Changing meanings of words: "Brother" and "Sister".

by Open mind 14 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Open mind
    Open mind

    Ever notice how most JWs use the titles "Brother" and "Sister"? In my experience,

    99% of the time it was not a term of endearment. It was actually a term of formality

    very much like "Mister", "Mrs.", "Miss" or "Ms.". (Of course good JWs wouldn't use Ms. but

    that's a topic for another thread.)

    For example, if an elder was about to swoop down on an unsuspecting sheep and give

    them a guilt trip of some sort, they would invariably start out with "Brother OM, do

    you have a minute?" The use of the term "Brother" would help the elder set a formal

    tone for the conversation to follow, very much like a traffic cop looking at my

    driver's license and calling me "Mister OM".

    Every now and then, the Org would make reference to the terms "Brother" and "Sister"

    as marketing tools to show us how special we were as JWs and that we were privileged

    to have 8 million brothers and sisters around the world. But in everday life, if I

    was going to ask a JW friend who I was fairly close to if they wanted to go grab a

    beer, never in a million years would I start that invitation with "Hey Brother

    Somewhat Laid-Back, wanna get a burger and a beer after the meeting?"

    What was your experience?


  • Alive!

    When I first started attending meetings, I found the use of brother so and so and sister so and so very much on the 'icky' spectrum. I never really liked it as a form of address, and avoided using it.

  • tiki

    I personally find sheeple very endearing.....Sheeple Pompass, thank you for your comment. Sheeple Crazybroad, would you like to add to that? Sheeple Cantshutup will now end the meeting with song number badmusic and prayer.

    Sigh.....pretty lame, huh...

    That goes with the territory...

  • OnTheWayOut

    Part of why I thrived for quite awhile as a JW was because the ones I was surrounded by were sincere and sounded like they were truly "brothers and sisters." They used the term because the cult said so, but I only used it from the platform. There were a few elderly ones I used it all the time with, out of respect.

    It was probably easier for me because I was a young adult male who converted to JW. I could get away with calling the elders Steve or John.

  • Diogenesister

    Very perceptive post, so true that the org use it as a marketing tool "How lucky we are.."etc, more like collegues..8 million co workers.

    And yes, wouldn't dream of calling a mate brother or sister. It can be useful if you don't know or can't remember someone's name & you are addressing them though "thank you for letting me use your bible sister...this way to the loo's brother.."

  • stillin

    My first reaction when I came to a KH was WTH? I had not realized that there were religions that actually still called each other brothers and sisters.

    I came to appreciate this as a measuring out of respect for each others' efforts to be followers if Christ. I kind of liked it. Now I see that it's just a habit.

  • dozy
    There was always the embarrassment when a non JW ( such as a bible study ) or an unbaptised child put their hand up to answer at the meeting & were referred to by their first name. It always felt like they weren't part of the club.
  • OrphanCrow
    Alive: When I first started attending meetings, I found the use of brother so and so and sister so and so very much on the 'icky' spectrum. I never really liked it as a form of address, and avoided using it.

    Calling people "brother" and "sister" is icky.

    It is done to create a false sense of "family" and "trust".

    Personally, I find it to be incestuous. It creeps me out when someone says "Oh..Brother so-and-so married Sister so-and-so."

    And people wonder why cults encourage incestuous relationships...yeah...go figure. Did you marry your "sister" or your "brother"? Would you?

  • Witness 007
    Witness 007
    Good point. There is no love in that term.
  • LoveUniHateExams

    When I first started going to meetings (literally in the first 6 months), I though the use of 'brother' and 'sister' sounded nice - one big happy family.

    However, after a few years it did grate on me, and start to sound lame.

    I remember watching Reeves and Mortimer on TV when I was still a JW. For some reason, totally randomly, Vic addressed Bob as 'Brother Bob'. I like their zany humour but it hit me then that what 'we', i.e. JWs, pride ourselves on, this calling one another brother & sister, could be used by two men for a laugh. From that point onwards, calling anyone other than actual siblings brother or sister sounded strange to me.

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