Session #8: "Bullet in the Head"
Saying it and doing it are two different things. Sometimes when people are actually faced with it, it's a different story.
We had an issue with the blood several years back. Our attitudes were quite different than what we thought IF it happened. When WE were actually personally affected, it was a whole new ballgame.
Mentalclarity puts a finger on an important point; it is a matter of enormous pride which a JW holds internally that they would die for their faith. Pride equates with valuing something and can have a positive feedback even if its actually delusional.
This is related to the fact that JW religion compensates for other things which people find missing in their life.
A witness might think "I have a crummy job and delinquent children but I have the promise of everlasting life if I remain loyal to the org". Religion is a private anchorage point in an unstable world for many people. By bringing to the surface the questionable nature of her beliefs it is likely you are threatening your wife's imagined ticket to paradise and she will perceive it as you trying to deprive her of that vital emotional anchorage.
By you stopping following the JW nonsense it will only make her ten times more determined, and I speak from experience as I think I may have mentioned in an earlier post.
Therefore If you value your wife, I would suggest you quit the criticism of her faith and look to see if you can see why she so desperately clings to the 'certainty' of JW beliefs. It may be something you can help her with, for example the inability to recognise that we all without exception die. Does she fear death? Perhaps it's related to not having some other things in life which she is missing out on such as self confidence, the lack of which leads to depending on the religious claims of others. Self confidence and self fulfillment are subtly if not overtly suppressed in JW thinking. By helping her develop her own identity and confidence in her own abilities she may feel less inclined to rely on the org.
I know its easy to say things and a lot harder to resolve deep seated emotional and psychological difficulties and differences-- but if there are genuine good intentions, a common goal or at least common ground to start with, progress must be achievable.
God shows no partiality. Jews claimed they are the chosen ones which history shows God did not endorse. God knew that many would choose their faith according to their likes and dislikes which means no reasoning would work with them. It means God has permitted people to have their own faith which means we too must permit others to have their own faith no matter how unreasonable it may seem.
"I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires"
- Susan B. Anthony
Your wife sounds like a very special person. You clearly love and respect her. She's a deep thinker, intelligent, loves and cares unselfishly. All these qualities and the family life you share add up to real blessings, real quality of life.
But, you've mentioned before that she lives with suicidal depression.
I also struggle with suicidal depression....and so much of that I trace to living twenty years of cognitive dissonance in the Watchtower pressure cooker.
Oh, I've got a history of trauma events...truly painful and not your usual 'life' experiences...and I accept that there is a knock on affect from that. However, I always outwardly presented well, my inner emotions were kept under guard, escaping now and then.
So, the organisation and my faith built structure into my life.....and I was a true believer, I seemed to thrive, my life was full on as a JW, for many years.
But, the tension of believing everything came from God via the Watchtower, whilst experiencing the reality that too many Watchtower scriptural interpretations were at best weak, at worst biased and convoluted...and somewhat dishonest....for a 'deep thinker' like myself, this was painful to the nth degree.
The depression comes and goes in waves for me, now I've been 'gone' for nearly 6 years.
Age is not on my side, being 60 and losing my life's investment in friends, faith and life structure.
Go carefully with her Brian - I'd suggest her declaration of 'taking a bullet' for her faith is more about 'taking a bullet' rather than lose everything that is her 'life' as she knows it.
Or at least tightly wrapped up between her 'life' and her 'faith'.
This isn't about her intelligence, her ability to think.....but the potential dread of the unknown outside of her 'safe' place as a JW. Terrifying for her likely. Terrifying.
I'd be inclined to understand her declarations as self protective screams against the Unknown. For her, protection and love from God, can only come through the organisation.
And whilst that is deeply comforting when one believes it to be 'true' - it is terrifying when cracks are shown......
Brave words but TBH I think most JWs who claim they would "take a bullet" have never actually come face to face with an actual bullet from an actual gun before otherwise they would know how devastatingly traumatizing it is and wouldn't be so free and easy with their hubristic declarations about "taking a bullet."
For my mother in law, whom I could see saying the same thing, I believe when faced with the situation it would be a different story. She says what she has been trained so long to say in comfortable conditions.It's an auto pilot response.
Place her in a real situation, and I highly doubt her answer would be the same.
Ask any JW, and they will swear up and down that they will "never" accept a blood transfusion.
Check out AJWRB. There are countless - hundreds - thousands - of cases where JWs have taken blood when assured that their privacy would be respected.
What JWs say and what they do in "crunch time" are often quite different.