Oh, you are a born-in. You had it easy!

by TotallyADD 38 Replies latest jw friends

  • blondie

    I wish being dressed up as an adult going d2d with the GB good news was the only thing I had to deal with. There are worse things and I experienced them, physical, emotional, and sexual abuse by the non-jw and the jw in my life.

  • No Room For George
    No Room For George

    I think the value placed upon life's choices is often like a pendulum that swings either too far to the right, or too far towards the left, with reasonable decisions and reasonable thoughts falling somewhere in the middle. That being said, I think many people who convert to JWs, or any faith for that matter, are looking for some sort of discipline to navigate their pendulum back towards the middle. Some people are incapable at worst, or have a difficult time at the least, when it comes to making decisions in moderation. I'm talking about how much they drink, how they view the opposite sex, their temper or proneness to anger and violence, amongst other things. There's plenty of Bible verses on moderation, and being reasonable, and that attracts such ones.

    Last night I was watching Lockdown on Nat Geo, a weekly prison documentary for those not in the know, and last night's episode focused on black inmates who covert to Islam behind bars. For the majority of them, its a good thing because they're often young troubled men who need some sort of discipline in their lives, the majority probably raised without a father. The program focused on one young man who was a Bloods gang member, and torn between his gang, and his Islamic brothers. After word got out that the young man beat and robbed another man of a cell phone, his Islamic brothers gave him an ultimatum to either get himself together, or they're kicking him out. Long story short, he got caught with like 30 shanks, and sent to the hole, and then afterwards transferred back to another wing in the prison where he'd be around his gang brethren. At the end of the episode he made the decision to disavow himself of the Bloods, and embrace Allah fully. He then transferred back to the wing with his Muslim brothers, and they excepted him with open arms. You could see the peace in the young man.

    I think that kind of scenario is prevelant with any conservative religion, and I've seen it a few times with ones associated with JWs for a long time who were involved with various toxic behaviors and upon them getting fed up with the results of their lifestyles, they embraced JWs fully. I think it harmonizes perfectly with 2 Tim 3:16,17 where Paul talks about Scripture being good for training and disciplining in righteousness.

  • nugget

    Being a child in the JW religion is not easy. Your life is a denial of everything that makes childhood a pleasant experience. You are being moulded to deny self and accept the organisation and being conditioned it is not a normal experience and although it may not appear overtly traumatic it is a slow death of self. It is not without pain.

    People who convert may do so after a difficult event, they may have developed bad habits that they need to stop in order to convert. They have made a positive choice to join this group and had to work for it so they see people who are born in as free from baggage. What they do not realise perhaps is that children are not born witnesses they are made into them and it is not a painless process. They forget that they had the chance to make choices in their lives and have freedom to explore posibilities. This is something witness children do not have. Every choice carries with it the possibility of losing parental approval and ultimately shunning.

    I had a mother who converted when I was 3 and a father who was an unbeliever. We had a mixed upbringing my father not wanting us to miss out and a mother who wanted us to take her faith. The witnesses are very clever even minimal contact and minimal involvement leads to children becoming isolated from worldly peers. You are neither fish nor fowl constantly juggling two lives until in the end it is easier to submit to the witnesses. You are never free to choose and you had no choice as soon as you were taken to your first meeting you stepped onto the treadmill. Friends at school would label you as a witness and you carried the burden of living up to prohibitions because with witnesses there is no compromise. In witness world an unbelieving parent is not a reason for non conformance.

    No one has it easy depending on when you start the pain and lowering of self esteem begins. Born ins have a tougher job getting out because by and large the family is held hostage to their continued obedience.

  • sizemik
    They forget that they had the chance to make choices in their lives and have freedom to explore posibilities.

    You see . . . this is not always true either. It's very difficult to categorise this. Everyones experience and background is very different. Like the people who made the initial comment in the OP . . . by using the labels "born-in" and "convert" . . . we're attempting to simplify a complex issue . . . it can't be done. There is no "typical" in any example IMO. I was raised a non-JW, but had far less freedom to decide anything (until I was 18) than my children who were raised as JW's did . . . I saw to that because of the price I paid growing up. . . I'm still paying two bills.


    I`ve never taken Comments by People..

    With Poor Decision Making Skills,Seriously..

    I used to Take Drugs and Drink Excessively..

    Now I`m a Jehovah`s Witness!..

    I`m gonna Pet Lions and Talk to BlueBerrys in the New System..


    .......................... ...OUTLAW

  • stuckinamovement

    Great post Nugget.

    It is hard to say since none of us have ever walked in the others shoes.

    I was a born in, and as I slowly exit the org I can tell you it is tremendously hard. Everyone you know is a Witness, all of your friends, many of your family and sometimes even your employer. When you are born into the cult you have an identity that is forced upon you that is hard to change. You have hundreds of people looking fondly at you as a good example of someone who did things right and since they are all you have you don't want to let them down. As a born in you missed out on many things that make life fun growing up. You have never been able to think freely because you were trained with a cult mentality. You look at everyone in the world with suspicion and assume automatically that their sole purpose is to corrupt you. You never have real friends because of the WTS rules and controls. Even now there are very few people that I can tell my true feelings about the organization to. As a born in you are surrounded by a "great crowd" of acquaintances but still remain tremendously lonely. Bottom line is, as a born in you don't have any other point of reference to compare to.

    I am glad that I was a born in though, because it caused me to meet my wife and have my kids. I learned things that helped me to gain my current employment. I learned how to talk to people. I will never allow my kids to fall into the same situation that I did though.


  • NomadSoul

    Punkofnice summarized my life growing up as a JW, except for the 50 years! Yikes!

  • nugget

    Sizemik I agree that you can't stereotype people. My comment regarding choice is in some ways a generalization although it also reflects that converts make a positive choice to join.

  • Morbidzbaby

    I was born-in... And I only had one parent in "Da Troof". However, my dad acquiesced to my mom when it came to raising us in the religion. He didn't push holidays and birthdays (Hell, he got to save money! We were freakin' poor!) and didn't prevent her from bringing us to the KH. Years later, he converted when I was an adult.

    Being a born-in was hard for me because of the previously mentioned self-esteems issues and feeling left out, etc. However, it was even more difficult when I only had one parent who was a JW. Not only was I excluded at school, but also at the KH. So growing up, I had nobody. No friends at all, nothing.

    I know a lot of people who convert have issues with having to leave friends behind and then getting love-bombed when they come to the KH, only to lose these so-called friends as soon as they get baptized. The "friends" move on to greener pastures (ie. new recruits). So it's equally hard for them as well.

    I think everyone has an equal struggle, but the details of those struggles are different, but still incredibly difficult. I hate when born-ins and converts debate over who had it worse... We're all on the same side. And it's comparable to certain Christians pulling the "My Jesus is better than your Jesus" card (in my mind, anyway).

  • sizemik
    I think everyone has an equal struggle, but the details of those struggles are different, but still incredibly difficult. I hate when born-ins and converts debate over who had it worse... We're all on the same side. And it's comparable to certain Christians pulling the "My Jesus is better than your Jesus" card (in my mind, anyway).

    Agree totally Morbidzbaby . . .

    Throw in a bit of "cognitive dissonance" and "confirmation bias" . . . and therein lies the answer. Self justification is the preserve of us all whether we admit it or not . . . and the reality is probably quite different to what we portray here.

Share this