Advice on introducing doubts to friend

by gutted 23 Replies latest jw experiences

  • gutted

    Hi all,

    I am asking you for your opinion/advice on questions or ideas to introduce to my friend to make him start doubting the WBTS. No doubt when he sees my new goatee it will be a bit unnerving for him, maybe I could use this as a starting point. Perhaps you have things that have worked others? I don't want to get his back up against the wall though, or in that defensive JW mode.

    This and another close friend are the only ones I want to stay close to, but I realise I might lose them as I have stopped going to all meetings/service. They'll find out eventually that I have. One is in my hall, one isn't.


  • ssn587

    How about suggesting to them that you all do research on just what the society was teaching prior to and duringt the 1914-1919 era, I'm sure that if the have half a brain they will be somewhat stunned over what they find.

  • diamondiiz

    Witnesses, especially those that aren't ancient don't have a clue about wts' old history so assuming they only know what wts teaches at present ask something to do with 607.

    If 607BC is wrong then 1914 was no show on part of JC and FDS wasn't chosen in 1919 thus GB are a fraud. If this conclusion seems to be valid all other teachings by wts should be easier to question.

  • bohm
  • blondie

    I find it is better not to come out with a direct statement of your facts, rather be wondering and wanting a scriptural answer.

    Find out what they are interested in and then ask a question about it.

  • NiceDream

    I agree with Blondie! I just sent a cryptic message of support and it was intercepted or turned in by the questioning teen. Be careful!!!

  • steve2

    I like Blondie's approach - it leaves a lot of nice room for non-defensive answering.

    On the other hand, your question implies you haven't quite shaken off the need to "win" converts, a role you probably had as a JW; Finding ways to get people interested in the "truth"? Why can't you model to your friends nice, gentle acceptance of them, regardless of what their beliefs are?

    I'm intrigued by people's need to try and "persuade" others to change their beliefs. Fair enough if those people are voicing their own doubts and misgivings or if they are pushing their beliefs on you. Otherwise, leave well alone. The world continues to spin on its axis regardless of people's beliefs.

  • gutted

    Steve, I want my friend to be free of the WBTS clutches as I (almost) am. I think it's natural to want to dissuade our close friends and family from harmful beliefs. I think that was one of the motivations, if not the main one, behind Steve Hassan writting Combating Cult Mind Control.

    I also like Blondies approach. I won't force anything on my friend, as I wouldn't want that either. But when he has doubts, which he does, I will encourage him to explore them instead of saying the old "oh it's just peoples imperfect nature" as the usual JW cop out. I hope one day I can introduce CoC and CCMC to him.

    Thanks guys!

  • Billy the Ex-Bethelite
    Billy the Ex-Bethelite

    I have often used the approach that I was asked a question at a door/study. As they become curious what the correct response would be, I leave them with a "the Society ignores that question"/"we shouldn't ask such questions" answer.

    The results have been interesting.

  • Olin Moyles Ghost
    Olin Moyles Ghost

    Listen to everyone who suggested you should ask questions. That's your best shot. Witnesses don't like being preached to. (who does?) But they're accustomed to people asking them questions.

    You could have the most meticulously researched, airtight explanation for the generation, false prophecies, blood, 607, etc., but it won't matter because as soon as you start preaching the JW will shut down.

    You'll have much better results by simply asking questions and, if the conversation goes well, perhaps gently introducing some facts (for example, "I did some research in the library and was surprised to see that none of the encyclopedias say Jerusalem was destroyed in 607" or "I read in the Proclaimers book that for decades we taught that the Last Days began in 1874").

    You probably know this already, but make sure you have non-apostate sources for any information you plan to present. Obviously the best sources are WT publications, but scholarly publications like encyclopedias are ok. Witnesses will often dismiss information coming from websites/blogs (even if they're not "apostate" per se).

    Be prepared to have your motives questioned and for the JW to ask where you got this information and why you're asking these questions. Witnesses are trained to be scared of this type of questioning. There's not much you can do about it other than be prepared for it. A good scripture to have in your back pocket is 1 John 4:1 which says not to believe every inspired expression but to test it. If you get heat for asking uncomfortable questions, you can point out that the Bible commands Christians to test what we hear and read--and that's what you're trying to do.

    Don't try to hit it out of the park on the first conversation. Be patient. If JW stuff doesn't come up during the conversation, don't force it. Focus on keeping your relationship with your friend first. If religion does come up, play it cool. This is hard to do, I know. If you see the walls start coming up, you should be the one to change the subject to something other than JW/WTS stuff. Don't be the stereotypical obsessive-compulsive "apostate."

    My final piece of advice is to be honest. This does not mean you should tell your JW friend everything. But it does mean you shouldn't lie, exaggerate, or overstate your position (for example, I find that some ex-JWs overstate issues related to what the WTS published about 1975 and I think it hurts their credibility). If you are wrong on any fact, the JW will seize on it and use it to discredit everything else you say. There is plenty of well-documented material, so there's no need to cut corners or exaggerate.

    Hope this helps.

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