Jehovah's Witnesses - a religion of displaced people?
sfb: Most of the older JWs I know became JWs shortly after moving to a new country or to a new town some distance away.
My grandmother became a Bible Student in the late 20s shortly after moving to Canada from Norway. The 'sisters' who came out to the farm taught her how to read English and made her feel welcome in a new country. And they promised her that her baby that had just died would be brought back to life again. That was the promise that sealed the deal for her
OrphanCrow that's exactly the sort of experience I'm talking about.
When I first became a JW I always asked the older JWs "how did you come into the truth?" So I knew all of their stories. Thinking back, the vast majority of them who weren't born into JWs, converted shortly after moving to a new location.
I know it's commonly said that people join "cults" when they a vulnerable, after a bereavement or similar. That may be true, but for JWs in particular I think stories about joining JWs after moving somewhere new are so common it stands out on its own.
If it's not so much true any more that JW converts are people who recently moved location, I think that may largely be because there are simply so few converts to JWs any more. The vast majority of recruits to JWs these days are children of JWs, or family of JWs who have been exposed to JW teaching over a long period of time and finally decide to get involved for whatever reason. The few true outsiders who convert these days, not to put it too bluntly, tend to be mentally challenged or have severe social problems. Plus still a few refugees and migrants, which still conforms to the "displaced people" idea.
It's a fair description. That was certainly the case with my parents. They had moved from their very tight knit mining community in the north of England across country when my father got transferred with his work to start a new job. They felt very isolated and knew nobody. My mother had a 1 year old toddler and was alone with her all day. Then a few weeks after they moved, a JW pioneer knocked at the door.....
Nominal Christian refugees (using the refugee word loosely). Ripe pickings for the JW cult.
I think Biblical childhood indoctrination is the keyest of ingredients.
dropoffyourkeylee - "I think the religion appeals to people who are disenfranchised."
Very much so.
Know how I know?
'Cause even though I was born-in (not a convert), while growing up, I felt very disenfranchised, and the JW religion seemed (on the surface) able to explain why.
Little did I realize it was it was JW religion itself that was disenfranchising me.
Thanks for the replies. I thought this would be a much more common experience just because I heard so many stories like this.