In your quest, Goodstein, also take the time to read Albert Schweitzer's "The Quest of the Historical Jesus". Written in 1910, its copyright has expired.
Planning exit, alternative venues to preach?
I checked out a telephone witnessing territory card and did my calling at home by myself...but never contacted anyone....called number that never answered to start and end my time; 2 hours a week. Sat at my computer and drank my coffee. Of course, this doesn't work if you live with a "faithful" witness.
Despite the disagreement over the adjective ‘destructive’, you do seem to agree that the Watchtower is a cult, not just an errant religion, and that the inner core, Bethel, is definitely a destructive cult. And s ince you’ve read Steven Hassan’s first book, likely you will agree the Watchtower is a high control group? And definitely implements most of the BITE outline for Mind Control?
I sense that at this time, you have not felt harmed by the cult. The sad truth is--it is a matter of time. When even the most open-minded family and friends turn on you, it feels like a knife to the gut. Deaths due to the blood doctrine or not, you cannot begin to imagine the pain that shunning brings. It can be like a living death. The destructiveness of a cult cannot be measure by the percentage of adherents who lose their lives, for not all who are living are truly alive. What a cult robs is quality of life: Time, resources, happiness, family, job opportunities, education, real spiritual development.
I agree that the average JW is a nice, sincere person…and many live normal lives within certain boundaries. However, in a single sentence questioning the organization, mind control can take over, and that nice JW can turn vicious. Professor James Penton said, "I saw people whom I had loved and I would give my life for turn on me like vipers." And indeed, this is very true according to my experience.
"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."
If only that was true my friend. The following is from Marvin Shilmer's Blog and concerns just one disease. Please keep that in mind when you see the estimate of total deaths.
"A newly published medical study offers opportunity to make a very conservative extrapolation of the number of Jehovah’s Witnesses who have suffered premature death abiding by Watchtower’s blood doctrine.
The article Clinical benefits and cost-effectiveness of allogeneic red-blood-cell transfusion in severe symptomatic anaemia is a retrospective observational study comparing patients treated with allogeneic red blood cell (ARBC) transfusion against Jehovah’s Witness patients who refused ARBC transfusion and were treated in accord with the Watchtower organization’s blood doctrine. Data was collected from 4 major public hospitals in New Zealand during the years 1998-2007. This study found 103 Witness patients who suffered severe anemia and 20.4% of these died (i.e., 21 of these patients died). During this period the death rate among patients who suffered severe anemia but accepted ARBC transfusion was 1.9%. The net difference in mortality rate is 18.45%. ConclusionIt is conservative to say thousands of Jehovah’s Witnesses die annually because of abiding by Watchtower’s blood doctrine that could otherwise been saved. Applying the rate of 0.026% to published figures of Jehovah's Witnesses, since 1961 we can conservatively estimate that at least 50,000 of Jehovah's Witnesses have died due to Watchtower's blood doctrine.
This conclusion is based on hard data gathered in one of the world’s healthiest populations having excellent health care providers and facilities, and there is every reason to think this data does not include all deaths suffered by Jehovah's Witnesses suffering severe anemia in the given population. It is also noteworthy that in years predating this data collection the Watchtower organization’s blood doctrine was much more restrictive, which would necessarily lend itself to an even greater rate of mortality suffered by the Jehovah’s Witness community during those previous years.[8-9]
Accordingly, the actual number of Jehovah’s Witnesses suffering premature death due to Watchtower’s blood doctrine must be far higher than 50,000 since year 1961.
Then there was the period when those with anemia could not have the blood fraction for clotting…or they could only have it once, not twice (as that would be a practice). Then there was the period when organ transplants were considered cannibalism. There is the high rate of suicides, especially among those affected by shunning.
And what about the young people who went to jail because they could not accept alternative service? They did not die, but surely, years of their lives were taken away from them.
Yes Godstein. The blood doctrine was and is my catalyst to be able to think on my own. I think you will find it is likely many more have dies for one reason or the other, at the hand of either blood being forbidden as a possibiliy, fractions being forbidden as a possability before 2000, vaccine discouragement, and organ bans even though the science was fairly new at the time.
I agree the term "cult" does very little good. I also prefer the term high control group. However......who cares. All of the same issues apply. I like you, cannot speak openly to friends, family, loved ones, even men who are charged with being able to listen to spiritual questions from the bible, without fear and without a reaction that is certain. You know it as well, or you would not tread lightly.
Make no mistake about it, it is a facit of our culture that is unique. Not in a good way.
It would indeed appear that the death toll from the blood doctrine is higher than I thought. I only personally knew of two cases of Witnesses dying of it, and one of them might well have died anyway, so I'd have estimated lower.
My mind still boggles and how that ever, ever seemed like a reasonable interpretation of the Bible...
One death is too many.
Goodstein - 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."
Hi Goodstein, If you ever do give a talk and read a page or two from "Combatting Cult Mind Control", please PM me so that I can decide whether to attend. I live in Southern CA. I would love to see the cognitive dissonance of an entire congregation.
Peace be with you and everyone, who you love,
There is an argument that as religions get bigger and more mainstream they become less cult-like. I guess it depends on your definition. Are Mormons / JWs cults? Is Islam or the Catholic church?
As far as the deaths associated with the JW blood ban , it could be argued that many more lives have been saved by the smoking ban , stress on moderation on alcohol etc. My parents were 40 a day smokers and my father was something of a heavy boozer when they joined up in their mid -20's. They gave up & are now still healthy in their late 80's. Most of their peers who didn't give up are long dead now. ( Don't flame me - I'm just throwing it in to show that everything isn't quite as black & white as some people imply. )
Just don't blunder from one religion to another , especially happy clappy " born again " evangelical types. Seen too many ex-JWs do this , only to somewhat ruefully reflect on their error after some time has elapsed.
Just my 2c....