Question for Billy The Ex-Bethelite and others who had forgone college sometime ago.

by garyneal 34 Replies latest jw friends

  • garyneal

    I was talking with my wife today about college and I asked her about why the Society makes such a big deal about witnesses not going to college. In typical dub fashion, my wife tells me that they do not discourage college, but they do not encourage it either. Instead, they encourage placing kingdom interests first.

    Now I told her about you (Billy) and how you were at Bethel and are now starting college at the age of 40 (I think that is correct). If I am not mistaken, I think you said that you were discouraged from attending college when you were younger. Then I went on to point out how the Society discourages college and how so many witnesses in the rank and file wind up struggling because they end up following the slave's advice. My wife counters with, "Well these people who insist that they have to go to college because they are 'struggling,' are they struggling because they do not simplify their lives? Are they struggling because they want the biggest house or want to live an extravagent lifestyle?" I told her I would put this question to you and to others who find themselves trying to better themselves at college after following the slave's advice for so long.

    I tell you, she really seems to tow the party line in regards to college. I even asked her about why the Society does not provide college degrees at Bethel that could translate into secular jobs should they leave (or get put out). We discussed so much about the pros and cons about college but she really seems to think that I don't get it because I think that christians should not be barred from going to college even if it is to pursue a 'worldly' profession or secular employment. I also pointed out that when the WTS uses people with college degrees to advanced their own interests in areas that require college degrees, they were being hypocritical.

    Thoughts anyone?

  • AGuest

    Although they try to say that pursuing "worldly" education will cause one to leave/abandon their faith/belief in God, the truth is that it is the rare person, dear GaryNeal (peace to you!), who could go to college... and still "follow" the WTBTS.

    I went to [back to] college at age 40, then law school at 44... and I have to say that while I didn't find a great deal of religious people, I did not find a huge lack of belief in God. To the contrary, I met quite a few people who believe in God. I just didn't find very many (excluding exchange students) who believed in religion. It was refreshing, actually.

    And that education has proved invaluable in increasing MY faith and belief in the Most Holy One of Israel and His Son. Because I actually obtained critical thinking, logic, and reasoning skills that helped me understand what those who DON'T believe believe... and why. And I found, to my great surprise, that in some instances many of them are not much different than those inside the WTBTS: they believe themselves to be [very] open minded, but the truth is that they've pretty much just swung to the opposite pole of closed-mindedness.

    I mean, the totalitarian regimes of places such as Red China, North Vietnam, North Korea, the Soviet Union, etc., didn't/don't believe in God, either... and we see how that works out. Absolutely no belief in God can be just as dangerous as an complete, even well-meaning, but absolutely inaccurate, belief in Him.

    A slave of Christ,


  • garyneal
    I went to [back to] college at age 40, then law school at 44... and I have to say that while I didn't find a great deal of religious people, I did not find a huge lack of belief in God. To the contrary, I met quite a few people who believe in God. I just didn't find very many (excluding exchange students) who believed in religion.

    I remember when I was in college back around 1998-2000 I met up with a group of christian people who really helped me to see what it was like to have a real relationship with Christ. During that period, I felt closer to Him than I had ever had before (or since for that matter). It was a strong contrast from my experience with religion back when I was attending that old Independent Fundamental Baptist church. In fact, were it not for them, I am not certain if I would still be a Christian today.

    My wife told me that the college life is full of temptations that would cause people to draw away from God. This may be true but my experiences shows that the opposite is also true. I also asked her why is it that they do not have Jehovah's Witnesses groups in college. Her answer, because not too many witnesses go to college. Is this because they actively discourage it? She of course, said no.

  • asilentone

    I have no interest to go to College now, but I did have the interest to go to College when I was younger. I was a very talented basketball player in my teens, my parents would not let me play basketball for my high school. Alot of worldly folks were very confused about that. I could have gotten a basketball college scholarship that would help me very much. Well, I do have a good job now, it just pays me enough. Oh well, life has to go on. There is no way for me go back to the past and correct it.

  • alanv

    In 1968 I was at college studying a printing course. However more and more was being said about there being no point in building a carear in this system as it will soon be destroyed. Particularly the young people were encouraged to pioneer. So that is what my best friend and I did. I gave up my college and pionered. To do that I had to give up being an apprentice as well but felt there was no point doing that if it would all end soon.

    Boy was I taken in.

  • Heaven

    Back when I was a teenager in the '70s I was told 2 things by my Mom:

    "Get a good job at a good company. But you can't go to College."

    Ooook. So... how would you classify those 2 statements? I felt they were contradictory. Is the second statement a direct discouragement or is it a non-encouragement?

    Either way, I would say I was not encouraged AND directly discouraged from going to College. Well, I am no stupie girl. I didn't listen to my Mom. I told her "I can't do the first without the second. Things are different now than when you were in school. Companies demand post secondary school education."

    Things haven't changed since then with JWs. Wasn't there a DVD released recently (within the last year or so) encouraging the ministry work and discouraging worldly pursuits?

    I don't think it really matters if it is non-encouragement or direct discouragement. The end result is the same. Work for free for the cult and you figure out the rest. And stop whining because you haven't got enough money to pay your bills. Get out a do more for us.

    It's all a bunch of BS.

  • Tristram

    I went to college straight out of high school 20 years ago. The pressure from the congregation to quit was immense. The elders would pass on little tidbits that the "friends" had said about me going as a way to get me to quit. The fact that I was making all the meetings and regular in service didn't seem to matter. I was trying to put myself through school without any outside support, family included, and eventually it got to be too much, both mentally and financially and I quit. Overnight I was embraced by the congregation for my fine "advancement" and given all sorts of "privileges" that my collegiate status prevented me from qualifying for. I never finished college, despite attempts at going back years later.

    I'm not bitter or angry. At the end of the day it was still my call, and I was too weak to stand up for myself. I'm doing pretty well these days considering. The reality is that it is very difficult to enter the competitive job market these days without a degree. And it's not just about education in a given field, it's about showing potential employers that you are dedicated, have a good work ethic and follow through. A degree is a way to show this.

    What it comes down to for me is that an individuals freedom of choice is stripped from them, and in an area that has nothing to do with biblical principles. If one chooses not to go to college, fine, but let it be their choice, not because of pressure from others or because they are afraid they might offend someone.

  • truthlover

    recently, a talk off the platform stated that kids should get their twelve and then take a course at community college - 1 - 2 years... kids are usually at home when taking these courses and still would be going to the hall to get their spiritual food and of course, be watched as to association....

    It was mentioned to take a regular 4 - 6 year college course was not in their best spiritual interest

    Of course, if a kid is taking a regular college class and not living at home, thats a different story,but a kid at home can cause his/her dad to lose their position if a regular college course is taken..

  • Doubting Bro
    Doubting Bro

    As someone who skipped college directly out of high school because of the WTS's advice, I did not decide to return so that I could live an extravagent lifestyle. I was fortunate in that I started working for a company that at first didn't require a degree to do my job. I took some professional designation courses that basically substituted for the degree. But, as time went by, I realized that people several layers below me and everyone I managed had degrees. So, I believed that in order for me to maintain my position or compete with others for new jobs if necessary, I would have to get the degree. I also resented a bit that a religion had the audacity to tell me what kind and how much secular education I needed.

    I think that if you want to get a decent job, you probably need a bachelor's degree just to get your foot in the door. I'm not saying that good jobs don't exist without one, but its much more difficult.

    Believe me, temptations exist whether you're in college or whether you in the workplace. That's a weak excuse. A 18 y/o could move out on their own or with a roommate and face the very same things as an 18 y/o that moves away to college.

    I honestly never understood the anti-education stance and I never will.

  • Expanded-Mind


    I also was a JW teenager during the 1970's and, especially before 1975, the stress was on the door-to-door work and not pursuing supposedly unnecessary higher education since the end of the system was so close. Desiring to be faithful to Jehovah I determined to pioneer upon graduation. My folks, who were not JWs, wanted me to go to college and would have paid for the whole thing, but it wasn't in my plans. Before beoming a JW (my Junior year of HS) I absolutely planned and desired to go to school.

    But it is never too late if you want to go! I am currently in school full time and will graduate in the spring of 2011 and I'm in my 50's. Interestingly, I had a great job that paid fairly well, but I had this dream of completing my undergraduate degree, so I quit my job and.... now here I am. I am hopeful that it will open up some additional opportunities for me. But completing this will be fulfilling a life-long dream.

    Best of luck to all of you considering going back...


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