Reaching Loved Ones Stuck in a Cult: An Idea for Discussion

by 00DAD 70 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • 00DAD

    You may have heard the expression: "the map is not the territory." Have you ever thought about how this idea may help you reach your loved ones stuck in a cult?

    The phrase has been attributed to Polish-American scientist and philosopher Alfred Korzybski. It first appeared in print in a paper that Korzybski gave at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1931.

    The expression, although somewhat self-explanatory, is meant to illustrate his view that "an abstraction derived from something, or a reaction to it, is not the thing itself." Take a minute and think about what that implies. Think about what it really means.

    Korzybski held that many people do confuse "maps with territories;" that is, they confuse models of reality with reality itself.

    This is a good description of JW beliefs. Over and over again they are indoctrinated with a set of beliefs to the point that they come to accept them as real. This is further reinforced with scriptures that talk about "realities though not beheld" and the "reality" of "things unseen."

    For those of us that were once believers, we can certainly relate to the truth of this. We also know first-hand how frustratingly difficult it can be to get our family and friends still-in to wake up and see the inconsistencies, contradictions, corruption and outright lies of the WTBTS.

    A lot of this has to do with the way their belief system has been carefully constructed over time. Part of this is that JW's are trained to only see things from a very particular point of view. Not too surprisingly this is the WTBTS's point of view.

    In his recent book, our own JWN member and soon-to-be celebrated author, OTWO used the analogy of anamorphosis to explain the way JW's look at the world and perceive things. They are trained to see everything from only a certain perspective; and when they do, everything makes sense according to that particular perspective: The JW paradigm.

    Here's a pretty mind blowing video that illustrates how completely deceiving things can be when viewed from only a single perspective, a perspective that is not coincidentally pre-determined and completely controlled by the one presenting the illusion.

    Amazing Anamorphic Illusions!

    In the case of JW's, the map IS the territory.

    This got me thinking. Instead of trying to reach our loved ones with a direct assault on their beliefs, perhaps there is a better way. In fact, the direct approach almost never works because their defenses automatically go up.

    Instead, what if, bit by bit, we could encourage them to consider things from a slightly different perspective, to get them to look at reality from a different point of view? If we could do that, then they would begin to see what a flat illusion JW "theology" really is. Once they see it for themselves we wouldn't have to explain anything to them.

    The illusion would be blown!

    The trick would be revealed, the fraud exposed.

    Your comments are welcome.


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    [Note: I recently broached this subject on another thread, but it got surprisingly little notice. So I thought I'd try posting it again with a different title focusing on my PURPOSE rather than merely the SUBJECT matter.]

  • notjustyet

    I think that something like this was done in the Bible where someone told King David a story about a man who had many sheep took away the only sheep that one man had. Then after he had Kind David say what he thought about the situation he told him that he wa in fact, the rich man who took the one sheep from the poor man with only one.

    I think by having King David commit outloud first about the judgment that the rich man should be subjected to would have made it hard for him to backtrack. If it was thrown up in his face about taking the mans wife, he would have obviously not made the same remarks, and he would have worked his way out of it somehow. Whether or not the King David story is true or not, it gives an indication that a person might be able to be talked to when they are looking at the situation from a view that is not of their own as they are unbiased at that point.

    I think the best way, or at least the best way that I can think of is to create a similar circumstance with someone of another religion, like the Mormons or something similar that would allow you to talk about a "friend" that is intersted in finding out more about their birth religions history and wants to research some things that they have heard about the Mormons but are afraid to look this info up since it is forbade by the Mormons to do this. See where I'm going here. I think if they can see that the Mormon ruling parties deny the members the right to look at their history and are forbidden to talk to ex members they might see a parallel between the JWs and the Mormons.


  • dreamgolfer

    Yes I agree, in fact yesterday in my Chinese LAnguage class, I learned that the original record written in Chinese was 4500 BC, and predates the bible writings. So I asked my wife - how does this all add up when we were told to believe mankind has only been on earth 6,000 years,

    Ancient Chinese writings are far longer than that. Sadly she just got quiet and did not answer me back, I hope she is thinking and doing the research on her own.

    Also I talked to my cousin in another country today and asked if he has examined the historical record of the past Presidents of the WT? He said "no" and asked why, when I explained their actions and how it contradicts what Jesus taught, then silence on his end. I asked, "why so quiet" He said, I dont like where this is going" I asked why? are you afraid of what you may find out, he said "yes".

    People are afraid, but also afraid of the truth. You have to be BRAVE to find the truth in things - all things. Sadly many people are not brave, not liek the folks on this board that gave it all away to be solid in their belief system - I applaud you all - have a great week!

    Thanks for the thread.


  • OnTheWayOut

    I thank you for the nod of recognition and further great example of anamorphosis. (If you really want to share any tribute to me for your idea, write a review of the amazon ebook on amazon)

    Confusing a set of beliefs for reality, replacing reality with a model of it. Those are good ways to say it.

    But no explanation really does a better job than the video or some examples of anamorphosis.

    One thing I hoped people would realize, can be demonstrated with you video. JW's would make the claim that if the Governing Body presented that photo of Rubic's Cube, there would be no reason to distrust them. They would say there is no chance they would fake it for any reason whatsoever, so they won't even consider the very idea. They would say that if the rest of the video suggested that the Governing Body was wrong or lying about the Rubic's Cube, then they won't watch the rest of the video- it'll just be some trick from Satan.

    That said, your idea of getting them to look from a slightly different perspective is the key.

  • jgnat

    Interesting concept.

    I know as an artist that few people really see what they are looking at. Most objects are assigned an icon, such as "apple", "tree", "leaf". When people see it, they see the assigned icon not the object itself.

    How do I know this? By what they draw. In nature, nothing is symmetrical, perfect. I see a perfectly symmetrical drawing and I know the artist has not learned to see. The neophyte artist has to re-learn to really see what she is looking at.

    I think it is a great idea to question in a way to have the listener approach a problem in a new way.

    I notice that counsellors will present problems in the third person when approaching a diffiicult subject. It is a lot easier to be clear headed about a mythical "Sally Jane" than to apply that same advice to ourselves!

    In the book "Iconoclast", the author suggests that a new environment, out of our routine, can help the wandering mind make new associations, have a revelation.

    This could be a road trip, vacation, or anything out of the ordinary.

    Great thoughts, 00DAD.

  • Phizzy

    Thanks OODad, and OTWO, I do think that this is what actually happens to those who wake up, something makes them look at some things, maybe at first only on thing, about the WT in a different, more real way.

    The practical problem is, how do we trigger this ? start them off ?

  • jwfacts

    I am probably not the best person to answer this, since I have had little success with most of my own family.

    Notjustyet had an interesting example with David. Such illustrations take a lot of thought though, and often the message is missed by a JW. My NonJW cousin-in-law was speaking with my elder JW cousin-in-law about Muslim practices. The examples he used were very similar to JWs, and whilst the elder kept agree how bad they were, failed to acknowledge any connection with JWs.

    When talking to a JW, it has more impact when a person commits to a stance, prior to showing that stance applies to them. For example, a different friend spoke to the same elder above about the false predictions in Studies in the Scriptures for 1914. The Elder said no, that was never stated. So the person drove to the hall, found a copy and showed the elder. He dismissed it as light getting brighter. What could have been more affective would be getting a commitment from the elder about how he would have felt if the Studies in the Scriptures had been wrong about 1914, before seeing it in print.

    Beliefs are based on underlying axioms. If a fundamental axiom is flawed, so will be much that is based on it. Addressing those axiom are more important than addressing individual beliefs. If you argue doctrine, you cannot usually get anywhere, as the person can dismiss it on numerous levels - God does not need us to know yet, Satan is blinding you, light gets brighter, they are not intelligent enough to know. But discussing the axiom that the GB are directed by holy spirit is more difficult to evade. Is Jehovah directing them to teach wrong doctrine than needs chaning? Did Jehovah really want his followers to have a wrong understanding of the generation, or is it more logical that holy spirit does not direct the GB and their teachings.

    A more subtle approach is to undermine the concept that no one in the world can be trusted and there is no happiness for those that leave. Show the person how happy and successful you are. Introduce them to nice worldly friends. Take them to sporting days.

    Introduce education that undermines their beliefs, but that does not seem connected to their beliefs. Things like, that show how remarkable scientific advancement is. The example about China by dreamgolfer is another. You could talk about an interest in Chinese culture, and the things you are finding. Not as a direct assalt on them, but purely interest stake, and let them connect the dots. It always disturbed me that China was not part of the Bible world powers, when they were so advanced and influential to modern history. Or Egyptian history, as that undermines a belief in a global flood. Or geology.

  • notjustyet

    A couple of elders brought up the idea of Proverbs 4:18 a while back and i asked them "Is that scripture is a phrophecy from Jehovah to show that his one channel of communication on Earth today would be continually getting things wrong when it comes to dispensing the proper food at the proper time?

    I don't think that they gave me an actual answer.

    Little children put their fingers in their ears and say na na na na to try to prevent themselves from hearing things that they do not want to hear. They also place their hands over their eyes to prevent themselves from seeing something that they cannot handle at the time. Sometimes I feel that Jw adults throw out these "thought stopping" comments like "Light getting brighter" is their way of putting their fingers into their ears. Possibly explaining how this works prior to actually sharing the info might alow them to see what is taking place.

    Trying to get someone to wake up is like trying to crack a safe. You just cannot walk up to a safe and open that door without some thoughtful researach into what keeps the doors locked.


  • jgnat

    I planted a "sneaky bomb" over lunch at a District Convention. I got to talking with my neighbours about the wonders of modern technology, iPads an such. We had a short enthusiastic discussion before her programming kicked in and she said, "But of course we will have bigger wonders in paradise." I let the conversation die.

  • sickandtired

    This subject really interests me. I think looking at different things from another perspective is what helped me to wake up. Once I started, I couldn't stop and I started seeing inconsistencies everywhere. It is weird how it doesn't really work for everyone. I had a discussion with a service group about Mormons and their weird beliefs and someone mentioned how they heard of a Mormon becoming a Witness and they were shunned by their family! Everyone seemed to see the wrongness of the Mormon being shunned by their family but failed to see how hypocritical it is for Witnesses to do the exact same thing and it's considered the right thing to do!

    I've been thinking of ways to get my husband to see things from a different perspective. He is a VERY black and white thinker. He fails to see the subtle nuances of situations. His saving grace is that he tends to empathize with people very well. The account of David that notjustyet mentioned is what I often think of as a great example of how a person can be helped to see things more clearly when seen from another perspective. I've been trying to come up with a situation that I can use to help my husband think. If only a movie would come on that would show a cult (not an extreme one like Jim Jones, but maybe like the Moonies) and their methods. We did once see a special on the Moonies' mass marriage ceremony, but it didn't really go into the methods they use to recruit or anything like that. I don't think my husband could relate it at all to Witnesses.

    There is no magic pill, unfortunately.

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