"I'm Perfect, You're Doomed" discussion...

by Tuesday 58 Replies latest jw friends

  • daniel-p

    I just don't understand why some of us think that every story by an ex-JW needs to have an anti-Watchtower angle to it.

    I, for one, don't think that. I think the most powerful stories are the ones with a HUMAN angle to them. By making JWs human, the barriers between them and the world will break down.

  • OnTheWayOut

    Again my opinion, some of us who need to leave the organization sin purposely so that the decision is made for them, then there are those who will stand up and say "Look I don't believe this, and I'm leaving." That's probably why I was so annoyed, she just seemed to do things so the decision was made for her, instead of standing up and doing what she believed in. If this was about an empowered girl that had the courage to leave a loveless marriage strike out on her own for the first time in her life, I would be inspired. Instead I got a story of a girl who wasn't happy at home so convinced an older man to marry her, was unhappy in marriage so fornicated to get out of it, the whole time basically siphoning off people like a parasite.

    She didn't know what to "believe in" because she was a JW and knew virtually nothing else. She didn't have anything to stand up for, she just knew that she was miserable trying to fit the mold of the JW life.

    The book uses humor to tell a very sad story. It's not about being empowered to leave a loveless marriage. It's more about why JW's enter into such marriages to begin with. The book ends with her just starting to learn that. It's not about being empowered to leave the JW's because they are not "the truth." It's more about misery within the JW's and misery finding out the real truth.

    This book is really just like alcohol. It uses laughter to disguise itself as a stimulant, but is really a depressant. Yet, people love to drink alcohol.

  • B_Deserter

    Again my opinion, some of us who need to leave the organization sin purposely so that the decision is made for them, then there are those who will stand up and say "Look I don't believe this, and I'm leaving."

    The thing is though that the society really doesn't like to acknowledge the latter group. My personal example is a good one in this regard. I told my parents I didn't want to be a JW anymore two years ago. What did they and the elders do? NOTHING. I had an elder AT MY HOUSE every week studying with my little brother, who KNEW that I didn't believe the Watchtower anymore. He made NO attempt to talk to me or anything, it was only AFTER some Witnesses found out that I had been sleeping with my girlfriend that any serious shunning took place.

    So I personally can see why some people would run off and commit some "sin" in order to get disfellowshipped or get out of a situation. Sometimes it's the only way the Witnesses will do anything. Throughout my two years I was extremely tempted to do something in order to get disfellowshipped. If I left because I disagreed with doctrine, then I'd be faced with arguments and debate ad naseum, and at that point I could barely stand the stupidity of the Watchtower articles, let alone three elders and me caught off-guard in a back room. If I went off and had sex, then it'd be simple. They'd think I was just being selfish (which they would think regardless of my reasons for leaving anyway), and just give me the assembly-line disfellowshipping they're used to. Is that a cowardly way out? Maybe. But I don't owe them an explanation.

  • OnTheWayOut

    Nathan is Immortal sums it up nicely:

    but I see a very ignorant, poorly raised teenage girl. This person had enough problems to begin with, and then things were made so much worse when those problems were amplified by ridiculous JW teachings and beliefs.

    like the author, I had no concept of true right and wrong. JWs taught me to be selfish and wait for something divine to make my life better. I had to leave the JWs to find peace and become a better person. I imagine the same is true of the author.

    Tuesday said: I feel if the book conveyed more so how exactly it was the religion e xacerbated her problems more, I would probably enjoy the book more.

    I agree. So my book will do that. But this is her book, her way of seeing things. She basically wasn't even a very knowledgeable JW.

  • dinah

    Her story just shows the damage that can be done when you are raised to believe the world is ending and if you don't act right you're gonna die---SOON!

    When you are taught that from birth, even when you leave, part of that stays with you for awhile. Looking back at my early twenties, I'm probably lucky to still be alive. Self-destructive does not begin to describe it. Careless, is maybe more like it. I had the attitude, "I'll be dead in a couple of years anyway, so f*uck it."

    I think the WT portrayal of people who leave is just another one of their self-fulfilling prophesies. Teach a child they have no future outside of God's Organization, kick them out, or maybe they just see through it all and guess what happens?

    I must admit being disfellowshipped was quite a blow but at the same time is was a big RELIEF.

  • OnTheWayOut

    Here it is. I found her own comments to explain things about this book.

    From: http://page99test.blogspot.com/2009/06/kyria-abrahams-im-perfect-youre-doomed.html

    She applied the “Page 99 Test” to her memoir I'm Perfect, You're Doomed: Tales from a Jehovah's Witness Upbringing, and reported the following:

    This chapter is about my OCD, which was something I strongly considered not putting in the book. OCD is the kind of thing people write whole books about, and it was hard enough to write a whole book about the Jehovah’s Witnesses, let alone have a random foray into my chemical imbalances. Later, though, I realized that it was integral to the book.

    I did not try to gloss over my personal failings in this memoir. I was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness, but I also had a pretty debilitating anxiety disorder, not to mention the fact that I was an obnoxious, selfish teenager who wished I had money so I could spend it all on black lipstick. I wanted the reader to be able to see the whole picture of my childhood and decide for themselves where religion fits into the bedlam that my life became.
  • Twitch

    I haven't read the book but from what I've seen, she has a great sense of humour, fascinating perspectives and a positive attitude.

  • GoddessRachel

    I wanted to bring this thread back because I'm a little over halfway through the book (finally!), and I can really relate to her. I keep thinking perhaps Tuesday can't relate because he's male, and doesn't know what it feels like to be a young girl raised in The Truth? They don't exactly encourage a young girl to grow up and reach for the stars. Quoting Ms. Abrahams herself, "The succession of power was this: Jesus was the head over man; man was the head over woman; and woman was the head over cooking peach cobbler and shutting up."

    In other words, being a female Jehovah's Witness definitely empowers you to develop your personality and skills and talents... wait... what? It doesn't?

    No, it doesn't.

    Growing up a Jehovah's Witness, I was encouraged to get married, and pioneer. That was it. (And when I failed to do both of those things, well, that's another story, let's just say I didn't make it as a career Jehovah's Witness, thankfully.)

    And I should think it really hard to feel happy and fulfilled in your life when you are suppressing your very character, your core person. Which is what any Jehovah's Witness has to do, and possibly some more than others (the free thinkers who eventually are able to wake up and realize this is not The Truth maybe).

    As for Kyria making bad choices in life, we all make bad choices. If you didn't, then I guess you are perfect, and definitely in the minority. She was willing to talk about her mistakes with a wit and candor many don't even do with their own spouses, and I give her much props for that. She didn't try to paint an attractive picture of herself, or paint herself the victim; she simply told her story, for better or worse.

    I agree that she was a terribly unhappy, naive girl who was calling out for help by making one bad decision after another. She wasn't equipped to take care of her needs, and the people in her life continually invalidated her feelings by mostly being apathatic to her dramatics. So she responded by acting like a rebellious, snotty teenager, which is what she was. And she has never tried to conceal that piece of it. She has never tried to say she was a victim, but she did have real feelings that she was not afraid to share with us in her book. I really appreciate it. I really appreciate knowing that someone else can relate to the dark places we find ourselves in sometimes, and reacted in a similarly unreasonable manner. Oh, you mean she's a human? What a relief.

    I really appreciate this book because for once there's a book that just puts it all out there, all the craziness of the Jehovah's Witness religion, and we can just look at it, laugh, shake our heads, and go, "Oh those crazy Jehovah's Witnesses." To not feel so dramatic about it all for just a few moments in time, well what a relief that is!


  • brinjen

    I read the book only fairly recently and found I could to relate to a lot more than I expected to as well. Just her way of thinking at the time... all so familiar. She didn't sugar coat any of her flaws or mistakes. I don't believe she wrote it in a manner where you're supposed to like her. She has said in many, many interviews she was an obnoxious teenager who, once she got an idea in her head could not be talked out of it. I respect her and appreciate that she put her story out there for all to see.

  • Tuesday


    As a male I was encouraged to get married at 18 to a girl who I barely knew and to enter in the glorious business of cleaning carpets. This after scoring nearly perfect on my SATs and being accepted to Brown University.

    People need to stop with this "You don't relate because you don't know what it's like" stuff, I was a Jehovah's Witness too. As I said earlier in the thread I grew up two towns over from her, I was in a gifted program, my parents had a bad marriage, in fact I was the child of divorce who was quite literally made to choose in the courtroom between his parents.

    The reason I have a problem with the book is that I feel it confirms every single stereotype that JWs have about ex-JWs when they leave. What do they say about ex-JWs? They end up doing drugs, drinking alot, broke, destitute, unhappy, then they say that they never really were witnesses because if they were sincere witnesses they never would've left. All of which she confirms in her book, she does drugs, drinks alot, is unhappy when she leaves and confirms that she was sinning the entire time she was a Witness and wasn't sincere.

    But the most damaging thing I keep coming back to, the one that really made me say "Look I can't say this book is a good example of what ex-JWs are like" is where she confirms she was making up an accusation of her father molesting her to look cool. Now JWs have in print a place they can point to in order to confirm why the two witness rule is something that is OK for cases of molestation because the kid could be making it up. Which I hopefully don't have to point out to you just how damaging this is.

    As long as JWs keep having their stereotypes confirmed about ex-JWs they will continue to deter children from leaving out of fear. Given the retention rate is 37%, however if that fear simply went away because there were well-known stories of children leaving simply because they didn't believe then made something good out of their lives without all the pitfalls maybe the retention rate would be even lower.

    I also genuinely didn't find the book that funny, once I got passed the enfatuation of places I've been and people I've met being described in novel form the manatee jokes fell flat and that left with an unfunny story with nothing positive to add to the ex-JW community.

    Again though, we're talking on this thread and a few others about 10 of us who didn't like the book and 90 that did. I don't see why people care so much that I don't like the book and have to try to explain why I wouldn't like the book. I hated the movie Transformers as well, does anyone feel the need to tell me why it's important for me to like that film?

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