Just looking for answers.
Unfortunately, I'm not quite sure what my questions are. :)
My first post was in the "Dating..." forum, if anyone's interested.
The biggest problem I have is my complete ignorance concerning JW's and their beliefs/ practices. The research I've done has provided only polar opposite views, either JW is THE way or it's a cult and it's wrong. Without a balanced, objective view it's tough for me to make conclusions.
A bit of background:
Up until a few years ago, the only thing I knew about Jehovah's Witness were the early morning knocks on the door and Micheal Jackson. And the whole thing seemed a little humourous to me.
2 years ago, I lived literally a block away from a Kingdom Hall... and even then, I had NO knowledge of anything concerning the JW's. I was raised Lutheran, and have since modified my beliefs based on my upbringing, study, and conversations with religious scholars.
Then I meet a beautiful, funny, and intelligent young woman and I find out she's a Witness. In fact, it we were having coffee on Christmas eve, and when she told me her family doesn't celebrate Christmas, I jokingly asked, "what...are you Jehovah's Witness?" To which she replied, "Yes." My joke didn't seem so funny anymore.
Now, we have a great relationship, and for the first time I've met someone who I truly enjoy spending time with... and conversing with ... and other activites ;)
My main issue with her being a JW is that if anyone found out about her relationship with me, she would be disfellowshipped immediately. So out of fear of rejection, she lies to her parents and her church... and I don't see ANYTHING about our relationship that she should be ashamed of or lie about. Having been raised in a church whose main philosophy preached "grace" and "forgiveness" , it seems foreign to me that 'scare' tactics would be used to make her feel bad about the loving relationship we have.
My conflict is this: Do I try and change her? Can I expect her to risk family alienation, because I don't believe what she is being taught? Wouldn't that be a bit self-serving and egotistical of me? ..... but at the same time, how do I show her that God will always love her and accept her, and she SHOULDN'T be ashamed for dating someone who cares about her also?
This is all a little new to me ... so please forgive me if I've mis-stated anything. and thanks.
I am not sure how much you know yet about your friend's religion, and it may require you a lot of time and effort to find out what they are all about. There is a man here, Thinker, who spent a great deal of time to help his wife, known appropriately enough here as Thinker's Wife. Hopefully, they will read this and provide some advice.
For openers, the JWs believe that they are the only true religion and the rest of the world, including other religions are "of Satan", so you can understand why they would take action against her for what she is doing. However, since she has chosen to break a major rule, she may have doubts about her religion, even if she is, in most respects, a "true believer." I think the only thing you can do in the short run is to educate yourself about her religion, which you can do here, and treat her like a princess, so she is drawn further away from her rather oppressive culture.
You are in a tough situation. The mindset of a JW can be very strong. It sounds as if your friend might have a few problems with the Watchtower already being she is lying to her parents and not being honest as so many JWs claim they are.
As far as your questions, you cannot change her. If you try, I think it will cause a problem with something that seems to be turning into a good thing. It might help for you to get more informed as to what the JWs believe so you can be more effective and prepared when subjects of their religion arise. I would not push her to make any rash decisions as far as her religious beliefs. This could cause a wedge between you and her.
Hopefully in time she will see that God does accept her for who she is and not for what she belongs too. And yes, she should not be ashamed for dating someone who cares about her like you do.
Give it some time and keep caring.
Whatever you do, don't become a Jehovah's Witness for the sake of the relationship. You will be miserable.
Welcome to the forum. I believe you should get a nice deluge of answers from the good people out here.
I wish you only the best. You sound like a loving, generous soul, no wonder this sister is attracted to you!
You asked "should I change her"? To me, it sounds like she already has some doubts about the organization. Otherwise, she would have "played by its rules" and only dated on the inside (not saying that I think that's the best way at all). Also, she is lying to her parents for the same reason, I'm sure -- doubts about her way of life.
So she already is changing. If you continue to show her your love, perhaps in time she will continue to change. I like how you stated that God will always love and accept her.
You have discerned that Jehovah's Witnesses get the most mileage possible out of 'guilt', and that's what your girlfriend will be subjected to if she continues and is discovered.
If she chooses to continue with you, over time things may work out. Her parents would or should have nothing against you, because you seem like the decent sort.
To me there is nothing egotistical or self-serving about wanting to share life and give of yourself to someone you love. The self-serving tag can be applied to an organization that, with its man-made rules, chooses to make family members shun 'disapproved' ones.
I say give it some time, and if the relationship keeps steadily growing, God will help things work out in the long run.
Hi there Texas,
You truly are in a very tough spot. It does sound to me as if your girl is having some pretty serious doubts about her religion. Been there done that.
I had been through some very bad times with the JW's which put me on the eventual road out. But it was difficult. I knew the results would be losing my family, and that had a very strong hold on me.
At some point in my journey, I realized that I didn't not want to have a relationship with another witness man. So I began actively dating non-witness men. I met Thinker, and the rest is history.
I da'ed myself in June of 2000, one week before I married Thinker.
It has been just the beginning of my journey with the WT.
The longer I am out the more I learn that for all those years the WT had me fooled.
I am with Gopher. Just keep developing your relationship and see where she goes with the religion. At this point it is her call. I just hope the guilt doesn't get to her and she "blows the whistle on herself" because of the guilt.
I am sure her thoughts are very jumbled up right now. And in her heart of hearts knows she will be making a choice between all her friends and family and you. My heart goes out to both of you!
Keep us informed!!! We will try to help with anything we can. I sure would like to have a heart to heart with your friend.
Looking at this from another female's perspective, I'd say she is in a confused state at the moment.
In your other post, Texasbred, you stated that she smokes, has got drunk, and sleeps with you. If this came to light in her congregation, she would have 2 options - a) to be seen as repentant, she would have to give you up and end the relationship. She may/may not be disfellowshipped; or b) come clean and end her relationship with the WTS, and be disfellowshipped, and continue her relationship with you.
In the eyes of her religion, she cannot have her cake and eat it too.
She knows what these options before her are.
As she has family in the religion, no doubt she does not want to lose that connection, as well as friends she may have. If she does lose them, you may be her only friend she can rely on. She will need you then like never before.
I have to say I find it amazing to think she thinks she can live two lives and get away with it. She won't be able to keep this up for too long. The decision will lie with her. It's her life.
thanks for all the kind responses.
Does anyone have any websites they can recommend so I can better understand the Jehovah's Witness philosophy?
and thanks again for the replies ....
True. Watchtower.org is full of lies and the Watchtower Observer merely exposes them.
Seriously, another good site is www.freeminds.org. It has tons of good stuff for you to consider.
I recommend that you read "Crisis of Conscience" by Ray Franz. He was a member of the governing body of the JWs and left for good reasons. His book would be in the "against" category, but it is very fair and well researched. If you want "objective" go to the encyclopedia and read about their beliefs. However, that will do you no good in dealing with a real life situation.
If you want objective, let's try this. If you become a JW you will not celebrate the following: Christmas, New Years, St. Valentine's Day, the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, or any birthdays. You should not see your friends and family on any of these occasions. When you have children, you should not let them participate in any extra curricular school activities because the other kids are a bad influence and the time for these activites takes away from Bible study and door to door preaching. There's more, but that is enough for you to chew on for now.
I think Crisis of Conscience is objective. It simply relates experiences of one person.
If you want a set of basic facts, try asking us questions one at a time and we can probably inform you fairly quickly.