Lawrence Onoda, Ph.D., Jehovah's Witness Psychologist
Oh! maryo~!! I just realized that you are brand new here.
Welcome!! It's nice that you found here and even nicer that you jumped right in and started a discussion.
So, the appointment with Mrs. Brown was canceled.
For the next 15 years I struggled along the best I could. I came into many difficulties and extremely painful places in life and with the congregation that are too personal to here relate. Perhaps with some proper professional counseling, this could have been avoided. In about 1971, I married a nice young brother who had recently become a witness. We entered into a hasty marriage due to the Watchtower Society’s stance on sexuality. It is to be noted that the Watchtower Society [at that time and perhaps now] had no arrangement for premarital counseling. It seems to me that if divorce is not permitted except on the ground of adultery, that some premarital counseling by elders or other professionals would be advisable. We were married until about 1980. We were incompatible in some important ways… but I tried very hard to make the best of it until about 1980. My husband was eventually appointed a ministerial servant and began to accompany elders on shepherding calls.
I relate the following dialogue as verbatim as I can remember. I am trying not to give too many details or asides. Details, however, sometimes do make things more interesting! I am using names here. I have heard that several of the individuals mentioned here are now deceased.
In about 1980, my husband and I stopped going to the meetings. Several things about Jehovah’s Witnesses were seriously distressing us and did not seem right. We ended up separating. My husband was now gone, and I was living in our small rented house by myself. At this time also, there were several consecutive deaths in our family. Within a period of six months, my grandmother, my mother and my husband’s mother all died. I was generally in a state kind of silent “shock”… or something. One afternoon, two elders came to the door to see how I was doing, that they had missed me/us at the meetings. I cannot remember what I said. The two brothers knew we had had several deaths in the family recently. Brother Cal Currans, an old-time Jehovah’s Witness, said somewhat abruptly, “If you are thinking of leaving the truth, you will not be the first… there was Judas Iscariot.” I had a sick sort of feeling that this is what he would choose to say. Recently, I saw in an old 1930s [I think] Watchtower that any who left the group at that time were considered in the Judas Class. Interesting…
Some period of weeks/months went by. I was “dragging” myself off each day to a dreary job as my husband was now gone and I had to support myself.
One evening after work, the telephone rang. It was Gilbert Sanchez, one of the elders. He wanted to know if two elders could come to my house and talk to me. I was in an optimistic mood that day. I said, “Sure, why not?” [I did not understand what would happen to me and the repercussions. The policy of what would happen to one disassociating was unclear in my mind. I believe there had been several changes in the policy. In retrospect, I should not have agreed to this meeting so readily. I should have adopted a more thoughtful approach. In the early 1980s, there was no Internet and support from others available.]
Gilbert Sanchez and another elder [Greg Dewey] came to my house at the appointed time. They wanted to know my position as to whether Jehovah’s Witnesses had the truth. I said if I thought that, I would still be going to the meetings at the Kingdom Hall. The elder indicated they would be deciding in the next few days whether an announcement of disassociation would be made. They were basically finished, and stood up to go to the door. I said something like, “Don’t you want to know my reasons for this?” It was obvious they really were not interested in the reason. [I was stunned and felt ill inwardly as I realized this was the case. Reluctantly, they both sat back down. It was almost like I had to pull on their suits and make them sit back down.] Gilbert Sanchez said, in a begrudgingly concessionary manner, “What is that you would like to say?”
I proceeded to relate tearfully [I am not a crier] how listening to the Watchtower Society had ruined my life – I should have done what I thought was right all along. The elder asked me, “Have you ever considered that the reason these things upset you so much is that you do not have a good relationship with Jehovah?” In that moment it became obvious to me that I did not “get” Jehovah in the way that the others apparently did. I responded, “Well, if I have done everything I have supposed to have done as a Jehovah’s Witness for 15+ years [since my baptism in 1966] and somehow I have missed God, then surely I should try something else don’t you think!” There was just silence, as I recall.
Gilbert Sanchez also said I should not throw the baby out with the bathwater. From something Barbara Anderson has written, it seems as if this was a parroting of something the Watchtower Society had instructed elders to say.
Other things remembered from that meeting: “The friends at the Kingdom Hall love you very much – none of them want to see you die Armageddon.” I guess that is what being a Jehovah’s Witness has always been about. I was watching a Raymond Franz video lately. In it he tells about how he came into the truth. His father had told him he should become baptized and/or a more serious witness so he would not die Armageddon. Interesting…
I mentioned in the meeting with the two elders that I was only 14 when I became baptized and did not realize everything involved. I did not realize, for example, that I would not be able to go to college. I was assured that going to college had always been a matter of conscience… Silly me, I had evidently misconstrued that. And 14 was certainly an age of understanding. In addition, I had continued many years after 14 as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I could not claim my baptism was invalid.
This meeting with the two elders occurred almost 35 years ago. After all of the things these individuals must have heard and seen since that meeting, I cannot help but wonder how they feel about the “truth” now or felt about the “truth” at the end of their life? I believe that Gilbert Sanchez, Greg Dewey, and Charles Simonis are deceased. Lawrence Onoda is still alive. I do not know about Cal Currans.
Now that I am almost 65 years old, it is gratifying to live long enough to see the recent developments around the Watchtower Society with the large group of “apostates,” the Australian Royal Commission, and evidently the “new” Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Does anyone know this brother Robert Campbell a psychotherapist, Mira Mesa congregation elder from Poway California. A lot of JW from all over used to come to him when I was there in the early 90s by the way when I was there as an elder for about a 1 year he wanted to recommend a JW pedofile for Ministerial servant which I opposed he said the guy was reformed and posed no danger of reoffending He was not recommended while I was there but not sure if he was latter?
I once saw a JW psychologist. This was near the Washington DC area.
Before treatment, she made me sign a release stating that any admissions of sins I made would be reportable to the elders!
I don't even know if it's legal to sign away the right of confidentiality with your healthcare provider!
But, I was a dumb young adult. I didn't see her too many times. I finally found real mental health care with a qualified non-JW!
'They were basically finished, and stood up to go to the door. I said something like, “Don’t you want to know my reasons for this?” It was obvious they really were not interested in the reason. [I was stunned and felt ill inwardly as I realized this was the case."
They didn't want to know the reason why. They just wanted the simple answer, Yes or No, so they could run back to the BOE and prepare the noose to hang you. That's what it is all about. That is why we will NEVER meet with these heartless henchmen. We owe them NOTHING, just what they gave us, NOTHING!
I actually thought somewhere inside me that they cared about me as an individual… I guess because of the talks from the platform and articles in the Watchtower. Jehovah loves you as an individual…the elders must too – as representatives of Jehovah. It was hard for me to accept that they had no personal care about me whatsoever. But painfully obvious. It sounds so peculiar now when I hear Stephen Lett with his sweeping gestures and exaggerated mannerisms pronounce that the Governing Body/Jehovah loves you very much. I flash momentarily back to that meeting ... and feel it is all for show or something very odd I cannot put into words.
There's a major red flag when the mental health care supplied by "Satan's System" helps, but God's "chosen Earthly Organization" cannot.
Before leaving the JW's I was plagued for years with terrible terrible anxiety. (It magically disappeared less than 2 weeks after I stopped going to meetings btw)
Before making my exit, I had a couple of visits with a JW who was a psychologist "counselor" and to be honest, she seemed very troubled herself. Before she would begin our sessions, she had me sign a release saying that if anything unscriptural was revealed during our sessions, she'd have to report it to the elders. She asked me if I thought my anxiety was caused by a bad conscience and if I was doing anything wrong. She even asked me to leave the room and called my wife in from the waiting room and I found out later that she asked my wife if I'd ever cheated on her or been doing anything wrong. I couldn't believe it ! I'd have sued anyone else for that.
It was weird to see her sitting a few seats away at the next assembly and seeing her giving me sideways glances. Luckily I made my exit a year or so later and as I said, anxiety hasn't been a problem since. The problem was not with me having a bad conscience rather it was caused by going to funeral like meetings 3 times a week and being told the world was going to end any minute, since I was a little boy. Real counselors know this is called PSD and child abuse.
Yeah, I don't know how they get away with that release signing. I'll bet it wouldn't hold up in court.
What a totally dreary counseling session, Pete Zahut!