Were your JW parents spirtually weak or strong?

by moreisbetter 18 Replies latest jw experiences

  • moreisbetter

    I was a 3rd generation witness on both sides of the family. Even my great-grandomthers were considered witnesses, but I don't know if they were baptized. My parents however were always considered weak and still are even though my mom has become more involved & for longer periods of time in the last 15 yrs. The older my sister & i became & we moved out of Dallas, it seemed we became more inactive. I'm sitting here now trying to remember a time when my dad went out in field service, or the last time I heard of him going out.. At this moment, I can remember only one time I ever went in service with my mom. Rarely did we have home bible studies. Or prepare for the watchtower study together. And we were always being critisized and judged because of it. Oh, we did attend a lot meetings, never missed an assembly, convention or memorial, always assisted in KH builds and were included in many cong social functions. but from a very early age i was told that just because mom & dad weren't doing anything, did not excuse me from studying, FS & everything else. I never really, truly felt accepted in the cong; I didn't fit in there and because of being a JW, sure as hell didn't fit in at school. When I married, my feelings of alienation became progressively worse, (yes, I know I contributed greatly in it). It then became full blown when my ex was DF 13 yrs ago. I also feel what I call "doctrinally" illiterate. Having spent 30+ yrs as a witness, it bothers me to say I just don't have the JW education I think I should have. But please don''t get me wrong, as an adult I could have changed that, but didn't. i accept that.

    Ok, please bear with me as I try to get to the point of this topic: I've been reading many experiences of those who were JW raised in a very strict, active JW enviroment, either by both parents or just one. Dads were elders, moms pioneers & so forth. But so far, I haven't come across experiences from folks raised in a similar environment as mine. How did you feel? What kind of an influence did growing up that way have on you? Regardless of why you left, do you wish you were either all "out" or all "in"? How do you feel today?

    I appreciate all responses & am grateful for those that share their thoughts & feelings.

    much love, theresa

  • Scarlet

    My parents were strong.

  • flower

    My father is an elder and watchtower conductor and has been for most of the past 30 years. My mother has been right beside him.

  • Ed

    I'm not sure what category my parents would fall into. They were both active members of the congregation, but they were not nearly as "ritualistic" about it as most JWs. If I had a question about something, I could ask them and then we'd sit down and research it and find out what we needed to know. And that's how we "studied". A lot of other kids' parents were like "Okay it's time for our weekly study, and by golly you're going to sit down and study right now." That always amazed me. My parents tried to make study a regular thing occasionally, but it was never a big deal. Nothing was ever a big deal. I was never pushed into anything or told what my goals should be. Consequently, I missed out on a lot of the terminology and catch-phrases that get hammered into a lot of JW kids. You know, the ones they use for demonstrations at assemblies, who say things like "My... goal... is... to... have... a... greater... share... in... the... ministry... and... progress... spiritually... so... I... can... Pioneer... and... then... reach... out... for... Bethel... Service..." I never knew what the hell they were talking about.

    So I do understand the feeling of not fitting in and being somewhat "doctrinally illiterate". That's quite a good way of putting it, actually. I don't know if this makes any sense, but when I heard people spouting cliches that I didn't understand, I often secretly felt pleased that I didn't know what it meant.

  • whyhideit

    My mother was a "want-to-be-strong" in that she always had an excuse on hand for anything that showed she was not.

    "We missed you at the meetings?" - Oh we have been busy running the business, Satan is making it hard on us

    "Why don't you Pioneer?" - I have the Pioneer Spirit, but my unbelieving husband would never allow it.

    "We wish you would comment more." - I have my hand up all the time, but no one seems to call on me.

    Basically, you get the picture.

  • cruzanheart

    My parents were considered very strong spiritually. We moved "where the need was greater" (translation: exotic locales), but I noticed growing up that my parents were attracted to the Witnesses who were more interesting and liberal than they were re: spiritual matters. As a result, I think I picked up more from those dear people, who could see the spots on the leopard, than I did from my parents, who doggedly followed Brooklyn in everything.


  • BeautifulGarbage

    Hey More,

    Weak. Especially my Mother.

    My family JW connection happened when my Mother was 5. That was when my Grandmother had that fateful day and opened the door to a Witness.

    My mother always hated it. Even from when she was a kid. My Grandfather was bewildered at the loss of his wife to such a bizarre "group" and drank heavily until he died a few years later when my Mom was 12. My Grandmother was "very" strong spiritually. A complete indoctrinated zealot. She was also mentally ill with schizophrenia.

    Anyway, my Mom never bought into any of it. I don't think she ever went out in service. She married my Dad at 14 at the KH and had a disastrous 22 year marriage.

    My parents went to meetings when I was a baby. My Mom going only to appease my Dad. He was Dfed for reasons unknown to me. The whole Dfing process really led my Mom to hate them even more (She doesn't remember the reasons why my Dad was Dfed and my parents have been divorced for over 22 years). Still, my Dad held to the doctrines and was reinstated a few years later. They went back for a time, but by then all his friends were gone. My parents stopped going to meetings for the duration of their marriage.

    Now, during this time when my Dad was Dfed, my zealot Grandmother lived with us. I used to go to meetings with her just to get out of my crazy house. My Dad drank heavily and sometimes the tension was unbearable. And usually, the elderly sisters my Grandmother hung out with were nice to me. I also used to go out in service with her. Maybe if I placed a magazine, Jehovah would have mercy on me. Still, I thought I was pretty much a goner at Armageddon because I envied my worldly friends lives so much. Plus, I accepted valentines at school. Valentines! Imagine that! Yep! Destroy her!

    So, I would go to book studies and meetings with my Grandmother while my parents would stay home. It was lonely for me, though. I was allowed to play with worldly kids but because my Grandmother was such a zealot and would start to preach "The Good News" to my playmates, most had no interest to come around. We were the freaks of Newman Avenue.

    I had no JW friends. I did have one other schoolmate that was JW, but her family was "strong" and she would only hang out with me on very rare occasions.

    Well, sorry, I strayed a bit off the topic. So, to answer one of your questions: No, my parents weren't "strong". My Dad was never an elder or an MS to my knowledge. He did return to being an JW about 12 years ago. Sometimes active, sometimes not. I think when he gets lonely and needs to belong somewhere, he goes back to the KH.My Mom never went back and in fact was shunned by her JW family after the WT 1981 article on Dfed family. Though she was never baptized.

    In many ways I feel like I have had my foot in both "worlds". I have never been a "pure" JW, yet, my JW experiences have left an indelible mark on my life. It's took well into my 20's to get beyond the impending doom I felt when something tragic would happen in the world. I'm just so glad I'm not one now.


    Edited by - BeautifulGarbage on 4 January 2003 20:39:44

  • Sentinel

    My dear mother, who is actively shunning me, is nearly 79. She has been a true blue, faithful, spiritually strong (according to JW standards) sweet, but fiesty lady, since the day she made her decision. I seriously doubt she would ever turn her back on the borg. When her marriage was on the line, she didn't waiver. When her children were df'd or left, she didn't waiver.

    Now, since she shuns most of her children, the borg (along with her own JW sister) are literally her life now. My dad died in 2001. (It was put in his obituary that he attended the "so-in-so" congregation of JW's. I think she had that put in there.) I don't think he had attended any meetings in years. He was such a fence setter and never active; but he knew many JW's and had a very outgoing personality. He got baptised at one point for mom. It didn't work for him, but I think he had many unresolved issues.

    Mom was so loyal and strict, she would run to the elders and tell on her own children when she thought we needed discipline. She was, and still is, the consonate martyr.She honestly thought that was what she was supposed to do. She lived in such fear and guilt, and constantly worried about everything. It wasn't easy to live in that household, with mom the way she was, and dad, so much the other way.

  • Shakita

    Hi Ed........

    My daughter loved Bananas in Pajamas!

    Which one is he, B1 or B2?!

    Oh.........we WERE the parents.....my husband was spiritually strong, I was the weak one. Poor weak Mrs. Shakita........what can we do to help her?.........since she rejects our help, we will shun her.......idiots!

    Mrs. Shakita

  • garybuss

    Hi Theresa, Thanks for the topic.

    Now I believe my parents did the best they could under the load of their willful ignorance of common knowledge, their superstitious beliefs in gods and demons, their tradition of ritual religious activity, their denial of the reality of living and death, their resentment and bigotry, and their fear of all key figures and all that is unknown to them. I guess they are model Jehovah's Witnesses. They probably would have been models in any high control group they were indoctrinated into.

    It's easy for me to see why they are so disappointed in me. I have instincts that seem by nature, unorthodox, inquisitive, rational, realistic, accepting, and daring. Virtually all the elements of my current self must look like a contradiction of them to them. They most likely would have resented me and feared me and rejected me in any context.

    I guess the Jehovah's Witness context just made their rejection of me easier for them and gave them the justifications and the righteousness to avoid the guilt that normally would go along with the rejection of an offspring over an abstract difference in philosophical opinions and over my desire to abstain from religious behaviors as an adult. Behaviors that they required of me as a child in their care.

    Plus the Jehovah's Witness context makes it easier to perpetuate the rejection against their own best interests, past a rational ending point and well into the time of their own need.

    So, I guess my parents would be considered religiously (spiritually) strong. gary

    The Way I See it http://www.freeminds.org/buss/buss.htm

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