Spiritual paradise or proverbial straitjacket?

by UnshackleTheChains 15 Replies latest jw experiences

  • UnshackleTheChains

    NoAs a current or past Jehovah's Witness, do you / or did you feel part of a spiritual paradise with full liberty in Christ as the Watchtower society/organisation describes?

    or do you / did you feel you were wearing a proverbial straitjacket in the sense you feel / felt restricted and controlled by the Watchtower society / organisation?

  • smiddy

    I was a convert at 19/20 years old. So I would fit in your former group I guess .Being ignorant of what the Bible actually contained relished the" Paradise Lost" book simplistic as it was it gave me a foundation for accepting their beliefs ,then "Equipped For Every Good Work" that was a commentary on each book of the Bible convinced me they had the "truth" along with the green book "Your Will Be Done On Earth" dealing with Daniels prophecy which at the time did seem to fit in what was taking place in world affairs at that time.

    The King of the North the USSR and the King of the South the Anglo American world Power..

    Remember this was in the 1960`s when nations were exploding Nuclear bombs in the atomosphere ,both Atom and Hydrogen. such as the USA ,USSR ,UK ,and France in those early years .

    Russia today is not to be confused with the USSR (United Socialist Soviet Republic ) as it was back then.

    For young people who dont understand that I recommend watching the satirical movie Dr Strangelove its a classic yet identifies us oldies who lived through that era.

    We now have far more nations that have Nuclear capabilities such as India ,Pakistan ,China ,possibly Israel .

    Others that are working towards nuclear capabilities are North Korea ,Iran ,and these are a worry.

    How many more are working towards it ? who knows but its a worry and its not going away.

  • UnshackleTheChains


    I like yourself was a convert as a young man. Back then, I 100% believed it to be a spiritual paradise. Then the nagging doubts set in, I personally gradually found myself feeling very restricted in what could say or do. Eg, not allowing my own conscience to make decisions such as choosing to celebrate my child's birthday.

    My spiritual paradise was lost many years ago.

  • Diogenesister
    Smiddy Russia today is not to be confused with the USSR (United Socialist Soviet Republic ) as it was back then.
    For young people who dont understand that I recommend watching the satirical movie Dr Strangelove its a classic yet identifies us oldies who lived through that era.

    Couldn't agree more Smiddy, although not around in the sixties it carried over to the seventies and early 80s and that era had a profound effect on those of us joining the WT. Even ordinary folk felt a real sense of fear and Armaggeddon in the form of a nuclear winter seemed a very real prospect.

    As young people even without the Watchtower many didn't envisage reaching old age within our present society.

  • Rainbow_Troll

    I felt anything but free. What could a JW concieivably be free from except independent thought?

    I never had any spiritual experiences in the context of being a JW. The last thing the elders and GB want is for any JW to experience "Christ within" or "the kingdom of God" because this undermines their authority. Someone who feels that they have a personal relationship with God doesn't need a GB, pope, or priest to lead them around by the nose.

    When I was being interrogated by the elders I mentioned that I sometimes felt the presence of God when I prayed and that I could not accept that a being of such pure and infinite love as I experienced God to be could possibly send plagues upon the Egyptians or order the genocide of the Cannanites. His reply is very telling of the whole JW mindset:

    "Why you? Why would Jehovah choose to reveal himself to you of all people? What makes you think you are so special?"

    I tried to explain to him that there was nothing special about me. That the only difference between us was that I was open to knowing God directly, while he relied upon a book and an organization. He then concluded that the only thing I was experiencing was demonic possession and the conversation ended there.

    Fortunately I was already pretty well-read by then. Experiencing a warm, loving presence during prayer is a fairly common experience that cuts across denominational barriers. Madam Guyon, George Fox, and Saint Augustine all felt it even though their beliefs were very different.

  • Diogenesister

    Rainbow_Troll That's truly horrific, thank goodness you were mature enough and educated enough not to take his vile insults seriously....imagine him saying that rubbish to a teenager with no knowledge except WT indoctrination and low self esteem ( which is endemic in jw's). Then imagine that believing him or herself possessed. I won't draw a picture of the likely consequences.

    I'm sorry this happened to You.

    Unshacklethechains To answer I believed in the spiritual paradise as a child and young person but as an adult I found it oppressive.I don't know whether I had childish blinders on at first but I think the control has tightened. Things like family shunning was not expected and strictures on appearance have tightened, in my opinion.

    As I matured I was much too individualistic to cope with the rules and regs, which I often pushed to the limit.

    I think I was in love with the "idea" of this spiritual ideal....no war, brotherly love etc but found the reality of it wasn't for me. Or rarther the WT reality of it.

  • stillin

    I had to learn to rationalize my thoughts about the spiritual paradise. I figured that it wasn't all-inclusive, as in, just because somebody was a Witness didn't mean that they were a part of the paradise. No, it was a sublime thing. AMONG the Witnesses could be found ones who actually knew Jehovah and who put serious effort into being good people.

    Then I realized that those people are everywhere.

  • waton

    My early years in wt, the 1950s were not filled with a seeking or living in a spiritual paradise but living out a war-like campaign against the anti-life forces at work on this planet, as a special pioneer not even "planting and watering" but plowing a then hostile field.

    The shock came when the controlling nature of wt became apparent in the new congregations emerging out of the work we did. Not that it was difficult to fall in line after having experienced Nazi and Commi herding.

    There is among some of the lowest ranking naive JWs the glow of the ideal Christianity, but wt methods totally squelch that. There is no spiritual paradise in wt land, it is a bunch of stunted clones producing the seedless fruit of more wt herders and salesmen / women.

    Bible writer had some insight when they encouraged the approved sheep to look after the "least of my brothers" and not the brass.

  • Half banana
    Half banana

    JWs are indoctrinated to believe they are experiencing a "spiritual paradise" but how many really and truly feel or felt that to be true? So your question is a good one Unshacklethechains.

    Diogenesister you mention one of my very favourite films Dr Strangelove, it is a glorious satire with great cinematic crafting. Yes the USSR sat like a black cloud over western culture for forty years after WW2.

    Waton: "bunch of stunted clones"! They've not changed have they?

    It's like a club for which you pay a terrible price for membership. We all had to jump about in straitjackets with a bunch of other mentally stunted clones, smiling and all believing this is what God wanted you to do.

  • waton

    bunch of stunted clones" half banana:

    When I think of paradise Eden, a garden, I think of gorgeous variety,

    Trees to grasses. Flowers; -- spiritually, Wt land is like a single crop GMF field stretching to the horizon.

    case in point. listen to the conversations after the meeting. Indoctrination over, all subjects are broached,-- except spiritual ones.

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