I really would like to start venting some frustrations. Not so much in a pity party way, but just things that have been on my mind for a few years now, things I've come to understand without really having a forum to express them.
My grandmother recently passed away. This was the Methodist, my mother's mother. I had fallen out of touch with her since my df'ing (funny, I don't know why. She never had much love for the Witnesses and, now that she's gone, I regret not taking more time to develop a stronger, more muature relationship with her.). She had a plaque on her wall that I remember seeing as a kid, but i never took the time to read it because it seemed too long. The piece was called "Desiderata" which I know now means "something desired as essential." If you will bear with me I would like to include it here because it, to me, contains true wisdom and has helped me to change the way I view faith.
Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let not this blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
T herefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams; it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
--- Max Ehrmann, 1927
I was working at a job a few years ago and an aquaintance of mine printed this out and gave it to me to read and I recognized it as the words on the plaque at my grandmother's from my youth. I actually read it this time. Pay particular attention to the words I have underlined. The reason these words are so powerful to me is what they suggest about the nature of true faith. Some JW's would frown on me for thinking that this piece of writing, written from a human's understanding, could contain true wisdom, but these sentiments are echoed in the Bible, as well. In the book of Ecclesiastes (my favorite book and in my opinion, the REAL wisdom contained in the scriptures) Solomon wrote about everything having a time and place. A time to live, a time to die. A time to love, a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace. He followed that by saying "God makes everything beautiful in ITS time." Now, I don't know about you, but to me that says that everything that is going on in this world right now is happening for a reason. If there are people dying, there is a reason for it. If people are suffering, there is a reason for it. If people are fighting, if wars are raging, these things, too, are happening for a reason.
And not man's reason, or god's reason, but that is, as the Desiderata says, "the universe is unfolding as it should." Whether we are aware of it or not. I remember one brother I knew making a statement "Things are as they should be if they are as they are." How he could believe that and still remain a JW, I do not know, because to me it seems the JW's have faith in things. They have faith that there is no hell. They have faith IN a ressurection. They have faith IN a paradise. They have faith IN Jesus, and IN Jehovah being God's name, they have faith IN the Governing Body. Do you see a pattern? To me, TRUE faith should not be limited by teachings or doctrines, true faith should touch your WHOLE LIFE. TRUE faith, it seems, would be an ultimate letting go and realizing that, free will and the ability to choose notwithstanding, we are part of the universe opening and flowering and unfolding the way it is intended. JW's do not believe in "you have a right to be here." They are known for their racial diversity and true, you go to a Kingdom Hall and you see blacks, whites, hispanics, chinese, arab , etc. But I think they are guilty of an even GREATER prejudice. They teach everyone old, and especially children from infancy that there are JW's and there are "worldly people." Those who know the truth and those who do not. That is more than racism, or prejudice, that is dismissing the overwhelming majority of people on this planet as being inferior for their religion or creed. JW's are not an equal opportunity religion.
And I know that there are imperfect people in every religion and the JW's can hide behind that justification all day, but when it comes down to it, they preach door to door about the virtues of what they teach over everyone else. They teach that God is perfect, they believe they are doing God's will and they present it with such overwhelming confidence in their rightness that, yes, they believe the religion, if not the people, is perfect. ANd I'm sorry, but we all know that's not the case. Any religion that has a system in place that would allow pedophiles to operate without fear of punishment, is far from perfect. And I have no particular axe to grind for these abused children, I hate that this is something that happens, it is terrible and despicable. I guess what I am saying is that I am much less interested in destroying JW's than in debunking them. I am comfortable in the idea of letting JW's practice what they choose, it's a free country. But, I think those who are interested in this religion should be aware of what goes on and that, in the end, there really is nothing that is radically different about JW's than any other religion out there. Not much can be done, at this time, for those of us who were raised in this organization but that they hopefully will come to a new way of thinking that is less constricting, and thereby begin to heal themselves. But, what would it be worth to each of us that experienced that to keep it from happening to another child? Perhaps one of ours? Or of someone we know? Or another family member? I admire what the silent_lambs website and others like them do, but it seems that something a bit more fundamental should take place. JW'S NEED TO BE EXPOSED AS NOTHING MORE THAN ANOTHER INTERPRETATION OF THE BIBLE, ANOTHER WAY OF WORSHIPPING, JUST ANOTHER RELIGION, NOTHING MORE. THAT is how you truly make a difference, and every one of us that walked through most of our lives looking down on other religions with their "worldly people" know that for a fact.
I need to get off my soapbox for now. Please feel free to respond. I would love to hear what you think.