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.