News Article from The Atlantic about the Health Effects of Leaving Religion (Mentions JWs)

by sd-7 5 Replies latest social current

  • sd-7

    A particularly curious quote was:

    The most mainstream research on this is a 2010 study out of Pennsylvania State University, which examined data from 1972 to 2006. The study showed that 20 percent of people who have left religion report being in excellent health, versus 40 percent of people currently part of strict religious groups (such as Jehovah’s Witnesses and Latter-Day Saints) and 25 percent of people who switched from a strict religion to a more lenient religion. “Strict” in this study was defined as “high-cost sectarian groups that are theologically and culturally exclusive."

    I guess I can see the benefits of having a social community and possibly a benefit from door-to-door (not so much from streetwork if you're standing still, that would lead to foot problems--one older sister stood so long in streetwork her ankles started to swell up, I heard). I can see the potential for depression resulting from being ousted from one's community and trying to find a niche for oneself.

    In my mind, it's a lot like heartbreak, like the end of a relationship that's in a way much more profound--for many, at least--than say, a marriage ending or something. Especially in a high control group, the sense of violation involved has to be a devastating thing emotionally. And then to have everyone you know think you've lost your mind--doesn't help, either.

    I saw that an ex-JW has already commented there on the site, but I'm not sure there's nearly enough intelligent discourse going on. I haven't commented myself, though. I just found it curious. I wouldn't be surprised if this quote makes it into a Watchtower or Awake! article sometime in the future...


  • berrygerry

    I wouldn't be surprised if this quote makes it into a Watchtower or Awake! article sometime in the future...

    Sure - "See brothers, you're nuts to leave."

  • Apognophos

    Interesting, but it seems like a big problem with this study is the word "report", as in "How do people report that they feel?" Because we know that JWs have a deep-seated need to make their lives sound great in order to sell "the truth" to people.

  • GrreatTeacher

    It seems they thought the possibility was that the first 2 to 3 years were the most difficult when exiting religion and from that point on people seemed to recover.

  • sd-7

    Good point, Apognophos. Did they actually examine any of the people in this study and determine what their health actually was? That would be the more relevant factor.


  • Ingenuous

    What an interesting article! The studies and multi-study analyses are a mixed bag, and I can't say I'm thrilled with the way the article ends. (It seems to suggest that comforting beliefs are worth the tangential benefits, while ignoring the real stresses imposed by the dilemmas faced by those who decide to leave/are kicked out.) I'll be sharing this, though, if for no other reason than for the support groups mentioned in the second half.

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