Planning exit, alternative venues to preach?

by Goodstein 54 Replies latest jw experiences

  • problemaddict

    Hey Goodstein,

    I am pretty sure you know this but please don't think my thoughts on fading in any way would be advise in accord with deceit. I thnk lying in any form takes away a persons integrity, and the only way to get it back is to tell the truth. Its an ugly buisness. But you don't have to tell someone everything on your mind in order to be telling the truth. Truth has branches. But the stump is still the truth. Give them the stump and feel it out. I guess I am just thinking don't act emotionally. Having your mind somewhat free makes it harder to relate to those still "in" in ways most if not all of us here don't give enough credit to. A simple statement from me that seems totally normal, all of a sudden sets the hairs on the back of someones neck on fire. Why? I don't "sound the same". I can't use the same "pure language" lingo without feeling like I am once again, giving back to the GB that I no longer seaks exclusively for God. (that is a great example of a phrase that would instantly label you an apostate)

    May I ask what it was that kind of got the mind flowing? Do you still have any beliefs you hold onto in particular? I certainly don't mean to pry. PM me if you feel like it.

    My personal thought knowing nothing about you, is go to him with something you think is iron clad and tell him you are kind of agonizing over it. Ask some questions, seek his advise so to speak, and leave it open and undefined for future conversations. Patience is the only way out of this with your family. Let me tell you it is grueling. I am making headway with my wife. For the first time in 6 months, I believe she will unequivocably be loyal to me over the elders. That is a pretty big deal! It has taken alot of time. I made alot of mistakes along the way. Still working on it.

  • ABibleStudent

    Goodstein - Also, the congregation I am in now is mostly educated and super-liberal (would love to share some funny annecdotes, but they might be personally identifiable...) which makes it harder to leave, because they aren't doing anything particularly cultist-like. (I don't think that the WTS is actually a destructive cult except maybe at Bethel; it's sort of in Hassan's gray zone.)

    Welcome Goodstein to JWN, It seems like you may have read Steve Hassan's books, but do you fully understand how Steve Hassan uses his BITE model to evaluate an organization? If you answer yes to all of the following four questions about people in your current congregation than you are in a dangerous cult:

    1. Do you feel that you will be shunned (or marked) for giving a talk at your congregation in which you respectfully disagree with the GB?
    2. Do you feel that you will be shunned for reading from "Crisis of Conscience" by Raymond Franz or "Freedom of Mind: Helping Loved Ones to Leave Controlloing People, Cults and Beleifs" by Steve Hassan to your congregation?
    3. Do you feel that you will be shunned (or marked) for announcing to your congregation that you are a member of JWN, you post on JWN, and you read controversial books (i.e., Raymond Franz's and Steve Hassan's books)?
    4. Do you feel that you will be shunned for accepting a blood transfusion instead of refusing a transfusion and dying?

    I am 100% positive that you would not fear being shunned if you did the aforementioned in a mainstream religion. You belong to a DANGEROUS CULT!!

    If you want to determine how deeply controlled your father is, invite him to go on father-son vacation at the same time that a convention is being held. If he insists that he must go to the convention instead of spending time with you, you will have your answer about how deeply controlled he is.

    Peace be with you and everyone, who you love,


  • Goodstein

    Thank you for your welcomes and suggestions.

    I have read one of Steve Hassan's books, but I don't think the WTS meets all his criteria for a destructive cult. (A cult? Yes, I'd agree, but that term has be pejorativized to pretty much mean "destructive cult" in most people's minds rather than just "unusual high-control group.") E.g. members are sent away for extra "indoctrination" as a "reward," not a punishment or periodical activity; nobody is getting us up at five in the morning to bow down to the GB. As reprehensible as the blood doctrine is, relatively few people die from it compared to if the organization took all of everyone's money and then didn't buy medical insurance for them as some of his example cults did. From what I've read and heard from ex-bethelites (current Witness and, shall we say, post-Witness), Bethel sounds like a destructive cult by his critera, but the WTS as a whole - I'm not convinced. People seem to really be able to cling to the periphery of this organization if they're "weak" without being actively witch-hunted. I'm not strongly against the idea that it is a destructive cult, but I honestly see it as inhabiting a sort of gray zone where it is to some people and isn't to others. I don't really want to engage on a big debate on the topic; my experience with the WTS has been rather benign and I don't think I can form an unbiased opinion at this stage. If they ever say we have to shun the inactive, I will certainly change my provisional opinion, though.

    I think part of the problem is that WTS wants to force dissenters into the apostate/prisoner narrative for our involvement with this organization, instead of the "learning experience" narrative. It fosters the image of the "bitter apostate" among JWs, and I have to admit that image prevented me from even considering reading anything from former members until months after I'd reached an unequivocal conclusion about the GB not being Jehovah's channel. When I see a long angry tirade about the WTS, I certainly see how someone could be that upset (some of the things WTS has done or condoned are appalling) but I also see a stereotypical angry ranting apostate of the type that picketed our conventions for years and never got my ear despite the fact that I already privately disagreed with the WTS on some things back then.

    Incidentally, while the other things on that list are all fair statements, I think I could totally get away from quoting from one of Hassan's books in a talk - "Combating Cult Mind Control" anyway - because of the absurd double standards that are part of the standard issue WT-blinders. "Oh those Moonies are so awful br. Goodstein, I'm so glad I don't have any relatives trapped in a cult."

  • jgnat

    Toastmasters. Excellent tip.

    Goodstein, I have lots of practice, living with my JW. An excellent technique is to ask questions. Make him do the thinking. Do also ask permission before you bring up a subject. If they say "yes", I swear a mental pathway opens up.

    Here's a zinger I gave my husband. That week there was talk of the apostacy that the Greek philosophers introduced to Christendom, so hubby was parroting it. It just so happened that I was working through Plato's Republic, and I got to the part that talked about heaven. I quoted it to him. I asked it if it sounded familar (Paul's transport to the second heaven). I then pointed out that Plato had written his account a couple hundred years before Paul. So who copied who?

    Hubby being who he was, his brain melted down. I knew the zinger hit home. At the same time, I knew I "lost" because he went in to uber-Witness mode, repeating "I know it is the truth" over and over like a mantra. Whenever a Witness goes in to robot-mode, you have gone too far.

  • LostGeneration

    It sounds like you have done a good bit of thinking, but I would like to respectfully make this point in reply to this:

    I don't think the WTS meets all his criteria for a destructive cult. (A cult? Yes, I'd agree, but that term has be pejorativized to pretty much mean "destructive cult" in most people's minds

    While nobody can produce exact numbers, I'd encourage you to read this:

    These numbers are constructed in a very conservative manner, yet even if you reduce them by 90%, that means 5,000 dead.

    The WTS blood policy has killed 5x the number at Jonestown by that count, and 50 x Jonestown if 50,000 is anywhere close.

    That's a destructive mind-control cult in my book.

  • 00DAD



    You are where I hope one day my children will be. (The only difference is that I'm already out, but their kool-aid drinking mom is gonna' die hard as a JW).

    You sound like you'd be a good teacher. But you need to know exactly what it is that you do and don't believe. Maybe a subject other than religion would suit you.


    PS - I remember going through that whole "least wrong religion" thing myself. Once you let it go you'll realize how ridiculous that idea is. If this--or any religion--was really God's religion, there would be no doubts or errors, none.

    PPS - Read Hassan's second book, Releasing the Bonds, and you'll see that he clearly identifies JWs as a destructive cult. It took him a while to get it too. They're that subtle.

  • gone for good
    gone for good

    Welcome Goodstein -

    You write with great clarity and conviction. Please post often as your situation is interesting.

    You are among friends here.

  • dazed but not confused
  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    There is a host of ways to preach. First, this forum is one place. Evangelical churches are prob. more open to someone giving testimony. In more mainstream religions, they insist on a seminary degree. My local Episcopal church often has lay members preach. They are often far better than the priest. Some churches will expect you pay to dues. Dues include being active for a time period. Your theological views may determine whether you are allowed access to the pulpit.

    I do not believe preaching as in teaching does any good. Someone talking to me as a peer makes me pay attention to their content.

    There used to be places like Hyde Park in London.

    Churches love active lay people. Also, if you take some seminary courses, you may have more credibility. There is usually some program for education beyond the parish level.

    One of my friends was the author, Madeleine L'Engle. She was a lay person. B/c she was so engaging and had fresh thougths, she preached the mainstream circuit. Anglican, Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, Roman Catholic, etc.

    Retreats and workshops are another venue. The list is endless. I had no clue. Also, I had no idea how little I knew from being a Witness. For example, I never read the Bible as a collection of books. Witnesses jump around. I am fascinated by Christianity. It can be as intellectually challenging as anything in life. B/c of the Establishment Clause, too, we are not taught ancient history as it relates to the Bible.

    I've also been involved in interfaith and ecumenical services. The ecumenical services I've attended start out to be exciting. A Shinto priest, followed by a Hindu priest, etc. It can wear thin praying for three hours.

    Ask clergy and lay people. Every religion has a different culture.

    Rather than preaching, this might be a time of investigaton and contemplation preparing for later action.

  • whathappened

    Welcome to the group. Loved reading your first post.

    Toastmasters was an excellent suggestion.

    Yes, the Watchtower is wrong about almost everything. The longer you are away, the more clearly you will see it.

    Do research how the bible canon came about and how much evidence there is from archeology that can verify it's believability. Use secular sources for this, as you have already discovered, as they do not twist the facts to line their pockets.

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