O.k so I am living the "double life" I suppose. But its funny how sometimes I still catch myself doing or saying things that only a "really spiritual" preason would. Like the other day when I saw a cute tank top on sale but it said "Libra" on it. I almost did not buy it but I'm like 'wait a minte! why shouldn't I?' Or when I feel guilty sometimes for saying "Lord" instead of "Jehovah."Or how I always need to mention that I am a witness whenever I see someone's blood card or a tract peek out of someone's purse in the grocery store line. Weird. Any of you still have that same Witness mentality in some aspects of your life or still catch yourselves doing or saying things that has to do with it? Come on.. Be honest! I know there is a bunch of you who still wanna pull out Rev. 21:3,4 whenever a coworker tells you there mom just died!
ANYBODY STILL HAVE A WITNESS MENTALITY?
The JWs were our identity, it's going to take years. It's not just a former JW problem, it's true of anyone living a certain way that deeply affected their perspective. It's like a longtime married person being widowed or divorced, they have to rebuild an identity. Former Catholics and Baptists for example report similar flashbacks and regressions. It helps if you challenge fundemental views such as whether the Bible is what we were told it was or how you really feel about political and social issues such as homosexuality or war. In this painful way we rebuild our identity, a better informed one hopfully.
I was never a witness but, rather, raised and schooled a catholic. I found this site to learn as much about JWs as possible due to a relationship with a JW woman and just stuck around. The amazing intellects and the high amusement value of all the stories and their wonderful posters keeps me riveted. But your title made me think.
I was raised catholic but haven't been in a church (except for a wedding or funeral) for probably 30 years. I hate ALL organized religions but due to my upbringing, schooling and general apathy, I maintained a sense of "religion" even though I practised none. It was just routine and I never really thought about it. I suppose I was a lazy agnostic.
After coming here and reading all the "religious" stuff and the horrible way people were treated while in the organization, I started to think in terms of religion in general. ALL religions seem to treat their people poorly most (all?) of the time. Maybe some don't but they all seem to have a dark side.
So after my tenure here and doing some thinking and a massive amount of reading, I was able to put away my routine, "because that's what I've always done," traditional-centric thoughts on religion and god. Yep, JWD helped to turn a lazy agnostic into a full-fledged atheist!
But, again, since I wasn't a JW I couldn't have a "JW mentality." I kept a "religion mentality" for almost 49 years before I had my epiphany so your question is legitimate across seemingly all religious training.
I laugh at the JW mentality. I enjoy seeing it and realizing I don't have it now.
As we detach from the Witness mentality or identity, we might find that it is one of several identities we have. An identity is like a mask or a persona that one can put on and off and use when required. What we do professionally is like another identity which isn't, strictly speaking, the Witness identity (although were taught that being a JW was supposed to affect everything else in our lives). Family relationships we might have are not, strictly speaking, the Witness identity. If we have tried to learn and practice another religion, that isn't the Witness identity. If we have a hobby, that isn't the Witness identity, either. So the real "me" is not any of these identities.
Our various identities can be used like friends we turn to for advice in our life journies. If the Witness identity offers us some advice once in awhile, it's OK to consider what is suggested. It might be right or it might be wrong. But then we make the decision to act according to what is best for us.
The only residual is that I still have a tendency to be judgemental. This is directly attributable to my years in the WTS being told that everything and everybody outside the kingdom hall was the spawn of satan. Why care about people that are about to be annihilated by god anyways? I am now working hard to delete all JW files from my brains hard-drive. Its a long process and trying my best to be the OPPOSITE of a JW.
Ditto Kid-A! I find my tendency to make quick judgements one of the most residual effects of my jw life. I find it challenging not to categorize people and see them as either "good" or "bad." Of course, this kind of judging applies just as much to me too. So I'm learning to love myself and others unconditionally. A HUGE learning!
I have been working on understanding the differances between being a faithful Christian worshiper of Jehovah and a loyal Witness. The clear differance to me is the loyal Witness accepts all the human rules and reasoning from the Society as coming from God Himself...I no longer do this. What I now do is scrutinize the 'teaching' with the Bible using my God given critical thinking to determine what really is the truth of the matter and is pleasing / approved of God and then I live my life in good conscience accordingly. I do believe the core beliefs of the Witnesses to be correct and hold to those.
- Jehovah is not a trinity.
- Jesus is God's first creation.
- The Angelic rebellion is the source of all our troubles.
- The Great Tribulation and Armageddon are literal and coming.
- God will use the worlds governments to destroy world religion.
- The Thousand Year reign is real.
- The Resurrection is the only hope for the dead.
- The Little Flock will be a literal Heavenly Government.
- Satan and his Demons have a finite time to exist and will be terminated.
Some examples of teachings I no longer accept are:
- Meetings are a command. (They are an exhortation only)
- The FDS is continualy guided by God's Spirit through His Son in EVERYTHING. ( The history of ancient Israel shows God does not work this way. He does not micro-manage His people. Revelation chapters 1-3 show this also, plus if God worked that way the Angel that became Satan wouldn't have had the freedom to choose that course)
- The FDS is the unquestioned authority and final word in ALL things spiritual and otherwise. (Purely human reasoning deliberatly used to empower themselves over us in every way)
- Elders are appointed by Holy Spirit. (In the 1st Century yes, perhaps in the late 19 Century during Russell's time)
- Women are second class. (Paul's view not Christ's)
I guess I do.
Even if I didn't have a religious mentality I'd still have a mentality learnt from whatever group in society I identified with. One that does my nut in is the political correctness fad that is walking all over the way we think and talk and is as restrictive to freedom as any religious ruleset. Everytime I'm in public I have to check what I'm saying more due to pc rules than anything religion might have made me feel bad about. I have 'learnt' to feel guilty if someone makes a joke about anyone other then a white male middle class capitalist and I find it funny - that is just cr*p.
My first reaction to this question was 'I bloody-well hope not!"
Then Justin's reference to "the real me" rang a bell:
- because recently, I have spent a lot of time just trying to discover (maybe more like "re-discover") just what the "real me" is.
- which is not exactly an enviable situation to be in when you are in your fifties!
- In trying to re-discover what the "real me" is, I have tried to reflect back to what I was before the WTS madness took hold (being 34 years ago, though, this is difficult).
So maybe a residual Witness Mentality is still there - in ways we may not be aware of - and mostly would not like if we did.
My thoughts anyway,