Mental Illness among JW's

by Victor 28 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Sea Breeze
    Sea Breeze
    Every congregation I attended had several nutty people. Every one had at least one attendee that would clutch the microphone when “answering” a question, as if it was of vital life-giving importance.
    Several would just roll their eyes at the usually older pioneer type person.
    One elders wife would walk down the isle with her head kinda bobbling around while her lips were moving.
    My aunt would start calling out Jehovah, Jehovah, Jehovah over and over again if someone did something minor while driving.
    Most JWs live in a mental prison full of terror and self-loathing with a hamster wheel as their only pacifier.
  • Victor

    @magnum I can totally empathize and understand what you saw. Since I traveled throughout the country, I saw the same pattern repeated all over the nation.

    ADD glad to know your story has a happy ending

    @road cults need simple filters good or bad holy or satanic

    @truth I had clients who were personal friends of the Polish GV member (I forget his name )I think he's dead now who knew the extent of the mental illness and abuse of power by local elders. He was sympathetic to victims of abuse since his wife was an abuse survivor but he was caught up in the political double bind. After the series of articles came out in the Awake on abuse Bethel was deluged with letters of appreciation and help for aid. They had to kill that series for fear of opening Pandora's box this was pre-silent lambs etc.

  • JoenB75

    Doubtlessly jw does nothing for the mentally challenged being told to wait on Jehovah. If only they would cry out the mighty name of Jesus in the day of evil

  • Iamallcool


  • Finkelstein

    A proportionate amount of fear, guilty, obligation and shame into person psyche is bound to make anyone unbalanced and being that JWS are deeply brainwashed as such no wonder so many JWS suffer from mental health issues.

  • Pete Zahut
    Pete Zahut

    Those who are prone to depression and anxiety or obsessive compulsive behavior, often turn to religion. Those who are raised as JW's or somehow become involved with JW's on their own, hear what's being said from the platform and in the literature much differently than someone in a heathy mental state.

    When there is talk about Armageddon and the New System, the mental filters of the one afflicted with anxiety and or depression, often causes them to focus on the "Armageddon/Tribulation" aspect rather than the "Living forever in Paradise" aspect. Often they are filled with anxiety about their own or their loved ones ability to physically and emotionally survive Armageddon and/or being found worthy enough to be included in the New System.

    They will either loose hope, give up on themselves and begin engaging in unhealthy (sinful) behavior or they'll become overly strict with themselves and those around them. In order to quiet the overwhelming fear and unworthiness they feel, they'll often become overly zealous and immerse themselves in the religion, underlining paragraphs, applying scriptures to every situation, Pioneering at the expense of their own financial or physical health. Often this is followed by a crash, when they become exhausted.

    Unfortunately, unlike other religious groups, JW's encourage over the top zealous service. Sacrificing all, for the cause is seen as admirable. Sometimes those who have a more realistic view of the religion are seen as spiritually weak.

    Their leaders aren't trained to recognize the symptoms of mental illness, nor are they inclined to direct someone in need, to professional help. Unlike other churches in their community (that they despise), they don't partner with local mental health care organizations. As JW's, the magical thinking that keeps them in the religion, also leads them to believe that scriptural advice and faith in God is the answer to everything. Because they are prone to legalism, they are on the lookout for sin rather than mental illness and the actions of those who are mentally ill are often disciplined in their hour of need instead of directed to the help.

    (Don't even get me started on the toll "hope when delayed" takes on otherwise mentally healthy folks.)

  • LongHairGal


    Yes. I’ve seen those who stepped up zealous activity at the expense of their mental health, etc. when what they needed was to be medicated!

    It is also true that those who took a realistic view (like I did) were labeled as ‘spirituality weak’.. But, I also noticed that intelligent older people in the hall didn’t do crazy either..The poverty they were pushing wasn’t for them...just the few extremists who ‘sacrificed for all’.

    I took note of the examples of those older people in the religion back in the ‘70s..These people were collecting their pensions because they were IN the workforce.. Any pioneering they did was sensible and they weren’t living on the edge of poverty.

    The craziness, the oddballs and the no-work ethic came on full force in the ‘80s and ‘90s.. But, I certainly paid No mind to this and certain ones telling me I was missing out on ‘blessings’🙄..I kept my job until Retirement.

  • Spiral

    I've known many mentally ill JWs. It's sad because the ones that convert are looking for a coping mechanism, and instead, they just dig themselves in deeper. The bOrg's cycle of guilt/shame/redemption appeals to some people because that's all they know. For the born-ins, that cycle seems normal behavior that they learned from their parents.

    One time, years ago, an elder got a book about emotional hygiene (I think, something like that) and really thought it would help several in the congregation. He went to the book store and bought a dozen copies and passed them around. He meant well and the effort was appreciated. This was before it was considered (sorta) okay to get antidepressants. Counseling was usually considered taboo.

    The CO found out and was livid. He made him apologize from the stage and collect the books back. It was a disaster because it was a small common sense dent into the crazy wall but he was cut off at the knees.

    I think about that a lot - ALL of those people had problems, one ended up in prison, another committed suicide, etc. The brother was not a counselor but he was trying to get them help (and to go for free counseling - none of them had money) but the whole effort was shut down. And that CO, I'm sure he doesn't even remember or care.

  • Vidiot

    The two related pieces that Atlantis linked to were pretty decent, but once you got to the end and realized there was an obvious agenda of converting JWs to evangelicalism, it was hard to not take the info with a retroactive grain of salt.

  • shadow

    Wow! That's almost identical to my experience with ex-JWs who post on internet forums! And is worth about the same . . .

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