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The Cult "Next Door"

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  • #79674
    Inky
    Participant

    Hi Gang!

    Some of you may remember my last query about the Jehovah Witnesses and my neighbors being taken in and our kids are best friends.

    OK, so after the husband tried to proselytize me I said to the wife, “Your DH is actually turning me AWAY from the JW’s, and it should be the women I talk to.”

    Well sure enough, one of the JW ladies came to the door. She wanted me to read a passage from the New Translation Bible but I got right to the point of what was bothering me.

    “Is it true you practice shunning? Has anyone in your Kingdom Hall ever been disfellowshipped and why?”

    The lady told me about how she doesn’t talk to her son. All he had said was, “I don’t believe”. Then she went on reciting some script like she was hypnotized and making sports team allegories.

    I’m all, “You’re talking to me, an unbeliever, but you won’t talk to the kid? Are you sure this is Biblical because I don’t think it is. Are you sure it’s not just the culture that comes with being a member of your Kingdom Hall, an interpretation of the New Traslation, or a faulty Watchtower doctrine?”

    Then she’s pressuring me to look up Scripture to support my case and she’ll come back in half an hour. I’m all, “No, there’s no rush. You’re here all the time and I’m not moving, so I’ll see you next time.” She looked really shaken and uncomfortable as she left.

    I immediately call my neighbor who’s studying with them and said, “OK, the lady (____) won’t talk to her son because he’s disfellowshipped.” I told her the whole story. I say, “OMG, I would NEVER do that to my child! Can you imagine?! These people are NUTS!! If you want to be baptized, great, but don’t baptize the whole family or you eventually won’t see them again.” Now my friend’s shaken up.

    LATE the next night, I see a bunch (3? 4 cars?) of the JWs over at the neighbors! Even my DH says, “I feel like we’re under siege”. Meaning, I’m the agent of Satan who blew their cover who’s making the neighbors Think! Then he says, “Should our DS be going over there??”

    So on top of losing friends to the cult, DH especially is worried about our younger son’s soul. DS already said, “No presents for my birthday. PLEASE.” (the JW’s don’t celebrate holidays).

    I know you will tell me to let them be, but the problem is we live practically on top of each other and the kids are inseparable. Our plan is to make sure our kid is busy with school, sports, Scouts, chess and Confirmation class (ironically so he has it up to “here” with religion!!) to fill his time more.

    I feel like I’m in the first fifteen minutes of a LifeTime original movie!! Advice? Wisdom?

    • This topic was modified 5 years, 1 month ago by Inky.
    #79676
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Inky:
    Sometimes my projections are inaccuarate. Do you think that your projection here may be inaccurate, that is that shunning and disfellowship in particular cases may be a blessing to the one shunned and disfellowshipped?

    I would have given an arm and a leg (figuratively) if my mother shunned me for good when i was young- oh, the lifetime that could have been saved from misery on my part! Ahh… please, mother, please shun me (retroactively)!

    All I am saying is that sometimes, in some cases, shunning is God sent, so to speak.

    Your post is entertaining, please keep posting about your JW neighbors. By the way, do you know that they do celebrate one holiday or occasion- and I mean, with food and whatever comes to mind? There is ONE and that is wedding anniversaries!

    The Watchtower is not completely unreasonable then, plus they are very well organized, if that level of organization applied to any governement, it would be a great improvement of governement function, great improvement! There should be WASH DC internship required field trips to the Watchtower to learn their great organizational skills… if one can manage the autocracy requirement. A bummer.
    anita

    #79678
    Inky
    Participant

    Hi anita,

    I have thought about how I might be overreacting. But you know when you think “Oh, it’s not that bad” and then a horror story unwraps before your eyes?

    I have one entertaining thought though: The family becomes baptized. A JW spy catches the father smoking. They haul him in front of a judicial committee. A 25 year old window washer Elder looks at him funny. The father explodes “THAT’S IT! FAMILY, WE’RE OUTTA HERE!” The wife is afraid to talk to the husband and also afraid not to. She eventually gets disfellowshipped because he has the car and she can’t make it to meetings or sneak out of the house. The year before the son goes to college and becomes Buddhist. The mother shuns him. He doesn’t notice.

    😀

    Inky

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 1 month ago by Inky.
    #79682
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Inky:

    Entertaining thought indeed by an entertaining Inky! The Elders though have to be old though, as I understand it. If you are into details having all spelled out from the tiniest instractions on how to live to how old an Elder has to be, i think JWs are it- all spelled out. There is much comfort in that fact, especially to people who have known much chaos in their lives. The Watchtower is AMAZING at spelling everything out and in a way that is beautiful, attractive to me, personally, having come from much chaos. The fresh air of orderliness.

    This brings a thought to my mind: if you are worried about your son becoming a JW- as long as his life is orderly enough in your home- he may be way less susceptible, volnerable. I can’t BELIEVE in that stuff so no matter how I ever longed for orderliness, the price of giving up the last vestige of my sanity was unthinkable. Maybe I didn’t need orderliness THAT bad. I don’t know. And maybe I am too intelligent…? Although Robbie I told you about seemed to be very intelligent.

    How desperate does a person get inside to believe in it? What do you think, Inky? What does it take for a fairly intelligent person to believe in these things, Paradise on Earth, never, EVER dying, always being YOUNG and PRETTY and HEALTHY and HAPPY – perfectly happy. What does it take???

    anita

    #79683
    Jeff
    Participant

    No Inky – you are not over reacting; not one teeny tiny bit.

    I guess this the moment and introduce myself. I’ll just give you a quick summation as I just joined up after stumbling upon TinyBuddah. I was raised as a JW from birth, and wrestled with my innersole in being part of an organization that claims not only to be the authority, but the only authority here on earth representing the one and only God – Jahweh , or their pronunciation of such being Jehovah. All other religions are not accepted in any way shape or form. There is only one “true religion” to a JW. Conform (no matter how you do it) or you’re out.

    Rest assured, the cars over at your neighbour’s, were there for the exact reason you stated. While you may not be the Devil – in their eyes they are being tested by him. I’d be happy to answer any questions or provide insight on any observances you have.

    I’m brand new here, so please do not see me as trying to “stir the pot” but I disagree with Anita on more points than I agree. I do agree the the Watchtower is organized extremely well. But regardless of how organized they are, they have deep rooted, fundamental problems within. It is not speculation either – it is fact.

    The Watchtower/JW.org IS completely unreasonable. The fact that they are unable to question ANYTHING of substance, or think outside of the box they are given to think in is a sure indicator of this. Anita points out that they do indeed observe Anniversaries, but this does not make them “reasonable” by any means.

    While disfellowshipping may have it’s potential wisdom and upsides, it also wreaks havoc on families. There is no middle ground.

    And Inky, if you only need one eye opener (and there are LOADS) please consider the blood transfusion issues. While technology has come a long ways in past decades (bloodless surgery etc) it is still fact that you cannot accept a blood transfusion. If your life is on the line, or your childrens life is on the line a Jehovah’s Witness will choose death – for them or their children before one is accepted. There are documented cases of court ordered blood transfusions to infants in these cases.

    Oh yeah…on the reasonability of JW’s, make sure you ask one why they -cannot- wear a beard and have an active role in their local congregation.

    Hope I can be of assistance to you indeed. Take care.

    mook

    #79684
    Inky
    Participant

    Anita ~ My best friend’s sister became a Witness. She was a “nice Jewish girl” so she made a quantum leap ~ from Judaism to JWs, bypassing regular Christianity. Ironically, she is the smartest one of all of us. To the point where I was questioning what made her “go there”. I think it is COMMUNITY. Lovely people. Like you said, they love Order and Simplicity. I had joked it must be the food. AND, more seriously, the sister gracefully bypassed all the holiday dramas and traumas by not showing up. Genius!

    For the neighbors, they gave the wife COMMUNITY and the husband ATTENTION. I notice it’s a bit of a boy’s club. He gets to “Preach” and can have a little taste of “power”? I guess?? Also, the neighbors are smarter than they think they are, which grieves me. There are NO books in their house. And here are these people spoon feeding them “The Truth”.

    Now, I never had cared until the husband starts talking like a pamphlet. Then they were saying how the JW’s don’t believe you have to go to college. Meanwhile, they have this son. VERY quick. VERY bright. DESERVES to go to college. And if they stay on this path, HE is the one that’s going to Question sooner rater than later. (Unless the dad has one of his typical anger-scenes, but this time in Kingdom Hall and ruins it for everyone.)

    mook ~ WHERE do I go from here? How do I play my cards now? How to handle my son? How best to “snap them out of it”?? Or do I lay low and pray?

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 1 month ago by Inky.
    #79686
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Inky:
    I am wondering… maybe you should not permit your son to associate with the boy next door… I think it might be reasonable to consider this. Or limit their associations, have the boy in your home and under your supervision. Or no contact at all. It may be wise as you don’t know if and when they may grab him in a moment of his weakness. It is hard for me to understand how a reasonable person can believe the fundamental tenets of living forever, young and healthy, so against nature, so unbelievable. But like you pointed out, just the COMMUNITY can lure a person away from sanity. Who knows the draw that might pull your son…

    I am not surprised about the Juidism to JW move of your best friend’s sister. The ultra orthodox Jews also have everything spelled out for them and are even busier than the JWs- even the JWs with 9-5 door to door job. According to a book of rules for the Jewish orthodox one has to wipe one’s butt with the (oops) left hand, i think, not the right hand used to do the tefilin thing around the arm… I am not sure which hand (might be doing it all wrong… ha ha) In any case, the draw of perfect order.

    What do you think about the no contact with the JWs rule for your son???

    You can’t help their son- they have all rights to him legally- but you can help yours…?

    anita

    #79692
    Inky
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    I think forbidding DS from seeing the BFF is a little over the top, as well as punishing the innocent.

    What I CAN do is tell the parents “DS is being confirmed this year so please don’t talk JW stuff around him as I don’t want to confuse him.” This will do two things: My son is now a JW-free Zone, AND I’d be obliquely communicating that their religion is Bulls!@#. I don’t THINK they talk about religion around him, but I’m SURE the BFF has complained/explained the No Holiday thing to him.

    Meanwhile, my DS is a Special Needs child (dyslexia) going into HS. Our HS is very competitive and he will still have tons of homework. So between school, homework, tutoring, Boy Scouts, Confirmation class, chess tournaments (he has a very high rating), and his chess coach, this kid will have little time for much else. During the summer now he has Sailing every weekday and Chess on the weekends and is gone all day. Then during the weekends during the school year he’d either be camping or doing tournaments. Meanwhile, his BFF will still be in Middle School so that’s a separation right there.

    I can also encourage him to go with his OTHER friend to this OTHER church that I know has a VERY strong Youth Group. It’s like a social club (food! video games! foos ball!) and half the town is there if he wants to do that.

    #79696
    Jeff
    Participant

    If there is one thing that I have learned over the years – it’s that you can’t take anyone “out” of the religion. They have to be the ones to do it – and they can only do it for themselves. Trying to talk someone “out” of the religion generally solidifies their stance since they “must be right” if they are being opposed.

    I don’t think you have to worry about cutting off association with your son’s friend. If your neighbours get in deep, then they will be the one’s cutting off association with you and your family. I think it’s a world condition personally. No one really wants to *think*, and life as a JW is so very simple that you don’t really have to think. You just listen and accept and obey. It’s comforting to some. Especially Jw’s that have multiple generations of family raised in the “cult”.

    Times have changed with the internet and Witnesses are leaving in droves. It’s a fair question to ask why. JW numbers may be going up attendance wise, but I think this reflects other countries that are looking for comfort during hardships. It is a “loving” organization – but that love soon fades when you decide not to be a part of the religion – or even question it. This begs the question : Was it love to begin with? It’s a hell of a feeling though, if you have no friends and walk into a building with a 100 or so people all wanting to meet you! It may feel like love – but it’s conditional. It’s love bombing, not proper love.

    One great resource for you would be JWfacts.com Please, check it out. You know your neighbours best.

    #79697
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Inky:

    You are a sensible woman, says I. By the way, I just came across a comment by you in 2014 to a woman who found her soulmate who is not her husband: “…“Soul mate”…is bandied about (mostly by women) so casually just because she has a crush, as if she is the only one who matters, and as if his partner and her husband just don’t matter much in the Cosmic scheme of things. Meanwhile, there is a true, real, husband languishing at home, starved of you psychic/emotional attention. HE is in your Auric Field…”

    There should be a book: “The Best of Inky”- hope this makes you feel good, that is my purpose.

    Mooks3r: thank you for your sharing. I read your pain in your experience of the JW’s CONDITIONAL love. How good it feels, the feeling of being part of, accepted, loved… ahh… it is wonderful and how quickly and drastically it evaporates when you do not submit to the doctrines. This is not unique to JWs only, though- so many parents are like that: the It is My Way or the Highway Doctrine. So, unfortunaately to so many, love is in very short supply indeed.

    anita

    #79699
    Inky
    Participant

    Oh wow, I remember that comment!

    “Best of Inky” ~ Thanks, anita!!

    😀

    And mookst3r,

    Yes, am looking at JWfacts!!

    #79711
    Snails
    Participant

    Dear Inky,

    My partner is friends with someone who is JW, and even suggested and gave him a character reference for a job at the company my P. works for.

    They’re both open enough to of enjoyed a few religious debates, but my P has never felt like his friend pressures to convert him (or maybe his friend just realizes you can’t get blood from a stone xD). The main idea my partner was trying to open up is the idea that God is probably fairly flexible (they both have a third common friend who is heavily christian)…. so these two religious friends believes the other will not have an after life because of the day of the week they practice! Saturday vs Sunday:) ….and well I suppose both these two friends probably think my partner and I haven’t a chance at all !! xD … not only do we live in ‘sin’ we’ve also chosen to have our two children out of wed lock !! xD

    Perhaps it depends on which JW place of worship they attend and how ‘extreme’ that particular congregation is?

    During my last year of Uni one of my best friends there got married and they rented a home with a separate downstairs area with the intention her sister share it. But the arrangement soon felt through because of a job offer for her sister elsewhere. My friend hinted and I accepted the offer to rent with her as living on campus was to noisy.

    As they were newly married and both Very religious but neither like the others church enough, they ‘shopped’ around together. There was a big difference to how these churches they tried out were run and the ‘rules’….and yes some didn’t like to much outside mingling (non congregation members)

    They didn’t really try hard to convert me…or maybe I just didn’t feel threatened that she was?… like when they went off to church she’d call down ‘would you like to come along’.
    My friend used to come down stairs in the evenings and share our uni study area and once she did cry because I didn’t go to church… she was sad to think I’d end up ‘in hell’…but she explained herself very well and I could tell she did it with love for me. We had a very long chat about it all. I wasn’t uncomfortable with her thinking I’d end up in hell, I was kind of sad for her being so upset because she cared for me and my ‘future’, and I thanked her a lot for her concern.

    We got on fine she accepted that I wouldn’t be joining them to go to church and ‘yes’ I was very comfortable in knowing I would go to hell (if I was wrong) but she also knew that in my eyes I feel I’ll still end up somewhere as long as I try to be a good person. She still would called down on that they’re off to church now and I’d call back up a cheerful see ya later xD

    Inky if it were my son who was good friends with the JW next door, I’d still let him play with him… the world is full of so much nonacceptance.. I believe if you have a happy and loved life, and you have strong morals and values it’s kind of more difficult to have strong beliefs changed…I’d probably have a quick friendly family chat about all the different religions and how you’re happy your family’s religion is very open to let everyone decide how they practice their beliefs and day to day life. I think it’s a good thing to expose our children to different beliefs (not having to practice them but the ideas behind them) and the idea that others are feel to live their own lives. Perhaps it might be nice to invite your sons friend to your home more often than theirs, if you’re uncomfortable or you believe that they are giving religious instructions there? but a quick chat with your son would confirm this?

    And for your friend maybe if she isn’t open to you having different ideas, perhaps agree to avoid religion discussion and see if you can just enjoy each others company? maybe if she brings it up you could let her know how you care for her so much and if she could consider ‘shopping around’ at different places of worship, especially if she starts to feel even any slight comfortableness in their ideas and rules?… I’ve found that if someone is very focus on an idea arranging a ‘doing’ outing gets everyone focused on the moment and sharing some light fun and laughter instead

    Best wishes

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 1 month ago by Snails.
    #79728
    Matt
    Participant

    Inky,

    Your spears always seem to zing true, sis. Consider: you blurted a pretty big flaw in their way of doing things. The bond between a mother and child is often where God shines the most in the whole world. Even if we entertain they are correct in the way we should connect with God (benefit of the doubt, big benefit), their response to a kid “misbehaving the doctrine” is booting the child out of the house. That’s fucked. And you jabbed right into it, a big old WTF inkybomb. Trust your heart, even Lifetime stories have heroes in them.

    If your families are intertwined that much, just do your thing, relax. A casual spear and it took a fleet of them, see? Love is always stronger than fear, just flow with it. The boundaries for your son are a great idea, he has enough to worry about with out all that stuff, too. A whole world to explore. 🙂

    With warmth,
    Matt

    #79736
    Snails
    Participant

    Hi Inky,

    Sorry, maybe I didn’t understand your situation right? it was my understanding your neighbors hasn’t been with this group (JW) for very long?
    What does your neighbors think about who the lady who visited you and what shes done? – the one that disowned her son for being a ‘non believer’?
    Is this what the group as a whole would do or is this lady somehow ‘Extra’ into it all?

    I think I would have a lot of difficulty in having a good friendship with someone who fine with the idea of being in a group, that’s general belief is that you should no longer even see your own child if they are a non ‘believer’.

    I’m hoping she doesn’t know much about it all yet, that’s the reason I thought keeping in contact with her might be good for her and also for the friendship you share

    I hope it all turns out for the best

    Best wishes

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 1 month ago by Snails.
    #79740
    Inky
    Participant

    Hi Matt and Snails,

    Thank you!!

    There’s a quote “You don’t know what you don’t know until you know”.

    Well, for FIVE YEARS the wife next door would have these “harmless” Bible studies. I thought the worst part was not celebrating holidays. But let me tell you, I almost went to Kingdom Hall myself and was impressed with how well they knew the text.

    It’s ONLY when her DH talked like a pamphlet I that got that creepy Lifetime movie music feeling and looked the group up on the internet. To see a horror show s@!# storm!!

    Now I feel like a dope and am kicking myself because in my hubris pride think I could have nipped this in the bud FIVE YEARS AGO with one simple PBS documentary! But then, they, too, have brains. It’s inconceivable that they never looked up or researched their own religious interest online. I mean we don’t even watch a movie without looking at reviews online.

    If they ever bring it up, my other “spear” could be, “Can the JWs survive the internet?? NO ONE’S converting and EVERYONE’S leaving who has online access.” Leave THAT tempting fruit in their face!

    Ironically, they visited our church and our pastor bored them and was a downer during his political statement talks. IF ONLY THE OTHER PASTOR WAS THERE my friends wouldn’t be JW students!!! LOL

    P.S. It’s four days later, three after the “Siege” and the dad calls up to see if the boys can play. Or my DH would call and get the wife. All about the boys. I think they are either told to be afraid of me, are actually afraid of me, OR are secretly horrified at what I found out OR just wants this to go away!!

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 1 month ago by Inky.
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