High rates of depression in Org.

by chuckyy 72 Replies latest watchtower medical

  • garybuss

    "Are you, as a Jehovah's Witness, happy?" Dr. Jerry Bergman's experience from working with hundreds of Jehovah's Witnesses and congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses for over 20 years is, they are miserable people with very few exceptions! They know they are not happy.


    Why Jehovah?s Witnesses Have a High Mental Illness Level
    by Jerry Bergman


  • Incense_and_Peppermints

    every single member of my family who is in either drinks and/or is on these drugs, alone or in combination: paxil, lithium, xanax, prozac, haldol, or valium. and they're supposed to be the happy ones, and we're supposed to be the miserable ones. hmm...

  • Poztate

    Steve 2...you nailed it right on the head....but then you picked the right career to figure things out. Best wishes to you and your partner.


  • G Money
    G Money

    I think mental illness is heredetary and many people who get baptized are looking for happiness and to make the voices in their head stop. Then their family comes in and their kids are born into it. I had never seen so many people with mental disorders. Now I did and do run with the young professional crowd and before my experience with the witnesses, never knew anybody with mental illnesses. I also had never associated with cleaners and carpenters.

    There were also the sisters with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue and a few other unknown diseases that doctors could not diagnose where the sister couldn't work but was able to stay home and watch TV all day but anything else would tire her out. I felt sorry for the husbands because the poor suckers did it all and the wacky sisters would go to voodoo and witch doctors (alternative quacks) who would give them all sorts of crap at a high price and not covered by insurance. If the bible treated mental illness like a horse with a broken leg, I bet many would cure very fast.

    I think the witnesses are a jealous, nutty bunch.

  • steve2
    "Are you, as a Jehovah's Witness, happy?" Dr. Jerry Bergman's experience from working with hundreds of Jehovah's Witnesses and congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses for over 20 years is, they are miserable people with very few exceptions! They know they are not happy.

    I would tend to agree but I would not pretend that my views were either universally true or scientific!

    However, it remains unanswered whether the prevalence among JWs is higher than that of either the general population or other religious groups.

    There is a difference between mental health professionals sharing their own professional and clinical observations (known as anecdotal evidence) and drawing conclusions based on actual comparative analyses (e.g., comparing the JWs in a specific country with the rates among non-JWs in that country; you'd also need to be clear about which mental illnesses are being compared, the time period, the sample sizes and the assessment methods).

    It is a truly formidable task that has yet to be done. I have no objection to anyone sharing their own observations and conclusions about the prevalence of mental illness in specified groups. But when someone comes out and confidently asserts that JWs have higher rates of mental illness compared to non-JWs, I expect to see something that has been conducted in a scientifically rigorous manner.

    And, as I stated earlier, even if it is established that JWs do have a higher prevalence of specifiable mental disorders, it leaves open for interpretation the reasons for this. Jerry Bergman's early writing on mental health rates among JWs is a good and worthy start to that question. But it needs more than one man's observations. It needs a good sociological follow-up.

    By the way, as I stated earlier, a discomfiting issue would arise if you compared mental health illness rates between JWs and other religions: My expectation would be that, regardless of religious persuasion, mental health rates are likely to be higher in religious groups for the pure and simple reason that religious messages of hope and salvation are more likely to appeal to the "downtrodden" than to people who are non-religious and already leading fulfilling lives. Unwell people often seek out various belief systems - something we probably observed when we were going door to door: Happy people generally weren't too concerned about the JW apocalyptic message; anxious, insecure people were.

  • Rod P
    Rod P

    Hi! I'm new here, and just signed up today.

    I am an ex-JW. Worse, I left the JW's and became a Mormon, after about 4 years as a JW. When I joined the Mormons, I was immediately disfellowshipped by the JW's for apostasy. I then spent another 5 years or so trying to make a divided religious home function as a "normal" family unit. It cannot be done!

    Being disfellowshipped, my wife and I were not allowed to discuss anything to do with religious matters. My wife told me that since I had abandoned my position of spiritual leadership in the home, that she would have to take my place.

    Because I left the JW's, and because I married her in the JW faith, I felt sorry for her, and let her continue to carry on Bible studies with the kids (We had 3 daughters). I drove her to the kingdom hall so she could attend meetings, and the kids went with her. I got very angry once when we were driving down the street and came to a Church. Our oldest daughter spoke up and said "Daddy, that Church is bad!" I immediately reacted and told her "No! That Church is not bad!" Then I turned to my wife and said "If that is what the kids are being taught at the Kingdom Hall, then I am going to refuse to let them go there anymore!" She just tried to minimize it all by telling me that this is the kind of thing that kids just blurt out, and not to make a big deal out of it. It was at that point that I started to take the kids to the Mormon Church I was now attending, because I wanted them to be exposed to more than one point of view so that they could see that "Other Churches are not bad."

    Looking back, I see this whole thing as two sincere persons trying to make the best of a bad situation. We were both being true to ourselves by following what we honestly believed was true. Yet we both became effectively the "mouthpieces" of the very religious organizations we were sincerely following. In other words, it was like two religous entities trying to operate in harmony under one roof, with the mother and father of that household representing and behaving in the context of those respective organizations. There is no such thing as compromise, or working things out. It was like an "immovable object up against an impenetrable force". The result is "an unimaginable explosion!" And that is what happened to the marriage, with an awful lot of depression on both sides.

    One day my oldest daughter, who was in Grade One at the time, came home from school and laid on the living room carpet and stared off into space. I asked her what was bothering her and she said "Oh nothing. Just thinking." This happened after I found out that my wife had gone to the school (behind my back, I might add) and told the teacher that our daughter is not to participate in any school activities having to do with Halloween or Remembrance day or Christmas, etc., or the national anthem or saluting the flag, etc. When kids in her class tried to get her to join in with them even in things that had nothing to do with those things the JW's do not permit participation in, she would kind of "tune out" and sit there with a blank, cathartic stare, the same thing I was beginning to observe was happening at home. It was obvious she was in a state of deep depression.

    I found out about this at the time of Parent-Teacher interviews. I dropped by the school to see the teacher just to see if our daughter was doing OK in school. When I found out about her behavior, resulting from her being told to stay out of all these things mentioned above, I told the teacher that I was now going to change the rules, and that our daughter would now become a full participant, and I would begin the process, as her father, of trying to positively teach her that it was OK to do so. I also met with her school psychologist (an anathema to JW's) and the school principal, where we discussed everything in detail. I told the Principal that I would be giving the School a written authorization for our daughter to participate in everything. When I went home and talked about this with my wife, she reacted with total anger that I went to the teacher without first telling her. I said I had just gone to the store for a loaf of bread, which was right by the school, and, being extremely busy at the time, just dropped by to see the teacher for five minutes, because we would probably miss the parent-teacher interview. The real issue, I felt, was that she went behind my back and put in place with the school some very serious and long-term rules without telling me, and that was far more serious than me talking with the teacher for a few minutes. Anyway, I wrote a letter to the school Principal giving him the authority. I showed it to my wife, and she then asked for a copy. I said "OK, but why?" She said "It's going to my lawyer." At that point I told her that I would give her a copy, but before I did I wanted to run it by the school legal department as to my wording, since this may well turn into a whole legal issue, with court cases and all.

    I ended up in a meeting with the Superintendant of Schools, discussed everything at length, after which my letter was sent to their legal department. Three days later, the letter was given back to me with the advice that there was provision in the School Board by-laws for parents to opt their children out of certain school programs under religious grounds, but there was NO provision for opting a child INTO any school programs. I asked the question "Does my wife then have the upper hand and control over all this on legal grounds, while I have no way of doing anything." The answer was "I'm afraid so!" I then went home and told my wife of nine years, "Here is a copy of my letter that went to the School. You can take me to court if you want, and I will fight you with every ounce of my being over this, and you and I are through!" I frankly, had had enough! All that ever happened was that whatever tolerance I had showed over the years, she accepted with appreciation, but do not expect her to reciprocate. Why? Because JW's are the one right religion on the planet earth, and everything else is wrong and false. There is no such thing as compromising with "truth" as they see or interpret it. Shortly afterwards, I left. The tension in the air was so thick you could cut it with a knife. It was like we hated each other, and there was absolutely no way to work things out with compromise unless I was the one to give in to her expectations of the JW way. In the middle of all this were our three beautiful daughters, who in their innocence, were, by implication of the rules, were expected to see their dad as the "bad guy" since he was disfellowshipped and shunned, whereas mom was the good and righteous person who only loved Jehovah, so they must side with her. I could see that they had become pawns in an adult world that was trapped in religion in a hopelessly divided home. They were being placed in an impossible situation where they are supposed to choose one parent over the other one, when they really loved both of their parents. It was also like two parents praying to God for the other one to see the "truth", which is reminiscent of the 2nd World War, where each side was praying to the same god for their side to win.

    I concluded that there were circumstances where a marriage should NOT be kept together for the sake of the kids, especially if the home they would be raised in would amount to nothing but tension, fighting, arguing, unhappiness. What kind of emotional scars and psychological damage would put on the kids as they emerged into adulthood?

    I say again. If two sincere, well-meaning individuals, living under one roof as a family unit, try to make things work but without compromise because the religious affiliations they belong to have no room for compromise (since they represent the "truth"), this will only lead to inevitable marriage failure. They become the natural extensions of the religious organizations they represent, and whenever you try to make "Organization-Think and Dogmas" operate inside a family unit, conflict and break-down is unavoidable. I think that these types of religion have gotten things backwards. The family unit does not exist to SERVE THE CHURCH, but rather the Church is there to serve the family unit. Instead, they put themselves BETWEEN Jesus Christ as the Saviour of Mankind, and the individual or the family unit. According to them, Jesus Christ cannot save you without that organization, or at least that's the way it looks to me. If I were to draw an Organization Chart, I would put God the Father at the top, and then draw a line down to Jesus Christ as Saviour and Mediator between God and Man. From Jesus Christ, I would draw a line down to the Individual and the Family Unit. From there I would draw a line down to the Church or Religious Organization, which is there to serve and support, and not to control. The Church or Organization has no business interfering, going between or acting as a judge or barrier between the Individual and Jesus Christ the Saviour. Period. And I am not talking as a Born-Again or Evangelical Christian. (I have no religious affiliation at present. But that does not mean I love God less.)

    After leaving, I got my own place, and began going to University and pursuing a career. I was studying Sociology at the time, and began learning about the behavior of groups, institutions and organizations, and how individuals can immerse themselves and identify their whole personalities with those entities that they would even sacrifice themselves to the cause. Individual thoughts and questioning is out of the question, while loyalty and blind obedience is everything. Those who are at the top end up in positions of power and influence, and if certain rules and policies stand in the way, they are in the political position to make changes, while those underneath simply adjust to the new rules. This has to do with "Culture"- the values and meanings and symbols adopted by a group or institution. The people who belong to that Group/Institution live inside the framework of its Culture, and this process is known as "Interaction". This interaction process, individuals behaving inside this group trying to conform and live up to the expectations of the culture, produces "feedback" up to the leadership at the top. The leaders then note that certain changes need to be made along the way, and so before long, new policies, even teachings, begin to emerge. This is communicated down thru the membership, usually thru their publications, but also thru the local leaders who receive written instructions from above, and then pass them on to the members in that region or locale. This ensures uniformity and consistency throughout the Organization. In other words, the Culture defines the Interaction, and the Interaction process feeds back to the top, which then results in further refinements, changes and definitions of the Culture. This is to say that this is a very Human phenomenon- Culture defines Interaction, and Interaction defines Culture, so that no Organization stays the same, but is constantly changing and evolving (or devolving) into something else. The organization of today is not, and cannot be the same organization it was in the past. Even the so-called "One-Right Religion on Planet Earth" is subject to this.

    For this reason, I began to look at the JW religion in a different light. I thought that maybe I should not be getting so hung-up about religious dogma, and the JW version of "Absolute Truth". After all, change is inevitable, given what I had just learned from Sociology. The lesson here was to be more tolerant and compromising. Family was more important. I was happy in my University studies; yet emotionally I was a wreck. I missed my three daughters terribly. And of course, I still loved my wife, as I had always loved her. It's just that she "fell out of love" with me. She told me when I became Mormon that she could not love a man who does not love Jehovah. I wrote to the Watchtower Society in Toronto about this problem. Six months later they replied with the statement that they understood how she felt, but that it was scripturally OK to still love her husband. I showed the letter to her, but that did not change the reality of what she really felt in her heart. She even told me she was ashamed to walk down the street with me beside her if she was to meet a fellow Witness on the same street. All of this had an influence on me when I decided to leave.

    I now began to make it my mission in life to reconcile with my wife, and to get our family back together. She told me that I would have to return to the "Truth" before she could even consider that. I then approached the Overseer of the congregation in the area where I was living. But I was still a Mormon, and notwithstanding some of my doubts, was not yet ready to dismiss it in terms of what I believed from within. I went back to the Mormon Elders and explained my situation, and told them I wanted to reconcile with my family, but that I would have to return to the JW's before that would become a posssibility. They ended up agreeing to remove my name from the membership roles, but kept it in a separate filing cabinet, because the Mormon Church wanted to help families be together, but knew that it was not my purpose to renounce Mormonism. I was going back to the JW's as a prerequisite that was imposed on me by them for a reconciliation to occur.

    So now I was able to focus on my family. When we separated, we were living in a major urban center. The wife and kids moved back to the farm of her parents, where there was a separate farm house. The farm was about 100 miles away from where I lived. This meant that on weekends I would be travelling back and forth, which I did for about 8 months before being reinstated. One of the rules that I had to obey was that I was to have absolutely no association with non-JW's other than certain necessary business and shopping activities. At the same time, I was to attend all of the meetings at the Kingdom Hall, but at no time was to talk to any of the Witnesses. I was to study the publications and pray to Jehovah, but the only ones I could talk to and visit with would be my wife and kids. It would be six months later that they would review my situation for possible reinstatement. This would have to be done by the elders at the congregation where my original disfellowshipment took place, and that happened to be where my family was now located. When the six months was up, which felt like an eternity, it was time for the meeting with the elders. Then I was told that one of the elders was away for a month, so we couldn't meet for another month. Then when he returned, I was told that the Overseer had gone to Kingdom Ministry School, and would not be back for at least another month. I was very angry and disgusted over all of this, as this was looking strangely like a lot of man-made behavior and convenience, rather than Jehovah's spiritual direction. My wife tried hard to settle me down, and to just hold on a little while longer, which I did.

    Finally the big day came, and we had the interview, and I was reinstated. Witnesses came from miles around, as I had a lot of friends from the time when I was a witness. We had a big "reunion" at the farmhouse, with dancing and playing games, and a lot of talking about old times. Some of them were crying, they were so happy with my coming back into the fold. During the course of the evening, one of them brought up the subject of "field service", and shared some of the experiences they had, including some discussions they had with Mormons. Something went thru me like a "thunderbolt". I had this sinking in the pit of my stomache, that I would also have to go out there in field service and start talking with Mormons, many of whom I already knew when I was active with them. How could I look them in the eye and preach to them the "truth" that the JW's were teaching, while in my heart of hearts I did not yet believe that the Mormon religion was a false religion (notwithstanding some of my doubts about it). It became a kind of "catharsis". How can I suspend my personal beliefs for the sake of another Cause or Religion that was imposed on me as a precondition for a family reunion? If I were to go down this path of staying inside the JW relgion for the sake of the family, it would carry with it the incredible psychological guilt of being untrue to oneself, living a lie before God and man- an unbearable hyprocisy. I couldn't do it! I went back to where I lived in the big city and pondered what to do next. We had already picked out a place where we were going to live, and I had moved into the premises waiting for all the furniture, etc. to be brought in. Yes, I did a lot of praying, and felt torn between the prospects of a happy family reunion on the one hand, but having to live a lie, or alternatively, going on alone with the agony of a family that might have been, but at least being true to oneself in terms of what I felt in the core of my being. After about two weeks, I wrote my wife a letter that I could not believe the Watchtower Society as God's sole channel of communication on earth between God and man. We talked on the phone, and she warned me that I had better decide pretty fast because there was not much time left before I would be disfellowshipped again. Of course, that became the outcome. Better that, however, than going ahead with the reunion under those circumstances. This would have caused even more aggravation and grief to everyone had I gone ahead and then later regretted it, and quit the JW's in the end anyway.

    So now I was on my own, struggling with the question of what to do now. I had accepted the final conclusion that the marriage was over, and in spite of the pain and heartache, depression and despair in the days ahead, I resolved to move on with my life, and try to make the most of it. Religion and all the struggles it embodies for so many years had by now left me with a kind of bad taste in my mouth. It felt like I had been in and out of the garbage pail, and I needed a breathe of fresh air. During this stage I became friends with a number of individuals who had no religious affiliation, even though they had had various religious backgrounds growing up.

    I went to a do-it-yourself divorce class. I was going to get a divorce, but without having to pay for expensive lawyers. I found out that in Canada, divorce laws had changed to allow parties to divorce without one party having to be the guilty one under the law. So, for example, after two years of living apart, I could obtain a divorce on the grounds of "marriage breakdown" (whereas before it was referred to as "mental cruelty"). However, if I did that, my wife was going to have to spend the rest of her life without a husband, because while we could be separated, she would not be free to remarry unless there was proper grounds (i.e. adultery) under the JW rules. This became my rationale for giving her the grounds to divorce me. I ended up becoming intimate with a female friend in the new associates I was involved with, after which my wife was able to divorce me on an uncontested basis, and after which she would be free to remarry. I would be the bad guy, since I was already disfellowshipped, and I did not really want to go back to the Mormon Church either. At least my 3 daughters might have the chance to have a new father when my ex-wife remarried, and the home would certainly be united under one faith.

    This did not mean I was trying to be some do-good martyr, sacrificing my eternal soul for the sake of my wife and kids. But I did have a lot of guilt and depression, and low self-esteem at the time, like about what a mess I made of my life, and God was not about to bless me with anything good. I guess I was just coasting, and didn't care a whole lot about right and wrong and morality, and all those things religion had been preaching at me for so many years.

    Now, I still had unresolved the whole matter of the Mormon religion, which I eventually went back to. From hindsight, I learned that I had jumped from the frying pan into the fire. Being free from a bad marriage, managing the daily guilt and depression over my 3 daughters (being unable to communicate with them in a disfellowshipped state), I thought that if I settled down in the Mormon Church, even getting married to someone of that same faith, I would finally find true happiness. So I set my sights in that direction and full steam ahead. I did get married in the Mormon Temple, and I thought me and my new wife would lead to paradise. That's what the Church represented- the keys of the Priesthood having the keys to the Celestial Kingdom, the highest degree of glory in the hereafter. Now we had moved around a bit, but in one place I was engaged in some missionary work. At one place I received some information that really opened some questions about the Mormon Church that I had on the back of my mind from years ago, except this time there was a lot of serious evidence involved. There was also a source quoted which led me to some very in-depth publications by some Ex-Mormons who had exposed a lot of cover-ups and changes in the so-called revelations by Joseph Smith, etc. I acquired these books and studied them very seriously. After that, I was pretty convinced the Mormon Church was wrong, and that the average Mormon was virtually unaware about there even being a problem. I summarized the crisis areas of my faith into twenty questions, with brief summaries of the evidences that called into question the statements or positions of the Mormon Church, and then drove around the whole city and area, delivering this package of documents about one inch thick to each of the leaders in the Mormon Church, from the Stake President and his High Councillors down to the Bishopric of the local congregation I attended. This created one heck of a back-lash. I talked with a number of them by phone when they phoned me. Most told me they had never heard of any of this stuff, but would try to find some answers. There was not a single person in a position of leadership that had any answers, and not one offered any help. After that, I asked that my name be removed from the membership roles. Since I was a Mormon Elder, they accommodated me by excommunication, which is the only way you can get your name off the records. Even so, they always treated me kindly, and they do not engage in the practice of shunning, for which I am thankful.

    Here we go again! I married in the faith. I left the faith. Now my marriage is divided. Since I am writing this on an Ex-JW site, I do not want to spend a lot of time on the Mormon part of the story. Suffice it to say that marriage number 2 ended in divorce and splitsville.

    In retrospect, I can see that both marriages were based on a certain kind of relationship, in which the couple feels like they are in love with each other. It has to do with both persons looking for a potential mate who believes the same as they do (i.e. in the same religion). And as long as you both share the same beliefs, then God will work in that marriage to keep it united and in harmony. The minute one of the partners no longer believes the same way, the other partner no longer feels "in love" with their partner. They fall "out of love" because they feel their mate has betrayed them and God. This is one of the problems of Religious Absolutism, where they are the only right religion and everyone else is wrong. In other words, both of my ex-wives loved me with all their hearts, but only so long as I was a good JW or a good Mormon. The minute I felt I could no longer believe in that version of the "Truth", and therefore could not continue to be the good JW or Mormon, then everything changed. This is what I would call "conditional love"- where they love you on the condition that you live up to their expectation of being a good JW or Mormon. Strip religion away, and you discover the relationship has little or nothing to do with loving you for YOU (in spite of what you do)- the love of "uncondition".

    Now, about "Depression". After all, this is the real reason I have been sharing my story with you. Lord knows, I had an awful lot to feel depressed about over so many years. What exactly is depression? It is Anger that is turned Inward. We have to learn how to deal with all that Anger. If we keep it all inside, it will eat us up; even destroy us. Also, in the final analysis, this is what we are doing to ourselves. We must not go around blaming other people or the outside world as "doing it to me". We cannot control what other people think or feel or do. The same is true for Institutions or Organizations, which interact with the world on their own terms. They are not running around trying to please or accommodate you or me. They are "doing their own thing.", and anyone that wants to belong to them must not be surprised that they will exercise "control" over their lives. The key is for you decide for yourself to what degree, if any, you will allow them to have control over you. You cannot control them, but you can control your reaction to them. And as an autonomous being, you can exercise your own control in terms of how much YOU will allow another person or organization to control you. This is where learning to be assertive comes into play. Only you can decide what's right for you, or what you believe or like or don't like. Once you make up your mind on these things, you then decide what you will allow anything outside your life to control or influence you. If you do not know, then you explore and investigate, research and question, in order that you can be properly equipped to make up your mind on something.

    Once you learn how to assert yourself in life, exercising your built-in self-autonomy, you will find yourself taking control of your life in ways that you never knew or thought possible before. Others who accuse you of being bad or guilty or wrong or deceived may believe they are right and have your best interests at heart. But you do not have to accept their pronouncements. You cannot control them, but you CAN control your reaction to them. Do not let them be the judge of you. You decide over your own life. This is part of Self-Responsibility. This is key to getting over a lot of those hang-ups and guilt complexes we have been carrying around with us all our lives, like albatrosses. Until we learn to love ourselves, we cannot effectively love others. Stop the guilt! Discover that you really are special, and that you are worthwhile and loveable. Build your own self-esteem. Tell yourself every day that you are worth it, and that "Every day I am getting better and better". And no, you don't have to tackle and solve this whole problem in a day, and become overwhelmed. "Inch by inch, it's a cinch. Yard by yard it's hard." A day at a time. A day at a time. A day at a time. Strive towards improvement and perfection, even though no-one is perfect.

    Create your own self-expression or "Mantra" to continually recharge your batteries. Here is mine:

    "Right now I am receiving all of the love, power, wisdom and abundance, good health, good fortune, good luck and success from the all-knowing, all-powerful and everywhere present God of the Universe."

    I say this many times a day, whenever I can think of it or have a break. But I don't just babble out the words, lest they become meaningless expressions. I focus on key words and also try to visualize some of those qualtities. I try to visualize myself as being in the presence of God, becoming bathed in the light. I feel a kind of "goodness" wash over my being, and I begin to feel a part of this awesome universe. The Universe is not cold and indifferent, and neither is it hostile to our well-being. The world out there is not our enemy. After all, God created this Universe. He made us in his image, and we are His children, and He loves US. How then can we put up with all this condemnation from Organized Religion? It is time we turned within and discover the spirituality and love that is already there inside each of us. You don't need a Church or Organization to give you spirituality and a relationship with God. This is the real Truth these Organizations don't want you to know or find out.

    And, in case you are wondering, I am not some religious fanatic running around preaching some "new age religion". I am simply sharing what I have found in my long and difficult struggle to find the real truth about God and the Universe. It was "Depression" that led me to the break-thru I needed, where one can find God and Love, though every Church and Organization and Person be against you. I am only suggesting that if you turn within your own self, there you will find the answers you seek. It will never be found "out there" in some man-made Institution with self-serving religious and political agendas calculated and designed to control the masses or the members. No-one and nothing on this earth has a monopoly on truth or an exclusive pathway to God. You have the right path for you to God, and it's right there within you, if only you take the time to find this out.



    p.s. My youngest daughter, who is now grown up and married with 3 lovely daughters of her own, and who was raised in the JW religion, including when her mom remarried to another JW, went thru her own crisis and depression. About a year ago she finally left the JW's by disassociating herself. Since then, she says she has never known such happiness and freedom.

  • BluesBrother

    Rod P ...

    Hello and welcome to the board. That is an amazing story that had me hooked. I am so sorry that you had so much trouble and I hope that life is more peaceful now. I hope for many more posts from you.

    Depression. I think we agree that there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that depression is more prevalent inside than outside the dub organisation. Perhaps it does appeal to already depressive people who are ticked off by the world and those around them, and find it easy to accept that God would slaughter the lot, because they think they all deserve it.

    Also, you have what we called a "perfect concept being acted out by imperfect people" . First it raises ones expectations that this is great!, and then it is realised that they can never measure up to all that is expected of them, and then they are disappointed by their "brothers" - result = depression

  • metatron

    Keep in mind the fact that the Society has ordered elders to fend off any surveys - which , in themselves, might expose just

    how bad depression and other problems are in the organization. This puts the lie to their statements about the "happiest people",

    and a "spiritual paradise".


  • Thegoodgirl

    Rod P, welcome, that was a story beginning similarly to my own life (I am one of three girls and our parents were split on religion, finally divorcing when I was 7.) I actually liked it better when they were apart because there was less tension and arguing. My dad was never into religion, and my mom is GUNG HO Jehovah's Witness. They're both sincere and good people, but with the Witness mindset, my Mom just wouldn't budge in rules, and my dad couldn't take the social mishaps like refusing to attend family holidays, telling us not to attend college, etc. He called us all the time and that helps us know him, so keep in touch with your girls, someday they may leave the JWs and begin to understand you and your ex-wife's impossible dilemma.

    And as for depression, I have written about this on another board. I know there is no proof, but several people in my hometown congregation were on antidepressants, and I mean like probably 30%. Also, I was really depressed through high school, but that was because of the isolation of no worldly friends and all the JWs getting "in trouble" and you aren't supposed to associate with those "on the edge" either, so it leaves you totally alone. A good friend of mine killed himself in our congregation at 20 years old. I'm sure he had lots of stuff going on, but I always wish I had more openly discussed my lingering doubts about the religion with him because looking back, I know he had them too.

  • garybuss

    I know of several Witnesses who committed suicide. My wife's uncle, a young married Witness we were friends with, the lady who had the Tuesday book study at her home committed suicide Tuesday night after the book study after we had all left.

    Frankly, I think all of the Witness people I know are depressed, neurotic, or psychotic. When the ideal to aspire to is paranoid, delusional, and fatalistic, it's easy to see why so many are mentally ill. I am trying to think of some rational, well Witnesses. I can think of some but they are not Witnesses any more. I think the well, rational Witness is driven out of the organization.

    If any remain inside they have done one incredible job of hiding from me.

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