Comparing cults – the most effective way to wake up a loved one?
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TV documentaries featuring members of other cults such as the Mormons (left) and Westboro Baptist Church (right) offer opportunities to help indoctrinated family members

TV documentaries featuring members of other cults such as the Mormons (left) and Westboro Baptist Church (right) offer opportunities to help indoctrinated family members

If there is one reoccurring question, one burning issue that most readers who write in to JWsurvey need addressing, it is simply this… “how do I wake up my loved one?”

Few things are more distressing than being reduced to a helpless bystander as a husband/wife, father/mother or son/daughter plunges deeper into an endless cycle of subservience to a damaging cult – a cult that sucks the best out of people in terms of time, money, energy and potential, simply so they can be exploited as unpaid publicity agents and walking billboards.

It was this very issue that I raised with cult expert Steven Hassan during my recent trip to London to attend a workshop on how to undo undue influence (or “mind control” as it was formerly referred to).

Staging an intervention with someone who has been caught off-guard by a cult a few weeks or months ago is one thing, but how can we help those who have been indoctrinated over many years, even decades? Steven’s answer was very insightful.

“Don’t start by talking about controversial stuff about the group that they’re in,” he told me (among other things). “Talk about other groups or other circumstances, because one commonality with all of these groups is that when you’re in a totalistic group you don’t think it is, but you can see other ones. It’s very obvious that there’s something wrong.”

Those of us who have spent years as indoctrinated Witnesses will immediately identify with this advice. When a Witness is confronted with negative information about the organization, the shutters immediately go down as cognitive dissonance goes into overdrive. No matter how relevant or accurate the information is, he or she simply is not receptive to it, because they are programmed to dismiss it as ‘apostate lies’.

But it’s a slightly different matter when it comes to pointing out the problems with other religions – something Watchtower publications have reveled in throughout the organization’s history. By exposing a loved one to other cult-like groups, and allowing them to draw conclusions by themselves, you are essentially opening up a back door that has already been left ajar by Watchtower propaganda, with its relentless condemnation of all other faiths.

With this in mind, I decided it was high time I put together a video and article to highlight examples of documentary films that are particularly excellent vehicles for initiating a neutral, non-confrontational dialogue (or “strategic interactive approach,” as Steven calls it) with an indoctrinated loved one. The first documentary I’d like to draw your attention to, released as recently as June this year, is about the Mormon faith.

If you are trying to watch this documentary from the UK, click here.

“Meet the Mormons” follows the story of Josh Fields (or “Elder Fields” as we are later required to call him) as he embarks on a two-year missionary tour in northern England. I found out about this film only after being asked to watch it by one of its producers, who was also in attendance at the London workshop.

But whereas most who have seen it will have found it enjoyable and entertaining, I found myself writhing in my seat in discomfort. Why? Because watching a young Mormon being initiated into cult servitude forced me to relive my own experiences as a young Jehovah’s Witness.

Yes, there were theological and doctrinal differences. Watchtower doesn’t teach that the Garden of Eden was in Jackson County, Missouri, or that God lives on a planet (or star) named Kolob, or that large underwear must be worn to preserve chastity, or that swimming is prohibited for missionaries.

But strip away all this doctrinal detritus, and you have the same cult machinery and undue influence methods whirring away underneath – albeit under different branding and with an alternative set of leaders at the helm.

If watching this revealing documentary was so painful for ME, even though I’ve been rid of my indoctrination for a few years now, I can only imagine how excruciating it would be for a Witness still inside. But that is precisely why they MUST watch it. The medicine may be tough to swallow, but exploring undue influence and its grip on people in “mirror” cults is medicine nonetheless.

The two other documentaries I wish to draw attention to (and I am sure there are many more) are by the acclaimed investigative journalist and film-maker Louis Theroux, who spent considerable time with the Phelps family (AKA the Westboro Baptist Church) back in 2006, and then again as a follow-up in 2011. I have already written about these documentaries during the period I was writing for JWstruggle back in 2011 (my “Troubling Comparison” articles can still be found here: Part 1 | Part 2).


The Most Hated Family In America by dm_504902730e928


BBC Louis Theroux_ America’s Most Hated Family… by singaporegeek

Essentially, as with “Meet the Mormons,” these two brilliant films offer a disturbing glimpse into the cult mindset, but without ever mentioning Jehovah’s Witnesses. It’s all there in spades… shunning, black-and-white “us versus them” ideology, doomsday predictions, child indoctrination, totalitarian leadership, you name it – just all wrapped up in different packaging.

It’s never easy

I’m not suggesting for a moment that waking up family members who have been indoctrinated by Watchtower for most of their lives is a walk in the park. I have repeatedly said that you cannot flick a switch when it comes to untangling years of layered indoctrination, deception, and emotional coercion by a cult that has no qualms in using the memory of dead loved ones as currency via the resurrection “promise.”

Sadly, Watchtower’s patented brand of undue influence is so potent that some husbands/wives, fathers/mothers and sons/daughters will never wake up, and this can be a bitter pill to swallow. But that doesn’t mean those of us who are mentally free can’t give it our best shot to “strategically interact” with such ones as the opportunity presents itself.

And while it perhaps isn’t as straightforward as saying that exposing your loved one to other cults as a respectful comparison is guaranteed to reap dividends, it is certainly worth a shot.

 

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143 Responses to Comparing cults – the most effective way to wake up a loved one?

  1. Excelsior! says:

    Lloyd,

    I agree with everything you said except about using a pseudonym.

    believe it or not, folks, but my real name is not Excelsior! Lloyd has my real name, because we have communicated privately and I trust him not to reveal that information publicly.

    I use a pseudonym to protect my dear old Mum, who is still an active Witness, from any possible repercussions from my commenting here and on other sites.

    My point is that using a pseudonym is not necessarily a bad thing. Indeed, many of us choose to use one with no sinister motive.

    These WT apologists should be treated in the same way as those of us who choose not to use our real names.

    We must tackle them on the issues and insults that they write, rather than pointing out that they use pseudonyms as we do.

    Peace be with you

    Excelsior!

  2. Holy Connoli says:

    Since we are talking about “CULTS” do any of you out there have experience with the Bahai Faith? Would you consider them a cult in the way that JW’s and others are a cult? Do they have “UNDUE” influence and control on their members? Do they Shun? Just wanted to know a little more bc I have an acquaintance who is/was affiliated with them and he that “SPACEY” kind of JW Look in his eye hen we discuss religion or life?

  3. raddoz says:

    Can anyone point to the article were the watchtower mention that disfellowshipping was satanic? will appreciate a response. will check later, for an answer.

  4. Ted says:

    raddoz

    Try 8/1/1947 Awake. Dealing with Catholic
    Excommunication.

  5. raddoz says:

    thank you ted for the information, I appreciated your reply. have a good day

  6. Excelsior! says:

    Folks,

    What if “Tony” WAS Tony Morris III? That would be so cool to have that lame brain on here, wouldn’t it?

    He could go off on a rant about vampires and tight trousers (US pants) and ties he doesn’t like and how the dead at Armageddon will be like giant hotdogs!!!

    This gentleman is the best recruiting sergeant we have in the ex JW Community.

    Our poster, Tony, serves in a similar capacity. Folks who come on here and try to defend the indefensible inevitably help our cause! No rational human being could possibly side with the WTBTS on child abuse cover ups, domestic abuse cover ups and shunning.

    I’m sorry, Lloyd, that you had to suffer yet more abuse from these unfortunate individuals. You have my respect for all that you have done and continue to do for folks affected by the WTBTS.

    Peace be with you

    Excelsior!

  7. Cedars says:

    This is a message for “Tony” – my obsessive stalker who recently tried posting under the name “Agnosticbeardconman” but has had his comment deleted. You are not welcome on this site. No matter how many times you change your IP or email address to hound me, I can easily spot who you are and put you straight in our blocked list. I have zero tolerance for pro-Watchtower trolls who attack me rather than my arguments. Please find a more meaningful use of your time than fixating over me. Isn’t there some field service you should be occupying yourself with? Or are you counting your time for all this? Please, for your own sake, get a life mate.

  8. Excelsior! says:

    Lloyd,

    Yet another stalking troll for the WT. I love the pseudonym Tony tried to use! Looks to me that his hate for you may be turning to love!!!! Fancy calling himself the very thing he supposedly hates!

    Tony, or whatever your name is, – Sir, please stop trying to defend the indefensible. You won’t succeed and it will simply make your life more difficult and less fulfilling than it could be.

    I hope that you will read the articles here and come to learn what is really going on.

    Peace be with you,

    Excelsior!

  9. anonymous says:

    My husband (born in) thinks he can go to the elders and complain how I have been watching “apostate” websites so lately I have been listening to former Mormons so he can’t use this excuse anymore. I have been listening to Lee Baker and he was a Bishop in the Mormon church. He was threatened with excommunication if he continued to ask questions to the hierarchy and so he quit, knowing full well, that he was going to be shunned but his conscience wouldn’t allow him to knowingly support the Mormon religion anymore, once he fully understood the real history of the Mormon Church.

    My husband insists that I will not be disfellowshipped if I ask the elders questions such as: How can they prove that Jerusalem fell in 607 B.C.E. (I would turn in “Let Your Kingdom Come” page 187 and read “Or, even if discovered evidence is accurate, it might be misinterpreted by modern scholars or be incomplete so that yet undiscovered material could drastically alter the chronology of the period.” I would also show them the footnote in the 2011 Watchtower about 607 Nov. 1 page 22 “None of the secular experts quoted in this article hold that Jerusalem was destroyed in 607 B.C.E. Another question would be how can we prove that Jehovah chose the Witnesses as his only channel of communication in 1919 and what was being printed then to prove it? I would have the elders explain the 2013 July Watchtower’s explanation of Jesus not appointing the slave over all his belongings until after the Great Tribulation starts and what does that mean for us today? I would have them explain how has the Governing Body have been appointed since the Reasoning book under tongues said that when the Apostles died, so did apostolic succession and it was only by the laying on of hands. It is interesting that in the Reasoning book under apostolic succession, that isn’t mentioned. I would ask them to explain John 20:25 (without using the Watchtower’s explanation) where Thomas wanted Jesus to show him the holes in his hands where the “nails” were. If you take your concordance, you will not find that word “nails” for John 20:25. Isn’t that interesting????? Also, I’d ask them why Jesus would have chosen the Watchtower in 1919 when they were saying that Jesus died on a cross until 1930 and put it right on the front of the Watchtower when the other churches were rejected for teaching that????

    • Gareth says:

      Excelsior, I’m not sure whether he’s trying to “rat her out”. It might be he genuinely thinks the elders might try to help. Doubtful though, given the overwhelming number of experiences already out there…

      anonymous, perhaps you can suggest him going himself to ask those questions :-P. If the answers or questions don’t bother him, then there’s no need to make a fuss, right? You already know both the real answers, and the most likely answer from the elders anyway.

  10. Excelsior! says:

    anonymous,

    My dear friend, yet more abuse from this “Christian” husband of yours! He is quite happy to rat you out to the Elders, but I should imagine he’s not quite so keen to turn himself in to them over his domestic abuse and pornography addiction!

    You, madam, are a Saint. That’s all I can say.

    I wish I could be of more help to you, as I am sure do all posters here.

    Peace be with you,

    Excelsior!

  11. anonymous says:

    Excelsior. They know all about his porn habit and his abuse and it doesn’t bother them at all. All they care about for him to get his privileges back (answering at meetings again) is to go out in service every month and be regular at meetings. His advice when he was finally reproved for his porn habit was to read the Bible and go out in service more. It was then that I realized just how corrupt this religion is. That’s what it took for me to reach my bottom. What I realize now though, if I hadn’t reached that bottom point in my life, I’d still be going to meetings and in service, not knowing I was in a cult, so in a way, I am grateful it worked out the way it did. That’s what it took for me to reach out for help on the internet because there was absolutely nobody I could confide in, not even my own family.

  12. anonymous says:

    Gareth, this is probably the most 2-faced person you will ever meet. On the one hand, he claims he wants the elders to talk to me so they can help me, but I have no doubt in my mind, that the real motive is to get me disfellowshipped.

  13. anonymous says:

    Hi Gareth. Pity. He loves it.

  14. Gareth says:

    Hi anonymous. That’s sad.

  15. anonymous says:

    Hi Gareth. You have no idea. He was messed up from being raised in the cult. That’s how I have to look at it.

  16. Excelsior! says:

    anonymous, I’m sorry, but I have no pity for your husband at all. None. Zero. Nada.

    I don’t care if he was raised by Satan himself, you do not beat up your pregnant wife. He wants someone to blame? How about himself?

    He will never be forgiven, either in Heaven or Earth, until he takes responsibility for who he is and what he has done. I very much doubt he will ever have the courage or the maturity to do that.

    I’m sorry to be dissing your husband, but people like him make me very, very, very, very, very, angry. They also make me very, very, very, very, very, very sad.

    Human beings are capable of such magnificent things! And then we are confronted by a man who thinks it’s acceptable to beat his wife and treat her like dirt. To watch pornography and upset her deeply. It makes me sad.

    However, you have found people who want you to be happy and respect you, anonymous. We all appreciate your comments and we all are feeling for you in your very difficult situation.

    I hope that you find some joy and comfort in your life, dear lady.

    Peace be with you,

    Excelsior!

  17. Imacountrygirl says:

    “he claims he wants the elders to talk to me so they can help me, but I have no doubt in my mind, that the real motive is to get me disfellowshipped.”

    My dear sister anonymous, from your own words, it seems to me as if your husband wants MORE than pity. He may want an excuse to be free from you, IMOHO. I have heard that when one spouse is disfellowshipped, the other spouse often claims to be the victim of the apostate, so that he/she can leave the marriage with the blessing of the GB.

    I don’t know your own circumstances, but if he is abusing you while you are pregnant, your own life, as well as the baby, is already at risk. It’s not always the case, but abuse usually escalates with time.

    Being disfellowhsipped may even be the lesser of the two evils if it would get this abusive man out of your life, if that is what you wish for yourself and your unborn child.

    I will pray for Holy Spirit to help you and guide you my sister. I cannot even imagine what your life must be like now, but Jesus promises He will never leave us.

    You have all my love and support, anonymous.

  18. anonymous says:

    Hi Excelsior and Iamacountrygirl. When he punched me in the stomach when I was 8 months pregnant was about 33 years ago. He last punched me with his fist when my oldest daughter was 5 and that was the last time because then I had a witness old enough to “tell on him” and she’s 37 now. Up until then, he knew he could get away with it because I didn’t have credible witnesses and all this was while he was an elder. I could tell you worst stories than that but I will spare you the ugly details. To say it’s been a horrible life, is an understatement. If he was wanting to divorce me, I couldn’t be happier to tell the truth but I think he just wants to see me suffer so people feel sorry for him. He’s always loved pity, even if he’s got to lie to get it. He can’t tell the difference between a lie and the truth, to save his life. It’s actually sad to me that he goes through all that to get attention. If he’d just tell the truth, I’d have so much more respect for him. I actually pity him because of it.

    I have a funny story to tell and I could relate to it so well. One time I was in service in a car group and one of the sisters was telling about a call she had and the call’s husband had died and the sister in the car was telling how she was telling her call that she was going to see her dead husband in the resurrection and the lady came back with “why???? He was a horrible person!”. We all laughed in the car that day but I could relate to what the lady said but I had to keep my mouth shut. As Witnesses, we are never allowed to disclose anything that might be bad about our mate.

  19. Holy Connoli says:

    Hi Anonymous

    Just curious why you did not divorce him if he was violent like that? Was it bc of the JW world you lived I at the time? I mean he sounds pretty bad. You could have gotten child support and alimony. I amsure there is lot’s more to it that I can see but just curious?

  20. anonymous says:

    Hi Holy Connoli. I wanted a divorce more than anything but being a Witness, I knew there would be nobody who would believe me. In those days, the Society didn’t allow for separation for abuse and I would have been shunned if I had divorced him. I never knew when it would happen and it was always when there would be nobody around. Even when I did finally get up the courage to call another elder, he didn’t pay any attention to what I said anyway. That was the time when he punched me with his fist in the stomach when I was pregnant but it went on for 5 years after that. It didn’t happen real often, probably about once a year and all it would take was he couldn’t find something. I hated every minute of every day but because of the situation I was in with this religion I was stuck. Once I tried running away to my brother’s house but my brother called him and he came and got me. When I married, my parents said that once I was married I couldn’t come home again. So, I was stuck. I blame this religion on this. If I had been in any other religion, I wouldn’t have had to have witnesses to the abuse (they didn’t care then anyway) and I wouldn’t have been stigmatized. My niece got married and her husband hit her and she immediately filed for divorce and I think how nice that she could do that. She also was able to report it to the police and they put him in jail. That doesn’t happen in our religion. We aren’t believed and then we aren’t allowed to report it to the police either. This religion is to blame.

    One of the reasons my husband felt he could do that was because he thought it was funny to have no respect for women. He’d always laugh at how Rutherford said that “women were just a hank of hair and a piece of bone.” He has absolutely no respect for women at all. But the funny thing is that he is able to pull off being a really nice guy to people. What goes on behind closed doors is something else again. The April 2013 Awake says it all. It’s disgusting the women are treated in this religion and I can attest to that first hand as I am sure, very many other Witness wives can attest to as well.

    Witness women are taught to suck it in and forgive, forgive, forgive. The men think we have to forgive, no matter how badly they treat their wives. The Watchtower tells them that and they believe it and they just can’t get it when finally the wife says they can’t forgive it anymore. Then they feel so sorry for themselves because their wife isn’t a forgiving sort of person. After all, aren’t we told all the time that Jehovah won’t forgive us our sins, if we can’t forgive others of their sins and we all are imperfect????

    Personally, I don’t know how any man can grow up normal in this religion.

  21. Excelsior! says:

    anonymous,

    Joseph Rutherford was a womaniser and an alcoholic. I’m sure your “Christian” husband would have got on well with him. His hatred of women did not extend to their sexual favours, allegedly.

    Most men and women can grow up a JW without feeling the need to beat their partners. I certainly did not feel the need to beat up women when I was a JW. Then again, I never bought into women’s inferiority and I was always good to any women I dated.

    This is one reason I don’t believe in God. Women are not inferior and are capable of achieving anything they put their minds to. This “Eve was deceived…women can’t talk in the hall…nonsense is disgusting.

    We are here for you, anonymous.

    Peace be with you

    Excelsior!

  22. anonymous says:

    Hi Excelsior. Thank you for the encouragement. My husband is a sociopath and he fits in very well in the organization. 99% of the time he is fine but if you know anything about sociopaths, they don’t really know how to be normal but to fit in in normal society, they learn to “mimic” normal behavior.

    One thing you will never see in the Society’s magazines, is what to look for in a mate when it comes to personalities. They don’t have a clue what is normal or not so they don’t print anything to help a person recognize a personality that is “off”.

    I only learned of the personality trait when in the United States quite some years ago there was a man by the name of Scott Peterson who murdered his 9 month pregnant wife and the police were able to find her body because on the husband’s computer, he had been looking at the place where they found her body, where he had thrown her into a lake. It was then on television that they were talking about his personality as being a psychopath and that type of personality, that I went on the internet and researched that personality and realized that my husband fit about 8 out of 10 of the personality traits. It was then that I realized it wasn’t me that was imagining it all. Up until then, I just hated him but when I realized he had no conscience, I began to realize why he was the way he was and possibly can’t help it, being like that. Then I saw that about 3% of all men have that personality and 1% of women do. It helped me so much just knowing that. Then I sent for books to learn more about it. You will never see stuff like that in the magazines.

    If you study sociopathic personality disorder, you will see that no matter how much you think a person like that can change, it is impossible for that to happen.

    The thing is though that in the JW religion, we expect that the person we are going to marry actually lives the part in real life of a loving husband that would never abuse their wife. That is the impression the Society wants everyone to think from the articles they print. That’s why it’s so important that we can’t report abuse to the police. The Society wants the world and every person in the Organization to go into marriage thinking that the guy or girl they are dating isn’t going to abuse them. Once they are married, though, they are trapped. You know the rest.

    The reason that I feel more men in the Organization are likely to be psychopathic is because of the research I did, if a baby doesn’t have a really close loving relationship with their mother from birth on, they are much more likely to turn out having no conscience. It’s because they don’t feel loved and it’s foreign to them because they don’t know what it is. I think in the Organization, children are taught to be sociopaths (psychopaths) early on with the Society’s fixation on everyone getting killed at Armageddon. Young children in the “truth” learn early on not to have normal feelings about death and that’s very typical of psychopaths. That is why they can kill without having a conscience. Not all will kill of course, but death doesn’t bother them. I see that with my husband all the time.

    Many Witnesses, know what it means to be a good Witness, but it’s just “acting” the way they should act to fit in. It’s not what they really feel inside. They learn to do what is acceptable to the “Witness” community but behind closed doors, they can’t continue the act indefinitely.

    The April 2013 Awake magazine on domestic abuse, doesn’t once address what a Witness woman should do if her Witness husband is abusive. It addresses that some Witness husbands abuse behind closed doors, but in the end, the Witness wife leaves the husband but it clearly says that nobody understood why she did it, making it clear that she couldn’t tell anybody about the abuse. That’s what is so wrong with the Society. It’s a useless religion and aids to the abuse of women. It makes it really easy for a man to abuse his wife. It is always the wife’s fault, somehow. It never blames the man.

    • Holy Connoli says:

      Anonymous

      I understand your feelings and sympathize with you but previously you mentioned to me that you would not leave your husband back in your days when you were a JW bc of all the social pressure and how it wasn’t accepted etc and the culture around being a JW at that time. Since you are no longer a JW and don’t consider yourself one why are you still in this marriage? You are not attending meetings are you? You do not associate with JW’s or if so on a very limited way. I know many JW’s even today who are divorced and even remarried. Some got df’d and some did not and many just are separated and live separately. As we get older we should not have to put up with that kind of abuse you have experienced or are still experiencing. In fact no matter how old we are we should not put up with it. Why don’t you divorce now or legal separate or just leave? I am sure you have your own personal reasons but no longer being a JW and “fearing” the shunning is not something you have to worry about.

  23. anonymous says:

    Hi Holy Connoli. My husband is 69 with a bad heart. I stay with him for the sake of my kids and because I am humane. If it was just for my sake, I would go. If he was still hitting me, I’d go anyway but he hasn’t hit me for many years. That isn’t to say that he isn’t a sociopath. I have to face the fact that my life has just been a really bad life. To go now, isn’t really going to make my life that much better and would make my children hate me. Like I was saying before in an earlier comment, if he was wanting to get me disfellowshipped for apostasy and he made that clear to the elders, there would be absolutely no reason at all for me to stay with him and I would feel no guilt at all in leaving. If he hauls me before the elders and tries to do that to me, I’d make it really clear to the elders and him too, that I could not stay with him anymore and take that kind of abuse.

    I take care of him. His health is really bad. He’d be lost without me and he knows it. He just loves pity. It’s all about getting pity for himself and if he has to do that to me to get it, he will, but it is he who in the end is going to be the loser, not me. The elders won’t listen to him anyway. That is the sad thing about it. They couldn’t care less about him and he doesn’t even realize it. Don’t pity me. I hate pity. If some day, he does die (his heart is really bad), I can live with myself that I didn’t desert him when he was old and sick. If I left him now without really good cause, I’d feel guilty for the rest of my life. It was when I was young, is when I should have left but I didn’t have the courage then.

    I am actually glad it worked out like it did in that last year, my life hit rock bottom in this organization when I realized that no matter how much I was suffering, I was all alone and couldn’t talk to anybody about what I was going through with my husband. If I hadn’t gotten to that point in my life, I’d still be tied to the meetings and service and always feeling depressed. Having “woken” up from the cult, I can finally feel at peace, even if it is late in my life.

    • Holy Connoli says:

      I UNDERSTAND HOW YOU FEEL AND CAN RELATE TO IT IN MANY WAYS MYSELF. I RESPECT YOUR DECESION AND HONOR IT. ESPECIALLY AT THIS POINT IN LIFE I CAN SEE WHY YOU FEEL IT IS IMPORTANT TO STAY. I HAVE A SIMILAR SITUATION BUT IN A DIFFERENT WAY. I DECIDED ALSO TO STAY EVEN THOUGH I FELT THERE WAS LOT’S OF ABUSE AND ALSO FANATIISM ON my mates PART AND STILL IS. I JUST HAD TO CREATE MY OWN SEPERATE LIFE AND MAKE THE BEST OF A NOT GOOD SITUATION. fOR ME IT HAS WORKED QUITE WELL AND I JUST ACCEPT IT THE WAY IT HAS DEVELOPED. wE HAVE TO LEARN TO LIVE WITH OURSELVES AND THE DECESIONS WE HAVE MADE BEFORE WE CAN LEARN TO LIVE WITH OTHERS. the wt DOESN’T HELP FAMILIES BC THEY ARE ABOVE ALL AND ABOVE FAMILES AND YOU MUST LISTEN TO THEM ABOVE YOUR OWN FAMILY. if YOU ARE MEARRIED TO A FANATIC jw YOU ARE NOT EVEN ALLOWED TO HOLD A FAMILY DISCUSSION OR OPEN FORUM ABOUT DOCTRINE, TEACHINGS,RULES AND REGUALTIONS.OR ANY OTHER OPINION. TRY TO FIND SOME PEACE IN OTHER ACIVITY. iT ISN’T TO LATE AND THEE ARE TONS OF NICE PEOPLE IN THE “world” DESPITE WHAT THE wt TELLS YOU. ALL MY BEST TO YOU. juST cURIOUS? hOW DO ALL THE jw’S YOU ASSOCIATED WITH FOR DECADES NOW TREAT YOU THAT YOU ARE “INACTIVE”?

      DO THEY SHUN YOU OR GOSSIP ABOUT YOU?

  24. anonymous says:

    Hi Holy Connoli. I am feeling shunned. I live a block from a grocery store that my friends from the Hall used to shop at and now they are shopping at a store across town so they don’t have to run into me. I am alone. As much as they are doing that to me, I actually feel sorry for them though as they don’t realize just how much they are wasting their life away in a cult with no rewards like they think they will get for all their troubles. I know an awful lot of people through the years that have died, waiting for Armageddon so at least that isn’t going to happen to me now. Their treating me this way shows their true personalities. I don’t know if I could be really forgiving if the Society said they could talk to me and they all started talking to me now. It shows that all that love was fake. It’s difficult coming to that realization but better late than never is how I feel about it.

    I was thinking more about why I think the Witnesses are more likely to be sociopaths and I remembered when I first started studying, the most important thing that was drilled into my head was that nobody and that means absolutely nobody comes before Jehovah. It was understood that no family member was to be taken into account above Jehovah and that meant mother, father, son or daughter, brother or sister or marriage mate. The one we had to love first and foremost in our life was Jehovah. So, that’s why people can shun even close family members and friends because Jehovah (organization) comes first. That means that when babies are born, they are not loved whole souled like they should be. They are even looked at as belonging to Jehovah and not them. The whole thing about kids is warped. They are to stay quiet at meetings. They are to answer at meetings. They aren’t to embarrass parents in that they have to get baptized at an early age so as to not make the parents look bad. It’s all about not making the parents look bad and that is what makes a sociopath. I still don’t know how any child can grow up normal in the org. unless the parents aren’t full blown into worshipping the org. I think maybe then and only then does a child have half a chance at being normal but then that child may grow up to realize it’s a cult and still leave the parents behind. I like what Cedars said on his web cast show , it’s all a mess, this stupid cult.

    • Holy Connoli says:

      So you were never DF’d or had restrictions put on you and they still “SHUN” you? Is that bc you stopped associating with them? As far as children go I agree it is hard for a kid to grow up half/way normal if he is into being a JW. However I have seen some and more lately
      reach out on their own and discover that there is a life worth living outside of being a JW. I agree there are tons of “STRNGE” kids in the WT org. I think it is bc they do not know how to socialize and that fear that the WT inculcates into people is what messes up their mind. I know it did for me and I was 19 years old whom I started studying and 20 years old when I got baptized but the mentality of fear was always there for me.It was always the pressure to do more and more and it was never good enough. I am grateful 2 of my kids who are young adults are no longer JW’s. I have 1 who still is and so is the wife/Mother.However my 2 kids who are not JW’s willin a nice way let them know EXCATLY what is wrong with the JW’s if they try to reconvert them. The wife blames me for them not being JW’s bc I set a bad example when I stopped going to meetings.I just could not do it anymore after I realized it was not true anymore and it was just another cult/religion but fanatic one.

  25. anonymous says:

    Your life is so much like mine. I studied at 19 and baptized at 20 also. I have 2 grown children still very much in the cult but one of our daughters, thankfully has woken up too so we have each other there. I think my husband is afraid that our other 2 children will be taken out of the “truth” if I don’t get disfellowshipped so that I can’t talk to them but the thing is that those 2 won’t listen to me anyway with “apostate” stuff, so that wouldn’t be a good enough reason to get me disfellowshipped.

    I am feeling shunned and no, I have not been disfellowshipped but because I haven’t been going to meetings or service for about 4 or 5 months, they must think that I have gone to the “dark side” now and are afraid to talk to me. If I went to the meetings, they’d welcome me and talk to me but now I could not bring myself to stoop that low for association.

    The funny thing is that from around 1992 till 2002, my husband only went to assemblies and the Memorial and all he did all that time was complain about the congregation and I kept sticking up for Jehovah and the Organization and the brothers at the Hall. And now, he complains that he doesn’t know what to tell the brothers and sisters when they ask about me. It is unbelievably hypocritical. All those years I went to the meetings by myself with the kids and he had been an elder and quit altogether and I did that alone and now he complains when he’s got no answer to these same people for why I am not there.

    I think our stories are not unique. I actually think this same story is happening right now to hundreds and maybe thousands of Witness homes right now behind closed doors. I don’t think we are unique. I think that unless both the husband and wife are both as into the “truth” in the same way, there is going to be problems. My husband brings up all the time that I didn’t “study” the Watchtower like I should have like he does. I went through it too fast. If he were to admit that it’s a cult, he’d be too ashamed to admit it since he’s a 3rd generation Witness and has all kinds of family and cousins in it etc. He has too much to lose now. But it was okay when he stopped going for 10 years but then he’d go to assemblies to make them all think he was going to meetings. He’s unbelievable.

    • Holy Connoli says:

      Anonymous

      I did not realize it has only been 4 or 5 months since you stopped going? You must be going thru a lot of pressure no doubt. I have not been a meeting attender for 20 years now. I did go to a few memorials and maybe a funeral but that was it. My wife is a Pioneer and that is all she cares about.She doesn’t care about the house or cooking or cleaning at all..maybe once or twice a week I “MAY” get a meal cooked for me. I don’t mind cooking myself or eating out but isn’t a family all supposed to be contributing for everyone else benefit?

      Whenever a CO, special speaker or GB comes to town first thing she wants to do is clean up the house, cook a BIG Dinner, and invite all the JW’s over for a prty and act like we always live like this! I tell her if you could just give me and our house 10% of the time you give to the JW’s I would be happy. She loves to sleep late but anytime their is a JW event, convention, special talk, out of town JW visitors, GB visit, CO visit she will get up at 5-6am and prepare for it and get things ready. It is AMAZING she will do that for anything JW but for me or help me with my business NO WAY! She gets up at 6am-7am to go Metro Witnessing! She would never get up that early for me.I have accepted it in my life and just do what I need to do to still be happy. I found other friends and other activities I enjoy.

      Funny thing, whenever she is done for the day at 5-7pm she will call me up and want me to be home? She then says I am not doing enough for a good marriage? It is almost like she wants me here to just entertain her keep her occupied lie she is scared to be by herself?

      She always lie to say how many “FRIENDS “she has and how r=true they are to her? I tell her that I snot true bc they are all conditional friends. If you EVER question or challenge a doctrine or teaching you will be ostracized and shunned no matter how many years you have pioneered. They will drop you like a 10 lb brick if you stray.

      For you it will take some time to deal with it bu t it WILL GET better for sure. Occupy your time with other activities. Find some new people to associate with. It won’t be so EZ bc you have been in so long and youe life was always tied up with everything they say but slowly separate yourself from them. I imagine by your comments you are in the retirement age group? there are lot’s of things to do with senior citizens and many are very helpful and will treat you nice. Exercise, walk, bike go places, join a small hiking group, read. You will be fine.

  26. anonymous says:

    Hi Holy Cannoli. Even though I don’t have any friends left in the org. I still don’t feel nearly as depressed as I was when I was going to meetings. They were always supposed to make you happier if you went but it was always just the opposite for me. I always felt like I wasn’t doing enough and I just never felt like spending myself poor to go out in service when I couldn’t afford it etc. to have a good conscience. I actually didn’t want to make return visits because I didn’t have the energy or time to conduct Bible studies. I know pioneers in our congregation that have return call books that are 3 inches thick with all their return visits and they are consumed by the return visits and meetings etc. That is their life. To me, it’s like they are in a hamster wheel, just going around and around and not getting anywhere, except older and poorer. They have the feeling that if they pioneer (I have a daughter that’s a pioneer too) that they will now feel satisfied that they are finally doing enough to not have a guilty conscience. I always saw pioneers as arrogant in that they think if they can do it, then we all should do it too. When I drove my car in service, almost nobody would give me money for gas because I wasn’t a pioneer, making it really expensive for me to drive. When I rode, I always gave the driver $5 for gas but it hardly ever happened for me. They think if you aren’t a pioneer, then you must be rolling in money so why give me money? The thing is though, it made it really hard for me to go out then so I resented that a lot and it was almost always the pioneers who rarely ever gave me any gas money.

    The brother that married my husband and me was a pioneer, him and his wife and they went into the circuit work later. Their one and only son, married a Witness girl but he later fell out and was disfellowshipped. I saw it over and over again with pioneers. They’d spend all their time at meetings and service and none of their kids stayed in the “truth” when they grew up. You could tell, they cared so much more about their “friends” at the hall then they did their own kids. Rarely did I ever see it where the kids stayed in the religion when they grew up when the parents were pioneers. The parents were always so “disgusted” with their own children because their falling out was an embarrassment to them as parents like they didn’t do their jobs.

    The whole religion is so stupid. I have been listening to former Mormons lately and I think their family lives are much happier than the JW families. These people left because the history was all made up and lies but at least their families are happy in the Mormon religion.

    • Holy Connoli says:

      I have known many Mormons and I honestly believe they are way more happier than JW’s. They have a real family life, they encourage their kids to get educated, many are Doctors, dentists, professionals, they don’t look down on education.. They have their own good colleges. They play sports, they have things for their youth to participate in, They help each other way more than JW’s. Yes, they have some odd ball believes but overall they are happier than jw’s any day of the week and they are not carrying around all this baggage from non-sense pressure that the WT gives out.

  27. anonymous says:

    I have never talked to a Mormon but just from what I see on the internet, they sure seem happier to me too and I bet they have a much higher retention rate for youth staying in it too. The only thing that is the same is the shunning if they leave. I don’t know if it’s as severe, but it seems to be. They are also not allowed to question the hierarchy the same as us. If they do, then they are also kicked out. Ray Franz was so right when he said that people don’t need a church.

    You should look up the traits of a sociopath and or psychopaths. It’s been a while since I was reading about it, but it seems to me some of their dominant traits is to be lazy and narcissistic and lie freely and have no working conscience. My husband is probably one of the laziest people you will ever meet and cares about what he looks like more than most women do and has no working conscience. I think being a good Witness works well for sociopaths because as long as they study for the meetings, go in service (pioneer even better) go to meetings, and look good, etc. etc. their conscience absolves of them of having to take care of their families welfare etc. They think as long as they put the “kingdom” first, nothing else really matters. He has always been a liar and lazy but when he was an elder, you would never have seen anybody who would spend more time preparing talks etc. That is all that mattered to him was impressing people with his knowledge and how good his talks were and how good he looked, doing it and getting out in service.

    • Holy Connoli says:

      Anonymous

      I don’t think Mormons shun as severely as JW’s. I don’t think they refuse to talk or associate with their own blood family, Father/Child/ Mother/Child etc. I am sure they do shun but not to the extent of JW’s. WHen Iwas an Elder I was a natural speaker so I did not have to spen enormous amounts od time preparing for talks. Sometimes I would prepare the Morning of a talk if I was a guest speaker at another KH. We would hear the same info over and over all the time so if you had a gift doe speaking you could just put a different twist on it. I do know people like your husband who would spend days on something that was not necessary. As far as being Lazy ? Did he refuse to work or hold a job or just Lazy around the house? A good JW man is not supposed to be Lazy. In fact one reason I decide not to go to any more meetings 20 years ago was I never had any time to do anything else except meetings, talks, more meetings, field service, conventions, family studies, I think part of the Idea the WT has is to keep the People SO BUSY they have no time to do anything else in life.

      Think about it. We had Tuesday Book Study, wed night Family Study, Thursday Theocratic school and service meeting, Field service Sat Morning, Meeting on Sunday and after that go in Field Service again? That doesn’t count special talks, CO visits,D.O. Visits, Elders meetings after most meetings, Elder school,Pioneer school, on and on and on. The meetings never end. The WT does not want them to end bc if they did you might have time to think! One of the signs of a cult is to keep the people SO BUSY they do not have time to think or get away.They become sleep deprived and just keep pushing them more and more until they drop.

      I think the WT fits that description. If you held down a full time job like most people you have no time at all if you attend these meetings and your mind is not free.
      it is the perfect situation for brainwashing.

  28. Excelsior! says:

    anonymous and Holy Connoli,

    I am so glad that I didn’t marry a Witness woman and settle down into the life you two are describing!

    It’s not for me to offer any advice or comment further on this delicate subject.

    Peace be with you

    Excelsior!

  29. anonymous says:

    My husband held down a full time job but what he always loved was paper work. When it came to physical labor around the house, he’d always start something like destroying the inside of the house but he’d never finish anything he started. I thought while he as an elder (10 years) that he was too loaded down and didn’t expect anything from him around the house or with helping with the kids but when he quit being an elder, he was even lazier than he was when he was an elder. When he got home from work, he didn’t lift a finger to do anything at all. It was just me and the kids. He was always in his own little world playing games on the computer. I thought when he retired from work that he’d finish up fixing the house that he destroyed in his younger days but then his heart went haywire so I live in a house that’s embarrassing to have anybody here. At least he did keep a job and we do own our house even if it’s a dump. At least he did that much. It’s the lying that makes it so hard to me to have any respect for him. I can see him not being able to do much anymore with his health problems and his age. I don’t resent him for that anymore.

    I looked up some information that you will never see in any Awake or Watchtower magazine on how to spot a sociopath BEFORE you get involved and these are some of the traits of a sociopath:

    Lack of shame: Blames others instead of taking blame
    Willing to hurt others to achieve their goals
    Comfortable going through life telling lies
    Don’t react to disturbing events like non-sociopaths
    Charming and perceived as likeable and interesting
    Intelligent
    Prey on weak and like to be in complete control and uncomfortable around strong people
    Maybe outwardly calm but can snap with violent behavior in a moment
    Huge ego and unresponsive to criticism. Huge sense of entitlement. Better than anybody else around them. Completely narcissistic and far more interested in talking about themselves than hearing what others have to say
    Few real friends
    Makes you feel inferior so you are completely dependent on them for friends
    Immature and doesn’t learn from mistakes
    Extremely selfish
    Needy
    Unready for responsibilities, ie. lazy
    Tricks people into feeling sorry for them.

    It is good to spot these traits before getting involved with them but if you are already married to a sociopath, knowing that they are a sociopath, helps you to recognize it and not let them to manipulate you anymore because you can call them on it every time.

    • Holy Connoli says:

      I think as humans we all have some of those traits at times. Some have more and some have less. One thing about the JW’s is they normally refuse real professional help to overcome their problems bc they have ben led to believe that it is all “WORLDLY” Psychology that they are receiving and the only education or treatment you need is from the WT. I remember some years ago a then Elder was counseling a sister who had mental issues NOT to go to a Psychiatrist bc they will give her wrong information? She only needed to read WT articles?

      They may have slightly changed that approach now but
      not by much.

  30. anonymous says:

    Hi Holy Connoli. We all have some of those traits but most people do have a conscience where true sociopaths don’t have a conscience. Most “normal” people will feel sorry when they hurt others but a sociopath refuses to admit to faults or if they do, it’s just to get to manipulate the other person so that they will trust them again but the abuse will continue. The abuse doesn’t have to be physical but it can be mental abuse and emotional abuse. There are so many other traits that identify a sociopath and I could have gone on but my list was just a starter.

    To live with a person like that is hell but to be able to identify them as a sociopath, at least gives the “normal” person a way to identify that it’s not them that is causing all the problems. When you are married to a person like that, you think that they will apologize for how they hurt you but they always put the blame on the other person, no matter how grievous the sin or crime was on their part.

    They aren’t always killers. People associate sociopaths as killers but most will never kill anybody. Sociopaths are in all of our lives. We work with them and live with them and sometimes our own children are sociopaths.

    The thing about going to a counselor won’t work because they are such good manipulators. All authorities will say that they aren’t fixable and I know that to be a fact. They only learn how better to control the situation when they go to “counseling and get sympathy from the “counseling”. Even the best head doctors have been fooled by them.

  31. Imacountrygirl says:

    To think, all those years I was married to a sociopath. He was diagnosed as “Dependent personality disorder”. But they seem interchangeable to me.

    Anonymous, dear sister, did your husband have a twin he was separated from at birth?

    Humor is the only way I keep my sanity. Most of it anyway. My sanity I mean.

    I was selfish and chose what was best for me and that was to end my marriage. Bless you both for staying and enduring what I could not.

    I have been following the exchange between you and Holy Connoli, we all have wounded hearts. I don’t understand how, but they keep beating.

  32. anonymous says:

    Hi Iamaountrygirl. You can’t imagine how many times I have heard the same story about somebody in a marriage and it’s almost always the husband. Everybody should know about this personality but few do and we don’t know it till it’s too late. They don’t show their true personality in public. At least it’s rare and then a woman thinks that if they show these guys love that the guy won’t do that to them anymore but it doesn’t happen. What makes it so much worse being a Witness, is that no matter how bad our husband is, we are not allowed to talk about it to anybody and if we do, we aren’t believed. I am so glad you made the choice to leave. You don’t know how much better your life is now than if you had stayed. I believe there are an awful lot of women in the “truth” who have the same “husband” and are miserable as we speak. This religion works out great for that kind of husband. We are to obey them, no matter how horrible they are and we can’t talk about it, no matter how horrible they are.

  33. Excelsior! says:

    Imacountrygirl,

    It is NOT selfish to leave an abusive relationship. It is for each individual to decide if they want to endure and be long suffering or not.

    Peace be with you,

    Excelsior!

  34. anonymous says:

    Hi Iamacountrygirl. There is a Youtube video you should watch. You will be so glad you got out of your marriage when you did. It’s called: Puzzling People The Labyrinth of the Psychopath Thomas Sheridan.

  35. deanxxx says:

    Exactly right. The GB are very much like the ‘slimmer’ man but they would never even consider for the briefest moment that they could be. Extreme ideologies often share similar features and I often refer to Jihadists, JW’s, Davidians etc as ‘death cults’.

  36. deanxxx says:

    There’s me saying you should look into sociopathy and your way ahead. Good for you.

    I’ts heart breaking to here your story, I wish you the best of luck in the next chapter of your life. I just wish I could send you happiness and relief from depression for christmas.

    You’re a very brave and resilient Lady. Thanx for sharing.

  37. Just wanted to say thanx in general,appreciate everyone’s comments,so comforting to not feel alone in the escape from the organization that is so far from the Truth!!!

  38. Paul says:

    Anonymous, I hope you have the strength and opportunity to get out of your current situation. My wife & I have been “in” all our lives, and married for 42. We recently started to doubt the Bible backing for all the “new light” – started researching more carefully, and decided we would get out.
    I have seen many examples of hypocrites in my time (especially amongst fellow elders when I was one). This always disturbed me, as I feel the Bible standards for husbands dictate respect, deep love & the treasuring of ones mate as precious. Our love is now even stronger since we have started to exit via a planned fade… Stay strong, and hope you find a way to happier times.

    • anonymous says:

      @Paul, I have learned not to take any guff anymore and not to be subservient anymore and since I started standing up for myself, life has been a lot better. Women in the Organization are trained to be doormats and I was one all those years but not anymore and he has changed as well for the better. At my age and with my husband’s health, I have to make the best of it and 99% of the time, he is a good and generous man. Like my youngest daughter has told me, it was the religion is what turned him into the person he was too all those years and I wasn’t perfect either.

      Thank you for your concern. It means a lot to me and I am so glad for the both of you that you were both able to see the “truth” for what it really is.

      What is really interesting to me is that every month, when my husband is sitting down at his computer, I put on jwbroadcasting for him to listen to the latest propaganda. If I didn’t do that, he wouldn’t listen but I kind of force him to listen. Anyway, the other day I put on David Splane’s morning worship about how there hasn’t been a faithful and discreet slave for 1900 years. When I put that on for him, I sensed it interested him for a change and the other day, he actually put that on again all by himself so there was something about that talk that he felt he had to listen to it again. I keep hoping he can see through the nonsense of it so I don’t lose hope.

      My husband complains a lot about the elders etc. and how crazy so many are in the congregation so I listen patiently in the hopes that some day, he will see what the “truth” really is too so that he might have some influence on the two of our children who are still strong in it.

      They all think that I have “killed” our youngest daughter (their sister) and her two boys and her husband because now that she has listened to me, she and her two boys will be killed at Armageddon and that is very difficult to endure but my daughter is happy to have learned the real truth so that is what gets me through the day.