If you have kids who are being exposed to JW beliefs

by Libelle 31 Replies latest social family

  • Libelle

    It's becoming clearer and clearer that I need to muster some sort of strategy for countering The Mr's indoctrination of the kids. Now some of these kids are stepkids, so that makes it a bit hairier. But for our youngest, I will need to think about how to teach her other things too. I do attend a church, but it's UU which means, essentially, most people seek out their own beliefs (many of my cong are atheists), which is good, but it's less structured.

    But regardless, the people who know the most about JW are not the ones who're looking in from the outside, but those on the inside. Would you all help me put together some ideas on how to keep your kids thinking? How to help them ride the tide (if need be) until they're old enough to live on their own and have their own beliefs? How to keep them always thinking rather than never questioning?

    Anyone game for this?

  • Ding

    This is tough.

    I've never had to deal with this, but here are some thoughts.

    Try to come to some sort of understanding with the Mr. on this.

    Obviously, he knows you don't agree with his religious views and if he's a JW he'll want to bring the kids up in "the truth."

    Perhaps you can get him to agree that the kids will need to make their own decisions as to what to believe rather than simply having a passed-along faith that they haven't really thought through. As a friend of mine says, "A faith that can't be tested can't be trusted."

    The WT book "The Truth That Leads to Eternal Life" (1968) actually agrees with this. It says this at page 13: "We need to examine, not only what we personally believe, but also what is taught by any religious organization with which we may be associated. Are its teachings in full harmony with God's Word, or are they based on the traditions of men? If we are lovers of the truth, there is nothing to fear from such an examination. It should be the sincere desire of every one of us to learn what God's will is for us, and then to do it."

    That's what they used to tell people at the door (they used that book with me and told me that).

    I don't know if the Mr. will buy into that.

    I also don't know how old your kids are. Obviously, the older they are the more persuasive the argument that they need to think things through and make sure of what they are doing before they commit their lives to something.

    I realize how determined JWs are to make sure their kids only hear "the truth," but maybe these ideas can be of help to you.

  • oldlightnewshite

    Having grown up as a JW from infancy, I would suggest you need to break the chain of thought that Jehovah is this personal god who looks down on your kids and watches everything they do. The indoctrination that they need to be worried/guilty about anything they do is something that runs deep for JW kids. If Jehovah is not real to them, they won't be pressured into thinking that questioning is wrong. A parent's example is a powerful thing. A child will take notice of how their parent acts, and be persuaded to think that they too should do things jehovah's way. If their parent sees jehovah as a real person, the child will be likely to follow suit.

    It will be difficult to try and show your children that your other half can be wrong about something, while at the same time trying to maintain your children's respect for his opinion. I would say try and teach them a bit about all religion, and get them to try and understand how different religions started/developed etc. Try and include the JWs in your discussions, so they can see religion in a broader spectrum.

  • Scully

    You can let your child participate in things that the step-siblings won't be allowed to do as JWs.

    Scouts / Brownies
    birthday parties

    With many families being religiously divided, the legal system pretty much requires that both religious viewpoints are entitled to equal time and opportunity where the children are concerned.

    Regarding the step-children, could you enlist their mother in the strategy if she is not a JW herself?

  • Ding

    As the kids get older, you might insist that if their dad is going to require them to read the current Watchtowers that they should at least read some of the older literature to learn the history of the organization. Choose something like The Finished Mystery and Millions Now Living Will Never Die. If they read that stuff, hopefully they'll set the Watchtower Society for what it really is. (I wouldn't tell the Mr. that's WHY you want them to read the older books. Just tell him you think people ought to read the classic publications of their religion.)

  • Libelle

    Thanks Ding. Yes, the kids have plenty of exposure to the Great Lie. We've talked and as far as stepkids are concerned, The Mr says it's not my place to teach them religious stuff. So any and everything I can possibly do will have to be subtle.They've only been learning it for as long as he's been in, which is about 3 years. Life was normalish before then. I'm starting to notice them (the big kids) get nervous and wary about what they should/not do.

    OLNS, thanks for the comments on J-god being a personal god. That's one thing I guess I wasn't too clued in about, him being this controlling "fatherly" figure. Any ideas on how to thwart that? I do like the idea of teaching how other religions have been created and evolved. I just don't know if I can get that detailed with the steps.

    Scully, yes, I take the youngest with me to all the holidays and such, however always feel guilty that the biggers cannot come along. The kids' mom is a, erm, unique situation that I'd rather not get into. Suffice it to say, clear communication is tough. She's not JW, but is another sort of high intensity religion... yay.

    Keep the ideas coming!

  • oldlightnewshite

    Hey Libelle,

    Speaking from experience, I was always curious about evolution at school. I was told to block out what the teacher was saying during history/humanites lessons. I think that had I actually learned the whole truth about evolution from a young age, I wouldn't have swallowed the WTS bull. I would say teach them a lot about science, anthropology and evolution. I realise this ain't gonna happen if you want your kids to develop some kind of spirituality. My take on it is this... let your kids be kids, and when their mind is mature enough and serious enough, then they will be able to explore a spiritual belief, or disbelief. My view is that the WTS is so dangerous, I would willingly sacrifice them actually having any kind of spiritual belief, rather than have their life screwed up by a dangerous cult.

    Maybe you will now have to show them the way. Teach them that it's okay to question anything...not just religion. Teach them how science developed over the years... How the catholic church opposed the great thinkers like Galileo etc. They will soon draw conclusions that an organization can be closed-minded, obtuse, just plain wrong. They will see parallels with the way the Watchtower operates.

    Maybe you could get interested in nature programmes? A lot of them are slanted towards modern scientific thinking. Even if it's not your 'bag'...you're gonna have to make it so. When you watch TV as a family, it's an excellent way of subtley influencing their thinking. Your kids may well find an interest in it too, if they see you are enjoying it. My mother especially hated anything nature/science related, as she said it was all satan's propaganda and lies.

    Good luck. You're gonna need it!

  • PSacramento

    Expose your children to all the world has to offer and let them naturally come to conclusions for themselves.

    For every point Mr.JW says, if you feel there is a counter-point make it, if he asks why you are doing that, simply say that if there is another side to something that a child should knwo what it is so they can make an informed decision and not one manipulted by controlled/restritcted information.

    Do NOT do anything manipulative or deceitful because that is the wrong thing to do.

  • Libelle

    Thanks OLNS... FWIW, I have a bachelor's in ecology and minor in geology. It's a degree welllll out of use in currently (god, I haven't done anything in that field for at least 8 years), but yeah, I reckon that's a good idea. I've always had them interested in bugs and the like, but we've never talked evolution.

    I'd love for them to have an alternate spiritual possibility, but the only one I have a chance with teaching anything is my youngest. I mean, I'm a UU Pagan, so I'm generally pretty easy going with what someone believes in the first place (well except absolutist and cult religions). I just want them to not be sucked into JW. And I'm sure while I'm going this direction, maybe my process could help out other UBM's with kids...

  • Libelle

    PSac, I've thought about and done that, but sometimes he twists it around to sound like I'm dogging his beliefs. Yeah, I'm not into manipulative, but I do get downright angry.

    God, kid can't sing in a concert tonight because of "My country tis of thee" WTF? Yanno?

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