I've been Jehovah's Witness for about a year now, and recently I've been finding problems in some teachings that my parents and congregation can't answer satisfactorily. Since I began voicing my issues my mum in particular has become increasingly overbearing and, although she says there's nothing wrong with asking questions, it's obvious she doesn't like me having doubts and not accepting her answers, even though they don't explain any of my problems. It feels like I'm being forced down a path that I don't want to take, but I don't know what to do. Should I accept my parents and congregations answers, even though they don't help me with what I'm asking?
I need help with what to believe?
Look elswhere for answers. They are out there.
Btw, i don't care what you believe. It's not my business.
I cant tell you what to do, but i can offer my own thoughts on your situation:
Ask yourself this: If you were part of any other religion, for example a mormon, and you experienced what you do right now -- that some of the things dont quite make sence, and some of the questions are not quite being answered, what should you then do?
Just accept it, or try to make an honest examination of your belief and the evidence?
How do you think God would see such an examination? Even if the mormon God is the right one -- do you think he would prefer you really tried to find answer to your questions, or that you just accepted it as truth because the people around you believe it is the truth?
I believe you agree with me that it would be better to examine things and make sure its really okay (or just relatively okay). If you do so, i would strongly advocate you dont only examine the evidence from one POW, but throw in a book that might offer some contrary ideas - if you have some specific things you question (and would like some thoughts on), i would very much invite you to post them here.
Should I accept my parents and congregations answers, even though they don't help me with what I'm asking?
I have the same problems every time I ask JWs questions. The answers they give are as follows:-
- Something completely unsatisfactory
- Something unrelated
- No answer
The WT want you to believe 2+2=5 but it is clear it doesn't add up.
You have been doing the maths. At some point you are going to have to face the music or else believe the lie.
In short the WT attempt to sideline and replace Jesus.
John 14:6 (New International Version, ©2010)
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Romans 10:9 (New International Version, ©2010)
9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
John 6:53-54 (New International Version, ©2010)
53 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.
1 Timothy 2:5 (New International Version, ©2010)
5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus,
Ephesians 4:4-6 (New International Version, ©2010)
4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Blessings in Christ,
Did your mum only become a Jehovah's Witness recently? (You said you were in it about a year.)
Mind if I ask how old you are?
Ultimately, you are going to have to decide your own religious views, but if you are a minor living with your parents that poses special problems.
You can still think for yourself, of course, but you'll have to be very careful not to start a civil war at home.
Chalam I'm afraid that you've hit the nail on the head - those are the 3 responses I'm getting towards the issues that bother me most, and they aren't helping in the slightest! Quite the opposite in fact - it's making me think they have no answers for my question, which in turn leads me to question the validity of the faith itself.
to Ding: My mum has been a witness much longer than I have, about 10 years I think. I'm 16, nearly 17, so I am currently still living at home under care of my parents. My mum has said that it's my decision to make, and that she's not going to force me to believe anything, but I'm worried that it would be the same as her saying there's nothing wrong with questioning...her actions are contradicting her words in that case. I'm not the argumentative type, so I don't think there would be a problem as long as she listened to my point of view, rather than bombarding me with 'proof' to try and change my mind - a bad habit she has developed lately which really isn't helping...
Once again, I'll cut to the chase, JWs fail the test, even the so called "anointed".
2 Corinthians 13:5 (New International Version, ©2010)
5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?
See here for more of "Christ in you", THE hope of glory Colossians 1:27
John 14:15-27 (New International Version, ©2010)
Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit
15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be [ a ] in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”
23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.
25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Acts 2:38-39 (New International Version, ©2010)
38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
Blessings in Christ,
Your age makes a big difference. When I read the title, I was going to reply that asking others what to believe is what involved you with the Witnesses. You sound like me. Your parents are raising you in it. My sense of safety was severely shaken when my local brothers who were functionally illiterate misread fifth grade writing. It would be no big deal but the Holy Spirit slays those who sin against it. I felt cursed by Jehovah with reading comprehension.
Few things in life are more important than asking questions. I accumulated many questions. My most pressing question was did I believe a loving God would destroy all his creation, esp.my school friends, teachers and relatives? I could not. It wasn't intellectual. My gut reacted. I hated all the meaningless restrictions. I knew Catholics, Methodists and saw in them much better examples of Christians than the Witnesses were. Jesus is emphatic that we reach out to the poor and oppressed. What you do to the least of these, you do for me. The Witnesses let their own starve and go homeless while they constantly build huge factories. Why are the factories needed if the end of the world is upon us? I could not believe paradise would involve burying the remains of all those dead people. The strench would be unbelievable. What about depression? There would not be enough Witnesses to get the bodies in the ground or fire. The Red Cross will not be around.
I could not talk to my parents about my doubts. My father dragged me into the KH against my will. I refused to participate so he pinched me for all the KH to see. It is awkward being a teen b/c you have your own beliefs and instincts but you are in their custody. My father was extremely abusive. I fought for life itself. Looking back, my acts of assertion were not healthy in terms of staying alive. I was going to be pulled out of high school when Ivy League scholarships awaited me. I had to talk to the principal about going to a foster home. Teen years should be fun. My father died before it went to court. We could breathe for the first time. O, Blessed Death.
Trust your gut and respect your parents. They might embrace you no matter. I reached out to a teen fashion magazine to get help. The wrote me a private letter to my girlfriend so my parents would not know. The help was timely and appreciated. It may seem like an eternity now but you will have freedom. No one can know what you think in your own mind. They are your thoughts. Even today, many decades later, I always err when I don't trust my gut. The Witnesses will have you dishonor your gut. I'd suggest honoring your gut.
Welcome to the forum Hannah
The primary doctrine is that Jesus selected the Watchtower, in 1919, to be Jehovah's sole channel of communication in our day.
As long as a person believes that, they will believe anything the Watchtower serves up.
Question it. Ask in a way that makes them really want to give you an answer.
Question any faulty logic used to support it. Ask them to show you evidence for anything they say that seems even slightly wrong. If you know of a scripture, or WT publication, or any other source they quote or trust, that contracts them, ask them to read it to you and explain it.
Here are some tricks they use when asked a question they don't like.
Ask you a question to change the subject. No matter how insistant they are, do not answer their question. They believe they can save you from their rapidly approaching Armageddon if they can convince you that they have the truth. In order to do that, they have to answer your question. Make sure they know that.
Re-phrase the question to something they would prefer. Tell them that is not what you asked, then repeat your question.
Talk about a closely related subject without answering your question. Tell them what they did, then repeat your question.
Attacking your character for asking your question & Bullying. Accuse them of the behaviour they have indulged in and act offended that they should stoop to using such tactics on their own daughter/sister/mother/whatever.
Refuse to answer. If they don't answer your question, they are slacking in their duty. Make them feel guilty for that.
Say they will get back to you. Make them promise they will have their answer by a date. They will usually 'forget' then bring up a different subject next time they talk religion. Do not discuss the new topic. They made a promise ... they have had enough time .... you want their answer to your question now ... or you want to know why they haven't got one. Remind them that an apology for forgetting would be nice.
Remember ........ before you open your mouth ....... ask yourself ........... "Did what they just said, truly answer my question???????"
hi and welcome. Remember they call the organisation the truth, if something is true it can withstand scrutiny. Something does not become untrue when examined closely unless it was a lie in the first place.
IT is very wise to fully examine your faith before making a commitment that can impact on your future relationships. It is also important to be like the Boreans and ask questions. Jesus and the early Christians applauded the virtue of checking things out as a means of gaining faith.
What's interesting in what you said about your gut is that a friend of mine explained why she didn't believe in religion or Bible subjects. She said that the nudges you get when something is wrong or right is your god telling you what to do.
I thought that was a really good point on how accurate a gut feeling really is, not that it's really God doing it. I think she's agnostic or something.
I've noticed that mine is usually right, unless I'm totally confused and not reading a situation right.
It is none of my business what you choose to believe - but it does seem to me that you have entered a situation that may become untenable.
You have doubts, and that will eventually lead you to see that the Jehovah's Witnesses do not have the 'whole truth and nothing but the truth'. Going down this pathway will probably lead to problems at some point - for you will likely leave the organization, perhaps disassociating yourself eventually. This is not bad in itself - but the potential loss of family, as they follow the Watchtower leading to 'shun' those who leave, will be a matter of serious concern in your future.
You may wish to carefully plan a safe 'fade' - never revealing your true opinions - then as an adult you might be able to slip into a life that is non-witness. I am afraid though that you might loose your family if you are not careful. You may wish to start a thread about 'fading' - develop a strategy that will work to keep you in 'good standing' so as not to loose family. Just a suggestion - from someone who was baptized as a teenager also, who wishes in retrospect that he could have figured it out and done something like that 35 years ago - instead I left at age 48, and then lost all my friends and those family who were witnesses.
Peace to you
It's hard when they start attacking your character, I am not sure if they are doing this to you yet or not. I am beginning to encounter this from my wife. Instead of commending me for checking all things she's been saying that I am opposing God by opposing His organization. Or at least she is warning me that I might be opposing Him, invoking Acts 5:39 to back up her claims. My response, "Why should I fear a false prophet? (Deuteronomy 18:21-22)"
She also says that my heart is not ready or that I do not have the right heart condition. I asked her for proof of 1919 also and invited her to use any means at her disposal. She says that even if she proved it, it would not matter because I do not have the right 'heart' for it. The personal attacks fly. My response, "If the Society truly has the authority it claims to have then why would I ignore their direction? Why do you believe in Jesus? Did He not prove who He was by His teachings, miracles, and rising from the dead? Without those proofs, who would you have any reasons to believe Him? (1 Corinthians 15:17)"
This is actually a lot EASIER for you then for most, the solution simply go away to college. Apply only at colleges that are a minimum of 200 miles from home.
Now for 'what you should believe' well only you can answer that but a serious examination of your entire belief structure is in order.
Start with step one why do you believe in god?
Why do you believe in jesus?
If there is a god why do you believe that the bible is in anyway the word of god?
What evidence is there for god, is the evidence any stronger than say for santa claus?
Is the evidence that the bible is inspired any stronger than the evidence that moby dick was inspired?
Is the evidence that Jesus lived and performed miracles stronger than the evidence that mother teresa lived and perfomed miracles? Do you for some reason believe one did and one didn't? Why?
Good luck on your journey.
welcome and good luck Hannah
i have two teens being raised as JWs so i will follow your story should you post more...
Like the others have said
ask questions and dont let them not answer
Big Wobble Welcome Hannah !
Please remember we are here for you, to help with some answers if we can, but always to support you in whatever you decide, but please please do continue to question, that is what lays bare what is true.
Welcome again, and best wishes.
hannahmcmanus Many years ago I had the same problem with my father. Perhaps this excerpt from a manuscript I am working on, will strike a chord with you :
Father looked angry. ‘You ask too many questions, you always have. Why don’t you just accept what the Society says? We have the truth and we can leave the details to them.’
‘You have told me that you joined our religion all those years ago because you were impressed by the way the brothers that called on you took the time to sit down and answer all your questions from the Bible. Now when I ask you to be as reasonable with me as they were with you, you tell me not to ask questions. It is by questioning that we get to the truth. I can’t believe something until I am clear in my mind what it is I actually believe.’
Father had heard enough. He stood up. ‘You can believe whatever you like, but if you want to stay in the truth, you had better stop asking so many questions.’ He disappeared into his bedroom.
I turned to mother. ‘What do you make of all this?’ I asked.
I just believe whatever the latest publications say,’ she answered.
‘Even if it contradicts the Bible?’ I asked.
‘There are things we are not meant to fully understand yet.’
‘But doesn’t it trouble you to not know what would happen to you if you were to die?
‘I can’t discuss this with you,’ she said firmly.
Hi HannahMcManus (HM) and welcome to JWN!
I was about your age when I started waking up to the real truth about 'da troof'. I didn't argue with my parents although I did point out a couple of things that weren't Bible based (like refusing to go door-to-door pushing the ragazines being a risk to my eternal life and salvation ).
Because you are still living in your parent's home you will still have to live by their rules. Even though I knew there were issues with the Watchtower and JWs, I continued to attend the Bible book study we had on Sundays at our home. This actually gave me more information to see how wrong it all was/is. Luckily, my Dad wasn't really into the cult at the time (when you have 2 jobs you have no time to dedicate yourself to a cult that expects you to work for no pay).
Here's what my strategy was:
1) Put together your life plan. Keep this to yourself for now. Decide what kind of career you'd like to have. Once you graduate high school, move out and go away to College.
2) Get real busy! I got a part-time job and prior to that I took any and all babysitting jobs I could to get me money that I could put towards my post-secondary schooling and also to get me out of the house and away from pressure to do cult activities. Between my jobs, my farm chores, and my homework from school, there wasn't any time for extra cult activities other than the once a week Bible book study. I also paid my Mom $50 a month in room and board after I got my job.
3) Get a hobby or 3. It is good to have fun in life and at the same time, learn something new.
4) Get your driver's license. This facilitates your freedom.
If you'd like to do more research on the Watchtower, one website that I have found to be excellent is the JW Facts website at: www.jwfacts.com .