A thought provoking thread - thank you for getting it started.....
So yeah, It's been acknowledged that there are of course, many 'happy' Jehovah's Witnesses.
Many are 'happy' and 'joyful' in their long suffering - and I'm not knocking that...being cheerful, steadfastly patient and enduring in the face of 'adversity' usually produces feelings of quiet joy....many people of faith ( any faith) live like this....throughout history. I'm not excluding atheists in this - it seems to be an inner sense of hope and love for humanity that produces enduring 'happiness'.
I was intensely joyful over long periods of time, being a JW....my interpretation of Armageddon was that only the utterly wicked would surely reject Christ in the very final part of the days and that ALL would surely 'turn' and praise him in the final hour, unless their hearts were black.
Jesus, Jehovah increased my love for others. My heart saw everyone as a future brother or sister. Everyone.
Which is at odds with the 'party line'.....
But - the JW culture gradually revealed itself - it is a 'captive' organisation as Angus Stewart so aptly called it.
The rigid conformity to detail on personal grooming, indoctrination methods, recruiting methods and so much more, go way beyond scriptures.
I have seen utter, utter misery in the org - EVERYWHERE, and I had a large network of those who I have met throughout the world.
I've lost count of the number of JW men and women who can barely leave home due to depression etc - seriously.
I have seen highly prized career pioneer sisters go out and recruit new 'young ones' to take under their wings...whilst their own children are skeletons in the closet, 'gone' lost in a world of drugs.
There's happiness alright - but so many get lost, for not fitting in ( and that has nothing to do with a Christian personality issue - but not fitting the corporate branded look)
Absolute misery exists in these KHs....lost amongst the hard nosed gaiety and social acceptance which is a ticket to a good life.
I've seen it all - and I personally know of non JW family members who would have absolutely been crushed by the JW spirit - who were not hard enough to have survived.
So, I had to step away - it's so complex.
I don't know the answers.
I have my own faith...pretty much the hope of universal reconciliation - I'm working on the joy that should alone give me - but it's tough after years of being in a 'group' and having my daily life supported by a community.
Was I happy?
Yes.....but looking back, it now feels like what an artificial sweetener is to honey....and I feel for the poor gentle souls who constantly have their self esteem eroded every time they pick up a publication, listen to a sneakily critical talk....and get another lash of the whip when they realise they can never replicate the 'corporate branded Christian' image of the JW culture.
Should those promoting this agony be called to account? Certainly the leadership - yes....the followers? Argh....it's a mess.