Update on Detroit-Area Murder Suicide - Front Page Article
Has anyone been disciplined in any way for going to college?
The only formal discipline is the (potential) removal of "special privileges" (being an elder, MS, pioneer) if you or someone in your family attends a university.
However, there is the "informal discipline" that will almost certainly arise - whispered behind-the-back comments, gossip, repeated "shepherding visits" (thinly veiled pressure & criticism), loss of social acceptance by the group, etc.
Each congregation has a "flavor" if you will - some are far more conservative than others.
And of course some individuals / families are far more sensitive to the "informal discipline" than others.
If you have a strictly conservative congregation and a sensitive family - it can lead down a very bad road.
All that said, of course, does not in any way, even remotely, justify horrible actions.
I.e., it can lead to understanding, not justification, of the situation.
Agree with Sir82 above---
It depends on the hall you go to as to whether or not they will frown on college or turn a blind eye. However, think about it, about 5 years ago Mr. Tight Pants Tony was really coming down on higher education, so they may have really had issues. We knew of several families in our old hall that became inactive since they wanted kids to go to college (their son was removed from pioneer list and had no privileges for going to community college)
Sad story, indeed!
There's many a true JW family murder-suicide TV movie in the archives. Me is going to be on the lookout for another one based on Lauren Stuart and her family.
...so you say you want a happy family life...and you think JWs have mastered the key to family happiness...HELLO!
Woman leaves man, man shoots kids and self. No one blames the woman.
Religion leaves woman, woman shots kids, husband and self. Everyone blames the religion?
I don't think we're being fair or consistent if we think the blame for this is all with the JWs. They may have been a factor in the situation but it may be that the family leaving over the college issue was itself an over-reaction and symptom of a kind of poor judgement / erratic behavior stemming from existing or pre-disposition to mental illness.
I agree with Simon, in that there are a lot of loose mitigating strings here that just dont add up.If this woman was so loving to her family to protect them from the JWS cult and they were progressing happily along, why did she kill her own adolescent children, herself and her husband ?
I assume her parents were JWS so they naturally shunned her, maybe even her husband parents too and perhaps the occasional JWS they once knew in their town but would that be enough to drive her to kill her entire family and herself ?
Maybe there was marital problems in the background where the husband suggested a separation. ???
In any case its well documented that people who were involved in the JWS but were at sometime DFed for various reasons, some did commit suicide because of that, I've personally known 3 in my time with the JWS.
This is desperately sad. We don't know the full facts but one thing is for sure, being shunned by family and friends would not have helped. Didn't her friend say when she went shopping JWs wouldn't even look at her. Some people can give an appearance of everything is fine, life is good but inside they are dying. We have no idea how this poor lady was suffering perhaps we'll find out more soon.
As for the kids going to college being a reason they left. I can see this. It depends on the local elders. In my own experience my kids decided to go to university and I was made to suffer big time by the congregation and the elders. In fact during one meeting the elder all but named me from the platform as disobeying the organization by allowing them to go.
People avoided me, wouldn't work with me in the ministry and wouldn't even sit near me during the meetings because the elders made such a big deal of how bad further education was.
I also have known of 3 JW suicides.
I have to say....
Whilst being a shunned ex-JW certainly contributed to her mental state a person who kills all their family has severe issues beyond being shunned.
The media will pick up her friend and the women being an ex-JW but you can't blame everything on that...it is just a factor...otherwise loads of us ex-JW's would be doing this.
It is a heart breaking story...such a lovely family...all wiped out by a women with mental illness...certainly fueled by being shunned.
With the growth of mental illness shunning should be outlawed as against human rights.
Nothing is worth more than human life.
Nothing is worth more than human life.
To mangle Shakespeare, "there's the rub".
For JWs, that statement is absolutely not true.
For JWs, official doctrine is that "Jehovah's sovereignty" is infinitely more important than mere "human life".
That's why dozens if not hundreds of JWs die every year from preventable causes, due to their refusal to take blood or "blood components".
And if an all-in believing JW suffers because they are compelled to shun a son/daughter/parent, well, "at least I am upholding Jehovah's sovereignty".
Lots of great comments as usual. I didn't even realize the YouTube video was out there of the friend crashing the Sunday meeting - WOW. That would have been very surreal.
Couple other points of reflection - rare to see a journalist jump on the shunning aspect so aggressively. In the comments section below the article she even made some interesting comments. (pasted below) A point about this journalist - she did a huge series on female mutilation in the area that also was highly controversial and direct toward certain religious/cultural groups in the vicinity.
The shunning is common and the emotional turmoil is terrible. However, a small percentage take their own life. I only know of a couple other murder/suicides in my area growing up and both people were thought to be schizophrenic. Most of the suicides I knew were still in the congregation in "good standing" - for many people I knew growing up the disfellowshipping was a relief because it gave them the freedom to leave and live their own life. I used to run into some old buddies all the time (of course I chatted with them as long as possible) and several said it was the best thing for them since it created the barrier they needed to escape.
If anything - it's a sad reflection on God's organization and the happiest people on earth! Pretty awful that most of the people that remain in it have emotional and mental health issues and the people that try to leave are often ill equipped to deal with the realities of life outside of the Borg because of said issues......
When I was an elder, it was shameful and pathetic how ill equipped elders were to deal with anyone who had emotional problems - it was either P.A.S.S. (prayer association study service) or don't let the door hit you on the way out mentality.....the vast majority of the congregation was on anti-depressants and tranquilizers. It was very tough to deal with when you saw the reality talking to people on shepherding visits. Most werent happy and most were burdened and overwhelmed with life.
Reporter Tresa Baldas (from the comments section):
I am not blaming a church. But many ex-Jehovah's Witnesses whom I interviewed -- folks whose kids have committed suicide and those who attempted suicide themselves due to shunning -- believe this woman was driven to do this due to isolation. This is not my view. this is the view of those who knew her, and who experienced this themselves. Stay tuned ... As the story points out, three other men have committed similar acts within this community. It is more common. Stay tuned.....