by Band on the Run 12 Replies latest social relationships

  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    I have trouble understanding why people mock scholarship. If I mention it frequently, it is precisely b/c as a Witness, I had no access to it. When I was told someone by a brother, there was no way to evaluate it. Since I was born-in, I thought all religions were the same. The Roman Catholic kids in my class were memorizing their catechism. I had no idea who had it worst. Through sheer accident, I was exposed to a community in the same neighborhood as my college. Several difference seminaries purposely located near Columbia to have access to the university courses and each other's traditions.

    Altho decades have passed, I was shocked that people can question. In my real world, we do not assert facts. When facts or viewpoints are mentioned, we cite sources. It is not so much as citing cases or statutes in a brief. People in my usual world preface statements by stating words such as "Did you have a chance to read the article about X in the New York Times." When I am on an elevator, strangers will announce, "in case you are interested, the New Yorker has a wonderful article on Z, or "I just finished this fictional piece in the New Yorker. It is one of the best pieces I have read." It is more that we are referencing a shared resource than bragging. To not cite the reference would be to boast. I once dated a man who would state that the President told his staff y. One would think that he was present and chief of staff. Since it is a limited reference world, I knew his source.

    You must reference material in my field. Within the culture I live, you are more or less forced to read The New York Times, Wall St. Journal, Vanity Fair, New Yorker, etc. just to have a conversation. It allows you to undersand what others are discussing. Within my field, I must know what the most respected treatise writer believes and what the person's competition believes.

    If I grew up with this culture, I would not find it noteable. I would take it for granted. The difference between this culture and the Witness one is so striking. I've wanted to share it here. We certainly had no exposure as Witnesses.

    Religion is hard to understand. Most people do not know background information or how other faiths work. One strand of thought jumps out through all my studies. We tend to argue about stuff that is not even in scripture. So much is relative or can be explained through nonreligious studies. I do not want to only hear what the tradition I chose states. There is a wide world outside. Of course, I attend church. My experience of Christ --my gut feelings--needs a community. The food is darn good, too. The more I learn, and I can never know more than a small fraction of anything, the more I am very grateful to have a entirely new awareness open to me.

    I've literally cried when conscious of the difference. If this were a closed community, I would not stress it. Everyone would know. New members join all the time. This forum is extremely diverse. As Lincoln said, you can't please all the people all the time. I cannot be so elastic. My circumstances anchor me.

  • kurtbethel

    I have not had much to do with the world of scholarship, but I am sure grateful for those who do. They do a lot of the heavy lifting to develop a systematic body of knowledge about a topic so that if it is something I am interested in I can get a lot of valuable knowledge that is concentrated in a reasonable package.

    If I want to do some currency trading, I need to know the principals of how it is done and the results of certain conditions. Some well selected business and investment journals can give me an overview of what I am looking for, and they usually point me to a few valuable books on the topic. That is usually enough to get a decent working knowledge of what I am doing without wading through reams of barely related articles and stories.

  • 00DAD

    BOTR, I'm not sure exactly your point in starting this thread--I sense a recent exchange which I missed--but I second your efforts to stress the importance of scholarship.

    This was one of the things that ultimately led to my questioning the integrity of JW beliefs. So often I'd read an article and notice that the "sources" quoted were not explicitly named. And when they were, which was the exception rather than the rule, there would not be a specific citation so you could go look it up. Seriously, who's going to go read a whole book just to check one little sentence or a short phrase.

    Ah, but now in the days of the internet things are so very different .... but I digress.

    The one thing the WTBTS is VERY GOOD at citing properly is other WT publications. How often would we read something and it would say, "As the Watchtower of 19xx, February 1st, page xx, paragraph xx said, 'Everything we say is true, even if later it is proved wrong, ... blah, blah, blah, etc., infinitum ad nauseum ..."

    The WT practice of self-referential "proofs" ultimately made me wonder: "Can any of our beliefs be confirmed independently?"

    Meanwhile, as that growing doubt nagged in the background, I'd notice that often a point would be made in one of the publications and there would be a cited scripture. Now I ALWAYS would look up the scripture, always! I can't tell you how many times I'd look up a scripture and think, "That scripture doesn't actually support the point made in the paragraph." More doubts ... more nagging ... more dissonance in my cognition ...

    At first I wrote it off to assuming that that particular point was no doubt "proved" at another time or another place and I'd get there eventually too. But it never happened. Instead I just kept coming across ideas that were asserted with out either clear scriptural backing or confirmation from an reliable independent source.

    After several years of noticing these things, I'd finally had enough. I started researching on the internet. The rest is, as they say, history!


  • kurtbethel

    The WT practice of self-referential "proofs" ultimately made me wonder: "Can any of our beliefs be confirmed independently?"

    They tried, and the Trinity brochure is one of their masterpieces from the effort.

  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    I was once so impressed with the Witness proofs. In my mind, they were the best church b/c all sorts of academics agreed with them completely. It is so funny. When your world-view is limited, however, such a stance makes sense. Since my mom was a Witness and I adored her, why would they lie? Why should I open a Bible. Also, I saw young that it would have been hard to read context. No one I ever met, even adults, knew another world existed.

    I stress academics not so much for any actual info as for the process of asking questions and not accepting anyone's word as valid. It was explained to me in my first legal job that I was not being paid to supply info. Anyone who graduated from law school could do the same thing. They were paying for me to have questions, passions, and experience. It is similar to eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge, you can never go back.

    I don't want to be cruel, however. When Witnesses stop by and i do engage them, I hear claims that would have almost all outsiders laughing so hard. It is hard not to laugh in their faces. Yet i do recall when I had the same sincere belief. After laughter, I feel so bad for them. B/c if you fall for the Witness line, you probably don't investigate other matters in your life, either. It makes you prey for bad people.

    There are wonderful, sophisticated threads here among others. I learn so much. When we combine our talents and knowledge, the power grows so quickly.

    I spoke with one of the first women priests b/c I was studying for baptism and confirmation in another faith tradition. Althou much attracted me, I no longer had the certainty and blind faith as a Witness. She asked me if my relationships were the same as when I was five. I was at the old age of 22 then. My answer was no.

    My gut reaction is to ask for too much proof. I tend to want to nail things down. Part of it is being a lawyer. Religion is not contract law, however. It is all right not to have answers. Also, who knows what I would believe now if any circumstance of my life was altered.

    My basic temperament is so opposed to the Witness system. Jehovah made certain I could never conform or be meek and obedient. Friends and strangers laugh so hard when I reveal my upbringing. One woman could not stop laughing. She was so embarassed afterwards. I love these people who find the notion so hilarious. In my opinion, too, Shelby ever being a Witness is so funny. Those elders more than got their due. Bethelites move away from me on subway cars. Funny. My book collection frightened the wits out of local Witnesses who called. Their reaction was priceless. The leaping demons from nice Barnes and Noble books.

  • Quendi

    This is an interesting thread. As a boy, I was a voracious reader and grew up with a love for language, books and research. That love made me an eager student of WTS publications because, as BOTR has said, they seemed to be so well researched. And since I originally came in contact with the Witnesses through relatives I genuinely loved, I did not and could not believe that all of us were being deceived and misled. This is not to say that I didn’t have doubts about some points of WTS theology, but my implicit faith in the Governing Body made me believe that all my issues would be resolved in due time if I learned to “wait on Jehovah.”

    It wasn’t until I was disfellowshipped that I began to think differently. Ironically, it was one of the elders on my judicial committee who sowed the seeds for this. He told me that since I would no longer be allowed to actively participate in the meetings, I should use my time to deeply research the things which had got me into trouble in the first place. He little realized how good that advice was—in fact it was the only good advice I had ever received from him. That research enabled me to finally realize TTATT, putting me on the road to freedom at last.

    I haven’t been to a meeting in nearly three years now and am all the better for it. I have read some of the publications but only to see what deceptions they are now putting forward. I can only feel sorry for those trapped in the religion who yearn to get free and don’t know how. But at 00DAD has said, we have the Internet now and that will make it easier for anyone who wants the facts about this cult to get them and then to make an informed decision.


  • zeb

    In my city we have the internet, lots of newspapers, TV, radio, an excellent library indded the whole range of modern public communications set up.

    What is peoples conversation? other peoples relationships.

    Recently at a coffee shop I moved away from two mature age women as their interest was all about some other souls divorce. What moved me was the line, "..and do you know what I heard.."

    Heard! Its the same in the truth but with 'rules' about who you can talk too, how they dress, whether they are..etc etc

    So if someone were moved to seek information and research one of the gospels say and then be able to describe the life and times better (Im not saying ...change..! anything) and if that person were to speak out in the KH with this new knowledge they would be viewed at an angle. If they persisted they would be reminded not too etc.

    A rather lovely sister and genuine of soul said to me "we miss you and your answers." Well i always tried to use my brain and my life has given me much experience but everyones 'answers' must be in accord with the wts dictates. and that is underscored with a distain for scholarship..

    I have just bought a new bible in the ESV version i am keen to start reading it too.

    Peace and love to all.

  • zeb

    and I just received for the third time in recent days " a thereat has been detected warning from this site" I think we have a villian inn the works.

  • return of parakeet
    return of parakeet

    BOTR, are you referring to the mocking of scholarship in general or on this site? I'm not going to go back and do a count, but my impression is that there are 3 kinds of scholarship-mocking here:

    1. Dubs who have real or false credentials and come here to mock the less educated.

    2. The less educated who mock the "scholarship" of dubs who turn out to have false credentials.

    3. Dubs who mock anyone who has academic accomplishments.

    Well-known members here who earn academic degrees are invariably hailed with congratulations by the vast majority.

  • LoisLane looking for Superman
    LoisLane looking for Superman

    Back in the 1950's my parents had a big briefcase full of books, they took to every meeting.

    The New World Translation was being gradually added to, so that by 1961 we had one complete green Bible in English. The years before that though, we had to

    bring, as they were compiled and published, 5 seperate books for the Old Testament, and one seperate book for the New Testament. You also needed to bring a

    King James Bible, and An American Deway Version, and an Americam Standard Bible. Those Bibles, along with Watchtower literature and a green song book,

    completed what was brought in the case. As I recall many people would say they came in on the old Let God Be True book, as the current Bible "teaching" aid.

    Maybe with all that bending over in the 1950's making sure you had the right book from off the floor or from the spare seat next to you, was considered all the

    due deligiance required. Just having the right book in your lap. lol The fire and brimstone type sales meeting, left no one in doubt that these men were spouting

    the Truth (tm). How does one go from being a thinking person, to a dub? I will never say we were lazy. It was more like we were told, the Faithful Slave is

    working hard to make all of this food, available for you, at the proper time, and the way it was said, you just accepted it. Back then, as now, we led busy lives,

    so, you unintentionally take a pass on it. You swallow the bait, when they tell us they have Bible scholars at Brooklyn researching daily for us, with Jehovah's

    own holy spirit shining down, only on them, in the wholewide world, are we going to go behind Brooklyn's back, and do our own researching? No.

    Taking all those books to meeting, really made me think, as a little girl, that we were Bible scholars.

    I was taught that we were even smarter than the Pope because we used Jehovah's name, and he didn't.

    Just Lois

Share this