My JW Mom. Master of spin and denial.

by Open mind 11 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Open mind
    Open mind

    I moved away from the area where I grew up many years ago. I'm 3rd gen JW and so is my wife, but we're both awakened now. For the last couple decades, I've periodically received updates from my JW Mom on how various people in her part of the world are doing. It wasn't until my awakening that I gradually came to see what insidious habit my Mom had adopted. Even when I was a true-believing elder and perfect JW golden child, my Mom would cherry-pick, sanitize and spin-doctor the updates she would give me on people's lives.

    Typical updates that she would READILY offer were: "So-and-so just gave their first talk, became a publisher, got baptized, started pioneering, became an MS, Elder, Bethelite or got accepted to Gilead."

    Sometimes, she might also tell about some elder's kid who recently got DFed and would be sure to include enough details to let me know that their life was now completely off the rails. The more brushes with the law, drug abuse, etc., the better as far as fulfilling the JW prophecy that anyone who gets DFed has a crappy life.

    As I gradually became more aware of her extreme pro-JW filtering and sanitizing process, I decided to make a few mental notes and use them at appropriate times. Here's the broad strokes.

    If she brings up some JW old-timers that she's known forever, I make sure to ask how they're doing financially. The VAST majority of the time, they are struggling and usually, at least in part, because of sacrificing themselves to WT doctrine.

    If she brings up how the golden-child son of Elder X has been accepted to Bethel, I'll ask about the other kids. She will counter my parry by bringing up whichever one has left "The Truth" and whose life has fallen apart. I'll thrust back by asking about the one I think probably had the best prospects of doing OK financially. Many times they have gotten a higher education, married a non-JW and are doing quite well by most normal people's life barometers.

    Here's three specific examples from recent conversations:

    1. Faithful Elderly JW couple we've known forever.

    OM: So, are they retired now?

    Mom: Uh, well they're of retirement age. (First bit of cageyness on her part there.)

    OM: Yeah, I thought so. They're in their late 70s now right?

    Mom: Yes, that's right.

    OM: So are either of them still working secularly?

    Mom: Well, yes, Jane still has to do some house cleaning and John was just able to start doing some .........(menial, maintenance job).

    *Cliff Notes version: This JW couple are both in their mid-to-late 70s. Pioneered for decades. Both still have to work to make ends meet and he's in great pain due to repeated surgeries. Never planned for retirement. Big A was going to take care of that. But this very real, very painful portion of their life portrait gets left out by my Mom.

    2. Extremely disfunctional guy I knew as a kid, now 40-something.
    OM: So Mom, How's Joe Sheltered doing?

    Mom: Oh, he's doing very well spiritually. (Code for: his life is crap, but he's still giving as much as he can to the Church.)

    OM: Is he married now?

    Mom: Yes, he married a very spiritual sister from _________.

    OM: So, the last time I heard about him, he had to quit his job because of the stress, is he working now?

    Mom: Well, I don't think so. I'm pretty sure he's on medication for depression.

    OM: Hmmm. That's too bad. I'm sorry to hear that. How about his wife, is she working?

    Mom: No. She's permanently disabled, but she's a regular auxiliary pioneer!

    Cliff Notes version: This poor guy was home-schooled by a couple of the most uptight, repressed, mega-strict JWs I've ever known. Probably didn't even see a woman's cleavage until he was 30. Very nice guy but hopelessly socially awkward due, in large part IMO, to the church doctrines, paranoid parents and the home-schooling. How's he doing according to Mom? "VERY WELL!" (spiritually)

    3. Wayward, inactive 20-something JW woman friend of the family who Mom never mentions unless I drag it out of her.
    OM: So, how's Bonnie Black Sheep doing?

    Mom: Not so well.

    OM: Really? How so?

    Mom: Well, she married out of the truth about 2 years ago.

    (Background: Bonnie got dunked at 14 and married the first JW guy who looked cute at the ripe old age of 18. The marriage lasted 2 years, after which she left him to his couch, his X-Box 360 and his sexual infidelity.)

    OM: Hmmm. Anyone I'd know?

    Mom: No. He was in the military when she married him. (Oooh. Hubby #2 is not only worldly, but in the military as well. )

    Cliff Notes version: What's Mom conveniently left out so far? Bonnie has pursued her education and is now an RN. Hubby is now out of the military and has a similar really good job in the medical field. They've just had their first son, but my Mom is worried about the baby. Know why? Hubby is also REALLY into playing sports and she's sure that their life will revolve around that and they'll never come back to "The Truth".

    Just for emphasis: "How's Bonnie doing?"

    Per my hopelessly JW-indoctrinated Mom: "Not so well".

    *OM shakes head, hangs up and waits for the next spin-doctored version of peoples lives*

  • serenitynow!

    That's funny. Your mom actually sounds a lot like mine, real cagey, won't answer questions directly. I noticed a while back that my aunt stopped giving me updates about anything negative in the lives of JW family and friends. She would just write me about a talk or an article in one of the magazines. I have been making an effort lately to let my JW family know how happy I am despite not going to the KH.

  • moshe
    Cliff Notes version: This JW couple are both in their mid-to-late 70s. Pioneered for decades. Both still have to work to make ends meet and he's in great pain due to repeated surgeries. Never planned for retirement. Big A was going to take care of that. But this very real, very painful portion of their life portrait gets left out by my Mom.

    To all Pioneer & Gilead missionary lurkers---- Your eventual $300-$400/mo Social Security check for all your part time low-pay work won't let you retire, retire. You'll have to pull the WT pioneer plow and keep working until you either die or check into the nursing home on Medicaide.

  • Dudu

    Remind me my mom ..... I am doing really good at work and im starting my own business BUT as im not attending meetings im not doing ok according to ,,,, her

  • skeeter1

    Remind your mom that I am doing terriby spiritually. I left the Truth in the mid 1980s, graduated from a worldly college, have a worldly career, married a worldly husband, celebrate worldy holidays, and have two very worldly children who do sports. All of this is hurt by my frequent visits to anti-JW sites, which I eat up every day.

  • Dudu

    thumbs up dear .....

  • Open mind
    Open mind

    Good for you Dudu and skeeter1 !!!!

    I'm glad to hear you're doing so "poorly".


  • flipper

    OPEN MIND- Very clever and well done thread. Your mom must be a carbon copy of my 84 yr.old JW mom. My mom gives a positive spin doctor regarding JW's I've known in the past as well. I think it enables our older JW mom's to avoid the obvious . It's a justification in their own minds to reindoctrinate their JW neuroses

  • OnTheWayOut

    I think we've all met someone like your mom. Thanks for the laughs.

  • Joliette

    If I had a dollar for everytime someone tries to spin and deny at the hall, I'd be Bill Gates!

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