The really cool feeling of community within JWs
Thanks for the insights and sharing. Reading some of the comments here have given me some much-needed perspective. I can appreciate the range of experiences many of us have; as well as the gradients and context that make our stories what they are.
I attribute much of my naive thinking to being raised-in, with a close bunch of friends before I came of age, and a couple of mentors who took me under their wing when my parents separated. We had lots of fun times: picnics, square dancing, a formal, skating, and even talent shows before they clamped down on socializing outside of the KH. I've also been part of very small congregations who are family-like in taking care of one another.
My need greater parents currently reside in a close-knit congregation, but at the heart of it all, even they were ready to disown me if I signed a letter with my intent of disassociation. So I didn't. I said to my elder father: "Dad, I'm not going to sign anything." He didn't know how to handle that moment, as it was not in his playbook. It's been left like that since, and we are simply all estranged.
After I entered my 20s, I started experiencing the undercurrents of cognitive dissonance. It wasn't until I got online in the mid-90s that I followed my intuition into forbidden territory, and the rest is history. And yes, I know at the core of it all, if you are not speaking the language, you are no longer part of the community. It's all too easy to be judged and cast out for daring to be yourself and express what's really in your heart. You can't. It all has consequences.
The longing to belong... a deep human need. I know all too well.
On a lighter note, will y'all please stop scrapping in my thread. ;)
Phee - The feeling of closeness, camaraderie, friendship with like minded people you could trust.
Until you tell them you don't believe something their holinesses the governing body(tm) proclaim.........then watch the knives come out.
Oddly enough, I found the feeling of closeness, camaraderie, friendship with like minded people you could trust at a Baptist church and also at a Pentecostal church. I'm not advocating going to church. What I'm trying to say is that this feeling isn't unique to the JW cult.
I too used to love the getting together after the meetings. As a teenager I lived for it. I was not allowed to attend school as I was home schooled and had little association with anyone except my parents and sister so those times after the meeting were live a life line to me.
My parents were on the fringes of the "truth" and were avoided by most of the JW's and most of the world. I was extremely lonely as a child and a huge amount of the JW's kept their kids away from me also because of how strange my parents were.
So going out after the meetings and being with people was everything to me. So I will never forget the huge pain I felt when this sister who was in her mid 30's came to me as a 17 year old and told me to NEVER come to the restaurant again after the meetings because no one wanted my parents around and they would not let me come without them.
I went home that day and tried to commit suicide. I had no one in the world, my parents hated me, I had no contact with those outside the religion and to be told that those inside did not want me around them was the beyond painful. I felt so alone in the world.
Even now writing this as a 52 year old women, I just do not get how cruel and hateful that sister was. No one was there for me in the "truth" coming from a family that they clearly knew had problems. I had no mentors, no help, no nothing and to be told that I could not even come to a public restaurant because of my parents was unbelievably hurtful.
Yet I hung on to the religion as it was the only thing I knew and I bought into that it was the "truth" as I did know that my parents were crazy, now I realize that was what attracted my parents to the JW's the crassness of the religion.
Funny thing is I still look back at those time before I was forbidden to go with fondness.
I never felt any sense of belonging, i felt left out, prejudiced against ,patronized, and ignored. i jumped through hoops making efforts for my kids to have any little bit of association with the many others their age who had elders as fathers, to no avail. I just wasnt good enough. lol
I left nothing of value behind and not a single friend, that's for sure.
Norway, the happiest place on earth, supposedly. a sense of community. id like to experience that.
@Life is too short.
Feeling your pain - I can only imagine your agony as a youngster.
You did research!! I am sooo proud of you. And did you know that Norway is one of the least religious nations?
If you scroll back a few pages I posted similar data. I'm very proud!
Re scrapping on your thread. Frank Ward started it.
The supposed love of community orchestrated at Kingdom Halls.is pretentious and thinly veiled and solely enclosed within the organization itself..
There are other Christian based faiths that have real extenuated love of community to where they are located.
When you are a JWS you are intentionally controlled and indoctrinated to love the Watchtower Corporation and be lovingly subservient to it, more than anything else
Unfortunately this doesn't become apparent until one leaves and looks at things with a analytical viewpoint.
The WTS sales representatives should always smile and show agape love for their fellow brothers and sisters.
All those outside of the organization should be viewed only as possible candidates for studying or otherwise kept at subjective distance.
are you being patronizing to the Queen of Clean DJS? lol
off with his head!
sowhatnow-I agree with you. I felt the same way. An example: when we were in a certain congregation a 'sister' had a kids party. She invited every child except mine. I was really hurt. My son was disliked by her because he was much better behaved than her son, who tended to bite and hit people. Others would comment on how nice my son was and she was jealous. I will never forget that bitch. Because I wasn't a pioneer, I wasn't invited to people's homes or to their events, yet whenever the elders needed someone to host the speaker who did they come to? Me as I was known for my hospitality...never was reciprocated though. Felt very, very lonely and left out.
Too much icky, oversharing, emotional all-up-in-your business type friendships.
It's absolutely suffocating.
There are times that I want to be alone.