Yes. One large and influential family.
Was there a clique in your congregation?
I know that the young kids had cliques and that they were often very cruel to those who they excluded. . . . luna2
My eldest son was an "excluded" and because he couldn't associate with his worldly school friends, he took it pretty hard. A popular and very kind youngster made an effort to befriend and spend time with him . . . and then suicided at 17 . . . very tragic, and double damage for my son. There were adult cliques as well . . . I felt as uncomfortable being included as excluded. It's a pretty sour side of Witness life IMO.
I want a Jehovahs witness for a friend like I want a boil on my ass. . . . shamus100
Pretty good analagy really . . . when I was at boarding school as a grott in 1970 I got a boil on my arse. I had to stand to eat in front of 120 others sitting down . . . not a pleasant memory . . . and on a par with the clique factor as a JW.
Just about every congregation I have known has had cliques. When we first started going to meetings when I was a teenager this was made worse by the fact my parents would only allow me to have 'upbuilding, spiritual' association which was mostly the very cliquey and bitchy elders' daughters who did not like me as I was reasonably good looking and therefore unwelcome competition. My mom found out years later by chance how badly I had been treated on one particular occasion and was very upset about it.
Another congregation we went to when I had a young baby was just about as bad. There were a couple of lovely sisters (just humble publishers) I could call friends but most of the others (mainly elders and MS wives) were so engrossed in their clique they didn't even notice when I was ill and in need of some support. That congregation also had a strong male clique, which my husband was offered the dubious privilege of joining but he chose not to suck up to them, they were so pompous and full of themselves it was sickening. They were like a bunch of schoolboys the way they treated hubby because he didn't join their little gang, and punished him by not giving him 'priviledges' at the meetings
I could go on and on with my bad experiences involving JW cliques
There is nothing special or different with Jehovah's Witnesses than any other place where a group of people meet regularly and consistently. Personalities will click or clash, and certain people and lifestyles (I.E. wealth or/and looks) will just gravitate towards one another.
The noteworthy thing in connection with Jehovah's Witnesses is how there's this facade of love from many; which is not demonstrated regularly to all members; only towards those in their so called-clique or 'circle of friends'.
Even then, the whole thing is by far and large conditional. They are some of the most circumstantial and conditional friendships you will ever encounter, for the most part. Further, it is all hinging upon obedience to the direction of a few men in Brooklyn and their publication.
Every congregation has them. The only people who don't notice are those in the clique.
I think every congregation has them...In the hall I attended in the 80's, we had the celebrity cliques (Michael Jackson syncophants) and holy roller cliques (if you weren't a high hour pioneer, no need to apply). One of my close friends was a pioneer and well accepted...until he made the fatal error of getting married (to an "older" woman!) and his friendships started to unwind. He received pressure to keep his hours up and also be a good husband and provide for his family. Of course, he never could do either to the satisfaction of the "clique"...long story short, he ended up killing himself. Very tragic, and so unecessary...I lay a portion of the blame at the feet of the holy roller clique...peer pressure can be a very compelling and dangerous thing. I still get sick to my stomach when I think back about that "loving" congregation and how a very kind and sincere man was hounded to his death.
I wasn't part of any clique. As I came close to my teenage years I wanted to be part of the cool clique. The cool clique was the teens that lead double lifes. But of course they didn't let me in their group.
Then there was the "spiritual" teens which I could've fit in with but my parents income was too low.
So anyways, a few years back, one of the members of the cool clique found me on facebook. Surprisingly he still lead a double life. He asked me to come party with them to a club the next weekend. So I agreed. I heard that the whole clique was going to be there. I didn't want to go by myself so I started calling and texting my friends to come with me the next weekend to this club. I wasn't expecting a big turn out since usually it's hard to get any of my friends together at one place.
So I got there early and I was by myself, sorrounded by people I hadn't seen in years. People that would only give me a glimpse into their social life when I was a teen. They still acted a bit snubby. So I was regretting going there, until my friends started showing up. For the first time they showed up in numbers! All of the sudden every place I went in the club I would find one of my friends and their friends. They would come over and buy me a beer.
The clique just looked at me kind of confused. It felt really good to rub it in their faces.
What KH didn't have a clique, two or three going on? Since friendships were severly limited to only those within the organization and even your fellow members were suspect, I guess some had to form their own miserable in-crowd to feel some sense of acceptance.
I've never seen a religion with more cliques. Maybe I would not be bitter if my family had membership in one. We did in a way. There were many Bethelites in the family and we traced back to Russell. So family members knew Knorr and Franz and they did know my relatives. Bethel was very small then. The cliques within Bethel were something else. I was raised with princess airs concerning the rank and file. Whenever we met other Bethelites someplace, the same air existed. These were men forced to go to the Bronx, New Jersey, or Harlem for meetings. They gave talks and spied on operations. I forget the curfew. My father and uncles loved the meetings outside b/c they were showered with food made with love. Bethel's food was very bad. If they rushed to the nth, they could not make curfew and spent the entire night, riding on a NYC subway for free, relatively safe shelter. It created camraderie.
Now when I ride the subway line that adjuts Bethel, I see thousands of men,moving as robots. If I am walking, it iis because I am in Brooklyn Heights, which has some of the most dignified housing in the world.
Christ said to love one another. I never felt loved. Cliques seem to be a fact of human existence. Most churches, though, make an effort to curtail it. Whenever I visit a new church, people welcome me sincerely. No one is going to report them if they fail to welcome me. As with so much else, the contrast between their condemnation of Christendom and their own practice proves they are much worse. People in glass houses should not throw stones.
Publicly, there are no cliques. Who gets to be on the governing body? It is not random selection. The very type of personality that could soften JWs to make it palatable are the very ones excluded. A.. Kissers move up. Neutral people are kept down. Privately, the cliques are very powerful. I cried so hard as a child. All I wanted one JW friend. A single friend. We were a difference race and lived in a de facto segregated neighborhood. I cried for years. My soul ached. I went from deep hurt into deep bitterness and hatred at my exclusion.
I need to point out that when they were welcomed in our home, we received anonymous threats of violence, the phone would ring for hours with terrified neighbors asking if we would sell to a ............. My parents made it clear that the Witness brothers and sisters were more welcome in our home than the neighbors. Yet, I would have gladly entered the ghetto to play with them. They gave in to their threats.
In retrospect, (like Mark Twain), I would not want to be a member of any witness clique that would have me as a member.
The society actually encourages this by teaching people to limit association with other JWs who are not "spiritual" enough - when logic would indicate that it should actually be the other way around - (if the witnesses actually cared about their "weaker" members).