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

by garyneal 34 Replies latest jw friends

  • miseryloveselders

    The city I live in has two major universities, and a few other smaller schools including a community college. Every year a couple JW kids from out of state or from out in the boonies stay on campus in the city, and they end up coming to the KH I attend. They get treated as if they're "marked." Sure, "the friends" will converse with them briefly but there's a weird suspicion directed at these young adults. The most bizarre part of it all is when we have parts on pioneering, or lessons in the WT Study with paragraphs on young people pioneering. Those lessons always include a paragraph or two discouraging higher education. It makes for an awkward meeting when you have four or five JW students from out of town and "the friends" are dissing college in their comments. Last year, there was a lesson in the spring that made me feel embarrased to be a part of the congregation. The WT study article didn't directly come out and say higher education was a sin, but by the time those commenting were finished with those paragraphs related to school, you would have thought attending college was tantamount to rape or murder. The whole time I was sitting towards the back, on the left side of the hall. From that vantage point, I could see the out of town students looked very uncomfortable being there. After that lesson, one of them who was a nice young gal, never came back after that lesson. That meeting disgusted me.

    When I was wrapping up high school I made a mistake that I've regretted for a long time. I was in 10th grade, and a presentation was done about learning a trade at a neighboring school. They gave us a letter that summerized the program. I folded up the paper and put it in my back pocket. My mother who is an uber dub, 2nd generation pioneer, was washing clothes and pulled that paper out of my back pocket. She saw the word "trade", and thought, "well Jesus was a carpenter. A perfect carpenter. My son can learn a trade too!" So the course was set. From high school until my late twenties, I went from dead end job to dead end job. Eventually I went to a one year Medical based school that got me in a better position nowadays. But being honest, I've had a resentment towards my mother ever since, and lately I'm developing a hatred toward the WT Society. They shouldn't be able to have that much influece over our lives. They're overstepping their boundaries, and I hate them for it.


    here's my story on college:

    I was a bright kid - the top of the school when young. I didn't try hard later at school because the end was going to come and wasn't pushed to make an effort. I started A-levels (pre Uni education) but dropped out because life wasn't great at home and I wasn't enjoying it. I basically had no purpose in life and I knew I couldn't go to Uni. I was applauded in the KH for being a drop-out and I started pioneering which was all everyone talked about.

    At my KH no-one did a degree. Any kind of further education was worldly thinking from satan. You'd get involved with drugs and girls and the occult. At best you'd not get a job at the end of it. It was all extremely negative.

    I decided to go to college in my 20's because I wanted to be out of my parents control by buying a house and needed to earn decent money to do that. I went under the pretext that they were professional qualifications which would allow me to do well paid part time work later on. It kept me away from some meetings but I went to evening meetings at two KH's. It was so hard. Working full time maybe 10 hours a day, travelling for 3 hours and 3 hours of college too. I was always tired.

    During those years I got so many patronising negative comments; "haven't you finished yet" "why don't we see you more" "what is the point". By the time I finished quite a number of teenagers started doing degrees and got a lot of stick about it (not that they were following my example in any way).

    I've now got a great career, own an expensive house in a great area and more importantly been able to successfully fade so I can spend my life with people who care instead of depression inducing nutters (apologies to any JW's reading this).

    Higher education is great - life is too short.


  • Soldier77

    That's a pretty weak counter-point made by your wife (no offense) when she said:

    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 will not rule out that some people fall into this category of spending beyond their means and putting themselves into this "struggling." However, I find that most are truly struggling to pay the bills and make ends meet because they are getting paid low wages. I mean how much can a window washer, or janitor make?

    The witnesses I know that have gone to college don't seem to be "struggling" like these. I see them live in rather decent homes, nice cars, always seem to be off somewhere for a holiday... granted not all are like this, but majority I've found are.

    I went to college in my early 20's, I have an excellent job now and I can't say I made the wrong choice. I try to (or at least did when I was attending meetings) push college on as many teenagers as I can.

  • Olin Moyles Ghost
    Olin Moyles Ghost

    It amazes me that JWs argue with a straight face that the WTS doesn't discourage higher education. While there was a period in the 1990s where the literature adopted a more liberal tone regarding college, since the early 2000s the pendulum has swung back in the anti-college direction.

    While the literature is full of Watchtower weasel words, the message is crystal clear to anyone who has been a Witness: "strong" JWs don't go to university, especially right after high school. Over the last several years, here are a few examples of the anti-college statements I have heard at assemblies and conventions. Note that I'm not even including the comments made by individual JWs in the congregation, which are often more pointed. Rather, these are all from assemblies and conventions, which are carefully scripted by the WTS.

    • A Bethel Speaker (non-GB) gave the example of a mentally ill person who shot himself in the head in an attempt at suicide. The bullet did not kill him, but rather destroyed the part of his brain that caused his mental illness. Thus, this individual was cured by a bullet to the head. Of course, this is a rare occurrence--usually a bullet to the head kills you. The speaker likened this to college: some JWs come through it unscathed, but it wrecks the "spirituality" of most. (this is the same illustration given by GB member Losch in the famous youtube video; perhaps this speaker got this illustration from Losch...or maybe they got it from the same source)
    • A District Overseer likened college to shark-infested waters. You can swim through them, and you may make it to the other side alive. But is it worth the risk?
    • A demonstration depicted a Witness high-school student speaking with her guidance counselor. The counselor urged the student to complete some college applications. The JW student explained that she wanted to become a full-time minister instead and used the old canard that a college education is no guarantee of a steady job.

    These are just three examples of the clear, pointed direction from the WTS. If you were at these assemblies and heard these parts, do you think you would have left with the impression that college is ok?

  • thetrueone

    that they do not discourage college

    Big bullshit there, for many decades the WTS. has been discouraging college or higher levels of education.

    The pursuit of higher education was in their opinion a futile wastes of time since the end of this system of

    things was so close, mind you they said that starting in the 1930s right up to this very day.

    They have described colleges and universities as places of ungodliness and should be cautiously avoided.

    Unless of course your wanting to be a lawyer for the Society then by all means go and get the highest marks.

    Same lies and pretentiousness from a group of ignorant uneducated men to stay in power and control people

    as mental and physical slaves.

  • babygirl30

    My opinion is THIS: WBTS's hoopla about college and the 'temptations' is bull ish! There is TEMPTATION everywhere (especially if you're HOT) I mean, anywhere there's PEOPLE - there will be temptation...

    But this inherent fear of college always made me wonder WHAT the org was so afraid of. It's funny how all these JW-isms (live a simple life) come back to bite them in the arse. All the assumptions that people 'in the world' were living beyond their means and so that led to stress, broken families, etc. BUT in this economy, it doesn't matter how simple you lived, everyone is struggling - JWs included (probably moreso due to lack of education).

  • thetrueone

    The WTS shows it apathetic disregard for humanity in general as well as the individual.

    I know of many JWS who now in their elderly years are disparately impoverished because of taking the advise

    of this bogus organization. In essence the WTS. looks after itself, the people running the show know they need workers

    to support themselves, whether its at the printing factories or sales and marketing people ( Pioneers ) culling followers

    to the organization.

    Internally colleges and universities hold little value and importance and they are perceived as a posible threat.

  • AGuest
    Wasn't there a DVD released recently (within the last year or so) encouraging the ministry work and discouraging worldly pursuits?

    I don't know about that, dear Heaven (peace to you!), but I certainly remember a Kingdom Ministry asking for "college graduates" sometime in the late 90's. When I mentioned it to the PO, I was told that that apparently so many parents were sending their 18-year-old JW "babies" to Bethel that it had become a kind of JW day care center. He said they (elders) were told that many would come with absolutely no outside education or any other skills of any value (some not only had never worked, but had never attended school and so didn't know how to conduct themselves around others - i.e., didn't "play well with others")... and so they (Bethel) was recommending at least community college; however, this particular KM said that they (Bethel) were looking for doctors, lawyers, and others "with college degrees."

    Perhaps someone else will remember that.

    Anyway, that one ticked me OFF... because I had sort of discouraged my kids from going when they were younger. After speaking with the PO I told them both that they could... and should... go to college, and would, if I had anything to do with it. I cannot tell you how many times my it racked my nerves when I heard JW folks say how "smart" their home-schooled kids were (academically) only to see how painfully and exasperatingly socially-impaired... and judgmental/high-and-mighty/holier than thou... they were. I was terrified for my kids that they would be stunted like that (and I mean no offense to anyone who might fall into this category, but it is the truth).

    So, they went. And they are both very happy, well-rounded people... who have not left their faith in God and Christ. They just don't "do" religion, praise Jah!


    Peace to you all!

    A slave of Christ,


  • gubberningbody

    The statistics indicate that any high-control, narrow-minded authoritarian upbringing will meet its match in 4 years of college.

    "Between 1959 and 1963 James Trent and Leland Medsker followed the paths of 10,000 high school graduates who either pursued postsecondary education or moved directly into the work force. Of these two groups, those who completed college following high school showed greater gains in autonomy and intellectual disposition. More specifically, college graduates were "less stereotyped and prejudiced in their judgments, more critical in their thinking, and more tolerant, flexible, and autonomous in attitude" (pp. 129 - 130)....Exceptional change on a measure of social maturity was found to be related to "openness to ideas, tolerance of different points of view, and self direction" (p. 197)."

    The college experience can take the shackles off the mind.

  • LongHairGal


    They are absolutely hypocritical because they want people in bethel who have special skills that could only have been gotten with a college education!!!

    So, the message I get is that they do NOT want the average JW to get college because they are intimidated or jealous of people who have it. THEY ONLY WANT A JW TO GET COLLEGE IF THE RELIGION CAN DIRECTLY BENEFIT FROM THIS EDUCATION. If the religion cannot directly benefit from somebody's secular know-how they will begrudge this person that benefit and couldn't care less if that person starved to death. Pure jealousy.

    As for your wife parroting the phrase that people are struggling because 'they want the biggest house or an extravagant lifestyle....' , this is simply pure garbage!!! This is something the clueless men in bethel who live a cloistered life (ON OTHER PEOPLE'S CHARITY) would say. This is a purely ignorant statement made by somebody who doesn't have the foggiest idea of what it is like to live in the REAL world and keep their head above water. These people really bite the hand that feeds them! Where do they think the money comes from that people put in the contribution boxes?

    They are ignorant ingrates who would rather have an ignorant, impoverished following.

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