Why is the label (or not) important to you?

by Georgiegirl 8 Replies latest jw friends

  • Georgiegirl

    Minimus' thread (plus the massive research I had to do this weekend; my head is still reeling) made me wonder -

    Why is labeling your experience with JWs as an experience with a "cult" important to you? There are so many heated opinions on this (for both sides). Is the word cult a "loaded trigger word" for us kind of like "apostate" is for them? Is it that labeling it is the only way to make sense of what happened? Is it that there isn't an intermediate word somewhere between "religion" and "cult" so we default to cult?

    Note - this thread is not about whether they are or aren't - that's what minimus' thread is for.

  • OnTheWayOut

    The Bible religion of the Catholics or the Lutherans or the Baptists, for the most part, allow members to come and go as they please. While they don't approve of many things, they typically don't threaten to have all your family shun you for the rest of your life if you engage in any of those things.

    The WTS implants fears into their members. Not just the fear of shunning, but the fear of displeasing Jehovah which causes the fear of destruction at Armageddon. This fear allows them to manipulate the members into going to tons of meetings and assemblies and get out in the recruiting work for several hours a month.

    The WTS takes over every aspect of the members' lives. It effects education, lifestyle, goals, dreams, hopes. It causes unnecessary death to members and their children because of it's invasion into their medical decisions.

    The word "cult" is not really fair. It basically indicates a group that is unorthodox. The word came from sociologists and historians that were describing groups with a system of ritual practices. It was not necessarily a negative word. Today, it has such a negative connotation but there are still those that apply the old usage and say that all religions are cults, many groups outside of religion are cults.

    So, I might get lazy and say "cult" but I try to remember to put my own negative description into the term so that you don't have to focus on the word "cult." I try to remember to say that it is a "DANGEROUS MIND-CONTROL CULT." That way, people know why it is important to me.

  • AllTimeJeff

    I don't think that the designation "cult" is important in why I left, or why others leave.

    Once you start opening your mind a bit, you find that JW's are indeed a mind control cult. I think if you are going to get into a semantics discussion that it is important to realize that the JW cult is different from other cults out there.

    JW's hang there hat on the "Jim Jones Gold Standard", which basically says that because their group doesn't act like them, they aren't a cult. It's really a rather narrow argument of convenience.

    Not all cults kill all their members, but they do harm to most, and do cause some deaths. Breaking up of families is becoming a larger marker on JW's, if not for courts, then for the internet age we live in, where the disgusting shunning policy can get its fair amount of publicity.

    Ultimately, because JW's have been indoctrinated against the word "cult", I believe it is self defeating to tell a JW they are in a cult. Much better to demonstrate the mind control that goes on. You can attach a label to it later.

  • Georgiegirl

    Oh! And for the record, my paper is part of a larger dissertation on cults, brainwashing, and thought control. For those of you who don't know anything about me, I'm out and have been for a couple of years (so you don't have to convince me about the harm - grins). This is strictly an exploration into the strong identification many seem to have with the word cult and with applying it to the WTS. I'm curious as to WHY that label is important to those who have left.

  • chickpea

    my motivation for leaving the borg
    was solely driven by an urgency to
    remain in the lives of my struggling

    the concept of CULT was explored
    after the fact, and it is a simple case
    of "if it quacks like a duck cult..."

    no dignified exit = cult

  • beksbks
    Is it that there isn't an intermediate word somewhere between "religion" and "cult" so we default to cult?

    Cuz if it looks like a cult and smells like a cult, it's probably a cult? We call it what it is. I for one feel incredibly fortunate to have gotten out. More than fortunate that I raised both of my children without knowing a moment of it. It feels like a narrow escape, like there is a technique to getting out essentially intact. That's not how most people describe their exit of their childhood religion.


    ? The group displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader and (whether he is alive or dead) regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, as law.

    ? Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.

    ? Mind-altering practices (such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, and debilitating work routines) are used in excess and serve to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s).

    ? The leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel (for example, members must get permission to date, change jobs, marry—or leaders prescribe what types of clothes to wear, where to live, whether or not to have children, how to discipline children, and so forth).

    ? The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s) and members (for example, the leader is considered the Messiah, a special being, an avatar—or the group and/or the leader is on a special mission to save humanity).

    ? The group has a polarized us-versus-them mentality, which may cause conflict with the wider society.

    ? The leader is not accountable to any authorities (unlike, for example, teachers, military commanders or ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream religious denominations).

    ? The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify whatever means it deems necessary. This may result in members' participating in behaviors or activities they would have considered reprehensible or unethical before joining the group (for example, lying to family or friends, or collecting money for bogus charities).

    ? The leadership induces feelings of shame and/or guilt iin order to influence and/or control members. Often, this is done through peer pressure and subtle forms of persuasion.

    ? Subservience to the leader or group requires members to cut ties with family and friends, and radically alter the personal goals and activities they had before joining the group.

    ? The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.

    ? The group is preoccupied with making money.

    ? Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group and group-related activities.

    ? Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.

    ? The most loyal members (the “true believers”) feel there can be no life outside the context of the group. They believe there is no other way to be, and often fear reprisals to themselves or others if they leave (or even consider leaving) the group .

  • beksbks
    the concept of CULT was explored
    after the fact, and it is a simple case
    of "if it quacks like a duck cult..."
    no dignified exit = cult

    Yea Chickpea, I hadn't read all the way down when I posted, you got it.

  • trueblue

    Cult or what ever you want to call it is not really my concern, it is the fact that the org does so much damage to people. Just as Jesus said; Mat 23:

    13 “Woe to YOU , scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because YOU shut up the kingdom of the heavens before men; for YOU yourselves do not go in, neither do YOU permit tho 15 “Woe to YOU , scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because YOU traverse sea and dry land to make one proselyte, and when he becomes one YOU make him a subject for Ge·hen´na twice as much so as yourselves. se on their way in to go in.

    Take for instance that these modern day Scribes and Pharisees (WTS)'s system alllows and incourages child abuse, and even to the fact that they have mocked the laws of the very land that they live on... stating in a public talk that the bible is inspired of God beneficial for teaching, setting things straight, then say the government says you can not spank children, but the bible say if you spare the rod you spoil the child.

    That is a bunch of hog wash, and only incourages child abuse amongst the org's members.

    They are sick and need help. Hopefully we can bring it to the abusers attention enough that they will repent and come from their self deniel before it is too late.

    And as for the rest of the members Rev.18: 4 And I heard another voice out of heaven say: “Get out of her, my people, if YOU do not want to share with her in her sins, and if YOU do not want to receive part of her plagues.

  • Georgiegirl

Share this