Can we ever get our loved ones out?

by SnakesInTheTower 16 Replies latest jw friends

  • SnakesInTheTower

    A post on another thread got me to thinking and writing.

    Should we even be trying to get our loved ones out of Jehovah's Witnesses?

    When a person truly believes in their belief system, or even if they don't but have held to that system for a long time, there is NOTHING we can say that will move them from that system.

    Why? Perhaps pride. Perhaps fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of social isolation.

    For an older JW such as my mom, I suspect this is the case. She was baptized in 1970, at the height of the 1975 fearmongering. Two JW special pioneers came to her door in Juneau, Alaska. She lived in a small apartment, with two little boys, me age 3, and my younger brother who was a newborn. My dad was in the Coast Guard, so mom was by herself a LOT. Age 26, no cable, no internet back then. Phone service to talk to family long distance would have been prohibitively expensive. Maybe a neighbor to talk to, but that was it.

    So to be offered to have adult company for an hour or more a week, talking about deep topics, was probably, in my mom's eyes, a relief. My mom studied with that couple multiple times a week for hours each time. Not just the old Truth book. But the Babylon the Great book. She rapidly progressed and went to the Kingdom Hall which, conveniently for her since she did not drive, was right down the street. Her social circle widened, and she was baptized. Now she had purpose.

    My dad soon joined her. An unwise decision for his career and their finances, but he left the military (technically Department of Transportation back then). They moved back to his hometown in the lower 48 in the midwest and was baptized in 1971.

    I will shorten this for now, but it provides the motivating factor of why my 75 year old mom remains a JW. My dad died in 1994, short of his 60th birthday. She was just shy of 51, a year younger than I am now.

    She remarries out of the Truth, moves to Florida, new instant circle of JW friends, just add Watchtower. Her husband eventually retires, they move to a rural town in southern Alabama. New Kingdom Hall, new instant circle of JW friends, just add Watchtower again.

    Here is the rub. Even if she knows in her heart it is all BS, if she left now, she would be back where she started: 1970, all alone, this time no little kids to care for, just a husband who is disabled, but for now somewhat active. But no other human interaction. Cable, internet, and cheap phone calls to family go only so far. Learning to build genuine friendships, when for nearly 50 years all you had to do for friends was have the commonality of Watchtower to have instant circles of friends, would be nearly impossible.

    All of that to say, it would be extremely cruel on my part to in any way discourage my 75 year old mom from staying the couse, faithful to the end, even if that faith in my eyes is misplaced. It gives her purpose.

    When my mom regular pioneered last year for the first time, and got to go to pioneer school, she was excited and exhausted. I encouraged her to only keep doing it if she still enjoyed it and it did not ruin her health. She did it for one year, then stopped this past September. Now, she and my stepdad vacation, at timeshares unfortunately, but at least they can while their health holds.

    I consider myself fortunate. I still have somewhat of a relationship with my mom. I see her once a year. We talk on the phone periodically. I am rebuilding and reconnecting with her non JW family, whom we were basically isolated from for decades. I spent 2 hours on the phone with her sister, my aunt, yesterday. I look forward to calling my cousin and getting to know him.

    I left the clutches of Watchtower in 2007. I haven't set foot in a Kingdom Hall since August of that year. I served that organization, and I thought God, from my baptism in 1983 at age 16, until I was removed as an elder in December 2006. I had been deeply involved, as a regular pioneer, MS, elder, MTS graduate, Assembly Hall volunteer, Regional Building volunteer, temp at Bethel, Patient Visitation Group, and other activities. All of that cost me education, careers, financial stability, genuine love, happiness.

    Yet, do you think anyone could have convinced me then that it was all BS? I had doubts in 1991 over chronology doctrines, and again in 1995 over the Generation teaching, along with abuse from within by those who were jealous of my success in the Organization, and prevented or delayed many of the goals I had set for myself

    I now have a loving non JW wife. We have been together 9 years, married 7. I adopted her son, now 17, a couple of years ago. Graduating high school this month, a semester early. His whole life ahead of him, I envy where he is in life.

    I did go back to college, while still an elder, got two Associates degrees. Finished after I left Watchtower. My career path is different than my education, but it was my first college course, in Ethics, that finally broke me free of that organization.

    NOT someone from the ex JW community, though this forum has been a lifeline. It took a college professor, who had no idea of my religious background, to influence my thinking. We never know what will break through to our loved ones still trapped inside.

    NEVER GIVE UP. BE THERE FOR THEM WHEN THEY ARE READY. Because unlike Watchtower, out here, there are no instant friends.

    Snakesinthetower (Rich, of the "Patiently waiting for mom to wake up" Sheep Class)

  • Incognigo Montoya
    Incognigo Montoya

    You are not much older than I, and I can relate a bit to your feelings towards your mother. Congratulations on living your life and furthering your education despite your upbringing and influence from the organization. Sounds like, despite it all, you've got your head screwed on straight. Good for you! Not easy to do after coming out of that life.

  • joe134cd

    Your mother is exactly like my father. At their stage in life and circumstances they are better of left there. For me to DA because of TTATT would just be an unnecessary inconvienence that would upset my relationship with my dad. Recently he got sick and he was able to have my jw relatives around for a week to look after him, while I was there. Just thinking how difficult this would of been if I had DAed. Status quo

  • eyeuse2badub

    Most of us can relate to some extent. Both my mom and dad died as "faithful" jw's. I no longer entertain the thought of ever seeing them again which is an empty but realistic feeling! My dear wife will probably never leave jw's but she has softened her feelings toward my leaving. As the OP suggests, most won't leave due to the fear of losing almost everything they ever knew. That fear certainly hindered me from leaving at least a decade sooner. I haven't given up on any of my family and continue to anti-witness whenever the opportunity arises.

    Thanks wt for teaching me how to identify opportunities to "informal anti-witness"! So far, I have one 'letter of recommendation', my second oldest son!

    just saying!

  • dubstepped

    Nice post. It's not our job to save anyone. We can't for the most part, it's up to them. It may put them in a bad place if they did wake up. They get to live their life, and I get to live mine. I never expect to see them again. If I do it's a bonus, almost a resurrection of sorts, as I'm dead to them and they're pretty much dead to me.

  • blondie

    I have attended Al-Anon meetings and Adult Children of Alcoholics and was told that we basically cannot get them out, they have to admit they have a problem and what they can do.

    There is no magic formula that enables you to help someone stop—or cut back—on his or her drinking. Alcoholism is a complex problem, with many related issues. But Al‑Anon can help you learn how to cope with the challenges of someone else’s drinking.

    It may be that you could help matters by changing some of your own behaviors that make things worse. It may be possible for you to find a healthier way to respond to these challenges. Again, there are no easy answers. But Al‑Anon meetings offer the opportunity to learn from the experiences of others who have faced similar problems.

    If they are in denial, they have to see there is a problem.

  • Xanthippe

    Some on this forum have got their family out so it's possible but I suspect the longer we are shunned the harder it is. How can a person come back from shunning a close family member for twenty or thirty years?

    I think they will probably prefer to stay in than admit they were so vile to someone they gave birth to and raised. Or someone they grew up with, shared a bedroom with as children.

    This is the evil thing this cult does. By telling people they are being loving shunning family they set them up for so much guilt when they realise it's all bs, they trap them possibly until they die.

  • Beth Sarim
    Beth Sarim

    There was a Susan Gaskin youtube video released a few weeks ago. She touched on how JW's have been influenced by an effective ''sophisticated' brainwashing technique. I also read some of the comments and they mentioned that JW's are under 'a spell which only certain few can snap-out'.

    I know it's unfortunate, that this is the way it is. But, stranger things have happened. Fact is sometimes a lot stranger than fiction. You see some people who were quite high on the totem-pole, so to speak leave the JW's.

    But yeah, exJW critical thinker did a video recently too. He interviewed someone and they paralleled waking-up to JW's as being on an airliner when the pressure in the plane drops. The oxygen masks drop, and you must make sure that you put your mask on first before anyone else does. This includes close family members and loved ones.

  • blondie

    The WTS calls that the me-first generation but applies it to non-jws.

    But yeah, exJW critical thinker did a video recently too. He interviewed someone and they paralleled waking-up to JW's as being on an airliner when the pressure in the plane drops. The oxygen masks drop, and you must make sure that you put your mask on first before anyone else does. This includes close family members and loved ones.

    It reminds of the counsel the WTS about running to seats at the conventions, knocking down some older ones but then made the non-jws seem to be the only ones who did this, me-first.

    “Me First” Tragedy

    When 11 rock music fans were trampled to death and dozens of others were injured trying to get into a recent Cincinnati, Ohio, rock concert, part of the blame was put on the seating arrangements. A portion of the seats were sold as so-called “festival seating,” in which those who are the earliest​—or most aggressive—​get the best seats. In this case, when the Riverfront Coliseum opened, the “me first” spirit took control even though enough seats were available for all. “It was mayhem​—bodies were all over,” said Assistant Fire Chief Norman Wells. Even so, the rock group performed because “we figured it would be better to let it go than create another panic situation,” he said.

    When the convention doors open at 8:00 a.m., some brothers and sisters can be seen running, pushing, and shoving to obtain the “best” seats. Injuries have resulted because of this type of behavior.

    God’s Word admonishes us to ‘let all our affairs take place with love.’ (1 Cor. 16:14) When the doors open at 8:00 a.m., consideration for others will restrain us from running, rushing, pushing, or shoving in an effort to get to the seats we prefer before others do. Seats may be saved only for those traveling with you in the same vehicle or living with you in the same home.​1 Cor. 13:5; Phil. 2:4.

  • JW GoneBad
    JW GoneBad

    Will our loved ones ever get out? There is hope...

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