Life and Love After Watchtower: Breaking Free from Cycles of Emotional Abuse
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Organizations and narcissistic individuals employ the same tactics in their attempts to control

I recently had the pleasure of joining a Facebook support group for ex-Jehovah’s Witness women. Reading through the posts, I noticed two interesting phenomena.

First to stand out were the quotes and memes being circulated to encourage women and help them recover from cult indoctrination. They were the same ones I had seen on other forums dedicated to recovery from abusive relationships, which I had also joined. The second were the posts written by the women of the group themselves. Many had been involved in romantic relationships that were abusive, psychologically or otherwise. The overlap was not a coincidence.

It comes as no surprise that vulnerability – whether owing to an empathetic nature, a need for stability or community, or a history of abuse – primes targets for manipulation. The same holds true whether the target is groomed by a high control religion or a high control partner. But there is an added layer for those who have already been victims of the first. I would argue that being women in a high control religion predisposes us to succumb to the tactics employed by psychologically controlling and emotionally abusive partners. By no means does this observation intend to even partially blame victims, only to explain how exploitative people select their supply. It is often our best qualities that make us so appealing in the first place.

While this sort of abuse knows no sex and men can and do find themselves on the receiving end of emotional abuse, women contend with an added dimension of coercive control in a religion like that of Jehovah’s Witnesses, in which they are expected to be deferential not only to the organisation, but to their husbands. The only way to break free from these cycles of abuse is to empower ourselves with knowledge by both untangling the complex web of strategies used by abusers and examining the way this treatment is rationalised by its victims.

Note that in this article I will often reference narcissistic abuse, as it is most similar to the calculating, intentional, and exploitative manipulation a high control organisation like Watchtower uses in its rhetoric. I also use the word ‘victim’ for clarity and simplicity, but those who have suffered psychological abuse are so much more than this experience. They are tough-as-nails survivors forged in a crucible meant for the obliteration of their mental health, self-esteem, trust, and hope. And it is no hyperbole to say that.

Common threads

One thing nearly all victims of narcissistic abuse will say is that every article they read on the topic seems to perfectly describe their experiences. The abuser seems cut from the same sheet of cookie dough. Cults likewise have a set of defining characteristics to which all their variations seem to conform. This makes the two fairly simple to identify, in theory, which is the first step to building up defences against them. What was amorphous and intimidating now has a name, and we know the weapons in its arsenal.

It can be mind-boggling to recognize that so many different individuals, from different backgrounds and walks of life, can all exhibit the same characteristics and use the same devices to keep people under their thumbs. But human psychology is fairly predictable. It follows patterns. It is why we can study it in the first place. And it is precisely these patterns manipulative, power-hungry individuals and organizations take advantage of to keep their victims in a perpetual state of submissiveness and compliance.

Those who choose to manipulate others are masters of psychology. They are able to lure their targets in – and keep them in – with disturbing accuracy and efficiency.

The goal is the same: to enforce their own agenda, to keep power firmly on their side of the court, and to recruit others into doing their work. Narcissists, for example, feed off of external validation, which is why their victims are often referred to as ‘supply’. Void of self-affirming worth, they seek outside supply to feed the ego by choosing attractive, high-status partners who are generous with their affection, trusting, and optimistic. They leech onto these appealing qualities and flaunt themselves by proxy while exploiting ‘weaknesses’ like a tendency to see the good and to trust others.

I want to be careful not to dehumanise (a narcissistic personality is the result of genetics often combined with environmental factors in the formative years, such as trauma or excessive adoration), but it is an unfortunate reality that the preferred coping mechanism of the narcissist is a win-at-all-costs mentality that involves projecting on others and using relationships exclusively for personal gain.

High control groups seek something very similar. Built on a feeble foundation of unconvincing ‘truths’ for which there is little to no evidence or intrinsic value, these groups must propagate, perpetuate, and maintain their power at all costs. They do so through emotional blackmail, gaslighting, propagandistic appeals, and fear of the ‘outside’, keeping members isolated from any threats that would expose the groups for what they are. Much like narcissists who, through triangulation, make use of third parties to smear or discredit their victims, these groups use members to recruit others and to keep them in line. The purpose, in the end, is the same. The power balance must be maintained in their favor.

It may seem a paradox, but those who have been through the wringer once are likely to go through it again if not privy to the methodological way abuse is carried out.

Love bombing

It is said that narcissists promise dreams only to deliver nightmares. If the appeal of involvement were not so powerful, far fewer people would become entangled with abusers.

Both narcissists and cults love bomb in the initial phase. They tailor their messages to our unique needs, they promise us affection, a family, redemption, a beautiful future in paradisiac conditions. They flatter us, and we inevitably lower our guards. We see in them a soul mate, or in the case of an organization, a sense of purpose and a reason to hope in a better life. The God of Love wants us in His embrace. This person, who seems too good to be true, has chosen us. We are honored and humbled. We are hooked. This love is one of two most powerful emotions. The other is fear.

Carrot and stick

Once we are comfortably situated and basking in the warm glow of affection and idealization, we soon learn of the rules we must abide by to maintain this favorable, delicate balance. By the time we have made our emotional investment, we learn that love is conditional. Fall out of line, and the same hand that offered us our dreams on a platter now metes out punishment: the cold shoulder, distance, a marked shift in behavior.

Abusive groups and individuals entice people with rewards and then prey on their insecurities

Where once we were idealized, we are now devalued. Cognitive dissonance sets in, and we struggle to wrap our heads around this change in light of the person we thought we knew. How could a God of love isolate us from friends and family? How could the person we thought to be our missing half, the person who showered us with so much praise, now discard us? The fault must lie in us.

We ramp up our efforts to please. We play by the rules, and the reward that follows conditions us to do so in the future also. The embrace, literal or metaphorical, that follows an emotionally devastating episode provides relief of euphoric proportions – literally. By alternating love and fear, manipulators forge our bonds with them through trauma and reinforce them, conditioning us to behave in a certain way. When we see in someone the ability to placate our fears, we become disposed to do almost anything to stay in their good graces. This means the systematic erosion of our boundaries.

Boundaries

God disciplines those he loves. The pain that we feel at being cut off from friends and family is a manifestation of love, of our rehabilitation and redirection onto the right path. The crippling self-doubt and loneliness we endure during a phase of neglect is a way of showing us we did something wrong. Anyone who questions the validity of this treatment is a crazy ex, or an apostate. The true ‘victim’ is the one whose authority was challenged.

The effects of this power imbalance, created through feelings of dependency on the abuser to restore our self-confidence and sense of worth, result in a savior-sinner dynamic. We are nothing without them. We are not worthy of them. We need them to save us. And they know what we need to be happy. If we leave, if we fail to submit, there is hell to pay. We are made to feel as though we are the problem. We begin to wonder in every situation whether we are doing the right thing.

Herein lies the root of the problem. Our conditioned response to restore peace, to return to the good times, erases our boundaries. It is the reluctance to establish firm boundaries that predisposes us to suffer cycles of abuse. When we are told, whether by a manipulative partner or group, that our passions, our hobbies, our time, our self-improvement must all be sacrificed to serve, it becomes all too easy for us to question whether anything we ever do will be enough.

By indulging the idea that we are selfish for taking time and attention away from service to an organisation or a person and dedicating it to ourselves, we arrive at a total erasure of the self accompanied by persistent feelings of guilt, self-loathing and shame. If we talk about our feelings, our reactions, and our thresholds, we our putting ourselves first.

This invalidation of our personhood, of everything that constitutes our ‘selves’ separate from our partner or the high control group, is the end result of a gradual erasure of boundaries. It leads us to believe that we can take on an infinite number of responsibilities, that we are weak for being tired, that we can always give more of ourselves, that ‘love covers all sins’, or that if we just prayed enough, just gave more attention, then we would come into their good graces.

Breaking the cycle

When women who are taught that they are an inexhaustible well of emotional resources enter into relationships, it is often with the mentality that they can and should save their partner, that they can endure anything (even physical abuse), and that they must do the above with stoicism, ‘dignity’, and a spirit of forgiveness.

Emotional generosity and labour can only derive from a place of remarkable strength, but at what cost are they expended and, to use a familiar expression, what fruits do they yield? We must face the very unromantic reality that abusive people do not change because we nurture them; sometimes, constant forgiveness has the opposite effect. It reinforces the idea that they can get away with their treatment of us, that we will always be there to stroke their ego. When we are taught to be givers, we learn to never ask for what is rightfully ours, to never ask for help, to bear our burden in silence.

To break free from this sort of thinking, encouraged by both Watchtower and society in general to an extent, we must disabuse ourselves of the notion that we are only worthy of love through what we can endure. Love does not cover bruises and scars, both visible and invisible. Love does not cover degradation. It does not cover negligence. Love for the other must never exceed love for ourselves. And it is not selfish to say this. It is an affirmation of our dignity and worth independent of external validation. It is the opposite of selfishness and narcissism.

As women who have emerged from the vice of a controlling organization, we must use our unique knowledge to recognize and avoid the traps of manipulation and break free once and for all from ‘truths’ and people who promise more than they can – or ever will – deliver.

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38 Responses to Life and Love After Watchtower: Breaking Free from Cycles of Emotional Abuse

  1. Phoenix says:

    From someone with a narcissistic father, I agree with every word you’ve written! i can’t thank you enough for this awesome work, Sarah. It is truly validating.

    • Audra says:

      My ex husband had been put on a pedestal as a golden boy. He took being a JW seriously as a kid and set his goal at age 10 to go to Bethel when he was old enough. He rarely received and praise or recognition from his perfectionist father. He was verbally abusive and had a terrible short temper. They would have screaming matches for hours. His mother overcompensated. He grew up in a hypocritical, manipulative, abusive environment. Within the congregation, that is where he received constant praise of how wonderful he was. He would go over the top in buying presents and meal for entire group that went in ministry. He became a regular pioneer at age 16, ministerial servant at age 17. He gave assembly parts. He was hard working on the RBC projects. He was praised and known by all the prominent men in the district. After we got married, I started to see the mask fall. He was insecure, threatened suicide, blamed everyone else for his problems, had extreme short temper. Super controlling, possessive and jealous. It was extreme. I couldn’t have relationship with my family, even neices and nephews. He was jealous of me giving babies attention. Our 10 year marriage was always chaotic and isolating. Once he finally used me and our children up, he threw us away and started a new family. The complete checklist of narcissistic abuse. The more I read about the topic, the more I connected the dots that the parents and organization helped create the monster. The father’s abuse destroyed his self esteem. He was a miserable, depressed person. He looked externally for everyone else to feed him ‘the supply.’ For a time, he received the supply from the organization and members constantly praising how wonderful he was. He changed his mind at 18 and decided to pursue dating me instead of Bethel. He let his family friends down. Elders pulled him in the back room and said they were stripping his Ministerial Servant title. One told him the reason was he had set a bad example for his son for not following through with his word on going to Bethel like he’d told everyone since age 10. His father was furious that he couldn’t live the Bethel dream through his son. I was blamed for the reason he lost his title. The reason his relationship with parents was strained. The reason a move didn’t work out. The reason he couldn’t find a better job. Blamed for every failure and shortcoming. It was exhausting and draining. I walked on eggshells trying to prevent setting off his temper. I gave up every little peice of myself until I felt dead inside. I realized eventually that I had been conditioned by the beliefs to accept mistreatment. I didn’t think there was any dignified way out. My elder father said ‘divorce is not an option.’ Role as woman was to be submissive, they to please your husband, go along with his lead even if it was unreasonable or overly demanding. Pray more, read bible more, go in service more and don’t miss meetings and you will be happy. Your abusive husband will eventually come around. It was a very dysfunctional dynamic. Abusive, dominant, controlling men will use the belief system to the extreme to exploit and mistreat the believing wife. The structure of the organization feeds unhealthy ideals and relationships. Thank you for sharing your analysis on this topic. I hope it helps others in their recovery process. Psychopathfree.com was helpful for me.

      • gruntled says:

        Great comment. I’m glad you finally found your way through the barbed wire. Enjoy your freedom to the max. And you have friends / empathizers out here. I too was always the family “scapegoat”. Everything I did was wrong. Nothing I ever did was good enough. I was the “weirdo”. Everything I did was “abnormal” or “strange”. Till I realized it was all part of an agenda to psychologically / emotionally manipulate, subdue, and enslave me. I swear, if I had started working on the cure for cancer, it would’ve been like, “Why are you wasting your time working on the cure for cancer, you weirdo? Don’t you have better things to do? What’s wrong with you? Why are you so defective?” LMAO

        • gruntled says:

          You bring out some interesting points.
          1. “The belief system” / “Structure of the organization” – I’ve noticed that EVERY religion / cult I know of, is not only patriarchal, but uses BELIEF / DOCTRINE / ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE to ensure the absolute dominance / control of the male over the female. A real man / woman does not need any of that nonsense or any of its soul-sucking effects.
          2. “The supply” – If you want to find out who someone REALLY is, cut off “the supply”, that false affirmation that keeps them going & looking squeaky-clean.

      • Csilla says:

        Detto. My story is similar, although neither me nor me ex didn’t grow up in JWs families but in utterly non-functional ones.
        Narcissism is developed by abuse on one side and overendulgement on the other, both at the same time. Children cannot cope with that, it confuses them. It’s really sad story, and my heart bleeded when I finally divorced my abuser ex-husband. Finally, when my self-esteem and love for myself grew over the love for “others”. Which is a basic teaching at the JWs, we needed to love others more than aourselves. It lead us to vulnarable, easy preys for abusers.

      • Micah says:

        Recently I had a visit by an elder and another brother who I suspect is straight out of the servants school going by his extra interest they invited me to the upcoming convention for 2019 which theme of course is about Love in fact it says love never fails and that is true, however this quality I’ve found is lacking in most congregations in the brochure they’ve produced to help plead for inactive ones to come back claims when you return you will receive a warm welcome well my objection here is if I was being treated in a loving respectful manner there would of been no need for me to leave in the first place. I just find it very hypocritical for them to make out how loving the organization is when the total opposite is true.

        • outandabout says:

          You’re absolutely right, Micah. Don’t believe a word about their ‘love’. The only type of love the WT give out is conditional love.
          For the WT to be appealing to inactive ones to come back shows they’re on the back foot. Same as the Catholics and indeed, the same for the whole of Christendom in educated and aware countries and all it’s taken is for people being able to talk freely and obtain information. The average kid has as an amount of information in the palm of their hand that the likes of Einstein, Newton, etc could only hope for in their wildest of dreams. Most of Mans accumulated knowledge from day one is now at our fingertips and we’re using it to make easy and rapid conclusions.
          Goodbye Jehovah. Give my regards to Zeus and the rest of the gang.

  2. Wilcox says:

    Great insight
    Very wise views

  3. Tamara Heseltine says:

    So true. Abuse most always comes only after brainwashing and lost of self worth is programed from individuals or organizations. We can choose to be a victim or choose to become a person with value. Hard journey and it takes baby steps but can be done. Thanks

  4. If one stays in this cult after all the information that is on you tube then its his or her life. They can live that game of pretending they have the trooth. Its all a game. They are doing all this slavery for a book publishing company and a real estate company that fronts as a religion. I left after 32 years and never looked back. Research is all one has to do. Its your life. Ruin it or live. Its all up to you. Get busy living or stay busy dieing.

  5. GET BUSY LIVING OR STAY BUSY DIEING.—REMEMBER RELIGION AND POLITICS IS A RICH MANS GAME AND A POOR MANS ARGUMENT.

    • gruntled says:

      Wow. Excellent advice. Never quite saw it that way! Nice, snappy proverb to remember whenever I get heated up over one or the other. Thanx.

  6. gruntled says:

    Terrific article, Sarah. It will help a lot of people.

    Lovers gonna love.
    Haters gonna hate.

    • gruntled says:

      On a lighter note, coincidentally I was watching a show just last night featuring a series of female and male stand-up comics speaking on the topic of relationships. Sometimes wisdom can be delivered using humor as the vehicle. One lady advised, “Listen girls, stop wondering how you keep getting stuck with jerks. The signs are there. They’ve always been there. A guy will let you know he’s a jerk, on the 1st date! But to us women, it’s always like, ‘He’s not a jerk, he’s just a man with POTENTIAL’. Nope. No potential there. Move on.” 😀

  7. James Broughton says:

    Thank you Sarah. I find it very helpful to explore the psychological impact of the cults, the type of people who join, their hopes and aspirations but I often find myself being dismayed at a common desire to dismiss all religion. Remember the old Watchtower slogan “Religion is a snare and a racket”. I was greatly blessed when as a teenager growing up in Liverpool, England I left the Jehovah’s Witnesses and found a living faith in Christ. The way to reach out to them is by firstly befriending them and lovingly showing them that their understanding of scripture is wrong, or, more accurately, enabling them to see for themselves their errors and misplaced loyalty. I am now a retired Church of England clergyman. The price I paid was that my late brother’s family no longer have any contact with me so my children and grandchildren are deprived of ever knowing them.

    • gruntled says:

      Interesting story. Thanx for sharing that. I wish I had been that perceptive as a teenager. I worked hard academically & got good grades, so was considered smart in that sense, which I don’t regret at all. There was a term other kids used for good students like me in those days – “browner” – which I assume meant that we did a lot of brown-nosing to the teacher, which of course was entirely false. However, I was clueless when it came to social skills, and awareness of life in general. And of course, the BORG conditioning, indoctrination, and brainwashing didn’t help any. In fact, all that poison only serves to stunt a young person’s psychological, emotional, intellectual, and social growth. Hell, you could even say PHYSICAL growth, since, according to the BORG, “physical training is beneficial for a LITTLE” – perfect for lazy folks. In my experience, physical training has done wonders. Obviously, it’s made me healthier and stronger, with better endurance in many activities. 😉 I can get away with a little indulgence – junk food, even the occasional cigarette. And call me crazy, but I feel that it’s even made me SMARTER. Could be the endorphins, more O2 to the brain, whatever. It’s certainly no secret that the mind & body are connected. What’s good for the mind is good for the body, and what’s good for the body is good for the mind. So I would encourage anyone to put to rest that old BORG myth that “physical training is good for” only a little. I recently read an exJW’s experience (maybe on twitter or something). He was a M.S. who got into mountain biking. It did not interfere in the least with his attendance, service, M.S. duties, or family. Yet, it didn’t take long for the elders to invite him to the “back room” for some “counsel” – “Beloved Brother, you are spending too much time and energy on this mountain-biking thing.” So he complied, but eventually got woke and left the BORG anyway. He returned to mountain biking, and he and his family are happier & healthier than ever. By the way, this guy included a short video clip where he talks about his experience, and I gotta say, he looks like some kinda Chad Superstud. If you ask me, the flabby, out-of-breath, lazy-ass elders were just JEALOUS.

      • gruntled says:

        Sorry for being off-topic here. I understand if this doesn’t get posted.
        You folks out there are pretty smart. I’m sure you caught the sexual innuendo in my last comment. I have a “guy” question for the ladies out there. A lot of you complain that sex with your partner is usually Wham-Bam-Thank-You-Ma’am. Two minutes and it’s over. So, Why don’t you just start holding your men to a higher standard???
        Frankly, I think it’s about time EVERYONE was held to a higher standard. The bar has fallen so low, I personally can’t even see it anymore. The home is the best place to start. Make sense?
        Not judgin’.
        Just sayin’.

    • messenger says:

      James B.,

      Your story proves there isn’t a common desire among ALL ex-JWs to dismiss religion. Though it is a common practice among many ex-JWs. It might be more prevalent among ex-JWs than ex-members from other sects because of what JWs were taught vs what members in most other sects were taught. WT teaches that all other sects worship the Devil. Other Christian denominations I have heard from don’t teach that, but allow their members to worship in other groups without claiming their souls are hell-bound.

      I do find that many ex-JWs do believe all sects demand members to adhere to their doctrines, or suffer consequences. I can only guess they hold that belief in ignorance, not knowing what other sects actually teach due to not investigating them. A major reason for not truly investigating them probably has to do the with conflicts between a few sectarian doctrines and WT doctrines, that most ex-JWs continue to hold to if they remain Christian. And yet often, in their smaller communities, these same people accept each others beliefs, thereby forming a religion without the larger structures contained inside most sects.

      A second reason, and this is the primary reason, is that God has not given understanding to all people. Without understanding people approach unknowns guessing what the most favorable outcome for them self is. Not believing in God gives individuals excuses not to spend any of their time and effort in God’s behalf. So, instead of choosing what they consider might result in a long range benefit, they choose their short term benefit, that of not expending their life to help a God they don’t know for sure exists. Instant gratification is seen everywhere, from our fast food restaurants, to our dating apps, and in comments on this site..

      • KRLZ says:

        What is so wrong with instant gratification? This is the world that we as a society have created. The faster things get down, the more things get done, the more time we have for ourselves to spend as we see fit. I would rather get to work in 10 minutes than have to waste 1.5 hours sitting in traffic. I would rather microwave water to heat it up in 2 minutes than waiting for water to boil over a gas burner for 10.

        For those that have “woken up” from the confines of the god myth, there is absolutely no reason to excuse their life and how they live it.

        Please stop trying to shame them for not believing in a god. It is no better than the cult religion that used to enslave them.

        • gruntled says:

          Believe it or not, the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses are still wrestling with a way to comprehensibly explain the “overlapping generation” theory. Here, inexplicably, they are attempting to clarify the concept by presenting an illustration
          employing 2 bricks: https://images.app.goo.gl/mVyYsgn92GreJgft9

        • gruntled says:

          Believe it or not, the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses are still wrestling with a comprehensible way to explain the “overlapping generation” theory. Here, an esteemed member of the GB, inexplicably, attempts to clarify the concept using an illustration that employs 2 bricks: https://youtu.be/f3UCAQSFxCQ

        • messenger says:

          You assume a lot, first that I am attempting to shame you, second that I am so concerned with you or anyone here that I would try that. The god myth, as you title it, is a delusion you hold out of choice. Because if you don’t know for sure God exists there is no way for you to know one way or the other for sure, that he does or doesn’t exist. The fact you choose to pretend you know to yourself and others is my point. The knowledge you think you have, that you call the God myth, which leads you to prefer what you consider to be your immediate prize, what you believe to be freedom, is the point I made. Your so called myth is not based on one fact. If you really knew for sure there is no God you would offer the proof. No one has. That’s a hope you have because of your choice, that’s my point.

          • outandabout says:

            now come on, messenger….instant gratification versus living your life worshiping whichever god is the god of the country you were born in?
            There’s a ton of evidence to disprove the existence of gods, fairies, Santa, goblins, etc. How much would you like?

          • messenger says:

            If a person steps on a bunch of ants in an ant colony, all the ants scatter. Because the ants that were present communicate to the other ants what happened. Even the ones that were not present react, because they receive and believe that message.

            There are no messages from credible sources that a real Santa, as the myth is told, exists. On the other hand, there always have been stories from credible sources, around the world, that supernatural beings exist, often called gods. Most of Earth’s population believes the stories from people who experienced them, just like ants believe communications they receive. Those are facts. Eyewitness testimony is evidence, and the only rebuttal I have heard here is that not all eyewitness testimony is credible. And yet there is a ton of it on this subject.

            There is no evidence God does not exist. If there was I am old enough to have heard it. And I have given everyone here plenty of time to present it, not for my sake , but for the sake of other readers. Still none has been presented, nor has the attempt been made. Instead you present a myth, you call the God myth, that no god exists. That myth, could be considered a religion you spread, as the purpose is to have others accept it; and that effort by people has been successful. The comment above this,where the lady took offense, after I first presented this idea, shows your belief has a religious effect.

            Yet you offer no facts to back your position. That’s why I said you believe in your idea out of choice. All the evidence that humanity has on this subject is on the opposing side.

          • outandabout says:

            now come on, messenger…… ‘credible’ sources?……….. 1st Century Middle Easterners were largely superstitious, ignorant, witness to the most hideous violence, plagued by disease and fearful for the future. Given the state of mind, they would have been only to willing to accept a promise. Anything to escape into a better life and hey, it all made sense. It added up and if it didn’t add up, they made sure it did. Its called being human.

            We can do it all right. If a heroin addict can see and feel insects crawling under their skin and a villager goes ahead and dies after a bone pointing, that shows the power of our minds.

            The villager dies because of belief, aye messenger. You think your belief is strong? Sorry, bud…..them black fellas have got it all over ya.

          • messenger says:

            So, according to your belief Outandabout, most people are just stupid. Not just in our present day, but throughout history. What you believe is that most people accept(ed) far fetched stories from crazy people. Well, that’s not an argument most believe. Although I agree there are some stupid people, when you factor in everyone, the average person is not that dumb.

            Today, and throughout history, the majority of people have believed in God. Primarily due to accounts of supernatural contacts, communities have accepted as factual, that were shared with them by people who were not considered nuts. But if you feel MOST people were/are stupid enough to believe stories from crazy people, so be it. It’s your choice. I am not here to change your mind. I only come here as a representative of God. And God lets you believe what you want to.

          • outandabout says:

            now come on, messenger…..as an example of my observation, notice where the fertile recruiting ground for WT and others is today. Why, it’s Africa of course and guess which continent has the highest level of superstition, ignorance, the most hideous violence and a hopeless future?

            The West is too informed for recruitment now. Young people demand proper answers with proof.

            I’m not suggesting people already converted decades ago before the rise of information sharing are thick, messenger. Trapped in a circle of belief, yes – the bible is true because it says it’s true and if one starts having doubts, why, that’s just the devil trying to take your faith away so best push that one down as trained because it couldn’t POSSIBLY be your common sense screaming out to you. But anybody who gets converted today in the face of the overwhelming evidence supporting evolution does so out of a desperate need to be a slave, is easily led or has a totally miserable life.

            So that takes care of credible sources. Would you like to move onto ‘a book that tells the future’?

          • messenger says:

            “But anybody who gets converted today in the face of the overwhelming evidence supporting evolution does so out of a desperate need to be a slave, is easily led or has a totally miserable life.” (Outandandabout)

            Your own words prove my point. You feel most people who ever lived are stupid. You also believe most people alive today are stupid.

            Let’s test that hypothetical out. If democratic voters in the USA vote in a democratic candidate, to represent their party, who is pushing for open borders, you might be right. If such a candidate beats Trump, you are right.

            But that’s not going to happen. Because the average person isn’t that dumb. Neither is the average person dumb enough to believe in God without any evidence.

          • messenger says:

            By the way, democratic candidates pushing for open borders are not that dumb either. They want to flood states, like Texas, with Latinos, because the state of Texas always votes for a republican candidate for president, but all its counties with a majority Latino demographic always vote for the democratic candidate. Texas has the second largest electoral college votes (38), CA the largest (about 50), followed by a few states each having 29 votes in third place. If the dems flip Texas, because of an increased Latino presence, dems can win the presidency quite easily. That’s what they are up to.

            It is not that they care about the Latinos from foreign countries. But if you want to believe they do. That’s your choice also.

  8. gruntled says:

    Again, sorry for being a bit off-topic. But I mentioned earlier that I was always the “strange” or “weird” one in the family, the “misfit”. For anyone who is made to feel that way by anyone else, here is a little clip that shows it’s not necessarily a bad thing to be a bit “weird” or “strange”.
    https://youtu.be/a6m4oSvoNs8

  9. gruntled says:

    Believe it or not, the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses are still wrestling with a way to comprehensibly explain the “overlapping generation” theory. Here, inexplicably, they are attempting to clarify the concept by presenting an illustration employing 2 bricks:
    https://images.app.goo.gl/mVyYsgn92GreJgft9

  10. gruntled says:

    OK, this is the last one. Promise. Again, I understand if this isn’t posted, but I can’t resist this one. I watched Colbert last night, and they had this Norwegian comic who almost killed me. 😀 And again, this illustrates why it’s not necessarily such a terrible thing to be a bit “weird”. And also that it’s not unusual for anyone in any situation to feel shy, insecure, or out-of-place. As in the circumstance of an exJW trying to “get out there” and meet new people / make new contacts.
    https://youtu.be/udN_LfWyyDw

    • gruntled says:

      It actually surprised me how well the audience related to that guy, and laughed so hard, indicating that they understood EXACTLY what he was talking about. Refreshing to see this, in a society where everyone is supposedly so “cool”, “together”, and confident / self-assured.

      • gruntled says:

        Strip away all the BS, and we’re all pretty much the same.
        Not surprising, since we have 99% of our DNA in common.
        Which, incidentally, makes racism pretty stupid. 😀

  11. gruntled says:

    As mentioned in the article, the “invalidation of our personhood” results from the removal of personal boundaries. When this is occurs on a mass scale, you get the Hive Mind – the BORG.
    And the so-called “leaders” of such groups believe they are immune to this, “above it all”. However, they are just as much victims of this phenomenon as their sheep. How much freedom of speech / freedom of THOUGHT do you think elders, overseers, Bethelites, and GB members REALLY have???!!!

  12. gruntled says:

    Did you know the word “Bishop” comes from the Greek “episkopos”, which means … “overseer”?
    Hmmmmmmm
    Ever play “Connect the Dots” when you were a kid?

  13. gruntled says:

    OK, here’s one for the archives. So, I recall a story from my old Cong. An elder & his wife were having their anniversary. The wife decided to surprise the guy by showing up at his office and doing some kinda belly dance for him – with all the staff present. W…T…F? That sort of thing is best left to the bedroom, isn’t it? I mean, there are some women who have poles installed in the bedroom so they can do pole-dances for hubby. Which is fine. But showing up at the dude’s place of work? That’s just inappropriate.
    What amazes me, is that “worldly” people still JUST DON’T GET how DERANGED these folks are. I’ll bet everyone at the office was like, “Ohhh, wasn’t that SWEET? Wasn’t that CUTE? Aren’t they an U-MAZING couple?” Blechhh!!!
    What PRECISELY is it that allows Jehovah’s Witnesses & Donald Trump to get away with literally anything?
    Connect the Dots.

  14. Catherine Beaumont says:

    Thank you so much for this article. Not only was I sexually abused as a JW child, but also during ,my childhood, teen years and adulthood was also enduring systematic emotional and mental abuse over decades by numerous congregation members from other children, adults including elders. That at almost 50 I am still dealing with what it has done to me an the impact it still has on my day to day life to this very day.

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