Exposing a JW to the definition of cults - good idea?

by NeverKnew 18 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • NeverKnew

    First, I am not a JW and never was. I ran into an old friend who had been "baptized" who "encouraged" me to consider looking into the faith he had become a part of (born-in). I figured, "Hey... maybe I'll learn something I've never known. No problem!"

    Well, I've certainly learned a whole lot I've never known but I can't say it'll ever bring me closer to God.... biblical "mis-reinterpretation", mind control (yes, I read Steve Hassan's books), deceit, real estate holdings, tax evasion... I mean exemption, window washing employment opportunities, pyramidology, pedophelia, ... I'm exhausted. My heart goes out to all of you.

    My conversations with him have gone from, "Are you aware of/comfortable with this?" to jaw-dropping Pink Floyd's "is there anybody in there?" horror (please refer to the lyrics of Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" to understand this). As an outsider, I've become both baffled and intrigued by all of this.

    With a goal of "being sure of all things" with him, I had no idea of what I was dealing with and as a result I may have already communicatively failed. As a result of my failures, he may already be emotionally hiding within the confines of the Watchtower's protection from the "worldlies."

    Here's my question: Previous JWs - when you were in, how would you have felt/what would you have thought about/what would you have said if you had been presented with a condensed version of Steve Hassan's book somewhat like the condensed version at http://www.cultwatch.com/mctb.html?

  • King Solomon
    King Solomon

    I ran into an old friend who had been "baptized" who "encouraged" me to consider looking into the faith he had become a part of (born-in). I figured, "Hey... maybe I'll learn something I've never known. No problem!"

    The key to how receptive he'll be is how close of a friend he was before (he was a born-in, and hene shouldn't have had a significant friendship you, as a worldly person). Sometimes JWs are exploring their outside environment, considering what it's like on the other side.

    However, realize that the entire friendship may have been his attempt to convert you, to "make a sale"....

    Also ask yourself if you really want to serve as a deprogrammer here, without being compensated or rewarded for the effort. And consider why you want to do this, since it means he'd likely lose his JW family members. Pretty life-changing stuff, really....

    But generally speaking, leading off with "you are in a cult" will not be productive, and likely will just raise the defensive barriers... Why? It's a CONCLUSION, where you need to establish the basis (premises) before offering a conclusion. And it's a very touchy issue with many JWs: that's often a late-stage realization they come to when finally awakening and seeing The Truth About The Truth (TTATT).


    It doesn`t Matter..

    Until the WBT$ says "JW`s are a Cult"..

    JW`s won`t Believe You..

    JW`s are a Cult??!!

    Thats not what the WBT$ Says!..


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

  • aposta-Z

    King Solomon, I second that proposition.

  • carla

    Using the c-word with a jw is never a good idea. Once that cat is out of the bag you will be an 'apostate' type forevermore. I say 'apostate type' because if you were never a baptised jw you technically cannot be a true apostate. If you want to continue to have discussions with a jw do not use the words cult, thought reform, brain washing and so forth. On the other hand if they have annoyed you no end and you want or must remain in close proximity to them and just can't stand one more jw conversation then by all means pull out the c-word on them. That usually stops all jw conversations for a few months anyway, then use the next word describing cults and the cycle begins again.......

  • Xanthippe

    NeverKnew, a very good question. I remember being on the ministry (door to door work) and about eighteen years old when I called at the house of a psychologist who said many of her pateints were JWs or ex-JWs and it was well-known that the religion caused mental health problems. I remember that my response was to feel angry at which point she started to talk in this really soothing syrupy voice which really freaked me out so I left.

    So presenting your friend with the reality of his situation will probably provoke anger as it is programmed to do.

    I think the 'thought-stopping' properties of 'loaded language' in the condensed version on the cultwatch website you mentioned are very pertinent. I believe that this is very cleverly done in the JWs.

    If you mention cult or mind control to a JW the feeling will be of being attacked and treated as mentally weak and gullible. This may sound obvious, anyone would dislike being made to feel this way, but then the cult mind control kicks in with stuff that has been pounded into your head over many years at meetings - 'ah this is Satan's way of deceiving you - he wants you to doubt all the good things Jehovah has taught us. Why? Because he hates you as a servant of Jehovah and he wants you to lose your life by turning you away from the Truth'. Fear- based reasoning again.

    The thought process has stopped, the reasoning ability is frozen - I am not clever enough to think this through because I am just a little human and Satan the great deceiver is millions of years old and he is trying to catch me - I must stop thinking about this NOW or I will DIE. This is all unconscious of course, the JW is not aware of it.

    So the JW cult takes language that 'worldly' people use like cult or mind control and they connect it to fear-based teachings in their literature and meetings. This is then translated in th JW mind as 'this person who is using terms like mind control or cult to me is also trying to kill me. They are my enemy and I must get away from them.'

    They have tied up all the loose ends so tight it is a wonder anyone gets free. However they do. If I knew the formula I would get my family out! For many it is being shown real concern by outsiders when they have become totally sick of the misery in their so-called loving organisation. They talk endlessly about love but are taught to treat one another hatefully through the reporting structure.

    Incidentally I was at a Kingdom Hall when an elder said 'people say we are brainwashed but how can we be, for example brothers what is your favourite scripture?'. Of course everyone put their hands up and said a different one, no one chose the same verse as someone else. All well-trained. We knew exactly what was required of us. Of course he didn't say what is you favourite film? Blank faces all round. So the mind control always works within the belief system.

  • sizemik

    I would suggest neither the subject, "condensed version," or otherwise, would make a wise starting place.

    Steve Hassans books themselves should give you the answer.

  • Fernando

    NeverKnew, I wouldn't have understood a word.

    It was only once the lights had been switched on that I was able to see, deconstruct and challenge the darkness.

    Most here on JWN agree simple but powerful QUESTIONS work best.

    Getting them to answer and see things from their OWN publications is also crucial, at least initially.

    One of my favourite questions: "Is legalism apostasy?"

    Alternatively: "please explain to me from your heart what is legalism and its direct opposite".

    That is ultra powerful on many levels. No JW knows what legalism or apostasy really is. Yet the answers are in their publications.

    To give you a satisfactory answer, from the heart, and not by rote, or by cut & paste, they would have to really understand these terms first. Once that happens you have taken a major step forward!

  • Reopened Mind
    Reopened Mind


    Fully indoctrinated JWs have different definitions of words than than others. Back in the day when I was in field service and someone would call us a cult, I would say, "Of course we are not a cult! We don't follow a man, we follow Jesus Christ. He is our head, not a man." I had no idea what the real definition of word cult was. Like Outlaw said if the WTBTS says they are not a cult, then JWs think they are not a cult. No other definitions are relevent.

    Reopened Mind

  • rebel8

    I was given a book about cults as a teenager and it helped wake me up...or should I say, define what I already knew was a wacked out control group.

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