Is Mutual Respect Possible?

by Sociologist 48 Replies latest jw friends

  • Dia

    Perhaps the WTS serves a useful purpose in the area of population control.

    They destroy marriages and wipe out families and family connections. And the people held in the highest esteem by them are single people devoting themselves to preaching and making more converts.

    They also create a lot of opportunities for those in the mental health field, providing them with patients and customers for hospitals, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, researchers, drug companies and, tho hopefully not, funeral directors.

    I used to walk carefully in the mutual respect category, choosing to believe that there's just 'a place for everyone' out there in religion.

    But learning the silentlambs stuff and making a connection with other exjws, makes me care more about what they're doing from the point of view of a citizen. Some things need to be stopped, period.

    Once that is accomplished, I'll likely go back to my 'mutual respect' stance.

    Tho it's hard to say I'll always stay away from exjw stuff.

    Throughout history religion and philisophers and writers have long held a fascination with the workings of the human mind insofar as it addresses goodness, evil, denial, various states of pathology and madness.

    They're like having an 'ant farm' when it comes to that.

  • Nikita

    I agree with Little Toe

    I suspect you are male, are in your early twenties, and are a pseudo-intellectual.

    I also suspect that you are (or have been) a JW, and have probably previously posted here under another pseudonym.

    I suspect rather than stick by his original pseudonym and raise these questions /issues he has, he is hiding under this identity!


  • larc

    I believe that Sociologist has left the building.

  • Swan

    I don't believe a real professional sociologist would tell the people he's studying to "Get a life!" I'm not going to bother talking to this person any more.

  • onacruse

    Presumably there must be humanly intelligent, morally decent, rational beings in both JW and ex-JW camps.

    I totally agree. Vilifying all JWs as mindless drones is fundamentally wrong. In my experience, there have been very many thoughtful JWs, including many Circuit Overseers, that have proved themselves worhty of my deep personal respect.

    Is it reasonable for some JW's to paint all ex-witnesses as "evil apostates"?

    The converse of my statement above: this categorization is equally unjustified. There are so many very sensitive, loving and intelligent posts on this board that prove otherwise.

    How objective is the picture they portray?

    In both cases, "objectivity" is really "subjectivity." Clinical dissections of doctrine and policy does not substitute for personal experience and social application. So often what is "in print" is not what actually happens "in practice." Many JWs behave in a manner inconsistent with the published directions of the Watchtower Society (WTS), and many ex-JWs justifiably react according to their personal angst, not necessarily aware that their own painful experience was itself a result of a violation of WTS policy. (In this respect, I must of necessity exclude the current pedophilia issue). wonders whether such an approach is conducive to good mental and emotional health.

    Speaking for myself, it has been many, MANY years since I have felt as good as I do now. Being able finally to laugh, cry, think, respond without fear of recrimination, and just plain share in the broad spectrum of human experience and emotion on this board had been THE most therapeutic experince of my life.

    But would you agree that there is a strong tendency in both camps to say that the problem is all "out there," with the other side?

    NO!!! Again, based on my personal experience, the closed-structure manipulative thought-numbing nature of JWs (though by no means exclusive to them) is FAR more likely to produce the "us vs. them" mentality. True, many ex-JWs may "blame it all" on the WTS, but I have witnessed much more resilience and accommodation on the exJW side than on the JW side.

    Is it a group of victims gathering together for solidarity and support...

    Absolutely, even as JWs gather together for the same reason. After all, they consider themselves (I considered myself) a victim of Satan's world around me, and sought solace and self-validation within the Society.

    THANK YOU for your very thought-provoking topic!

    Edited for typos


    Edited for PS: Even if you are pseudo-posting, the points we have made still stand. We have passed the sociological/psychological test. Your response will tell us if YOU also pass.

    Craig (of the not playing mind-games class)

    Edited by - onacruse on 7 August 2002 0:21:9

    Edited by - onacruse on 7 August 2002 0:38:32

  • Pistoff


    You are dealing here with people getting their anger out. If you are a professional, you will know that when people need to do this, it is best if they are allowed to vent, and sooner or later they will come to a balanced view on their own, if such is possible.
    I had MANY GOOD experiences as a witness, and still do; I am still a member; i just believe in free speech, and cannot afford to lose my family just yet.
    Does that comment help you understand why people here are so angry?
    When they get up the courage to leave, THEY LOSE THEIR FAMILIES AND FRIENDS.
    Is there someway you think we can move on from that as easily as you state? Do you have children? I have three, have taught them all to be good witnesses, and now I know that it is COMPLETE BUNK.
    Is there a way you can tell me how I can put a positive spin on that?

    The good things:

    personal honesty (organization is however, dishonest)
    connection with God (now have learned that i permanently must fight inclination to please men i have been taught represent him)
    close friends (hmm..if i practice free speech, i will lose them)
    know that end of bad times is at hand (never mind)

  • SYN
    Why are many on both sides so fanatical? Presumably there must be humanly intelligent, morally decent, rational beings in both JW and ex-JW camps.


    And surely, objectively speaking, the Watchtower organization is neither 100% evil nor 100% perfect.

    Objectively speaking, no Apostate would force their child to die from lack of a blood transfusion, either. An Organization that kills people for doctrinal reasons is, in my estimation, 100% evil, even though the people in the Organization itself may themselves be good people. They are ALL potential murderers until they either ignore the doctrine of the Organization (unlikely) or leave it completely!

    Why is it apparently just as difficult for ex-witnesses to see anything positive in the organization as it is for current Witnesses to admit that there might be weaknesses?

    There are good things in the BORG! They are just extremely outweighed by the bad things! When children are dying, we're not gonna pay attention to the little good things that Dubs do, are we? There are more important issues than whether Dubbies do good things or not! In fact, if they didn't propogate murderous policies, I wouldn't give a flying **** what they did! Then they would be just another cult!

    Is the participation of ex-JW's on this and similar web-sites typical of all who leave the JW religion?

    Nope. Only a tiny fraction of XJWs use boards like this. Many lurk. Many don't even know boards like this exist.

    What percentage do you think become vocal opponents of the Watchtower, and what percentage just move on and get on with their lives? Why are so many now atheists or agnostics? Do many ex-JW's now belong to traditional Christian groups? (They appear to be a silent minority here.)

    Most don't become vocal opponents...

    The opposing camp emphasize what they perceive to be the weaknesses of Witnesses (arrogance in claiming only they are right, fanaticism, deceitfulness [at the very least "spin"] with regard to their beliefs, self-righteousness, excessive concern with appearances, manipulation, etc.). Obviously these qualities are not unique to JW's.

    JWs are the only group who force their kids to die from lack of blood transfusions. That is where the similarities END. JWs are the only group who have "Biblical" policies that protect child molestors. Those are my two major gripes.

    Could it not be said that they are common, even typical of organized religion in general?

    You don't see Catholics or Muslims banning blood transfusions!

    Or to take it a step further, might it be said that they are basic to human nature? Is it reasonable for some JW's to paint all ex-witnesses as "evil apostates"?

    Of course it's reasonable. They are, after all, just products of their doctrine.

    A lot of what is written on this board is reminiscent of what you might hear from a disgruntled divorcee describing their former spouse's behavior. There would appear to be a lot of bitterness, sarcasm/irony, "demonizing" in general.

    So what exactly is wrong with highlighting murder or child abuse, HMMM? Do you have a problem with this stuff? Personally, I don't really care what the Dubs do, although some of their more interesting behavioural anomolies make for great humor on the boards!

    Some comments I have read are frankly vulgar, others more sophisticated, but in all cases, the question arises: How objective is the picture they portray?

    People are dying. Children are being abused. Is that "objective" enough?

    After all, even ex-witnesses (who may have spent years in the organization) must surely have enjoyed SOME positive benefits from their adherence to the organization that justified their staying as long as they did.

    Let's see. They kept me away from drugs, smoking, and drinking. And sex. (Well, not towards the end). That's the only good thing that came out of my Assimilation.

    Aside from raising questions of the objectivity of those who write about their experiences with the organization, one wonders whether such an approach is conducive to good mental and emotional health. Clearly such an all-embracing shift in worldview would cause great emotional upheaval, but are there more mature ways of dealing with it?

    Mature ways of dealing with WHAT? Murder? Child abuse? LOL!

    Without questioning the sincerity of many current or former JW's, what is gained by constant efforts to criticize or condemn the other side?

    Well, it's fun

    If ex-JW's have found something they like better, what is to be gained by attempting to induce them to stay, even if you think they are making a colossal mistake by leaving? On the other hand, if current witnesses are satisfied with their religion, then why try to disillusion them, even if you believe they are hopelessly mistaken?

    Purely because their Organization is a total sham! A cover! And to top it off, it has murderous, abusive policies based on that incredibly great Human Rights-promoting volume, the Bible!

    (Ex-JW's who are now atheists would presumably agree that in 100 years from now, everyone, JW or not, will be in the same situation [i.e. dead], so what difference could it possibly make?)

    There will be MORE dead people in 100 years if the Tower isn't stopped. THAT is what makes the difference to ME!

    To what extent are both sides willing to accept responsibility for their own decisions? It is easy to cry mental manipulation, brainwashing, etc, but in reality such a paradigm could hardly account for millions of people subscribing to this or that belief system.

    Oh yes it can! Look up the Witnesses on some of the cult sites, and you will begin to understand!

    It would seem that people who believe the Watchtower (or any other religious or non-religious tenets) do so because they have CHOSEN to believe it; people who don't believe it have CHOSEN not to believe it.

    Has a 12 year old kid who got baptized and was Born In The Truth chosen their religion? Nope. Their parents chose it for them. At the end of the day, a very large percentage of Witnesses had absolutely NO say in their choice of religion. Besides, religious choice is not something the Dubs promote anyway. You're either Dub, or Dead. Pick one. That's the mindset of a Witness, sad to say.

    That is not to say that such choices are always made consciously; many are made by default. But would you agree that there is a strong tendency in both camps to say that the problem is all "out there," with the other side? How realistic is such a position?

    For starters, the Witnesses do this, I agree. However, if you examine the logical underpinnings of the arguments made by both sides, as well as their basis in fact, you will see that the Apostates do indeed have the upper hand. For instance, check out the Bible's view of women, go ahead, I dare you! The Bible says that women are property, and sub-standard to men! What a balanced, loving viewpoint, eh?

    And, guess what, these ultra-chauvinistic views are propogated aggressively guessed it...the TOWER!

    One day soon, you will realize why we are so aggressive about taking down the Tower. It's highly likely that you haven't been on the inside and seen the depth of the mind control practised (oftentimes unknowingly) by those still Assimilated. It's very subtle, and that is why it's so dangerous.

    Nobody can teach anyone else about Mind Control. You have to experience it to fully understand it's incredible power and control.

  • Dia

    Other 'good things' they do.

    They reduce an overcrowding of students and applicants in both institutions of higher learning and in higher paid positions of employment.

    They enthusiastically embrace menial jobs and, most probably I would say, they perform them extremely well.

    They don't create a fuss over most things which, many times, is helpful to keeping the status quo up and running.

    (Of course, right now they NEED to create a fuss about something and their present gutlessness is a huge problem. But that's another story.)

  • Dia


    I feel there is an underlying assumption that you're making that is preventing us from making a meaningful connection.

    I can't quite figure out what it is....tho I'm trying.

    'Live and let live'?

    'Mutual respect'.....I guess I would have to say that exjws in general do not have respect for the WTS. Tho we do generally respect that most JWs are well-intentioned and just seeking God....we feel tremendous frustration in just trying to converse with them due to the fact that they are ALWAYS coming from the position of trying to convert us. It is very hard to deal with their self-righteous gullibility and their holier than thou close-mindedness.

    Add to that that they WANT very superficial relationships, both in and out of their churches.

    For 'mutual respect' to happen, it would have to first be mutual.

    It is not. They have no respect for exjws or any other faiths and they believe all of us are on the road to hell.

    Further, they rob people of their constitutional right to freedom of speech.

    Please don't blame exjws. What more could we possibly do?

  • ballistic

    You ask why is it just as difficult for ex-witnesses to see anything positive in the organization as it is for current Witnesses to admit that there might be weaknesses?

    There is a flaw in your question; current witnesses CANNOT admit there are weaknesses within the organisation; to admit, for example, that a so-called bible-based teaching is incorrect would actually get that person disfellowshipped, thus moving them from one side of your argument to the other. Conversely, ex-witnesses DO see some positive things within the organisation, some of which have been posted here by people including myself. But as has been clearly stated; i. some of the 'righteous' works of the organisation hardly license the intollerable ones, ii. do you really think that a web site primarily used by ex-witnesses is the right place to be looking for such expressions of gratitude to the organisation. To use your analogy, you are coming into the divorce court and looking for expressions of love between the agrieved parties.

    Soc, I am also interested in the sociological aspects of the interaction on boards as a subject apart from the issues discussed themselves. But I can't help agreeing with others you have a witness agenda. Not only by the fact that this one question could be turned completely on it's head.

    edited to add so-called, a doctrine such as 1914 which is not found in the bible, but clearly a cornerstone of their beliefs

    Edited by - ballistic on 7 August 2002 18:47:41

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