FASCINATION : Neurotic obsession with BIBLE and everything else

by Terry 5 Replies latest jw friends

  • Terry
    (Back in the old days)
    No home was without a gigantic KING JAMES Bible.
    Families diligently read Bible verses every day.
    Inside these huge Bibles were extra pages whereupon a family listed Births (dates) Deaths (date) baptism, graduation - milestones of personal importance.)
    My great grandmother (Florence Avery) read her Bible every day.
    She had done so with her son when he was small (my grandfather was born in 1890).
    My grand dad in his later years was fascinated and obsessed with discovering the "True" religion.
    He would go out on the back porch and read books on Theosophy, Swedenborgism, Paramahansa Yogananda, Mormonism - etc. etc.
    SO WHAT?
    Well - he discussed these things WITH ME!
    Imagine a 10-year-old boy, an only child, no kids in the neighborhood to play with, sitting with his grandfather discussing the teachings of some weird religious figure!!
    He would speak and I would listen. _____ I remember when he invited two Mormon Elders into our living room! He made me sit with him and listen.Two young men in black suits, white shirts, black tie; so earnest and wide-eyed as they lectured us using a large felt display board on a tripod. It was kindergarten level. Paper doll-like figures were attached to the board as the Elder spoke. They gifted us with a Book of Mormon and instructed us: "Tonight pray and ask Heavenly Father to activate your heart and mind and spirit as you determine if what I told you today is Truth or a Lie." (**Spoiler** It was a LIE).
    I was deeply flattered that my grandpa included me in his search and I wanted to live up to his confidence I could comprehend. (**Spoiler** I discovered the cult of Jehovah's Witnesses and grandpa was NOT amused!) That was much later, of course - I'm getting ahead of myself.
    GRANDPA could print out quotations with perfect hand-painted letters and hang them over my bed for me to MEMORIZE. If could repeat the quote back to him the next day, I would receive one crisp new dollar bill!
    He didn't realize he had released the KRAKEN!
    This was chocolate cake to me. I could get rich!
    Eventually, he moved on from Religion to other topics and more quotes would appear. Proverbs and Psalms from the Bible,
    famous Author quotations, etc.
    I was cleaning out his bank account!
    Grandpa tried to up the ante and challenge me with more and more difficult things.
    1. He gave me a book on Tying Knots, of all things.
    I'd get a dollar for each knot I'd learn. Yeah Baby!!
    2. He gave me a book on cow branding symbols!
    (Each ranch would design a tricky brand to thwart cattle theft and being able to identify a BRAND was...a thing.)
    I had a page of more about 100 brands. He carefully created flash cards
    BY HAND, and quizzed me. (I'm not kidding!) That was the fastest half-hundred dollars a little kid ever earned in Fort Worth, Texas.)
    3. SPELLING! (I could go on for an hour about this one.)
    I was given a book on commonly misspelled words and I sucked it up and spit it out for cash!
    4. MEMORY TRICKS book: yes, the most important book I ever read! Strategies for remembering anything (backwards or forwards). It has proved EXTREMELY useful in my lifetime.
    5. Poems? Yep.
    6. Composers! Yes. I could recognize classical music from just a few seconds listening to a random needle drop on a phonograph record. (This sounds like a BIG FAT LIE to most people) I swear I can do this even today. Thanks, grandpa!
    Why am I telling you this?
    I'll get to that in a few seconds. BUT FIRST ...
    An older person who takes an interest in a lonely, shy child and rewards them for learning something has a HUGE effect on their entire life. I started out my life confident I knew things and could do things in my brain.
    I continued those habits, teaching myself. (Vocabulary word: Autodidact -self teacher)
    The 3 most important and useful things I discovered doing this was:
    1. A huge vocabulary (quite useful to a writer and reader). I learned 16 new vocabulary words each day until I graduated High School.
    2. A competent memory (I could prepare for a test at school in no time at all.) I memorized Pi to 50 decimal places and the Period Table of Elements , Rime of the Ancient Mariner, etc
    3. Methodology for learning difficult subjects.
    Here is why I'm telling you this.
    This morning, I heard an old expression I haven't heard since I was a little boy.
    "By the skin of his teeth..."
    What the hell! I KNEW where it originated automatically.
    I memorized 853 scriptures, you see... why wouldn't I know?
    (Job 19:20), where Job says, “I am escaped with the skin of my teeth,” presumably meaning he got away with nothing at all.
    None of the above constitutes "intelligence."
    It certainly doesn't qualify as "wisdom".
    My grandfather identified or recognized something in me
    that was also in himself.
    He and I were odd things as people.
    If we were going to NOT be like other people, and I never have been, we needed a strategy to get through life somehow and he helped me develop tactics for learning, amusing myself, entertaining others, and that's about all it really is: a kind of magician's trick! IT IS NOT INTELLIGENCE.
    I became one of Jehovah's Witnesses for almost 20 years! That's not intelligent! It was a religion which took advantage of my quirky 'talents' and gave me a showcase for these otherwise useless obsessions!
    What I have is a neurotic quirky heritable trait.
    If you don't believe me - ask my children.

    Cults exploit all kinds of people and tap into their need to be loved and accepted.

    Cults put you to work and make you prove yourself in exchange for love, sort of like me learning to tie knots for $ from my grandpa! JW religion tied me in knots with the promise of Paradise.
    Only when I escaped did I find that paradise :)

  • BluesBrother

    I wish that I had had a grandpa like that..........He sounds a real character who took a real interest in you.

    I agree that the ability to recall facts is not necessarily intelligence. I comfort myself with that thought when watching a higher grade quiz show. I believe the phrase Emotional Intelligence is the more important one , using your knowledge wisely.

  • RickJones

    I think the older generation had more of a appreciation to books and reading and valued them accordingly.

    Grandparents today are more apt to give their grandchildren a video game or something related to computers than a book.

    I also think that the older generation(s) took more interest in religious things in general.

  • Anna Marina
    Anna Marina
    They don't get you to prove yourself in exchange for love. There is no love there. Once you have jumped through one hoop for them, the immediately get out another hoop. So your reward is the next hoop. There is no rest on their endless schedule.
  • WTWizard

    And why that stupid bible? This is nothing more than witchcraft to enslave the whole earth. I would rather get out a big science textbook (that is accurate, not politically correct), math concepts that run through algebra and geometry, or astrology and teach someone that instead of that stupid bible. If it was me, I would have had that bible long ago thrown out and banned from the premises on the grounds that it is a curse on anyone that takes it seriously.

    At least with math and science, it is a good way to explore the universe. And astrology is at least fun, if not a good way to explore your destiny.

    Also, what is up with this jesus s***? Has anyone ever looked into the teachings of Thoth? Beelzebub? Astarte? Azazel? They might have a lot better things to teach than how to be the perfect slave.

  • Terry

    I've encountered many grown-up folks who ask basic questions which easily could be answered by a Google search. I decided I'd delve into that a bit.
    What I found was this. So many adults over a "certain age" do not possess basic computing skills! A Google Search is not among those skills.
    My oldest JW friend died four years ago and he didn't not have a CLUE how to use a computer. He was afraid of it.
    I have another friend who is 73 and she has an old flip phone. A smartphone is out of the question for her. Why? "Too complicated."
    THE INABILITY to teach yourself new skills is really an UNWILLING attitude and a lifelong habit.
    I may sound like a stereotypical Old Geezer when I say this: The current generation acts and thinks as though everything they depend on simply fell out of the sky.
    Any sense of invention, of history, of struggle to reach the level of existence and plenty which comes with Science and Technology is almost TOTALLY INVISIBLE to them.

    When all else fails - simple trial and error seems to work pretty well. But ya gotta TRY.

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