When Did Higher Education Become Taboo?

by Wild_Thing 30 Replies latest jw friends

  • LongHairGal


    Thank you so much for your contributions to the forum and your explanation of what has happened and what IS currently happening in Eastern Europe.

    Yes, repressive societies always hate the educated because they are the hardest to fool and this is ultimately why the Witnesses are against college - meanwhile they hypocritically look for educated people for some spots in bethel.

    The moral of the story is: if your education can benefit the JW religion, that's okay...However, IF the education is to give you a better life, that's bad. You should starve to death instead.

    Any JW lurkers here:...just get your education and keep quiet about it. Then, get out of this ridiculous religion and live your life!

  • talesin

    My grandparents wanted my father to go to medical school (1940s). My grandfather had a degree, which was unusual back then (as Kaik said, few people obtained post-secondary education; high school was not the standard until post-WWII). My grandmother's family were IBS, then JWS, and had money. So, not converts, nor blue collar. I guess that was the exception. (dad rebelled because he wanted to be a truck driver OI!)

    The 1960s, as I see it, was a time of 'cracking down'. Changes in world politics, the Cold War, higher education becoming the norm, the Woodstock generation, were all factors (and many more, I'm sure) that played into the WTBTS needing to tighten its death-grip on the R&F. They ramped up the fear with the 1975 prediction, and trotted out the rule book.

    If I recall correctly, that's when they got really strict about smoking. And shunning.

    Edit: was just thinking of that generation, the 'brothers' I knew. Most of the elders owned their own businesses. One was an architect. Publishers were white or blue collar, some really poor, but lots were middle class. It was the Baby Boomers (my generation) that really got screwed. The 1975 generation. grrrr.

  • kaik

    Women in Europe did not get college education until middle of the 20th century. The college education was oriented toward men. In Austria-Hungary the ban on college education for women was lifted in 1892 and it was for a medical field only. Next fields that opened for women education was philosophy and pharmacology just when the Great War started. This changed with emancipation of women after 1945 and especially in the 1960's. This was first decade when college education became a norm in workplace in Eastern Block. I am not sure exactly when the speaking against college education started, but my cousin had a chance to study engineering field in mid 1970's and elders talked to him from it. I remember my dad felt that he was making a bad decision. So they had to speak out against around the time. I remember these talks from the 1980's onward.

  • kaik

    My grandparents wanted my father to go to medical school (1940s). My grandfather had a degree, which was unusual back then

    Very true. My grandfather came from lawyer family who held various position in the county offices, so they had money to sent their sons to university. My grandfather had college education prior the Great Depression, but got PhD after the war. Otherwise there were no college loans and grants; education was cash only. Women had high literacy rate in Austria-Hungary but a few attended school after their 16th birthday. My grandmother went to all girl boarding school and lyceum in the 1920's and she was among a few women to had chance to do so in her time and place. People do not realize that how lucky they are now, when they attend college.

    WT had not considered college education threat until much later times. There was just handful of educated people to cause a problem to WT ideology. Today education is much more widespread, but also the length of the education increases. Master's degree takes two years after four year degree. PhD and postdoctoral degrees can take even 5 years after Master's. Obviously WT does not want people to get degree when they should be spending time preaching instead doing dissertation research.

  • talesin

    Very similar in Canada, with our first woman physician refused entry at the Toronto School of Medicine, so she trained in the USA, then immediately came back to Canada to set up a practice. That was 1867 (Confederation, too), and in 1870, she and Jenny Trout were admitted to Toronto School. It took the College of Physicians & Surgeons 10 years to admit them into the 'old boys' club', though and in 1880 she was granted a license to practice. And post-war, the women who worked men's jobs were not prepared to go back in the kitchen (many of them), and voila, higher education became a goal for many.

    I was offered a scholarship to a prestigious French university for my final year of high school, as an exchange student. I would have been 16, and my parents vetoed it. Even now, I can't understand how they believed such nonsense, and would deprive their child of such an opportunity. Stay Alive Till '75! was the call ... ridiculous!

  • kaik

    Austria-Hungary lifted the ban on university education for women for medical field first and they were restricted to nursing, pediatrics, dermatology area and others. Woman could not be a surgeon until 1918 after Austria-Hungary disintegrated. First science field where women could defend their thesis was actually a field of chemistry and lab was a first place for them to be employed in otherwise all men club. It is hard to believe that 100 years ago, women could not study and use their talent, intelligence, and desire in any educated field. Big thanks to all these long gone ladies who made it possible.

    I am very upset that my sister listened advice and never pursued college education. She knows pays with difficult labor market and unstable income. My niece is/was studying business school, and my stupid JW cousin, telling her to quit and spent a time to preach. When I was in Prague last summer, I told her that she needs to finish her school as foremost goal, and worry about everything else later.

  • Half banana
    Half banana

    Absolutely right Kaik...since when was ignorance an advantage? (only in religious cults!)

    How interesting that the social changes of the late 19th century USA involved both the growth of religious observance and simultaneously the import from Europe; evolution, and the notion of textual criticism of the Bible which was opposed to the historical assumptions for unthinking “faith”.

    Russell’s suspicion of “higher criticism” was understandable, as an uneducated man himself with a large financial interest in the Faith business anything which smacked of serious evaluation of man’s real origins or looking too closely at where the Bible came from was taboo. That same attitude has been an inherited meme which remains with the truth-denying, obscurantist GB today.

    They have everything to lose if people turned to education instead of listening to their paranoid propaganda.


    When did higher education become taboo?

    When the WTS realized that educated people didn't fall for their lies

  • MarkofCane

    Education is Kryptonite to religion.

    It shines a critical spotlight on there silliness.


  • Finkelstein

    To strategically control and subdue people toward your own means you have to control their knowledge, that's why religions and descriptive cults disregard certain higher education levels , essentially they are deemed as potential threats to their structured power and control.

    This admonishment of higher education particularly in countries that are need of people to help the communities of where they live is a real detriment and shows an apathetic self serving attitude by the WTS..

    What WTS. leaders want to see is for young people coming to their training centers and become special pioneers and sent out to distant lands so that their organization can expand..

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