Jehovah's Witnesses: shame and domination

by john.prestor 32 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • john.prestor

    I want to suggest something that I've been ruminating on for a while now. That involves the possibility that when Jehovah's Witnesses look for "sheep-like ones" what they're actually looking for is this: those who will allow themselves to be dominated (get rid of things that God "hates," accept the movement's beliefs without protest, not check into the movement's history) and those who are willing to be shamed (letting Jehovah's Witnesses into their homes when doing so is looked down upon in secular society, talking with them on the street when everyone else avoids them).

    I say this because from what I observed at the Kingdom Halls I attended in the course of gathering data for my research I saw:

    -Frequent shaming: Jehovah's Witnesses must do more to be acceptable to God, they are "good for nothing slaves," they are spared through Armageddon by Jehovah's "undeserved kindness," etc. They are constantly praying publicly for their sins to be forgiven or for "when they fall short." Women endure sexist remarks and jokes. It is also shameful to go door-to-door or man a cart in the sense that a Jehovah's Witness endures at least ambient shame in doing so (everyone knows who they are when they see them coming down the street, give them funny looks, and/or close their curtains and hides) and sometimes outright rudeness or hostility (slamming the door in their face, telling them to "keep walking"). I heard of or observed all of these things in my time studying Jehovah's Witnesses.

    -Frequent assertions of dominance and reminders of their inferior status: Jehovah's Witnesses must obey the Governing Body to gain salvation, must obey even if it doesn't make sense, Jehovah's Witnesses are inferior to the anointed, etc. They even sing utterly authoritarian songs like "Loyally Submitting to Theocratic Order" (!) which quite frankly creeped me out.

    So, that's my thoughts: that part of what Jehovah's Witnesses are "testing for" when they contact you is your willingness to endure shame and your willingness to submit to their leadership. I want to hear your thoughts on this.

  • nmthinker

    I agree the life of a J-Dub is full of shame. You can never do enough or be pure enough.

    People who ask tough questions or have some self-esteem get filtered out right away.

  • sir82


    They say they are looking for "meek" people.

    Meek, in WT-world, equals "willing and able to cheerfully endure humiliation, shame, and degradation."

  • Finkelstein

    Jehovah's Witnesses look for "sheep-like ones"

    Which is another way of saying gullible, naive, weak minded, pliable, easily persuaded and vulnerable .

    The bible uses sheep as an analogy because they are more controllable as a flock in comparison to goats who are not.

    The WTS wants people to be faithful followers of themselves , so people who are questionable or critical of the doctrines the WTS create are not deemed sheep like.

  • stan livedeath
    stan livedeath

    even being called " other sheep" is pretty humiliating.

  • LongHairGal


    You are right and this is at least part of the reason I left the JW religion. “Meek or sheeplike” is a mentally crippled moron who will tolerate anything, as far as I was concerned.

    When they talked about ‘putting on the new personality’, I took it to mean that a person should stop smoking, stop committing immorality, dress modestly, be politically neutral, etc.

    In time, I came to see it meant more than this. Their intrusiveness is out of bounds (especially with single women). I had to look out for myself and wasn’t married to anybody there. My business was my own.

    Their hatred of anybody who is a thinking person who will not let themselves be bullied is legendary. Even before the 1995 Generation change, I knew I could not continue there.

  • Vidiot

    "Sheep" always felt like an odd choice to me, considering a sheep's ultimate fate...

    ...sheared, butchered, and eaten.

  • blownaway

    Sheep are easily lead to the slaughter. Not very good characteristics for humans.

  • 2+2=5

    “Sheep-like one” = allowing the JW to control the conversation topic.

    If you start a conversation with them at the door or cult-cart, and you start asking questions that make them uncomfortable, that’s not sheep-like.

    The JW’s actually become “turtle-like ones”.

  • john.prestor

    I'm happy to hear I'm on the right track.

    2=2=5: That fits very much with one skit I saw at a Kingdom Hall in which a "student" asked their "study," "But I still have more questions," and the study told them, "Right, and we have four more paragraphs to help you with that." This taught the audience, or attempted to teach the audience, not to allow the "student" to gain any control over what they discussed or spoke to in the "Bible study." I've found that for myself: when I asked Jehovah's Witnesses questions they couldn't answer or attempted in any way to dominate the conversation (I invite them in when they knock at the door) they quickly excused themselves, claiming someone was waiting in the car so they could get coffee or lunch or something. From what I've read on this forum this is a common tactic.

    Finkelstein and sir82: I'm with you guys, that's what I'm coming to notice. But this line of thinking is not acceptable within academia (i.e., we're not supposed to deem religion to be a negative force except, perhaps, in sectarian conflicts or radicalism) so it's taken me a while to get here.

    Vidiot: God is that dark, ha, but honestly, given all the wasted lives over all the wasted years, it seems like a somewhat fair comparison...

    LongHairGal: The treatment of women in this faith is abominable. The paper I'm currently working on, and will hopefully publish in the next year or two, discusses in part the movement's treatment of women. I quote Samuel Herd on women's brains being "10% smaller than men's, and this shows she's just not equipped for headship" but rather "for subjection." Blatant misogyny. I'm glad you left.

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