Allow me to introduce myself...
Hello all. I am a new face to this website, although I have poked around in it for some time. I was born and raised as a Witness starting in Brooklyn, New York in 1973. I was disfellowshipped on my 26th birthday, November 20th, 1999. I am not one of those that feels bitter about it. I know full well that the JW's have a code of morals and behavior that quite honestsly, I did not live up to. So it is only reasonable to say that I deserved to be df'd. However, I am not going back. This time away has been an opportunity to examine why in the world I was a JW even though I knew I didn't want to be. I was baptized when I was 18, thinking that any doubts were just in my head, and that this was just what I needed. Now that I can look from the outside in, I am able to see things for what they are. I am also able to learn how to think and choose for myself, something I was taught to be afraid of. I have been out of the WTS for a litte over a year now and guess I am ready to join these discussions.
I will start by saying that I am not here to bash Witnesses. I strongly believe that the organization provides, for some, for a certain type of spiritual need. This would go for just about any organized group or system of beliefs. Could it possibly be that one of the reasons there is such a prevelance of organized religion is that this is God's way of saying, "Hmmm. Well you don't understand me if you think of me like this, well, maybe try to think of it like THIS instead?" I think it was a Fransiscan monk who said that if we could understand God, then he wouldn't be God. So he appears in different forms.
People have different reasons for going to a church or practicing a religion. Some people don't feel they have the intellect or the confidence to approach God without some mediator. Some like the beauty of ceremony that a church can provide. Some like the feeling of community. Others need to be told how to think and what to believe. And all this and more is in part, what organized religion provides. A routine. A method. An explanation. There is great security and sense of comfort gained in having answers. So when I think of the Witnesses and what the WTS, I say, if it helps you draw closer to God, if it helps to make you a better person, if it provides steps to make your life better, then mission accomplished.
I know Witnesses claim to have the truth. Fact is, so do many other religions. We all would like to think that we have some "right on the money" understanding of Scripture and prophecy. I am sure that if I performed my own scriptural acrobatics, I could come to some sort of conclusion as to how my life fulfills certain prophecy and that here is what it all means. I have decided instead that any conclusions I come to - or anbody else for that matter - are wrong. We HAVE to recognize our own fallibilty. If we are to suggest sole spokesmanship for God, we better have it right.
There are the endless debates that can be had held regarding doctrine. I am not here to argue dates, question the liability to be had by the Society for their ignorant approach to medicine, hash up old history of 'so and so did this', or any of the other common approaches to arguing the Witnesses. It's been done so much, most of what one hears and finds is simply redundant. Besides most of the mistakes that can be found within the Watchtower organization, are ones that can be found in any other group. So I don't think that misconstruction of doctrine, or personal matters where on is wronged, in itself, significant as they may well be, are the markings of a group I want to stay away from.
For me it is not so much WHAT the Witnesses think, as is HOW the Witnesses think. When you approach the organization epistemologically, it forces one to look at how they come up with what they do, and what it produces. I see paranoia. I see self-righteousness. I see a strange hybrid of love and hate that encourages an unhealthy sense of exclusiveness and contradicts natural law. I see the power of God in the hands of men. I see hypocrisy. I am sickened by the type of thinking epitomized by one elder that would repeatedly refer to the Witnesses both in prayer and talks, as "the greatest people in the world." The fact that no one would challenge him on this point speaks for itself. Sure, Witnesses might make great neighbors, but that does not make them the all-encompassing solution to every problem on earth.
So do I feel I have transcended some way of thinking or that now I have some bit of spiritual truth gone unseen by ALL these JWs? Not at all. Such thinking is arrogant, proud, and spiritually dangerous. It is one thing to say that such and such is what I believe, knowing that this is probably going to evolve. It is something else to have someone dictate this for you, mandating that you goosestep right along with the rest of those of whom you assume to be of like mind. The critical finger that is pointed by the WTS towards all other groups (valid as it may be) is one that can be pointed right back. They shouldn't be surprised, and I don't think they are, when it is.
So where am I going now that I am "out?" Well, not to sound cliche, but this is a journey. I am not turning my back on God. Just an organization that puts itself in that position.
Greetings to all
Thanks for the into, you make some good, well balanced points. Look forward to reading more of your posts. Glad you could join us.
Excellent post. You sound as if you are a well balanced person. Which isn't always easy to do. Looking forward to getting to know you.
Hello and welcome. You make several good points in your post. It's good to be able to look back on what and why we believed what we did. Often, it's not until we are out of the organisation (either by choice or forced out) that we can see things for what they are. I don't believe all the people in the organisation are wicked, neither are all their teachings destructive. Balance is needed in reviewing these things.
I look forward to more of your posts.
iam one of jehovah's witness and i dont tend to change my religion. But what do puzzle me is why do you decide to wait until you get disfellowshiped or something bad happen and then you find fault in it. can you explain that to me
Your life's path is, indeed, a journey, and how nice that your birth and freedom from tyranny dates coincide!
I particularly liked your points that people have different reasons for going to church or practicing a religion and that organized religion provides that. I think the organization fulfilled a need in me for a time, but that I grew spiritually (or maybe just logically)while the organization remained stagnant. I still have a long way to go. But for now, I'm happy to be
I'm still in and I have done nothing wrong, in fact, I have many friends and a great congregation as far as congregations go, but I don't believe it's the truth anymore. I'm only lingering because I don't want to be cut off from my friends like I know will happen.
I think that with a lot of the others on this board that they had doubts for a long time, but suppressed them because it's hard to change your whole way of life and to lose friends.
So they press on and go to meetings and live that lie until they either do something wrong or start asking questions and get disfellowshipped.
And then some witnesses sin or live immorally and don't get caught and think it's ok, because they have the "truth" and that makes them better than the "world". Hypocrites that are quite happy living in La La land.
Welcome music man
I read your comments with interest, I am like you in that I am not angry about being disfellowshipped, although I didn't do anything technically wrong...I just see it as a great relief to be out and living. Its good to have you around
To pabrooks: it is often easier once you step back and re-examine the org that you understand more fully what is was that was nagging at the back of your mind for all those years. I now understand from reading sociologist, psychologist and philosophers (basically all things placed on the banned list) that the WTBTS use very good at using typical methods of control and I'm just relieved to be out. The cycle of guilt and fear is exhausting
Peace and love to all
Great post Muzicman. Your comments are sure balanced. And you're not alone.
pabrooks, he didn't wait till he was DF to 'find fault'. The thoughts have been in the head for sometime, like it is for many of us. You don't have the nerve to say those things until you're out. You don't. Or you do it and hide. The conditioning, the system does not allow you. You feel like you're sinning against God, questioning divine authority, going against the grain. For me, the only bad thing that's happened is I got on the Net. Typed "Jehovah's Witnesses" and variations of that in a few search engines and then began to see things I never knew existed. Truth is there are many having those Muzicman thoughts within the Organization. They just don't trust anyone enough to say it out. And they don't know the next man is thinking their thoughts.
Hello Muzicman! I enjoyed your post. I am a JW but I never thought of the WTS as the "truth" as some think of it. I believe as far as the basic doctrines of the Bible, they have the correct understanding. Those doctrines being no immortality of the soul; no hellfire and no trinity. I have been a JW for a long time and have always thought of being "in the truth" as meaning that we have the truth about what the Bible teaches, (although there are many Bible verses, in doing research) that the society doesn't comment on or emphasizes the wrong point, IMHO, but in my chats with people of other faiths, I find the same thing with them.
The the encouragements by the society to draw closer to God, and get in a personal relationship with him, are the things I have tried to follow. The encouragement to be balanced and moderate in habits were also things that make sense, and because of that I don't have to stay away from foods I enjoy because they are "fattening" or will give you cholestoral problems, etc., etc. Alcohol is also something I enjoy and haven't abused, so I can enjoy a drink once in a while, without becoming dependent on it. I find myself relying more and more on things Jesus said.
I think there is a little battle going on, and a friend of mine, has pointed this out to me as well,in certain departments in Bethel, and it comes out in WT study articles. For a while, you might see a series of articles about Jesus, and the great sacrifice he made, and that he is our Lord, etc. etc. Then a month or so later, you'll see some articles about the organization: don't forget about it, serve with it, etc. etc. I truly hope that the winning side will be the side that emphasizes Jesus; We, as a whole, don't give him enough credit in God's purpose.