Did Being a JW Make You a Better Person?
I heard many times when I was a witness how much "learning the truth" helped people. Many have been said to have become much better people. Addictions were given up. Anger subsided. Hippies became cleaned up better dressed people (apparently). These were the kinds of things I was told over and over again when I was growing up in JW land. Somehow, it sounded like to me anyway, just knowing "the truth" was all that was needed to give up smoking and the like.
How much real help was any of this to people in your experience?
No. It made me a much more uptight and judgmental person. I'm so much nicer and easier to get along with since I left this cult!
I would have to say that religion helped me to be a better person. I grew a conscience, I felt that I was actually helping people when I was witnessing to them, I acquired social skills that I didn't have before, I got to know people from cultures that I might never have known. And more. Of course it was all in a controlled environment, but that's better than not at all.
It made me an emotionally stunted, shamed and uptight person. No it did not make me a better person. Equally, leaving helped me accept myself and be less judgemental towards others.
On the plus side, I learnt how to refrain from littering ( )and my OCD tendencies came into their own (e.g., overly organized, focused, self-absorbed).
Most people do better when they follow a routine, follow a set of rules or a lifestyle that is based around a positive set of behaviors. This can come in the form of joining the Boy Scouts, Joining AA, being part of a civic group or club, joining a church or religion....any religion.
Anyone who is a drug addict, living a debased life or a life with no moral compass , would benefit by replacing those activities with ones that involve joining others with positive goals. There are people whose lives were improved by becoming JW's but this doesn't mean that JW's have the one true religion and that if you aren't one of them, your life will be a train wreck or that you'll soon to be destroyed by God.
I feel the best way to say it is the abuse I received outweigh any good traits I may have learned. Still Totally ADD
Thanks for the comments. I have to say, on the flip side I knew several people for whom I learned were basically unchanged by "learning the truth". They were already good people before they joined.
I also knew several who went back to their addictions or developed addictions while JW's. This includes myself. I knew of several who were disfellowshipped at least three times. In private conversations with them I realized they were not helped one iota by the elders. They simply didn't have any answers. This is when I realized I wouldn't get any help myself from the elders either. In fact, the elders pretty much told me it was up to me to figure it out. So I did, without their help.
Some of the basics of JW life were helpful of course but other positive pursuits including less controlling religion could have done that. The biggest help to me was Pscychology, learning how the brain works. Spiritual work, meditation and prayer.
No ! it made me stupid, anxious, ignorant. fearful, self righteous and arrogant
Boredposter - good topic. It's so interesting to know others' experiences. It didn't help me one iota. Made me angry, physically sick, stressed beyond - I couldn't believe there was a god helping anyone in the hall. I was so happy when I decided to just forget about it.
It made good people I knew before they joined judgemental - or rarther their children judgemental and bigoted - they were raised that way, couldn't help it. But I knew that wasn't them deep down.
Some undoubtedly may have been slower to anger etc. But I think a lot of people hid their issues, instead of talking about It and getting help, addictions, porn, online gambling etc
As for me there is only *one thing* that has changed. I used to believe I would never kill under *any* circumstance, no matter who, mass murderer etc. Now I would. In order to protect my family, the innocent etc from someone attempting to take their life I would be prepared to take theirs.
Because I now know we get one chance, I view murder far more seriously...it's the ONLY thing you cannot make amends for or give back. So now, I believe in the severest penalties for murderer's and I would not hesitate to protect the innocent even if it means killing the criminal/terrorist/killer etc
I leave it to you whether you think me a better or worse person for it.