delema... thoughts of not deprograming son

by Aussie Oz 21 Replies latest jw friends

  • Aussie Oz
    Aussie Oz

    This might sound a little strange but i hope some of you might understand.

    My 17 year old boy is hot and heavy with his JW girlfriend. He told me the other day that they had talked about getting married an two or three years, how they want to travel the world before having kids etc. I asked him where getting baptised fitted into this, as they will need to be baptised if they want a KH wedding. He hadn't thought of that but indicated that he would get baptised in time for that. I know at 17 he is far to young, and hasn't even figured himself out yet.

    I really get pissed off with these fundamentalist religions that leave horny kids no other way to get it on than to get married.

    He is really fixated on this girl as 'the one'. I know how he feels and no talking will make him see it otherwise. We had a talk about the 'truth' and i sugested that one of the reasons he doesn't ask me why i feel they are wrong is that if learns this too, he will may lose his girlfriend, which je though likely in that situation. I did say that he can't tell me i have it wrong if he hasnt looked into it. I dont mind if he thinks i am wrong after he looks into it, at least he will have looked.

    My delema is that it got me second guessing my 'deprograming' activities. I want him to be happy. I wonder if he will be part of a new style JW that doesnt tow the line as regards to lifestyle and shunning.

    Part of me is scared that if i pull the rug out from under him, and he does lose his girl, that he may go into self destruct mode as it were, perhaps you know what i mean?

    What do i offer a kid if i strip away his whole belief system, friends and family? Am i just being selfishly motivated by getting him out so i don't get shunned? He has to make his choices and live his life... i just wish he was not going with a jW girl, and that it was not so serious, so young.


  • Listener

    That is a toughie. It is usually best to go with what your heart tells you and no doubt you want to put his interests first. He hasn't matured yet and can easily make the wrong choices without your guiding hand. I personally don't know what advice to give you and I am interested in what others think.

    On thing to consider (but I am sure you have anyway) is his age. He is very young and will be only 19 or 20 when he marries. I would at the very least be discouraging him to do that. Once he gets married as a JW he is stuck with it for the rest of his life. There are some successful marriages of young ones but one hears so often that they feel they probably got married too soon. He may be happy and content for a few years but it the long term it can be quite hard going from what I have seen. Then the children come along and this makes it serious business.

    It is really hard on a JW because of the sex before marriage issue and two/three years is still a long time. Sometimes these things have a way of sorting themselves out

  • Satanus

    The obvious solution seem to be to break up his relationship w the jw girl. I feel like a nastard (nasty bastard) saying that, but someone had to, no? He might never forgive you, if you did that. Anyhow, maybe a solution will present itself.


  • satinka

    Auzzie Oz, are you "in" or "out" of the cult?

    The reason I ask is because if you are "out", once he gets married, he will be forced to shun you. Is this acceptable to him?

    He is awfully young. What about the girl, is she 17, too? Do her parents know about their daughter's relationship with an unbaptised boy?

    It is sad that young ones take their first relationships so seriously. They do tend to get awfully depressed when it ends suddenly, especially if they are talking marriage. And undoubtedly there will be pressure to marry from the elders. You know, they must "avoid fornication" at all costs. Keep the organization clean. No doubt you know the drill.

    I figure it might be best to just be a good friend to him and be observant. "Be there" for him. Answer his questions when he asks them. It's nice to see that the two of you are communicating. He does seem to confide in you with his concerns. That sounds like a healthy father-son relationship to me.

    I don't know how many 17-year old boys make it to the altar, without experimenting with at least a few dates with other women. Seems awfully restrictive with himself to think the first gal is "the one."

    I'm a grandma, so maybe I have forgotten what it was like to be 17...maybe... But I wish only happiness for you --- and for your son, too. At the end of this "thing" it would be nice if you and he were still "family."

    Let us know how it is going...


  • Retrovirus

    Hi fellow Aussie!

    I'm probably the least qualified re JWs, but I did raise two kids as a single working mum. It seems to me that you've already started "deprogramming", and despite temporary hormone interruptions, that genie won't go back into the bottle.

    Of course it's possible that he and his girl will become "laid-back", moderate jw's. But what i'm reading here is that the WT is increasing control. also a lot would depend on the girl and how much her family can influence her (assuming they are all "in").

    Don't know the circumstances, but I doubt that Satanus' idea could be made to work. I was a very headstrong teenager once!

    Most of all I'd urge you to stay close to your son. If possible, arrange outings and interests that he would miss as a "good jw". Keep him thinking and respect his opinions. If at all possible meet the girl and do the same.

    Finally make sure that he knows you are always there for him, so that whatever happens, he has support outside the WT.

    Best of luck, Retro

  • jamiebowers

    It seems to me that the two issues, deprogramming your son and him having a jw girlfriend, are two separate issues. If you share with him the science behind human sexual behavior and divorce statistics among the jws, (see the Pew Report), he'll probably figure out for himself that the Watchtower is full of shit....especially regarding the sex before marriage restriction. Maybe he'll even get his girlfriend out.

  • bohm

    if you deside to let him go forward, how about asking him if he, when he is preparing for baptism, will consider an equivalent study with you to "get both sides of the story" now that he is making his final commitment?

  • Think About It
    Think About It

    Ozzie......tough decision. Young men at that age however can fall in love with any girl. Don't see much upside in him remaining a JW in today's world. I wouldn't go into full attack mode on the WTS with him, but would still subtlely mention things to still get him thinking. All it would take is one worldly girlfriend and he would probably be out. Good luck.

    Think About It

  • Scully

    I'd ask him why the rush to get baptised? Jesus didn't get baptised until he was 30 years old. If it's only so he can get married to this girl, then neither of them are (a) truly ready to get baptised and (b) truly ready to get married. They are allowing their hormones to direct decision-making, which is okay in very few circumstances, but usually is not the best decision-making tool available to people.

    The WTS always cautions against marrying in the "bloom of youth" so as to not make an unwise decision that will have long-term consequences, so they should also counsel against baptism in the "bloom of youth" for the very same reasons. Let's say that Ms JW is actually "the one" for your son. If that's true, then she will still be "the one" in a year, in two years' time - even five or ten years' time. The thing is, true love will stand the test of time and absence, whereas infatuation will not. He has to learn that needing to be with someone 24/7 is not a sign of love, but a sign of insecurity - whether it's the boy or the girl involved. A little separation and time apart is healthy in a relationship.

    At 17 years of age (which is how old I was when I got baptised) I was not even legally permitted to enter a contract. I had to have my mother co-sign so I could open a savings account at the bank. I needed driving lessons before I could get a driver's licence. I couldn't join the army. I couldn't vote. I couldn't get married. I couldn't buy lottery tickets or go to a casino. I couldn't buy alcohol. At that age today, I couldn't buy cigarettes.

    Check your local laws and remind him that the laws are there for his protection. The arbitrary age limit is there because young people may have the "ability" to do the things they'd like to do, but they may not possess the "capacity" or maturity to understand the long-term consequences of doing those things. Truly, even some older folks have not matured to the point of understanding long-term consequences of their behaviour!

    The best thing you can teach him at this age is the art of ethical decision-making. It means sitting down, setting aside emotional / hormonal influences, and exploring the various options before him, and thinking through the potential consequences of each option. Once you've done all that reflection and introspection, then any decision-making is done with eyes wide open to the consequences.

  • GrandmaJones

    It's the sex, of course. Even "worldly" kids don't think seriously about getting married that young. JW kids feel they have to marry to have it. A parent sound like a satyr to suggest anything else, I suppose.

    I don't know all your personal circumstances, and what risks you assume in being straightforward with him. One thing I would mention though, is the danger that should he marry a JW girl, then his odds of staying in increase a lot. Yes, 50% of marriages end in divorce, but don't forget that 50% of them DON'T end in divorce. You are risking the lives of your grandchildren as well.

    I was a born in who left before baptism, stayed out for 16 years, and then got all invigorated because I resumed bible study with a sister that I liked. This was followed by thirty years in "the truth" most of which I was vigorously active. I raised my kids in it, and my one son and daughter-in-law have spent their entire lives in full time service and have not had children due to their zeal for the work. She is probably too old to change her mind now, and it grieves me to know that my ignorance is the cause of this situation. Most people who knew me during the sixteen years I was out would NEVER have thought there would be a day when I would be so IN! You just never know what the future will bring.

    It is for this reason that my sister is going to discuss this with her own daughter, who is a "casual" JW. Who knows whether her grandson will be casual or zealous, wll attend or not attend college etc, or will marry someone like that? She feels that she must take the risk.

    It is because I don't want my son and daughter-in-law to spend any more time in a work and life that is not for and to the purpose of truly serving god, not an organization that I intend to speak frankly with him. I gave most of my life to this. It has to stop here. My son is an elder, holding two of the top positions in the congregation, serves as the head of the hospital liason committee, is a full time pioneer, and a former bethelite, is active on the body of elders of the RBC committee in our state, and is a convention overseer. He is the golden boy of the circuit and district, and the darling of the CO and DO. Given that, I expect that I will be quickly disfellowshipped. I am going to do it anyway. He is my firstborn, my child whom I dearly love, (as much as all my others who will certainly leave) and I have to do this as his mother. I don't feel that I have a choice. It is a moral obligation as far as I am concerned.

    All that being said, EVERYONE IS IN DIFFERENT CIRCUMSTANCES!!! These are only my own thoughts and opinions and are no better or worse than anyone else's. I only offer these as something to consider in making your decisions.

    You have to do what you think is right in YOUR circumstances, given the personalities and inclinations of everyone involved.

    The very best of luck to you. I hope you let us know what you decide, because I learn from the experiences of others, as we all do.

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