JWs, ex-JWs and Non-JWs
"You can't start to learn until you acknowledge that there are things you don't know."
Fe203Girl, I think you're bang on with this. I just wonder if maybe some people aren't ready to acknowledge that and maybe that's where the tension comes from. I mean, if your life and life understanding is all upside down, maybe it's too much to hear things you don't know.
And in case that was confusing, what I mean is, when I was first out, I couldn't fathom not believing in God. Then when I learned how off the Borg's teachings are, I couldn't trust anything about religion. I stayed away from religious/biblical topics like the plague. Now I'm in kind of a middle ground with it. I'm not afraid that I'll be sucked in blindly, and can see various sides to different concepts.
But until I was willing to acknowledge I didn't have all the answers (like JWs believe), I couldn't admit I didn't have all the answers. If you follow.
well there is a difference between someone never being a JW and coming here and telling us how we need to 'get over it' or talk holier than thou' about what we should be thinking or feeling. That irritates me.. they get me upset.. then we have people like arrowstar or jgnat, who have had people in their lives who have been JWs are regular members of this board, and but they have not personally made the choice of of being a JW themeselves. I can't imagine one person on this board who is a regular member not wanting either of these two woman on this board. They are family to us here..
For any of us who have significant others who have never been Jdubs, we know how hard it is to truly relate to understand us. I remember once I was telling JT in an email how frustrated I was with my bf, because he didn't get it. JT reminded me that he couldn't, but to illustrate to him, that it was like being black. I can be around him and other black people and think I have some insight, but truly only someone who is black can know what it is like to be black. Well it is the same with being a JW.. you can only explain so much..
also.. I feel the same way about the thread posted today about suicide.. unless you have been to the point you actually attempt it, you truly do not undetstand it either..
CeriseRose, do you consider my contributions to the board to be valuable? Have my comments been reasonably empathetic?
jgnat.. I think you are a HUGE asset to this board........
Sassy, I was instantly warmed by both your responses. Thank you! I do want Cerise Rose to respond, because this is an issue I have thought on for quite a while. I have a few things to say, but I want the XJW's on the board to say them first.
Cherise, thank you for the topic. I've seen some of the same posts, too. However, I tend to dismiss their specific post, not all their posts in general, because i don't think they are offering any constructive input. I just don't say so.
I think a non-JW can understand if they've been in a similar situation with another religion, cult, fellowship, etc. Toxic religion and toxic faith abound in our society. It's also possible for a psych professional to comprehend based on their education.
On the "born" vs "convert" I was born in, baptized at 14. Parents were converted in mid-40's. I, too, felt just a little superior to the converted. What I didn't understand was their enthusiasum which I never had. As I began to question as a teenager, I began to feel sorry for them.
You are very qualified to post the things you do. You are an asset to this board because you are living it every day.....being married to one! If you didn't tell anyone that you were not a JW.....they would never know. In fact....you know more about what it is to be a JW than some current dubs know! Please keep doing what you are doing.
Thanks, HappyDad. I am trying to make a point here. If I did not share the same experience with you guys, how is it possible that I understand (other than I am married into it)?
By the way, your new avatar Happy Dad, excuse me, is butt-ugly compared to your old one.
Jgnat: I too think you are an asset to this board. BECAUSE of your different perspective, not in spite of it.
You do have an intimate experience with this religion, but from the other side of the window. That being said, I think that as close as you can come to understanding, there is a little part of me that says you cannot possibly know all the little ways this cult puts tendrils of control into one's thought processes. But I will be the first to admit that, though I was born and raised a die-hard JW, even I don't know or understand all the ways there are bits of control in my thought processes.
My friends who have never been JWs are often intensely aware of some particular way I have been affected by my upbringing, even if I can't see it.
I think the same holds true though, when someone raised in it, tries to tell a convert: "I know exactly how you feel." Well, I can't say that, because I don't. I can gather information, and empathize, but I will never truly understand exactly why someone chose to become a JW. Just as they will never completely understand the feeling I got every time I was sent from the classroom when the birthday cupcakes were being handed out. It is my own unique perspective that I share with others in the same position.
Just because it is unique does not invalidate others' contributions. Some of the people who have helped me the most on this journey out of WT control have been "never have beens." And for that, I thank you.
I know a poster who believes she will always be an outsider on JWD, since she did not share the JW experience. It is too bad, as she has much to share.
I endured an XJW meetup last year where an XJW I never met detailed for me the in?s and out?s of the society. Perhaps she assumed I knew nothing, or maybe she couldn?t pass up the chance to tell her story again.
I offended a JWD poster who didn?t realize I was never a JW. She said she would not have disclosed as much if she knew. I now preface some of my comments with my JW status so that nobody on the board is taken unawares again.
A freaky evangelist ?sister? at my church warned me that I could pick up ?demons? if I went to a Kingdom Hall. I wonder how she takes my mixed marriage? I tried to explain that the true dangers of the society are not so simplistic. That a single tract-read would never convert a faithful JW, and that the cultic mindset takes years to recover from. I got a blank stare.
To really understand the pitfalls of the WTS takes time. I tried to explain to my dad some of the weirdness-manipulation that goes on, trying to help him understand how my hubby is guilted in to avoiding family events. My dad, a very smart man, kept saying, ?That?s just not right.? But he doesn?t get it.
I shudder when a bible-trained know-it-all bumbles on the board with all the ?answers?. I say, learn to read hearts as well as the bible. Only then you have earned the right to speak.
Blondie made my day when she told me that my perspective is a valuable addition to the board. You've done it again today, Sassy, thank you.
Though I am not a JW, I am not unfamiliar with abuse and manipulation. I am not a psych major or a cult survivor. By nature, I am a ?quick read? for what makes an organization ?tick?. My background in evangelical churches means I ?get? the biblical references, and the loaded language behind.
I don?t think I have to share the same experience to be compassionate. It is necessary, however, to really listen to what the person is saying. It helps to relate the problem to something I have already experienced.
I never say, ?I know exactly how you feel.? to anybody who is recovering. Thank you, Odrade, for pointing that out.
When I was little, my mom played a game with our little minds, and often told us we were not like other families. We were better. This messed with my childhood in innumerable ways. It isolated me, it made me a snob. It is lovely to be unique, but to set ourselves as superior to all others is a recipe for disaster.
I maintain the Watchtower Society would be so much healthier if they would just admit that they are ?just another church?. Jehovah?s Witnesses would be so much more tolerable if they would join the human race and rub shoulders with their neighbours.
...and I believe we must remain vigilant on JWD that we don?t become so exclusionary in our experience that we cannot relate to the rest of the world. People like me exist outside of the JW experience. We, too, have survived abuse, manipulation, rejection, grief. In the long run, I think XJW?s are much healthier to find common ground with those who have not shared their unique experience.