The Watchtower's regimen hinders an Active Relationship with God

by sabastious 3 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • sabastious

    Most people could agree, even the Jehovah's Witnesses, that clinical depression places people in one of their most vulnerable and weakened states.

    These states are when God is most needed to help keep hope in times of darkness. Bipolar II Disorder sometimes needs a traumatic event in the person's life to onset the symptoms. This is how it occured for me. After a cascade of events involing the divorce of my parents and the DF'ing of my father I started to show signs of very extreme depression.

    I had a business that was supporting my wife and I that I started from selling website's to used car lot owners. I had over 20 dealers that trusted me with their online inventory monthly. When the depression came in it came in like a tsunami for me. I suddenly had no desire to show up to my weekly meetings with my clients to take pictures, upload inventory and write up strategy for their web presences. So I just didn't show up... for months. I laid on my bed for a long time and sometimes went out and tried to have fun, but the business remained just a hazy dream that might as well have never happened.

    My wife knew something was wrong. I was not the man she married, I was only a shell of him.

    Of course as a loyal Witness I sought help from my local elders. The congregation community can be quite nice and it helps a great deal, but it cannot fill the void ultimately. That's why the Witness Framework kind of works with depression for a time. They are a tight knit group and can be a very strong force at times. Yet, it's the heavy regimen that will take a depressed witness down and everybody knows it.

    I remember having conversations with my elders about the "go go go" "more more more" language in the Watchtowers. I told them it made me feel inadequate. I could tell they really did sympathize with me because I truly was between a rock and a hard place. They had to keep telling me to make my meetings regularly (standard WT advice) even though they knew the content was often directed at slackers and I was trying my best. My best didn't look good on paper and that counts for something in the Watchtower world no matter how many Witnesses vehemently deny it.

    It was odd to speak to God in prayer and ask him to help give me strength to "look past" the Watchtower's language directed at a demographic of "people who could do more." I couldn't do more and I actually needed to do less, since I was still spiralling, and it strained my mind even further.

    My relationship with God, today, wholly consists of my awareness and watchfulness of his Plan. I watch the energy people put out and wonder where it fits in the Scheme. Most importantly I often think about where I fit in that scheme. I feel snug and secure within the plan, after I accepted my place in it, as I watch my life pass by. I get to choose at each crossroad and watch what happens next.

    It's the watching that makes me think of God. Everytime I think of God I consider that a "prayer." If God is with us then he watches us and what fun is must be at times and what a tragedy it is other times. What does the Human Resume look like from a objective perspective? What do we look like to God? I don't think we're supposed to know that, but it must be something similar to the fascination, appreciation and shame I have for my own kind.

    The reason why I am saying all this is to paint two distinct pictures. You see, I am still extremely depressed. That's the bad part about Bi Polar Depression: it doesn't go away it only goes in cycles. It is for life unless a cure is found.

    In the Watchtower Framework my relationship with God was nothing more than trying to live up to a human standard. I have found out that human standards are actually harder than God's standards; much harder and needless at times. God just wants us to grow using the tools he provided us so that we can continue the Plan.


  • designs

    Hey! We worked our asses off to become Inactive.....

  • Awen

    What helped me with my Clinical Depression was realizing that the goals set by the WTS were unrealistic and no one could maintain them for long without burning out. Consider that the GB are isolated at Bethel surrounded by people who want nothing more than to do their bidding. I think the GB has become disconnected from the Witnesses outside of Bethel. They have forgotten the enormous resources it takes to have a secular job, pay your bills, feed and clothe yourselves, give your family (wife, kids, friends) the attention they need/deserve. Then have the meeting attendance on top of that. Throw in some FS and all your time is taken up. Their is no time to relax and unwind.

    Looking at the scriptures I find people who took things in stride. Even Jesus became weary of the crowds constantly intruding upon him and sometimes would withdraw to a private place. Consider also that Jesus was only able to keep up this pace for 3 1/2 years before it finally killed him.

    What I did was decrease my FS time to what was acceptable to me. So I stopped reaching out for responsibilities (MS or Elder) and tried very hard to ignore what others said concerning my apparent lack of zeal. I would point out how each of us is different and to my knowledge God doesn't keep a scorecard, for our FS (only the WTS does that). To be sure there will be those who look down their nose at you, but so what? Whom are you serving anyhow? God knows what you need and what you can handle. There are many examples in the Bible where somone took on more than they could handle or where people are admonished to "count the cost" of an endeavor.

    Do your best with what you have and ignore the ones who seek to bring you down with their pettiness.

  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    I first understood Paul's concept of Grace in college. The Witnesses never stressed it. My entire extended family on both sides was active yet not one of us ever believed we were good enough. One of the deep hurts in my life occurred in 6th grade with ministry school. I was a straight A student. B/c I was female, the phoney settings for sisters drove me crazy. My father did not get me a partner until after the service started. I was in 6th grade and flubbed my lines. I had a cold and my voice cracked to much laughter. An adult can take it. No one sympathesized with a young girl being embarassed and feeling Jehovah could not love her if her voice cracked. My brother, oh the penis worship, gave a talk. He was lauded.

    I was critiqued severely by the ignorant ministry school servant. Not one word of praise. In the car, my father pulled me apart and told me I was worthless despite my As and look what my brother did. Well, if I had a penis, I could do well, too. My grandmother interceded for me and was told where women could go.

    In all my years, I recall only one brother being avuncular to me. I adored him. My mom let me bring a God forbid doll to an assembly. The brother crouched down to talk to my doll as a real person which made faux mommy me so happy. There was never joy, only duty.

    Grace is an elegant concept but so hard to accept. I have to fight all my Witness training to accept grace. Grace makes sense to me. The God of Judaism was transcedent. Who are puny humans to believe that we can ever reach God by our works alone? Decades later, it is a bit strange to sit and be accepted by God and church. Certainly, I could improve. Paul talks of the law condemning us. Well, The Witnesses are the Law and some.

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