Could use a little input on freedom of speech with JW relatives.

by nicolaou 20 Replies latest social family

  • nicolaou

    How do you deal with JW relatives who say; "Can I just ask you one thing?"

    Seems obvious that you'd willingly answer their question right? I mean, it's good that they're asking questions, maybe they're waking up and it might start them on their journey out of the WT.


    I've got one real hardcore JW sibling. Although my last field service report was submitted eleven years ago and I haven't attended meetings in almost as long she still felt she needed to contact the local elders to report things I'd said to her a couple of years ago. To cut a long story short, I avoided being disfellowshipped but had to face the elders again following my sisters contact.

    Then I meet up with all my JW family; my sisters, their husbands, my brother and my Mum. My lovely, long-suffering wife came with me. It was awful, I was on trial by my own family. There were tears, raised voices, phone calls to elders, the whole lot. That was over two years ago but relationships are slowly healing. I only went through all that because I love my family and don't want to lose them but I will never put myself or my wife through that again. So that's where I am - not disfellowshipped.

    So, back to my original question. How should I react if one of my family say; "Can I just ask you one thing"? Do I have freedom of speech or don't I? Surely it just cannot be switched on and off like a light switch? I resent the implication that conversation with me is constantly on someone else's inconsistent terms.

    I want to talk freely, openly, honestly and calmly with my JW family who I love so much but NOT on this unfair and unequal basis.

    Perhaps I'm overthinking the issue but it really is pissing me off.

  • MidwichCuckoo

    Bottom line (we) have no freedom of speech (if I'm understanding you correctly - not free to have an opinion without 'suffering the consequences'). I'm guessing that if a JW family member asks, "Can I just ask you one thing"? he/she has already 'researched'/pre-empted your response... Personally, if I believed they just wanted to promote the WT or gather my response to report to Elders (as that how it appears from your post), I'd decline.

  • Finally-Free
    "Can I just ask you one thing"?

    "No" would be my answer. If they're sincere they should be willing to do their own research rather than putting you on the spot.


  • Broken Promises
    Broken Promises

    There is no such thing as freedom of speech when you are talking with JWs. They are right, you are wrong, and anything you say can be used against you.

    So, my answer would be, "No, the last time we tried to discuss anything JW-related it resulted in tears. I'm not going through that again."

    You don't owe them anything.

  • the-illuminator81

    You have freedom of speech as long as you never disagree with the teachings of the WTS, or better said, you have no freedom of speech at all.

    You should reply "Only if I can answer your question truthfully without being reported to the elders or risk disfellowshipping, no matter what I say."

    And even if they agree, they can change their mind afterwards and report you.

  • aSphereisnotaCircle

    Be a broken record, keep saying. "No, I can't answer any questions, I do not have freedom of speech"

    If they act really dense and want to know why, explain very briefly, and very calmly, why the JWs don't have freedom of speech, refuse to go into much detail other then "I learned my lesson last time I answered a JWs question"

    I did this for a while with good results, it shut my JW's right up. I also believe it got them to think, just a little bit

  • dozy

    I want to talk freely, openly, honestly and calmly with my JW family who I love so much but NOT on this unfair and unequal basis.

    I couldn't have phrased that better myself. I have no desire to put any doubts into my JW family but would appreciate an open conversation , even just to let them know where I am coming from & why I have taken the stand that I have. But like you I have learned from bitter experience that it just doesn't work that way.

    My response would be "sorry - if it is concerning JWs, it isn't something I discuss - both for my benefit & for yours." Or "you can ask me whatever you want , as long as you won't be offended if I don't answer."

    I've been caught out with that " do you mind if I ask you a question" line a few times and it has always led to an unfruitful discussion. What I thought were private , family conversations were reported back , word for word to elders. And private "shepherding" conversations with elders were discussed with their wives , as well as others on the body. And like you said , often it just leads to bitter argument and recriminations. I don't trust any JWs now , especially family. Their loyalty is to the WTBTS above all else.

  • designs

    Nicolaou- Counter with one question 'Will you turn me in if my answer upsets you'.

  • nugget

    You do not have freedom of speech as they will feel it is their duty to report anything that seems slightly questionable.

    I would always answer a question with a question. If they want your viewpoint ask why they wish to know. What do they hope to gain by asking this. Ask if their point of view has changed since you last met.

    Your family though probably lovely people is in a high control group and their initial loyalty will be to it not you.

  • Ding

    Just say, "No," and get on with your life.

Share this