Are JWs "mind trained" to be habitual liars?
Nonjwspouse- sorry you are going through this. Sounds like a very stressful situation.
In answer to your question, yes I have noticed many witnesses are very adept at telling lies, half truths, and twisting data. Primarily though, I have seen it in defense of the org and it's nonsensical doctrines, not as much for personal gain.
Although, I also think because JW is not truly a faith based system, but rather a prescribed outwardly observable program that members follow, it lends itself to leading a double life and minor "fibbing" to keep up the facade. The goal is looking good to outsiders and other congregants, not improving oneself inside and developing good and authentic relationships.
I was a born-in JW, and this always bothered me. I noticed the incongruous behavior and had a hard time trusting JWs or feeling comfortable with them. My father was an adult convert with an outgoing personality and a strong distaste for deceit. My mother was an adult convert with quieter nature and a desire to keep the peace at all cost, to including fibbing for the sake of peace, the org, and other people's feelings. She does not lie to shield herself from consequences or for personal gain, always for the gain or reputation of someone else. She is intensely loyal to many people who do not reciprocate or have an agenda she is unaware of, which causes her to get into a pickle sometimes and then more lying or manipulating ensues to smooth it over. It's frustrating! And so much drama! Getting some distance from her and her associates has been a help to me gaining some peace.
As a side of unsolicited advice, have you considered separate finances with your husband? Doesn't have to be 50/50, but add up monthly expenses (including percent of debt pay off) and decide what percentage each of you will pay toward monthly household. The next step is key--pay the bills together. He needs the stop seeing you as the gatekeeper to the money, and start seeing the reality of what comes in and what goes out. If you each have remaining balances in your separate accounts, that belongs to each of you use without answering to the other. And keep the business finances completely separate from personal--no depositing business checks and withdrawing cash for personal use. All business income needs to be cycled back through the business and then pay yourselves a salary, hourly wage, or percentage of the profit (based on what the business can support and remain sustainable). So at the least, your household would have 4 separated financial systems : 1) the business, 2) yours 3) his 4) the household. At first it may seem like a shell game, but if you stick to it you can get the finances back on track. It can also help with honest communication because you are both dealing in hard data.
Probably you already know all this, and I do not intend to be condesceding, but these steps really helped a close family member who was in a similar predicament as you.
I wish you all the best and hope you can come to a decision that helps yourself and your daughter, and possibly the marriage if you deem it salvageable. Hugs..
@nonjwspouse Sweetie... I'm almost in tears reading your response to me. I have tremendous respect for you not viewing this man as disposable. If anything, I want to shout at my computer screen that your husband is so unworthy of your greatness : (. But I DO understand your emotional tug-of-war. In fact, if we replaced "getting a divorce" with "leaving the WT organization", I'd be reading a similar expression of heartfelt agony. When we started waking up to the horrifying realization that we were in an unhealthy, deceptive relationship (with this CULT), we all undoubtedly went through similar stages of grief. We were conditioned to hallucinate that a life OUTSIDE of WT would be FAR WORSE than if we remained a part of it. Some of us had family in the balance - children who'd just been baptized and would shun us for simply walking away from the WT's abuse. Families HAVE been torn apart because of our awakening. So, yes, I do sympathize deeply with your struggle and have nothing but admiration for your intense protection the gorgeous daughter who is in the middle of all of this. If we knew one another personally, I'd be bringing coffee over to your house right now so we can hug, cry, laugh and put back the broken pieces of your soul back together. Sending you so much love. If you feel comfortable disclosing what part of the world you are in, I can try map out if we're close enough so I can actually do something proactive for you.
nonjwspouse: Are JWs "mind trained" to be habitual liars?
A basic requirement of honesty is that an individual knows what the truth is to begin with. A cult does not foster individual introspection or the development of an authentic personality. The only personality/identity allowed is the cult identity.
So, therefore, what you basically have with a JW, or someone raised in a cult environment, is a shell. An empty shell. A cult person on the outside with nothing on the inside. Anything on the inside that doesn't fit that outside personality is suppressed and denied. To be a cult member, you have to lie - you have to lie about who you authentically are.
When a person has no truth inside to tell, they will lie. They have to. They wouldn't exist otherwise...their lie is the only thing they have.
To become authentic is painful. It hurts. So it is easier to take that personal pain and give it to other people. By lying. The lie eases the pain of either not having an authentic personality, or having to suppress the authentic person that you really are.
Nonjwspouse, I know you posted this a month ago, but while reading this it struck me that your husband's behavior sounds consistent with ADHD.
My son has it and I know my husband does, too, but he won't go to a doctor.
The problems with time management, financial skills, long-term planning, problems in school, etc., these are executive function problems. ADHD is a deficit in executive functioning. You can be highly intelligent and still have problems functioning, despite the best of intentions. I see this disorder in my classroom, too, and your description sounds very consistent with behaviors I've seen in the classroom and with my family.
Also, it's highly heritable. If your daughter is having trouble functioning in school, especially if she is intelligent, have her screened! Your famiky doctor can do it and provide a screening questionnaire to her teacher. Intelligent students who struggle because of this disorder can become very demotivated and eventually give up. It's terrible to watch a kid that needs medical help struggle in the classroom when the parents can't be convinced to have them screened.
Also, you don't have to have the hyperactive variant to have ADHD. Girls especially often just seem inattentive and disorganized. Hyperactive young boys may even seem to outgrow the hyperactivity, but the inattention is usually still disabling.
Consider having both of them screened. The money thing...that is my husband! We just agree that I'm in charge of finances because he refuses to sit down and go over them. He doesn't like it sometimes when I tell him he can't buy something or to stop spending money, but I just tell him that he chose to not sit down with me to do the finances so he forced me to be the responsible one. I really wish he would go get the diagnosis I know he has. He could be so much more...together, and his life would be easier.
My son got the diagnosis in elementary school, finally found the right medicine, and now in high school he is on Honor Roll! For awhile I was worried, but I'm feeling good about his future now.
Sorry for rambling. Just thought I'd give you my observation in case it could help.
How I see it at this time of my life is:
JW's live with dual thoughts.
For instance in a talk, they'll go on about how GOD LOVES HIS CREATION but at the same time, you'll hear that when it comes down to the Great Tribulation, probably you'll be saved... Probably you might make it but God apparently is only going to save people thru the Great Tribulation as a group and not as individuals.
So now you have two opposing ideas. God loves me but won't, maybe, possibly save me. There are many things like this presented to JW's in all the talks and literature.
So it teaches you to divide yourself. It teaches illogical reasoning. It teaches you to make excuses for God. (He loves us so much but he has an important reason as to why he won't rescue me) So why not make excuses for yourself? And the Watchtower makes excuses for itself too and forces the rest to accept them, just as they must excuse God.
They also hold up Rahab the harlot as a good example of saving God's spys. She lied and saved the spies and herself. JW's are taught to accept lying is good when done for God.
And people being people (at least some) once they lie and get away with it - whether for something small or big - they will continue because it gives them some advantage. And that could be to get out of trouble, avoiding to have to explain themselves or even as in the case of my younger sister, to feel superior by tricking others.
I'm rather shocked to find after reading this blog for years, that many fudged their time etc. Because my father would break his promises, I found lying to be hurtful and didn't want to hurt others in the same way. So I didn't lie about even small things. The lady witness at work, has told me some things that shocked me. Lol. She told me she had gotten a jury summons but didn't want to go (neither did I but went any way because you were supposed to obey the secular authorities) So she did what the "wordly" guy at work suggested. Pretend it got lost in the mail. So she gleefully told me she didn't go. She and her sister, wanted to decorate a party they were going to throw. So they went and cut branches off of trees from other peoples yards. I said that is stealing. She just ignored me and called it something like An Adventure in Procuring. So she lied to herself about her actions. Yet, she gets all righteous about the Truth. She persists in doing these things even while admitting she has that fear of doing that one wrong thing at the Great T. But she doesn't see the previous acts as having any negative effect on how God sees her.
So to me JW's, unless they have their own internal brake on lying, will do so expecting to get passed on it, and will fight tooth and nail denying it unless you have absolute proof/and or a witness to their lying. Just look at their leaders....
My brother used to say ;We are lying for the Truth. Lies for promoting the Truth is an acceptable way to lie. He reasoned that if the Nazis were looking for people to persecute, is it a sinful lie to protect them by lying?
Ya, that's what people are doing when asking legit questions about the WTS and the Jehovahs Witnesses. They're looking for Jew to gas...
Theocratic Warfare= being a bold faced liar
It's all about avoidance isn't it. I have a relative who habitually lies to avoid confrontation because she likes everything to be 'nice' and everyone to get on. You can see how this personality type is either drawn to this religion or stays in it as a born in.
The whole culture is avoid reality, avoid looking at the world as something that can be changed but as a waste of time that God needs to destroy. Just wait for panda paradise. Therefore a JW has the supreme avoidant personality. They're bound to lie to avoid trouble. Thanks for this thread, very interesting.
Just a quick reminder to the newbies, lurkers, and trolls...
...if you have to cheat to defend your belies, your beliefs don't deserve to be defended.