The Friday Column: What it means to be a Jehovah’s Witness

sophia-mom2There’s been a lot of buzz lately surrounding the new video release from JW.org featuring the characters “Caleb and Sophia.” The video series is called “Be Jehovah’s Friend” and aims to indoctrinate children into the Witness religion. Watchtower has obviously watched the children’s entertainment market for quite some time before launching their own copycat version, as the animation style of the shorts is extremely reminiscent of modern-day children’s blockbusters.

This new episode was themed around the condemnation of homosexuality and it was met with some harsh criticism by a number of people. Rightly so in my view, as it teaches children to use guilt to control their peer’s thoughts and feelings about homosexuality. They are instructed to hang the hope of entry into a paradise earth over the heads of classmates with same-sex parents.

The dead horse

readImageThis whole fiasco brings an age old debate into the forefront of our minds: is homosexuality a choice? I, for one, have already seen enough evidence that strongly suggests homosexuality is not a choice. I don’t see the debate as really open anymore, but nonetheless it’s still a routinely discussed topic. I believe this is largely due to outfits such as the Watchtower who keep bringing up an already settled issue.

But for the sake of argument, let’s say that it is a choice. Even if that were true how does that make it OK to demand that people with homosexual behaviors change? If two people of the same sex love each other just as much as two people of the opposite sex, what’s the measurable harm caused by that relationship? More to the point, does trying to suppress one’s sexuality cause harm? Lets examine below.

High control

images-3To illustrate: what if you were promised a reward by stopping the use of your favorite colors in favor of others chosen by someone else? What if you were threatened with punishment if you didn’t? If that ever happened you could stop using them, but you’d have an extremely difficult time ceasing your preference for them.

Anyone who asked this of you would no doubt be interested in controlling you on a fundamental level. They would have no interest in you having control over your own future, but would rather control your future themselves.

It’s the same when a group tells you that you are required to change your sexuality if you wish to join. It means they want you to join the same hyper-controlling structure they are currently in. And it’s never just your sexuality a cult wants you to change, it will be more or less every aspect of your life.

What’s in the bag?

metaphor2The knockoff animation uses a metaphor to explain how homosexuals can change. It speaks of a man who’s trying to catch a plane and is stopped at a security checkpoint. He is asked to leave behind his bag because it contains items that are prohibited. Homosexuality is therefore likened to something you can simply put in a bag and leave behind.

This metaphor can be used to explain all types of requirements that being a Jehovah’s Witness entails. Again, it’s not just your sexuality that you must “leave behind” when you become a Jehovah’s Witnesses. It is, in essence, your past self that resides within the bag. The Witnesses speak about putting on a “new personality.” You are supposed to change into a completely different person. Meaning you must change your hopes, dreams, life aspirations, your view of the world and existence in general.

You must also “leave behind” your moral framework, as accepting the JW faith means justifying the atrocities mentioned in the Bible. As a child I had an extremely hard time accepting the stories of mass slaughter and mayhem orchestrated by a supposed “all-loving” creator. In order to be accepted in my community I had to align my world view to one where the wholesale slaughter of women and children was sometimes the right thing to do. That innate gut instinct telling me it was wrong was expected to be dismissed.

Among the vast array of things you must leave behind to become a Jehovah’s Witness are your cultural roots. You are expected to join their culture and for the most part forsake your own. A good example of this is the Witnesses curious aversion to long hair on men. There are many cultures that venerate this hairstyle on men and boys. Some families cherish this tradition, but to be a JW they are forced to rethink the wisdom of such a decision. For example, they hear things like this at their meetings:

“One sister working in a store was somewhat frightened by the physical appearance of a regular customer. Nevertheless, when the appropriate occasion arose, she tried to witness to him about God’s promised Paradise. He brusquely replied that he did not believe in fairy tales and that he was a hippie and drug addict. But she did not give up. One day he asked her what she thought about his long hair, so she tactfully explained what the Bible says on the matter. (1 Cor. 11:14) To her pleasant surprise, the next day he was clean-shaven and had short hair! He asked for a Bible study, which a brother was happy to conduct, and progressed to dedication and baptism. Like this man, many who are serving Jehovah today are grateful for the impartial, persistent efforts of those who brought them the Kingdom message.” – Our Kingdom Ministry, July 4th 2004

In this example they claim to show how cutting off your long hair, as a male, is an instruction from the Bible and something that occurs before baptism. According to the March 2016 Watchtower Study Edition baptism as a Jehovah’s Witness is not only “the greatest privilege any human could have”, but also “a vital step toward gaining salvation.” Meaning that if you don’t change your lifestyle habits, even down to the way you wear your hair, you will not survive the coming Armageddon.

Everything you ever were is in that bag, and they tell you to leave it behind. That is the hallmark of a mind control cult.

BITE control

manipulation-puppetIn the Watchtower animation the mother tells her child that homosexuals can “change.” Returning to the color analogy, if someone really did stop using their favorite color, under threat of punishment or promise of reward, that doesn’t mean they’ve changed. It only means they’ve conformed to a set of behaviors because of a certain desired outcome. Such “change” only proves that people can be manipulated with threats and promises. That is no amazing truth that deserves to be the lesson of a children’s video.

Destructive cults seek to control the behaviors, information, thoughts and emotions of their members. (See the BITE Model as created by cult expert Steve Hassan.) Requiring a homosexual to change meets each and every one of those criteria. They require conformity to their views on “by-design” sexual behavior. They require rejecting all the exhaustive scientific studies that conclusively prove that one’s sexuality is natural. They also dictate which thoughts are acceptable, and demean any individuals who exhibit the “wrong” ones.

The BITE model is often employed by people who claim to be simply protecting those they love. But in reality if anyone uses this type of undue influence you can be sure their true priority is the total control of other people; usually to create workers for their cause.

Be yourself

It’s true that outside of the world of Jehovah’s Witnesses, we are often bombarded by the message of “be yourself.” Individuality is a recurring theme in all forms of media, whether it’s a play, TV show, a movie or a book. It’s become a cliché at this point, but I still think it’s a worthy sentiment. Considering there are groups out there who seek to dominate your mind, body and spirit by way of child indoctrination, it’s no wonder many have felt it necessary to send such a positive counter-message, especially to vulnerable and impressional children.

No matter what the Watchtower says, there is more than one destination. I would strongly suggest finding a new flight that lets you take your bag with you.

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51 Responses to The Friday Column: What it means to be a Jehovah’s Witness

  1. Jill Hileman says:

    I had nearly forgotten the phrase “new personality” after being out 18 years. Wow, the memory rush.

  2. Oubliette says:

    James, I always enjoy your articles. This one was really well reasoned and argued.

    I would however disagree with your comment that “being yourself” is cliché. Nothing could be more important than figuring out who we are as individuals and then living that authentic life.

    This is of course the last thing that any high-control, authoritarian cult wants.

    • JBob says:

      @oubliette – I believe James, if I may defend his article, was stating the same which you stated in conclusion, which is “being yourself” and “living authentic” is vital. It is cliche in that the secular media throws it around like parade confetti, and it really should be viewed as precious gold.

      It is an article like this that answers the oft posed question here when visitors understandably ask “what’s the big deal with the Watchtower and leaving it? Just get over it”.

      This is like asking a traveler who checked a bag at an airport locker but now has no recollection which city, which airport nor which locker to deplane and collect their bag and resume where they embarked.

      It’s worse for someone who has never had the freedom to explore and “discover” themselves–growing up in a BITE model. A baby born on the plane, which now has to find the bags their parents left in an nondescript locker, in an unknown airport, in an unknown city. Fair reason to see why it is so difficult for persons to even think about leaving the Watchtower–a daunting adventure, an intimidating one as well. Fair reason why so many of us fumble, fall, get wounded, try again, fall, stumble and keep trying “2 get through this thing called life” (“Let’s Go Crazy”, RPN)

  3. Hakizimana Jean de Dieu says:

    “Be Jehovah’s Friend”

    *** w68 2/1 p. 71 Shocking Religious Persecution in Malawi ***
    They have been robbed, over a thousand women have been raped, men have been beaten unconscious and a number of them have been killed. Where? In Malawi, a narrow, landlocked country in Central Africa, somewhat to the southeast.

    Yes, it seems getting a baptism as a Jehovah’s Witness is not only “the greatest privilege any human could have”, but also “a vital step toward gaining salvation.” EVEN WHEN it calls for being raped!!

    Do you think Malawi’s Jehovah’s Witnesses were more stupid than the rest of the world? If you think so, you need to reconsider your Bible Understanding:

    Bible says: (1 Corinthians 1:27) . . .but God chose the foolish things of the world to put the wise men to shame; and God chose the weak things of the world to put the strong things to shame. . .

    • Markie says:

      I guess this may be construed as an attack but some times your posts are just off topic or just plain ridiculous. So now your blaming the JWs for rapes that happened in Malawi almost fifty years ago? And yes I know all about the Mexico\Malawi controversy. I guess maybe you have taken a lesson from Donald Trump.

      • Minion says:

        Greetings to all,

        @ M,

        The scenario above ‘Be Jehovah’s friend’, which expression fits best:

        a). Wait on Jehovah,

        B). It must have been Jehovah’s hand,

        c). I think we need to talk to the elders,

        M, and don’t forget to report your field service time of 15 minutes and 3 million+ return visits, and be sure to thank, JWsurvey for allowing you this platform to extend your ministry where the need is greater. And be sure to read the following sentence.

        * * Support The Worldwide Work * *

        Peace out,

      • Hakizimana Jean de Dieu says:

        @ Markie,

        *** w68 2/1 p. 71 Shocking Religious Persecution in Malawi ***
        In another place one night a group of these Christians was awakened by Congress Party officials. The men were beaten and slashed with sticks and pangas [machetes] and then were forced to look on while ten of their women were raped. Two of the women were pregnant, one of whom later had a miscarriage as a result.

        From that if you cannot tell ” What it means to be a Jehovah’s Witness” all you will be able to tell is that my comments are “off topic”!

        • Markie says:

          If we use your logic then when a gay person gets beaten to death it has nothing to do with the thugs that did the beating it’s the gay persons fault. He or she caused the perceived threat to the thugs. Shame you.

          • dee2 says:

            @Markie:

            Not quite sure what your counter-argument is, however, my question to you is this:

            How could the WT not be complicit when they applied a policy that called on ordinary people, men, women and children, to face loss of home and lands, endure beatings, torture, rape and death because of refusal to pay a legal fee for the card of the organization that is, to all intents and purposes, the ruling power of their country, Malawi, while at the same time the WT told men in another country – Mexico – that it is acceptable for them to bribe military officers for a card that falsely states they fulfilled their military service and are in the first reserves of the army?

            The WT believed the position taken in Mexico, allowing JW men to exercise their personal conscience with regard to obtaining a military certificate (even illegally through bribes) to be acceptable. There, in Mexico, JW men could be members of the first reserves of the army and still be Circuit or District Overseers or members of the Bethel family. The WT made decisions regarding Mexico and the practice of bribing there, leaving it to the individual conscience, and so it was acceptable that a man could pay such bribe for a military certificate and still be used in the most responsible way, with no need for particular concern before God on the part of those directing the work there.

            The WT should certainly have accorded to the JWs in Malawi the same right to exercise their conscience in a matter that involved no bribing, no illegality, no falsification but rather the payment of a legal price in a lawful way for a party card of the government running the country. Instead, the WT turned a blind eye to the obvious disparity between the position in Mexico and that taken in Malawi.

            The WT accepted the Mexico policy allowing the twenty-year-old policy in Mexico to continue in effect while simultaneously insisting upon a totally different standard for the JWs in Malawi and elsewhere. If the WT had allowed the JWs in Malawi the same right to exercise their conscience as the JWs in Mexico, then it could be said that WT was not complicit in the intense suffering of the JWs in Malawi. But since the WT did not, but instead turned a blind eye and allowed a double standard, then they are complicit in the intense suffering of the JWs in Malawi. The WT was insensitive to the consequences to people from such a double standard and are therefore complicit. The WT turned a blind eye to the inconsistency in all of this and its effect on people’s lives.

        • Markie says:

          If we use your logic then when a gay person gets beaten to death it has nothing to do with the thugs that did the beating it’s the gay persons fault. He or she caused the perceived threat to the thugs. How shameful of you.

          • dee2 says:

            @Markie:

            Not quite sure what your counter-argument is, however, my question to you is this:

            How could the WT not be complicit when they applied a policy that called on ordinary people, men, women and children, to face loss of home and lands, endure beatings, torture, rape and death because of refusal to pay a legal fee for the card of the organization that is, to all intents and purposes, the ruling power of their country, Malawi, while at the same time the WT told men in another country – Mexico – that it is acceptable for them to bribe military officers for a card that falsely states they fulfilled their military service and are in the first reserves of the army?

            The WT believed the position taken in Mexico, allowing JW men to exercise their personal conscience with regard to obtaining a military certificate (even illegally through bribes) to be acceptable. There, in Mexico, JW men could be members of the first reserves of the army and still be Circuit or District Overseers or members of the Bethel family. The WT made decisions regarding Mexico and the practice of bribing there, leaving it to the individual conscience, and so it was acceptable that a man could pay such bribe for a military certificate and still be used in the most responsible way, with no need for particular concern before God on the part of those directing the work there.

            The WT should certainly have accorded to the JWs in Malawi the same right to exercise their conscience in a matter that involved no bribing, no illegality, no falsification but rather the payment of a legal price in a lawful way for a party card of the government running the country. Instead, the WT turned a blind eye to the obvious disparity between the position in Mexico and that taken in Malawi.

            The WT accepted the Mexico policy allowing the twenty-year-old policy in Mexico to continue in effect while simultaneously insisting upon a totally different standard for the JWs in Malawi and elsewhere. If the WT had allowed the JWs in Malawi the same right to exercise their conscience as the JWs in Mexico, then it could be said that WT was not complicit in the intense suffering of the JWs in Malawi. But since the WT did not, but instead turned a blind eye and allowed a double standard, then they are complicit in the intense suffering of the JWs in Malawi. The WT was insensitive to the consequences to people from such a double standard and are therefore complicit. The WT turned a blind eye to the inconsistency in all of this and its effect on people’s lives.

      • nullandvoidboy says:

        @Markie…..Why do I see Hakizimana’s point?….though off topic….why, even when you have the full story about the Mexico/Malawi difference, do you not see the responsibility that WT had in rapes and murders in Malawi????……it’s called being COMPLICIT….no, they didn’t have to physically be a part of the mob scene that carried those crimes…..they just cultivated the fertile ground for these atrocities to happen in Malawi, that’s all??!! COMPLICIT…look up the word.

        • Markie says:

          So according to your logic if a woman wears a short skirt and gets raped it’s her fault for wearing the skirt and one could say it’s also the fault of the manufacturer of the skirt as they “cultivated the fertile grounds” for the rape to happen. Your logic and for that matter Jean’s is shameful. Or maybe your hatred has caused you to be illogical. May I suggest therapy?

          • dee2 says:

            @Markie:

            Not quite sure what your counter-argument is, however, my question to you is this:

            How could the WT not be complicit when they applied a policy that called on ordinary people, men, women and children, to face loss of home and lands, endure beatings, torture, rape and death because of refusal to pay a legal fee for the card of the organization that is, to all intents and purposes, the ruling power of their country, Malawi, while at the same time the WT told men in another country – Mexico – that it is acceptable for them to bribe military officers for a card that falsely states they fulfilled their military service and are in the first reserves of the army?

            The WT believed the position taken in Mexico, allowing JW men to exercise their personal conscience with regard to obtaining a military certificate (even illegally through bribes) to be acceptable. There, in Mexico, JW men could be members of the first reserves of the army and still be Circuit or District Overseers or members of the Bethel family. The WT made decisions regarding Mexico and the practice of bribing there, leaving it to the individual conscience, and so it was acceptable that a man could pay such bribe for a military certificate and still be used in the most responsible way, with no need for particular concern before God on the part of those directing the work there.

            The WT should certainly have accorded to the JWs in Malawi the same right to exercise their conscience in a matter that involved no bribing, no illegality, no falsification but rather the payment of a legal price in a lawful way for a party card of the government running the country. Instead, the WT turned a blind eye to the obvious disparity between the position in Mexico and that taken in Malawi.

            The WT accepted the Mexico policy allowing the twenty-year-old policy in Mexico to continue in effect while simultaneously insisting upon a totally different standard for the JWs in Malawi and elsewhere. If the WT had allowed the JWs in Malawi the same right to exercise their conscience as the JWs in Mexico, then it could be said that WT was not complicit in the intense suffering of the JWs in Malawi. But since the WT did not, but instead turned a blind eye and allowed a double standard, then they are complicit in the intense suffering of the JWs in Malawi. The WT was insensitive to the consequences to people from such a double standard and are therefore complicit. The WT turned a blind eye to the inconsistency in all of this and its effect on people’s lives.

  4. Don Leske says:

    So, this blog or group of individuals say: “RELIGIOUS NEUTRALITY – Do not post comments that are evangelical in nature or may be construed as imposing one person’s religious beliefs (or lack thereof) over those of another.” – Funny, comments not of the moderators liking are tossed out? Whether construed as imposing one person’s religious beliefs (or lack thereof) over those of another… would be a comment you cannot allow in your atheistic evil slave class blog?

    The only people it seems that reads this vile post or article are ex-JWs who feel guilty about being kicked out or not being a part of those friendly kind people who only talk about Love, Joy, Peace, Long Suffering etc.

    Homosexuality? Yes, if you do not believe in the Bible then you can condone just about anything.

    Why do you all keep spending your whole lives fighting against JWs, do these people mean that much to you? Do you not have anything better to do?

    “And so now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nothing: But if it be of God, you cannot overthrow it; lest haply you be found even to fight against God.” Acts

    • Imgonaburn says:

      Methinks the lady doth protest too much…

    • Telescopium says:

      Don,
      You ask:
      “Why do you all keep spending your whole lives fighting against JWs, do these people mean that much to you? Do you not have anything better to do?”

      Many of the writers, moderators, and commenters on this site have made themselves available to listen to JWs (both former and current) express themselves in ways that would be extremely difficult or painful in any congregational setting. If someone has doubts about the overlapping generation or J.F. Rutherford’s spotless reputation or any other topic, where can they ask for straightforward answers? The elders? I tried. In the end I only scared them. They weren’t even interested in the scriptures I found. That’s when I realized there is no avenue to say “I don’t think I believe that.”

      This website provides that needed path.

      So stick around for a while. Just keep it clean and don’t be rude… It would look really bad if the only nasty person in the room was an active Witness. Okay?

    • Big B says:

      @ Don Leske:

      So saith the Jehovah’s Witness apologist whose own coveted “time” must be wasted trying to convince “apostates” on an “apostate site” that their opinions are not worthy of expression.

      Yes, they (J.W.’s) talk about “Love, Joy, Peace, Long suffering, etc.” except they don’t practice it. Why? Because they are pedophile protecting perverts that distort the scriptures to fit their own agenda.

      And what is their agenda? To make Watchtower dupes of everyone so they can “cold call” the world as salesmen of a doomsday cult; oh and get their money, especially their money. “Advertise, advertise, advertise the King and his Kingdom”-J.F. Rutherford (2nd President of the WTBTS). ‘Oh by the way, while your advertising, on your own dime, be sure to sell my books’ saith the drunken sot.

      In answer to your statement of fighting J.W.’s (and I think I can speak for most on this site) our fight isn’t with J.W.’s (all of us were once J.W.’s with many years in servitude) but with the idiotic governing body and their money grubbing WBTS corporation of Pharisaic Rules and ever changing doctrines. Both of which prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they are not backed by Jehovah’s Holy Spirit but are, in fact, a part of Babylon the Great and the evil slave class. Their involvement as a NGO of the United Nations for 10 years proves as much since being outed by the Guardian newspaper! Oh, you didn’t hear that?! Since you obviously have no trouble with your conscience visiting apostate web sites I left you some information on their involvement, if you dare to look at it.

      http://www.jwfacts.com/watchtower/united-nations-association.php

      And don’t get me started about the multi-million dollar payouts to child molestation victims that went unnoticed, and unresolved by their elders thus putting the congregation and the general public in danger by not reporting these incidents to the proper authorities.

      http://abcnews.go.com/US/jehovahs-witness-accuses-church-hiding-child-abusers-congregations/story?id=29586778

    • JBob says:

      Acts 5:38-39, if your going to quote, please use the references.

      Tell me, where can I find such a big, broad generalizing paint brush that you seem to wield?
      “The only people it seems that reads this vile post or article are ex-JWs who feel guilty about being kicked out or not being a part of those friendly kind people who only talk about Love, Joy, Peace, Long Suffering etc.”

      I’d say many folks reading weren’t kicked out, but fed up and disgusted and some have stopped lending support to a corrupt and vile system. And, a few were violated by this system in physical and emotional manners that your callous remarks carelessly rip open scars and wounds.

      There are some quiet devout JW’s who are here because it’s an outlet to vent frustration with the direction of “new light” or leadership, since the system is top-down only governance.

      But, let’s dissect this Acts chapter 5 you threw at us for the bit of non sequitor in it. Ananias sells some land and brings the money to Peter and the apostles; no where in the beginning of this story does it tells us that Ananias tells the apostles this is the full price of the land. The only liar is Sapphira in the context of the details. As we go through this chapter it becomes clear that this was the credentialing for the apostles–the miracles, the signs, the wonders, and Gamaliel pleading to let these guys alone, lest they be fighting against God.

      Yet, all over the internet blogs and videos have already shattered any claim to apostolic credentials of the Watchtower’s human leadership in countless discussions and approaches. Fire has already come down and consumed the altars, I suppose we’re waiting for the casting down to the dogs?

      • Eric Arthur Blair says:

        So true JBob. Might I add also that the account in acts 5 (v 28-30) includes the legalistic, controlling, self-righteous Pharisees commanding the apostles to keep silent. So who fits that description today? When you leave you have to stay silent, or be silenced – the consequence of a raft of emotionally manipulative threats and measures that have been Implemented expressly for that purpose – to silence those who leave from speaking the real truth, discussing facts and exposing this cult for what it is. That’s why I and so many others come here, because it gives us a voice (the silent majority!)

    • Minion says:

      Greetings to all,

      @ D,

      Your assessment seems to be one of a JW newbie.

      You comments lack substance and conjecture.

      To win your brother over ‘using the power of reasoning’, please prove and explain to all active, Bible students and ex-jws, why The Watchtower Corporation has failed with so many predictions. If it’s the sole channel Jehovah is using.

      If any astute Bible student and active JWs, really wants to ‘make the truth there own’ then you need to go outside the box. In the business world its call “perform a due diligence” on whatever the category of interest.

      You go to a Porsche dealership to find out it’s performance, and its limits.

      Perhaps, you then decide to ask questions on a Ferrari Testarosa, and take a test drive. You compare both vehicles, but, one you will decide to buy “based on the information and the due diligence you gathered”. Outside the box, which The Watchtower Corporation prohibits.
      Have you ever wonder, why?

      The same is true with all religions. You research outside the box, and you find out it’s not pretty.

      That’s why, JWSurvey has evolved into an out reach program to, many active JWs, Bible students and ex-jws. The no spin zone.

      If you can win over your brother, even one, then it’s worth the fight!

      * * Support The Worldwide Work * *

      Peace out,

    • Julien says:

      The bible is nothing more than a fairy tale. An old archaic book to which people have given way too much power and it has lead to enormous conflicts. I will fight any controlling, brainwashing, indoctrinating, destructive and divisive religion every step of the way. Why? Because someone has to stand up to people like you.

    • Minion says:

      Greetings to all,

      @ D,

      Be sure to turn in your field service time of 15 minutes, and
      3 million+ return visits, and be sure to thank JWsurvey for this platform for you to extend your ministry where the need is greater.

      * * Support The Worldwide Work”

      Peace out,

    • Winston Smith says:

      @Don
      “Why do you all keep spending your whole lives fighting against JWs, do these people mean that much to you? Do you not have anything better to do?”

      Woman who have been raped often join/support rape awareness programs, adults who were molested as children join support groups, folks who have lost loved ones due to drunk driving join organizations like MADD and similar.

      Would you say to these folks: “don’t you have anything better to do?” We have been manipulated and controlled by the Watchtower organization. Some have been mentally abused; others physically and sexually abused. We come here for support and to do what we can to raise awareness about this dangerous cult.

      “Do these people mean that much to you?” YES! For many of us our wives, husbands, children, parents, friends, etc. are still trapped in this cult and we want to see them get free. We want our families back. We want our lives back.

      If you can’t understand that, then you simply don’t understand what it means to be human.

      WS

    • dee2 says:

      @Don Leske:

      “Homosexuality? Yes, if you do not believe in the Bible then you can condone just about anything.”

      If one is to believe in the Bible then killing homosexuals, paedophilia, child abuse, incest, rape, killing a rape victim and human trafficking/fathers pimping their daughters would be right, so would slavery and killing disobedient children. The Bible is not the best source for morality.

    • Hakizimana Jean de Dieu says:

      @Don Leske,
      May I ask a question? (1) What do you mean by “The only people it seems that reads this vile post or article are ex-JWs who feel guilty about being kicked out or not being a part of those friendly kind people who only talk about Love, Joy, Peace, Long Suffering etc.”
      (2) Have you read the article or you have dreamt about it!

      If you have read the article, I am afraid you are in ex-jws whom you have described in your comments (kicked out, guilty…)!

      But, if you have dreamt about the article, I invite you to read the following and ponder the content:

      *** w86 1/1 p. 13 par. 12 Days Like “the Days of Noah” ***
      Shocking as it is, even some who have been prominent in Jehovah’s organization have succumbed to immoral practices, including homosexuality, wife swapping, and child molesting. It is to be noted, also, that during the past year, 36,638 individuals had to be disfellowshipped from the Christian congregation, the greater number of them for practicing immorality

      Sex, sex and sex is JWs’ everyday spiritual meal

  5. rob says:

    I totally agree with your point that becoming a witness means leaving behind your cultural roots, your dreams and aspirations, your talents, your desire to learn and study in college or university, your non witness family, and in essence your entire self.

    You must become a clone.

    On the surface you will dress the same, speak the same, look the same and you will forever have that plastic smile on your face to show others how happy you are to be a witness.

    Underneath all of this will be your inner struggle that tugs away at your mind and heart telling you that all is not right, that your talents and likes and dislikes, and your entire self is being suppressed and squashed.

    The end result for many could be a feeling of emptiness, despair, or an underlying sadness lurking just below the transparent smile which I myself saw in the faces of so many witnesses.

    • Holly Chu says:

      Rob, such an insightful and empathetic comment on the whole JW experience. Hopes and dreams dashed, lives wasted…..

    • Eric Arthur Blair says:

      So eloquently expressed Rob, describes me to a tee and everything I surrendered at the age of 24 to join. As the years went by I found it harder to leave that bag behind and I increasingly resented being conditioned to always be representing “Jehovah and his organisation” wherever and whenever I was, in everything I did. As I became more and more uncomfortable with the policies and teachings I was meant to be representing I finally woke up and jettisoned them. Now I am just relieved, happy and proud to be representing nobody else but me. The real me, the authentic me!

  6. Holly Chu says:

    The main problem with all these control issues in my opinion is with those children born into the cult. They have no control over their early life and subjection to endless brain numbing mind control at weekly meetings. The endless indoctrination causes cognitive dissonnance lasting years, if not for life. For so many years when I was active, and some one called JW a cult, I vehemently said absolutely not! Well guess what, after the slightest bit of education (something the WT despises) , I now realize they are the poster child for cult like behavior.

    • rob says:

      It is true that for many children born into the witness religion, the indoctrination causes them to be wary of anything or anyone outside of the organization. They are in many cases afraid to venture outside of the confines of the “compound” and you are correct they will defend the cult, only because that is all they really know.

      The powers that be know that education will cause many of these children to perhaps take a peek at what lies outside of the boundaries of the compound.

      But the powers that be in the religion put in a quick fix for this problem. Higher education is not necessary, could be harmful due to bad association and is highly frowned upon and also no privileges for those that don’t adhere to this policy.

      And now with the reinforcement on shunning, it appears that the walls of the watchtower are getting higher and higher and more difficult to climb out of.

  7. mamaditto says:

    The ex-gays who I am acquainted with would take issue with the truth about homosexuality being equated with “indoctrination.” While it’s true that we don’t choose how we feel, we do have control over our behavioral responses to our feelings. Someone may be inclined toward a bad temper. We would expect that person to learn to control his temper via anger management. Likewise, someone may be predisposed to obesity. That does not mean they are destined to be fat all their life. It just means they may have to work harder at diet and exercise than the average individual. Why should human sexuality be any different? It’s not hardwired and can be quite fluid during a person’s lifetime. (Prison populations bear this out.)
    Folks, the WTBTS is a pseudo-Christian cult, but let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater. Homosexuality is a sin. The Scriptures support that view, Jesus supports that view, the Early Church Fathers support that view. It’s only during the past generation that homoerotic activists have invaded the church with their strategy to overthrow Judeo-Christian morality.
    I suggest that James Strait google NARTH and also the Restored Hope Network for a solid clinical and spiritual discussion of the etiology of homosexual development and how people of faith can and have dealt with a condition that is statistically proven to shorten one’s lifespan.

    • James Strait says:

      Hello mammadito, thanks for your comment. Anger isn’t always necessarily wrong. There are situations that genuinely call for anger. It must be managed in the same way as something like sexuality. There is an appropriate context for anger and there is an inappropriate. You can’t equate anger management with celibacy. That’s what calling homosexuality a sin calls for.

    • Paul Brinkman says:

      Thanks for the professional remarks like “Pseudo-christian cult” = WTBTS

    • Victor says:

      Where Jesus support the idea that homosexuality is a sin?

    • Hakizimana Jean de Dieu says:

      @mamaditto,

      You say “Homosexuality is a sin. The Scriptures support that view, Jesus supports that view, the Early Church Fathers support that view.”

      Well, “The Scriptures support” this, too:
      (Deuteronomy 13:6-11) . . .“If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son or your daughter or your cherished wife or your closest companion should try to entice you in secrecy, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’ gods that neither you nor your forefathers have known, 7 from the gods of the peoples all around you, whether near you or those far away from you, from one end of the land to the other end of the land, 8 you must not give in to him or listen to him, nor should you show pity or feel compassion or protect him; 9 instead, you should kill him without fail. Your hand should be the first to come upon him to put him to death, and the hand of all the people afterward. 10 And you must stone him to death, because he has sought to turn you away from Jehovah your God, who has brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 11 Then all Israel will hear and become afraid, and they will never again do anything bad like this among you.

      That’s “What it means to be a Jehovah’s Witness”, are you ready to stone “your brother, the son of your mother, or your son or your daughter or your cherished wife” just because “The Scriptures support” it?

    • dee2 says:

      @mamaditto:

      According to reports, some homosexuals have tried fighting their inclination/tendency using conversion therapy, prayer, faith and repentance. This approach has, however, not worked for everyone – for example, according to
      http://www.livescience.com/37641-gay-conversion-ministry-shuts-down.html:

      “Exodus International, a Christian ministry that long promoted gay conversion therapy, is shutting its doors and apologizing to the gay community for “years of undue judgment.” ”

      See also:http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/20/us/exodus-international-shutdown/

      ****”Judeo-Christian morality.”

      As I stated above, the Bible is not the best source for morality. If one is to follow the Bible then killing homosexuals, paedophilia, child abuse, incest, rape, killing a rape victim and human trafficking/fathers pimping their daughters would be right, so would slavery and killing disobedient children.

  8. Paul Brinkman says:

    There are a lot of believers who are no part more of the Watchtower mankind religion but still believing in the 10 commands. So many people not shall defend your meaning, opinion and even not share it. People are free to express but it not means that we need to accept it as true and right lifestyle. Is JWsurvey the morality standard for JW’s or Ex-Jw’s?

    • Imgonaburn says:

      It doesn’t mention homosexuality in the Ten Commandments…
      I personally don’t think that others can truly make a stand on the issue of homosexuality until their own child has come out as gay.
      You can bang on about scripture as much as you like, but until you are personally faced with having to pick a side over your child or the relevance of something written 2000+ years ago, you won’t really be able to speak with authority- regardless of who you claim said authority comes from!
      The only ‘choice’ in play then comes from your own decision on whether you will choose to support your child or condemn your loved one to death and abandon him or her. Lifelong celibacy is NOT an option.

  9. alanv says:

    This youtube anti gay video has had nearly a million hits. Of those who voiced a preference only 6% thought it was a good video or message from the org.

  10. Jason says:

    Thank you for bringing up Watchtower’s hatred towards longhaired men. As a man with a longhair identity, I never felt right with having short hair yet I was forced by Watchtower to go against this. It’s an amazing thing to finally be free of this undue influence. Do they even realize how bigoted their little illustration about the man who cut his hair sounds? As if holiness comes with having short hair.

  11. Richard says:

    Great article and spot on.

  12. Sarah says:

    This is a good support site and much appreciated. I might not agree with everything printed but it’s always good to consider other persons’ opinions. Being broadminded is not always an allowance for any sort of behavior.

    A couple of homosexuals were once neighbours of mine. I considered them friends.

    However I do believe there are some lines to be drawn and we have the option to draw them where we like. I am against adultery due to the hurt it causes. A single person, if he/she follows scripture, has to keep some sort of control in place. All of this requires sacrifice. Remaining with a spouse one no longer loves could be hard but maybe the best course in some circumstances.

    Giving free reign to our feelings might not always be the best thing. When you get older it’s easier, and feelings don’t play so great a part in life.

    Take care all of you.

  13. Twmack says:

    Don’t know the Weekly routine of JWs now, but in the
    50s through to 80s they made sure you didn’t have any
    “Time” to develop any other personality than the one they
    had planned for you.

    5 meetings a Week, plus Saturday Mag, work, Sunday morn
    FS, usually trying to con the H, Holder into buying some
    unintelligible publication on Revelations. Times not at the KH.
    were spent swotting up, underlining,for the times when we were
    there. Then there were talks on M,S, parts on the S,M,

    Then, if you got to be an elder or M,S there were many other
    time consuming “Privileges” to care for. Just no time to
    cultivate any other interests. So when we met socially as
    JWs , the conversation was almost exclusively limited to the
    to the Bible or F,S, experiences, etc,

    Altogether, an insular, inward turning lifestyle that stifles any
    individuality or personality development, which are discouraged
    as Satanic by their twisted propaganda.

  14. dee2 says:

    “A good example of this is the Witnesses curious aversion to long hair on men. There are many cultures that venerate this hairstyle on men and boys.”

    In Jamaica, for example, some men who are not Rastafarians have long dreadlocks as it is culturally acceptable in Jamaica for men to have long dreadlocks whether or not they are Rastafarians.

  15. GratefulThinker says:

    As a gay ex-JW, I just want to pipe in and say that I really grow weary of the ongoing ‘nature vs nurture’ argument and whether or not homosexuality is a choice or not.
    Firstly – live and let live! Does my homosexuality affect you in any way? No? Then don’t judge me. And even if it DID, let’s turn the tables around: do I judge those that are heterosexual? Contrary to what many may think, one’s sexuality isn’t really such a big deal and is not the only or indeed premier defining characteristic of a person!
    Secondly – if homosexuality IS a choice then by default heterosexuality must be, too… and yet, THAT is deemed to be “normal”. I would suggest that there is no such thing as “normal”, only “common”. Society has been conditioned to accept heterosexuality as “normal” only because it is the most common form of sexuality.
    My JW step-mother (now also ex-JW) once asked me “When/at what age did you know/decide that you were gay?” Whilst incredulous at her naivety, I merely answered “About the same age YOU ‘decided’ to be straight”.

    Anyway, just my gay 2 cents’ worth.

    • rob says:

      When I was a witness, I too would have judged you and looked at you as someone who would have to change, but interestingly enough it was me who had to change my views.

      When I left the witness religion I left behind a very narrow view of life and I also left behind a very detailed list of expectations that I had with regards to how people should behave.

      I agree with you “live and let live”. I no longer would ever want to change someone. The witness religion is a now a speck in my rear view mirror.

  16. Sam says:

    Why would you choose to be Gay in Uganda, Jamaica, Russia or Iran?

    • Searcher says:

      Better yet. Why would you choose to be gay in Saudi Arabia. Those oil rich barbarians (in my humble opinion) will cut your head off, only to have it respectfully sewn back on your dead neck before they bury you. Yet, there are still executions of homosexuals in Saudi Arabia now.

  17. Searcher says:

    This article is great! I have recently raised the question in a few earlier blogs, “Why do organized religions (not just JW’s, but overzealous Christians, Jews, and Muslims) have such a hang up on sexual topics such as masturbation, premarital sex, sex foreplay between married couples, homosexuality, and the like?” Sexual activity is a natural, personal, pleasant, and procreative act. We have 8 billion people on earth. Seems like it works pretty good so far, even with all the alternative ways sexual behavior is expressed by those 8 billion people. We are no where near an endangered species. Homosexuality, masturbation, oral sex, foreplay, premarital sex, and all the other religiously ‘deviant’ behaviors have not hurt humankind in the least for its survival. What are the FACTS to support such taboo behaviors are toxic for humankind? Exceptions are for sex and sexual behaviors that are forced upon unwilling participants. That is a forced invasion of a person’s body and a crime! For religions to govern, much less spend inordinate amounts of time on sexual behavior between consenting adults or personal behavior (i.e. masturbation) just doesn’t make good sense to me.

  18. Not da Judge says:

    Well written article James, I find the Caleb and Sophia cartoon characters and videos totally repugnant. I hated the video about Sophia donating her icecream money to the Watchtower organization.

    Just when you think Watchtower has hit an all time low; in how to totally demoralize a young person, they come up with more bigoted rubbish to indoctrinate impressionable minds.

    Ugh ! Watchtower may you go rot in hell.

    Regards Not da Judge