by festival_mum 7 Replies latest watchtower medical

  • festival_mum

    HI, just wondered what the JW stance was regarding schizophrenia as a mental illness/demon possession. Would be interested in some real analytical stuff as it is for a nursing assignment and there doesnt seem to be too much literature about the subject - everyone too busy harping on about the blood issue I suppose!! Personally I wouldnt have a tranfusion and it has nothing to do with my religious beliefs.

    Am also interseted in the JW stance of spirituality - what they veiw it as and how it effects them as human beings!!

    Ta for reading - hope you can help!!

  • garybuss

    All your questions are answered in this book:

    #787 JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES AND THE PROBLEM OF MENTAL ILLNESS: Dr. Jerry Bergman. Here is the controversial study by a former long-time Jehovah's Witness and one involved with virtually every phase of the Watchtower movement. Dr. Bergman, educated in psychology and sociology, presents a convincing case that JWs are a most UNHAPPY people. Among the subjects discussed: the level of mental illness among JWs; the Witnesses' response to the research on their mental health; the problems of disfellowshipping and the elders; life as a Witness; the Witness family; the Witness administration; "The Organization first"; does the Watchtower attract persons with psychological problems?; surviving leaving the Witnesses; etc., etc. $12.95.

    You can order it at:

  • smurfette

    My father who was not a JW had schizophrenia, ADD, and clinical depression. My mother who was a JW always told us he was posessed by demons and would burn or get rid of items he gave us. Even after he was put on medication and there was a marked improvement in him she still thought he was posessed. It's not that she didn't believe he was mentally ill, but she seemed to think his illness opened his mind for the spirits to take over. I know, crazy! Others in our congregation and surrounding area held the same opinion. Poor guy bad enough to have schizophrenia, but then to have your ex telling your kids you're posessed!

    I don't have any info regarding the WT Society's official stance, I only know my personal experience with this issue and that even if this is not their official stance, this is their common practice, at least in Minnesota. I've just finally reached a point in my life where I can even talk about my father's illness as many people from all religeons and cultures are very judgmental or afraid of schizophrenics and their families.

    I think it's great that you are focusing on this little to never talked about subject for your assignment! If I can be of any more help to you at all feel free to PM me.

  • czarofmischief

    The official stance has moderated greatly over the years - but originally all psychiatry was "of the devil". There is a social stigma among the congregation, as I recall, but you'll have that in any group.

    But, many people in dubdom are genuinely kind, loving people (although overworked and stressed) and when my brother got nuts they were very supportive.


  • orangefatcat

    I don't have schizophrenia but have suffered from bi-polar illness for over thirty years. I remember when I started taking strong medications my parents insisted that I was making an approach to the demons. These were mind altering drugs according to them. Of course they never hesitated to bring this to the attention of others in the K. H. as I was considered not a very healthy christian.

    In fact I remember years ago at a convention the society had talks given at conventions that taking mind atering drugs was an appoach to the demons. Some of you may remember those days.

    I guess it was okay in the eyes of the elders and the Borg. not to take these drugs and become a basket case and end up in the hospital with mental and emotional break downs. God forbid if you ever ever spoke to a therapist you were difinetley on the outs with the elders. You might contaminate others in the Hall. And it didn't help if your husband was a blabber mouth. Gee I wonder who brought on all this anxiety in my life.??

    There were times my family refused to talk to me. It didn't seem that anything I did was right.

    Soon one day my mother was told she needed tranquillizers and drugs for compulsive obsessive disorders. She and me sister could now justify taking these drugs now because the Borg had realized their hastiness in making such burdens way back when. They now saw that many in Bethel needed drugs from their stressful lives and drugs for degeneration of the mind, as they aged. Oh my did this make it an approach to the demons for them ?? NO !! Now they had to change, just like they change with every thing else, it was okay to take these drug like its okay to take blood, transplants etc... Hypocrites I call you all .

    In other words when things are okay for the org. then they say its okay for the congregations.

    Give me a break. As people and as the world changes and just the simple chemistry of our body changes then we are in need of drugs. Get a grip WTBS demons are everywhere, infact they are lurking even where you are.

    Watch out brothers the demons are going to get into your minds.......


  • jgnat

    This is an area where they seem to be moderating their stance. Some of the cynical among us have suggested that there may be member the FDS class who now needs medical care. A recent Questions From Readers discusses this somewhat, WT May 1, 2003

    If a Christian hears voices, does that necessarily mean he is under demon attack? No...Hence, while an individual who reports hearing voices or who has other disturbing sensations may not want to discount demon harrassment, he should definitely be incouraged to consider investigating whether there is a physical explanation for what he is experiencing.

    There is also a footnote in this article,

    * See "Taking the Mystery out of Mental Illness," in the September 8, 1986, Awake!

    I have not found a good, objective study on the incidence of mental illness amongst Jehovah's Witnesses compared to the general population. Here are some good JWD links on the subject.

  • PRB

    My wife and I are no longer Jehovah's Witnesses. However, for years my wife suffered with bi-polar disorder and didn't know it. The JWs simply told her that she needed to study more or go out in field service. Surprisingly, one Bethel elder told her that she might be suffering with a chemical imbalance of the brain and might want to see a doctor to be prescribed medication. It was years later before she was finally diagnosed with bi-polar disorder.

    However, it is true that for years JWs looked down on any member that would consider going to a psychiatrist.

  • maybesbabies

    My mom was schizophrenic, or something like that (she was never diagnosed, but learning about mental illness after leaving the dubs led me to believe she was schizophrenic), and they basically told her that she needed to study and pray more (then she was df'd for smoking, but she was really only self-medicating). Us kids in the family wanted her to seek help, but the dubs discouraged it as "worldly", and basically felt that psychiatry was the tool of Satan. It sad to look back and see that there could have been hope. At least she was freed in death, of illness, and of the JW mentality that kept her ill for so long!!! She died actually believing that Jehovah didn't love her because she was "weak"!!!!

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