Happy Independence Day For Some Of You.

Jul 4, 2014 by

declarationToday the United States celebrates it’s declaration of independence from servitude to a foreign power, that is, Great Britain.

This event happened two hundred and thirty-eight years ago and yet we’re still celebrating it as a country. Why? Because freedom from tyranny is a basic human necessity, one that many in this nation fought and died for.

It started with the tyrannical rule by a leadership that was not held to the same standard as the common man or woman.

 

These tyrants dictated terms and laws and it was “their way or the highway”.

They enforced oppressive laws with an iron fist, levied oppressive taxes (forcing the colonists to effectively work for them) and designed their laws to keep the common people in servitude and obedience.

They even sent out their own representatives to spy on all of the members of the colonies to make sure that any trouble makers were quickly dealt with and made an example for the rest of the colonists.

The colonists finally decided that enough was enough. Bolstered by the Boston Tea Party in 1773 and the ensuing skirmishes it caused, the colonies grouped together and signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

So what does this have to do with Jehovah’s Witnesses?

 EVERYTHING!

You see when you are a member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses you are forced to obey the rules and regulations of a mysterious group of old men who claim to know the thoughts of Jehovah, or else. The “or else” in this statement can be as follows for a Jehovah’s Witness:

  • Reduced social status in the group. You won’t be as popular as you were if you don’t do things “their way”. These aren’t necessarily actual rules or laws mandated by the “seven senile single senior citizens” (try saying that fast three times!) These could be something as little as minor disagreement with the wrong elder or ministerial servant. It could be a wrong point made in front of the wrong people regarding scripture. It could be something so trivial as buying a two door sports car that the elders disapproved of (read “jealous of”) or making too much money or sending your kid to college. For those of you who were around in the 1970’s you’ll recall the uproar over pant suits for women. No member in good standing would allow his wife to wear that and if he did, he would lose his status. He would also lose his position in the congregation if he had one.
  • Loss of “privileges”. This is a blanket term and can be as little as not being called on at the meetings to handle the microphones or count attendance all the way up to and including loss of a major position like “elder” or “ministerial servant”. This “loss” will also result in the first mentioned penalty, by default, as to lose privileges means you’ve done something wrong that wasn’t a capital offense.
  • Loss of reputation. There is a hidden “channel” of communication. JW’s are terminal gossips and they feed on negativity on an almost constant basis. Their lives are so pitifully empty and devoid of any real meaning so they find meaning in discussing the private lives of others who don’t “measure up” to their “righteous standards”. If it gets out that you’re doubting or missing meetings or not going out in field service then get ready for the rumor mill to be fired up and guess who is headline news: YOU!
  • Being called in to an elder’s meeting. There wasn’t a lot that scared me more than my father getting angry with me when I was a kid. However, there was one thing that scared me more than anything else: Being called in to an elder’s meeting. That was the most traumatic thing for a young JW that could possibly happen. I remember one time being called in to an elder’s meeting and it was a big one with several families present as well as the entire body of elders. It was nothing but a “witch hunt” and I witnessed several Witness kids in tears. It was my first elder’s meeting and it was an eye opening experience. I got to watch, in horror, as the hypocrisy of the elders in my congregation was put on public display for everyone to see. It was the beginning of the end of me as I realized at that single point in time at the ripe old age of seventeen, that something wasn’t right about the system.
  • Public reproval. This is the first real bullet in the elder’s gun. They will shoot it when they have to and they do so a lot. It basically means that a person has either confessed to or been ratted out by their peers for a capital offense. Most of the time it was never a confession. It was always one or more people in the group getting caught and rather than taking the punishment on the chin they willingly chose to try to drag their friends down with them. Safety in numbers I suppose. Capital offenses typically were smoking cigarettes, drugs, and pre-marital sex. With the idiot sons and daughters of certain elders, this was a way for them to avoid the total disgrace of the second bullet. The key to getting off with a public or even private reproval is to apologize for the offense and to demonstrate that you won’t do it again. Rarely will the offending JW be disfellowshipped without a second chance unless he is a high ranking member of the congregation, or quite possibly slept with the wrong elder’s wife.
  • Disfellowshipping. The deepest darkest “hole” that a JW can ever be thrown into is this little doozy right here. No JW’s are supposed to be allowed to communicate with any disfellowshipped person regardless of familial status. It is akin to “solitary confinement” as a JW normally has no social network to speak of in the real world. They only have their former peers in the JW’s who have been put on notice to cease all communication after the reading of “the letter” from the body of elders informing the congregation of the offending JW’s new status with the congregation.
  • Semi public trashing of reputation. Immediately after the reading of “the letter”, the congregation will be all abuzz with shock, horror, amazement, and a bit of glee as each JW runs to their own personal gossip monger to find out all the juicy bits on “poor brother so and so”. Any elder’s wife who is privy to what went on (and don’t kid yourself…the perk of being an elder’s wife is to know everybody’s business all the time with relatively few exceptions) will be a truly hot commodity after the news rolls off the presses. We had one lady who was the wife of our Presiding Overseer. She knew EVERYTHING that went on and wasn’t shy about telling certain people about it. She would spread it wide and lay it on thick. By the time she was done with your reputation it was properly trashed, bagged, and then strewn out all over the Kingdom Hall lawn for anyone to see and smell. Anyone who was “in the know” i.e. in her own certified “Now you can’t say anything or tell anyone where you got this…” club, knew the DF was happening before the announcement was even made and all of the relevant reasons why with some juicy bits added in for spice and merriment.

Have you noticed an underlying common thread among all of these punishments?

These punishments are only effective against someone who worries about the opinions of the members of the group. If someone were to completely discount the idiotic actions and views of this group and its leadership and rebel against it then these punishments would have little to no effect. Then the only thing these actions would serve to accomplish is to “close ranks” and “protect” any of their members from falling “victim” to the “diseased mentality” of the offending former JW.

Why does the leadership put so much importance in stopping communication with someone who has chosen to leave the group? Because their message of independence is so dangerous and contagious that entire congregations have been decimated by one single person standing up for what they knew was right and communicating that to the members.

There are many on this blog who have written their own “Declaration of Independence”. They chose to write in to their congregation body of elders to tell them of their decision to disassociate themselves from the congregation permanently.

Have you declared your independence yet? Have you made your decision that “enough is enough” and decided to live your life on your own terms rather than letting some weird group of senile old men run or ruin it for you?

I’m encouraging all of you, to take your life and happiness to the next level. Get out of this codependent group of deluded slaves and start living the life of a free person. You’re only a declaration away from your true independence!
thewatchtowerfiles

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18 Comments

  1. iown mylife

    Doug, great article! lots of quotable quotes here; i especially love the phrase “codependent group of deluded slaves,” it really defines how they are.
    Here in our house we were able to arrange things (after a lot of junk happened) to be able to send our Declaration of Independence a few months ago. Not because we were obliged to say anything but it stopped the occasional knock on the door “to see how you’re doing.” And made us feel really good, too!

  2. Thanks IOML!

  3. Wow what a spot on article 🙂 can I just ask if you write the letter of disassociation will you get disfellowshipped?? Reason being I don’t want to put my mum in a position where she feels she has to go against her beliefs to talk or hang out with me? Once again Doug thank you 🙂

  4. The letter of disassociation is you disfellowshipping them instead of the other way around. If you choose to write a letter then the elders can’t DF you or they risk being sued for libel. The mistreatment is the same if not worse if you write a letter. They will treat you as if you were disfellowshipped and will assume that you are an apostate. Your mother will most likely treat you just as badly as if you had been disfellowshipped if not worse.

    I wish there was an easy way out but there really isn’t one other than to just “fade away” as many are doing now. They simply cease any contact or attendance and don’t return phone calls or answer the door when the Witnesses invariably come to “check on them”.

    Thanks Piper! I’m glad you enjoyed the post!

  5. Alicia

    Doug, this was another great article filled with true facts and I could really relate to it. I get text messages sometimes from witnesses that want to see if “everything is ok or how I’m doing” and I find it annoying because the only reason they bother to check up on me is because I haven’t been to the kingdom hall in almost 3 months now. Their concern doesn’t seem real to me. I guess you could say I’ve faded away, but if it comes down to it I’m prepared to tell them like it is.

  6. There is no good way to leave. However, fading seems to be more painless for many.

    I’m proud of you in making your stand Alicia!

    Doug

  7. Melinda

    I have so many regrets…..

  8. Don’t we all. You’re among friends M.

    Thanks and I encourage you to continue to read this blog.

    Doug

  9. bill

    Love the spot on article. In my instance I guess you could say that I faded for a year and then just up and moved 3000 miles away. To be honest I never wrote the letter and highly doubt I ever will. They arent worth my time or ink to do so. I came to my decision because i was disfellowshipped at 20 in a 3 ring circus of a judicial hearing. (funny thing is that when you shut them up with scripture then apparently the holy spirit isnt with you). I know full well what being disfellowshipped is all about. After 5 years I returned and was reinstated. (stupid fear after 9/11 ingrained in my psyche). This time once I decided I was done I disfellowshipped them, my parents included and I owe them no explanation as to why. This article was great.

    And to any JWs reading this let me just say that the bible says to search all things to make sure they are true. DONT TAKE THE GOVERNING BODY’S WORD FOR TRUTH? Just because they can “prove” one of their publications is true by showing you another of their publications means nothing. SEARCH for the truth and you shall find it says the scriptures. You can only truly search for “spiritual food” when you stop being content with the governing body spoon feeding you manure.

  10. Great comment and your experience, as you probably know, is quite typical. The programming stays with you for years unless you finally address it. Hassan’s books helped me to address the programming apart from doctrinal issues.

    JW’s who leave face THREE distinct obstacles.

      Doctrinal Programming

      Psychological Programming

      Social Programming

    All three carry weight but the psychological and social programming are far more effective in keeping JW’s in line. Doctrine and teaching is merely window dressing. In sales we call this a “paper tiger”.

    This is why purely doctrinal arguments most times fail to help JW’s to get past their social and psychological dependency on the group. Yet these two obstacles are rarely addressed by those seeking to help unless the person addressing them is educated in cult programming.

    Thanks for the comment!

    Doug

  11. Alicia

    That was a great comment Bill posted. I especially loved his closing line – stop being content with the governing body spoon feeding you manure! It’s funny yet so true. I haven’t been to a meeting since May and today I got a message from my former bible instructor saying everyone missed me, how encouraging the WT study article is & that she hoped to see me in attendance with my husband today. I know full well this is just another attempt to pull me back in. That love bombing tactic won’t work on me. I see now that the “friendships” I formed at the hall were not genuine. In fact, they were purely superficial and completely conditional, contingent on my meeting attendance & loyalty to a man-made organization. If these “friends” miss me so much, they can come and talk to me. They know where I’m at. Only one person has made an attempt to do so. Another thing I hate is the friction the religion causes in my marriage. Whenever my husband gets angry with me, his favorite response is either one of the following two: you were a better wife when you were studying or you don’t care about your spiritual needs anymore. I told him just because I don’t knock on people’s doors with a false message doesn’t mean I’m so wicked or terrible! Of course he retorted with the typical JW comeback of “what’s your message or you don’t have any beliefs”. What would you say or do when your character is being attacked in such a way? Sometimes I find it hard to respond because I’m not sure what to say.

  12. You and I both know that you can’t win the argument. The second you start discussing the WT’s history or doctrinal teachings he’ll shut down and won’t engage. You’re better off to leave it alone. It’s like arguing with a stump. They run around in circles until you draw blood and then they “don’t want to discuss it”.

    He’s just baiting you in to make himself feel more secure and to make you feel guilty in the process. Typical JW behavior.

    The only way the marriage will continue to work is if you have a strict “don’t ask don’t tell” policy where the subject of religion is off limits.

    Doug

  13. Alicia

    Thank you, Doug! You are so right. No matter what I do or say, I’ve come to realize, I will never measure up to the “perfect” standards of a devout & sanctimonious JW husband because there’s no room for error. Whenever you bring up the flawed history of the society, it’s like hitting a mental road block! They will never ever hear you out!! Yup, the Watchtower has him programmed to be against me unfortunately. I had one alcoholic beverage this evening & I’ve been chastised as if I’m a struggling alcoholic! Can’t even enjoy myself as I please without some form of critiquing from God’s one & only channel lol.

  14. With JW’s the best defense is a good offense!

    As long as they can make you question yourself you are far too busy to question them.

    Having an ice cold tasty beverage myself. Beer tastes better when you’re free.

    Doug

  15. bill

    Alicia you are correct. I had a conversation with a JW and he literally told me that God’s chariot moves so fast that as soon as they finish the latest watchtower they might as well throw it away. If the latest watchtower is concidered old how much more so their babble from decades ago? Funny thing about alchohol. My father was a ministerial servant as of 5 years ago when I last saw him, and was being groomed to be an elder. Im sure he is now. Anyway he is a raging alchoholic and never really drank much until he got baptized. Go figure.

    Doug you are 100% correct about the mental block. I got caught up in actively trying to show some that the watchtower is wrong. It wasnt until I sat back and remembered the frame of mind that I was in when I was a JW, that I realized it will never work. I literally had to be detached for a while before I started listening to reason. Unfortunately JWs are programmed to believe that any disagreement you have with their teaching is a direct attack from Satan and thereby proves that they have the truth. Now I understand the frustrations of those so called apostates that I used to ignore in front of the district conventions.

  16. Alicia

    Yup, they always try to make you feel as though you are wrong. They love using classic “deflect & defer” techniques in hopes that they can distract you from all that’s wrong with God’s organization. Yeah, I too find that having a drink or two is more enjoyable now that I’m away from the mental confinement known as the Watchtower!

  17. Alicia

    Bill,

    That sounds like another typical JW statement. I questioned when they changed their 1914 doctrine to fit their beliefs since mainly everyone from that generation had already passed away. My husband’s predictable reply was this: “you gotta keep up with Jehovah’s organization because it’s constantly changing”. I thought it was a pathetic excuse to cover up the governing body’s errors, but what do I know? Yeah, my husband picks on me every time I have a drink, which may be once every month or so! He has non-JW friends that are full-fledged alcoholics, yet he doesn’t feel it’s his place to criticize them like he does to me. He says it’s because I’m his wife & he cares about me, but I don’t understand why he has different standards for other people while being so strict with me. It’s frustrating to say the least. Then to top it all off, I have to deal with his loving headship because after all, what he says goes. That’s exactly what he tells me. Last time I checked, I contribute financially as well and I most certainly feel, I should have a say in matters! I rebel almost every time and I will never his subservient puppet that he can control! I think I know why it’s a requirement for “sisters” to wear dresses/skirts in the Hall – to keep women submissive & in their respective places which we all know is below men in the eyes of the Governing Body i.e. “the older farts”. Lol

  18. Alicia

    Sorry for all the typos. Androids always mess up! But I’ve always wondered why a pair of dress pants isn’t modest enough for women to wear at the hall? Maybe because it’s the man who wears the pants, as the old saying goes.

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