XJWs – Are They Dysfunctional?
By [SYN], [email protected]
Although this essay might have a very Watchtower-like title, you can be assured that it is the polar opposite of your average Watchtower article, both in content and slant. Don’t despair, [SYN] hasn’t decided to go back to the Dark Side. Rather, he’s decided to tackle a topic that has been brought up on the board in the past couple of days – that of the XJWs, and whether they are dysfunctional.
Dysfunctionality – That’s A Big Word!
During the almost 2 years that I’ve spent posting on and reading XJW websites in general (for those who don’t know, XJW is simply an abbreviation for the term “Ex-Jehovah’s Witness”), many things have become clearer to me about this unique group of people. Some of these things are good, and some are not so good.
What is abundantly clear is the fact that this is a group of people who have a common past, and aren’t afraid to share it with others. It’s to be expected that there are many more XJWs who don’t even really think of themselves as “XJWs” as such, who have never been to an XJW site. For all we know, the XJW population who don’t even have access to the Internet could be a hundred times larger than those who do!
Things were going swimmingly, until a post was made wherein someone was quoted as saying that they considered XJWs who posted on XJW sites to be dysfunctional. How dysfunctional, they didn’t really say. On this point, I am forced to disagree strongly.
Why XJW Folk Are Kick Ass
Lots of reasons come to mind when one considers this topic for longer than a picosecond. All it takes is a few minutes of paging through older posts on JWD, and you can come to a definite conclusion of the slant and attitude of the majority of the people on this site. Every single post on JW stays there, frozen perfectly in time, and there has been a remarkable transition from the days when the site was first begun to now. For starters, Simon, who wrote the site, was still a Jehovah’s Witness when he started JWD. It’s great to read through some of those early posts for a chuckle, seeing the administrator himself saying something he wouldn’t be caught dead saying today, for fear of being forced to drink very large amounts of beer at the next Apostafest!
Of course, it’s evident that JWD and it’s sister site JW Online don’t exist in a vacuum. The Web is a big, dirty, dangerous place, not suitable for kids (or Jehovah’s Witnesses, if you believe the Society). Although many faithful “Dubs” (short for “Jehovah’s Witness”) have tried time and time again to create Witness-orientated sites for the perusal and enjoyment of other Dubs, they have failed, for several reasons. First, and most important in my estimation, is the fact that the Society strongly disapproves of Witnesses creating sites for and about Witnesses! Despite the fact that this could in fact garner them some positive attention in the Web community at large, the Society have made a cock-up (as per usual), and declared in a recent internal publication available only to Witnesses that a “good” Witness should not create sites discussing and/or disseminating the supposedly “life-giving” literature of the Society.
Naturally, the Society doesn’t mention the fact that if the literature was as life-giving as they say, then they should in fact be welcoming any means of distribution possible. “Experienced” XJW folk nodded sagely and continued with their daily lives when this was announced. They’ve seen it all before. “Experienced” is a word which has a subtle ulterior meaning in DubLand: it signifies that you are Spiritually Mature ©, and thus more likely to survive the coming End Of The World™.
Getting back on topic here, these Dub sites have been falling like irradiated sparrows from a fence recently. Some major ones have gone down already, and I think everyone on JWD is simply playing the good ole’ waiting game now as we watch, listening to the wires for the imminent demise of the “Pure Language Network” and “JW Zone”. Both of these sites encourage the unmitigated discussion of doctrine, and are thus assured to be on the hitlist back at the Brooklyn Headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Expect a very strongly worded letter to go out to Elders soon. It has become known the author that the Elders in the Congregations of many of the “Publishers” who post on these boards are highly aware of the activities of their Sheep on the Internet. These sites are sitting ducks, for there is no way “DanG” (admin of JWZone) and his kith can maintain a toehold against the ultimate power of the Society. Would you argue with the envoy of God?
Now, considering all of the above, it’s not surprising that the posts on those sites are controlled with a ferocity bordering on the incredulous. For Jehovah’s Witnesses, fanaticism isn’t called fanaticism, it’s called the “Mental Regulation of Jehovah”. I sh*t you not, they actually use that term over and over again in their publications. Audacious as it might seem, yes, the Society have time and time again told their Publishers (Sheep) how to think. Brooklyn takes infinite pleasure in telling Witnesses how they “should” lead their lives. In the delicate social minefield that is Dub Life™, “should” actually means “MUST”. To a Witness, this is a perfectly normal state of affairs. There are people above you in the hierarchy, and they know how you should be thinking, so that’s how you try to think. Unfortunately for those people high up in the hierarchy of Dub Life™, thoughts are not typically very easy to regulate.
This is why JWZone and PLN are still there.
Creating sites such as these requires enormous amounts of time, patience, and quite a bit of very unWitness-like cursing to do. They have a very acidic posting policy. Every post has a little button that lets you report it to the admin. While this is not in and of itself a bad thing, it’s noticeable there, because what happens is that all the good content gets watered down, and eventually you land up with a bunch of die-hard, Internet literate Dubs posting drivel like “Let’s Do Word Associations” and “Wow The Watchtower Study Was Good!”. It literally brings tears to my eyes to see such beautiful young minds brought to such depths of depravity by the actions of men who don’t have a clue what it is they are forbidding!
Go there and have a look for yourself. http://www.jwzone.org/forums/
Do you understand what I’m getting at here? It’s like a wasteland, a complete trammelling of disk space that could be used for something useful, like quality hentai! While I will not go into the ultimate implications of the Watchtower copyrighting their “life-saving”, “critical” publications, let’s have another look at the qualities of the people on the XJW sites.
How Others Are Treated
People will typically come to JWD with a question. They are welcomed with open arms. Nobody cares what Congregation they’re from, whether they are a baptized or unbaptized Publisher, or anything silly like that. Provided they have something to contribute, they’re in! Contrast this with JWZone, where one of the members on the site needs to vouch for you to get in! And then only if they can prove that you are who you say you are! This restrictive policy, while ensuring that only Dubs and soon-to-be-leaving-Dubs are present on the site, has also led to it’s ultimate stagnation.
By stagnation, I’m talking about horrendous “Word Association” threads where bored people waste bandwidth, money, and TIME! TIME that could be better spent maintaining pornography collections! Time that could be better spent picking one’s nose !
One of the ultimate ironies I have ever experienced, with the possible exception of those two guys who were checking huge jet fuel containers for leaks with a lighter, has to be the fact that the most hits per day JWZone ever received was when they were linked from JWD. You got it. If that hasn’t got you cracking up yet, here’s the zinger: They noticed. Surely they realize they’re outnumbered? ----smile—
Let me put it this way: If there were a Dub site with more members and more hits a day than JWD (the horror), and they linked to us (lots of humorous “accidental linking” jokes to be gotten from that ), would you as a poster on JWD not be stunned by the fact that the site got more hits from a Dub site than from it’s own posters?
Wouldn’t that tell you something about your site?
Instead of being deleted when you ask a “difficult” doctrinal question on JWD, many posters will answer. Some will say, OK, I don’t know about this, but, here are my feelings on the matter. Others will come back with a bit of research. Usually, an answer is to be found for most questions, or at least some good discussion will be had. It’s a lovely way of talking to people.
Naturally, there are trolls. Trolls come and go on JWD. You see, the one thing a troll cannot stand is freedom, because when you are the prisoner of your own mind, you cannot bear the thought that others might have more freedom to think than you do. This is the essential situation for most trolls. Upon seeing people who are talking, gesticulating, and generally getting along like a house on fire for the most part, they simply cannot justify this against their own internal view of a world where everyone who isn’t a Witness should be fighting with all the other non-Witnesses constantly. We’re not under God’s wing, so why are we doing so well? What’s up with that? Shouldn’t we be broiling in our own sinful juices?
Even the most ardent troll killers on JWD are willing to give someone a chance. Usually you can see a troll a mile away, but surprisingly enough, little or no intervention is needed from the moderators when they do pop up (like mushrooms in the dark!). They peter out and lose interest, and become a thing of the past. Give them a few doctrinal issues to chew on, and they usually go away, normally leaving a few ad hominems in their wake. Experienced posters will shrug these off with a smile, understanding the kind of people these insults are coming from. Those posters have been there, in the dark land called Dub, and they know. They know.
…so that’s it. That’s why XJW folk kick ass, and will continue to do so. They have a mixture of compassion and skepticism which is refreshing. I hope y’all continue posting the way you do, because I would be very sad if any of you ever left!