A question for you women; what was it really like for you being in the Org?

by Tallon 38 Replies latest jw experiences

  • jwundubbed

    Awful. We had zero rights. Women are good for cleaning toilets and making babies. We couldn't even be ministerial servants. We got to watch men who were complete assholes have every advantage over us. Our mothers had to cover their heads with 'something' if they presided over a bible study or prayed for the group but we were never taught to carry anything to cover our heads with... so they covered their heads with Kleenexes and shoes and whatever else was handy. How humiliating do you think it is for a woman to have to find something to cover her head with because she is taking the lead when there are only children... but MALE children in the room. It is completely demeaning and despicable.

    I was timid and shy but my sisters were outspoken and headstrong, so I was treated the same as them... because women aren't stand alone human beings with their own minds. No we are objects and we can be grouped together as though we have a hive mind. And men.... make despicable objectifying comments about all the women in the congregation and it is completely acceptable. Even now.... on this forum... go find the threads where some jerk male is making fun of weird and funny people and notice how many of those men make fun of women or are fat and awkward and etc. It is disgusting and shows you what they were taught was acceptable ways of treating women.

    Look at all the stories where a couple are pulled in for a JC for some romantic something... and notice how often the women get worse treatment than the men. Notice that the JC in and of itself is biased towards women. It is completely different for a man to talk about intimate acts in a room full of men, and a woman having to discuss intimate acts in a room full of men. it is completely inappropriate in any normal social environment but it is acceptable in the JWs.

    I saw so much abuse of people in the cult. I personally knew so many women who were beaten and grossly abused by their husbands. My mom, for some unknown reason was always picking these women up after domestic disturbances. And for whatever messed up reason she brought her three daughters with her to help. I've seen broken noses and black eyes. I helped my mom wake women up when they were blacked out on the floor from the beating they took. I've listened to these women cry and weep and be told to pray about it. I've heard the abject misery in their voices when describing how elders tell them it is their fault because they aren't being wifely enough, or they aren't being what God wants them to be. And I've watched those very men get more and more privileges for no good reason. I've watched and heard elders talk about what good men they are because they give such good donations to the cult. I've seen how not one of those men ever stepped out in service or did anything remotely resembling the crap every other woman has to go through just to be considered a good sister by the congregation.

    Ive seen the absolute worst behavior inflicted on women by other women in the slightest form of higher positions, being the wives of elders.

    I've ween women who could have been amazing broken down until there is nothing left. I've seen women with beautiful minds being treated like breeding cows and nothing more. I've seen young women who could have been strong and independent treated like whores by every male in the congregation.

    I have seen the worst of the worst.

    If I had the listening ear of the GB... I would put foghorns in their hearing aids and set them to full blast and disable the off switch. I don't want to fix the cult. I want to see it gone from this world. You can't fix that kind of systemic abuse and grossly unjust behavior by having the people in charge listen to the lowly women. What a patronizingly stupid idea. I mean... think about your own question. Does that sound like reality to you? How did you not read that before you hit 'post' and think.... maybe this is a little bit patronizing and I should reword it just a bit. Consider that this is how you were taught to talk to women. Maybe instead of asking us what we would like to be heard on, you should consider how you can change your part in all of this. If the men in the cult changed into open-minded educated people who don't talk down to women and think that we need them to listen to us so that they can change the world... maybe all of our worlds would change for the better.

    I don't need the 'listening ear' of any dumb man. And they are not just dumb men, they are ignorant bigots. I have no desire to have any conversation with them. Instead of trying to change them, I changed myself. I got educated and I got out of the cult... and not even in that order. I don't need 'a man' to change my world. I am competent enough to change my own world thank you very much.

    @Tallon, welcome back.

    Sorry if my post seems a little spiky. I get that way when I think about how awful it was to be a woman in the cult. I really don't mean any insult towards you. At the same time, I stand behind everything that I said. Part of getting educated was getting a minor in ethnic and gender studies. That taught me a lot about the discrimination and biases that I personally saw in the cult. The hardest part of that study was learning that I came out of that cult as an ignorant, self-righteous, abusive, privileged person. I had to do a lot of changing because I really didn't like who I was. And I am constantly looking back and seeing how awful and how inappropriate my own behaviors were. If it helps,. I've called myself out way more than I called you out in this post. And I deserved it too.

  • days of future passed
    days of future passed

    You were always reminded in talks and publications, that you were the weaker sex. "A porcelan vase" that could easily break. Was it good old Paul that recomended that a woman would be kept "safe" through childbearing? Otherwise they would be just gadding about and getting into trouble?

    I knew of one sister that was married and her husband thought it would be a good idea to sell their nice house and move to Hawaii for a possible job. What is so bad about doing that? Well the job fizzled, Armaggeddon didn't arrive, and they had to move back without much money and start over. She proudly said that she had to obey her husband.

    A really nice sister that had been married (husband went thru mid life and ran off with another's elder wife) got remarried to another elder. On a part on the meeting about what was the best thing about the truth, he answered that the best part was that his wife was submisive. Nothing about her kindness or personality, just that she obeyed him and he made the choices.

    I always felt conflicted. You were supposed to be happy over being submissive but I was also angry. A strange kind of glory of having to suffer through wrong or stupid decisions by a male. Shrug your shoulders over ineptitude cause they were calling the shots.

    The only time I ever had a positive feeling from literature, was a three part article on the women that followed Jesus around. Imagine being in that time and having men consider you to be a natural born liar and untrustworthy. (not much different from the GB's view) So here is Jesus, treating women like something to be valued. I imagine a woman wrote these articles and it still sticks in my mind. There wasn't the usual down talking or qualifying in the articles. But that is the only one like that. How clever the person was in writing the Bible to start out making sure that the women could be blamed for all the miseries on earth. The GB like that idea and rub it in when ever they can.

  • Freedom rocks
    Freedom rocks

    I remember being at an assembly and being on the first aid team for the first time and felt I was going to be useful until I was told that if a situation arises that the brother I'm on with takes the lead and I'm just there if he needs anything. I had 17 years worth of different first aid training courses and someone less qualified was to take the lead just for being male. I didn't volunteer again.

    At a convention I noticed the "sisters" wearing blue vests instead of the usual fluorescent yellow ones they'd always worn so I asked why and someone told me she'd been told it's so no one thinks they're on an equal level with the brothers. She thought it was ridiculous but said "we just have to show submission".

    When I was married I don't know how many times my ex said to me "I'm supposed to be head of the house!"

    He even went through an article with me about marriage for family worship and at the end he said "it would be good if you could show more submission as Jehovah wants women to be submissive to their husbands and you're not submissive enough". I don't know how I stopped myself from packing his bags there and then.

  • blankspace

    Wasn't too bad for me because I was never submissive and too thick-skinned to be affected by others' comments - until I went to bethel. That's where I learned my "place". But funnily I was assigned to a role in one of the more "elite" departments that would rarely be given to a lowly woman. It was fun to see grown-ass men swallow their pride when they had to get information approved by me. My husband is an open-minded guy and treats me as his equal. He's been an elder for many years and is also PIMO now.

    On a side note, I hate the concept of head coverings. It isn't even scriptural and is an entire doctrine founded on a single scripture that applied in principle to an earlier era. I guess it gives the boys' club a kick to see smart women with a cloth on their heads. I find it plain humiliating.

  • Vidiot
    the girl next door - "...some stupid comment would be made about my medical degree clouding my mind and blocking the Holy Spirit..."

    I LOL'd at that one.

    the girl next door - "...all it amounted to is every single one of them was a tool..."

    Guys like that do seem go far in the Org these days, don't they?

    One of my little wake-up things was clueing into the brain drain that was happening...

    ...I figured out quite quickly that if the trend continued, the Org'd be left with a "Worldwide Body" of morons.

  • Amelia Ashton
    Amelia Ashton

    As a working single sister with children but no parents in the org every baptised male thought it was his place to tell me what to do because......their council came from the Bible even tho they did not have the experience themselves.

    P*ss*d me right off especially if it was a 23 year old MS and I was almost 50.

  • LongHairGal

    ...Also, I didn’t much care about ‘brothers taking the lead’ in congregation stuff - since I wasn’t really interested.

    However, my personal life outside the hall (including my secular job) was NONE of their business. I resented how everybody always overstepped their boundaries and thought they could say anything to a single woman (no matter her age). Any nosey question was a possibility with these deluded over righteous idiots. I’d like to see them try that shit with married people.

    Some people I had to be a little snide to and as a result I got a reputation of being outspoken and sometimes hurting peoples feelings. I was told I should use ‘tact’. The only problem with tact is that it only works on other tactful people. If your opponent has no tact (like the idiot brothers and some nervy sisters) your tact will be used against you and they’ll roll over you like a steamroller. So, I have no regrets about this.

    Thankfully, I was not raised a Witness and I had my street smarts. I knew that how the Witnesses acted was not normal or proper and my guard was up. I had to be this way until I finally ‘faded’ from the religion!

  • Vidiot

    Frankly, I've become convinced that that whole "submission" thing (of male-dominated ultra-conservative religions in general) is really just a blanket to cover the real - if unspoken (or even unrealized) desire...

    ...that women go back to being - for all intents and purposes - property.

    (And I have some theories about why, but that's a whole 'nother thing.)

  • Cadellin

    So many interesting experiences here! Thank you everyone for sharing. For my part, I remember being super little--like kindergarten age maybe--and not being able to figure out why women couldn't do everything men could do in the organization. That never left me, and as I grew older, I finally told myself that if God is sovereign and made everything, then he had the right to decide who got to be boss. Of course, that never *really* set well with me but I was a super-pious 20-something pioneer, Bethel commuter, ultra flirt and just too busy have a great time socially to really worry about it (and yes, that is totally possible as a young JW, depending on where you are!). It was one of those things that I just shoved to the back of my mind, where it quieted down but later, started jumping around and waving its arms until I couldn't ignore it any longer.

    When I finally started thinking about it, the whole idea of man being head and woman being obedient, which never made sense to begin with, just became more and more nonsensical. It made me furious to show up for service on a weekday when it would be me and a handful of incredibly mature sisters, one of which would take the group with a scarf on her head but her 10 year old newly baptized son would have to say the prayer. Looking back on it now, it is is actually laughable, it's so crazy.

    What's worse is how it affected me on the job. I'd be in a meeting and notice something or have a good idea but couldn't bring myself to speak up because there was this horrible feeling that one of the men should be the one to say it, or that I would be out of place to bring something to their attention. And then a few minutes later, someone would say the exact same thing I was thinking and be roundly complimented or whatever for their great idea! It's taken me a long time to get over that (which I now have, thank goodness). But the scars are real.

  • Tallon

    Wow! … I generally knew that women have a raw deal in the Org however, I never knew the extent of it.

    Thank you so much for sharing your experiences. It is a real eye opener.

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