JAVA asked about the "harem and syphilus" quotes and the page numbers. I've gone back to reread the book and I've gone through the Russell section and it ain't in there.
I haven't seen much about her conflict with her mother so I consulted my very intelligent research staff (my wife) and she said it's there, past what I've read so far.
When I first got here I read some old posts that made reference to Jerry Bergman. I did the search and found three pages of discussion about his work. Most thought he was biased and angry with one person who defended him. I was not here at the time to give my imput which I am going to do now. I won't comment on his anger because I will restrict myself to his discussion of mental illness, where is not angry but biased in my opinion. I read the web site with his summary of research on the subject that provided was on that thread. Then, I went back and did a quick review of his book which I know very well.
On the positive side I think he does a good job of providing a qualitative description of the sources of stress and conflict in a JW life and gives good case studies to illustrate his points.
However, there are many flaws in his analysis. First of all, he believes that the JW experience can percipitate a psychosis. This idea is not excepted by the vast majority of behavioral scientists today. The major psychoses of schizophrenia and bipolor disorder are geneticaly inherited and are a form of brain desease. You get it no matter where you live.
Bergman is right that the neauroses are environmental in origin, and the JW's have problems with stress, anxiety, depression, guilt, and feelings of worthlessnes, because they are in a works driven religions where they can never do enough, and that plays hell with people's lives.
Well, he's right on one but wrong on the other. To a proffesioanal, this is major error to be wrong on the origin of psychosis. I'm saying, this a major mistake.
Second problem is the meager research that he summarized. All but one study was from WWII, when JW's were despised and bias produced harse diagnoses. Let's suppose you knew nothing about JWs and you were a psychiatrist and one of them said to you that Jesus began his second coming in 1914, but it was invisible, and Satan and his demons were caste down to earth and the demons can get in your furniture. You would diagnose them as paranoid schizophrenic, cased closed. If you heard the same story from several people you would reconsider, because schizophrenics don't tell the same story. I'm trying to keep this short, but studiess from WWII with JWs who were hated and doctors who heard strange things can not add up to an accurate diagnosis.
The only study that was not done in that era was by Montage. Monatge was the name that Bergman used before leaving the WT altogether. He never tells that in any of his writings, he should have, so that people would know that this is not an independent source.
He concludes that the rate of mental illness amoung JWs is four times higher than the population. I don't buy it, based on my own observations and based on the poor quality of the research to support the conclusion.
So, far we have a false premise regarding psychosis, inadequate research and an unidentified researcher that should have been named.
There is one problem that would go unnoticed by otheres, but is a MAJOR problem to me. He talks about a circuit overseer who took the verbal section of the Wechler Adult Intelligence Test, and scored in the high '70's. That simply is not possible for several reasons. First, someone in that score range reads at the fourth grade level AT BEST, and simply could not keep up with the reading demands, let alone put together an hour talk. Second, a Circuit Overseer would not submit to such a test, which requires sitting down in a quiet place one on one, which means he most likely Bergman gave the questions while riding in the car or in casual conversation, which invalidates the testing procedure. Third, one of the questions he mentioned that the Circuit Overseer got right would never be asked of someone at that IQ level. They would have falled enough never to have gotten to that question. This is a point that most people would miss, but one that I find to be most serious as to the accuracy of his work.
The book is very flawed, but the more qualitative parts and the case studies are worthwhile.
Further detail will be provided upon request.
The major psychoses of schizophrenia and bipolor disorder are geneticaly inherited and are a form of brain desease. You get it no matter where you live.
Bergman's research was his undoing in the academic field, as you pointed out. It's really a shame because he's a bright person with academic credentials to back him. I believe he made the mistake of allowing personal beliefs to direct his research and outcome. That ALWAYS produces sloppy results; a fatal blow in the eyes of the academic community. The last I heard Bergman has not been awarded tenured status in a university, which makes his research in the JW community tenuous at best. That's unfortunate, because he's a smart person who had a promising future.
Schizophrenia and bipolor disorders came up in a discussion with a group of hospital chaplains during lunch. One of them wondered if his denomination created these disorders because they seem to have more than their share in his church. For the reasons larc gave, most at the table discounted that notion quickly, but the topic continued with a different twist.
Are some denominations more likely to ATTRACT members with schizophrenia and bipolor disorders? If so, why? I don't know if this has been studied, and if not, it could easily be turned into a graduate thesis.
I believe folks with some mental disorders are attracted to some high-control denominations because things are more black and white for them. Perhaps their mental state of disorder seeks physical order. Maybe that's not the case; perhaps high-control groups are more needy for members, thereby attracting some who are less welcome in mainline denominations. Of course I can't prove any of this, but it could be an intriguing study. Anyone out there wanting to continue where Bergman left off?
JAVA, working the Coffee Shop territory
On the positive side I think he does a good job of providing a qualitative description of the sources of stress and conflict in a JW life and gives good case studies to illustrate his points
This was the reason I believe that I posted positively about Bergman. I read some excerpts from his book on Freeminds, I think. However, I admit that I have not read the book, and I know virtually nothing about bergman.
I think that the JWs appeal to the down trodden, the poor, the down hearted. Among these the JWs pick and choose. They will not, for example, welcome in the florid schizophrenic, with all his craziness. They will look for the realatively lucid down and outers and show them a better way. So, in this regard I disagee with Bergman, they don't bring in schizpphrenics. They are afraid of them like most people are.
Your description of the chaplain who was worried about the incidence of schizophrenia reminded me of a sad story. I know a young man with severe mental problems. His therapist wanted to delve into his childhood and talk about how his parents treated him. I said, "Mark, don't do that. Your parents had nothing to do with it. You have an illness and they are not responsable." He called me two weeks ago from Michigan and told me that since his father died, I am his adopted father. I don't think he thought my words were too harsh.
JWs appeal to the down trodden, the poor, the down hearted. Among these the JWs pick and choose.
Sounds like the way we treat immigrants entering the United States.
I'm sure folks with extreme schizophrenia don't find many welcome mats in the religious and secular community. This is not my field of study, but it's right down your gutter, so here's a question: Are there different degrees of schizophrenia, and if so, are some successfully treated with medication?
In general, I think you're right about the JWs appealing to the down trodden, poor, etc. Your comments seem to suggest the Witnesses might not have higher mental health concerns than the larger society. Do you think poverty can influence mental health, and if so, how does that fit into the JW profile?
JAVA, working the Coffee Shop territory
Edited by - JAVA on 31 January 2001 12:55:38
Nothing like answering an eight part question. First, of all are there degrees of schizohrenia, no, it's like pregnancy either you've got it or you don't. Can medication help? Yes, and the sooner the better. Families go throught denial, poor little Tim will be OK, then the elders come over to give the cure of more meetings and more service and time is going by and the person's chance of recovery diminish.
Now I have no idea what your next question is? Do JWs have higher or lower concerns about mental illnesses? I don't know, but my guess is that they would like to ignore the problem just like everyone else. It's damned inconvenient to deal with.
Now, the final question for a million dollars and no life lines left, and it isn't even multiple choice. The relationship between mental illness and poverty. No relationship with psychosis. It is an equal opportunity destroyer. Depression, etc yeh there is a correlation but a weak one. I've known some happy poor people and some miserable rich people, but, yeh poverty does have it's disadvantages. However, most "normal" people adapt to their circumstances and seem to go through life with about the same degree of happiness, no matter what, short of getting their morning paper delivered late. :):):)
I forgot one. How does it fit the witness profile? It doesn't. If some kid gets of drugs and cleans himself up that's wonerful. If some down trodden women with three kids by five different fathers gets her life straightened out that's grand. However, they don't want some schizophrenic looney's running loose at the kingdom hall. That's why Bergman is wrong. They won't get in.
After all they are demonized.