Who can you trust to admit you have doubts?
(That is, doubts)
In Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale", a futuristic story of life inside a repressive, abusive Big Brother-style society tightly controlled by religious fundamentalists, there's a passage in which the protagonist is alone with another woman at a state-controlled centre where prayers are generated -- then printed out and read out -- by a machine. The other woman asks, in barely more than a whisper, "Do you think God listens to these machines?" The protagonist is shocked by the question; although she knows the prayers are meaningless and contrived, she is forced in that instant to decide between denouncing the woman as a traitor and heretic ... or agreeing with her, knowing that it could be a deadly trap designed to extract from her an admission of her disbelief and reveal her as an apostate and enemy of the state.In the last year or two of my life as a JW I faced the same agonising decision as the woman who dared to utter that question. There were many things I questioned or disagreed with, and my wife and I would ask ourselves if we really wanted to live forever in a society ruled by the tyrants in charge of congregations and assemblies and JW branches. At meals or parties where Witnesses gathered and drank, or even out witnessing and alone with a brother, I would try to subtly, carefully, raise those questions and air those doubts.There were three different types of reactions. Two elders, whose own constant but sly criticism of the org seemed to invite further comment, each suddenly turned on me and warned me against apostasy. As elders they could complain, but clearly I was out of line for joining in. The most common response was people shrugging it off and looking for the positives. And then keeping their distance. Only with one couple did we get some agreement: they shared our contempt for the flimsy reasoning behind the JW ban on birthday celebrations and the wife had also delved into the doctrine of the 2520 years and concluded it was all shonky. We ate out with them one night and told them how we were beginning to see right through it all. Soon after, they did the dirty on us with a business we had and the friendship ended; we never spoke with them again. I think they still attend meetings.But just how hard is it to open a discussion with others also "in the truth" about valid, genuinely troubling issues that go to the root of your belief? Did you try? Did you succeed? How much does it say about the level of intimidation and fear of repercussions that exists with the JWs that open discussion is off limits?
When I pressed those few people to whom I could open up about the org's corruption (less than 1% of Witnesses I knew), I found two basic reactions. 1. They agreed and eventually left themselves or were DFed for apostasy. 2. They admitted there were problems or even were aware to some degree of the real corruption that those who are enlightened can see, but at a certain point they cut me off in one way or another. I've come to conclude since that in the latter case, such behavior on their part was necessary for them because of the threat posed by the cognitive dissonance that facing the truth posed to them. Their minds just were not strong enough to fully face the facts.
At the end of Ray Franz's CofC book, he relates the case of some sister who learned of the org's corruption, became lost, didn't know what to do, and so wrote him. Although Franz never came out and said this, the implication seems to be that it may have been better in the case of this woman to have never learned the truth (that is, TTATT, The Truth About "The Truth," or the facts of the org's corruption), for he said he couldn't really offer her anything other than "just go ahead and live your life as best you can." In other words, water down the Christian life to the social gospel, like so many of the liberal churches have done. For this woman that did not seem to meet her personal needs, the point of Ray's relating the story.
If you want to have personal discussions with those still in about the org's corruption, it is good to always try and figure out the mental strength of each person to whom you want to open up about the matter. Few can really handle it themselves, and you may unintentionally frighten them, and THAT can come back to harm YOU.
My two cents' worth of advice.
lm sure the disciples of jesus had questions and concerns and lm certain jesus would have addressed them all without shunning them.Maybe its time the dubs have a confession box?
.............How About One Of Your Nice Jehovahs Witness Friends?..
Who can you trust to admit you have doubts?
...........WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG?
Well you obviously told your wife and she agreed, some JWs can't even tell their spouses or family members. It depends on your personal experiences within your cong and if they have also been treated unjustly.
Who can you trust? NO ONE!
Nice post, I agree with careful. " Their minds just were not strong enough to fully face the facts".
I would never try and shake older friends from there sleep. I tried talking to my in laws about some doubts I had early on and found it impossible; first their fanatics and second they have nothing else to live for. They devoted there whole lives to this faith, they breath it, live it and declare it to anyone that will listen. If you take this from them you just kill them. My mom falls in this same category I would rather let her believe what she need to believe and let her have peace in what time she has left. Trying to wake her up would be devastating.
I read Atwood's Handmaiden's Tale and it's impossible not to make a parallel with the Watchtower.
Who to trust? I think you can only do what you did and sound fellow disbelievers out.
Imagine though how hard it is now for the governing body members who have begun to see the catastrophic error of their ways!
(Would any governing body members like to let us know how the penny dropped...we will be very sympathetic with you...)
Boy MarkofCane your post is spot on. We are experiencing the same thing with our family. They can't handle the truth, it would kill them. They would loose all of their social connections and it would be devastating.
Who can you admit doubts to.
Well pretty much no one in the Borg, without some kind of punitive action, like a JC and being accused of apostasy.
I have heard something very interesting the other day though. A long time elder told me that it is easy to pick-out the doubters in the Organization. By their actions. People, especially brothers, will never advance spiritually or reach-out for theocratic things.
Yes, by their actions. What he was saying in a way is that actions speak louder than words. By someone lacking of reaching out, that is how elders can tell someone is doubting. They get suspicious.