Have we become what we despise so much?
Dagney - "like x10"
We are like former alcoholics/drug addicts we understand where your coming from. I have many times shed a tear reading other peoples posts. When I say "Welcome to the forum" I really mean it!!
Anyone that can't differentiate disagreement from insult hasn't stepped far enough away from the org yet IMO.
upon joining the forum, new members are welcomed with open arms, welcome messages start pouring in, "likes" are freely given, a false sense of security is promoted where a member is free to speak his mind without having to worry about the wt gestapo.
I've been here over 5 years and in general most people are well behaved, offer help and support when needed. We get the occasional Troll who starts trolling getting nasty in their first paragraph....so yeah the welcome mat get's pulled away pretty quickly.
We also on occasion miss a point, or don't realize someone was just being sarcastic and respond with a bit of misguided hostility. Usually an apology is tended.
Some arrive with their JW beliefs still mostly intact it's fun to see them evolve either away from the JW's or away from any faith. Some arrive trying to forge a new religious alliance or provide leadership and then take umbrage when the negative response goes beyond what they were expecting. You remember the religious chap who told us he was not going to 'give what is holy to dogs, and throw his pearls before swine......? That turned into a pretty good brawl.
We also have people who have invested a lot of time in learning about evolution and various sciences and don't suffer fools gladly....... they can be a bit brisk with people who say foolish things.
I agree with you. Years ago I made an effort, for over 13 years, to help my oldest brother, living with me, overcome residual psychological-emotional problems resulting from Vietnam.
A BSc Degree in Psychology proved to be a modicum of help.
I joined 2 consecutive "support" groups offering "support" to such "caregivers".
I was disappointed to find that rather than offering support that would "heal" and allow the "caregiver" to "move on" and no longer need a support group, that the group/group leader was actually functioning to perpetuate all problems and so I quickly departed.
So, I suppose the success of a support group is a function of the participants and the group leader.
welcoming someone is different than laying trap on someone with welcomes.
Thank you to all, yes to all, who have commented whether negative or positive. I realize it's an open forum yet Simon's welcome message is a little misleading to boldly state:
"provide a friendly, tolerant and informative environment where you can ask questions, share information and make new friends."
I have no problem engaging anyone on any topic so long as the discussion is kept respectful and said discussion leads to further information being disseminated on the subject matter. No one should have to the suffer the indignity of being subjected to the same type of treatment they would typically receive from elders or other "so called Christian brothers" for disagreeing on doctrinal matters.
While I have owned several successful websites, at the moment I have no intention to start one being that, for the most part, this forum has been very successful at exposing the WTS for what it truly is.
Everyone is welcome on the site to stay and post as long as they adhere to the fairly common and typical rules designed to enforce minimum expected standards of behavior and civility.
And the fact that forum rules are held to a minimum is exactly why many members join, myself included. However, those members that do "go beyond" these rules, time and time again, are the ones who need to have their actions curtailed. You know who they are and so do many other members. Sensitive topics would see an increase in posts if members didn't feel intimidated by the offending members.
I don't like when people are unnecessarily aggressive to newcomers or even those who are JWs challenging the "doubts". I've tried to keep on top of that and set a tone for discourse and overall I think we do pretty well self-policing the community standards.
Why do you feel that newcomers should be treated differently than those who have been members for years? Don't all members deserve the same treatment regardless of seniority or topic? This is what I was referring to when I mentioned the "honeymoon" period.
Some people don't mean to be antagonistic but are hurting and damaged and sometimes lash out, possibly due to the internal conflict they are feeling - they may be angry at the lies they've been told and decide the fault is the ones who exposed them and pulled back the curtain, not the wizard that told the lies to them.
I completely understand the hurt that members feel as I've experienced and continue to experience the hurt as well. However, this should not be used as an excuse for mistreating other members who they themselves have also been deeply hurt yet they do not lash out, myself included.
A member has a right to disagree with another member and yet remain respectful. It's called common courtesy. Religious or not it's a universal law adhered to by most of the civilized world. I understand that anonymity provides a personal protective layer that allows for a more open and frank discussion. However, it can also serve as a barrier that protects and promotes the kind of behavior that I'm speaking out against.
Tenacious: If you have a specific complaint to make then make it but don't make accusations without any substance that can be addressed and expect to be taken seriously.
The rules apply to all and always have and it doesn't matter if people have been on the site for a day or a decade.
I think your real complaint is that you are a "believer" and don't like the fact that people are allowed to criticize religious beliefs. You don't have anything specific to complain about so instead you make insinuations of impropriety and unfairness to besmirch the site, it's members and those who run it.
So time to put up or shut up.
Tenacious : 4 months ago you wrote Today I attended a one-day assembly in my hometown. I knew when it came time to read the afternoon expenses that it would be an incredibly high and ridiculous amount that was nowhere near the real expenses for that day.
From what I gather,you still attend.
The respect and admiration for leaving or trying to leave the lion's den only to enter another hostile environment where some members are quick to bash and berate someone's belief can be equally disconcerting and psychologically damaging
Tenacious: This is not a Kingdom Hall with Elders.
We studied every book the Watchtower told us to study.
We attended 3 meetings per week (coming home late from the midweek meetings and ruining our Sunday afternoons)
We were told how many hours a month we should preach.
We were told who to associate with.
We were sent to 4 days assemblies in the middle of July, sitting in the blazing sun getting heat stroke
We were told what to wear, how long our hair should be, not to play high school sports, not to join any after school activities, not to listen to hard rock music, who to date, etc. etc. etc.
HERE IS A PLACE WHERE YOU CAN SPEAK YOUR MIND AND HAVE YOUR OWN THOUGHTS. ISN'T WONDERFUL NOT HAVING SOMEONE WATCH EVERY MOVE YOU MAKE AND WATCH WHAT YOU SAY!