Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Four Lies Jehovah's Witnesses Tell Themselves


Like it or not, a measure of dishonesty is necessary for maintaining the social system. We all know that young George Washington didn't cut down a cherry tree and that Lincoln's path to the Emancipation Proclamation had less to do with the ideal of racial equality than it did with the pragmatism of reuniting a fractured republic. Men hide their sexual indiscretions from their wives, who themselves would rather not know the truth about their husbands. Dishonesty is so deeply entrenched in the social contract that language philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein downgraded it from a moral failure to a mere “language game.”

The Jehovah's Witnesses are no exception. Here are four lies all Witnesses tell themselves.

“I am loved.”
The Witness catechism brochure What Does God Require of Us says that “the most outstanding mark of true Christians is that they have real love among themselves.”

To be fair, Jehovah's Witnesses do a good job of promoting this value among their members. For instance, racism has been all but eliminated. Their literature points to the humanitarian work they perform in times of disaster and to the preaching work itself as an act of love. But in these areas, they are really no different from many other churches that also do good works. Good and helpful though their work may be, the love Witnesses have is not an “outstanding mark,” superior to that found in other religions. They are merely as good as many other religions.

On a personal level, however, many Witnesses complain of loneliness and isolation. Due to strict moral standards and the expectation to marry only within the religion, thousands of Jehovah's Witnesses remain single and have lost hope that they will find someone just right for them. Others may feel left out because they aren't part of the Pioneers' or Elders' club. Hoping to conjure up feelings of amity by force of sheer will, some will testify at the meetings to the love they have been shown or to the love they feel for the “brotherhood.” But all too often it's a sham, a Hail Mary pass at getting the human affection they crave.

Many Watchtower articles have been published to address this problem, most of which assume that if congregation members don't feel loved, it's their own fault; the Watchtower Society has never acknowledged that its own congregations could be the source of their disappointment.

Thus, out of one side their mouth they praise the Organization for having superlative love, while out of the other side of their mouth, they complain—if only privately—that they feel unloved. While a measure of love can be found in Witness congregations, to claim this as an outstanding characteristic of their religion is to ignore the love that abounds outside their Kingdom Halls.

Then again, any religion that describes the ritualized brutality of disfellowshipping as a “loving arrangement” isn't exactly going for what you could call a platonic ideal.

“I am in the truth.”
Jehovah's Witnesses claim to possess “accurate knowledge” of the Bible—that they alone know the truth—and this belief emboldens them to take their unique beliefs from door to door. The single most important doctrine in their theology is their belief that Jesus Christ became the messianic King of God's Kingdom in 1914—and it provides the basis for all of their interpretation of Bible prophecy. That date is arrived at through a series of scriptures handpicked from the books of Daniel and Revelation and whipped together into a dizzyingly convoluted compote of Bible Math. While Watchtower publications occasionally go over this material, few Witnesses can actually explain this chronology without resorting to cheat sheets such as those found in their book Reasoning from the Scriptures. Convinced though they may be about the doctrine, few really understand it. That isn't knowledge. It's mere belief. Consequently, while Jehovah's Witnesses criticize other churches for inducing their members to credulously believe incomprehensible doctrines, like the Trinity, the fact is that they do the same thing themselves.

In 2010, in order to reconcile the urgency of its belief that 1914 would be a prelude to Armageddon with the fact that that year is quickly fading into history, the Watchtower magazine (once again) revised the meaning of the word “generation” used at Matthew 24:34, this time completely removing its definition from the realm of sound logic and doubling it to actually include two generations whose lives overlap.

It is no coincidence that, as its belief system has lost credibility, the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses has shown less and less tolerance for those who would ask difficult questions. If it were secure in the truth, it would encourage—not fear—questioning and dissent. Instead, they drown out cross-examination with the cry “I am in the truth!” for to stop doing so would result in a crisis of faith from which, they fear, they could not recover.

“I am living a fulfilled life as a Witness.”
For someone youthful and ambitious, there are a few opportunities for personal fulfillment in the Jehovah's Witness world. Their missionary and foreign service programs afford opportunities for world travel. Males can advance into leadership positions. Still, the emphasis is on one paramount work: the public ministry, and all members are expected to make it their top priority. If a member balks at this, or finds that it is not his or her “gift,” it is seen as a spiritual weakness. Thus, having a fulfilling role in the Witnesses is something only a few enjoy. The rest are encouraged to make the best of it and are dissuaded from seeking the challenges and rewards that go along with traditional avenues for personal enrichment, such as education, professional development, entrepreneurship or the arts.

For most people, college is an opportunity to explore their interests and get to know themselves. But Witnesses see it as a threat to their relationship with God. The April 15, 2008 Watchtower says, “What, though, of higher education, received in a college or a university? This is widely viewed as vital to success. Yet, many who pursue such education end up with their minds filled with harmful propaganda. Such education wastes valuable youthful years that could best be used in Jehovah’s service.”

Pursuing fulfillment in any endeavor outside of service to the Watchtower Society is discouraged. In a chapter titled “What Career Should I choose?” the Watchtower publication Young People Ask stated:
‘WHAT shall I do with the rest of my life?’ Sooner or later you confront this challenging question. A confusing array of choices present themselves—medicine, business, art, education, computer science, engineering, the trades. And you may feel like the youth who said: “What I consider to be successful . . . is maintaining the comfort level that you grew up with.” Or like others, you may dream of improving your financial lot in life.

But is there more to success than material gain? Can any secular career bring you real fulfillment?
The chapter goes on to discourage such options, claiming that satisfaction “eludes those who build their lives solely around secular achievement.”

When it comes to relationships, Witnesses fare little better. If they are raised in the religion, they often get married too young, only to realize too late that they made an unwise choice. Fearing censure from the congregation if they divorce, they often remain trapped in a disappointing relationship.

Thus, for many Witnesses, finding real satisfaction in work and life is elusive. Yet, there is no room to say express those feelings openly, for to do so would only further isolate them from a community that would see their lack of fulfillment as spiritual weakness. So they maintain a facade that conceals a life of quiet desperation. They live a sad lie of thwarted dreams and aspirations.

“I think for myself”
Ask any Witness if she is in a cult and she will likely bristle defensively and insist that Witnesses think for themselves. As one Witness commenter said in an online forum: “WE ARE NOT A CULT! We are free willed people just like anyone else.” Methinks she doeth protest too much.

The test for someone's capacity for independent thought comes when he disagrees with established beliefs or deviates from expected norms. But when a member of Jehovah's Witnesses disagrees with something found in the Watchtower magazine, what is the expected course of action? Such questioning is seen, not as the functioning of a healthy, autonomous mind, but as the work of the Devil. Says The Watchtower of February 1, 1996:

Another sly tactic of the Devil is the sowing of doubts in the mind. He is ever alert to see some weakness in faith and exploit it. Any who experience doubts should remember that the one behind such doubts is the one who said to Eve: “Is it really so that God said you must not eat from every tree of the garden?” Once the Tempter had planted doubt in her mind, the next step was to tell her a lie, which she believed. (Genesis 3:1, 4, 5) To avoid having our faith destroyed by doubt as Eve’s was, we need to be vigilant. If some tinge of doubt about Jehovah, his Word, or his organization has begun to linger in your heart, take quick steps to eliminate it before it festers into something that could destroy your faith....

Do not hesitate to ask for help from loving overseers in the congregation. (Acts 20:28; James 5:14, 15; Jude 22) They will help you trace the source of your doubts, which may be due to pride or some wrong thinking.

Has the reading or listening to apostate ideas or worldly philosophy introduced poisonous doubts? … It is of interest that many who have become victims of apostasy got started in the wrong direction by first complaining about how they felt they were being treated in Jehovah’s organization. (Jude 16) Finding fault with beliefs came later. Just as a surgeon acts quickly to cut out gangrene, act quickly to rout out of the mind any tendency to complain, to be dissatisfied with the way things are done in the Christian congregation. (Colossians 3:13, 14) Cut off anything that feeds such doubts.—Mark 9:43.

Stick closely to Jehovah and his organization. Loyally imitate Peter, who resolutely stated: “Lord, whom shall we go away to? You have sayings of everlasting life.” (John 6:52, 60, 66-68) Have a good program of study of Jehovah’s Word so as to keep your faith strong, like a large shield, able “to quench all the wicked one’s burning missiles.” (Ephesians 6:16) Keep active in the Christian ministry, lovingly sharing the Kingdom message with others. Every day, meditate appreciatively on how Jehovah has blessed you. Be thankful that you have a knowledge of the truth. Doing all these things in a good Christian routine will help you to be happy, to endure, and to remain free of doubts.
In other words, Witnesses are told that if they don't agree with The Watchtower, they should do whatever it takes to start agreeing again.
[Independent] thinking is an evidence of pride. And the Bible says: “Pride is before a crash, and a haughty spirit before stumbling.” (Proverbs 16:18) If we get to thinking that we know better than the organization, we should ask ourselves: “Where did we learn Bible truth in the first place? Would we know the way of the truth if it had not been for guidance from the organization? Really, can we get along without the direction of God’s organization?” No, we cannot!—The Watchtower, January 15, 1983
Clearly, thinking for oneself is not highly valued in the Witness community. Nevertheless, Witnesses insist that they do, in fact think for themselves. Objective outsiders easily see it for what it is: Jehovah's Witnesses lie to themselves about their supposed freedom of thought.

Just admit it.
In 1843, Karl Marx described the fall of the French ancien rĂ©gime as tragic “as long as it believed and had to believe in its own justification.” He saw a parallel between the end of that age and the then-current crisis rippling through Germany, which “only imagines that it believes in itself and demands that the world imagine the same thing. If it believed in its own essence, would it seek refuge in hypocrisy and [the plausible but fallacious arguments of] sophism?” The very same question can be asked of the Jehovah's Witness belief system.

In Alfred Hitchcock's North By Northwest, Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant) contended that “in the world of advertising, there's no such thing as a lie. There's only expedient exaggeration.” That statement doesn't go far enough. The entire world revolves around the polite rituals of mutual deception, and Jehovah's Witnesses are no exception. Unfortunately, their refusal to acknowledge that fact makes them a laughingstock among pharisees, the butt of a self-inflicted, cynical joke.

This isn't to say that the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses will disappear any time soon, imploding under the weight of their falsehoods. Obsolete religions are like uranium: they can have an astonishingly long half-life. Sustained by delusion and falsehood, they are just as toxic.

43 comments:

  1. Excellent essay! Your insights are spot on...

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  2. Enjoyed your take on the Jehovah Witnesses. I always like it when someone strips away all the fluff and just says it like it is..good for you

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  3. Great post, Joel. As I thought about it, the one thing I often questione when I was a JW was the issue of race. I agree that witnesses meet together in harmony regardless of race. But I experienced blatant racism when I was dating and after I married my first wife (I'm black, she was white). I also noticed that I never met a black circuit or distric overseer. For most of the years I lived in Oregon, I never saw a black speaker at the district and circuit assemblies. I finaly saw that change during the last few years I was a JW, at least on the circuit level. But while there were always new white brothers, in addition to the usual suspects, giving parts during the assemblies, the same few black brothers were always used, although there were more to choose from. And don't get me started on Asians and Hispanics. I saw a clear glass ceiling in all of the states I lived in, from Colorado to Utah, Oregon and Washington, which kept the number of brothers of color to a minimum in the upper echelons of the Society. What are your thoughts about that issue? Is this a case of me looking for signs of racism?

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  4. Kay, you're such a race baiter!

    Just kidding.

    Yeah, I get what you're saying. I can count on one hand the black brothers I knew I'd see on an assembly stage: Onelius Jackson, Elias Campbell, Bro. Frazier, Mike Lasley. And you.

    I might have been too generous when I said "racism has been all but eliminated" -- and as white person, I'm just not going to see it as clearly when it crops up. I have to own that, for sure.

    But then I think of racism in urban areas, like minority-dominant neighborhoods in LA or NYC where a white person wouldn't dare go. And then there's the converse: white neighborhoods that shut out minorities -- unless they are there to work. I sincerely believe that JWs have solved those bigger problems.

    Back East, the story was a bit different. I remember visiting Bethel with Elias, and one thing that inspired him to apply was that he observed that there was a lot of "color" in the Bethel family. I saw lots of black DO's and CO's when I was back there.

    I can't speak for the other states you've been to, but Oregon and Portland have a small black population (PDX has around a 5% black population), so I feel that partly accounts for the low representation in positions of responsibility. Concomitant with that, though, it has to be acknowledged that with such a small black population, white JWs have to "own" that some of them might be uncomfortable around black JWs. I can definitely remember cringing when I'd see white JWs either talking down or trying to "act black" around black brothers. (Were you at the Circuit Assembly rehearsal when [white CO] Bro. Horton asked Onelius if he'd ever been a Baptist preacher?) Jesus Fucking Christ.

    As far as Hispanics go, I think that there's a lot of pressure for Spanish-speaking brothers who are "reaching out" to move to the Spanish field, so I think that's why there isn't a lot of Hispanic representation in the English field there.

    Anyway, I hope this makes sense. Dashing out the door and don't have to make it pretty. Thanks for your thoughts, man!

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  5. Don't have TIME to make it pretty! LOL

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  6. love this Joel! bravo! a perfect read for anyone of thinking of leaving or thinking of going back!

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  7. Hey Joel, you made some good points. I agree that, as a whole, JWs have done a good job of dealing with issues of race. As we've discussed before, it will never be completely eradicated.

    I thought of one more lie JW's tell themselves. It's that they are happy. God's happy people! How many witnesses do you know that were actually happy? The only ones I knew were medicated!

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  8. Damn! That's a good one! Happy happy happy! NOT!

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  9. I want to read your articles, but I cant get past the rage and madness. Looks great tho. Crackin flow.

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  10. I happen to have been raised with Joel Gunz and all the people he mentioned in his reply. Mike Lasley recently was a friend on FB and bcz my mother who hated me and is JW asked him to stop he did. JW's have no independant thought and hate most people even if they are related to them. I grew up with Ornelius Jackson, Bro. frazier, Mike lasley and the crew and my step father who abused me along with my mother was Jim and Twila Odom. know Joel will will remember me.. I loved him as a kid. I saw no happiness in this religion. They were ok with a 12 year old child being on the streets if the child did not agree with the "watchtower". I know first hand who they are and how sad it was to watch my family crumble under their care. BTW Hi Joel Gunz. I missed ya!

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  11. Hey Crystal! Just saw your note.

    I know this because I know you: You are a good person. The really sad thing is that the JWs take decent people and turn them into haters. That cannot continue. So good to see you, Crystal!

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  12. Awesome post. I told myself those lies for a long time.

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  13. I am a former JW - been out for about 9 years.

    I really enjoyed reading this post. Your writing style is fluid and you have nice lines of thought and reasoning.

    On the point about JW and community service, I'm not sure that JWs are on par with other religions here. In fact, from what I can tell they dole out their good works pretty selfishly with a strong "take care of your own first" approach. Unlike some other religions, JWs do not provide much for the community at large in the way of parks, hospitals, rescue missions, food banks, etc. After I left the witnesses, I became agnostic so I'm not trying to make a case for other religions - just thought it was worth noting.

    You make some excellent points about the generation teaching as well. I was one of those witnesses who struggled to explain it and always had to revert to publications and the like whenever it came up (which was rare). After reading your post, it struck me that this is REALLY odd. You would think that a teaching that is the keystone for most all of their other beliefs would be studied into the ground and they would make sure that every witness could explain it in a snap. When in fact the opposite is true. I rarely remember the generation teaching being studied - perhaps a paragraph here and there in the WT study or a sub-heading during the book study. That's about it.

    Now that makes so much sense. If they studied it too heavily, too often, looked at it too closely, all the fallacies would unravel. It's power is in its illusiveness and obscurity.

    Your blog is excellent. Nice work.

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  14. This is a very insightful blog, that is 100% fact!

    Keep up the really good work Joel!

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  15. Excellent point Brian! Agnostic is close to my stand. I really saw how JW's absolutely DO nothing for anyone, unless your heavily involved in their religion.

    There is no help coming from them for the world. They claim they know the bible but totally missed the be kind to your neighbor part!

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  16. I met my brother Jermaine Odom for the first time in my life over the phone in 2008. Amazingly enough he told me that I stated I hated him and my other two siblings and this was the reason he would never speak to me. He is an active JW, and the real brain twister is...I left my JW home at age 12. I am 16 years older than this guy and never have met him nor lived with him. Yet, He and the older brother Justin Odom (heavy into drugs) say they remember me and all the bad things I did in some apartment that 6 people lived at. I state all of this because it shows the brainwashing that takes place with a cult. Children are told horrible stories by their parents to justify their own inadequate parental behavior. I was amazed how they knew Twila Odom was an alcoholic, used cross-tops pills and yet they found this behavior to be ok. Their father Jimmy L. Odom would travel from congregation to congregation motivated by my mother to MOVE up in the JW Cult. When their horrible behavior was discovered and Jimmy L Odom was held back (as far as privileges’) they would move to another congregation, and every Tue, Thur, Saturday morning, and Sunday...I was told this statement..."Young lady, if you go in here and tell anyone anything about our family you will regret it." This sad lie I led from age 8-12, when she was happily rid of me. You see Jimmy Lewis Odom beat my brother with a broomstick in his 5720 NE Rodney home just months after their "Quickie" wedding.

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  17. My brother left at age 11, because he was told to daily by our new gracious loving Ministerial Servant step-dad. I was 8. I was crushed and I noticed my mother becoming some weak woman whom I never met and allowed this man to call her racial names almost on a daily basis. He was Black; mother White He would even call her "Honky". Unreal I grew up in this crazy home. When she started to have children it was pretty obvious they had sex before their March 5th 1977 wedding. My sister was born Dec, 16th 1977. They could not admit this because they were moving up the JW cult latter. And their sin was grounds for disfellow-shipment (the act of segregating the cult member until further notice from higher up's).

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  18. I wanted to tell this story after reading this article because I am reminded of how I questioned the JW's and their beliefs and this led to my exaltation. I remember my mother HATING Joel's mom. Oh she talked bad about her and Linda and Laurie like there was no tomorrow, yet kissed their ass in the kingdom hall each week. She hated a woman named Sherrie Palmer and was jealous of her. She thought the women were crap and did not deserve their husbands. She loved Joel Gunz dad and used her knowledge of sports to get in good with him, Mike Lasley, Brother Palmer and even the Unger family. Wow I remember leaving the Unger’s home and Twila saying how filthy they were and how she had to choke the food down and she almost vomited every time we came to their home. It was unreal...the fake crap I was seeing on a daily basis.

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  19. I honestly do not think Twila Odom ever really cared for person in this cult, yet she loved the status she could acquire. You see Twila Eileen Brockell came from a mother who she claimed abused her constantly and YES...was a JW. Ha! Chickens come home to roost here. Before she returned to the JW's and met Jimmy L. Odom, she would tell my brother and I all about this cult her mom was in...How terrible her life was...and she spoke to no one in her family. Well..The kicker was; she always wanted her mother's approval in some way. She never graduated from high-school, yet lied through her career stating she had. She knew her mother knew this , so she received no brownie points there. She was sleeping with three different men when I was 7 years old and one was married. He was our land lord 'Rudy". I would often be scared at these different men leaving and coming in the middle of the night, for you see, they had to pass my room. I am a light sleeper to this day from this. Well all three men duped her and she ran to the cult...JW's. She was looking for a man and a way out and that ever need to please her psycho JW mother, who called her a "Nigger Lover" in our face. HA! Ok I will pick this story up later...I have to break... Hi Joel...This gets better as I recollect...But the real kicker is..Jimmy Lewis Odom was engaged to a woman named Arlene Jackson. My mother seduced him sexually in our home before marriage and then told him she was pregnant…He broke off the engagement to Sister Jackson and married my mother fast! So as not to lose his position in the NE Congregation..Now My sister was not Jimmy’s kid..Jammel Rose now known as Nicole Rose Russell was there before Jimmy…If not, then they had sex earlier than the time I caught them….I was 8.

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  20. you are all so ignorant it's almost comical.....

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    1. When you say "you all" to whom, specifically, are you referring? Also, in what way are the people you refer to "ignorant?" Please enlighten us.

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  21. I'm sure it won't be approved.... Oh, but you made me laugh so hard..... You are all truly brainwashed.... try visiting JW.org

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    1. You see Aninynous, you will be published because unlike the brainwashed JW's it is ok to speak your mind and tell the truth. The real truth. Sorry your only line of defense is to insult but that is what JW's are known for as well. The fact you are Anonymous, speaks volumes for who and what you are. Sad brainwashed human caught in a wolf's den of lies.

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  22. Hi Anonymous -
    Thank you for your comment!
    To the contrary, unlike the Governing Body, I welcome a variety of comments and even welcome dissenting opinions. So please, feel free to contribute more thoughts. I promise that you be given a respectful, thoughtful reply.

    For starters, Can you explain why you feel I am brainwashed?

    All good thoughts,
    Joel Gunz

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  23. Well done, impressive essay. You hit the nail right on the head!

    My ex is a jehovah witness, and most of the time she was trying to guilt me into believing her lies. Turned out she was a crazy, and decided she wanted to (having all my passwords for email, youtube) destroy anything I had on the internet to make me see her point. She told me that she felt like I wasted her time, so it seems that the purpose of her relationship with me was solely to convert me.

    Any time I came up with an argument that countered what she was saying, she would say "I can't explain that." So I asked her if she would go to one of her priests and inquire for me, whenever this happened, she would refuse to talk to me for a day or two. Didn't take long for me to realize (right after she screwed around with my internet accounts) that I was getting nothing out of being with her. It was a miracle I survived as long as I did.

    Just wanted to post that (and anonymous, because I'm not sure how to log in with any account I have =D), it was VERY clear she was unhappy, but the source was her own damned religion.

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    1. Thanks for your note! I don't know your ex of course, but my guess is that if she was willing to marry a non-JW in the first place, she also had doubts about whether or not being a JW was for her. But there is so much pressure to stay in and not question anything that the only way she could cope with it and live with herself was to put you down as the bad guy. I feel bad for you and I feel sorry for her too, because I think that on some level she knows she's caught in a trap and doesn't know how to get out.

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    2. I agree with Joel. It is not often you will see a JW even date outside of the religion and she was tormented because of it. The sick awful lies placed in her head by the JW's is definitely the reason for the abnormal behavior. Hopefully she gain enough strength to walk away and be free of the brainwashing. I too am sorry you went through that.

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  24. I am married to a JW and started having bible study with an elder. After relizing being a JW was not for me I am trying to find ways to show my wife that her way is not the right way. Please help in any way you can

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    1. Hi there - Thanks for getting in touch. Getting a JW to change her views can be very difficult. And on the face of it, I'm not sure that's always a good idea. I don't want to sound harsh, but is it really your place to decide that "her way is not the right way?" It's good to remember that, as messed-up as the Witnesses are, people join - and stay in - for their own personal reasons. Right or wrong, that choice must be honored. I don't know your situation, but your wife must be getting something out of the religion, or she wouldn't stay in it. It might be helpful to find out what that is.

      In my experience, it is practically impossible to argue or debate someone out of the cult. IMHO, your best bet is to show her unconditional love. Inotherwords, do you love her whether she's a Witness or not? Then let her know that, every day.

      When I was a JW, very often the observation was made that when a JW married out of the church, her "justification" for it was that "he showed me more love than most Witnesses." (And then the elders would go on to put down such "fleshly" thinking.) But therein lies the key.

      Paradoxical as it sounds, the more respect for her beliefs and love for her as a person that you can show - without compromising your own standards - the more likely she will be to begin questioning what she's been taught. With luck, and assuming she really has honest motives, she'll find her own way out.

      You're in a tough spot. I hope this helps.

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  25. Mmm, not with luck but by the grace of Almighty God, His Son and the Holy Spirit. Just love her and pray for her.

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  26. There are a couple of things that I do not understand about JW's... I know that their doctrines are wrong, but help me here:

    1. If "it's all about the money," who gets to keep it? I doubt it's about money except for surviving (i.e. the GB does not want to be rich necessarily, they just want to have enough money to power the printing presses and print whatever they like so they stay in power).

    2. If they are so totally wrong in doctrine, how do they manage to make the people be honest, hard-working, etc? I know that some will say that there are bad JW's and I will agree with that. Another reason is that everybody lies and has their own little secret(s), but I have met and worked with some amazing people who are actually honest, hard-working, and very loving. How do you explain this? Someone please help me explain this, since even though people do believe me when I debunk doctrines, they still could say that they believe the good things about JW's...

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    1. Hi there -
      Those are two very good questions, and I don't think they get asked enough. Here're my best answers; maybe others will chime in with their opinion.

      1. Contrary to the opinion of other ex-JWs, I don't think JWs are any more money-grubbing than any other large, newish religion. Compared to some evangelistic megachurches, they're downright ascetic. The Governing Body and other leaders live relatively simple lives. Their traveling leaders (Circuit and District Overseers live in mobile homes and spare rooms at the mercy of the congregations they serve.) Even their so-called "opulent" Bethel homes aren't so glamorous when you consider that residents are packed in there two or more to a room. I believe that the discussion about JWs' money issues really is a distraction from more important topics.

      2. Your second question is interesting, because it demonstrates that doctrine has no correlation to values and morality. For instance, US immigrants are generally characterized as honest and hardworking, yet they come from a variety of faith traditions. JWs do a very good job of instilling these values in their members, and that's a good thing for themselves and their communities. In fact, they are very good at taking people who have slipped to the lowest levels of life (drug addiction, serial criminality, etc.) and helped them turn their lives around. But that's where it ends. They also discourage their members from pursuing their dreams in the arts, business, sports, politics and more. Youths are strongly encouraged to reject a university education. All members are expected to serve the Witness Theocracy and any other pursuit is a sideline at best -- if not to be actually avoided altogether. The implicit message is: You may rise this far, but no farther. I think this is harmful and ultimately devaluing of their humanity.

      Check out this Pew Research study on religions on the USA. When it comes to getting a college degree, JWs ranked dead last among all religious groups in the study. http://religions.pewforum.org/portraits

      In other words, JWs are very good at helping theri members to become the pack mules of the community. Hardworking and honest, sure, but nothing more. If that's God's will, I'll stick to atheism.

      And loving? Hmmm... JWs do tend to be nice to people. As a general rule, they tend not to stir up trouble. But that's not the same thing as love. (And even that I view with suspicion; I don't trust people who are too nice, it makes wonder what they're doing behind my back.) And they can also be kind - but even that has an agenda: JWs have it drilled into them that their acts of kindness are a silent witness whose aim is to attract more to their religion. The point is that they aren't necessarily doing it out of a loving motive, but rather a proselytizing one. And, as mentioned, their disfellowshipping policies are an atrocity that breaks up families and destroys friendships and even lives. It's easy to act "nice" and "loving" when you're acting out your hostility on a scapegoat. Ultimately, it's hypocritical.

      I hope this helps.

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  27. Joel I just wanna say thank you so much for your articles. The last year of my life has been the most confusing time I have ever experienced . mixed emotions regarding the organization whether to leave or stay. If I'm making the right decision or not. If I'm going to make it into "the paradise". It especially doesn't help when your entire family are members. After my father passed that's when I really looked deeply into religion and try to figure if its for me or not. After your articles and many other researched I've found the real truth. Especially regarding the organization. I feel as though my mind if free. I'm not afraid of anything anymore. I remember thinking that everything was part of some define plan plotted by Satan. Now that I realize times are just evolving as well as humans. It really lowers my stress levels and calms me. I feel as tho I'm finally free. Thank you so much my man. Keep the articles coming. Much love from Toronto Canada

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  28. Well now, Jehovah's Witnesses do PLLLEEENNTY of relief work, especially when there's natural disasters around the world.

    Secondly, I've met and personally know a ton of witnesses who are genuinely happy and content with their lives. My mom is one of them. Third of all, I've had people in other religions, use pamphlets and brochures as well to try to convince me of their teachings.

    and last but not least, at the end of the day, Jehovah's Witnesses CHOOSE to be witnesses. They CHOOSE to go to the kingdom hall. They CHOOSE to go door to door. Therefore, they clearly think for themselves. The illustration about letting a doubtful thought fester could apply to any situation. Example. If someone were to tell a friend theyre thinking about robbing a bank. and the friend tells them to think twice before making such a bad decision in which could ruin their lives and the person CHOOSES not to go through with it. The friend was just there to give them something to think about before doing something detrimental to their own life not telling them what and whatnot to do or think.

    So I personally think that this article is strictly your sarcastic opinion on what Jehovah's Witnesses believe and their way of life.

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  29. My experience with JW's is that they have a high suicide rate, a high divorce rate, lack upper education and the first line out of their mouths at your front door are deceptive and manipulative. I usually catch them in a predetermined lie and get them flustered. I pray for their souls and hope that they can escape their maze.

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  30. Truth bears witness to itself and can be proven even when its hard to swallow. Growing up as a Jehovah's Witness I was taught I was in the TRUTH and learned to understand to follow truth NOT tradition. I believed I was in the truth and did many things in the organization. Jehovah's Witnesses preach a lot of truth for instance paganism in the holidays, and much more however the TRUTH does not stop there. There are pieces of truth in many religions and as you study for truth you will see it. Through the practices of "studying" the bible and researching truth and truth only, I saw things that were also false within the Jehovah's Witness organization. When you look at one of the most basic things is in the study of GODS NAME. Jehovah was not the original named used. Psalms 83:18 could say Robert if I put it there so realize this. The New Word translation which is the Jehovah's Witnesses bible has many alterations even though Rev 22:18 clearly says NOT to add or take away from any of the original scrolls... With that being clear, you all can clearly see another altered version that was just printed in 2013 which is in clear opposition to that scripture. When you translate GODS words I don't think one should update or alter "GOD's words" to what he/she thinks would be "better words" to use... Translate but don't alter.

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  31. Think now also, when has anyone changed THEIR OWN name for different areas. Last time I checked Mc Donalds is called Mc Donalds (maybe with different accents...) in China as it is in America. If your name is Robert and you go to anywhere in the Africa region, you would introduce yourself as Robert. The name Robert can be translated differently but a "persons name" is NOT translated. If you doubt this, turn on the Spanish Sports channel and if you don't understand Spanish you will make out clear words you do understand in, Lebron James, Kevin Durant, or ect, to prove this fact. You do NOT change someones name when your referring to someone specifically. With that being stated, who authorized the change of GOD's original pronounced NAME or its spelling? If it's clear scholars do not know the pronunciation of YHWH, who authorized to put in or say the name JEHOVAH the way we do? That's like me not knowing any of your names and then making up names to call you and you accepting it. I don't think anyone in there right state of mind would accept that even though many slaves brought to America from Africa were stripped of their original names and then given new names. When slavery was over in 1880, they still kept their slave owners name because they no longer had knowledge of self, culture, nor original language, but again they were not in their "right state of mind" after suffering terrible brutality, through slavery... If you did know your name and I called you anything other than your name, that would be highly disrespectful. It has been proven that the pronunciation of JESUS is not accurate because they did not use J, therefore why are people pronouncing JEHOVAH & JESUS the way we do when it has been proven to be inaccurate by the same scholars the society deals with?

    In a nut shell, a divine organization receiving instructions directly from Jesus himself...,lol would mean the perfect being Jesus made clear mistakes with informing Jehovah's Witnesses about Christmas originally, smoking cigarettes originally, and even the time of the end originally, just to name a few MAJOR mistakes. Since it is preached he just became King in 1914..., I guess those where early King mistakes,lol OR it would have to mean there was NO divine instruction from JESUS to the Jehovah's Witnesses meaning the teaching of divine instruction through the "faithful and discreet slave" is false...

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  32. Witnesses also preach that GOD is not partial...lol Matt 15:21-28 clarifies that when the Phoneacian woman wanted some knowledge from Jesus, Jesus said in verse 24 that he was not sent forth for any but for the lost sheep of Isreal... She then begged for knowledge and then he gave her some... Isnt that partial? Jesus AFTER coming to a specific group THEN instructed his followers to do what Matt 28:19,20 says...

    There are many other things I can talk about but I encourage everyone that wants truth and truth only to clearly study the scriptures and pray intensely. HE will direct you away from falsehood and TRUTH will be revealed. If GOD brought Jesus as a messenger to help his people back THEN, there has to be someone here that fits that same example today that gives us CLEAR UNDISPUTABLE GUIDANCE... The characteristics would have to be this:

    Jesus ended up going against the Government of his time which was being ran by Satan..., the government of that time was ROME therefore Jesus must have been treated like he was a terrorist which eventually made the Jews turn on him and want him put to death... (Is there anyone going against our government today, going against the falsehood?)

    Jesus was just "the carpenters son"lol and many of his own people did not recognize him as who he was, therefore through all of the things he did, people still doubted who he was... If someone was literally resurrecting the dead it would be obvious, but if this person was resurrecting people mentally you could see how the debate would remain... (This person in our day will have to have a clear track record of doing may things and resurrecting many people today from their dead mindset however, he would most likely still be doubted after such miracles. He would also have to be very knowledgeable of truth and unbeatable in any debate with ANY scholar or knowledgeable person because he is TRULY connected to a divine source therefore his knowledge would be clear and when you listened to him he would be able to help anyone understand truth.)

    The so called teachers of the "LAW" were against Jesus as he brought understandings of the LAW to try to help the people understand the law however they fought him regarding, Moses mosaic LAW and the teachings in the LAW. (This person, if he is here today... will not be liked by the powers that are in control of Satan's world but would be doing the same thing...)

    It could not have been comfortable to support Jesus with all of these people going against him since most people go with the flow of tradition and their governments endorsed religion... (Once you find this person you will most likely be too chicken to actually follow him and would end up in a more "comfortable" religion)

    I'm not saying I know all the answers however its clear we can narrow down our search through a process of elimination. Its only one person that comes to my mind however GOD will allow us all to see who his messengers are if we look for clear characteristics. I hope GOD blesses all of your efforts to find TRUTH! Have a great day!

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  33. I agree totally with this article. I remember when I first became a JW at 16 and I was discussing religion with a new friend of mine who was C of E. I told her that if you thought something was wrong that the JWs taught and you told the organisation that they would change it if necessary. How gullible I was.

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  34. Yeah.... I remember telling a high school buddy in 1984 that the end would come before he finished college! BTW, what does C of E mean?

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  35. Do any of the x-JWs believe in God/the Bible? For those who are atheist, it is because of your experience with the JWs? Why would you believe in a God, then not believe in a God? Why blame God for the imperfections of humans? For those who may be in a another Christian religion, do you now believe in Trinity? Hellfire?

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