mind. Let me see what REALLY goes on here, first-hand.

    I just about had a coronary when we pulled into the parking lot. Everyone was dressed up, and there I was in a polo shirt and jeans. First awkward moment of the day. She managed to drag me inside though, where we were met with 4 or 5 smiling faces. I braced for the "love bombing" you all warned me about, but no one said a word to my surprise. They opened the door for us, and we quickly found a seat. The guy was already talking at the podium.. about what? Making everyone feel welcome. Even those who come for the first time to KH and stand out. About how they all are made to feel "so welcome" that they keep coming back.

    Anywho, I take a look around, and let me say this... The men in there all look like wife beaters I couldn't get over the stone cold, stern looks, which even some of the younger boys already had. There was a young boy who kept crying, still so young and innocent, and it broke my heart to think of him growing up in the same kind of damaging environment as my girlfriend. My train of thought was broken however by Mr. Smiley again, who brought us a bible, song book, and two Watchtower mags. There were a few more bible passages (all of which my g/f was able to find INSTANTLY...), a song I think, and then the speakers changed. Everyone flipped to a section in the Watchtower mag, so again I tried to calm myself and really give this thing an honest & open shot.

    The more I listened & watched, the more I felt like I was back in my grade school English class. We'd get a textbook and a workbook. We'd be instructed to read a section, and then there would be one or two questions we were to answer relating to what we just read. Then we'd move on to the next section, and the next, and so on. This really was studying. Every other line, there's a bible reference to what's being said. I also noticed that with every response, they were basically saying "this is God's, sorry, Jehovah's word, we preach Jehovah's word, look at all these bad things people have done to us, isn't that horrible? it just proves we are right, see how great we are." Also, every answer, whether given by adult or child, was always "absolutely right". I know if I got that kind of praise for everything I said, right or wrong, I'd probably be that much stronger & certain of myself and whatever belief it was. Another aspect I can see being appealing is how everyone is treated as an equal. Again, whether child or adult, they are referred to as "Brother" or "Sister". The 16 year old reading the sections was just as confident and seemed to hold just as much "authority" as the main guy speaking. You could really feel the camaraderie, and I could definitely see why some people are so taken with it & attracted to it.

    Another observation I noted was that all of the answers given were so thought-out, so detailed. Not just simple responses, but full blown explanations, some even siting OTHER bible passages to support their answer. These people are clearly very, very smart, and very, very intelligent. So WHY do they not see that it's just one big group of "club members" reading bible passages and saying "aren't we wonderful?" If the brainwashing tactic is "tooting their own horn" then I was definitely able to see it. But these people are intelligent. Why don't they? I know, I know... because they're brainwashed. But how do they get that way in the first place, being so smart?

    To round out my experience, I will say this... Speaking of this experience ONLY, do I think they are horrible people? No. Just misled & misguided (and OH so stubborn ). The ones who hurt my girlfriend are another story, and for them I will always have bad feelings. I can definitely see the appeal of this "religion" for many people. The invitation to "come into our close circle of friends" when it's really "come into my web" gets easily hidden or lost when one is welcomed in the way they claimed (which I didn't see... even after, only one woman said hello and asked our names, and Mr. Smiley just waved as we walked out.) And hey, I'll be the first to admit that if Religion class was taught in my Catholic school the way it was at KH, I'd have been much more interested. Magazines with pictures & bible passages "translated" into easier to read sentences? I probably would have been a scholar. All in all, it was definitely a unique experience, one that I wouldn't be against happening again. I think I scared my g/f when I said that Am I interested in being one of them? No, but it was certainly an intriguing opportunity to "watch them work" so to speak. I'd be interested to hear what else they have to say on many other topics. Just for learning purposes only. There is absolutely nothing that would make me give up the freedom of walking out of that KH to my worldly Hummer, going back to my worldly home, my worldly hobbies, with my worldly friends & family, under the worldly Florida sunlight

    So there you have it. I thought you all might be interested in what actually happened. Besides, I need someone to share all my insights with, aside from my g/f or my mother she would flip if she knew where I REALLY was yesterday afternoon!

    Thanks for listening!

  • leaving-jws

    Hi Flyaway2,

    Your observations are very accurate. There are a lot of intelligent individuals in the WT organization. I was raised as a Jehovah Witness and it was one of the things that kept me in for so long. I used to think, "well it has to be the truth because 'so and so' has a doctorate and he thinks it's the truth." No matter how much I doubted the faith, the integrity of the "intelligent ones" in the congregation made me re-evaluate my feelings.

    However, be careful you don't get sucked in. You mentioned that you wouldn't mind attending another meeting. I can tell you from plenty of experience that you got off easy this time! Or this particular congregation may not be known for having a "loving spirit" so they may move a little slower than some. I would say that no one at this time, love-bombed you or tried to offer you a bible study.

    But, your "free ride" will not last forever. Eventually, someone will try to pressure you into making some kind of decision either it be a bible study or some kind of magazine route. Be careful...

  • troubled mind
    troubled mind

    Thank you for your insight . I grew up going to the kingdom hall ,and I always wondered what it was like for an outsider .

    Over time I came to realize even though everyone was called brother and sister, there was no real family bond ...what was there was easily broken .

    Yestrday morning I attended a church service instead . I am amazed everytime I go to church how happy I feel afterwards . The preacher started off sayng several in the congregation had gone through some rough times this past week and that the power of prayer had got them through . He gave several examples then with tears in his eyes he pointed to the back of the church and said "And Sister Dawson prayer is going to work for you too ! Congregation Sister Dawson needs our prayers and love at this time ! " Several people got up went to this woman and began hugging her as she wept then the choir broke out into an uplifting song ......I absolutely love the spontaneity of it all and the out pouring of genuine feeling not holding back .

    To me kingdom hall meetings were never more than Classes in studying just like school . We had members going through cancer , severe accidents , losss of loved ones yet the meeting always continued on as scheduled . A sister could be weeping at her seat and no one would dare say to the speaker, "Hey yoohoo real person in pain here can we forgo paragraph # 12 and just inquire if maybe a word of encouragement might be in order "

  • OnTheWayOut

    Wonderful summary of what it is like.

    You missed the love bombing at the beginning because the meeting was already underway.
    Had you arrived early, they would have asked many questions and made you feel welcome.
    But the meeting material is the main reason for being there- gotta stay indoctrinated.

    Didn't you get love bombed after the meeting?

  • WTWizard

    I insist on checking everything they tell you at the Kingdumb Hell using independent sources. They will tell you not to, but that is just so you will not see what they do not want you to know. They want you to believe them and fall for their scams. Better to check independent sources, even online, and not go to the meetings than to do as they tell you and end up in a cult.

    There are plenty of resources these days to check out an organization like the Watchtower Society without getting involved. I strongly suggest using them. Otherwise, you are going to make a decision based on biased information, and that is one that you are going to regret.

  • Crumpet

    What a bloody awesome post! You are a very keen observer and its so interesting to hear it from your perspective.

    I'm going to re-read it again when I get a study break.

  • hopie

    I was a member for 40 years, and saw it develope into a full blown cult during the 60's and 70's. One of the most God given gifts you lose, is your "conscience", they (The Governing Body) were the 'only voice of God'. They operate as a 'GOVERNMENT WITHIN A GOVERNMENT', that is dangerous in itself, because they have license to make any laws they want, and they do.


    1. Cult leaders claim they are the 'Only Voice Of God'

    2. Members are prohibited to question the established teachings

    3. Conformity and mental domination

    4. Isolation, member are not allowed to socialize with anyone that is not of their own faith.

    5. Child molestation, and other criminal activities are handled ' IN HOUSE'.


  • Dogaradodya
    I used to think, "well it has to be the truth because 'so and so' has a doctorate and he thinks it's the truth." No matter how much I doubted the faith, the integrity of the "intelligent ones" in the congregation made me re-evaluate my feelings. by leaving-jws

    At last, I've the chance to speak my mind about this subject. I noticed from all featured personalities in the Awake mags involving so and so "intelligent ones," like the NASA scientists-turned JWs, that they became JWs not because of the "truth" but because they love their wives who happened to know the truth first.

    I think that "love story" was also true with my parents. My father was a scholar of the University of the Philippines when he met my JW mother in a KH. He was still a BS then and because he fell in love with my future mom, he continued attending the meetings, became a JW and the rest is history.

  • Witness 007
    Witness 007

    Welcome to the Twighlight Zone dude!! This our nightmare...imagine spending half your life in that God forsaken "re-education centre."

  • heathen

    You'll get along just fine if you know how to kiss a$$ and never question anything presented as present truth , they started hating on me because I challenged their beliefs using their own bible . I even raised the question what is the truth , your WTBTS interpretation of truth or what is obviously in the bible and they came out and said it's the bible but still refused to believe what it said in black and white over what the "society" stated as dogma. visiting this site has helped me tremendously with hind site and combing the through the tightly strung web of lies in the ORG.

  • Maddie

    Be on your guard or you might become involved before you realise it. The mind control can be very subtle.


  • shamus100

    Don't feel bad about them making you feel like you're standing out. They're some of the most socially intraverted and socially retarded people around. (not a slur against persons with developmental disabilities - everyone take a big breath, relax...)

    This thread needs a bump. Everyone raised in 'the truth' should really read a kingdom hall visit is really like.

  • kurtbethel

    Thanks for the account of your journey down the rabbit hole.

    It may come about that I visit a kingdom hall and it is good to have an idea what to expect.

    If that happens, I will publish my trip report here, natch.

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