The JW's Have Targeted My Co-Worker!
I have long believed in separating my personal life from life in the workplace, and rarely discuss matters of a private nature with co-workers.
I work with a woman who has a young daughter (early 20's) who has terminal cancer and probably only weeks left to live. I've known this woman for a number of years and know her to be sensitive, and compassionate, having a deep faith in God.
I just found out last week that another one of my co-workers is a JW. I have no intention of "outing" myself to her and she has no idea that she works side-by-side with someone who was disfellowshipped 21 years ago.
My concern is this: Today, the JW co-worker approached me and asked me if I know where my other co-worker lives "Because I'd like to talk with her about something very important". (I do not know the woman's address.) There is no question in my mind that the JW woman has found a target for proselytization. JW's are notorious for catching people at their most vulnerable, and I'm afraid this woman would be very receptive to the message of "hope".
So.... do I give my co-worker friend a warning that she is about to be descended upon by Watchtower folk, giving her a crash-course in what the JW's are really all about? Much as I feel I should, at the same time this woman has more important things to deal with such as making her daughter's final days comfortable, so do I keep my mouth shut and hope for the best? Your thoughts?
I would warn her. She may already be privy as to what the JWs are about, you never know. I am sure you will use enough tact under the circumstances.
I have read and reread your post for over an hour now, and I am not sure what to say. I don't know if there is an answer, because you never know how someone is going to react. With that said, perhaps you could spend some time with the suffering woman and remind her of the value of her own faith, and the "heavenly hope" she has for her daughter. I don't think it matters what you believe on the subject of the resurrection at this point, but what she believes. Perhaps by your show of sympathy and the support of her religious beliefs, she will be less likely to be influenced by a JW....... ..... That's the best I can do.
This is a tough call. I'd like to see what others say too.
My two cents: There are 2 reasons your co-worker will likely be polite but resist proselytization. (1) Her strong faith in God, which you alluded to, especially if she belongs to a supportive faith group, and (2) How busy/occupied she is with tending to her daughter's needs. There probably wouldn't even be much time for Bible discussion.
The JW may be picking the "wrong" time for her zeal. If and when the daughter dies, and after a sufficient time of grieving has past, then life returns to normal, except for the griever. At that point, there is a "hole" to fill. That, in my opinion, would be when a person would be most likely to give a proselytizer a listening ear. Both to the JW, and to you, who could "fill her in" with the truth about 'the truth'.
I could be completely wrong about the above. Every situation is different, and you know more about the situation than I do. But it is my 2 cents.
I wonder if this JW has this poor woman's best interests at heart, or if she wants to "score big" for her own personal gain and bragging rights. Man, a tough situation indeed.
A similar thing happened when I was a JW. Not too far from where I worked, lived an elderly and frail lady in a nursing home. She used to live with my mother-in-law(non-JW) until she got so weak that she had to go to the nursing home. When I found out how close the nursing home was to my work, I thought; "SCORE"! I really did feel for the woman, and she really was sweet, so we got along well. BUT...she was a captive audience. I would go for a "visit" on my lunch hour and "witness" to her. She was very strong in her own faith and repeatedly told me so, thank God, but she did enjoy the attention.
Fortunately, she passed away having been strong in her own faith and not fretting about whether or not to become a JW and all the collateral crap that goes with it. I appreciate what larc said about reminding her of her own faith and hope. I hope all goes well, whatever you decide to do.
Good points made by all you guys, btw.
Altho being raised in the corporation...... it didn't get it's claws into me until I became emotionally vulnerable...dealing withthe death of a loved one. I lost many more years to them due to that.
I consider that emotional and psychological terrorism at it's best and I would warn the individual,,,,,, when one thinks of the lost productive years and the heinous crash when realizing 'you've been spiritually had' is well worth the warning. Just MHO,regards,Tina
If you feel you must warn her Jim, you might want to tell her that you are an ex-JW and JWs are taught that those who leave their religion are scum, possessed by Satan and are to be treated as they were dead, under all any and all circumstances. Since she already knows you are not like that, it should set off a lot of reg flags immediately.
Since she already has a deep faith in God, she's probably quite aware that Jesus hung out with people the Pharisees thought were outcasts and scum, too. In telling her that (if you decided to do so) you could also tell her that you haven't mentioned your JW status to the co-worker because 1) you don't want her to begin to treat you like pond scum, and 2) it could disrupt your work and working relationship with the JW. You are only interested in keeping the peace.
You could explain in detail how JWs are taught by their Brooklyn Masters to deal with people who leave their faith and how it destroys families, marriages and friendships. They treat JWs who ask pesky questions about their religion, or smoke cigarettes exactly like people who are serial killers. No exceptions. It's not that difficult to get in, but can be nearly impossible for many to get out. Once in the JW religion one has NO freedoms, including the freedom to think and question differently from what they think and teach. Did Jesus want his followers to feel hopelessly trapped and blackmailed and extorted into staying his followers?
Then if the dub does call, the mother will have some interesting questions to ask her about how JWs deal with those who leave their faith. Of course, it would also be good to first show some WTS documentation that proves beyond any doubt that what I've said is true. If the dub tries to skirt around the issue or lies about it, your friend will immediately see hypocricy and deceit. If the dub admits it, you friend can see the the JW religion's evil for what it is. Either way, the dub won't likely trap another victim.
Then there's always the message of the "Good News" you co-worker has to offer: 6 million happy JWs stumbling around over 6 BILLION slaughtered non-JWs. That always gives me a nice warm fuzzy feeling whenever I think about it. :D)
Indeed let her know what the dilio is. . .
My mother was scammed and conned right after her divorce in '71, during her grief she fell for it hook, line and sinker. Not to say that this woman will fall victim also, but she deserves the right to know in a tactful way, which i have no doubt it will be done so. . .
As far as letting your coworker not know that you once were borg, good call. I made the mistake of telling a co-worker of mine that i was a jw, shortly after i faded out, she noticed the changes in me and saw me smoking during lunch one day, afterwards the lectures and attitude began. . .i was 20 at the time so she felt the need to councel me, being the elders wife that she was. . .
Hi SFJim: I used to work in San Francisco and lived in the northbay area. I also worked in an office where there were JWs. In my case, however, I was the JW and a co-worker was an ex-JW. I knew he was an ex-JW, but he did not know who I was.
Anyway, I would personally avoid giving the JW woman any information about the dying women or her relatives. Office place and religion, I found, can backfire no matter what side of the fence you are on.
As for warning the dying women or her relatives, that is a tough issue. But, you might wait and see on this one, because it may be that the JW woman will never get her opportunity. And, once you learn she has talked with the dying woman or her relatives, then maybe find an opportunity at lunch or sometime outside the office to open the discussion up. Find out what was said and what the "feelings" are. It could be that these folks will not be warm to the JW message, and you can then aviod saying anything.
The benefit to you is that you will not expose your ex-JW position to the JW woman would might hear about it. But, more importantly, you will avoid the perception that you are using the workplace to promote your views (even if your views are well-intended).
Even while a JW I finally discontinued mentioning my beliefs at work because the social trend and public policy started running against this. In one place I worked at in Washington State, the company view was that any religious discussion by active people like Mormons and JWs with co-workers to be a form of 'harassment', and made their policy very clear that they would not tolerate it.
Hope this is helpful to you. Safeguard your job, and wait and see. Move cautiously so as to avoid any misconceptions. - Amazing