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Old 09-10-2013, 10:12 AM
 
56 posts, read 134,325 times
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One of my best friend’s was a former Jehovah’s Witness. We have been best friends since we met in 2007. She has been kicked out of the religion (shunned by all of her family, friends, etc. who are currently still involved. They have completely ceased communication with her.) for about 8-9 years. She moved out of her home state shortly after being kicked out and moved to Florida (where I live and we met). I can’t remember the reason why she was kicked out, but I think it was for something ridiculous. Anyway, any discussion we’ve ever had about her being a Jehovah’s Witness was about how unbearably strict it was, how unhappy it made her, and how depressing it is that she is now unable to communicate with her family. Now personally, I cannot understand how anyone would want to be a part of a religion, or worship a God that would deem it acceptable to alienate your immediate family, but then again, I am an Agnostic so maybe I don’t “get it.” To each his own. The reason I’m an Agnostic, is because my mother was raised in a cultish religion called the Worldwide Church of God (Grace Communion International) which bears a striking resemblance to the many JW beliefs & practices, with just a few differences. My mom wanted me to grow up making my own choices about faith and God, and I am very thankful for that.

Anyway, several months ago my friend’s dog passed away and this (coupled with a serious relationship she was involved that ended the year prior) threw her into a deep depression. It was then that she started to think about life, death, life after death, etc. We talked about beliefs and what we thought. Well, just about two weeks after this happened, she announced she was going to return to being a JW. Immediately, I thought “that’s it, friendship over.” Lol. (Because what is happening right now, is EXACTLY what I knew was going to happen between us.) She said she was depressed, and missed her family, which is completely understandable. And these are reasons for her wanting to be reinstated. I tried to talk her into exploring other spiritual options that wouldn’t place so much restriction on her life so she could still have a relationship with God and answer these important life questions, but she was not interested. As she began going back to her meetings, she started sending literature to me regularly from the “watchtower.” I refuse to read that garbage, and it started to annoy me. We were getting into debates about God, the bible, and eventually I told her I did not feel comfortable discussing religion with her anymore, because we are on very different levels of belief. I said let’s still be friends, just without discussing anything involving her being a JW and me being Agnostic, because I will never be a Jehovah’s Witness.

So, we still hang out from time to time. But she declines many invitations to do things that we used to do regularly because she’s too tired/feels fat/whatever other reason she comes up with. I don’t invite her to do bad things – you know going to dinner, maybe going to grab a drink, hang out at the beach, etc. And she does not invite me to her place to hang out as nearly as often as she did before announcing her newfound interest in being a JW again. Her other friend, who is actually Catholic, lol.. (and coincidentally has now become close with me recently) is also noticing this weird behavior. I think my JW friend is starting to separate from the “worldly” people in her life, because she is afraid she won’t get reinstated. But I don’t really know. All in all, I have never encountered this with any other friends of other faiths even my hardcore Christian friends and family, even though I’m Agnostic. We respect each other’s beliefs and leave it at that, and still continue on. So, is this it as far as my friendship with my JW friend goes? I have been a loyal friend to her for a long time. Has anyone had an experience with a JW in their life? Should I just move on?
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Old 09-10-2013, 10:42 AM
 
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It would be a bummer, but I would move on and not put too much more effort into the friendship. However, because her thinking about returning to JW may be situational and just something she is using to try to cope, I would keep the door open.

Not that I would tell her that. I would just let the drift happen, and if she ever comes around one day, tells you she's not in JW, and apologizes for trying to proselytize to you, I'd chalk the whole thing up to a stage she was going through and welcome her back into my life.
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Old 09-10-2013, 11:27 AM
 
Location: East Coast of the United States
17,287 posts, read 19,577,939 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rivermeetsanend View Post
I think my JW friend is starting to separate from the “worldly” people in her life, because she is afraid she won’t get reinstated. But I don’t really know. All in all, I have never encountered this with any other friends of other faiths even my hardcore Christian friends and family, even though I’m Agnostic. We respect each other’s beliefs and leave it at that, and still continue on. So, is this it as far as my friendship with my JW friend goes? I have been a loyal friend to her for a long time. Has anyone had an experience with a JW in their life? Should I just move on?
Jehovah's Witnesses are a doomsday cult that promote ignorance, narrow-mindedness and hostility towards the outside world. They target weak-minded, insecure people to recruit into their fold.

Their outward show of kindness is nothing but a facade. Don't be fooled. In reality they are way worse than your normal Christians. It surprises (and frightens) me how few people seem to understand the level of danger in this.

I'm not normally a pessimistic person. But I hate to tell you the real deal - Your friend is very likely gone.
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Old 09-10-2013, 05:25 PM
 
56 posts, read 134,325 times
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Thanks, I was really leaning towards this probably being more of a cult than anything but I was hoping my friend would have realized something was inherently wrong with this belief system and willing to put it behind her. I guess not, which is too bad. I suppose I'll have to give less attention to this friendship and more to the ones who want to be in my life and don't care about my "status" on religion.
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Old 09-11-2013, 06:16 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,197 posts, read 9,094,403 times
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Your friend's story suggests to me that the Watchtower has evolved its shunning practices because it is an effective tool for its own preservation. There are other (usually religious separatist) groups, like the Amish, who also use shunning. It is cruel and extreme, but it is actually a rational (if vicious) response to a deconvert. What, at that point, do they have to lose?

Shunning accomplishes a twofold purpose: protect the faithful from the cancer of doubt, and lay the full weight of social pressure and isolation on the deconvert. Members (and therefore deconverts) of such groups tend to be socially needy; if they are unsuccessful establishing equal or more comforting ties outside the group, they will tend, eventually, to return. As an added benefit to the group, the shunning is particularly effective because it involves immediate family, the most painful social bond to dissolve. Refusal to have any contact means that not only is the deconvert excluded from group ritual and protection, but has no avenues for relational closure over the kinds of things that go on between any parent and child. Plus it dispenses the ultimate stigma, that of the "orphan by choice".

Meanwhile the parents / siblings who shun the deconvert have the luxury of feeding their martyr complexes with whatever pain they feel from the separation. They then have even more ego invested in their membership in the group. It raises their status while lowering the status of the deconvert.

Quite a diabolical torture rack, ironically coming from groups who claim to have the highest-quality 100-proof righteousness on tap. Odd, isn't it, that such groups have so little to offer their members, in reality, that they have to resort to such cruel and vindictive tactics, and the threat of them, to retain their own members?
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Old 09-15-2013, 12:08 PM
 
12,886 posts, read 15,451,091 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigCityDreamer View Post
Jehovah's Witnesses are a doomsday cult that promote ignorance, narrow-mindedness and hostility towards the outside world. They target weak-minded, insecure people to recruit into their fold.

Their outward show of kindness is nothing but a facade. Don't be fooled. In reality they are way worse than your normal Christians. It surprises (and frightens) me how few people seem to understand the level of danger in this.

I'm not normally a pessimistic person. But I hate to tell you the real deal - Your friend is very likely gone.
That sounds like what most religions do....especially christians. ..OP, your friend has made her choice...I'd just try and remain neutral and leave the door open for her should she ever need someone to talk to...It's gotta be tuff following the many rules that the supreme beings demand of you...glad I've never met him/her.
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Old 09-22-2013, 01:18 AM
 
Location: GLAMA
16,584 posts, read 33,797,178 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rivermeetsanend View Post
As she began going back to her meetings, she started sending literature to me regularly from the “watchtower.”

Right back into the JW behavior. Listen dear, she's now doing to you what her family did to her... shunning. Drop her like a hot potato.
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Old 02-07-2014, 02:37 PM
 
1,507 posts, read 1,678,778 times
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Great post, JWs are a cult, and I was raised in it and stayed for 31 years. I left in 95 when they changed one of the central beliefs again. Its had nothing but false dates for the end and history of BS from Aluminum being the devils metal to vaccines being horse puss. Once they get a hook in you they will twist it every which way to keep people in line. the use family networks to do the dirty work for them. I know of many people who stay in just so as not to lose family. My grandfather died not talking to his four grandchildren because we left the cult. He knew it was BS and told me so but said it was a good way of life, This from a man who was a special Pioneer and Circuit overseer for many years, and worked at Bethel, the slave quarters in Brooklyn where people work for free. All I can say is stay away from any and all JWs, they are charged with converting or cutting people in their relationships. Once in they get you all cozy with a network of friends then threaten you if you do anything not approved by the cult, from what kind of sex you and your spouse can have to smoking, drinking, friends outside the cult, watching R movies, working in anything that has to do with the blood industry, military, gambling, and many other things like going to a church just to see what its like is to them worse then pedophiles, They protect pedophiles by saying you must not go to the police but go to the dumb ass elders, then if there are not two witnesses to the crime you can do nothing or if you do you get dissfellowshipped and perv is AOK with the cult. Its a crap cult and you are so much better off letting your friend go if that is what she wants to do. JWs have a very high rate of suicide. Go figure.
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Old 02-08-2014, 05:40 AM
 
Location: Greenbelt, MD
8,969 posts, read 6,508,064 times
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I had a friend who got heavily into religion but I don't think it was JW.

25 years of friendship dissolved. He changed for the worst in other areas as well. He contacted me after not seing him for 2 years to preach to me. I told him not to contact me anymore.

Quote:
So, is this it as far as my friendship with my JW friend goes?
People change and there isn't anything you can do about it.
I'd let her go. It's apparent you all's once common interests have faded.
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Old 02-08-2014, 06:37 AM
 
Location: South Carolina
3,533 posts, read 2,452,165 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rivermeetsanend View Post
So, is this it as far as my friendship with my JW friend goes? I have been a loyal friend to her for a long time. Has anyone had an experience with a JW in their life? Should I just move on?
I'm afraid it might be. I don't personally know any JW's but I have worked with them and they are very guarded and cultish. It is very sad that this is happening but you have done all you can to be a good friend but that's not going to be good enough if she is ever reinstated. The JW's will require her to cut all ties to the outside world as far as not associating with anyone who isn't a JW. Tough pill to swallow I know but just tell her you will always be there for her and that's all you can do.
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