Why Do People Become Jehovah's Witnesses?

by minimus 44 Replies latest jw friends

  • scratchme1010

    There's this Psychologist named Elizabeth Esther who posted in her blog something very interesting about why people join. Here's her list of reasons (I agree with her take; this is from her blog):

    1. We Have What You've Been Looking For: Do you crave meaningful relationships? Are you tired of superficial pursuits? Do you long for abundance, happiness and wealth?

    2. Sense of Urgency: TODAY is the day of salvation! What if you die tomorrow? Will you have ANY regrets???? [SIDEBAR: when I was "witnessing" to people, I would get super frustrated when they replied, "Well, if I die tomorrow then I'll be glad I lived a good life." I was like: Nooooooo! BE ANXIOUS! BE VERY AFRAID! Otherwise this whole formula doesn't WORRRK!"]

    3. Sense of Purpose: Did you know God has a Great Plan for your life? Do you really want to miss out on that? Join our cause. God is REALLY MOVING in our generation. Together, we can change the world. [SIDEBAR: this whole phrase about "God IS MOVING in our generation!!" really annoys me. Newsflash, guys. God has moved in EVERY generation. God didn't suddenly start MOVING once evangelicals figured out how to build mega-churches. Or win political elections. When I was growing up we were all: yeah, Christianity existed and everything. But it didn't really START until like the 1500's when Martin Luther nailed a letter to a church door. I mean, THAT'S when God REALLY started moving!"]

    4. Sense of Superiority: we are the TRUE believers. We are the PURE ones. We are reclaiming what's been lost. We have uncovered hidden truths. You won't find this anywhere else. You might be a nobody in this world, but in OUR group you'll be special. [SIDEBAR: I often call this "The Special-Ness Syndrome." The more SPECIAL a church thinks it is, the faster I run away.]

    5. INCENTIVES!!! Look at all these beautiful women following Jesus! Look at all these godly, spiritual men! You could have TRUE intimacy. No more broken hearts. You will find a wife who respects and serves you. You will find a husband who loves and provides for you. You will find a community of like-minded people who will help you and you will never be alone again!! [SIDEBAR: in cults--as in everywhere else--sex sells.]

  • Cold Steel
    Cold Steel

    People become Jehovah's Witnesses, I think, because they want to be a part of what the ancient Christians had. Many wonder why God no longer speaks to mankind as He did anciently. They see the religious world in turmoil and strife and each group has its own beliefs. They want to find truth, and the WTBTS promises them the TRUTH in a world where few have it. It also offers them exclusivity. In a world where everyone else is wrong, they belong to the small minority who's right. And when the Lord comes, He will save them to the exclusion of everyone else. (I don't think many people would become JWs for that reason -- because they want to see everyone else destroyed -- but they do want to be on the winning team.)

    But the primary thing I think they're looking for is that they want the truth. And once they accept the the JW message, it encloses them like a Venus Fly Trap. Suddenly you're restricted in what you can read and you can't visit other churches or listen to their religious messages. They take up your free time and you're under observation much of the time. And after a few years they can pretty much run your life for noncompliance.

  • dozy

    Excellent post from scratchme1010. Very much applies to those who joined up in the "boom" times in the 50's - pre75.

    SImilar to other posters I don't know of anybody who has joined up in recent times who is reasonably stable.

    In my previous congregation over the last 20 years or so I can only think of 2 people who became JWs ( other than 2nd / 3rd generation born-ins ) . One had JW relatives & had a long history studying on & off for many years. The other was a bit of a local idiot with long standing mental problems who suddenly realised that he had the chance of dating a woman if he became a JW ( he eventually married one & has spent many years basically abusing her. ) And that's it. Neither came in as a result of door-to-door.

  • Gargamel

    With my parents, it's one story each. My mother was exposed to it as a child because my maternal grandparents were in it from young adulthood, I think (this would be shortly after WW1). My mother wasn't heavily involved as a youngster because my grandparents weren't pushy about it towards their kids - indeed, they appeared to become heavily disillusioned with it as they aged.

    When I was very young, I recall major problems at home. I later understood that my father strayed outside the marriage with several women - and he drank a lot.

    So, both parents were disillusioned with life generally, and sought a way to improve things. The first port of call wasn't the JWs though. My father's upbringing left him with negative feelings to the Church of England, and he wasn't too enamoured with more traditional churches. He even gave the Mormons a hearing, but I suspect the alcohol ban may have been a greater deterrent than anything doctrinal.

    The JW's came onto the scene when my father asked an old drinking friend how he had turned his life around and repaired his marriage. Oh dear! It transpired that he had become a JW - and that is where the rot set in. I imagine that guilt did the rest, wanting to make amends to his parents-in-law for messing up their daughter.

    It probably didn't help matters that my father was adopted in his first year, and only discovered this by accident (he found his adoption papers while looking through the family records as a kid). His step-parents never told him, and it only slipped out many years later that he was aware. So, I suppose he may have viewed the JWs as a quasi-family setup and it fulfilled something for him that had been missing.

  • The Rebel
    The Rebel

    Jesus said to his disciples " you will be fishers of men" and when a J.W gets a fish they don't let it go, but they throw it in their bucket of polluted water and never allow the fish to breath uncomtaminated water again.

  • ToesUp

    Instant "friends." It's not until you decide to quit associating yourself as a JW, that you realize they truly are not your "friends." Unfortunately, some family members dump you as well. It is sad.

  • LoveUniHateExams

    Why Do People Become Jehovah's Witnesses? - because they can't think for themselves. That's the brutal truth, I'm afraid.

    A case in point: myself.

    I was a fairly intelligent boy at thirteen and a half years old, when I started a 'bible study'. I was in top sets for Maths, Science, French and German. But I was unwilling or unable to think for myself at this age.

    I trusted the WTS to do my thinking for me.

    Look where that got me.

  • Londo111

    I’m third generation on both sides of my family. This was the mid-50’s. Both sets of grandparents were in their mid-20’s, newly married with young children. Coming up out the Great Depression, they were not very educated. They knew little about the Bible and the JWs who came to the door seemed to have all the answers.

    I believe the JW teaching of no eternal hellfire torment is an attractive alternative to many other fundamentalist churches who put the “fear of hell” into their adherents.

    The disfellowshipping arrangement and blood transfusion ban was freshly introduced not too long before this and my newly converting family likely real didn’t hear about that in their study.

    It was a different religion in the 50’s then what it became...why the few people who do convert do so is likely somewhat different than why people converted back then.

  • Sail Away
    Sail Away

    Mr. Sail Away and I just visited his only living relative other than his JW parents, his maternal Uncle Ed. Ed was never a JW. He is a retired university professor of Philosophy. Ed and my husband had not seen one another for over 50 years. Ed provided some much needed insight! Apparently, my FIL studied with the Witnesses on the advice of his father who was familiar with them, but was not a Witness himself. He advised his son to become a JW to avoid being drafted into the Korean War. Dad didn't expect it to take. It was just a ploy. He was mistaken. His son became a believer.

    My husband and two children were born ins. As a pre-teen I was in desperate need of family and stability. I thought the Witnesses would provide that. Maybe they did for a while, but in the end they tried to destroy my own marriage and family. I reached my tipping point and walked away. My husband and children left before I did, so the next generation is cult free!

  • minimus

    Excellent responses. I kind of think that people who are somewhat lazy and aimless and don't like thinking for themselves a re prime targets for Jehovah's Witnesses to convert

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