Thoughts on how to approach (or NOT approach) our loved ones.

by Londo111 26 Replies latest jw friends

  • Tiktaalik

    This is tough one. And a good topic.

    I reckon the hardest thing when you first learn that the watchtower is all bullshit is to keep your mouth shut. You are so amazed with what you learn that you just gotta tell your nearest and dearest.

    I remember one rainy night my sister came over for dinner. I was just serving up the roast and we were enjoying some red wine when I blurted out that there was no need to worry about Armageddon because it was all a fairy tale. She put down her glass and her face turned pale. She said she had to leave, and she did. I gave her a plate of chicken and I have not ever seen her since. Or my plate either! That was in 1996. Up until then we had been extremely close.

    So the point is be very careful and tactful how you broach this subject.

  • 00DAD

    Great thread Londo!

    I've made the same mistake in trying to reach family members still in. You've just gotta' be patient and try and maintain contact. This of course is next to impossible if you're disfellowshipped, which is of course the main reason cults shun former members. They know what people that leave will say to those still in: You're in a cult!

    I love your comment on offering a different perspective.

    If you haven't seen it, you might appreciate this thread:

    It uses the analogy of anamorphosis to explain the way JW's look at the world/perceive things.

    Ding: Steve Hassan suggested asking the cult member to tell you about the group, what attracted them to it, etc. This puzzles me. Wouldn't that just trigger the cult mindset and get them to go into their mantra about why they are in the truth?

    Yes, that DOES sound counter-intuitive. But it can bring up some cognitive dissonance between the persons reasons for joining and their corresponding expectations of what it would be like in contrast to how it actually is to be in the group, which in this case is JWs.

  • Londo111

    Thanks for the link. I've marked the thread so I can give this serious consideration.

  • soontobe

    It depends on the person. Every person has a vulnerability. It helps to know what it is and gently use that.

  • Londo111

    I think of the many Youtube videos and podcasts and webpages out there--I believe what Steven Hassan said here can inform on our approach, at least partly.

    Of course, we cannot stop speaking truth. And if a JW has clicked onto an “apostate” content, it means they might have some doubts, or they wouldn’t be there at all. The mental wall is temporally down. HOW we speak truth can mean the difference of reaching a JW’s better nature or basically just preaching to the choir.

    Six Screens is always a good example. The first time I stumbled upon Rick Fearon on Youtube, I did watch the entire video. At the end, I basically saw him as a wacky apostate, “full of lies, half-truths, and misrepresentations”. He was everything the Society said apostates were. It helped me continue on with the Organization for a time.

    Of course, if a person is deep within the mind control, no matter how kind and reasonable the tone, no matter how truthful and accurate and logical and sincere, it will seem like bitter hate.

  • jam

    My one daughter and family member that still speaks to me.

    I told her and her husband, if you are truely happy as a JW

    that,s fine with me, I,m happy for you. But anytime in the future

    you become curious why I haven,t return, we can talk about it.

    As long as we stay in communication and I see my grandkids, I,m

    happy for you, but for me, the organization cause to much anxiety

    for me. The devil had nothing to do with me not returing, or me being

    DF. Some day before I die I hope you will find out what I have learn

    about the organization.

    What is so sad, she is treated like crap by the rest of the JW,s family

    members, because she stay in contact with me.

    She is considered to be weak by the other JW family members, but

    I can truly say, they are a happy family. That,s why I don,t push

    the real truth about the truth.

  • jgnat

    Even one born in the organization has a natural personality. What are their hobbies and interests? What did they dream of becoming as a child? I can get a Witness to talk about these things for at least a few minutes.

    My hubby is a convert. He's much more natural when it comes to working things out. He treats our marriage as his parents did theirs - a long and fruitful marriage by the way. His sisters and brothers teased him mercilessly, as they will do in a large family. So he is comfortable with teasing and joking. That takes the edge off a lot of conversations.

  • jgnat

    Here's some things that a Witness may say attracted them:

    1. Doctrinal "truth"
    2. Hope of paradise and living forever
    3. Hope of paradise and seeing their family members again
    4. Other churches are corrupt
    5. The unity of the brothers and sisters
    6. The opportunity to study the deep things of God
    7. The "cleanliness" of the organization

    In those answers are the keys to waking them up.

    1. Show the dishonest interpretations and waffling.
    2. Tough one. How do you allay fear of death? Introduce them to a little Buddhist philosophy about living in the moment? Introduce them to people who are NOT Witnesses who have no fear of death? Perhaps remove the stranglehold by the WTS that ONLY THOSE IN THE ORGANIZATION will survive.
    3. Perhaps remove the stranglehold by the WTS that ONLY THOSE IN THE ORGANIZATION will survive.
    4. Show evidence of internal corruption in the WTS.
    5. Talk about the difference between unity and uniformity. Confront them with evidence of broken families from shunning. See if they will admit to discordance in the local Kingdom Hall. Don't tell me there isn't gossip.
    6. Introduce them to new, independent study methods that require a little more ingenuity, investigation, brain power.
    7. Give secular examples of good, clean living without the guidance of the organization.
  • undercover

    If someone wants to believe, they're going to believe. You can't change their mind no matter how logical, factual, reasonable you present the message. This is true in a lot of areas, not just religion. But when they're indoctrinated into a cult religion, not only are they close minded on their own accord, they're influenced by the leadership to be even more stubborn and steadfast.

    Not to say it can't be done, but if you're going to try to open someone's mind, you're going to have to tailor it to that specific person and their particular hangups that you can take advantage of.

    I learned the hard way to not be aggressive or to be too critical. It only makes them defensives and they get their back up. You have to let the moment come to you. Sometimes it doesn't happen for while, other times it drops in your lap as if you planned it. Let the natural course of events take place, but when something happens or is said that flies in the face of the WT-think, you can pounce on that and push it to the edge to see what response you get. Sometimes you make progress, sometimes they shut down. I've actually seen the JW's eyes glaze over when I reached critical mass when pushing the edge on a discussion, pointing out the illogical and delusion of believing in certain WT fantasies. That was probably too far, but I think it settled somewhere in the recesses to come back later.

    Letting outsiders influence a JW helps too. The key here is to have a life outside of the four KH walls. If they only ever associate with JWs, they may never learn to think for themselves. But get them out of that setting, realize that 'worldly' people aren't so evil and they start to enjoy the outside life. In time - and it does take patience in this strategy - they become less JW and more normal. They may still have some deep held JW beliefs, but on the surface they're letting go and moving into a more normal way of life. Sooner or later, the two worlds collide and discomfort causes them to hopefully meditate on what is causing it. Their eyes open to their own cognitive dissonance, and the real escape can begin.

  • jam

    I agree Jgnat, some people have that "natural personality".

    When she was young, she just sparkle with that sweet

    personality. For her to cut off communication with me will

    break her heart. The pressure is so great ( her mother, sister

    and other family members), but if she does, I understand.

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