Greetings from a from J Dub and current Psychology of Religion scientist
Greeting everyone! It is good to be back on here, I used to be on here years ago (prob. 8ish) under the moniker MyStruggle. I am a former JW, born and raised a son of an elder. Left when I was 21/22 years old and am 34 now. The main reason for mentioning that is in the interest of full disclosure, something we know the WTBS is infamously praised for :)
I will be brief here but may follow up with a longer post if interest warrants a detailed response.
Basically, I have entered the fray of the scientific community, albeit it just barely at the moment, to address several issues surrounding religion, behavior, and well-being. I am just entering my first year of studies en route to a master's in research psychology and eventually a PhD. I feel honored to be studying under Dr. Ralph Hood as I am learning this field because he was instrumental in advancing the psychology of religion in the 60"s and following.
I have several research interest and I am already investigating some concerning ritual observance. The most interesting one I have, at least to me, is how belief systems affect our judgments about the world and ourselves. Further, how do those belief based judgments affect individual well-being, psychologically speaking of course.
If you are are interested, as time goes on I will post the details of my research projects and any results from my studies.
One thing I deeply believe is that as a budding scientist (or any scientist) have a responsibility to make our research accessible and relatable to people that our work can impact.
Again, greeting to all and I hope we can become well acquainted over time!
BTW, just so there is no misperception. I have no problem with people on here concealing their identity. There are many valid reasons for doing so, especially if a person is still in or is attempting to maintain ties to current members.
As for myself, I don't have any such concerns. So, here I am :)
I have no problem with people on here concealing their identity.
I'm curious. Did you say this because you are using your real name and you want to forstall people from telling you to hide it, or ......?
Anyway, nice that you get to be a researcher.
The intent is that I don't want people to feel like there is anything wrong with concealing their own identity. I doubt anyone will think I am wrong to reveal my own identity. I just don't want people to perceive that by revealing who I am that I also think everyone else should do the same.
Haha, I kind of thought that. People would be more concerned that you might get outed.
In the big scope of things, what is your desired outcome from this research?
But the main point of the post is in hopes that former Dubs know they have an ally in the scientific study of religion, which is unfortunately uncommon. The vast majority of academia discounts our experience or even outright rejects the notion of cults. That is not to say there is not important work out there.
People like Steve Hassan, Robert Jay Lifton, Margaret Singer, Louis Jolyon West, and Michael Langone, have contributed invaluable work. Unfortunately, most of their work is unconsidered or discounted as extremist in academia. I think they are hitting on some fundamental realities that relate to things we have experienced. And the academics will only understand/accept when research is conducted in a fashion they deem as credible.
Conducting research that is accepted and sheds light on the harm is one of my chief aims.
I will be watching this intently. My mother and step father, previously her boyfriend when she was married to my father, became jws when I was a toddler. I’ve always wondered how that happened. I’ve been out since my late teens,early twenties. I’m 62 now. I know very little about the early years as mother wouldn’t talk about it and we didn’t get to know her family at all. I haven’t been in contact with my parents or two sisters for over 30 years as I was shunned and left it at that. I researched in the 90s but learned little but today there is much more info available. I’ve recently learned I have cousins still alive and will soon contact them and also know my bio Father’s full name now and am on a trail. I did know that mother and step dad went to three different states when I was two to divorce,adopt and change my name. I never saw my bio father or his family again. Today I feel she stole my birthright. Seems mother always hated her family and my bio dads family from what little she did say. And she told lies about them and even about where they lived to make it hard to find them. The adoption records are still all sealed so I can’t see anything there. Seems she tried to erase the past completely. I’m slowly making progress there but I question why become jws? She died recently and was still in and step father an elder and two sisters and their families still in. I’m the only escapee. So.... as part of my research I want to know why and what appealed to her to be a jw. Step dad was an insecure little follower man and I understand him wanting to be an elder for the power and he could win at something. Mother however was strong willed and manipulative to get her way all the time. Only thing I can come up with is she liked the idea of everybody being killed at Armageddon and she lives forever. Is that even possible?
Aaron: And the academics will only understand/accept when research is conducted in a fashion they deem as credible.
As well they should.
That is why they are called academics. Validity and reliability = credibility
Good luck in your studies. Sounds like fun
Hi Aaron, welcome back!
People like Steve Hassan, Robert Jay Lifton, Margaret Singer, Louis Jolyon West, and Michael Langone, have contributed invaluable work. Unfortunately, most of their work is unconsidered or discounted as extremist in academia.
I am sure that the majority of academics aren't concerned about cults in particular or even religion in general. They are concerned about their own particular field of study and research. That's to be expected.
What is your basis for saying that "most of their work is unconsidered or discounted as extremist in academia"?
I know Michael Langone personally. He and many of his colleagues working in the field of cultic studies and other high-control, destructive groups are held in high regard by many academics.
While we're on the subject, and since we have similar interests, I'd like to suggest you take a look at a couple of threads I started recently:
I'd appreciate your thoughts on these two subjects.