I'm sitting here listening to a JW try to recruit somebody

by Terry 127 Replies latest jw friends

  • rosyray

    Terry I just want to say thank you for what you have been doing for this board and for this young man. I always enjoy reading your posts they are meaningful, heartfelt and help promote critical thinking. You have a wonderful way with words. I wish I had someone in person to be my sounding board. Waking up without someone to talk to who understands is very lonely. While this board is very helpful and theraputic for myself, I find myself missing someone to talk to in person. I can see your worry about not wanting to sway him or take advantage of the situation and the considerable thought that you have given to this matter just goes to show what a warm and genuine heart you have. No matter what this man chooses, I hope you take comfort in the gentle and kind way you have been there for him.

    You made a few statements that describe feelings I've had but until now didn't realize the full extent of the impact they had.

    The ability to make decisions does not come naturally when you've been under Authority for most of your life!

    I have often described myself as one of the most indecisive people ever - in matters big and small. I never realized what a huge role the organization may have played in this matter. We were conditioned to turn over our thinking abilities to them. And even now that I'm mentally out, they still have left a huge impact (negative) on my emotional/mental state on things even outside the religion.

    The overwhelming strangulation of imposed AUTHORITY becomes unbearable.

    Once you've seen the discrepant foundation of Organizational Authority--the pill is hard to swallow.

    You see, they have to SEE THE NEED TO GET OUT as survival of sanity.

    These statements ring so true! When I first quit going to the meetings, it wasn't because I knew fully ttatt and had planned my exit, but it was because mentally life had become unbearable. For the sake of my sanity, I could no longer keep attending. I felt like I was losing my mind and if I didn't want to die inside then I had no choice but to leave.

    I am amazed all the time at how poor my critical thinking skills were/are. I still have a long way to go in that department. I can only hope that I will have as much personal courage as you believe this young man has.

    Please keep us informed on this developing story and please keep up the good work of posting topics that encourage critical thinking.

  • Terry

    I truly appreciate all the comments this thread has attracted including the caveats, the suggestions and the kind words.

    Life exists in a continuum of tasks requiring skill sets. If we don't have the proper tools for the job the frustration can unhinge us

    and quickly set us back.

    JW's truly have a sense of achievement based on practically nothing but rah-rah pep talks from the Watchtower gang.

    JW's stay busy. But--busy does not mean effective.

    The bottom line in departing from the hypnogogic trance of Absolute Belief is sudden realization you don't know how to do anything REAL.

    You suck at life!

    Your tools and skill set are maladapted.

    Plus, all the time you wasted acquiring make-believe skills and pumping yourself full of 'spiritual confidence' is nontransferable to the real world.

    It isn't, for example, like changing your major in college and keeping your credits and applying them toward something else.

    If I were 19 or 20 again, I think I could recover quickly enough once I realized my life was a lie as a JW.

    But, a lifetime of absolute confidence and loyalty in somebody who--let's face it--LIES; well, it is dispiriting and heartbreaking.

    You have to mourn and then set aside everything.

    Every. . .thing.

    Commence from square one and retrace the wrong turns substituting indoctrinated concepts for workable and pragmatic ones.

    I think Jordan is well-equipped to do this because he has a really solid center to him which craves honesty.

    This is a fine foundation to rebuild upon.

  • not bitter
    not bitter

    Terry - I remember reading this thread months ago and feeling so impressed and amazed at how you handled the situation. It's been a while since I've visited this site and today I see your updates. And all I can say is wow!

    Well done.

  • Terry

    The young man corrected me the other day, he is now 20 years old. The hard part is that he is still a 'minor' under Texas law.

    He is dependent on family (Mom and sister) but eager to unfurl wings of self-determination without the anchor (millstone) of

    Organization pretending to be his God.


    Of great concern to him was the feelings of his erstwhile girlfriend.

    (I may have erred in assuming 'fornication' when it might have only been 'loose conduct' but treated as though it were Ebola by

    the Elders.)

    Be that as it may, each of them has been cautioned about contact with the other. (Gasoline, meet matches!)


    His reinstatement has been announced and a conversation ensued with the girlfriend telling him everything will be okay if he concentrates

    on his spirituality.

    That comment was problematic in his view. It sounded doctrinaire. Doubtless it was!

    While he really wants to commence deprogramming of his near and dear ones, the realization of consequences looms large.

    Oh what a cult this is!!


    He is working two jobs and I imagine, having been reinstated, his time will be spoken for. I don't know how long he will endure

    having his freetime wasted!

    Elective choice is now a precious commodity. I think this is a good thing!

  • TerryWalstrom

    I guess it is time for an update!

    Jordan texted me on Saturday and we got together at Starbucks.

    We sat and talked for about 3 hours. 

    He has certainly made a lot of internal progress toward dealing with his awakening.

    He's been engaging in careful conversations with his friends as well.

    His awareness of the indoctrination is on full alert because he can now clearly detect the strong element of fear in what the JW's say to him.

    For so many of the young people inside the congregation, living a double life is the only way of maintaining sanity, although few can trust their friends to not rat them out. Ultimately a kind of two-faced relationship is the default. Nobody sees who the other person really is or knows what they are actually thinking.

    Having me to talk things over with is a release valve. Daily life inside the Organization is like holding your breath until you can safely surface and gasp for oxygen!

    He's been doing an incredible amount of independent reading and research into various doctrinal and historical issues. There is a brother in his Hall who is an old-timer who was actually mentioned by Ray Franz in Crisis of Conscience. Jordan is itching to take the guy aside and asking him questions. However, he knows how dangerous that is--so he's holding off for now.

    As a matter of fact, he seems to fully grasp how pointless and even cruel it would be to try and wake up people without their being ready for it. As he and I discussed many times before, if you remove a person's safety net of belief--you can plunge them into despair. It is a touchy and delicate process. I'm glad there is so much empathy and restraining caution behind his impulse to shout from the rooftops:)

    It got late in the afternoon and he still wanted to talk so he offered to put my bicycle in the back of his truck so he could take me home and I'd not have to ride in the dark down that long and dangerous street!

    We ate an Italian restaurant and talked and talked. Finally, he drove me home and hugged me and thanked me for everything.

    He's a great fellow and this entire story has been quite a remarkable journey for the both of us.

    From the moment I overheard that conversation in which--as my Topic Title says--"I'm sitting here listening to a JW trying to convert somebody"--to the irresistible impulse to intrude and speak my mind, I can only wonder. . .

    Each of us has within us the amazing power to transform a life by a word spoken---or not.

    If we overthink it, that delicate moment may be lost forever.

    That's really something we can think and dwell upon. 

    Saying just the right thing to the right person at the right time---well, that's an awareness worth developing, imho.

  • Finkelstein

    Well done Terry, I hope you two can continue to discuss issues and develop a trustful relationship.

    I too think its important to go slow with people when it comes to religious issues and beliefs.

    Going guns a blazing toward people usually results in a wall being raised around those ingrained beliefs and probably does more harm than good. I'm sure having person such as yourself with maturity and knowledge than his usually friends of his age, who he can actually open up and liberally talk about the JWS cult religion , is gratefully appreciate to himself.      


  • nonjwspouse

    So many mind provoking, helpful thought processes and information. The delicate nature of helping someone to think on their own after a lifetime of indoctrination, not to do so, is highly complicated. I would not even try actively to do so except that the WT invaded my family. It is a matter of what direction my family will go. High stakes, ones I didn't sign up for, or ever wanted. But it is there and I must deal with it as best as I can.

    Thank you for your stories and such helpful retelling of this careful "wake up" dance you have been having. The constant reminder of the damage that can be done when potentially ripping out the psychological, spiritual "safety net" of a indoctrinated person is always to be considered and weighed with each person and each situation. Each person is different, and the dance is modified to that. So much skill and instinct, and even luck is involved in getting the right mix, the effective responses.

    I will never stop learning more and more about this delicate psychological dance from people such as yourself on this forum. THANK YOU ALL.


  • TerryWalstrom

    Each of us sits in a kind of rowboat on a vast and dangerous ocean stretching out in all directions. We may be hungry, thirsty, afraid and alone--but, if we somebody came 

    along and told us to drill a hole in our boat, jump into the ocean and swim with the sharks, I don't think any of us would do it.

    And that, my friends, is what we are asking of a person nestled all snugly in the 'loving' embrace of Mother.

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