What exactly ARE the JWs known for?

by detective 41 Replies latest jw friends

  • detective

    I was reading a thread in which JH said:

    People knew we were JW's just by the way we dressed, but also by the way we talked.

    Now, not to come down on JH by any means, but this raised a question in my mind. As a never-been-a-witness, I have to say that I never heard of this illustrious image that Witnesses allegedly possess... until I heard witnesses and ex-witnesses making reference to it. In other words, the only people I've heard talking about this astounding, exemplary reputation of Jehovah's Witnesses are those who had some affiliation with the group. Not a single one of my non-witness friends ever made any type of comment referring to the sparkling image of Jehovah's witnesses. Not a one.

    So what is this reputation I'm hearing so much about and how realistic is it to assume that non-witnesses have any particular feelings about this reputation?

    I can really only speak about my own experience, which is a few fleeting encounters with witnesses while growing up. Well, maybe. Is it possible that I never really had an occasion to meet any JWs in my youth? Or, is it more likely that I met several of them over the years and just wasn't particularly struck with awe over the wonderful standards of dress and demure demeanor of any of them? Not that it's a problem that someone is really notable, but how does that mesh with the concept that the group puts forth of this gleaming image that seemingly proceeds them wherever they go?

    Obviously, if I ended up here, I must have had occasion to know a few witnesses as time went by. Was I stunned by their wonderful behavior? Their good grooming? Their lack of a good heartfelt cuss every now and again? No. I know lots of people of varying religious groups (and non-religionists) who also possessed those qualities.

    In fact, the first two witnesses that I had any extended contact with, were, in my opinion, not particularly role-modelish.
    If anything, even with my limited knowledge of the group, they certainly made me raise an eyebrow over seemingly hypocritical behvaviors. So, this outsider had no real impression of witnesses, hardly a stellar one!

    Well, my thought is this might be a case of "legend in their own mind" as opposed to a realistic perception of how others view them.

    Have you ever asked around to find out what non-witnesses really think about the group?

  • Guest 77
    Guest 77

    Brotherly love and unity.

    Guest 77

  • blacksheep

    Actually, you raise a good point. If polite manners, extremely conservative dress make someone more of a role model than say someone who is active in the community, believes he/she can actually *make* a positive change by being involved in society, than there you have it.</P> To me it underscores just how superficial JW's really are. It's all about appearances. ; They think that their superficially polite behavior, following laws to the letter (when they don't confict with JW teachings, that is) and dressing in a suit/tie (or in modest dresses calf-level) is "exemplary" and a good witness to others. ; ; ;Sort of like "it's what's on the *outside* that counts. ; The truth is, they are the only ones who think so. ; </P>
  • RunningMan

    There are two things that non-Witnesses bring to mind when they think of them:

    1. Door to door work - Any slightly geeky person dressed in 1940's suits, knocking on doors in pairs, must be either a JW or a Mormon.

    2. No blood transfusions.

    Needless to say, neither image has a positive connotation. I believe that it was image #1 that JH was referring to.

    You are correct, they are a legend in their own mind. No one else has as lofty an opinion of them as they do.

  • benext

    Where I've worked people who didn't yet know I was a Witness would see I was different by dress and conduct. Or when I didn't join in on birthday or holidays they would ask if I was a Witness and then comment on other Witnesses they knew. It was only a rare occasion when something negative was said. The universal comments were usually about not celebrating holidays, no flag salute, no blood or knocking on their doors early in the morning.

  • TR

    When I talk to worldly people about 'hovahs, they usually:

    1. never heard of them

    2. they know the 'hovahs are religious flakes who knock on doors

    3. they think 'hovahs don't believe in Jesus.

    4. they know that 'hovahs don't celebrate Christmas

    Yeah, so the 'hovahs aren't very good at educating the public, are they.


  • AlanF

    : Have you ever asked around to find out what non-witnesses really think about the group?

    I certainly have. Without exception, their opinions were that JWs are freakish cultists, and probably out of their minds.

    As for the statements of self-praise from the JWs, JWs are known among ex-JWs to be huge self-deceivers who think the world revolves around them, when actually hardly anyone notices them at all.


  • freedom96

    In the witness circle, they love to think of themselves as the most perfect, caring, spiritually clean organization out there. Any many people do in fact regard witnesses as wholesome, good people. But, as we know, they have their flaws. I believe that for the most part they are a good honest people, but as in all situations that have so many people, there are going to be the rotten apples. They certainly are not perfect.

  • heathen

    I never was a witness but was related to some and did study for awhile thinking religion to be of interest . We do get plenty of non witnesses on this board . The general concensus is that these people are indeed the hypocrites that you suggest. They are control freaks who love to meddle in affairs of their members . I am familiar with the WT propaganda as far as being sepperate from the world in every way imagined .They are extremely anal over how their members dress and if you don't mention the WT in every sentence they consider you somekind of possible trouble maker. They always say they don't go beyond what is written but you can always catch them doing it. I bet there are some tho that stand out as far as attitude and speech is concerned , most of the members live in fear of being observed by other members and reported for behavior problems and dicipline. I've known many people from other religions who have nothing good to say about the org and often use the word cult .

  • meadow77

    I think before I really knew anything about JW's the only thing I knew about them was that they didn't celebrate holidays.

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