How Could We Have Been So Heartless?

by BluesBrother 30 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • BluesBrother

    I am addressing here those who, like me, spent decades in the Organisation that we called “The Truth”. Perhaps like me you were brought up in it from an early age

    Looking back now I wonder that I could have been so heartless as to believe that the mass slaughter of billions of people was “good news”.

    I am not getting at the WTS so much here, we have done that often enough, but rather the individual attitude that we all had towards our fellow men.

    There was no doubt that the provision of our Paradise came at the cost of the lives of the unbelievers... our classmates and people we saw every day....and you know what? We didn’t care a bit! O K , I would do an hour or so in field service at weekends , to show I had sounded a warning,but we never told them the plain message and I never expected anyone to listen.

    We used to love those blood curdling scriptures like:

    Zechariah 14:12..

    “There will be a rotting away of ones’s very eyes will rot away in their sockets and one’s very tongue will rot away in one’s mouth.”

    Ezekiel 39: 17-20.

    “Say to the birds....and the will eat flesh and drink blood satisfaction.

    As for the clergy of Christendom ?nothing could be too bad as an outcome for them.

    We were not horrible psychopaths, quite normal people believe it or not. So how could we accept it?

    I can only think the answer has something to do with the psychology experiment by Stanley Milgram. The one where he fooled people into believing they were giving painful,even torturous electric shocks to others . Why did they go along with it? Because they were told it was “alright “ that the authorities had agreed it they did it ......repeatedly.

    What higher authority could we trust than God Almighty? If he said it was right (as we believed) then it must be right, mustn’t it?

    At least that is my theory.

  • Pete Zahut
    Pete Zahut

    I don't think it was a matter of being heartless. We were taught that the destruction of the wicked was a done deal as far as Jehovah was concerned and the only way out of it was to be one of Jehovah's Witnesses. It was more a matter of saving our own souls. Those scriptures reaffirmed our fears and gave us hope that if we played our cards right, would be spared and we could help spare as many people as possible if only we were diligent enough.

    What didn't make sense is the idea that Jehovah was going to kill everyone who was not a JW and if we didn't warn them thoroughly enough by using every possible available moment of our time to do so, we too would be killed. We were taught that he hated "token witnesses" and anyone who was "lukewarm". We learned that he was going to kill the wicked and he was also going to kill people who weren't necessarily wicked but who didn't spend their free time wisely going from door to door as much as they could have or joyfully enough, attending meetings regularly enough, studying and underlining th literature enough and participating in the meetings enough. We knew that we could do everything right but fail at the end by giving in when tortured. We knew that if we made it into the new system, we didn't deserve it but were there because of Jehovah's undeserved kindness and that in a thousand years, we'd be tested all over again.

    A lot of JW's said they "love Jehovah" but I just never could...I feaerd him and didn't understand him but I never loved him and I felt guilty for this and feared for my life since childhood.

  • truth_b_known

    Right and wrong. Good and evil. These labels reflect social collective thought. Group subjective ideology. When the only people you surround yourself with are those who share the same group subjective ideology chances are you will go along with the herd.

    The Euthyphro Dilemma asks: do the gods love good action because it is good, or is good action good because it is loved by the gods?

    In the case of Jehovah's Witnesses it is no surprise that the later holds true for them. Anything Jehovah says, does, or wants is good because he loves it. Therefore right and wrong/good and evil do not apply to the thinking process of Jehovah's Witnesses. The only thing that matters is obeying Jehovah.

    Case in point: Commandment VI of X - Thou Shalt Not Kill

    It seems pretty simple. Don't kill. That is until later when Jehovah order seven separate nations to be destroyed.

    When you ask one of Jehovah's Witnesses why they don't support military service in light of the fact that the nation of Israel had soldiers that fought many wars you get a response like: "That was righteous warfare. That was divine warfare. Jehovah commanded it."

    So, in reality, Thou Shalt Not Kill is not a matter of morality. It is a matter of killing is fine when Jehovah orders it, but outside of that, don't do it.

    Well, which is it? Is killing right or wrong? Is killing good or evil? It seems neither. If it is wrong or evil there would be no circumstances that it would be alright.

    How about rape? Jehovah's Mosaic Law has a definitive answer to that; it depends. Was the woman a virgin or was she married? According to Deuteronomy 22:28-29 a man who rapes a virgin just has to pay the woman's father 50 pieces of silver and marry the woman. He can never divorce her. If the woman is married then you just kill the both of them.

    To some up being a Jehovah's Witness: Do whatever the Watchtower tells you Jehovah wants. It beats everlasting death and you can live forever on Earth if you do. Right or wrong. Obey or die.

  • dubstepped

    The dehumanizing and othering of worldly people made it easy to stand at their doors and talk about how we'd like to live in their house after Armageddon. Once you dehumanize and detach from others it's easy to no longer be able to take the perspective of another. The JW community is full of people that lack empathy. We were deadened to our own feelings, often self flagellating, and the same was projected outward.

    The organization is narcissistic. Most either adopt those traits or end up codependent and serving the organization to find an identity. Either way we were consumed with ourselves as JWs or concerned with getting approval from other JWs and the big J himself.

    So we didn't often have much chance to have a heart. We were made callous to feelings other than things like fear, for the most part. We were isolated from others and our true selves.

  • slimboyfat

    I used think Jehovah would make the final decision and maybe a lot more would make it.

    But worse than Armageddon, I think, we used to believe that DFed people deserved it, and should be shunned. Because that wasn’t future, or theoretical, it was everyday practice. I can only think that I didn’t think about it very much—because I didn’t have family or close friends DFed—so I tended to avoid thinking about the implications of it. To the extent that I did think about it I was never comfortable with the idea. I imagine many JWs aren’t happy with it but go along because it’s a package deal. JW ideology is not amenable to pick and choose because you are convinced that to disagree with the organisation is to disagree with Jehovah himself.

  • Fadeaway1962

    Because we are or were in a abusive religion that we were manipulated to believe had our best interest at heart ( everlasting future etc) with constant control meeting , assembly's , shepherding etc ,we almost stopped thinking for ourselves and manipulated to share it with others that JWs were chosen by god to share the good news and then could not fully understand why people could not see it also , so they were not worthy of the benefits of the kingdom.

    It's like why do people stay in a abusive relationship ,why don't they just leave , even though they feel or know something isn't right because their abuser has manipulated and controlled them that they know what best for them and they have their best interest at heart.

  • kingpelican

    When one is raised in a cult or any radical belief system its difficult and a long term fix to get this crap out of your head.

  • St George of England
    St George of England

    "Give me the child until he is 7 and I will give you the man." - Aristotle.

    Brainwashed and indoctrinated from birth, no wonder I never saw through it all.


  • LongHairGal


    Yes, I remember the attitudes and mindset of the Witnesses. Some were more hardcore than others with their heartless attitude and tough love as some may call it (Agape love 🙄)...I can see their faces now.

    Yes, they felt they were engaged in a life and death work and had to get all those hours of service in! I do know that they were hoping for the end of this system even though it meant the death of just about everybody. I think they had an attitude of if they went into their inner room and covered their eyes- then so what? Some also said ‘well maybe Jehovah will see into somebody’s heart and not destroy them, etc..’

    But, the general heartless attitude (which was encouraged by the religion) also was directed towards people there who did not do all that they did..Some of these people did not have the circumstances to do all the hours others did..I was one of those people who refused attempts by busybodies to get me to quit a decent job and pursue poverty doing housecleaning. (I actually tried it once with another married sister who did it to make a few extra bucks on the side. Meanwhile, I was single and HAD to support myself.) Thankfully, I looked out for myself.

    Many of these hardliner Witnesses I knew are still in the religion. I wonder what they think of their religion now?

  • OpenEyedInUtah

    As a 3rd Gen I would have major issues with the JW idea that my non-believing Grandmother, cousins and friends at school would be destroyed. I don't think my parents understood how much I took in at the meetings, bought hook, line and sinker, and how much that teaching bothered me, but I was very close to my 1st Gen Grandmother and she would assure me that I did not have to worry because Jehovah knew their heart condition and only the truly wicked would be destroyed. I accepted it when she assured me of Jah's love.

    Teenage life: I just went along to get along, not really paying much attention and ducking out of service and meeting attendance as much as humanly possible. (I guess I was "Sick" a lot on "It Takes a Thief" and "Here Come The Brides" nights. I did not mind the book study as much cause it was more social and low key.

    As an adult, it really hit me how unloving their God "Jehovah" was and how God of the Old testament was all about punishment and death, while the New Testament was about love and the kingdom coming. And don't get me started on their "love among themselves" hypocrisy. It was after I had already distanced myself that I realized how screwed up their theology was.

    So pleased I have move past all that crap and just try to be nice and non-judgemental.

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