Jehovah's Witness / ex-JW Suicide Rate?
We don't have good data on the subject. But it's worth noting that a major reason we don't have good data is because the WT leadership has consistently prevented researchers from gathering this sort of information on members.
We know that the WT organisation gathers all sorts of information about the membership through circuit overseers in particular. I think it's reasonable to assume they have surveyed their membership at various times on various levels on mental health and suicide issues. If the results had shown the organisation in a favourable light they probably wouldn't prevent others from gathering the information.
I'm pleased that the "research" by "Havor Montague" (real name, Jerry Bergman) had not been cited.
I linked to a paper done by Bergman above and I would agree that he is lacking in academic gravitas.
I'm not sure if it's fair, to on one hand, criticize him for not conducting a scientifically rigorous comparative study, while on the other hand criticizing him for not being qualified to conduct a scientifically rigorous comparative study.
We don't hold it against Carl Olaf Jonsson that he was neither an archaeologist nor an astronomer, nor expert in ANE history, could not (AFAIK) actually read Akkadian, etc. The problem with many (most?) things JW related is that JW's are simply too insignificant to merit a study directly about them or questions pertaining to them.
Primary researchers would have to fund such a study themselves while the rest of us are reduced to assembling and collating research which may not be directly about the question at hand, but which would still have some bearing on the subject.
But what about remembering it was the religious leaders of the currently approved nation of Israel that said these things.....
or John 7:14,15
When the festival was half over, Jesus went up into the temple and began teaching. 15 And the Jews were astonished, saying: “How does this man have such a knowledge of the Scriptures when he has not studied at the schools?”
or 1 Cor. 1:26,27
For you see his calling of you, brothers, that there are not many wise in a fleshly way,+ not many powerful, not many of noble birth,+ 27 but God chose the foolish things of the world to put the wise men to shame; and God chose the weak things of the world to put the strong things to shame;+
slimboyfat - "We know that the WT organisation gathers all sorts of information about the membership through circuit overseers in particular. I think it's reasonable to assume they have surveyed their membership at various times on various levels on mental health and suicide issues. If the results had shown the organisation in a favourable light they probably wouldn't prevent others from gathering the information."
Ten bucks says that all the info they have on the membership - including those in leadership positions - is so damning and embarrassing, it refutes their claims of God's exclusive favor more than just about anything else.
Carl Olof Jonsson referred to the work of scholars in relevant disciplines and built his case on that. I don't think he claimed to produce new findings from his own research on the primary data.
Rolf Furuli on the other hand is proficient in Hebrew, Akkadian, Ugaritic and goodness knows what else. And yet other experts don't rate his work on chronology.
I really rate Bergman at all. It's best not to quote his studies on mental health because he doesn't have any credibility.
His other work suggests he might be at home in a Fox News studio.
Carl Olof Jonsson referred to the work of scholars in relevant disciplines and built his case on that.
Yes, indeed. Most of us have pointed this out at one point or another to people like our beloved Scholar. (Neil)
Is Bergman's reliance upon Rylander, Pescor & Janner, (Studies of conscientious objectors composed primarily of JWs) or Spencer & Montague (Admissions into mental hospitals) or Totland (Survey of court records) etc. a fundamentally different methodology? Does Bergman misquote those sources or otherwise indulge in statistical legerdemain?
I don't want to defend the indefensible here
I've got Bergman's book "Jehovah's Witnesses and the Problem of Mental Illness". It's pretty bad. Bergman doesn't just collate and present the work of experts as Jonsson did. He makes many assertions about JWs supposedly on the basis of his own clinical practice. He claimed to be a psychologist presenting his experience with patients, but his qualifications have been disputed. Plus he makes many assertions with no supporting evidence, such as referring to "the high murder rate" among JWs with no footnote or source. And he used aliases to publish and then quoted from his own work under a different name, among other shenanigans. Richard Singelenberg explained some of the problems in his review of Bergman's bibliography of JWs.
I remember one of my judicial committee elders tell me that those who were out of the 'Truth' were prone to committing suicide. I really hated him after that.
I've got Bergman's book "Jehovah's Witnesses and the Problem of Mental Illness". It's pretty bad.
Well that's unfortunate. --Not just for Bergman and his reputation, (Or perhaps more precisely, his lack of one...) but because it casts a pall over research that might actually have some bearing on the question