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.