Deprogramming your "Last Days" phobia...

by logansrun 33 Replies latest jw friends

  • logansrun


    Actually, my life is going rather well. I posted this topic because I am new to this board and like to get different people's opinion on the subject. I walked away last year and received some counseling from a psychologist which helped tremendously. From an intellectual, and now emotional level, I am healing. Perhaps the tone of my writing made it sound as if my state of mind was worse than it is. The "last days/apocalyptic" phobia resurfaces every now and then, but I am always able to think my way through it.

    Thanks for the concern,


    PS -- I do think it would be interesting to have a book which debunks a lot of the myths in apocalyptic minds, both religious and media-inspired.

  • Undecided

    I'm not worried about the last days of this world, but I am worried about my last days since I will be 67 next Monday. There's not much time left for me. I wonder what will get me, cancer, heart attack, stroke, Nile disease, hepatitis...........?

    Time will tell.

    Ken P.

  • AlanF

    Hi Bradley,

    : I was conditioned to look at world events as being a sign that the end is near, sound familiar?

    It's part and parcel of the JW experience.

    : Well, times are bad. Are they the worst ever?

    No. The 14th century was a lot worse. At least a third of the entire population of the world died within a decade ,plus or minus, of 1355.

    : Perhaps, at least in terms of dangers to the over all survival of our species.

    Potential dangers are quite different from realized dangers. Sure, there is a lot more potential for destruction of the world by mankind itself today than ever before. But there is also a lot more realization of how horrendous that would be. The potential for destruction from traditional major destroyers is the same as always. To date, we have seen nothing of the massive die-offs that one would expect if the Society's traditional claims that earthquakes, pestilence, famine and war were much worse than ever. So, while there is danger, it does not come according to the Society's claims. Therefore their claims are valueless.

    : Interestingly, I do not see humans as being any more "evil" the way the Society does. If anything the enlightened world is more humane. Were there talks of "human rights" or "women's rights" a couple hundred years ago? "War crimes?" Was this in human's vocabulary before the twentieth century? If you were black, living in the South in the 1950's you could not eat at the same restaurant as a white person. In this area, times are better, far better.

    In the world as a whole, times are far better than 100 years ago. No need to go into details that are obvious.

    : But still, things are not good. Like most everyone here I get a little twinge of fear whenever I hear the news, especially when I hear any talk of "peace and security" ( there really any other way to word this concept? I don't think so.)

    Of course there is. Note how the NWT phrases the scripture (1 Thess. 5:3):

    "Whenever it is that they are saying: 'Peace and security!' then sudden destruction is to be instantly upon them just as the pang of distress upon a pregnant woman; and they will by no means escape."

    The operative words here are "whenever", "suddenly" and "instantly". The Greek word hotan translated by the NWT as "whenever" can be translated as "while, then, when, whenever, as long as, as soon as", and so forth. The word translated as "suddenly" is not an issue. The word inserted by the NWT as "instantly" is not in the original Greek, but it can be argued to be understood to be there, although it is certainly not necessary, and in the case of the NWT it is there mainly because of prior doctrinal considerations.

    So, while it is possible that the scripture means, "at the precise point in time that they begin to say, 'peace and security', destruction is to be instantly upon them", other meanings can be gotten, for example, by the way the NASB renders the passage:

    "While they are saying, 'Peace and safety!' then destruction will come upon them suddenly like birth pangs upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape."

    Using "while" instead of "whenever", and not inserting "instantly", changes the meaning drastically. I think that the context supports the use of "while" over "whenever". Then the meaning is more like, "during a time when people are enjoying life and saying they have peace and security, destruction will come upon them suddenly and unexpectedly and take them unawares, just like when birth pangs unexpectedly come upon a pregnant woman." This interpretation is fully supported by Matthew 24:36-41, Mark 13:32-37 and Luke 21:34-36. The NWT's rendering creates conflicts with these passages.

    : I've read "Signs of the Last Days -- When" by Carl Olof Jonsson. It's a good read, but not great; his Christian belief makes a secular understanding of the subject impossible.

    Not at all. I'm as secular as they come and I think that Jonsson's arguments are dead on. Naturally, because a good deal of his audience is heavy duty Christian, and so is he, his orientation is Christian. But he has enough integrity and objectivity, checked by secularists like me, to not let his Christian views influence the secularly oriented parts of his work.

    : Anybody have any thoughts on this matter from both a historical/scientific point of view

    As above. I think that the historical/scientific view is very well presented by Jonsson, and have never read anything else that even comes close. However, you might read my essay "The WTS and the End of the World" here: which deals with some aspects of earthquakes beyond Jonsson's comments.

    : as well as a psychological point of view?

    There's a book called When Prophecy Fails by Leon Festinger, which last time I looked was readily available in online book search places like


  • jws

    I think by reading Carl Olaf Jonsson's books, I've realized that every age thinks the end is going to be in their time and have been doing such since the time of Jesus. Almost everybody who believes in such a thing hopes that it will come in their lifetime. And we also believe that things are always getting worse. Somehow when we look back in time 10, 20, 30 years, everything looks more innocent. Could it be that it was us that was more innocent and now we're more understanding of what is really happening? That these things were always happening?

    The next thing would be whether or not you believe in the Bible. The Bible talks of Jesus' return. It also talks about some pretty fantastic stuff in Revelation. Whether literal or figurative, some major stuff is predicted. Just because the WTBS is misguided doesn't mean the Bible doesn't speak of some of these things.

    Since leaving the JWs, I still believe the Bible, but no longer believe their chronological predictions. Now I no longer stress of expecting the end at any moment and whether I will survive or wont because I didn't get enough hours in field service last month. If it happens in my lifetime it does. If there's another plan, so be it. I realize that things aren't so bad today and the Bible talks of a lot worse. Just live each day and let whatever happens happen.

  • Wolfgirl

    My parents kept me out of school (I'm one of those autumn birthdays) when I was almost 5 (the school was going to let me in even though I was 4) because they said, 'Armageddon will come before that. Why bother?' *ahem* My 10-year high school reunion was this past summer.

    I remember feeling certain that the end was going to come in 1986 because of the International Year of Peace. As I got older, I collected newspaper articles that I thought were relevant to the great tribulation/Armageddon.

    I was DF'd in January 2001. When the WTC attacks happened, I panicked. I thought, "Oh my god! They were right." It didn't help that my mum (still a JW) chose to ring me at 3 in the morning (I was living in Hong Kong, she in the US) because of it, telling me that the end was here.

    It's taken a lot to deprogram myself, and every once in a while, I still get a little twinge of doubt when I see a news report or some such. *sigh*


    Logansrun, that is an excellent question/post.

    I remember just after I left the organization. That 'Last Days', and the 'true peace & security' mindset, stayed with me, for a very long time.

    For me, the longer I was away from the WTBTS, bit by bit, and slowly, many of my ingrained fears and scriptural mindset, crumbled.

    1 year, then 5 years, I could notice a psychological difference. I stopped being 'afraid' and I started to live.

    In the early part of my leaving the borg., I was almost ready to 'end it' if/when I heard "True peace and security". In my mindset then, I figured, I was going to be destroyed, so why not do it myself, without any horrific Armageddon? That's how I felt....then.

    Now: I don't believe in Armageddon.

    The "Last Days" phobia, has ended. Living continues.

  • xjw_b12


    I believe some may never fully let go of those feelings. We had become so conditioned, that even after we have left, we may still have nagging doubts... " Oh my god, they were right and I was wrong ".

    In my case it was just time, that freed me of those thoughts. I knew I was cured when the WTC attacks occured, and my first thoughts in that regard were " I wonder how the WTBTS is going to put their spin on this, and how many inactive dubs are going to be shocked and /or browbeat into returning to the KH".

    I estimate we lost more inactive / undecided dubs, back to the WTBTS, then those who were actually killed that day.

    " Millions Now Living Will Never Know "


  • archangel01

    So Logansrun you tell use everything but show us nothing.......

    Tell us more about yourself like were are you from.......

    How long have you been ah......Dub

    Its seems like your hiding something I have this gift I can smell a lie you wouldn't be lieing would you

    Just wondering take no damage etc

    Edited by - archangel01 on 6 February 2003 8:50:39

  • garybuss

    Hi Bradley, Im glad you are doing okay. Many of us lived with a sense of impending doom until we were well into our re-education. When we realized the Watch Tower Publishing Corporation is just a book printing business masquerading as a religion and is knowingly perpetrating a giant fraud by claiming to channel directly with a ghost or a god, we lost our respect for the fears they worked so hard to install into our subconscious minds.

    Lots of us lived with that feeling of impending doom as well as disrespect for the fragility if life.

    Many of us lived as end timers and did not plan for the reality of the future. We did not save for retirement. We did not consider our safety and health like we needed to. We did not appreciate our fellow man or build healthy relationships. We protected our delusions and superstitions long after we left association with our teachers. We were never really taught to live. We were taught to deny death and life and to prepare for a miracle or our own early deaths but we were not taught to survive life and old age on the planet.

    A parents job is to see that the child survives. The parent protects the child from irrational fears. The parents job is to see to it that the child is prepared for life on earth. My parents tormented and abused me. They instilled irrational fears of ghosts, gods and demons and a giant conspiracy between unseen spirits using me as a pawn. The caused me to fear my own thoughts and my own body.

    They discouraged me from being prepared for life in any way they could. They sent me to school and then they sabotaged my education by keeping me away from home 3 nights a week every week. They virtually never went to a school function and discouraged me from getting a secular education in any way they could. They lied to me and encouraged me not to be prepared for life and living. When I prepared myself, they ridiculed me.

    For me, the fear of impending doom went away after I researched the basis for that fear and found it to be a hoax.

    Best wishes to all. Welcome to all the newcomers. Every day I am amazed at how many are leaving the Publishing Corporation and finding us. By now they must be noticing lots of us are leaving. gary

  • NameWithheld
    So Logansrun you tell use everything but show us nothing.......

    Tell us more about yourself like were are you from.......

    How long have you been ah......Dub

    Its seems like your hiding something I have this gift I can smell a lie you wouldn't be lieing would you

    Just wondering take no damage etc

    Uh - do a search on his user name - he basically spelled out his life story a while back.

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