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

by garyneal 34 Replies latest jw friends

  • I quit!
    I quit!

    I think the Watchtower is caught between a rock and a hard place on this one. If witnesses went to college they would earn more money so the society would get more money. But educated people don't make good JWs and chances are that after attending college they wouldn't remain in the Watchtower. Going to college would require time away from the KH and it is hard to keep someone believing that the Watchtower is the center of the Universe when you aren't there to control the information they are receiving.

    My wife is very smart. She was a straight A student in high school. Her father wanted her to go to college and would have paid for it. But she follow her mother into the Watchtower as a young teenager so that put an end to that idea. Where she now works they are requiring degrees in areas where they didn't in the past. They're encouraging the people in these positions to go back to school and get a degree.

  • Pistoff
    "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)."

    This is why the WT pisses on college every time they can.

    But the thing is this: other religions do not ban college, and they survive. It will change the makeup and the numbers, but only for the better. They will develop middle and upper leadership who will still want to be in the borg, even after having their critical thinking skills sharpened.

    They might even have a better explanation for generation. Overlap, what bullshit.


  • garyneal

    I just feel that if a religion is going to benefit in anyway from a degree earned by some of its members then it should in no way condemn college. I use to be in a legalistic church where the pastor made the comment to parents one day that they should train their daughters to go to Bible college and hopefully become preacher's wives. I mean, wow, way to turn the clock back 50 years on women, go to Bible college with a preacher man as their goal. I guess I was too 'enlightened' to buy into that nonsense.

    It is true that college makes you more tolerant and openminded which is a bane to any fundamentalist religion. I mean, you can't convince someone that the only happy people on Earth are the ones inside a particular religion or group. The elder's wife who studied a lot with my wife prior to her baptism would regularly make broad generalizations like this to me which would automatically set of my BS meter. I guess the fact that she never had a post secondary education surely contributed to her belief in those comments.

    I know my wife laments the fact that her education is taking a lot out of her and I do try to encourage her to continue it to the end. The fact is, that even her teaching job is requiring a bachelor's degree and her bosses are asking all their teachers to pursue it, even those who've been teaching for a long time. She would do well not to shoot herself in the foot over this.

    I also tried to make another point with my wife last night. I made a statement that some people may wish to pursue careers in medicine or other fields that by their nature require a postsecondary education just to get you in the door.

  • wannabefree

    Letter to all Congregations.

    Dear Brothers,

    To help you before you take a false step that will lead to spiritual harm (Gal. 6:1), we strongly urge you not to go to college or university as the end is very soon and you will not be able to practice your profession, it is a waste of time and will take you away for the most important activity anyone can be involved in, the preaching of the Good News of the Kingdom TM, as taught by Jehovah's Organization TM , mankind's only true hope. (see Awake!, May 22, 1969, p.15)

    If you did receive a degree before becoming one of Jehovah's Witnesses, or, obtained a degree during a point of spiritual weakness, and you have a skill that is listed on the attached page, we have space available for you at Bethel where you can put into practice Galatians 6:9 in a truly spiritual way.

    Your Brothers,

    Watchtower Bible & Tract Society

  • Billy the Ex-Bethelite
    Billy the Ex-Bethelite

    Great comments! I would have posted sooner, but I was busy with, ahem, preparing for the fall semester.

    Gary, in my case, since I'm 40+, it's worth pointing out Watchtower's attitude about college 25 years ago as I was growing up. I was in a congregation that had already been around for decades. the Awake! of May 22, 1969, p. 15 nicely sums up my home congregation's attitude. She should read it for herself and tell us that our parents were fools for believing what was published. Your wife would probably dismiss this as hearsay, but when I went to the "Bethel Meeting" at the DC after my first year at community college, I was told that I needed to reread what the society warned about college, and that I wouldn't be appointed an MS, and that my dad's qualifications as an elder would be called into question. After I dropped out, and later went to Bethel, I was certainly surprised to see the college graduates in the various departments there. I learned that they hate you if you go to college, but they love you after you graduate.

    But about the questions:

    "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."

    Nobody that knows me would need to ask those questions. I'm living with family. I have no health insurance. My car is over 10 years old. How can I "simplify"? Is wearing clothing, eating food, and living indoors "an extravagent lifestyle?" I have no illusions of ever owning a big house or living large. I've done the research. If I get a bachelors degree, I'll have plenty of job opportunities with job security, benefits, and a good wage. If I continue the way I have been working, I will have no job security, low wages, my health will be shot in a few years, and I'll need to take a steady dose of anti-depressants.

    The other usual charge is, "you're too picky in your jobs, you need to be like Br. [insert name] who is content with work in manual labor at a lower wage." How long am I supposed to survive when I'm competing with young Mexicans for these jobs? Since we're not supposed to miss any meetings, I'm expected to refuse many opportunities. And we already have plenty in the congregations that are fighting with one another for construction and cleaning jobs. The other "skills" I learned in Bethel don't exist in the outside world.

    I won't go into specifics, your wife probably wouldn't believe it anyway, but I was "encouraged" to leave because of health problems. I had over 15 years in full-time service, I had avoided higher education, career, marriage, and fatherhood in order to be of greater use to "God's organization". I got used. Then I got booted because they were afraid I would be "a problem". I had one episode in Bethel and it recurred once after I got booted, because I couldn't afford the medication. Now I hope I have it managed, but Watchtower Corporation has been no help. Talk about getting the "keep warm and well-fed" treatment from people. Fortunately, "Satan's system" has been very helpful with care, support, and encouragement that I never got from "God's organization".

  • Anne

    I think it was 1992 when they had an article come out that relaxed their stand on higher education. I was in my late teens and took that as license to go, waving that article at anyone who dared say anything.

    A few years later when they backpedaled and became more anti-education I found it ironic that a C.O. tried to recruit my also college educated hubby and myself because of our degrees for Bethel. (We weren't even making half the meetings at that point!)

    They don't want born-ins to learn critical thinking skills. Once you learn how to think you look around and realize what a load it is. In some ways they are right, an education does have an influence on people leaving the JWs. They are just not being honest as to the why.

  • jamiebowers
    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?"

    Has your wife ever asked the same questions of herself? When I was in, I knew of jws who looked down on married women working full time, and college was out of the question for anyone, (this was back in the early 80's). As a matter of fact, I can think of only one married woman who worked full time, and she wasn't popular at all, despite the fact her husband's family were instrumental in getting that congregation started.

    My point is, your wife needs to reconsider her suspicions about people's motives and look at what the consequences of following the organization has been for many people. Your wife has a full time job and is also going to school, so chances are, she'll always have a good job. Had she been a married jw woman 20 years ago, she wouldn't have had much of a chance to do either one.

  • elderelite

    I know you didn't ask me specifically but I too skipped college, pioneered for a year and then went to bethel for a year. Ultimatly it has not hurt me, at least not financially. I got a very nice paying job in a tec position.. I would like to say what it is but that would be a bit much.. suffice to say I work with many people who have college degrees. We all get paid the same (union job). But the bigger issue is... would I do it the same way again and what do i plan for my kids.

    Knowing what I know now, yes I would live my life the same way. I learned a lot of valuable things about this org that I wouldn't know otherwise. HOWEVER I will be sending my kids to college, of some sort. What they go for and where I will discuss with them, but it is crazy to try to make it in the world we live in without at least a little additional education. My dumb luck dosent equal a sound life decision. I also happen to live in an area that still has not been hit by the current economic crissis very poorly or I may well be regreting the college thing. My kids will NOT be following the WT's advise on this.

  • Billy the Ex-Bethelite
    Billy the Ex-Bethelite

    Oops, I should clarify that I was asked to leave Bethel because of a health issue. I wouldn't need to leave college for my health.

    Recently, the CO visited, and in his PUBLIC talk (which really wasn't fit for public consumption), he criticized "higher education" where people learned things like "philosophy", both of which he described with contempt. I mentioned to a few friends that they should be glad that doctors take classes such as philosophy so that they learn to respect other peoples beliefs that they don't agree with. If it weren't for philosophy, doctors and lawyers would constantly be fighting JWs at every turn because they don't understand our beliefs about refusing whole blood and some fractions, but accepting other fractions that are bigger fractions than the fractions we reject. Instead, doctors pretty well respect the decisions we are supposed to follow, even though they don't understand or agree. So it's good that philosophy helps people to respect others. That made for a couple of interesting conversations.

  • garyneal

    Just wanted to let everyone know how much I appreciated all of your comments.

    ASO: Sorry to hear that you missed out on a chance for a basketball scholarship for college. Your response brought this to mind.

    Alanv: Yeah, I remember reading quite a bit on 1975 and what happened leading up to and after that date. Sorry to hear that you were taken in.

    Heaven: BS Indeed. I still wonder how the publishing company keeps telling its witnesses not to go to college and yet expect to survive when being funded by people without the education companies require nowadays?


    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.

    So so true but sadly this argument failed on my wife's closed mind.

    Truthlover: I guess what is really sad is how a child who goes to college while living at home can bring drastic consequences to the parents. As if the child were out doing terrible things. Yet, the society makes full use of people with degrees to 'advance Kingdom interest.'

    Doubting Bro:

    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.

    This is so true nowadays. My wife is a teacher and in her profession there are a lot of older teachers who do not have degrees. The school system is asking a lot of them to go to college and get their degree, even offering to pay for it. These teachers are balking but in the end a college degree will be a requirement to show any degree of professionalism. A high school diploma and even an associate's degree isn't enough anymore.

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