JWs, ex-JWs and Non-JWs

by CeriseRose 34 Replies latest jw friends

  • Markfromcali

    Hi Cerise,

    One thing that seem to get overlooked is that everybody is different, even amongst JWs - even if it is a very small difference. Do we really want to emphasize the boring, indoctrinated sameness, or do we want to emphasize the diversity and encourage that freedom of expression? Of course sometimes it is very appropriate for an individual to express and be heard, but that is not the same as thinking the world is as you perceive it - that's just projection. So it seems it is a good idea to recognize when someone just need to be heard, but if a person goes so far as to think their view is just the way things are then it becomes relevant to point this out.

  • DevonMcBride
    Personally, I believe that no matter how well informed a person is about something, that in most cases having the experience themself is the ONLY way to truly "know."

    I was never a JW and I agree this statement. However, watching loved ones waste their lives in a cult and not being able to help them is something we all can relate to. I also know what it's like to be shunned. When my friend got involved with the JW's he dropped all of his "worldly" friends.


  • willy_think

    I don?t see why someone raised as a jw all their lives but never getting baptized should be excluded by the fact they are not and have never been a JW. Or how the baptism gives them a better understanding. Why do people make it a member?s only club even here?

  • CeriseRose

    Okay, first of all, I brought the topic up as a discussion point, not that *I* in particular had a problem with the mix of people on the board. I thought I made it clear at the beginning when I carefully wrote and posted this:

    "I'm going to preface these comments with a disclaimer: In NO WAY am I meaning these observations to be inflamatory, exclusionary, or to devalue ANYONE. I believe everyone has a right to their opinion, and observations, and to share them within the terms of the board. I also believe that there is learning to be found from a variety of sources.

    I believe that being a JW is like that. It is a cult; we can all be aware of what makes up a cult, how it operates, some of the repurcussions, etc. But unless you've *been* in a cult, it's very hard to 'relate' to it on a deeply personal level. Now that's not to say that peripheral knowledge that non-JWs can provide doesn't have value or benefit, especially for those who've been in the cult. I think it's important for transition that there are people in a place like this that have an "intimate knowledge" of the workings but never were "in": they provide a link between the old and new life that can be a great reality check."

    An example: I'm not a parent, but I can feel sympathy for a parent who loses a child. I can feel empathy for the devastation, I can feel empathy in the grief, the feeling of loss, because of my own experiences with death and I can make comment to those things in relation to others' loss. I hope the person I'm commisserating with finds value in what I contribute, and finds support in my human compassion and my shoulder an "okay fit" to cry on if need be. But the bottom line is, I don't KNOW what it's like to lose a child. I have not had that experience, cannot be intimately acquainted with it. That doesn't make my value any less, or my contribution to that person any less.

    Now that being reiteratied, JGNAT, you are a definite asset to this board! You have a wealth of knowledge and a perspective that not many have. Did you know that I didn't even KNOW that you were a non-JW until you mentioned it to me in chat? I personally can't tell the difference unless someone says something. There are ex-JWs here with more Bible knowledge than I had as a JW, more non-JWs with their head on straighter than I've had mine in my whole life, which btw, includes being all 3 of those types. I have learned TONS from my experience here, and very rarely feel that any poster doesn't contribute SOMETHING. It was only because I feel so comfortable in the balance of the board that I would even dream of bringing up a topic like this, because it can be taken so very wrongly.

    I don't particularly like labels, which I've said before, and so when *I* read a post and follow a thread I don't stop and consider "Is this person still in? Is this person out? Has this person ever been in at all?" and then assess them and their comments based on that. I read a thread and compare the advice or information compared to my own situation, to my own knowledge base, and my own thinking and see if there's something to be learned. I might wonder where they're 'at' simply so I can understand where they're coming from, but by and large, it's not my first thought nor does it limit me from reading. I think it may limit others and that's what I was trying to explore. (It could be taken the other way and a non-JW reading a post by a JW still in and believing could completely devalue the JW because of the wonky beliefs that the non-JW can't relate to. But what I see mostly is ex-JWs saying to non-JWs "you don't KNOW" and then discrediting them and their information, which is why I used that example.)

    I was not directing this post to any one of the specific groups (JW, ex-JW, non-JW) and wagging a finger, nor was I doing so at any one poster. Even if that were my (very malicious) intent, if I had a problem with someone here I'd simply say it, or PM them. It's not my way to try to make a point against one person on a global thread; I'd hoped I'd been here long enough for that to be evident. I know I'm not a "regular" like most of you, and maybe you all still feel suspicious at my motives. I just don't know.

    The reason I brought this topic up, is because I've seen this happening here and other boards; people being discredited for their "label" or "status" (and that can be whatever is against the majority of that thread) and their information or even the person denegrated because they aren't in the majority at that moment. While I can see how *being* a JW, *being* an ex-JW, or *being* a non-JW can be completely different perspectives, instead of embracing the learning possible from different perspectives, what I sometimes see is a resistance to that.

    I was wondering if that resistance was a specific JW/ex-JW thing or a human nature thing. I wanted comments on that.

    Please, no one need take offense: I am not meaning this to be an us/them thing. That is the LAST thing intended. I wanted to open the dialogue so maybe everyone would end up empowered or gaining more from their own experience here. Whatever their history.

  • Joyzabel

    I wanted to open the dialogue so maybe everyone would end up empowered or gaining more from their own experience here.

    excellent point.

    Anytime we put up barriers, labels, etc. we limit our mental capacity to emphathize with fellow human beings.


  • Midget-Sasquatch

    I'm not a sociologist, but I think the tendency to disregard input from those with a different status is universal. Someone brought up the example of whether a non-black is or isn't able to really experiencing what its like to be black. I think its tied into the "we" and "they" mindset that groups use to define themselves.

    People like to have that sense of belonging or of being understood. The group is usually made up of people with shared and related statuses (i.e. JW, XJW ) which for the most part means having had similar experiences. Though its a crude filter, people from "other" groups would be less likely to understand us - so we'll discount their take.

    I think we often just use the simpler, quicker way of filtering for "status" to find people with shared experiences - because alot of times it does work - but sometimes like those web-page filtering programs we can miss out on something very useful.

  • Jez

    I don't think anyone can understand what it is like to be a JW or another cult unless they have actually been one. Yes, there are many other 'controlling' situations that we have all been in touch with BUT JW have the art perfected.

    Sometimes I try to talk to my husband about how hard it is to get out of a mindset when you aren't even aware that it is there....know what i mean? The opinions/gut reactions/prejudices/biases/knowledge/ fears, actually the very thought processes that we have, have been tainted and implanted there. He just doesn't get the fear, the doubting, etc. He tries. He listens. But it is here that I find more healing than anywhere else.

    With that said, I absolutely respect the views of anyone involved with them and know that a different perspective is beneficial. AND many conversations with non-JW have provided the comparison that I needed to look inside myself and see what things are there yet not shared by the majority of 'normal' ppl.

    For example: One person on this forum said about halloween, "I don't give a shit about it's origins, I have never thought about that." OH, well why have I thought so much about it?? Because I've been told and retold to LOOK AT ORIGINS. ORIGINS MEAN EVERYTHING.

    Example: My fear of death. My husband looks at me strange and says, "Wha? I don't worry about that, I am not afraid, when it happens, it happens. Why think about it?"

    If anyone wants to contribute something to a discussion, I welcome it. Ultimately, I just read it, if it is useful, if it is not, that is something I decide. But by all means....POST and let me decide.

  • Sassy

    Cerise, I didn't get from the beginning of if you were trying to label someone, but thought you were bringinging things up as a discussion point.. however it did cross my mind that there was a possibility of a statement being made perhaps of a private something happening I might not be aware of.. but since I have no knowledge of such a thing, I assumed it was what it was stated as..

    I brought up the examples of jgnat and arrowstar because I was making a point that the two of them are excellent examples of people who have come as close as one can get to understanding without every having been one. I also think anyone who really spend a time here and honestly reads and thinks about all the experiences states on this board, our scars and traumas and battles, can not somehow get an inside look at what it is like to be a JW. I wish my bf would spend a good amount of time on this board because I think it would be a great asset to your relationship and his understanding... to him I should simply move on.. because he doesn't understand..

  • CeriseRose

    Actually, I was mostly worried that Jgnat was offended, which was not my intent at all. I wasn't sure after her first post on the thread. I wanted to make sure that it was clearly understood that I wasn't pointing fingers.

    Otherwise, it's been an interesting discussion and I think that it just might be the we/they mindset. It's probably also exacerbated by the indoctrination (inculcation?) resulting in the JW brainwash. It's a lot of crap to muddle through.

  • barry

    Im SDA and I beleive I know as much about cults as anyone here. There are many different varieties of SDA some very cultic which are no different to the WT cult.

    The worst cult is a offshoot of SDAs in the 1920s called the Shepards Rod this cult developed into the cult at Waco in Texas some SDAs joined this cult a school teacher at the Church I go to joined but escaped the disaster. My wife is Catholic and she still calls me a Davidian because of that.

    In SDAs there are cults within the Church not far from where I live there is a group who beleive that if you are a beleiver you wouldnt need to go to a doctor because you wouldnt get sick. They dont put there cultic idears into practice because one of my friends who is SDA is married to one but they still go to the doctor. These groups have there own meetings.

    Another group of SDAs in a place called Deniliquin about 300km from here are very strange. There women where long dresses have buns in there hair and look like something out of little house on the prairy. Im thinking of going out to see them one day and visit there Church.

    I think I know just as much about cults as anyone as Ive said before my x wife was a JW study and that gave me a few problems.

    If anyone wants to know about Cults maybe I would have some information from a different perspective. Barry

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