"Upright" JW behaviour vs. "Worl...
I'm starting this thread because Dedalus made such a good point in his post in the "What
did you do?" thread. I won't quote his whole post here, but here's the link:
it's the tenth post down.
Dedalus was telling us about the behaviour of himself, and others, now as compared to when he
was still a Witness. He pointed out that he saw plenty of drunkenness, smoking, premarital sex,
etc. etc. in the org.
Of course, I have to agree with him.
One of my sisters is a recovering alchoholic. She started drinking at 14. Now that I think about it,
pretty close to the time when she got baptized!
She and a friend were groped at a wedding reception one time by a brother we didn't recognize
from another hall who was drunk. Imagine our surprise when we saw him on the platform at
our hall the next morning: he was the visiting speaker.
My ex and his father used to love to go to the bar on St. Patricks day and drink green beer,
get up on the stage and sing with the band. Would come home stinking drunk, my ex
would throw up and pass out and then claim the next morning that he had 'food poisoning'.
Remember, now, that my ex's dad was the P.O. while he was doing all of this. I never saw the man
without a drink in his hand, ever. He had a few other elder friends who were his drinking buddies.
They would sit around drinking, and once they were thoroughly tanked, start talking about
judicial committees they'd served on! UGH!
One time we were out at a restaurant for my in laws anniversary and my ex and his dad got so drunk
that I had to take the car keys. They were talking so loud and making such dirty jokes that people were
turning around and staring at us. If I had it to do over, I'd have walked out in the middle of the whole
Most of my ex's friends have cheated on their wives, many divorced. I know more depressed,
addicted, unfaithful people in the organization than I have met out of it.
As far as morals go, let me tell you, my husband's family is far closer to the standards
that JW's claim to have, and they don't attend a church or practice any specific religion.
Even my JW relatives have made that exact comment, with utter shock at the situation.
I visited his small New England home town last year and it was amazing, his parents, all of his friends
parents...married 25, 30 years and still happy. All their kids grew up to be successful adults,
Justin says that maybe one family in his town had a kid in trouble or divorced parents in the
whole time he was growing up.
So to those in the Borg who say that I must be living an immoral life, or I'd want to go back,
I say that I'd rather be where I am today than go back to where I was.
Dedalus, thanks for your post. Got me all fired up this morning and that's just what I need today :)
The Four Agreements:
Be Impeccable With Your Word
Don't Take Anything Personally
Don't Make Assumptions
Always Do Your Best
My family has been ripped to shreds by alcoholism. Drunken tyrades, all night drinking binges, physical abuse toward spouses, mental cruelty toward children, on and on and on. Every member of my family is a witness in good standing. This behavior contributed greatly toward my losing my faith and then deciding to live my life in a different manner.
Yes, I have my own weaknesses. But, I have never let my weaknesses and behaviors inflict pain or harm on others. I will Jehovah (if he exists) be the judge. I'll set my life up against the lives of witnesses I have known any time.
Dedalus was telling us about the behaviour of himself, and others, now as compared to when he was still a Witness. He pointed out that he saw plenty of drunkenness, smoking, premarital sex, etc. etc. in the org.
I think a lot of people were making that point, and they got me thinking about my own situation before leaving. I remember making an appointment with the drug & alcohol counselor at my school, to ask her if it was normal to feel like you needed to drink in social situations. In my case, I think the cognitive dissonance was doing it to me. It wasn't peer pressure so much as my own increasing difficulty meshing with these people.
What bothers me a little, looking back, is that no one recognized that I was developing a somewhat compulsive drinking habit. Oh, it never went anywhere, I guess. Never felt like I was struggling to give it up. But things weren't going in a normal direction: any situation involving more than a few people (Witnesses) made me want to drink. At my brother's wedding I had a six-pack in less than an hour. At another wedding I was seated with elders, but that didn't stop me from getting one rum & coke after another.
Of course, elders drank too. At "hospitality" gatherings (held for the Sunday speaker), a full bar was set up for the elders & elder's wives. They all became giddy and loud.
One of my best friends threw a party one weekend; we were drunk for about 48 hours straight. It was fun, in a reckless, foolish, adolescent way (I was underaged). Spent a lot of time bashing the Organization, who had recently printed an article denying they were a sect. In our stupor we got out the dictionary, looked up "sect," and chanted, "We are a sect! We are a sect!" One of us passed out; we put him in the bathtub.
Last summer a brother had a gathering at which we were all preparing to let loose, get wild, drink the house dry ... when a sister called to say she was bringing her bible study. Here's what my best friend's wife said:
Oh, shit! Now I have to act like a Witness.
Everyone agreed: it sucked that we couldn't swear, make lewd jokes, and get drunk. It seems odd now, to think that "acting like a Witness" actually means not acting like a Witness. And it's disturbing that we changed our behavior to convert people.
Wow -- I didn't realize how many drinking stories I had! But I'll just add that yeah, I still go out with friends, and yeah, I still have a drink or a few now and then -- but what's different is that I don't feel compelled to. I feel more in control of my behavior.
Anyway, of all the "immoral" behaviors, drunkenness is most prevelant among Witnesses -- that's my observation, and many others have observed it too. I don't think it's because Witnesses have bad morals, or any such sanctimonious reason. I just think they're, in general, really depressed. I think the religion engenders a variety of masochistic pathologies (recently wrote a psychoanalytic paper arguing this), and alcohol is one way of dealing with that.
Thanks for your experiences, Es! Hope you're doing well!
Your little (sober) cyber bro,
The Master became a legend in his lifetime. It was said that God once
>sought his advice: "I want to play a game of hide-and-seek with
>humankind. I've asked my Angels what the best place is to hide in. Some
>say the depth of the ocean. Others say the top of the highest
>mountain. Others still the far side of the moon or a distant star. What
>do you suggest?"
>Said the Master, "Hide in the human heart. That is the last place they
>Anthony de Mello, SJ
> Looking for God is like seeking a path in a field of snow; if there is
> no path and you are looking for one, walk across it and there is your
> path. --Thomas Merton
> Go to your bosom; Knock there, and ask your heart what it doth
> know. --Shakespeare (1564-1616)
Good subject. When we moved to a bigger city, we observed a sort of "clan" involving upper income Witneses. Extravagant parties were held aboard boats, pool-side, or at vacation cabins where booze flowed freely. This group was comprised of wealthy Witnesses from several congregations who could afford to party in style. They were reluctant to invite those outside the circle, because - according to one elder - "we don't want to make the others feel bad because they can't afford these things." What a crock! I worked for one of these brothers for a brief time and was invited to a few of these parties. I never did attend, but always heard later how drunk everyone got. There was plenty of "other-wife groping" going on, and at least one affair that I know of.
The other situation where I observed heavy drinking was while staying in hotels at District Conventions. Seems Witnesses away from home are like everyone else who likes to cut loose when on vacation. I can remember many a morning session where hangovers were obvious. The funniest thing was, conventioners often hid their empty booze bottles from the cleaning staff, sometimes bringing them home in laundry bags so as not to "stumble" the maids. :)
Ditto. I too have noticed that drinking was MUCH more a part of life as a JW than now. Now we have a beer or 2 w/ dinner sometimes, but as a JW there was no way to have a social event without many/most people involved getting totally hammered. I haven't been smashed since leaving JWs! Many times when we're socializing now it's done totally drink-free, a thought that never would have occured during my time as a JW. I NEEDED a drink or 4 to have ANY fun.
In typical fasion, when one party got out of hand, and some of the events became 'public' knowledge, the ones who were publically reproved or DF'ed were ALL non-elders family. ALL, and I mean down to the last one, of the elders sons/brothers/etc where left alone and not reproved. Even though they were the ones in the middle of the worst of the behaviour that night! The elders could not have been much more blatent with their favoritism.
And the witch-hunt following the above mentioned party revealed several other partys where quite a bit of 'loose conduct' occured, but since the main characters there were (again) all the fair-haired elder's children, those were quietly swept under the rug with the typical "Oh those were different incidents, and you don't need to know the full details about why we made the decision we did". Yea right.
Great topic here! Does anyone remember the km's and school talks about conducting ourselves at these conventions and hotels? I do. Over and over again,for every convention. Makes it quite obvious that the JW behavior was not all that good,and of course it gave a 'terrible witness'. Always mentioned were people reserving rooms for 2 and 10 showing up to use the room. That Jw's would bring in hotplates and other cooking utensils to these rooms when that was expressly forbiddin by hotel policies. Also mentioned was jw children,unattended by adults,running thru hallways ,yelling,playing disturbing other guests. Jw kids at the hotel pools acting up and unattended,not leaving gratuities for the staff....yes and trashing the facilities.......gosh,I can go on. That's what I heard every year,year after year.....memories,Tina
This reminds me of time I was working in Memphis TN on a hotel renovation project. We were discussing which floors we were going to work on with the hotel manager, when she told us in a sarcastic voice, that we had to have a certain floor completed by the end of the week as the JW's were coming to town for their convention next week. I ask her if that was a bad thing and her reply was, "are you kidding, if it isn't nailed down, they will steal it"! Needless to say, I didn't tell her my affiliation.
You're so right! There was always, I mean always, the same talk given by the same elder out of the same KM insert before every convention or assembly. It seemed that "some" were booking too many rooms and then reneging at the last minute. It seemed that "some" were making off with towels, sheets, pillows, soaps, ashtrays (go figure), and other hotel paraphernalia. It seemed that "some" were booking rooms in hotels not approved by the Society (gasp!).
Isn't it funny that the happiest, most moral people in the world, the ones privileged to have the truth about life, the universe, and everything, are treated as a bunch of pilfering, petty, unruly bunch of children? What's worse is that many of them are.
Doesn't stop my father from lecturing me about how well the religion has helped him and other Witnesses lead a more moral life according to Bible principles. What I'm getting out of this is that Witnesses are a lot like other people, and in some ways, possibly worse.
I think they're worse in many ways. I think they feel some grandiose sense of entitlement since they have the 'trooth'. And with this attitude,they don't need to abide by normal social standards (read worldly) of respect, courtesy, honesty, and behaviors.
Being in such a closed group, most lack normal healthy social skills,they get out there in the world,and make fools of themselves. I've seen them at funerals laughing inappropriately,the above behaviors in hotels,dining out,etc etc......believe me, if they only knew how they appear to normal folks....just MHO,hugs,Tina