An Essay on Faith.

by SYN 6 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • SYN

    Been reading some interesting threads here lately. There's so many new faces here that I don't know...*sigh*

    Does anyone else here who's been out of the "Truth(TM)" for a couple of years feel like that part of their lives was surreal?

    Honestly, whenever I cast my mind's eye back, oh, about 5 or 6 years, to when I was still an unhappy little Dub kid, I get this enormously powerful sensation of weirdness. I betcha if I had to waltz into a Kingdom Hall today I'd probably run out again in short order.

    To see all those people, those drones (the best word for Jehovah's Witnesses, in my opinion), taking (or, more often, ignoring) their "Spiritual Food(TM)", accompanied by music from a selection of just over 100 Kingdom Songs(TM) (please note, no other music will be allowed, only the Officially Sanctioned(TM) songs are permitted).

    To see their glazed over eyes. I remember the effect of those monotonous words from the stage...always the same phrases, repeated over and over..."God's Kingdom"..."Faithful and Discreet Slave"..."Worldwide Preaching Work"...

    It just freaks me out. I think that perhaps the greatest gift leaving the Organization has given me is a finely attuned brainwashing-radar.

    All of that regulated, extremely bland, very boring Spiritual Food(TM) is an excellent brainwashing tool.

    Remember that the brain always seeks the path of least resistance (well, most of the time). We are not creatures that actively seek out conflict, change, and confusion. We humans like having predictable lives. It's nice to wake up at a set time every morning, go to work for X number of hours, and have dinner at 7PM.

    Jehovah's Witnesses take this to the extreme, by unwittingly using this trait of the human mind to enslave themselves. I doubt that your average Elder ever really gives this much thought. He (always a He) is typically too busy worrying about how many hours of Field Service he's put in.

    Field Service in itself is also a monotonous activity. It's even worse than the meetings. Walking around for hours and hours, placidly ringing doorbells, and on and on and most Western nations, when someone at the door actually seems interested, it's a pretty big surprise. 99% of the time it's a case of "not interested."

    It's just like Chinese Water Torture. The water dripping slowly onto your forehead could never actually cause you pain, but it destroys your mind.

    What I think (and this is my own, empirical opinion, be warned) is that a lot of Jehovah's Witnesses are INSTITUTIONALIZED.

    Institutionalized (adj): Given the character of an institution or incorporated into a structured and usually well-established system

    If you've ever watched (or read, the book is far superior to the movie) the Shawshank Redemption, then you'll know what I mean. Sometimes, when people leave jail after being there for most of their lives, they just can't cope in the outside world. They themselves would tell you that they hate jail, can't stand being cooped up, etc, but the minute they step foot outsite the outermost gate of their facility, they find themselves seized with immense fear. That's the fear of the unknown, and we all have it. It is one of the roots of xenophobia.

    Witnesses find themselves in a prison of the mind, a place where all the big decisions have already been made FOR THEM. Examples:

    * What am I going to buy my relative/friend for Christmas? Nothing. Decision already made!
    * What am I doing this evening? Going to the meeting. Decision already made!
    * What am I doing this weekend? Going out on Field Service. Decision already made! infinitum. Many people really take a shine to this highly structured, micro-controlled life, so that whilst they appear to be normal human beings, they have in fact given over vast swathes of their centers of creativity to the Organization, which eats up their time and money, and in return lavishes them with incalculable pain and ennui.

    Ennui is really a great word for describing what I went through as a Witness. It's sharper than the word "boredom". It emphasizes a feeling of actual pain.

    Of course, this pain and ennui is all indirect. It's not particularly painful to walk around in some strange neighbourhood for 3 hours in a suit, in the hot sun. Uncomfortable, yes, but not unbearable. Like the finest methods of torture, Field Service(TM) cracks its victims by taking advantage of the human sense of conservatism, or, to put it another way, the fact that most people will put up with a moderate amount of annoyance and pain, but not a large amount of annoyance and pain. They'll do this for a long time, and then, suddenly, they snap.

    This is a very bad thing. Human minds can be like ceramics, which are extremely strong up to a certain angle of deformation, and then a catastrophic collapse of their crystalline structure occurs, and wham, all you're left with is dust.

    For most people, the snap is hidden, an internalized breakdown. They go to less meetings. They don't go out on Field Service so much.

    They contribute less to the agent of their ennui.

    I believe that almost every Jehovah's Witness, deep down, knows the true nature of the Society. It's pretty hard to miss, if you really put the Organization underneath a microscope, which so very few Witnesses every do, sadly enough.

    The structure of the Organization is terribly simple. I've arranged it in a hierarchical diagram for y'all, from most influential to least influential. Lower numbered people in the list give orders to higher numbered people.

    1. Governing Body (in Bethel)
    2. District Overseers
    3. Circuit Overseers
    4. Elders.

    At least, this is what I used to think the structure was. Recently, through this board and others, I gained fascinating new insights into the TRUE structure of the Organization, which is:

    1. Governments of the World.
    2. Lawyers.
    3. Governing Body (Bethel)
    4. Circuit Overseers
    5. Elders.

    A few years ago, I would've hotly contested this diagram. "It canna be true mate!", etc.

    But, if you really stop and think about it, what the hell would the Organization do if George Bush decided to brand it as a terrorist group and banned it outright? Would the Governing Body all move to London?

    Of course, this is highly unlikely to happen (but never say never). A much more realistic scenario (and just as lethal) scenario is what's currently happening in France, where the French Government is attempting to recover large amounts of taxes from the Witnesses.

    What did the Organization do when all of this tax business started happening? You guessed it. They changed their system from "publishers buy books from us, and maybe they sell them, maybe they don't, not that we care", to "publishers receive books from us, and we receive DONATIONS from them."

    This is an extremely clever little tax loophole, if you think about it. And there's jack-sh*t the publishers can do about it, either. If you think about. Sadly, few Witnesses really stop to think about it. They never stop to think about their leaders, the ones who take their orders mostly from lawyers nowadays, those guys who have private planes and Armani suits and million-dollar chandeliers at their Patterson Headquarters.

    And, let me assure you, their leaders never stop to think about them.

    If you're leading 6 million people and live in a palatial ivory tower, why would it be neccessary for you to actually give a sh*t about one of them? As long as the peons continue "donating", all is well with the world.

    Certainly, some here will accuse me of painting the Governing Body with an overly broad brush. I doubt that they're actively evil, like a character from Austin Powers. They are most definitely only human, though, and humans have an unbridled capacity for arrogance. I grew up on the lower end of the social scale in a 3rd world nation, so let me assure you, I know all about arrogance. It is something I find truly disgusting. I quote:

    "Always fly first class" - Rutherford (or "Sparky" as I like to call the old ex-fella) to an unnamed Senior Bethelite.

    I think that quite neatly sums up the attitude of the GB.

    And if you can stomach that kind of careless abuse of power, well, you deserve it.


  • seattleniceguy

    Hi Derek,

    Interesting essay. It was the first time I have ever thought about Witnesses being institutionalized. Previously, I have adamantly refused to accept the premise that some people are simply too old to leave the organization, that after some point, it would be better for them to stay inside. I don't like this premise because I believe that a human has the power to be anything he wants to be, and if he has prepared himself to see the world anew, he can do it.

    However, clearly, there are people who cannot cope with life outside a literal prison. I suppose this should be proof that theoretically, there are probably circumstances where people would be better left on the inside than helped to see the truth. Very sad to think about, but true, I suppose.

    Ah, and one correction. You say there are "just over 100" songs in the songbook, but actually, there are 225. I recall that "Keep Your Eyes On The Prize" is number 222. (Don't mind me, I'm one of those guys whose brain is really sticky for numbers.)


  • Will Power
    Will Power

    Thank You Derek. You really know how to get to the point.

    1/2 the time I don't really know how to express my feelings or conclusions about this group. So many times I end up getting caught in the superficial retarded stuff - the crap they keep to argue about so that they don't have to face the roots of their real problems. I was reading some old threads the other night - just to see if I had progressed at all LOL and came across this great thought by Scully, (hope you don't mind me reprinting it here) which I think compliments the institutionalized attitude you are talking about.

    The WTS supports individual JWs in their religious addiction, the way a drug dealer supports a junkie who is looking for their next fix. JWs will lie use Theocratic War Strategy? against People Who Do Not Deserve To Hear The Truth? to protect their next fix. When you believe in a lie of that magnitude, and your life is so entrenched in that lie, your whole life becomes a lie too. No matter how someone tries to rationalize it, it's devastating when you come to the point of realizing that your life has been a lie, because it has been based on lies

    So at the end of the day I am left with Just not wanting to feed my husband's addiction any longer, not be a part of the "visitation" hours & restrictions that this institution permits.


  • jgnat

    SYN, I completely agree with your analysis of the long-term effects of this lifestyle. Institutionalized. There is a woman at the Kingdom Hall who fits your profile well. But instead of gradually fading out when her mind snapped, she has become a demented shadow of her potential self. She keeps sweets in her pockets for the young ones, to guarantee herself some attention. The first time she met me at the hall, she petted me like a kitten. She petted me on my hand, the arm, my cheek! She told me not to worry, I would "get used to it". "Like a canary gets used to the guilded cage? Ick! Lemmeout, lemmeout, lemmeout!" When I see her coming to pet me these days, I jump up like an electroshock victim and back away slowly. She steps forward uncertainly, says a few words, then returns to her seat, confused.

    If ever a horror story could be written on the results of the Witness life, she could be the star.

    Will Power, insightful stuff:

    superficial retarded stuff - the crap they keep to argue about so that they don't have to face the roots of their real problems.

    and this:

    So at the end of the day I am left with Just not wanting to feed my husband's addiction any longer, not be a part of the "visitation" hours & restrictions that this institution permits.
  • LittleToe

    Derek:Great writing, as usual.
    It's nice to see you're using your name at last

    SNG:It used to be the last song (119) in the old pink book.
    It used to be my Grandmother's favourite, and we used it at her funeral, hence the amazing recall.

  • gumby
    If you've ever watched (or read, the book is far superior to the movie) the Shawshank Redemption, then you'll know what I mean. Sometimes, when people leave jail after being there for most of their lives, they just can't cope in the outside world. They themselves would tell you that they hate jail, can't stand being cooped up, etc, but the minute they step foot outsite the outermost gate of their facility, they find themselves seized with immense fear. That's the fear of the unknown, and we all have it.

    Good comparison.

    I've often wondered the percentage of dubs who stay "in" simply for this very reason......fear of the unknown if they leave. A well ingrained dub has already decided there is no truth in christendom, so if they find the Organisation MIGHT be bogus, their confusion is strong enough to keep them inside the boundry that's the closest to truth they know. "There is nothing else out there" (TM)


  • SYN

    Thanks for your comments guys.

    SNG, I knew that number was didn't feel right...but I view it as a step forwards in my life that I don't remember the exact number of songs anymore. Hehe!

    Will Power, as a programmer, I have learnt to break problems down to their roots, and tackle one part of the problem at a time. The same can be applied to an analysis of religion, any religion really. Dubs are just an especially silly religion, when you really get down to brass tacks.

    JGNat, that's a pretty sad story, but then, the Organization is a great creator of nutcases. I know all about that!

    Thanks for your comment, LittleToe, Yes, I didn't even realize I'd put my real name in the post until it was too late....nooooooo...hehe, not that I really care.

    Ah, Gumby, ye olde "Where else are ya gonna go, mofo?" It's a tried and trusted solution.

    I feel that the whole problem with that mental attitude is that people (and Dubs especially) are encouraged to be close-minded every single day. Our leaders like it when we think only in terms of Democrat or Republican (to use a tawdry, possibly flame-worthy example). Our leaders like us bi-polar - we're more predictable that way. All this brouhaha about the elections in America just makes me feel tired and sad, really. I feel that the very act of possessing the desire to lord it over people should automatically disqualify you from the group of people who should be allowed to be in charge.

    Then again, power is an aphrodisiac. Yeah baby! Hehe! I'm really irreverent tonight, aren't I? But it's late here in Queensland :)

    The leaders of Dubs especially, in their varied forms, love it when Dubs have a polarized mindset. It's extremely important for Dubs to erect shields whenever their cherished notions of Paradise on Earth and the Faithful and Discreet Con are challenged. It's a combination of groupthink and mindf*ck, if you'll excuse my Espanol. And sadly, it's a terribly effective combination. Human minds are extremely good at comparing things - colours, numbers, books, movies, but most especially, our most cherished ideals and concepts. We're great at forming "Us and Them" mentalities - in fact, we excel at it, to our great and eternal detriment. The very impulse that has led to the formation of civilizations and that binds together family is also responsible at a mental scale for the formation of religions like the Jehovah's Witnesses.

    What was the earliest driving doctrine behind the Witnesses? I'd say that a large part of it was the formation of a new type of faith, a faith DIFFERENT to the original root religious idealogies of Christianity (I've forgotten the name of the specific flavour that good old Tazy Boy was an adherent of, in his pre-Dub days of yore). Once he had a basic schizm of thought, and you enough adherents to that very schizm, he took that group and formed it into a religion, and there you go. This is a very common notion in human society, the evolution of new mental structures. It's another thing we're terribly good at, sometimes for good, but just as often to our detriment. It's the double-edged sword, the Yin and the Yang.

    And life would be terribly boring without it.

    Of course, it would be a mistake to classify the religion of Charles "Tazy Boy" Russell in the same category as the globe-spanning, multi-national corporation that calls itself a religion and that we call the Borganization. The only true similiarity between the two is a marginally related INTERPRETATION of one old book, which was itself an INTERPRETATION of some dude's story, told thousands of years ago, then handed down through the ages by guys who supposedly never got laid. (Definitely a sad existence)

    And this, this core grain of Truth that really underlies all that is the Society, is itself like the Mandelbrot fractal algorithm. It's only a few variables, a couple of squares here and there, but it gives rise to an amazing beast, the Watchtower Society.

    I could yap on about this stuff for hours, really I could, but right now I must go to sleep :) Been nice chatting with y'all, keep those comments coming :)

    Goodnight! (And, er, Gawd Bless!)

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