Ruby I know there is evidence that religious affiliation in general is good for mental health. I was asking about JWs in particular. I have access to academic journals so please cite away. Apart from a number of discredited older studies on JWs (Spencer, Montague, Bergman) the one by JW Rolf Furuli mentioned by Earnest is the only recent one I know. If there are more I'd like to see. I keep a database of all academic works on JWs as they are published.
why jw's commit suicide?
Slimboyfat Is right when he says Watchtower makes it impossible to gather any statistical evidence, and that in itself gives us some clue.
I am on reddit and there tends to be a younger crowd, many of whom are PIMO. The number of posts grieving for friends who have committed suicide is heartbreaking. Many have recently been DF and are being shunned, many are gay - which is another horrible thing WT does - gay JWs are in the worst of situations, be lonely or be dead at Armageddon. Then again if they feel they can't control their thoughts they are finished. Its heartbreaking.
JWsuicides are one of the things that make me incredibly angry and upset.
I thought about suicide at one time. I was experiencing a fair amount of hurt at the time. Though a great deal of this distress was caused by the JWs, I cannot honestly blame them entirely in this.
Still, I can tell you this: Somehow, I felt that killing myself would be some kind of a time machine to land in a future paradise earth. Considering the pain I had at the time, I was sure that God would understand and raise me up from the dead than.
If I had believed that death was actually the end of it all for me - non existence - I don't believe I would have considered suicide in the first place.
For me (just related my own suicidal thoughts in my podcast), I think it comes down to certain combinations of triggers.
1. Immense pressure to be more
2. Pressure to conform leads to lack of authenticity
3. Constant talk about mortality
4. The FOG that dominates the culture and breeds severe depression
5. The lack of care for this life because it doesn't matter apart from earning a better one through drudgery
6. The constant talk about this wicked world and how awful daily life in it is robs people of the ability to see any beauty around them, another contributor to severe depression.
secondly take a look at the interactive map and you will see that where religion predominates the suicide rates are lower - Spain, Italy. In fact most of the Southern med. On average most Muslim countries too.
Ruby I think you'll find the reason for this is the close family bonds.
Watchtower threatens, or actually, takes that away, tears familys apart.
Dubstep The constant talk about this wicked world and how awful daily life in it is robs people of the ability to see any beauty around them, another contributor to severe depression.This is a big One. It is also effectively what Xianthippe was saying...everything is pointless, worthless etc
sorry for all the posts but this subject really grinds my gears.
I am very much in favour of discussions on suicide prevention and causes and signs to look our for etc etc, however i have two problems with some of the assertions in this particular discussion
1) whenever a post or an article or a veberal stament starts with "we all know" i immediately call bullshit. "We all know" is classic appeal to authority argument, an attempt to make someone who "dosent know" feel ashamed or afraid to speak out and to silence questions before they ask. I absolutely do NOT know of a high suicide rate among jw's. In fact, anecdotally, in my 40 years as a jw, in a the washington dc metropolitian area with many thousands of jws living in close proximity, in my years as an elder and i cluding my time time at bethel, i know of only one jw who took his own life, and he suffered from a chronic condition that caused him a great deal of physical pain. So i strongly disagree that "we all know" jws have a high suicide rate.
2) the whole premise uses a witness mindset that is patently untrue: that somehow witnesses are different. They are not. Witnesses will try to tell you that their divorce rates are lower... they are not. They are average for the areas they live in. They will try to tell you that their kids are better behaved or their houses are cleaner or fill in the blank with whatever witness tripe you want. They are not different.
They are not different in this either. I expect the sucide rate among witness is exactly the same as other segments of the population in which they live. Why do i say that..? Because the occurance of mental illness is exactly the same among jws as any other segment of the population.
Its fun to blame the cult for everything that goes wrong in a witnesses life but its not factual.
For some, the only reason they go on living is because of the false hope and comfort of the Jewish fairy tales.... does that factor in in your imaginary suicide rates...?
Mental illness knows no religion. For some the cult may make things worse for others it may provide a helpful framework of support. In the end the averages are certain to be the same.
Xanthippe and dupstepped: Your comments are 1000% spot on!
The BORG mandating so many "standards" and restrictions (most of which is personal, imvho) can drive a R&F member to think that life is worth nothing.
In fact, the very low rate regarding finding a suitable marriage partner in this religion has driven a few dubs (2 I personally knew and 4 I heard about) from attempted to actual suicide.
The two (2): One was a sister whose whole immediate family and relatives (on her mother's side) were in the BORG. When younger (before and after her baptism at age 8), she was always on the platform giving talks (assigned and substitute), twice a month on the service meeting and every service year on the CA and DC programs. She traveled far and wide abroad to many states plus countries for theocratic as well as pleasure trips. Regular pioneered and worked on quick builds for many decades, also. Although, she did all of this, she always lamented that she could not find a husband. She was quite attractive, had a good job (worked peak time--4 days per week) and was a very good cook. As the years passed by, brothers she pursued in her cong. and within other congs. she visited didn't showed any interest (and she was not very choosy, either). So, one night she jumped off the balcony of her 10 story apartment building. Some MS in the neighboring cong. said that she left a note with all her thoughts about the above issues. She was in her 40s when she passed on.
The second was a young brother with the same problem and that he was told that he was "awkward and ugly" by some sisters and other brothers in his age group (he was in his early 30s). He was a Continuous Auxiliary Pioneer, gave talks, was on the Service Meeting, participated in quick builds and helped wherever needed in his cong. After, being chided and persecuted for his outer appearance, it was told that he took his life by an overdose of prescription pills plus slashed one of his wrists. Very sad indeed!
In my opinion a high control shunning religion or cult can intensify the reasons people commit suicide. In the JW religion there is little to no support for followers to get therapy and counseling.
- Severe depression is always accompanied by a pervasive sense of suffering as well as the belief that escape from it is hopeless. The pain of existence often becomes too much for severely depressed people to bear. The state of depression warps their thinking, allowing ideas like "Everyone would all be better off without me" to make rational sense.
- They're psychotic.
- They're impulsive. Often related to drugs and alcohol, some people become maudlin and impulsively attempt to end their own lives.
- They're crying out for help, and don't know how else to get it. These people don't usually want to die but do want to alert those around them that something is seriously wrong.
- They have a philosophical desire to die. The decision to commit suicide for some is based on a reasoned decision, often motivated by the presence of a painful terminal illness from which little to no hope of reprieve exists.
- They've made a mistake.
I just last Sunday visited with one of my peer group who commented that they feel NOTHING is ever good enough in the congregation. They also mentioned that when they walked out of the kh they felt that they were as invisible as a ghost. Not one person spoke to them one the way out, No one stops to visit her or her sister. She said they both feel they are non-persons. Then she stopped for a minute and said, "I guess I must be doing something wrong, It has to be my fault that I feel this way."
FOG Fear of dying at the Big A Obligation Always do more than any human can Guilt It's YOUR fault if you feel left out or that you cannot DO MORE!
Then we may wonder why JDubs commit suicide.