why jw's commit suicide?

by notalone 149 Replies latest jw friends

  • jp1692

    Ruby, you're giving away your lack of scientific training and education.

    I don't need to prove anything. YOU made the assertion, YOU need to provide the evidence. That is how science works.

    I realize that this is not an academic research forum, but you are needlessly derailing with your baseless assertions what is an important discussion. Then, when you are called on it, you play these silly little immature games.

    For the record, I have researched this particular issue for many years and, as Steve2 wrote previously, there is precious solid research to support a conclusive statement one way or the other about the actual rate of suicides among active or ex-JWs in comparison to the general population of any particular geographic region, let alone globally. This is unfortunate because it would be really useful to know. A rigorously researched analysis in a longitudinal study done with a statistically relevant sampling of populations from representative samples globally would be just the ticket. To date no one seems to have done that. If you know otherwise, then share. If you don't, then please be quiet about things you do not know about.

    In the meantime, it is perfectly fine, and actually quite informative, for individuals to share their unique experiences, observations, perceptions and impressions on the issue. This kind of anecdotal evidence is important, but it does not a scientifically valid conclusion make.

    You seriously err when you say, "In fact it is lower."

    You don't know that it is a "fact," so stop saying it is.

  • Ruby456


    I have provided loads of evidence. here is some more regarding religion generally


    steve 2 has explained that his focus is on the suffering of individuals who feel trapped and tortured when they try to remain witnesses and on this I agree with him wholeheartedly. such religions are no place for people who are suffering as they are highly competitive and so focused on success that they tend to ignore and even belittle those who fall behind - their locust analogy comes to mind.

  • jp1692

    Ruby, you're hopeless.

    Once again you provide a link to a completely irrelevant article.

    The keyword "jehovah" does not appear once in the linked article you posted so it is completely useless in addressing the question as to whether or not Jehovah's Witnesses suicide rates are higher or lower than the general population.

    Your inability to focus on the OP topic and to directly answer questions is troublesome. That fact that you continually try to misdirect and obfuscate is beyond annoying.

    I have no idea what your payoff is, but you are beginning to seem more and more like a troll.

    Again, you wrote: "the suicide rate isn't higher among JWs than general populations. in fact it is lower."

    You made the assertion. You need to provide evidence to support it. You have not done that.

    Research "regarding religion generally" that is not about Jehovah's Witnesses specifically does not support your assertion. In case you haven't figured it out: JWs is not a typical religion; it is a high-control, high-demand authoritarian environment which subjects its members to undue influence using coercive methods of mental manipulation. This often results in severe mental distresses--particularly among those that leave as a result--that can lead to severe mental illnesses such as: depression, anxiety, PTSD, schizoaffective disorders and a whole host of other disorders. This cannot be said of "religions generally" and so it is not possible to extrapolate results of such a study and try to force fit it onto current and ex-JWs.

    If you cannot, or will not, provide research-based evidence from a reliable source which supports your assertion that JWs have a lower suicide rate than the general population, then you should retract that statement and back off.

  • Ruby456


    I have no idea what your payoff is, but you are beginning to seem more and more like a troll.

    the payoff for me is to try to explore if mental illness and illness in general has protective factors that are of value in societies and cultures that are too focused on competition. In fact mental illness has long been associated with imagination and abilities to think outside the box. Many successful authors have bipolar disorder for example.

  • jp1692

    Ruby, start a new thread then.

    This one is titled:

    why jw's commit suicide?

  • Ruby456

    notalone says in his opening post

    We all know the rate of suicide is high among jw's. notalone

    I would suggest a slight modification - the suicide rate is too high among jw's. my feeling is that even one suicide is too many. But as to the actual rate of suicide among jws - there no evidence to suggest that it is higher among jws and my argument is that it is lower as other posters also attest.

  • Xanthippe
    I have no idea what your payoff is, but you are beginning to seem more and more like a troll.

    You nailed it jp1692. When you remember that this topic was posted by someone who has had serious mental health problems and who was asking the forum for help to know if we've had similar experiences, it's worrying to have the troll arrive again and take it off topic as usual. I hope the op poster is doing okay.

  • Ruby456

    saying I am a troll is just bad playground antics and it shouldn't happen on a thread like this.

  • jp1692
    Earnest: There was a 2015 study of the mental health of Jehovah's Witnesses ...

    I am very familiar with that "study" by Rolf Furuli. Unfortunately, although it is interesting for its unique perspective, it is nevertheless extremely flawed and very biased. What he calls a "study" is merely a survey and not a rigorous one by academic or scientific standards.

    His argument is essentially: "Bergman has questionable credentials and ethics; therefore, JWs do not have a problem with mental illness. I also know because I asked a bunch of my friends if there were any crazy JWs in their congregations and they said, 'No, not many!'"

    I'm not joking. He really did this.

    An example of this can be seen by considering Furuli's "methodology." He himself explains:

    As the basis for my 2015 study, I sent a questionaire to elders in 35 Norwegian congregations. In order to ascertain that the numbers from the Norwegian congregations were representative of the worldwide population of JW, I sent the same questionaire to elders in 24 congregations in USA and in 15 congregations in 12 other countries. The elders were asked to carefully consider each member of the congregation with the following questions in mind: How many active and inactive members have, or have had, a mental illness (schizophrenia, psychosis, bipolar disorder etc.), and how many active or inactive members have, or have had, a severe depression? (2015, p. 8)*

    Seriously!?! Furuli asked congregation "Elders" to diagnose mental illnesses and then to report back to him. THAT is the basis for his conclusion that JWs have a lower incidence of mental health issues than the general population. To say this is flawed research methodology is a gross understatement.

    Obviously, elders are not trained or qualified in any way to make such assessments. This is ridiculous!

    Also, his own data sometimes indicates that mental health issues are higher among JWs than among the general population. For example, he writes:

    If we use this number, the rate of admission to mental hospitals is 2.60 per 1000 among the Witnesses compared with 2.54 in the normal population; the rate of schizophrenia is 1.15 among the Witnesses and 0.61 in the normal population; the rate of paranoid schizophrenia is 0.88 among the Witnesses and 0.38 in the normal population (2015, p. 5).

    So even after Furuli’s tweaks with the numbers, he admits the rate of mental illness of JWs in Western Australia is more than that in the normal population. Nevertheless, Furuli himself admits that "final conclusions are difficult to draw" (2015, p. 5).

    Another significant detail to consider in Furuli's analysis is that he included "only those who have been treated by a psychiatrist or at a mental hospital are counted" (2015, p. 11). There are two serious problems with this:

    1. There is no reason to exclude people that suffer from mental health issues and do not seek professional help. Many people do not, especially JWs since this religion actively discourages it.
    2. Again, this information was reported to him by congregation elders, so it would exclude anyone that may have been treated by a mental health professional or admitted to a "mental hospital" but the elders did not know about it. (If you think the elders know everything, you're wrong). This fact alone likely changes the actual numbers drastically.

    These two factors alone demonstrate the serious methodological flaws of Furuli's "study." A dispassionate reading suggests that the actual number of active and former JWs suffering from mental health issues is probably quite high. Indeed, for a religion that claims to be "the happiest people on Earth," even one person with mental health issues is a problem for their delusional, unrealistic and unhealthy ideology.

    Furuli's discussion of the issue of suicide is similarly flawed. Demonstrating his religious bias, Furuli writes: "To commit suicide is an extreme act that violates the basic principles of God, and persons who do that either are mentally ill or they are in a situation of the deepest despair where they see no solution for their problems" (2015, p. 13).

    Clearly, people that are suicidal have mental health issues. But it is equally obvious that if you are a member of a religion that spouts messages like the above, you are not likely to be open about your mental health issues with congregation elders. Unfortunately, such ideological shaming usually has the opposite effect, causing people to hide their concerns, preventing many from getting the help they need. This is a serious, endemic problem for people in this religion.

    There are so many other logical and factual errors in his paper it's laughable. The last third turned into a JW propaganda puff-piece totally unbecoming for an academic paper.

    I could write more detailing reasons whey Furuli's "research" should not be given much attention, but the above makes the point. Again, really lame.

    * Note: My citations are from an early draft of Furuli's research submitted for the 2015 CENSUR conference in Belgium. It is my understanding that this draft was rejected for publication because of serious methodological problems. The link Earnest provided is only to the abstract of an ostensibly revised version. Unfortunately, I do not have a copy of that.

  • steve2

    I had earlier read Furuli's study - properly called a hit-and-miss survey in my opinion - and was so taken by its methodological flaws and questionable dependence on elders' willingness to disclose socially undesirable information that I did not know where to start in my critique....and left it. I think I am getting too old to jump at every tasty morsel 😌

    From my memory of reading it - and I could be corrected - he does not disclose the response rate to his survey.

    BTW I largely agree with his critique of Bergman's methods and leaps in logic. Unfortunately, this is an instance where being right in one corner about someone else, doesn't make you right in the other corner about your own methods and conclusions.

    Thanks jo1692 for your sound overview of its many flaws.

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