Honest survey question on effectiveness of 'apostacy'

by Simon 178 Replies latest jw friends

  • Simon

    It seems like lots of people have big dreams of 'destroying the WatchTower'. It's usually linked to a story of how they were wronged and want some revenge. Great.

    But is it?

    Do these 'in your face' attempts to convince people that the truth isn't the truth really have an effect?

    I'm convinced that you cannot reason with anyone about religious belief because it is not based on reason or any logical argument whatsoever. With JWs you're also battling against the pre-planted control mechanism that has prepared them against people trying to convince them that it isn't true which means that attempts at convincing people simply become more evidence of the truth.

    This doesn't mean you can't plant seeds and ask thought provoking questions but I believe that people can only free themselves and usually only wake up in response to things happening in their own lives or those of their friends and family. Just as people normally only become witnesses because of personal issues and life events, they leave for the same reason*.

    Because back to the first point - most of us are here because of things that happened to us. I don't remember hearing stories of anyone saying "yes, life as a JW was going great ... but then I read a banner someone was waving outside an assembly saying that it was lies and that woke me up to the truth".

    When people start to doubt and question things then they are on their way out, they are waking up, they start to search for information and find it. What is most effective is having information available and reasoned arguments and evidence about the WTS and their beliefs and practices, things to show the person that they are not alone, that it isn't just "them" or their congregation or isolated incidents.

    Making videos etc... to 'convince' active JWs is not effective at convincing them IMO although it probably is useful for the people involved as a type of catharsis.

    What do you think? Am I wrong? Were you 100% rock solid but one day read an apostate article and BAM ... out.

    * of course, there will be exceptions to every rule but a single swallow doesn't make a summer. There are religious nuts who do go doolally over all the doctrinal and bible stuff but I think they are very few and far between and the majority fake spiritual interest because it's expected and everyone else seems to be doing it. There will no doubt be a few who were convinced by apostacy but generally I think most people leave because of experiences.

  • braincleaned

    // You cannot reason with anyone about religious belief because it is not based on reason or any logical argument whatsoever.//

    You nailed it Simon. I totally agree — thru experience too.
    As you know, I was out before I looked at my first apostate site.

    However, I must add that for some reason, I now feed on apostate sites because they give me confirmation and a feeling of belonging.

  • Ucantnome

    i think a person leaves because of experiences.

    some i know their lives wouldn't be that much different whether they were witnesses or not.

  • sir82

    My perspective....

    Something other than "apostate thought" will drive someone out in the first place - lack of love, hypocrisy by the elders, lies, gossip, slander, etc.

    But "apostate thought" is what keeps people out (assuming they have the courage to investigate it while out).

    I don't expect the Society to go out "with a bang". I expect decelerating growth for another 3, 4, 5, maybe even 10 years, before a long, drawn out gradual slide to utter irrelevancy & oblivion as the numbers begin to decrease.

  • pronomono

    Simon, you hit the nail on the head. JWs don't become apostate overnight. Since I've just mentally come out, the experience is fresh in my mind. I've had plenty of people, apostate or not, try to rationalize against my beliefs. I could rationalize certain things, but JW propaganda thoroughly discouraged me from viewing or reading any blatantly obvious apostate material.

    The change for me was this forum and sites like JWFacts where I was in control. I was in control of how much information I read. I was in control of verifying facts and references. Unlike videos where someone leads you down a specific path, these websites allowed me to quickly focus on what was important to me due to excellent organization, search functions, and interaction.

    Having the feeling that I was in control of what I learned is what led me to explore my doubts and is what led me here.

  • cantleave

    No one will leave until they are mentally ready.

  • Separation of Powers
    Separation of Powers

    "Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of the soulless conditions.

    It is the opium of the people." Marx

    I think everyone here would agree, Simon, that while they were in, they were typically "all in." They accepted the doctrine, even those aspects of the doctrine that made little or no sense because of the "package deal" that Jehovah's Witnesses offer. Other than those raised and indoctrinated to believe (or forced to), those that accepted the doctrine did so, typically, because they were disillusioned with something or other. Their faith in their own religion, their faith in society, their faith in commitment, something arose in their life that moved them to become susceptible to the peculiar nature of JW's. They wanted to believe, they wanted to belong, and learning about "eternal life" and being "special" was exactly what they needed at that time to answer that particular longing.

    So, when you ask, does any of this stuff work to get people out? I would say typically no. However, just as there existed susceptibility to move one to accept, there must also exist susceptibility to move one to question. When one starts to see through the "veneer," as Franklin Joseph Rutherford so aptly called it back in the 30's, then the dulling nature of this particular "opiate" loosens its grasp on the believer and they either move to agnosticism or complete disbelief in God.

    Just some thoughts,


  • steve2

    I totally agree with the OP. No one ever confronted me with the TTATT. I was receptive to it because I had formed my own doubts and misgivings.

    I am yet to see that the waving of placards and visible public protests outside JW venues is ever effective in inviting JWs to see TTATT. All it ever does is create wrong impressions: Protesters are seen by JWs and others alike as unhinged fanatics and JWs believe it is a public display of the persecution they always expect to experience.

    I have seen protestors harassing witnesses outside convention sites - and have an off-putting memory of seeing a youtube video of a "Christian" with a microphone "innocently" walking after witnesses as the witnesses left the convention site rudely firing questions at them. I felt nothing but empathy for the Witness who turned to the "Christian" interviewer: "Please respect our not wanting to talk to you."

    I know there are some protestors who feel so entitled to protest because of the abysmal way they have been treated or who claim Witnesses harass householders so 'what's the big deal with our harassing them?'.

    I guess I believe people are almost always on dubious ground when they cite the other side's questionable behaviour as justification for copying it.

  • JeffT

    I agree Simon, people don't start really looking into it until the questions start in their own minds. Until then, the wild talk only feeds the persecution complex. But making information available to the public can help them understand what's going on. I'm trying to expand my investigation into other cults, because they all share so many common traits.

    As far as those who want to "bring down the Watchtower" I have an inner fear that if the WTBS collapsed tomorrow, most of its adherents would simply go find somebody else to tell them how to live.

  • Vidiot

    sir82 - "I expect decelerating growth for another 3, 4, 5, maybe even 10 years, before a long, drawn out gradual slide to utter irrelevancy & oblivion as the numbers begin to decrease."

    I gotta say, with the amount of whatthef**kery we've been seeing out of Brooklyn the past couple years, the phrase "train wreck in slow motion" has definately crossed my mind more than once.

    I realize some may find this scenario less than satisfying, so I hope those particular individuals will be able to take comfort in the fact that - historically - when corrupt regimes go out with a whimper rather than a bang, they almost never come back.

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