Why is there such a 'high turnover' within the Jehovahs Witnesses?

by UnshackleTheChains 64 Replies latest jw experiences

  • shepherdless

    Gee, it looks like I may be getting dragged into an argument of some sorts. I prefer to not be involved.

    I will just respond to JP’s question. Sorry to be slow to respond.

    JP: In the interim, I've a couple of questions for you so I know what to share. Are you familiar with the concepts of:
    • Cognitive Dissonance?
    • Confirmation Bias?
    • Asch Conformity Experiment?
    • The work of Leon Festinger?
    Also, what do you mean by "street-wise"?

    Dealing with each in turn:

    1 and 4. I only became aware of Leon Festinger and cognitive dissonance around 3 years ago, via a Theremin Trees video. It was an eye-opener. I realised I used to observe cognitive dissonance long before, but never had a name for it. An extreme example: years ago I remember shopping with a girlfriend and selecting a shampoo brand. Girlfriend overruled me and picked another and said this one has a nicer advert. (Yes, there was a very nice and moving romantic advert running for that other brand at the time. It was a crap product.) I consider that an extreme example of emotion clashing with and overriding intellect.

    2. I think most people who have been reading sites such as these will be familiar with confirmation bias.

    3. I don’t know what the Asch conformity experiment is.

    What do I mean by street-wise? Some people are naturally (or brought up to be) suspicious or looking for motives for the behaviour of those that interact with them; particularly those that approach them. Street wise people sense and dislike being love bombed, for example.

    Actually, I think we are slightly at cross purposes. I was thinking more about someone walking away after early contact with the cult, where as (in retrospect) I think you are referring to someone inside, who eventually works out it is not the truth. Hence your reference to moral integrity, which I didn’t initially understand.

  • OnTheWayOut
    On p. 2, STARRY NIGHT said:
    I was led to believe that the Witnesses had some special knowledge about the Bible. I was into end-times prophecy. Of course, in time, I learned that they knew nothing that the other religions didn't know.

    Same for me. So much has been said, but the answer is the same whether someone figured it out or left to pursue a love affair or got hooked on drugs- they did not find what they needed abd started looking elsewhere.

  • LongHairGal


    Actually, it was me who said that. I was responding to Starry Night.

    But, I'm glad I finally left the JW religion and sorry I did not do so ten years sooner. I don't know what in the world I was hanging around for. I had to figure out what to do with myself while I planned my "fade".

  • Ruby456


    Ruby: An individual can be courageous even if they decide to live what you term bullshit.

    A key distinction which you seemed to have missed is not that I think it's bullshit, but that the individual thinks it's bullshit and still remains captive to the cult, pretending to believe things which they don't because they are afraid. How is that courageous? Where is the moral integrity in living a lie?

    Don't get me wrong. The fears are real. I know, I did it myself for six or seven years. But ultimately those fears are soul-crushing if we let them be.

    I understand as well as anyone here the consequences of leaving a cult, but it's illogical and contradictory to say someone is "courageous," if they remain in one because they are afraid.

    Courage is doing the right thing in spite of being afraid, not holding back because of fear and suffering in silence. jp

    I am aware of vicious chain of the three Ds - Dependency Dread and Debility but my contention is that people are courageous in continuing to function despite the three Ds - this imo attests their strength of personality and courage even if it leads to a breakdown. Their recovery also attests their courage.

    BTW if you have done lots of research then you will be familiar with Rod and LInda Dubrow-Marshall's work

    The most important piece of advice is to not criticise, condemn or judge, even if you have serious concerns. Instead, focus on why this person identifies with the group so much, and what they believe they are getting from it. And try to reinforce the message: “It’s great that you’re developing yourself and your skills so positively and that the group is making you so happy.”


  • UnshackleTheChains


    Though I find your views thought provoking. Each individual's situation is different. There are so many intracacies woven into each person's life that may be a factor as to why they remain. For example. There are many who have simply faded for decades. Why didn't they write a letter of resignation? Why? We all know the answer to that!

    Fear is the biggest factor as to why people don't leave the watchtower Bible and cult society ( to coin a phrase). Fear of being shunned by your own relatives. Also, what about the person's mental health. What if they have depression and are trying to avoid rocking the boat because they just know they cannot take on further stress.

    There are so many factors. It is not all black and white. What has worked for you has worked for you....and amen to that. But it doesn't work for all of us. What about our family members who have been inculcated into this religion. My strategy is to fade and do as little as possible. My family clearly see my lack of care as to regards the jdubs. In time my hope is that they wake up.

    Note: I have tried 'vainlessly' to wake up my wife. I have spoken to her, left letters for her. She refuses to listen. Just like the allegory of 'the cave' by plato

    These are the grey areas. Some of us unfortunately are stuck in Jdub land limbo (in that grey are). We are trying to work our way out without too much collateral damage.

  • LongHairGal


    Yes, I suppose there are "grey areas" for those stuck in the religion and who, hopefully, are REALLY trying to leave. Some faders don't write a letter because they feel the religion is an F'ing liar so why do they deserve the truth about anything? As long as these faders stay gone.

    I just did a "fade"...I didn't write a letter but at least I'm not STILL sitting there!!! I don't attend the memorial either.

    I literally could not stomach it. But, I've spoken my mind over the years to enough JWs that they figure I'm out.

    Just think about it: the religion is changed teachings and hypocrisy galore. On top of that, there is an undetermined number of Witnesses STILL actively attending the meetings who supposedly do NOT believe in it. Is that not a screwed up picture or what?

    While some people absolutely cannot help it if they are stuck in the religion (and I do feel sorry), others I'm not so sure about.

  • OnTheWayOut
    Actually, it was me who said that. I was responding to Starry Night.

    I stand corrected. Well said.

  • Simon

    I don't think many JWs really, really, really believe all the things they are meant to, not deep down. So eventually most leave - at some point the vague benefits of being a member are more than outweighed by the inconvenience or outright burden of being one.

  • Ruby456

    well said Simon.

    Almost from the beginning I had doubts but for me the truth lay in the fellowship, in the fact that the elders had jobs and supported themselves, the meetings were a bit tacky but it seemed that everyone willed the speakers on and there was a strong spirit of camaraderie. It was not so much the mental things as the emotional things that drew me in.

    And the day came when it was an emotional thing that made me fade - child sexual abuse and even here it was when an abuser joined our congregation.

  • LongHairGal


    Interesting what you say about the elders having jobs and supporting themselves but yet I as a single woman was criticized and viewed negatively for having a job to support Myself.

    Their double standard towards women was one of the reasons I couldn't stand them - and I'm lucky I never listened to them.

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