Just realized this recently - as a JW, I never "owned" any of my accomplishments or talents & abilities....

by Muddy Waters 13 Replies latest jw experiences

  • Muddy Waters
    Muddy Waters

    Just realized this recently - as a JW, I never "owned" any of my accomplishments or talents & abilities....

    We were always told how we are nothing, just specks of dust, grasshoppers, worms.... lowly, despicable sinners in need of redemption, born into sin & misery, constantly facing temptations that we could never handle on our own but only with "Jehovah's help"...

    So we were continually marginalized, all our abilities and talents... they would even quote scriptures that said things like "why should we boast as if we didn't receive these abilities..?"

    It was a weird mentally psychotic dichotomy -- being told we were worthless sinners, undeserving of God's kindness -- and on the other hand being the ONLY ONES who would survive the great day of Jehovah the Almighty God at Armageddon. (well, probably, maybe, if we did enough and *kept* doing enough...)

    So we didn't "own" any of our abilities and accomplishments. If we were good at something, it was because of a special blessing or gift from Jehovah. We were never to "think more of ourselves than necessary".

    FINALLY, at over 50 years of age, I am finally recognizing that all the difficult or challenging things I have accomplished or done, was because I did it. I had the ability.
    (Yes, there may be a possibility that there is a divine person out there somewhere who bestows blessings, but the universe seems more and more impersonal and random. I am leaning more and more toward atheism every day.... So many things don't make sense.)

    As a JW, I had the assurance that I had practically ALL the answers to every perplexing question and full confidence in those answers. Any questions unanswered were not important, they would all be answered in due time or "in the new system".

    I marginalized so many things.... and now I realize they were important!!! This was *MY LIFE* -- but my talents and time and all my abilities were to somehow bring glory to God now in some way (in the ministry) or in some future far away (paradise). A person was living a life deferred.

    I see the things I have done and accomplished, and some were very hard & difficult, yet all glory went to Jehovah -- I was nothing. Just a worm, plodding along, doing what I was supposed to do.


    So... the thing is.... is that now I realize just how "on our own" we really are. All our talents and abilities are OURS. We are gifted (whether by a god or a universe, or heritage of genetics, or pairings of various particles and quantum things, who the heck knows...) and we stand on our OWN.

    And we can actually feel PROUD of our abilities and talents. We can OWN them. We are unique and wonderful, amazing individuals.

  • Muddy Waters
    Muddy Waters

    Another thing -- because I realize that these abilities, talents, accomplishments, etc., are *mine*, it makes me more aware of how precious they are.

    It's like how now, when we know that the religion is a lie, and we do not have all the answers, it makes us *more humble*. We are ever more interested in other people's ideas, philosophies and ways of coping or dealing with the ups and downs of life. We begin to connect with other people. And we value and appreciate OTHER people's accomplishments and talents and hard work more, too.

    The "world" recognizes this, in the respect given to people who are experts in their field, or who have various degrees and education, etc.

    I am finally realizing this too. (I might be a little slow, lol ...God, it takes a looooong time for mind control to wear off and to rejoin humanity!!)

  • rebelfighter
    Excellent post
  • NVR2L8

    I am with you MW. I too gave credit to the "practical training" I received from the organisation for the skills and abilities that made me succeed at work and in my life in general. Now I realize I could have acquired much more skills and knowledge by pursuing my education for a few more years rather than spending decades in the cult. WT edookaciun leads to no diploma or certificate and I always felt I had to work twice as hard as anyone else to keep my job. Today I realize that I have talents and skills that resulted from my efforts to better myself and striving for the next challenge, something that is frowned upon by the JW cult.

  • Giordano

    Not only does a mass movement depict the present as mean and miserable - it deliberately makes it so. It fashions a pattern of individual existence that is dour, hard, repressive and dull. It decries pleasures and comforts and extols the rigorous life. It views ordinary enjoyment as trivial or even discreditable, and represents the pursuit of personal happiness as immoral.

    Eric Hoffer

    Unless your famous or wealthy enough you are not encouraged to develop your talents, get an advanced degree, take a year off or any of the creative or business pursuits that can define who you are.

    If the GB are the role models the bar is set way too low to be of any use. The JW's and WT are high on conformity low on individual achievement.

  • OneEyedJoe

    Yeah, this is a key point that I don't think gets as much attention as it deserves in places like this. It's a little more abstract than debating points of doctrine, failed date prophecies, etc so I think the tendency may be not to give it much attention. The fact is, though, that this is one of the key ways that the cult enslaves people. By stripping everyone in the cult of any personal value or self-worth, they keep them as drones without the self confidence to believe they can make it on their own. This contributes in a large way to the "where else will I go" thought stopper that is so prevalent with those that see the problems but remain trapped in nonetheless.

    I started to see issues with this philosophy probably in my late teens and it only got worse as I entered college and the work force. Especially when drawing a contrast to the average JW I was intelligent and knew that I wanted to work in a field where I could use my mind. For a long time I was made to feel guilty due to this desire. It wasn't humble. It didn't give attention to god. I shouldn't think so much of myself. I'm glad I didn't listen. This sort of indoctrination is just another component of what keeps people from trusting that they know better when they see things like the overlapping generation nonsense or the abuse issues or whatever. They beat you down to think that you're so completely worthless, they strip away anything that makes you unique or especially talented so that when a doubt arises you think so little of yourself that you cannot fathom to go against the cult and trust yourself.

  • MarkofCane

    Great post Muddy waters, we lived our life as a rehearsal for the real life, everything postponed nothing mattered. It felt like we were in a theatrical performance played out for the angels to behold, everything in our life was scrutinized and guilt was our companion. All that dissolved when I realized it was all just propaganda to subjugate are minds.

    It’s funny I really don’t have time to be here but I can’t resist a good post, now back to work.


  • Vidiot

    Muddy Waters - "We were always told how we are nothing, just specks of dust, grasshoppers, worms, lowly, despicable sinners in need of redemption, born into sin & misery..."

    To be fair, the WTS is not the only Christian denomination who teaches this.

  • HappyHappyHappy1914

    I really appreciate what has been said in this post so far. One of greatest instruments of control the organization has is to make sure all the young ones only feel good about themselves for accomplishments inside the organization. You could cure cancer at 16 and the congregation would eye you suspiciously for not pioneering. They want your self worth to be determined by how many hours you put in each month or what "privileges" you have. Academic accomplishments are treated like nothing.

    And this has a hugely traumatic affect on a person growing up, particularly teenagers who are have a natural tendency to please people. Once your self-esteem is tied to the organization, they have you were they want you. They can use guilt to make you do more and reward you for accomplishing everything by love-bombing and other carrots.

    It is an absolutely cruel and horrible thing to do to a child to not celebrate their accomplishments. To punish them for pursuing anything other than a narrowly defined path. To relegate them to second-class citizen for not parroting WT thinking or fitting into some bizarre circuit assembly demo mold.

    I think it is incredibly important to have discussions like these because sometimes we forget how controlling the environment and how manipulative the organization can be.

  • AudeSapere

    I love this post! You captured the thought process of entrapment and subsequent benefits of enlightenment perfectly!

    I think this resonates with so many of us and that concept of valuable 'preciousness' in our own sense of accomplishment is what helps clear some of our FOG-induced depression.

    Thank for capturing this powerful insight and sharing it~!!

    -AudeSapere (meaning: Dare to Know; Dare to Have Wisdom/Understanding; Dare to Think for Yourself)

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