Another day, another run-in

by john.prestor 6 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • john.prestor

    So a couple days ago I ran into a colleague of mine coming back from the mall, let's call her Lianne for the story. We started talking about our research and when Lianne asked about what I'm working on these days I told her about a paper I'm drafting where I argue the culture of Jehovah's Witnesses is collectively narcissistic, which just means they (typically, most often) think they're special and that their faith is better than others, and I cite a lot of evidence to that effect, things Witnesses said to me in conversation, videos I watched on YouTube of antiwitnessing, study articles and book chapters, things I heard COs say ("This is the greatest organization in the universe") so a lot of data from a lot of different places that really drives the point home and shows I didn't just invent this after some cranky old man went on a rant one day in when they commented in the Watchtower Study or something. Lianne seemed interested, I kept it brief, but I noticed this older woman across the aisle staring at me, not glaring, just sorta staring at me blankly or almost in surprise, and Lianne and I moved on to another topic for a couple more minutes and then went back to reading our books, we each had one on us and put it down to chitchat for a few minutes, it was nice running into someone I knew, I got the same vibe from her.

    After I read a few pages the older woman got my attention politely and said something like, I wanted to tell you that I'm one of Jehovah's Witnesses (I wondered that when she started staring at me) and I don't agree with what you said, and I'm wondering where you got your information. I turned and looked at her and I said directly in more or less these words, I went to services for years and I heard Witnesses say those kind of things. She asked me, Every day? meaning, did I attend services every week, I said No I didn't attend them every week, what does that have to do with anything, I went to 50, 60, 70 services. Then I went on the offensive and asked her, Don't you think you're in the one true religion, you know, you've got the sacred secrets others don't? She said, Well that's a scripture, meaning the term sacred secrets term comes from the Bible (it does, yes...), so I pressed her, Yeah, but don't you think that? She waffled and said Well they're not secrets, they're available to anyone

    Just as an aside: then what do you Witnesses call them secrets for, lady? Doublethink at its finest, maybe she doesn't use the term but she recognized it obviously so she knew what I meant. But secrets aren't secrets suddenly so she could try to win the conversation, just... Jesus Christ.

    So I responded to that, Yeah, but don't you think you have them and we don't, Witnesses attack other groups at services, she denied it, I said Come on, Christendom, worldly people, we're all gonna die at Armageddon? She scoffed and said she didn't think that and I said I wish people could just own them, I see myself as special for different reasons (most of us do, let's be honest, it's not a bad thing as long as we don't take it too far and condescend to others or treat them like garbage) and I'll admit that, you see yourself as special but you won't own it.

    The conversation went on a bit longer but I'll cut it short because I've made my point and it just went back and forth, she started ad hominem attacks soon after that, was I "exposed" to the faith as a kid and came out "jaded," was I an "opposer," that kinda thing, and I just denied it outright and turned back in my seat so I was facing forward and got off the bus after a few more stops and told her a little too earnestly on purpose, Peace out.

    These people drive me nuts sometimes. i know it isn't all of them but look, we all know most Witnesses see themselves as special, they sell you on that in the Bible Teach book, we know "the truth" and they don't, I mean Christ the very title of the Bible Teach book is comparative,What Does the Bible Really Teach? in other words, Others don't know what the Bible teaches, we do, we'll teach you (and yeah, a lot of groups believe that too, it's not just Witnesses, but many other groups don't seem to... get off on it like many Witnesses do that I've run into or got to known). The French sociologist Bourdieu says that every hierarchy of readings assumes a hierarchy of readers. Exactly. Exactly.

    So if she just said to me when I asked, Yeah, I do see myself as special, and I believe Jesus will kill everyone else on this bus at Armageddon I would have been appalled but I would have stuck out my hand and shaken hers and said, Thank you for being honest, thank you for owning you, most people won't do that, I disagree with you and I find your views disturbing, particularly the last part, but at least you stand on it, at least you're honest with me and with yourself and the other people on this bus.

    Some bold witness she gave. Why hide "the truth" about your faith? Hell, she could even just say Yeah, some of us feel that way but I don't. But she didn't. These people never fail to amaze me.

  • steve2

    Two thoughts occur to me as I read your absorbing OP John:

    1. Were you and the acquaintance talking louder than usual for someone across the aisle (the older woman) being able to hear your private conversation?

    2. The older woman who eavesdropped (the one you noticed staring at you) was eavesdropping - so I'm wondering why you didn't take her to task over that when she approached you? She really had no right to question you because your private conversation was not meant for her.

  • Giordano

    I have found this quote to be true and accurate re the belief aspect of the JW's:

    All active mass movements strive, therefore, to interpose a fact-proof screen between the faithful and the realities of the world. claiming that the ultimate and absolute truth is already embodied in their doctrine and that there is no truth nor certitude outside it. ...To rely on the evidence of senses and of reason is heresy and treason. It is startling to realize how much unbelief is necessary to make belief possible.

    Eric Hoffer, Author of The True Believer

  • john.prestor

    Hey steve2, thanks for the compliment man. To be fair the bus is pretty small, I mean I just turned around in my seat to talk to Lianne who sat just behind me (I didn't know that when I got on, worked out nicely) and the woman sat just across the aisle so she might have overheard without trying to, although we tune people out on a daily basis, particularly on the bus. But you're right, it wasn't her conversation and she didn't have any reason to get involved, I didn't think of it like that. They don't really see boundaries, do they? Some of them approach mourners in graveyards, I met Witnesses at one congregation who intentionally approached people pumping gas at a gas station (so they couldn't get away...), or write letters to family members listed in an obituary, that kind of thing happens often enough that it shows a pattern of thought, a pattern of disregard.

    Giordano, that quote is relevant. That's Jehovah's Witnesses, that's how they see themselves, that's how they see their doctrine, that's why they call it 'the truth,' and we all know what happens in most circumstances when you question that doctrine.

  • jp1692

    Interesting experience. Yeah, JWs are notoriously dishonest about a lot of things when it comes to their beliefs and policies. You should know that most JWs lie to themselves about these things too -- the cognitive dissonance is too great to deal head on with all of the contradictions and inconsistencies of WT "theology."

    Thanks for sharing.

    Just an aside, it would have been a whole lot easier to follow your writing if you'd mentioned you were on a bus in the beginning of the story and not keep us guessing where this all occurred until the fifth paragraph.


  • john.prestor

    Oh Jesus, I just looked back and yep, I didn't say I was on a bus until the end. Thanks for the heads up.

  • LV101

    I've experienced 'some' JWs being very untruthful (bad employees) about many things other than their cult beliefs.

Share this