This probably sounds uppity. I'm saying it anyhow

by stillin 40 Replies latest jw friends

  • Gayle

    They think they have found "truth" like it is mostly a done deal. They don't have to seek more info unless it is provided by their utility water company. Their water is polluted and limited. It is beyond me how they don't get bored out of their minds. Their repetition is suffocating.

  • punkofnice

    I'd be interested to know what religions (which are all scams in my view), are not pre-suppositional.

    I think a liberal sprinkling of the 'atheist experience' on youpube was good enough to make me realise what a dumbed down fundy I was being. I regret that part of my life.

  • Juan Viejo2
    Juan Viejo2

    Dozy wrote:

    "I was a JW for 40 years and knew numerous JWs but I never met anyone who could be regarded as really intelligent. I'm sure there are some out there, but I never came across one. Being a JW kind of chokes off any intellectual curiosity and thirst for knowledge which is essential to keep on growing and people, even if well educated initially (albeit pretty unusual with JWs ), tend to stagnate at best, or regress."

    Dozy got it right.

    I was fortunate to meet several very intelligent JWs of both genders. They all had one thing in common: The ability to express their disagreements with Watchtower literature - or the wit and wisdom of local and traveling elders - without going over the line and actually trying to engage the consent or participation of others. What they said was, more or less, "in passing."

    But I learned a lot from those JWs and what they did accomplish was to make me rethink my participation and dedication to a very errant and defective religious clan.

    And that's what we were: a "clan." It was always "us JWs" versus [the rest of the world] [Satan] [false religion] [evil ones] [politicians] [Catholic Church] [apostates] [you pick one].

    For many, it was truly a fight to the death. As soon as they got into that "sweet spot" of being "dedicated to Jehovah's service," then all other facts, new scientific knowledge, world news, and changing political positions were tools used by Satan to "weaken our faith." We were dedicated to resisting anything and anyone that MIGHT weaken our faith.

    That's why our "clan" would only listen to others in the clan. Everything and everyone else was suspect, but the old sister in the backseat who rambled on about how "Satan was tempting us" and "placing roadblocks in our way at every opportunity" was accepted as someone "mature" and "in the know."

    Being "dedicated to Jehovah's work" was a sign that a person held in some higher regard and rank by God and should therefore be given every opportunity to express their opinion - while our opinion was mostly worthless and suspect.

    During my nearly 20 years of association with Jehovah's Witnesses, I probably met less than two dozen JWs of any rank or level of participation that I really considered intelligent and credible. Two of them did what they had to do, but limited their participation as much as possible. One other was a former Bethelite who was clearly "tainted" by his personal experiences while serving at WT HQ.

    What I did realize as I aged into the "maturity" of my 20s was that the levels of real intelligence and knowledge was quite low among my JW peers. Few were truly credible. Some were clearly hypocrites and posers. Some were totally ignorant of even basic knowledge.

    I came from an era when television sets and movie theaters were "sources of sin and designed by the Devil to waste our time." Once - while sitting in a car with a couple of older JWs (I was about 10 or 11) - I mentioned that I watched "Victory at Sea" (a famed documentary series about World War 2) on our 12-inch black and white TV that my father had recently purchased for $125. You would have thought that I had admitted to watching the vilest of porn - not something historic and informing.

    So I understand the alarming level of overall ignorance of Jehovah's Witnesses. Stupid and ignorant people will tend to accept stupid and ignorant mis-information from others of their clan, passing it on to others, and therefore growing and spreading their ignorance. That's why gossip (some really nasty and unwarranted) was popular among JW sisters of my time - especially spouses of "servants" [we did not call them "elders" in those days].

    God! I really miss those halcyon days of obscene ignorance and hypocrisy. But those qualities are still very much appreciated by modern JWs and their leadership.


  • Giordano

    A couple thoughts on this point of view:

    There seems to be, on average, a higher level of intelligence here than there is at the Kingdom Hall. Actually, intelligent conversation seems to be looked down upon among the Witnesses.

    I have noted that difference on this forum. Yes we have, in many discussions, a higher level of intelligence at work. There are reasons for this difference.

    It's knowledge we respect now not some trumped up fanasty belief system and what it entails to be a practicing JW.

    As a JW, beloved by the flock, given a measure of respect, one has to engage in and surpport rational ignorance. Which means refraining from acquiring knowledge when the cost of educating oneself on an issue exceeds the potential benefit that the knowledge would provide.

    Something like evolution, what other religions believe, science, etc.

    If you can't speak openly about these matters you lose the ability to articulate a non JW point of view. You live in a room with no windows a Kingdom Hall.

    You have exchanged speculation ( a no no in the JW world) for strict obedience. However, oddly enough, you must be obedient to the speculation that the Society puts out. Russell, Rutherford and Freddy Franz used speculation as the lynch pin of their evolving and very ignorant beliefs........ as does the GB.

    Stupid is being and staying a JW......... little to nothing can be done about that condition. However Ignorance can be corrected.

    So one of the patterns I see on this forum is the learning curve that takes place when you are encouraged to speak your mind, when you do some research and share it with others. When a post causes you to google the thought or opinion and climb the information branches until you reach a point where you begin to understand.

    I can't tell you how many times I started a search with a premise, or speculation and arrived at a place that clearly showed me that I was wrong. Sometimes I discovered a more solid truth or fact that I didn't know about. An intelligent person is not afraid to change their mind.

    On a more practical note, concerning other posters, I try to keep in mind that a lot of our posters have a first language that is not English.

    I also note that many post at work and there is little to no time to make corrections. Others use those tiny keyboards where it is so easy to hit the wrong key.

    One of my rules on this and any other forums is while I can write something when I have been drinking ........I don't send it until I reread it when sober. To be honest I usually trash it.

  • FedUpJW

    As a teen, I was told, 'you think too deeply.'

    In my seventh decade of life I am getting told very regularly that, You think too much!" I mentioned it to a non-believing friend who told me I should just give the other person a hard stare and tell them they don't think enough!

  • sir82

    Curiosity, reason, critical thinking - are immediately and severely punished within the JW org.

    As a result, kids learn not to do that, and any adults who join likely never developed those attributes (else why would they have joined?)

    Advancement in the organization is determined solely on one's ability to obey, and perhaps even more importantly, "submit" - obey without question or complaint.

    As a result, what happens in the congregation? It's an echo chamber of people parroting orthodox views.

    The higher you go in the organization, the more "yes sir's" have been said.

    Until you get to the top - and then what?

    There's no one left to bey - and you haven't developed any skill that is required of a leader.

    So you get the colossal muck-up that is the JW organization - a rudderless ship drifting aimlessly filled with people praying to an invisible deity that they don't hit an iceberg.

  • stillin

    Wow, you guys! You never cease to amaze me. Maybe it's the broader base of individuals that can respond to a post that makes it seem a lot more vibrant here than the "clan" of local Witnesses. But really, you people rock! And I am saying that from my slightly-below-average brain.

  • jdash

    Remember no higher education in the organization, maybe that's why.

  • jwundubbed
    - There seems to be, on average, a higher level of intelligence here than there is at the Kingdom Hall.
    - Also, the simple language skills found here seem to be above average compared to those among the Witnesses. Some of the grammar here could use some polishing-up, but there is actually some substance to a lot of the thoughts presented.

    First, intelligence and education are two different things. A person can have a high level of intelligence and still be illiterate. Intelligence is a measure of what a person is capable of understanding. Education is what a person has actually learned.

    Leaving a cult doesn't mean you leave your education, or lack thereof, behind you. Some people find that they are free to learn more and not just about religious beliefs but about everything. That doesn't make them more intelligent than those they left behind.

    I see a lot of people on this forum who seem to have traded one narrow-minded set of beliefs for a different set of narrow-minded beliefs. I see a lot of commentary that is ridiculously uneducated, especially since Google is free and readily available. We have more access to verifiable information and legitimate sources of information than we ever had before and yet a lot of people don't bother to look things up. Or they go to sources that tell them what they want to hear instead of the unbiased facts and well-rounded points of view.

    I see a lot of people on this forum who worked really hard to become better educated. I see a lot of people who don't have a lot of education but are clearly smart. Their spelling and grammar might not be the best but they are clearly working hard with what they've got. And a lot of JWs never finish certain levels of schooling.

    To me, this is exactly what I saw in the Kingdom Halls. I saw about 50% of people who were intelligent but uneducated. I saw a few people who were educated and intelligent, but they didn't stick around very long. I saw a good amount of people who were both uneducated and of low intelligence.

    I think what you might be seeing is that the kind of people who leave the JWs tend to be people who want to be more educated, but also many of whom are of a higher intelligence (not higher than non-JWs, but higher than those JWs more likely to stick with the cult).

    In my immediate family, the six of us are all very intelligent people. We don't all have book smarts but we are all smart in one way or another. My little sister is the only one of us kids who stayed in the cult. She went to college and she has a high level of intelligence. She has some very backwards beliefs which she gets to keep with the cult. She is one of the few people I know of who is both educated and highly intelligent and chose to stay in it. My mother is of good/average intelligence but she never finished high school. She doesn't think that she is intelligent or smart enough to survive in the world outside the cult. She has other reasons for staying but I know that plays a part as well. My little brother, my father, and my older sister are extremely intelligent people and they all went on to higher education. I am a very educated person but I'm pretty sure my intelligence quotient isn't anything to write home about. All four of us left the cult.

    I think people with more education or higher intelligence are just more likely to leave a cult.

  • Vidiot
    Juan Viejo2 - "...all other facts, new scientific knowledge, world news, and changing political positions were tools used by Satan to 'weaken our faith'."

    Hoo boy, that takes me back.

    The older I got, the more that bugged the shit out of me when I saw it.

    I wanted to yell, "Jeezus, people, not everything from 'The World' is a weapon pointed specifically at us! Sometimes a thing is just a thing!"

    'Course I realize now that that attitude was really an outward manifestation of sheer (albeit subconscious) terror at the possibility that the WTS really was wrong, and therefore disproportionately hostile towards anything that might prove it (subsequently compelling one to leave).

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