I certainly respect you perspective, that the witness faith isnt pure evil top to bottom. I agree. However some of your points worth remarking on, for instance:
JWs have more good points than bad
2) Equal monthly pay to all members of the Bethel community regardless of whether they are BC members or sweepers. This is something that still remains as an unattainable dream for the world. But JWs have successfully done it in all their Offices throughout the world for over a century. This is no insignificant accomplishment as this has the potential to solve virtually all the problems of the world.Your misstating the facts. Nobody at bethel is paid anything. Bethelites have taken a legal vow of poverty. They receive a "stipend" to offset small personal expenses.Im also lost as to why this makes number 2 on your list of positive things. The bethel "family" is very very small compared to the overall number of witnesses world wide and is shrinking. This is by no means representative of witnesses everywhere or a reflection on their positive influence on their members. Further i have no clue how you think receiving a small monthly stipend would virtually all the worlds problems. Thats patently ridiculous.you also said:But people choose to become JWs knowing very well about the above policy!Thats incorrect. Many many of the witnesses in the organization today were baptized as children. They had reasonable concept of what they were agreeing too or what it meant.Lastly you ended with the parting shot:In your case, you are not enjoying your lives even after coming out of JWs as you are still worrying about what JWs are doing and attacking them relentlessly (just like a divorced husband, who passionately monitors his former wife and attacks her with no let up).Far far from it. Most of us are EXTREMELY happy to be gone (to whatever extent we are gone) and find frustration only to the extent that we have to interact with family and friends that are still involved. We come here to help others break free, like you. Unlike the husband in your illustration we do not seek out active witness. We patiently wait for them to find us and then lovingly assist them :)
Jw's are not the problem. Most are very nice people. German people were not the problem in the WWII era either. Who gets people radicalized and fanatical?
Yep---that's the problem!
Carefully read the OP. A little confusing to be honest. The conclusion doesn't match the points being argued.
1.) I guess we could really use some definition of 'destructive'. Personally I don't find atheism registers on that scale. But, agree, if something helps someone to manage an addiction, brilliant. There isn't just one way to do this however.
2.) The Bethel allowance really isn't something to brag about. Does it meet minimum wage levels for the area? Does it meet living wage levels for the area? If the answer is no, equality in poor financial renumeration isn't a good thing! It's certainly not an answer to the world's problems (for reference, vulgar communism).
3.) I've always found JWs reliant on set phrases, pre-learned sentences and unable to engage in meaningful conversation on religious subjects. Some of that carries over into their personal conversations too. Watching the governing body give speeches highlights the huge problems with the JW method of teaching public speaking. To contrast, watch some of the best TED talks.
4.) JWs have often been canary in the mine on religious freedom issues, agree with that. At the same time, there's a lot of history there in how they've compromised, and pandered, with authoritarian regimes. Would highlight too that it's a very American view of religious freedoms which they promote and they fairly regularly have to have explained to them that other countries have different laws, especially when there's conflict between a public good and freedom to be a religious asshat.
5.) Being against evolution and for Arianism? Really? That's a good point? Your understanding of what constitutes a scientific theory is rather flawed. Perhaps something to research for yourself. Arianism is not new. Kind of unfashionable true enough, but then one does need to play with biblical interpretation to get there. None of this makes people responsible citizens though. Your point here is kind of logically incoherent I'm afraid - causes and effects are all sorts of confused. If your argument is that lots of people around the world believe the same things, yeah, that's a fair point. But that's one of the curious things about religions, people who don't share the belief leave, and those who remain get the religion to themselves. Not sure what it proves? JWs aren't unique in having shared dogma.
Curious really. Hope the OP has the time to explore some of the ideas which can be found on this forum. Perhaps weigh up whether a symbol can ever be more important than what is symbolised, whether allowing others to dictate one's interpretation of language (and then behaviour) should ever be a good thing, whether constantly getting things wrong but never owning to them is really a model to be encouraged etc etc. If the general point is that many JWs are nice, even good people, absolutely. I'll agree. But that doesn't stop them doing pretty terrible things in the name of their 'good'. Banality of evil as many clever people have commented upon since the Enlightenment.
ISW- Apparently you live in a " dream world " a " utopia " which will never happen. You stated that when you had questions and doubts you mentioned them to the elders they told you to " wait on Jehovah " ? I'm afraid you're going to have an awfully long wait my friend. It's not Jehovah that makes the decisions and WT policy for WT leaders - it's their corporate WT attorney's and the governing body and writing committee that creates those policies.
Look- Here's the deal please do research and inform yourself about the criminal hiding of child abuse within the JW organization that WT leaders are currently doing. Perhaps then you wouldn't be so supportive of their teachings if you REALLY knew what's going on behind the scenes. 99 % of JW's don't know what WT leaders are really up to.
Please google WT Society child abuse Gilbert Lopez case - and you'll see that he was molested by an elder whom the WT Society appointed as an elder with full knowledge that he had molested 7 other JW children. The judge in that case requested GB member Gerrit Losch to testify on the stand as to the policies of the WT Society in how they handle child abuse. He REFUSED to testify . The judge requested the WT Society to provide a list of names of 23,000 JW pedophiles that WT Society has on a computer database file who still attend at their meetings. WT Society REFUSED to hand over that list of names to the courts. The judge then slapped the WT Society with contempt of court and ordered them to pay 13.5 million $$$$$ to the victim Gilbert Lopez .
And you say that this is the organization that you are supporting ? You are supporting a criminal organization my friend . No amount of seemingly " good " things they do can make up for the criminal conduct of aiding and abetting and hiding child molesters from the law. If you cannot SEE this- then you are just as guilty as WT leaders and complicit with them in their criminal actions because you support them. Think about it
Your basic point seems to be that people who are doing bad things can change and do good things, therefore we are wrong for exposing the bad things in the WTBTS. (That sounds like a simplified WT article, doesn't it?)
Your logic is flawed. The scrolls chosen by the Council of Nicea ( False Religious leaders, BTW ) refute your line of reasoning. Remember what Paul was inspired to write at Romans 2:15? The people of the nations (Gentiles) could show that the "Law" was written in their hearts by following their conscience.
People can and do practice "good works" without ever setting foot in an organized religious body. Just because some persons practiced vile things and changed when they found religion, is no excuse for persons living in the 21st century to ignore religious hypocrisy and wickedness.
If you believe that you are not complicit in the wrongdoing of your religious leaders because you do nothing in the name of "YHWH" then you are mistaken. There is no biblical command to do nothing in the face of wickedness. According to the Bible, many were killed for trying to stop corrupt religious leaders, sometimes in the very temple dedicated to YHWH.
The phrase "Wait on YHWH" is an excuse for JWs to do nothing, while deluding themselves; they believe they are a positive force for change, and "spiritual", yet they are neutral at best. Ask yourself, " Did Esther "wait on YHWH?", then actually read the entire account. YHWH promised that the Jewish people would not be exterminated. Where was Esther's faith? Why did she act? Maybe YHWH should have punished her?
You shouldn't just assert that people here are unhappy. I'm pretty happy for the most part. In fact, my only source of unhappiness and stress is caused by the legalism and hypocrisy of the WTBTS. If they would disappear tomorrow, I would be even happier!
You should ask yourself, "Why are some persons not bothered by evil deeds performed in the name of God? Is it better to be distressed by legalistic and Pharisaic behavior, or just accept it a normal?"
Welcome! I hope you stick around! Also, JWFacts.com and JWStruggle.com are great sites. You don't realize it, but you are slowly approaching the "Rabbit Hole."
"""""Every organization (and even Governments) will have their own terms and conditions designed to protect their interest, and it is natural that anyone who tries to undermine them has to be disfellowshipped or should attract something similar (as Edward Snowdenrightly expects from the US Government).""""
ISIS and BOKO HARAM also have T & C's !
"""" In your case, you are not enjoying your lives even after coming out of JWs as you are still worrying about what JWs are doing and attacking them relentlessly (just like a divorced husband, who passionately monitors his former wife and attacks her with no let up). """""
Absolute baseless statement and assumption in typical JW Judgemental style [Well practiced and rolling of the tongue with ease] - after 60 years in the Cult I have never been happier now that I am away. I have made a personal choice and decision to attack their erroneous teachings when I wish and how I wish -
"""the higher-ups ............, told me to wait for Jehovah. """
They served you Cult-Kool-Aid ! And you imbibed !
There is NO middle-ground when it comes to the Watchtower Society. The Watchtower proclaims that a person is either totally for the Society or totally against the Society. A JW can not say that they agree with a doctrine and then turn around and say that they disagree with another doctrine.
For or Against, that is all there is with the Watchtower. The minute you say that you disagree with something the Watchtower is teaching, well then, you have just made an apostate of yourself!
Bottom line? If the people who defend the Watchtower were really happy and being provided real spiritual food, would they need to come here? Think about it! Isn't coming here a violation of Watchtower policy?
When they come here, their actions speak volumes!
Screw it, I'll take a stab on my thoughts:
1) I'm glad that you've been able to find some benefit from being a JW and turn your life around. There are, however, many groups out there that have similar results in helping people recover from dangerous addictions, anger issues, and moral bankruptcy. Many groups, I might add, that do not require absolute loyalty to the point of death. On the other hand, there are also many groups that make precisely this claim (see scientology, among many other cults) and while this is accurate in their case, I hope you'd agree that scientology helping a few alcoholics doesn't justify nor redeem their use of physical brutality to control and punish adherents. Similarly I don't think that the JWs helping you to turn your life around is sufficient to make up for the many wrongs it has committed.
2) I don't really even understand why this is such a good thing. I suppose if you're a communist, then it's great, but I tend to be more capitalistic in my leanings. This was already addressed by others here as well - the stipend may be the same (I don't know if it is or not) but the GB and other higher ups definitely get lots of perks. Nicer accommodations, free trips to see the world, speaking in front of thousands of adoring fans wherever they go, etc. Again, another poster already mentioned this as well, but it bears repeating - if they've taken the same vow of poverty and receive the same stipend, how is it that the GB members frequently walk around sporting watches that cost in the 5 figures? They clearly have other sources of income or receive gifts and do not take the lead in giving their "valuable things" to further kingdom interests.
3) The theocratic ministry school is valuable training for some, I'll admit. So is toastmasters, and you don't have to be prepared to sacrifice your life or that of your child should a blood transfusion be medically necessary in order to join toastmasters. Starting your day with the reading of the text may be beneficial to you, but it certainly never was to me.
4) The legal victories that the WTS has accomplished are indeed beneficial to many, but would probably have come about without them eventually. Their fighting for freedom of speech has set many valuable precedents but unfortunately it seems that this same freedom of speech and freedom of religion does not exist for their members. If I, being "on the books" as a JW were to speak to any elder about what I believe (or, more accurately, what I can no longer believe) I would be subject to punishment and shunning. Merely for what I personally think.
5) I'm not sure what you're saying about evolution here. You might want to educate yourself a bit, though. The overwhelming majority of the scientific community is in agreement on evolution, and those that are selected by creationists to attempt to demonstrate discord in the scientific community are often people that have no real familiarity with the field of evolutionary biology. The watchtower society in particular has quoted numerous scientists out of context and even published outright lies on the topic of evolution. There's too much that I can say on this topic to bother putting it in here if it's not going to be read, as this was what caused me to realize that, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the organization was capable of knowingly, willfully lying to me in order to further their interests. If you're actually interested in the topic, PM me and I can send you so me of my notes on this.
Yes, the 1st century christians believed that Jesus would return in their time. I don't see how past failures of christianity is proof that a currently flawed organization has god's backing, though. Furthermore, yes there was much gained (by the org) from the false prophecies like 1975 - many new ones were brought into the fold based on that promise. Many also lost everything because of their trust in it. Wouldn't it be better if they had not been so dogmatic about it and let everyone decide based on their conscience how they would respond? If they're benefiting from lies, how is that in any way godly? Isn't false prophecy a sign of lack of support from god? In fact, in deut. it is listed as a sin deserving of death to speak prophecy in the name of god that does not come true.
You talk about disfellowshipping as though it's a normal thing practiced by all organizations. I'll admit that revocation of membership is often used as punishment by many organizations. If I steal from my job, I'll get fired. But I won't have the entirety of my social circle taken away. My coworkers are not threatened with being fired themselves for merely sharing a drink with me. Furthermore, it takes much less to get disfellowshipped from being a JW than it does to be fired or declared persona non grata by a government. Governments that practice the rules that JWs have (i.e. any speaking out against the leadership, any talk about doubts or disagreements with official policy, etc) are commonly referred to as fascist, totalitarian, oppressive and violators of the rights of their people.
I wonder what problems with the organization you might've had. Without putting too fine a point on it, I wonder if backing down after being given the excuse to "wait on Jehovah" might show a lack of integrity on your part. Should someone truly "wait on Jehovah" when their child has been sexually abused by an elder, but it cannot be "proven" by the two-witness rule? What if they have another child, should they wait until that child is raped as well? Would insisting that the child rapist be removed from the congregation be putting themselves before the organization? Or let me ask this another way - when god's prophet approached king David to instruct him of his wrongs, was that prophet putting himself before "god's organization" of the day? Or was he simply carrying out his duty as he saw it? Was he following his own god-given conscience to set matters straight? We all have a responsibility to right the wrongs that we see, not to just continue floating along. It may seem like a stretch, and it's quite cliche to say this, but that's exactly how things like Nazi Germany happen - many people see the wrongs being perpetrated, but no one does anything for fear of being expelled (killed). You and many others have sat idly by knowing that something isn't right and what has that accomplished? Have the problems you've seen in the organization been fixed? How long should we wait on Jehovah? Maybe Jehovah is waiting on us to take action to bring them back in line with bible standards. Time and again in the bible god's people were held accountable for following a corrupt king or an organization that perhaps once had his blessing but no longer did. Even if these people truly believed they were following god's earthly organization, they were punished for their failure to see or act upon the problems.
In my case, I can say that I'm very much enjoying my life to a greater extent now that I am no longer attending meetings. My wife, however, is still an active JW. So why should I not be interested in what the organization is doing? I love my wife. From my perspective, she's being lied to. Should that not be a concern of mine? History may have examples of people attacking good people only because they are good, but it also has many examples of rebellion against dictators that kill their subjects. Rebellion against totalitarian regimes. Protest of vile corporations and corrupt governments and wars started on false pretenses. How can you tell the difference? How can you tell if we're legitimately mad because we've been lied to, mislead, and injured by this organization or if we're simply bitter because we didn't get our way? If you only look at it through the lens that the organization gives you, it will look like what they say it is. The only way to know for sure is to look at both sides. In my case, I found that the organization had indeed lied to me. Knowing that I now knew that some so-called apostates had legitimate reason to be upset. Further exploration lead me to find many many more reasons to be angry at the organization that I pledged my loyalty to. It's impossible for you to objectively state our motives and intentions without having explored the possibility that we're right.
Now as for your claim that the good points outnumber the bad:
1) Shunning of family members has caused countless suicides and is known by mental health professionals to be the most damaging thing that can be done to a person short of (and in some cases even surpassing) physical violence.
2) The 2-witness rule has lead to countless repeat offenders of child sexual abuse to go free in the congregation to seek their next victims. Reliance upon the family to report to the police (after being warned that it may bring reproach upon Jehovah's name) is insufficient because often the criminal is a family member or the family may feel too much shame at their failure to be able to face police. The watchtower society's rules on this topic have caused untold pain and suffering.
3) The blood ban makes no room for the christian conscience. A few years ago fractions were banned but now they're a "conscience matter." Do you suppose that it might be possible that many died prior to that change who's conscience would have allowed them to accept fractions that are now officially permitted? How many died simply because they followed the organization over their own conscience because to follow their god-given and bible-trained conscience would have meant that they would be shunned by their family? Does this not make the organization itself bloodguilty? Have they ever expressed repentance for the needless loss of life or did they simply change the rules and ignore the damage that they caused? Isn't repentance necessary for forgiveness from god? Does this not mean that you are following a bloodguilty organization that is not repentant and therefore cannot have god's backing?
4) The organization has lied (as I've mentioned above) on many topics to the rank-and-file. Is dishonesty ever acceptable, regardless of the good intentions or positive outcomes?
5) The ban on higher education has prevented thousands from achieving their potential and has resulted in unnecessary hardship on those affected.
6) Discouraging JWs from planning for the future has left many (my parents among them) without hope of a retirement and facing a future of paralyzing medical bills and working until they die.
7) The constant pressure to do more for the organization is demonstrably psychologically damaging and leads to scars that can last a lifetime.
8) The excuses and invalidating responses to genuine doubts and objections to the organization cause lasting psychological damage that can negatively impact relationships for a lifetime.
And I, too, could go on and on. I've beaten your list by 3 points, so you've got some work to do to show that the good outweighs the bad.
Yes there are good points but ad Jesus said if you break the least comandment and teach it you will be called least so if your rightousness does nkt surpass scribes and Pharisees ie lack of love by shunning persons Jesus himself would not shun you are dead man walking.
I'm not even going to bother kicking the fence to irritate the dog barking on the other side.