Your Honor, Judge Venice:
Ms Scully, Co-Counsel for the Prosecution, offers the following rebuttal, having conferred with Mr. Mindchild:
Counsellor for the Defense, Tim B, writes:
On the subject of mental illness within the WTS. The WTS has done much to educate the public and the rank and file members of the symptoms and treatments of mental illness. This might cause a increase in recognition and subsequent treatment of the illnesses resulting in a larger percentage of WTS members recieving treatment in the form of office visits and medication.
Your Honor, it is the belief of the Prosecution that:
While on the surface, it would appear that public education and awareness of mental illness is achieved by the WTS in their publications, most notably Awake!
magazine, invariably the articles in question conclude with greater
emphasis placed on the heretofore unproven
assumption that true relief from mental illness and its effects can ONLY be achieved by means of the Paradise, which does in fact cause individuals to delay seeking appropriate medical treatment, particularly if they feel that such relief is close at hand, as taught by the WTS leadership.
As well, almost without exception, the advice to "faithful servants of Jehovah" with regard to depression in particular completely ignores and is profoundly counterproductive to the depressed person's needs. For instance, they are advised that to 'spend more time in sharing the Good News' and 'focus on doing more for others' will alleviate their symptoms.
In fact, from my standpoint as a health care professional, as well as a survivor of depression, adding to the depressed person's perception of obligation in this manner and the ensuing feelings of being overwhelmed, over-burdened, and failing to live up to an external measure of worth serve only to compound the individual's depression and is therefore counterproductive to recovery. By such a focus on external measures and the temporary distraction they provide, the depressed person's recovery is actually impeded, because the very nature of therapy with a view to recovery involves promoting a person's ability for introspection and finding worth within themselves. Additionally, such measures further delay appropriate professional treatment being sought by the patient, which only serves to delay and extend their recovery.
Furthermore, the generalised animosity toward the mental health professions that is fostered by the WTS, makes the followers distrustful and suspicious of practitioners such as psychiatrists, psychologists, and psychotherapists. This prevailing attitude, too, is counterproductive to an individual's seeking appropriate treatment, as it hinders the development of a trusting relationship between the patient and the therapist by inferring a negative value judgement on the therapeutic worth of the treatment. Claims have been made by individuals in shepherding roles in congregations to the effect that psychiatrists will attempt to "brainwash" JWs into abandoning the faith, and advice has been dispensed to depressed individuals such as "Don't tell the shrink that you're a Witness, or they'll think we're ALL crazy!" Such derogatory remarks and critical attitudes do not encourage people to seek the treatment they need, nor do they impart to the patient the sense of empathy and support that should be evident from those who claim to be their friends. Even if the patient decides to keep the matter private, and not disclose their treatment to those who in reality should be their support network, the resulting burden of guilt from keeping that 'dirty little secret' does nothing to alleviate the patient's suffering.
For these reasons, whatever good is accomplished by the publication of these 'educational' articles regarding mental illness is seriously compromised, if not completely obliterated, by the actual practices and attitudes held by the vast majority of members of the Jehovah's Witness faith, and do little, if anything, to promote the mental health of its followers.
Ms. Scully, for the prosecution
It is not persecution for an informed person
to expose a certain religion as being false. - WT 11/15/63
A religion that teaches lies cannot be true. -WT 12/1/91