why jw's commit suicide?
We all know the rate of suicide is high among jw's. My question is this- was there some subliminal messages that encourage this. I was a born in and my entire life I would have these thoughts that could come out of nowhere,"kill yourself." I have worked hard and they are far less frequent but every once in a while it would hit. I have professionals that I can go to, that is not what I am seeking. I just have this nagging thought that I am missing something. I grew up with the pink great teacher book, in fact I had some stories memorized. My mother would often add to story 7, 'obedience protects you' that the ones who stayed ate their children and that if I had lived in ancient Israel that I would have been stoned to death.I am just wondering if anyone else may be aware of something else.
I think the religion in general, with all it's teachings makes for a bad mix of emotions and mental health. For one thing, the "do more" mentality is constantly pushed. But Jesus was not that way in the Bible. I don't know, I'm sure others will add to this. But it does seem that JW's have a high rate of suicides.
I would guess that it has something to do with the impossible standards that end up causing extreme guilt, which leads to depression, especially among teenagers and young adults, very few of whom can live up to the rules. Add to that the tendency among JWs to distrust and avoid mental health professionals and instead rely on "prayer" to make their problems go away and you've got a recipe for an increased suicide rate.
Honestly, I believe various things could push one to contemplate and ultimately commit, suicide.
As LevelThePlayingField pointed out, there is an incredible amount of pressure for each and every one to do more, every single convention isn't Love or Kindness, its about how YOU can improve your ministry or how YOU better stay obedient or else you will get shunned by your family while you're alive & then get killed at Armageddon (which is probably tomorrow so you'd better stick with US.)
I also think that, if someone IS shunned or disfellowshipped - the worst (and sadly, most likely) scenario is that they will be cut off from everyone that they've ever known, friends and family alike will treat them as if they have the plague or are dead and it is very hard once on the outside to actually know how to function on the outside and form bond.
Also - perhaps if one is disfellowshipped, and comes to the conclusion that God does not exist, and that there is no real meaning for us even being alive - that could be incredibly hard on someone, especially one whose been told their entire life that they were going to live forever on a paradise earth.
I agree with the above statements. The standards that the WT puts on their followers are incredibly high. I think some folks get overwhelmed and simply can't handle it anymore. They are constantly being told to do more and more and then in the back of their mind they know from their teachings that they still only "may" survive the end of this system of things.
Anecdotal reports indicate suicidal behaviour is known among JWs. Whether it is "high" depends on your comparisons. Are you comparing JWs to the general population, and if so, presumably that population in a specified land. E.g., comparing suicide rates of French JWs with the rates of the general French population. Or are you comparing JW rates of suicide with rates in other high-control religious groups. So it can get complicated.
The easiest thing to do is to speculate based on our own experiences and observations. But we have no way of ascertaining whether suicidal thinking (for example) is greater than, less than or about the same as in any other group.
Those of us who work in the field of mental health know this is at once a valid yet vexed question. And then we enter the topic of what leads people to have suicidal thoughts and/or urges. We could speculate that it is external stressors - yet also note that individuals' own temperaments or dispositions can render them more vulnerable to the effects of stress leading to suicidal thinking and behaviors.
This forum has had several threads over the years devoted to the topic of suicidality among JWs with varied views, experiences and conclusions. It may well be worth you looking them up in the search index..
That is really interesting . l know of an in/out JW who is aware of TTATT but finding it very difficult to accept emotionally and does talk of suicide . l hadn't realised that this can almost be described as a side effect of being a JW .
I have had a number of Jehovah's Witness friends commit suicide, and thought about this a lot. I don't think Watchtower specifically attempts to encourage suicide, on the contrary, suicide was said to be likely to result in losing a chance of a resurrection. However, the control through guilt, and teachings about the world and shunning mean that suicidal thoughts are a result. I personally always feared that if I left the religion, I would commit suicide, as being in the world would lead to unhappiness, being surrounded by people that could not be trusted, and life would have no meaning, waiting to be destroyed at Armageddon.
I don't know about subliminal messages, but I remember a lot of pretty brutal and depressing WT study topics in the 1990s. In particular there was a WT about the "avenger of blood" and how you need to run to the "city of refuge" in order to be safe. Then all the Bible stories about putting pegs through people's heads, pulling down pillars and crushing people, and throwing Jezebel to be eaten by dogs and so on. Brutal stuff when you think about it, all focussing on death by various means, And in the same WT we were told not to watch worldly movies because they're too violent.
Emotional pain becomes to much , I don't think to many first century Christians committed suicide . The GBs lantern of their wise virgin is going dim the because no spiritual encouragement to these souls that kamikazed . The religion will be remembered for its load that it made its members carry, it's just some poor soul couldn't carry it any longer , may they rest in peace.