all 5 kids abandon the religion, surely she must wonder...
all 5 kids abandon the religion, surely she must wonder...
But as time goes on, I wonder if there are some people for whom it would be better not to know the real truth.
For those who have committed everything for many, many years.......why burst their bubble? Many such ones have found their happiness in WTS lifestyle. It has provided a healthy life choice compared to many others. It has given them a place to be needed, a goal, a network of associates, a place to feel secure. Few people have all that it takes to feel happy and contented in life. If it's a placebo, so what. Placebos work for over 50% of people in controlled tests. If you're in pain and a sugar pills fixes it, good. If you're still in pain, then you need something different. Why rock the boat for people who are not in pain?
Each and every person on Earth has the Right to Reality.
We cannot make informed choices unless we KNOW what the choices are.
Children are disturbed and tormented by imaginary mental constructs which cannot be sorted out from what is real.
Is there a Boogeyman in the closet? Are there monsters?
Religious indoctrination blurs real and unreal unconscionably in order to control children and "educate" them in morality through fear.
Religious and mythic beliefs are like those unconscious dreams wrested from inside our imagination.
We can choose to live inside of that fluff and make seem alive and real. But, this is borderline insanity at worst.
DOC - great point. Just because we felt duped, betrayed, misled etc. doesn't mean everybody does. Live and let live.
On the other hand, it is painful to watch the kids struggle over this bunch of nonsense they will undoubtedly discover is false in their lifetime.
I know people of both "types" that you describe.
I maintain a fairly tenuous relationship with JW relatives because I made the choice to expose some immoral/illegal behaviour that was happening right under their noses. I wasn't doing it to embarrass them or prove their beliefs were wrong - I was protecting people I care about who were unable to protect themselves - yet embarrassed they were, and offended they were that I was (as they perceived) trying to demonstrate that JWs were no better than what they make the Catholic Church out to be. [Imagine that!]
So, other than that, I have made no attempts to help remove them from their belief system. I figured that if they were going to stand behind their beliefs in the face of the same kind of perversions that they like to crow about regarding the Catholic Church [which thus prove it is not the true religion, dontcha know], there wasn't much more that I could do to help them.
By the same token, I am kind of disappointed at their complete lack of effort in trying to keep me from leaving the JWs, or trying to win me back. They spend far more energy on trying to convert total strangers than they do trying to regain those of their own flesh and blood.
The other "type" you mention, the The-Truth™-changed-my-life-for-the-better kind of individual, I know a few of those too. What they fail to understand, and what needs to be emphasized to them in any attempt to de-convert them from the JWs, is that while the JW belief system may have been the catalyst for their transformation, they were the ones who did the work. They changed themselves. Their lives may have changed further - their being clean/sober/law-abiding citizens is a reward in itself. If their motivation was so that they could Live Forever In Paradise On Earth™, then that was a pretty selfish motive, imo. The fact that their life change brought benefits to them in the here and now (a loving spouse, beautiful children, a job that they are proud of, better health, sense of community betterment, etc.) shows that their transformation was not for nothing, it wasn't a waste of time or effort to clean up their lives. They have to stop crediting the WTS for their transformation, because it was the person who changed, the WTS doesn't deserve the credit for their efforts at all.
However, you bring up an excellent point, that some people are happy with the life they lead as JWs, despite acknowledging that the belief system is flawed. Why try to take their happiness from them?
I'll reserve my efforts on the ones who genuinely want to leave, and need help sorting through the details and the emotional turmoil.
Thanks for the great post, I do not post much but lurk here everyday for just such topics,we need more discussions like this instead of the never ending tear downs.
This is especially good for the stuck-ins because it helps us to deal with the mental anguish and challenges that almost all of us deal with who are still “in” due to family and lifelong friends.
I agree that our first responsibility is to ourselves once we have started to use our power of reason again, as Thomas Paine said in the book Age of Reason (yes I'm guilty of reading non-org books)
“...it is necessary to the happiness of man that he be mentally faithful to himself. Infidelity does not consist in believing, or disbelieving; it consist in professing to believe what he does not believe.”
I find myself very conflicted on this subject as to whether we should try to”open” the eyes of JW family and friends- but because this is no ordinary religion with its destructive and controlling nature of people's lives and the constant successful recruitment of newbies that join the insanity, I somewhat feel an obligation to take some sort of action. But how to do this without destroying lifelong dreams of some, is at this point beyond me.
PS I love the movie references they are spot on with many of the things JW's face.
It's hard to argue that an individual doesn't have a right to the (real) truth, but I'll do it anyway. Some people are just not ready for the red pill.
Many of us have parents and grandparents like this. They've staked so much of their lives in the religion. At this point would it do just as much harm as good for them to know reality?
For one of my older relatives, it's pretty much a social club. She likes to go out in service so she can hang out with the sisters. It serves that function in her life. Would it be ethical to tear her away from that?
And there's the rough life type that thinking_1 pointed out, what I call the "born again witness", who without the structure of the org might be laying in a ditch somewhere with a needle in their arm. If born-in, I find that this type buys into the myth of the "worldly person" as an anarchic hedonist. When these types fall away from "the truth" they often become Charlie Sheen. Then when they hit rock bottom they come crawling back seeking redemption. I find in this case they are a product of that Watchtower's dualistic thinking, but in the end they often have a hard time functioning outside of it.
So, we often say that these people can take control of their lives, and when they do clean up it's all really in them. Really? I remain skeptical. I've seen similar situations when people with rough backgrounds go into the army. Some people just seem to need some imposed structure of an organization.
Any easy answers? No, not really.
My mother died believing the WBTS was the truth. We had a few discussions, but I never pressed the issue. I knew she was dying. I wanted her to be at peace. If & when I ever see her again, I'm sure we'll all have a good laugh.
these people can take control of their lives, and when they do clean up it's all really in them. Really? I remain skeptical. I've seen similar situations when people with rough backgrounds go into the army. Some people just seem to need some imposed structure of an organization.
Personally, I think everyone needs some kind of structure/organization/framework from which to function. At the very least, most of us rely on the structure we call "time" - it is essential in relating to other people, to accomplish things. Can you imagine what your life would be like if, all of a sudden, you decided "To hell with this freakin time thing. I hate Mondays so I'm going to remove them from my life. From now on, the week will consist of 6 days of 28 hours each, and Mondays will no longer exist." It would be a helluva job keeping all your appointments in order, from job, to school, to dentist, to your kids' school plays etc. especially since nobody else has bought in to your paradigm. Well, maybe you can bring your spouse on board, and then the kids will likely follow, and then they go to school and find out you're a kook, or they watch TV and hear about Mondays from there....
All I'm saying is that for the person who requires *that much* structure/regimentation in their lives that the military is a viable alternative to the JW lifestyle, there's probably something going on psychologically (OCD, or addictive personality, for example). I'd venture to guess that in those individuals, they are merely trading one addictive lifestyle for another, and the trade may not be upward.
Anyone else ever have these kind of thoughts?
Yes quite a few times I've come across people who social behaviors were self destructive and unhealthy,
where they started to study and be in contact with the JWS. I always wondered is this the behavioral guidance that they need ?
For some there may be temporal improvement in their lives but to what avail of personal regression cost.
Many religious beliefs have structured behavior patterns to follow, some may present a semblance of virtue, some if not many do not.