How did you view your congregation?

by haujobbz 21 Replies latest jw friends

  • blacksheep

    Interesting question. I live in a fairly large metropolitan area with several congs relatively nearby. Funny, but I think my "devout" JW mother moved around to other congregations A LOT. I'd say every two years. So, I really never got a chance to get super entrenched in them. (To tell you the truth, I think my mom initiated a congregation move whenever some of the people got under her skin. I think she's continued the same trend today...although all her kids have left the nest, she and her unbelieving but JW supporting husband (my father) move around quite a bit...).

    There were people I liked; and many I didn't even know that well or particularly care to know. There were a few that I think I admired from afar...usually those were the ones who for one reason or another ended up leaving as well.

  • Bendrr

    The best view I had of my former congregation was when I saw the KH in the rearview mirror of my car as I squealed tires out of the parking lot following my df'ing.

    What was the cong like? Very isolationist. Up till the handful (3) of us young people reached teen years, there was NO association with other congregations. Visiting speakers for the Sunday talk only got taken out to lunch if my dad did it. Everyone pretty much sat in the same place at each meeting. Change of any kind was met with hostility. When my family and another moved in "to serve where the need was greater", we were viewed as outsiders. Attempts to have activities like softball games or cookouts didn't go over too well. When I hit teen years and got my own car, the feces collided with the ventilation unit. Association with young people from other congregations was frowned upon and condemned at congregation meetings. One elder even said during local announcements one Thursday that we should only participate in quick-builds within our assigned area and not go to others outside the circuit (or however they organize it). Guess who that was directed at?

    I need to hit up a few contacts and find out what's going on there now. I did hear that there was a case of incest in [classified] recently and it was hushed up. I do know that the current PO is a power-hungry backstabbing jackass who has finally gotten what he wants, the position of power. I bet he'd love to paint the sign for the hall to read "D** M****, Pastor".

    Col. J.R. "Bendrr" Brown, [classified]

  • Kep

    All my dub life was spent in the one congo, and that was 30 years too many.

    The majority of the people were really nice folks, whether it was because they were mainly low income types I don't know, but they were good people. There was your gossip mongers as ALL congo's have, the worst were the pioneers, nothing better to do than sit in cars while out counting time and gossiping about different ones.

    There were definitely the stuck up self righteous prats, mainly elders and their families, plus the occassional older pioneer, all these so called spiritually strong ones, with heads so far up their.... well you know what I mean.

    I think back on the majority of peeps in my old congo and really have fond thoughts. When I was reproved and removed as an elder/pioneer I got truckloads of support from the rank and files. I was bummed at the meeting when it was announced, but I had heaps come up to me, hug me and say they are glad that I am here etc...

    Then, when I was Df, I got numerous annonymous notes and letters asking me to come back, this lasted for almost a year.

    Even now, some will put aside their BS rules and talk to me, obviously when the time/place is appropriate.

    Good people but blinded by the crud feed to them by the WTS.


  • Wren

    Agreeing with "cross section of humanity". I've known many kind, loving people in congs. to the other end of the spectrum. Add in all the other factors influencing a cong. makeup: location, culture, socio-economic, education background, demographics, etc.. Of the 10 + congs. I was part of, "a cross section" applies.

    The small cong. where I now live seems unusual. I seldom attend in fact not at all in the past few years, but I get plenty of info from relatives that do attend. This remote town and surrounding area is at the "end of the road", so to speak, for a section of people that move and reside here. The area has numerous religious or otherwise: communes, compounds, isolated retreats & schools, religious work commmunities. My point is I accuse the cong. of fitting right in with this part of the community.

    The congregation has been repeatedly threatened with disbanding due to power stuggles among the leaders. The isolation lends itself to forming your own cong. rules & groups. The cultish behavior of certain elders is too much even for Watchtower, ha, ha, ha. An elder and his supporters, for years now, has actively recruited other JW's, promising them the world, if they will work solely for him, live in his designated housing, and as it works out socialize within his circle. Once here, there is literally no easy way out when the bubble bursts. The expensive vehicle they are convinced to purchase is set up by guess who? So many have moved in & out with hard feelings. Branch says no more recruiting!

    I guess I'm just sensitive to things cultish since I'm currently living in a compound arrangement(not the one described above). JWD helps keep me sane. Thanks for the space to reply, with a small rant, to this question.

  • minimus

    For the most part, the people are actually pretty nice.

  • mevirginia


    The majority of the people were really nice folks, whether it was because they were mainly low income types I don't know, but they were good people.

    Interesting. I don't know if there is anything to that or not, but

    I did notice that most of the problems in the congs I attended (snobbery,gossip,slander,etc...) came from the so-called wealthy ones.

    Luckily most of the members were not wealthy so there were a lot of nice people. I did however know 2 who were wealthy AND nice.

  • apple829

    What strikes me most about my old congo now is that nearly everybody was very poor. There were a coupla teachers, but no other degreed professionals, and they even seemed to have financial problems.

    Almost everybody was nice though!


  • jaccilynn

    That's funny apple, because in my old congregation, all the elders owned their own businesses, had nice cars with custom license plates, had big homes, wore expensive clothes and jewelery. There were a few middle/low class families, but the majority of the people were wealthy. And the people who were not were looked down upon, or pitied by the masses and brought into the "group" and pampered.

    It was one big clique with a few outsiders.

  • mommy1

    It was a pedophile's paradise when I was there. The Abuser is dead now, but the elder who new about the problem is still there.

  • jws

    I can't count the one I went to as a little boy because a child under 4 can't really answer such stuff. I remember it warmly, however. There were a lot of people who would smile and say hi, but I was a kid afterall.

    My second hall was the worst. Seemed run by power-hungry blue-collar elders who loved being the boss for a change. What I found extremely different between halls in the region, particularly this one was that people DF'ed would stay DF'ed for a year or two. And man were they strict. One guy was so sincere and regular in attending. Once his car died and he walked the rest of the way in the snow and got that counted against him for being late. Didn't matter that he made it every other time, that one time set his progress back. Of course, he was DF'ed for messing around with an elder's daughter who only got reproof. The cards were stacked against him anyway. By way of contrast, I went to a quick build hall a state over and made several friends. I was amazed to hear of disfellowshippings lasting 3 to 6 months. Sometimes only a month. That sounded more in the spirit of a rebuke. 1-2 years sounds cruel.

    Then came hall number 3. This during our late teens to early 20's and the last one my brother and I went to. We were the quiet and shy type and, although this hall had a lot more people our age, they were kind of clique-ish. Around age 18, we started drinking a bit, probably fueled by our mother's sudden death. Well, about 3 weeks after her death, we get invited by some of these kids to go on a trip to a big amusement park. We're thrilled by the chance to make friends with them. Only one guy shows up though. We decide to go anyway. On the way there, we discover he loves to drink too (in fact he later discovers he's an alcoholic). So we spend the day getting plowed. Suddenly, we're part of the "in crowd". He goes back and tells everyone we're cool, we drink. Now we're being invited places, hanging out with them. We're accepted! And all this helped to fuel us to more drinking. After all, that's what got us accepted. After a while, things started to get too wild for some. They felt guilty and went to confess their sins to the elders. In my opinion, because we were the newest members of the clique - the ones they didn't grow up with - we became the scapegoats. Though everyone was doing this, we were the ones the parents didn't want their children associating with. So now we were the outcasts, back out of the clique. During one point, I really changed. I gave up drinking to excess and got serious about the religion. I even tried to aux pioneer, but they wouldn't let me - or at least wouldn't announce me as such. So I went out the 60+ hours anyway for about 7 months. Not that I was doing it for brownie points, but still, you'd think some people would recognize you're trying and stop giving you dirty looks. It didn't help. After a few more years, life situations changed. My brother and I moved to another part of town and never found a new hall.

    At my second hall, I felt there was a lot of corruption at the elder level. At my third and last hall, I felt the elders were more sincere and caring, but many of the people were very unChristian, mean, and vindictive people.

    I also went to other halls to get away from time to time. When I did my un-recognized aux-pioneering, I went out a lot with a regular pioneer friend of mine from high school, who lived on the other side of town. It was a poorer part of town and the people were much nicer. I didn't spend enough time there to really get to see all the cliques and politics at work, but I felt more accepted.

    I think experience can very much vary by hall, by area of the city, by state, etc., etc.


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