Have you done this rob?
And what have you found?
If you cant change your mind are you sure you have one?
I love that song stephen! Haven't heard it in a really long time. Thanks for posting the words.
Hey Hannibal. I know exactly what you mean. It has taken me a long time to get here. I too had a great deal of trouble worrying about what direction my life would take now that the *organization* wasn't there to organize me any longer It is scarey and confusing wondering which way to turn. I finally had to force myself to STOP thinking about it <and am still in the process of doing so> I think it shall continue to be a struggle, but it no longer seems to be a losing one...I think I'm getting up over the edge of the hill and starting to see daylight! I hope that all that are in our situation can eventually do so and not let human based religions/cults/sects/superstitions rule our lives forever.
Here's a web site that I've found extremely helpful. It presents the continuum of influence, ranging from education to advertising to propaganda to indoctrination to thought control: http://influenceatwork.com/ethics2.html
Depending on how you view it, I'd say the Watchtower Society's methods fall somewhere between indoctrination and thought control.
The relationship is authoritarian and hierarchical but also consensual and contractual. After all, under the new baptismal questions, one does agree to join the club and abide by the rules.
Their information is almost always selective and is often deceptive.
Once you are baptized, their methods are coercive. If you openly disagree with their doctrines or methods, you can be disfellowshipped.
I'm not sure about their goals. It's certainly not a productive and capable citizenry, since the WTS wants you to stay in a childlike state of dependence upon the mother organization for life. Do they want money and power? Only the guys at the top know. A cohesive and effective group? This sounds more like the "unity" they always emphasize.
Read for yourself and see what you think.
Here are a few more thoughts.
The quotation below is from the French report on cults published in December 1995. The translation is mine and is very rough. The French word secte is a pejorative word; I think it is more rightly translated "cult." Aware of my own biases, I was very conservative and translated it as "sect."
Several interlocutors of the Commission highlighted this paradox: the originality of the sectarian groups lies in the fact that, in particular during the process leading to adhesion, the victim is an actor [actor in the literal sense of one who acts, one who does, is not a passive victim]. A certain parallelism can be established with the stages of drug addicts: "We have controversies with the parents of drug addicts. Those think - in a certain way rightly - that without the horrible dealer their child would be an angel. They forget the nine tenths of the way which the unhappy child traversed, person in charge or not, but of his own will, to go into the arms of the aforesaid dealer. One should not exclude the voluntary share from the follower, who is not an imbecile that one would manipulate - it is you and me --, but (...) who went deliberately." Accordingly, the recruiters of the sects could be introduced as "dealers of transcendence." In this respect, an image used by a person heard by the Commission appears particularly ready to render the conscious character of the step of the future follower comprehensible: "Sects are not a net which falls down on people, but a bow net in which they go."
(Bolding is mine.)
It is easy for we ex-JWs to blame the WTS for all of our problems. This quotation made me mindful of other important questions: Why was I attracted to this mindset? Why did I stay so long? How can I prevent the same thing from happening again in a different context? How can I help others protect themselves from unethical influences?
Hannibal, as you can imagine I agree with those who have made the point about looking within. I'd like to make another point though, and that is we don't need to have all the answers. Even the WTS didn't claim to have all the answers. I suppose fear of the unknown is pretty common, but you certainly can't go through life that way, because there will always be unknowns. I would say that the one thing you can come to know is your own mind, and that is the place to start because there is where the uncertainty and insecurities lie. If you stick with such self examination (which is essentially meditation) you will be in a much better position to examine the big questions. You may not come to any big breakthroughs, but I believe you'll find that not knowing becomes easier to accept. To know the truth, we must start with the truth about ourselves.