It's VERY DIFFICULT for some JWs to accept the Truth-------But for other not so much------WHY?

by pistolpete 13 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • pistolpete

    What is it about some JWs that they can't see the flip-flops of the WT's CHANGING DOCTRINE?

    Some of the Flip-flops involved the death of many of it's members, and it was not even Biblical based. Yet for some reason they can't seem to grasp the significance of the matter.

    This can be really frustrating when it involves someone you love like a parent, a husband, wife, or children.

    Here is an example from reddit;

    My elder father chooses to believe that god lies to JWs rather than to believe that some doctrines are man-made

    JW / Ex-JW Tales

    A little backstory; I had always been perceived as an "exemplary" JW, I had all the "privileges" a young JW man could have; MS, Pioneer, running the sound system, I even gave public talks in other congregations, which was pretty rate for a MS.

    But at the same time, my family and close friends knew a different side of me. I was always a little mentally rebellious. If a doctrine didn't make sense to me, I would say so, and explain why. Or if a CO came around spouting some nonsense rule he made up, I would show him from the publications where he was wrong, which got me counseled more than once.

    When I gave public talks in other congregations, I always carried with me, right in my folder under my talk outline, a print-out of a watchtower article saying that it was improper and pharisaical to try to force someone to wear a plain white shirt when giving a talk, because I always wore a colored shirt in a pretty conservative area. (Sadly, I never got to rub that in anyone's face.)

    In short, I was outspoken and loved a good argument, and didn't back down easily.

    My father, on the other hand, was a life-long, second-generation JW, and was the very model of a company man. He became an elder in his early 30s, and he went along with everything anyone said, as long as they were "higher-ranking" than him, because he viewed that as loyalty.

    Some rando CO comes into town and tells us to stop working rural territories and focus on the main town only? Sure, dad would go along with that, in spite of every article I could show him proving that the branch didn't want us to do that. "Maybe the CO has a secret letter from the branch he hasn't shown us" dad would eventually say, and I would roll my eyes, exasperated.

    Anyway, one day, as I was on my way to being mentally out of the cult, he called me up to discuss some of my "doubts", and we got into it for a few hours. We argued about all the same old stuff again, just like we had many times over the years.

    But then I threw something at him that we had never talked about; the flip-flopping about organ transplants. In case you don't know, JWs were fine with organ transplants until the mid 60s. Then from the mid-to-late 60s until the early 80s, JWs considered organ transplants to be a form of cannibalism, and therefore wouldn't allow them. T

    hen in the 80s, they were allowed again. For those 15 or so years, some JWs surely died for lack of an organ transplant, when they apparently didn't need to, since they flipped right back to being acceptable again in the 80s. So my question was, who is responsible for their deaths; god who lied to us about his feelings on organ transplants, or men, who made up a doctrine that god had to "correct" back to the right thing?

    He didn't have an answer, and kind of floundered, but he seemed to be landing on the side of men getting it wrong for a few years, and then god stepping in to correct it, until I reminded him that it was correct in the first place. Why would god have allowed men to introduce a wrong doctrine that got JWs killed? He backtracked, and then floundered again.

    So I then asked my dad why there were multiple examples of flip-flopping doctrines like that. ("Who are the Superior authorities" is another example where they had one belief, changed it, and then changed it again back to their original belief.) He tried the classic "light getting brighter" defense, but I didn't let that fly.

    I eventually pinned him down. There are only two possibilities; All JWs doctrines are created by god, and he sometimes lies to us about what he wants us to believe, thus resulting in doctrines flip-flopping, or at least some JW doctrines are made by men, who are essentially just making it up and getting it wrong.

    He tried to weasel out of that dilemma for quite a while, but I was determined to get him to pick one of those choices.

    When he finally was forced to think it through and make a choice, he chose that god sometimes lies. I was flabbergasted. I remember literally yelling into the phone "No! What?! NO!" My wife came in to make sure everything was all right at that point, because I sounded so distressed. I just couldn't believe dad would go that far, and even directly against the bible, just to avoid blaming men.

    Dad's explanation was that god lies, but only to protect us. He said that in the case of the "Superior authorities", maybe god caused them to flip-flop certain ways during certain times in history to maintain political neutrality. Maybe the organ donation ban protected JWs from a hidden medical danger. (I pointed out that his favorite author, Isaac Asimov died from an organ transplant that carried AIDS after the JW ban had been lifted, so that was a pretty ineffectual ban if it ended right before the AIDS threat showed up.)

    His basic thesis was the classic "god works in mysterious ways" trope, which I pointed out to him that he was now just parroting "false religion's" defense of things that their beliefs can't explain, but that didn't phase him.

    I also pointed out that the bible explicitly says "god CANNOT lie", but he said it wasn't "really lying, because he was protecting us". I pointed out that's not the problem. The problem is that if god can lie at all, then that means that you can't trust anything he ever says again. He's all powerful, he can cover up or manipulate the evidence of any lie he wants, even erasing it from your brain if he wants to. The very fact that he CAN lie, means that you can't ever trust him again.

    He never changed his mind. In his view, it's better to accept a lying god than it is to accept that his beliefs have been manufactured by men.

    It was a huge blow to my estimation of my father's intellectual honesty, and it made me realize just how deeply brainwashed he is.

    On the plus side, when I told my wife that whole story, she was still mentally in, and that definitely helped to push her more toward being mentally out, so it did help to save the person I most wanted to save.

    EDIT: This was all several years ago, my wife and I are now both completely out of the cult, and we've never been happier.

  • truth_b_known

    Humans will believe things that are false if it benefits them personally. It is a defense mechanism of the Ego, which in itself is a mental illusion. A sudden end of the Ego when it is not self induced is a traumatic experience and can cause post traumatic stress disorder. In short, the new information presented is in conflict with highly esteemed beliefs. The brain sees this as an attack on the belief holder (which it isn't) and acts accordingly - an emotional response. The easiest quickest response is anger or to attack.

    I think some people might point to the Sunk Cost Fallacy, which is an economic concept that sometimes can be applied to areas of or personal lives. This is why it is so hard for born-in Witnesses who reach their 40s, 50s, etc. The more time in the harder it is to get out of the Sunk Cost Fallacy.

    Description: Reasoning that further investment is warranted on the fact that the resources already invested will be lost otherwise, not taking into consideration the overall losses involved in the further investment.

    I believe that reason number one is most likely the answer. Be presenting the father with evidence that his beliefs are inaccurate the mental construct of himself (Ego) is perceived to be under attack. The brain responds the same as if he were under a real attack of a physical danger such as a dangerous, wild animals or physical assault from a person. Logic, reason, and rational thought are unable to function when emoting.

    If the person were to genuinely and compassionately ask their father what the father was feeling when pinned down with the question, it is my belief the father would respond with "I felt angry."

  • minimus

    Your dad called you. I found this interesting. He either was interested in the opposing views that you held or he was calling with helping you in view.

    My dear mom was a true believer but every once in a while she would express being disturbed by a Watchtower point of view or elder’s opinion. To me, I figured she might be ripe for hearing negative things about The Truth. We would talk many many times and I would put her in a corner and she just couldn’t handle it. Eventually I seldom mentioned these things. Why?? Because I realized I couldn’t out argument her. She would know throw 50 years of believing what she felt was truth down the toilet. Rather than pursue the religion I realized she was old and I would rather cherish her for being my mother.

    In the end, it’s all up to the person. For some, logic isn’t the issue.

  • Jazzbo

    Cognitive dissonance is alive and well among those wholly committed to the Organization.

  • GrreatTeacher

    True, min, for some people logic is not the primary way they approach life.

    Some people are so buffeted by their emotions that they will give up logic for the emotional safety of believing that they absolutely have all the answers.

    I've even heard people say that they dislike the work of making decisions about what's right and wrong and love having the WT do all of that for them!

    That is not the kind of person I am! That makes no sense to me, which is kind of the point: sensibility and logic are how I order my world. I'm a little fiesty and dislike being told to do things that make no sense, sometimes to my detriment when the world of work has policies and procedures that are counterproductive. Keeping my mouth shut and lying low are skills that I'm working on.

    So, I put it down to basic personality differences. Are you ruled by emotion? Are you ruled by logic? How do you make sense of life and the world you live in?

  • Sea Breeze
    Sea Breeze

    One Word: PRIDE

  • truth_b_known
    One Word: PRIDE

    This is probably the simplest answer which is why it makes the most sense.

  • johnamos
    I also pointed out that the bible explicitly says "god CANNOT lie",

    Silly you for trying to show him what the Bible says, they don't care about the Bible, they only care what the WTS publications you should have shown him this:

    [12-1-00 WT– Whatever authority people may arrogate to themselves, you do not have to accept their conclusions if they contradict God, ignore his Word, and violate common sense. In the final analysis, the wise course is always to “let God be found true, though every man be found a liar.” —Romans 3:4.]

    [6-1-86 WT– To acquire a complete heart, we must be prepared emotionally to set aside preconceived opinions, willing to let God be found true even if it does demolish some of our pet ideas or cherished doctrinal views. (Romans 3:4)]

  • Simon

    It's easier to fool someone than to convince someone they have been fooled.

  • Rocketman123

    Whatever authority people may arrogate to themselves, you do not have to accept their conclusions if they contradict God, ignore his Word, and violate common sense.

    That pretty much identifies the top GB men of the WTS/JWS exactly to their actions for the past 100 years or more .

    Those evil false prophet charlatans

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