Last Sunday's WT Study re Anxiety
This article could be seen as a nice read compared with the banality and repetitiveness of many articles in recent years. However, several areas in the article still troubled me.
Paragraph one externalises the cause of an individual’s anxiety to Satan the Devil. This immediately get’s the reader to focus on a source of the problem which is not subject to any mitigating influence. Similarly, paragraph two points to a “loving heavenly Father” making it “possible for us to gain considerable relief”.
Thus, right at the very outset of the article, the organisation itself is excused from any responsibility or culpability in engendering anxiety in its affiliates. So too does it de facto distances itself from being a source of solution and instead devolves this to the “Father”.
The introductory two paragraphs remind me of a negative first century figure. I would borrow his name to describe the GBoJW’s self-absolution from responsibility for causing anxiety among affiliates. The name I would incorporate into a group of behaviours which typify the paradigm of the GBoJW in many respects. The name/term is that of "Pontius Pilate Syndrome". So chosen because in this article, they are washing their hands of any responsibility for anxiety experiences by JW’s and similarly, do not reform the organisation to make it convergent with what they falsely claim it to be – a loving brotherhood!
Paragraph five recommends the reading of scripture as a means of assuaging anxiety. I would agree and cite page 755 of Insight Vol II regarding reading and meditating upon scripture....
"The help of God’s spirit is necessary for real discernment and understanding of God’s Word. (1Co 2:9-16) To get understanding and other benefits, a person must approach the reading of God’s Word with an open mind, throwing aside all prejudice and preconceived opinions; otherwise his understanding will be veiled.... Superficial reading is not enough. The reader must put his heart into it, be absorbed in study of the material, meditate deeply upon it, and seek to benefit from it personally. "
Trouble with this sage advice in the WT and Insight volume is that it places you in conflict with the organisation. This is because through time one discerns the organisation is becoming more and more divergent from scripture. Increasingly, it is the GBoJW (the self proclaimed F&DS) which is ascending in importance and the teachings of JC being de facto and de jure discounted.
Paragraph 6 is a very rare exception to the pattern of the GBoJWs self elevation and Christ being discounted however. This paragraph describes Jesus' concern and intervention. Whilst this paragraph is a pleasant read, yet the organisation behind its authoring projects a strong paradigm of corporate productivity (ministry hrs, RV's, BS, meetings, participation) and is remote from Jesus' thinking. Perhaps this is a reason behind the withdrawal of the WT statement of purpose from Jan 2013 onwards wherein it was claimed - "It adheres to the Bible as its authority."
That meetings are a means of individuals' obtaining help with anxiety in paragraph 18 is quite absurd. Were this really the case then individuals would be flocking to the meetings. As such, in the UK and many developed lands, people are voting with their feet. The content of the meetings are essentially repetitive, centralised (and thus remote from local needs), with speakers who are selected on the basis of ministry hours rather than their oratory skills, spirituality, love of scripture, or emotional intelligence. Why would you really go to a KH if you have anxiety? Why?
I have not experienced the “interchange of encouragement” mentioned in paragraph 18. Those in a position of leadership are focussed on themselves and the perceived importance of their roles. Thus, in terms of giving encouragement they are just not CAPACITOUS! This lack of encouragement filters down to congregations. So rather than encouragement, too many today encounter the proverbial cold shoulder or even shunning. For this to happen you don't have to be DF’d, DA’d, or reproved in any way. In fact, this behavioural profile on the part of congregations only serves to strengthen and legitimise an individual's increasing distance from the organisation.
The article mentions the fruitage of the spirit, and the help of Jesus Christ. However, this is in reality, the poorest quality of veneers and is quite disingenuous. Were a JW to be anxious due to being ill and hospitalised, the concern would be that s(he) complete a blood form and abstain from any blood transfusions. Indeed, the anxiety of being spiritually policed, and of treatment options being restricted by Watchtower Mutawa, would likely prolong or complicate the individual's hospital stay.
So much of the article is a nice read. But coming from the WT with their record undermines that very message in the article. It's somewhat like Trump, Erdogan, Duterte, or Órban preaching love, peace and tranquility!
The recommendations for alleviating anxiety outlined in the chart line up with what some health professionals have in print.
So, I choose to accentuate that part of this article.
Since leaving this community is not an option for me, how I survive mentally is accentuating the positive.
Actually, this is a good premise for mental sanity overall in today's world.
The alleviating anxiety recommendations are well thought out as you say. Also, have a look at the June 2010 Awake re stress and available via Avoidjw.org - a good read.
However, the advice is still in conflict with what the org teaches elsewhere (the productivity paradigm). Seldom does the org cite Jesus' example to "go up to a lonely place and rest up a bit." Having time to yourself is certainly part of maintaining mental health. Trouble is that this orgs demands on people are inimical to mental health!
I admire your endeavour to be positive. I only wish the org would be of such a disposition.
The Internet has done wonders in getting many a JW to put the religion in its place. I mean, I look around the Spanish cong where I attend and the vast majority is going about their lives not according to what the WTBTS prescribes, but in a rather practical fashion instead.
The 'awakened' class within is growing, and our eyes are wide open.
It has always been my opinion that the religion promoted anxiety. This is because of their teachings, guilt-tripping people that they're not good enough, plus trying to discourage their followers from getting higher education and well-paying employment.
Instead, the JWs promoted poverty as a virtue and anybody there who bought this nonsense is suffering..."Armageddon" has not arrived yet and people there who lived on the edge and opted to spend their time in the religion's ministry (because they felt they should) and who never planned are panicking.
This is designed to make the gullible rank & file look elsewhere for the real cause of their anxiety. But, anybody with an ounce of sense knows that the religion telling people not to get a career, save or plan is the major cause of people's anxiety!
Witnesses that believe everything the WT says are doomed to live with the perpetual anxiety that comes from never quite living up to WT's requirements basically because it's impossible to "fulfill the whole law" or get off Jehovah's hamster wheel. WT knows this they're not stupid, it's how successful cults work afterall. Set up an unachievable standard a cult classic.
So, even their articles on relieving anxiety induce anxiety, not because of the hamster wheel the sheeple find themselves chained to but because the message from WT is "stupid sheeple you can't even manage your anxiety the right way."
So disempowering! Which btw is also what cults like WT do.
First, who is it that wants people to just barely have sustenance? That creates anxiety, lest one should run into bad luck that could be a financial disaster. Many are one illness, one minor car accident, or one leaky roof away from major money problems. Of course, this results from cutting way back on regular work and throwing away all their "surplus" funds. Was Satan responsible for that?
On top of that, there are extra expenses. In addition to having a lousy job, they are supposed to pay for gas wasted on field circus all the time. Suit dry cleanings, car maintenance costs, and field circus supplies drain wealth. Grand boasting sessions usually waste money (unless it is in town, they need to waste money on a hotel room). Where is that money coming from? Is Satan responsible for this drain? And what about special expenses such as Israel missions? I don't think Satan caused them to go to Israel--if it was up to Satan, the whole mission would be called off, sparing the expense.
And what about other things? You get into an accident (say, crossing a street on a rainy day while in field circus and getting hit by a car). Several things contributed to that accident. You had a drab umbrella instead of that sunshine yellow Blunt umbrella (that would have been safer because you cannot poke an eye out with the ribs on that thing), so the driver cannot see you. It was raining, hence dangerous (and possibly dark, meaning visibility was an even bigger issue). Now, you need a blood transfusion because of that. Yet, you are not allowed one. Now, did Satan cause that accident? Had you been doing Satan's will, you would never have been out in field circus in the first place, and never had that mishap.
Jokehovians are subject to other anxiety that is inherent with the religion. Job security where you cannot accept a job or promotion because it might interfere with your boasting session or field circus activity, or even save your existing job. Not being allowed to have any fun because it might take away from boasting sessions and field circus. Always having to worry about obeying the damnation book, and the hounders' interpretation therein. How much of this is Satan really responsible for? Did Satan set the rules under which jokehovians are supposed to live? Or did joke-hova?
The Awake of June 2010 (article called "Keeping Stress Under Control" parallels the above WT study article in many respects. However, there is a part of the article which I sometimes quote. This results in the JW hearer tending to be quite surprised that such a thought was ever published. Last time I quoted it at the KH a significant number seemed uncomfortable - others surprised. Here is the quote...
"The Bible also helps us to cultivate modesty, which means having a moderate estimate of our abilities. —Micah 6:8.
God expects us humbly to acknowledge that we have physical, mental, and emotional limits and that we cannot do everything we would like to do. As difficult as this can be, we may need to learn when and how to say no to demands that exceed what we realistically can handle." (Page 9).
This article too, externalised stress aetiology, with the organisation neither looking at itself as causative or considering reform / tapering demands to assuage stress on its affiliates.
They just want to push people to do more and more....Another reason for anxiety as a JW (in addition to being naturally "unworthy" because of Adamic sin) is the fact that you can never do enough.
You are never supposed to feel good about yourself in the Jehovah's Witness religion. You should lay awake at night wondering what you may have done wrong, who you offended. In fact, all your waking hours should be dedicated to preaching every damned minute you can. You should be placing Watchtowers everywhere. And when you're not doing that, you should be doing favors for all the users in the hall. You know. The people who are better than you for some reason. And, you should feel guilty while you're doing it.
Never mind about earning a living or getting an education!
(Pardon my sarcasm about all the above. But, this is basically the message I got loud and clear in all the years I was in the JW religion. Thankfully, I ignored it.)
Printing all these articles is an insult to everybody's intelligence and just a way for the religion to say: "hey, don't look at us, it's not our fault you're anxious".
I'm so glad to be DONE with this religion and I cannot imagine sitting there anymore listening to their drivel.
All of you are right...the org. creates the anxiety, then tells you how to deal with it...something like what they do in ad agencies....The org. just tries to keep you so busy you don't see the slight of hand.
Anxiety comes to all sorts of folks....it's natural, for some it stays and for some it's a fleeting moment. We all feel anxiety at times...Some friends stay up all night wondering about stuff they can't control have anxiety...and you know why ? They don't trust or have the faith they boast about. That's the heart of anxiety, not trusting...whatever. For us that believe in God, we have anxiety because God ain't moving fast enough for us..we anx, because we think we can handle it...and tell God, I got this...I'll call you when I really need you...When God is saying...I'm there with you anytime....just ask me...
Most witnesses are worriers anyway...they can't wait for the new system...The org. plays on folks who have a guilty gene....so no wonder many never feel worthy...they never felt worthy at anytime of their life...so now they are a part of an org. that recognizes them, they start to feel worthy, then at every meeting...are we doing enough. I just sit there and answer to myself....yep Bro. I'm doing the best I can, & I know because Jehovah told me so.
Got to take man with a grain of salt....oh yeah, the org. appeals to folks who can't deal with life...as soon as they get an ache or pain, or any inconvenience...the first thing that comes out of their mouths, ah, this really helps me to appreciate the new system...I say really, life is not perfect, everybody is going through something one way or another...if we as JW's get sick or whatever the same thing is happening to everyone else in the world...JW's think nothing should happen to them or if it does...it's only them...persecution complex...I really want to say to some that say that...so what about your newborn child...see witnesses think the end is a fantasy, God will just get rid of bad people....All I know is JW's don't have the stamina for life...they don't take the trials they go thru to make them stronger....they are sheep like but in the wrong areas...