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Life after Jehovah's Witnesses: website offers help to followers who lose their faith - Comments

JamesDB's Avatar Comment 1 by JamesDB

There's nothing like someone asking you to sign a paper that pretty much says you would rather die and leave you kids motherless than live to shake your faith away. Why is it always the extreme examples that turn people.
I would say thats one of the bigger problems with people not wanting to leave christianity, they don't force you to risk your life as much.

Mon, 05 May 2008 23:27:00 UTC | #166773

epeeist's Avatar Comment 2 by epeeist

Comment #175753 by sphardy


http://exjw-reunited.co.uk/phpbb2/viewtopic.php?t=77
Ye gods and little fishes, one of the posters is from Horsforth in Leeds, not too far away from where I was brought up.

A little too close for comfort.

Tue, 06 May 2008 00:46:00 UTC | #166787

AllanW's Avatar Comment 3 by AllanW

Congratulations to this lady and her fellow helpers both for getting out of this sect and for setting-up this facility.

If people are unsure what they can concretely do to help in the battle for rationality and reason then spend some time helping at one of these groups or just support them with money. The repayment is immense but insubstantial :)

Tue, 06 May 2008 00:55:00 UTC | #166789

Logicel's Avatar Comment 4 by Logicel

I have only admiration for this woman.

More and more outlets for easing the transition from religion to non-theism will crop up. Though the Web will play a large part in this process, I often muse about sometime in the future, when we are much less dysfunctional as a society than we are now, and when we actually have transformed the often beautiful places now used for silly religious worship for such hubs where people can recover from the damage done by their religious brainwashing, mis-information, and addiction.

Tue, 06 May 2008 01:16:00 UTC | #166796

Quetzalcoatl's Avatar Comment 5 by Quetzalcoatl

Good for her. It's good to see this woman turning what has happened to her into a positive by being able to help others going through the same thing.

Tue, 06 May 2008 01:25:00 UTC | #166800

artqvo's Avatar Comment 6 by artqvo

I'm an ex-JW, I was born into it. I left when I was around 25. Now I'm 30.

I had doubts about JW validity since I was 17 maybe even earlier, these doubts increased geometrically until I started to investigate about eveything (science, philosophy, bible archeology, JW history, and also the forbidden books written by ex-JWs etc, yes, and some of Richard Dawkins' books) when I was 24.

I gradually changed my beliefs, from JW to just Christian to just Atheist in that year. The concept of God now seems to me absurd although I can understand why people "need" it.

"Sects" for me are just social groups with a different culture from the mainstream. All typical social behaviours, in a general sense, are present both in "sects" and in society en general.

I think that this distinction it's important, especially for those that treasure their personal freedom, because you can find damaging groups everywhere - even bigger ones, like religions and whole nations - in politics, business, science, etc.

Internet for me was a very important source of information, and support. I'm lucky because I have two "worldly" atheist intelligent friends since childhood that helped me to reintegrate myself into mainstream society.

Tue, 06 May 2008 02:30:00 UTC | #166818

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 7 by rod-the-farmer

As a Jehovah's Witness she was subject to the whim of the church elders, and they made their feelings about a blood transfusion quite clear. As she was wheeled into the operating theatre, one of them pushed a form under her nose and said "sign here".

This sounds like the church elders followed this woman almost into the operating room, trying to get her to sign a document refusing a transfusion. Wow. Talk about mind control. Why would they not have these forms at their church, so everyone could sign it when in clear possession of their faculties ? Sort of like organ donor check boxes on your drivers license. But no, they wait until you are vulnerable and under stress, then try to get your signature. Hah. Maybe people who were asked in the clear light of day would think about it, and refuse to sign. Maybe, even, in front of others. Gad. A fracture in the fabric of the JW lifestyle. "Oh, this could lead to our flock thinking !"

My stomach turns.

Tue, 06 May 2008 03:14:00 UTC | #166827

ghost of numf-el's Avatar Comment 8 by ghost of numf-el

rod the farmer - "Why would they not have these forms at their church, so everyone could sign it when in clear possession of their faculties ?"


Rod - I'm pretty sure that my mother, who has been a JW since 1972, carries the equivalent of a 'non-donor' card in her purse, the size of a credit card, which basically states that she refuses blood and organs on religious grounds.

It's her choice, and I'd like to think that I wouldn't countermand it. Fucking stupid choice though it be.
And she'd better not countermand my choice to have whatever the doctors feel is necessary.

Following someone to the operating theatre to get them to sign away their life for Jesus takes a special kind of cunt though IMHO.

Tue, 06 May 2008 04:07:00 UTC | #166835

ryouga's Avatar Comment 9 by ryouga

Never seen that particular website before. There are dozens of ex-jw websites out there though. The internet has really been a boon for people leaving the borg.

"Ye gods and little fishes, one of the posters is from Horsforth in Leeds, not too far away from where I was brought up.

A little too close for comfort."


I used to live Horsforth too. I knew that posters mum when I was in the borg. Small world innit.

Tue, 06 May 2008 04:32:00 UTC | #166845

Frankus1122's Avatar Comment 10 by Frankus1122


He had continually refused blood transfusions that would have saved his life after a simple dental procedure to remove teeth went wrong.


All the JW blood transfusion refusal is because of some Biblical passage, correct?
Because of something that was written millenium ago by some guys in the desert, people are refusing life saving blood transfusions. Once you take that first step off the reason boat you really are subject to all sorts of absurdities.
It is interesting that even the instinct for self preservation can be overcome by indoctrination.
Of course the Catholics (following the one true religion) are not prone to such nonsense. They believe in evolution and transubstantiation. For Catholics, the Eucharist is the literal body and blood of Christ. Only it still looks like bread and wine. Why? Not exactly sure. It could be to test the faith of the faithful.
Or it could be because the Holy Spirit did not actually come down from heaven to do his magic and what the priest holds up is still bread and wine.
I wonder which is actually true?
I suppose that depends if I have left the reason boat or not.

Sorry if this seems off topic a bit. I am musing on a comment by fides-et-ratio from another thread. He said that only the most ridiculous religious topics are dealt with. He claimed there are far more rational religious sects.

I don't think so.

Tue, 06 May 2008 05:12:00 UTC | #166857

riandouglas's Avatar Comment 11 by riandouglas

Frankus1122: Sorry if this seems off topic a bit. I am musing on a comment by fides-et-ratio from another thread. He said that only the most ridiculous religious topics are dealt with. He claimed there are far more rational religious sects.

I don't think so.

If not more rational, then at least quieter :-)

Tue, 06 May 2008 05:40:00 UTC | #166874

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 12 by Cartomancer

For Catholics, the Eucharist is the literal body and blood of Christ. Only it still looks like bread and wine. Why? Not exactly sure. It could be to test the faith of the faithful.
Or it could be because the Holy Spirit did not actually come down from heaven to do his magic and what the priest holds up is still bread and wine.
The traditional explanation for this is an Aristotelian one, codified in its most authoritative form by Thomas Aquinas (following late eleventh and early twelfth century debates between Berengar of Tours, Hildebert of Lavardins, Peter Abelard and others). As far as we know Hildebert first came up with the word transubstantiatio to describe the process in about 1080, and this was made the official term over a century later in 1215 by the fourth Lateran Council, by which time Aristotle had begun to influence Latin thinking massively. Essentially Aristotelian physics posits that all entities are made up of matter and form, and that the form is either substantial (essential or intrinsic, cannot be removed without changing the thing into another thing - breadness, wineness etc.) or accidental (can vary without changing the thing into something else - size, weight, colour, texture, taste etc.). Now, during transubstantiation the substantial form of the bread and wine (panitas, vinitas) is removed, but the accidents remain, inhering now in the substance of the body and blood of christ instead. This is why it still looks and tastes exactly as it did before.

Of course, that throws up a whole gamut of thorny philosophical and theological problems, such as what happens to the disembodied accidents of the body of christ, or how that body (which was supposed to have ascended to heaven) can be in two or more places at once (or, rather, in a place and not in a place at once, since the highest heaven was technically outside the universe and thus did not count as a place in the strict Aristotelian definition of the term), or how the quantity accident of a human body can map on to the substance of bread which would not naturally be able to support that much quantity. And it gets even more complicated when you bring in such concepts as the prima forma corporeitatis, matter-signed-by-quantity and the great chain of being.

The (heretical) alternative is consubstantiation, wherein both the body and the bread are present at once. This gained some popularity among Lutheran protestants in the early modern period, but was very much beyond tolerating for medieval catholics. It was also considered physically impossible by most theologians...

See, much more rational stuff than those silly Jehovah's Witnesses spout!

Tue, 06 May 2008 05:59:00 UTC | #166889

Agrajag's Avatar Comment 13 by Agrajag

11. Comment #175830 by Frankus1122 on May 6, 2008 at 6:12 am

All the JW blood transfusion refusal is because of some Biblical passage, correct?

Of _course_ it's based on the word of the living god. What did you expect- they don't like Karl Landsteiner? ;-)

If memory serves, the biblical proscription on blood is a dietary thing. The sandy authors of the scriptures used by the jojoba's witnesses to justify refusing blood could not in their wildest fantasies (and they have some pretty wild ones) have thought that blood could be exchanged between humans to save lives. Which makes it all the more retarded: they could refuse to drink/eat blood, but still receive it by transfusion. I know what Irate would say.
Ste5e

Karl Landsteiner: "Dr. A-B-O"
http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/1930/landsteiner-bio.html

Tue, 06 May 2008 06:39:00 UTC | #166908

irate_atheist's Avatar Comment 14 by irate_atheist

14. Comment #175881 by steveroot -

Which makes it all the more retarded: they could refuse to drink/eat blood, but still receive it by transfusion. I know what Irate would say
To wit: Buffoons.

Tue, 06 May 2008 06:45:00 UTC | #166909

MaxwellSmart's Avatar Comment 15 by MaxwellSmart

riandouglas:

I hate to say it, but these "quieter" sects are all the more dangerous for their lack of visibility.

The old saying comes to mind:

Better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.


These "quiet" sects are the ones that survive generations in quiet out of the way places like rural Texas, while little girls, barely into puberty, are forced into wedlock with, and impregnated by men old enough to be their grandfather.

There is no such thing as a rational religious sect. Like Richard says, the first thing they do is require that you "suspend reason".

There's a point where we have to draw a line and say "No further!" That line has already been drawn in the wrong damn place. I just want to know how the hell to push it back to where it belongs without hurting anyone else ...

Tue, 06 May 2008 07:27:00 UTC | #166935

Chris.Holden's Avatar Comment 16 by Chris.Holden

For anyone interested. The Witness rejection of blood begins in The Old Testament and indeed uniformly describes 'eating' blood as prohibited.

However, in The New Testament, James, in Acts 15:19 and 20 states: "Hence my decision is not to trouble those from the nations who are turning to God, 20 but to write them to abstain from things polluted by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood."

Note the subtle difference? The word 'abstain' appears in the New World translation (used by JWs).

An article appeared recently in The New Scientist claiming that blood transfusions may indeed be dangerous. Unfortunately, this can only serve to cement the Watchtowers, ludicrous scriptural rantings.

We need Hitchens to dismantle the Watchtower organisation as he did the Mormon faith in God is not great.

Tue, 06 May 2008 08:08:00 UTC | #166969

Frankus1122's Avatar Comment 17 by Frankus1122


Of course, that throws up a whole gamut of thorny philosophical and theological problems, such as what happens to the disembodied accidents of the body of christ


Was it on this site where the discussion of the theological ruminations of what happens when one poos out the body of Christ came up?

Holy shit! Literally.

As I am typing this I a song came on my web radio:
'dumber than god' by LITTERBUG.

Tue, 06 May 2008 08:17:00 UTC | #166975

Bob Johnson's Avatar Comment 18 by Bob Johnson

I hope some of the US dollars we donate to RDF make their way into British pounds to help organizations such as this group.

exjw provides a banner for other websites to use. While richarddawkins,net does have an "Atheist Resources" link it might be nice to have a "recovering" link and a page of helpful resources

Tue, 06 May 2008 08:38:00 UTC | #166987

Barbara's Avatar Comment 19 by Barbara

When the JW's come a knockin' I usually don't answer. I think I'll print some wallet-sized cards and keep them near the front door. The cards will have website addresses for exJW's and, of course, RD.net. When they hand me a pamphlet, I'll hand them a card.

Tue, 06 May 2008 08:58:00 UTC | #166997

chezzyd's Avatar Comment 20 by chezzyd

I have some personal experience of JW's as one of my best friends was one and another good friend and her husband are still in it. I am a lifelong atheist but we have all got on well for over 10 years now. I think when I met them they were perhaps 'rebelling' or simply kept it to themselves. Definitely far bigger partiers/drinkers than me.
Friend A, had started rebelling as a teen, she wanted to party and had felt very restricted by the church. I don't think she has ever left 'officially' but is now married to an atheist. She is still close to her parents who are in the church but who have accepted her choice and choose not to make a big issue about it. I am not worried about her at all. In fact her influence is being felt as her sister is now talking about leaving too (her husband slept with their 16 year old babysitter and got her pregnant - he was 'disfellowshipped' for a while but let back in - even though he was still cheating and owed money). She eventually divorced him. Life has been hard for her but easy for him, he makes little effort with his kids and has suffered no ill effects for his actions at all. She wonders how this could be if she has done what God wants and he hasn't. In fact of all the siblings, Friend A is the only one still married, the others are all divorced, having gotten married very much younger than my friend.

Friend B and her husband are lovely people too - but they seem to have gone the other way the last few years. We've always had to agree to disagree about their views on gay people 'choosing a sinful lifestyle', other than that and the birthdays/Xmas thing, not too much of an issue. However she has had 2 ectopic pregnancies, almost died because of 1 of them and now she is over 40, is unlikely to ever have children. Strangely, before her op to remove a fallopian tube she boned up on alternatives and had to insist strongly that she got those. Blood is not the only solution it appears. It was terrible having to watch her suffer from the sidelines, it must have been awful. I really believe that she saw it as some kind of punishment from God for past 'liberalisms'. She is now doing the door to door stuff and I see her much less than I used to. She has also qualified as a counsellor - I asked her how she would cope if someone came in and talked about being gay or having an abortion etc. She didn't really have a good answer for that which worried me. One evening we got into a discussion about evolution, something we'd never really done before. I was horrified when she and her husband said they believed in the literal truth of Genesis & Noah's Ark. They also said they 'knew all about Darwin and evolution' - yet betrayed the source of this 'knowledge' when they started spouting the 'we don't come from monkeys' line and 'I've never seen a cat give birth to a dog'. It didn't get nasty or too heated but we certainly reached an impass. It didn't matter what I said, they just didn't see it - and they couldn't see how I could believe in the 'religion' of Darwinism. It's weird, they are so normal and lovely people in most ways but they see the world through a particular filter. Against that, how can you really compete? It's not as if they are unintelligent, far from it, but they seem to have compartmentalised part of their brain. Telling them that sometimes shit just happens and what happened to them was just unlucky rather than divinely ordained I can see would offer no comfort to them as an alternative: maybe in such a situation I can even understand why a negative reason is better than someting happening for no reason at all. But it seems this bad experience has become a stick to beat themselves up with. I bet the church elders happily gave them the stick too.

Sorry for the long, rambling post but this is something very personal to me and I can really feel for what these ex-JW's have been through having seen some of it with my own eyes. It also has given me a real insight to the way the religious mind works - how otherwise intelligent people can be completely blinkered in this area of their lives. It is very scary.

Tue, 06 May 2008 09:20:00 UTC | #167011

Strigoia's Avatar Comment 21 by Strigoia

Good for her. If I could just get my two brothers out of this religion, life would be better for my whole family (especially my brother's three children, who are being indoctrinated now). Alas, my oldest brother just started going back to the meetings, and as he's mentally unstable, it's not exactly easy to talk rationally to him.

Tue, 06 May 2008 09:44:00 UTC | #167032

Grumpy Max's Avatar Comment 22 by Grumpy Max

Does this mean Jehovah's Witnesses don't eat black pudding?

I always have difficulty being impolite when they come a-knocking (although I have now learned not to invite strangers in for a cup of tea). I find it hard to express that I am quite happy already with the state of my soul and I do hate offending people. Which means they hang around a bit.

From now on I shall just say "No way, I'm not giving up black pudding for ANYBODY".

Wed, 07 May 2008 03:25:00 UTC | #167277

DamnDirtyApe's Avatar Comment 23 by DamnDirtyApe

Just wondering something...

I recall the universe talk off TED. The guy liked to think of the physics explanation of it as a creation story (in the whole epic billions of years sense).

Is there any chance someone can make a pamphlet of that so when they come knocking on our doors to give us theirs we can give them one of ours?

Wed, 07 May 2008 06:53:00 UTC | #167364

ExJehovahsWitness's Avatar Comment 24 by ExJehovahsWitness

Hey everyone,

I have plenty to offer on this subject as I was a witness for the first 24 years of my life. I served as a full-time door-to-door evangelist and ministerial servant (similar to a deacon).


Rod - I'm pretty sure that my mother, who has been a JW since 1972, carries the equivalent of a 'non-donor' card in her purse, the size of a credit card, which basically states that she refuses blood and organs on religious grounds.

It's her choice, and I'd like to think that I wouldn't countermand it. Fucking stupid choice though it be.
And she'd better not countermand my choice to have whatever the doctors feel is necessary.

Following someone to the operating theatre to get them to sign away their life for Jesus takes a special kind of cunt though IMHO.


Witnesses do indeed carry what is generally referred to as a "blood card" or advance medical directive. It states that they refuse blood transfusions in the event of an emergency. It was an interesting (and liberating) day when I finally threw mine out.

Also, due to the number of cases where doctors try to force witnesses to accept transfusions, members of the faith are now strongly encouraged by "the society" (witness lingo for the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, the official Jehovah's Witness organization) to fill out a multi-page legal document called a Durable Power of Attorney, which may be the document referred to in this news item.

Leaving the witnesses is extremely difficult. More than one close friend of mine has attempted suicide due to witness issues. I too spent a couple of years in a deep depression on my way out. These sites are incredibly helpful. Science be praised! These people need all the help they can get.

Recently, there has been a letter drafted that has brought some success to people who want to leave the sect (we should just start using the word cult) but who do not want to be permanently cut off from their families (so that they can attend family member's funerals, etc. among other things). You can see a copy of the letter and some really interesting correspondence with the Watchtower headquarters at www.watchtowerletters.com. It is one man's attempt to leave the organization after being harassed by the elders. So far it has worked. Includes taped conversations with church officials. Interesting stuff.

Also, if you know any witnesses whose reason you'd like to appeal to, may I suggest this link: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-noahs-ark.html.

That page singlehandedly sent me out of the organization. Two books later (Finding Darwin's God and The God Delusion) and I was out. My life has never been better.

Sorry for the long post. :) Thanks for reading.

Wed, 07 May 2008 08:40:00 UTC | #167420

Prankster's Avatar Comment 25 by Prankster

Blood transfusions and leaving cults aside what actually compels people to join this organisation in the first place (apart from being born into, or marrying into a JW family)?

It's strikes me as odd reading from peoples experiences and what limited knowledge of JW I do have that people would subscribe or join such a "club" in the first place......curious.

But Kudos to Rachel for breaking her conditioning and programming and leaving the organisation

Wed, 07 May 2008 09:00:00 UTC | #167425

Tezcatlipoca's Avatar Comment 26 by Tezcatlipoca

I might have convinced some ex witness friends to come to the site to take a peak at this thread...yippee!

Wed, 07 May 2008 09:04:00 UTC | #167429

Gregg Townsend's Avatar Comment 27 by Gregg Townsend

25. Comment #176419 by ExJehovahsWitness

No apologies necessary, my friend. I enjoyed your post and find it inspirational. Thank you.

Prankster,

It's strikes me as odd reading from peoples experiences and what limited knowledge of JW I do have that people would subscribe or join such a "club" in the first place......curious.
I think it deserves research. If I ever heard of a scientific investigation into this question, I would personally donate.

Wed, 07 May 2008 09:08:00 UTC | #167432

Prankster's Avatar Comment 28 by Prankster

Podaar

I wouldn't bother to do any research either for free or in my own time. I'd be inclined to find out only what makes these people tick......and then stay the hell away from them-don't what it is but I find them.....creepy? Must be the righteous fire in their gaze that tells them they are right, that's scaring me.

Also am I right in thinking that only a specific number of them are going to paradise when the end comes (144,000?)and who makes the decision who's going or am I mixing them up with another religious club?

Wed, 07 May 2008 09:17:00 UTC | #167435

MaxD's Avatar Comment 29 by MaxD

I just got a Watchtower track on my porch last weekend. It is precisely the opposite of good reading.

Wed, 07 May 2008 09:18:00 UTC | #167436

Prankster's Avatar Comment 30 by Prankster

One thing I did notice is that they tend not to bother door stepping or knocking on doors any more (not in this area anyway) but they do come out the woodwork especially around Xmas and Chocolate Bunny time-the rest of the year? Zilch!

Amazing.

Wed, 07 May 2008 09:22:00 UTC | #167438