Jehovah's Witnesses denial of what they are supposed to believe from Watchtower
One of the most frustrating things.
When you confront JW's about what they believe they will often deny it. Such as "if your child is disfellowshipped then you can't have contact with them ever again". The reply you get will be a denial of that along the lines of "well there are circumstances where we can have contact". Yet, they've all seen the videos from last years conventions where a mother wasn't to pick up the phone up her long term disfellowshipped daughter.
Other denials come in the shape of the blood issue, god slaughtering everyone at Armageddon, factual cases of covering over paedophilia & the mistakes of the governing body.
Why can't they just own what they are? Why can't they take pride in what they're supposed to be, thus watering down what the commandments are from Watchtower?
It says it all to me. They're actually embarrassed by their own beliefs, so much so that most will deny or water them down.
I know when i was in i was embarrassed to tell someone some of the beliefs because they seem too crazy or over the top. They don't want it to sound too strict because that would turn people away, so they for sure water down what they believe.
My family lies to my never-a-JW husband because "he wouldn't understand". Yeah ummm no sane person would understand.
If you took a congregation of Publishers - and gave them a 50 Question quiz on "what they are supposed to believe" you would get LOTS and LOTS of failing grades - most elders would not get 25 right.
Why can't they just own what they are?
All JW responses are scripted by the WatchTower.
WatchTower Lies, ergo JW`s Lie.
It depends a little on the circumstances, but all cults will do this to some extent - there's a separation between outsider and insider doctrine, justified by only giving spiritual babes milk and saving solid food for when they've grown. So if confronted by someone at the door about something about something uncomfortable they'll say it's not true. They'll usually rationalize this by telling themselves about some loophole (i.e. the necessary family business stuff or how family members can talk to minor disfellowshipped children that still live with them) and because the uncomfortable truth they're facing down isn't completely absolute, they'll deny it's truth.
In other cases, they've come up with their own rationalization for the doctrine that allows them to see themselves as a decent person while still believing the doctrine. They then use that rationalization similar to the above.
Lastly they're often ignorant of the doctrine. Meetings and literature are boring so many will educate themselves to have a basic framework and then they fill in the gaps using some flavor of logic and a few axioms (i.e. love, justice, etc). That can obviously lead to places where their beliefs will differ significantly from official doctrine, and the places where those differences occur are likely to be the areas they're going to get challenged on.
Jambon: Why can't they just own what they are?
Because that would require admitting that they are in a cult.
I bet you knew that!
My faves include:
"You can leave whenever you want, you just stop going to meetings."
"We don't let our children die, we use alternative treatment."
And they really hate it when you point out that their governing body can dictate to them what to believe st the drop of a hat.
Very relevant OP! Thank you jambon.
A good part of the reason for the well-known JW denial of the obvious is that the questioner's framing of JW policies is seen as too negatively biased - too blunt - so JWs react to your choice of words.
For example, they will say, "We cannot pre-judge exactly what Jehovah will do to the minor children of non-JWs at Armageddon - but we do know that the sole ark of salvation is within Jehovah's organization."
Of course, it reflects equal parts PR obfuscation and internal cognitive dissonance. What modern-thinking, decent person would mimic the sentiments of the Old Testament/Hebrew Scriptures and say, "Damn right! The children of nonWitnesses will definitely perish as they did in the days of Noah and the prophets of old"?
Even JWs have some awareness of how crude and off-putting that sounds to modern ears raised in a world sensitive to human rights - especially those for the rights of children spear-headed by the UN. Even worldly organizations, allegedly under Satanic influence, prioritize children's rights!
Hence the automatic need for JWs soothingly "reasonable", sanitized PR statements along the lines of, "Jehovah knows everyone's heart condition. We leave judgement to Him. We simply draw people's attention to Scriptural admonition.
Oh how lovely and reasonable! Who can argue with cotton wool?
Many of those JWs caught up in this charade of sweet-smelling words likely lack awareness about the word games they actively play in defending the indefensible.
They're actually embarrassed by their own beliefs, so much so that most will deny or water them down.
Cognitive dissonance: psychological conflict resulting from incongruous beliefs and attitudes held simultaneously