Most ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses know how hard it is to stand up for themselves when Witness friends and family come a-calling. Our brains seem to shut down and go all blinky when the questions and accusations fly. So we just stand there and wait for the Witnesses to leave us alone. Then, as we watch them back out of our driveway, the responses we wanted come flooding back. We feel like fools because the answers weren’t there when we needed them!
So where the hell did they go?! Continue reading
In an earlier post, I gave you five reasons why I don’t like it when Jehovah’s Witnesses preach at me. Note that this was more than just a list of gripes. This was a list of major no-nos for any Jehovah’s Witness who wanted to talk religion with me. But you didn’t really think there were only five of them, did you? Behold! The Atheist Geek has five more!
When ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses are trying to get past that whole Watchtower thing, it can be helpful to codify their problems with the Society by making a list. This helps them understand their experiences in a simple, straight forward way. Understanding (hopefully) allows them to move on with their lives instead of creating their own “I Hate The Tower” web site. It can also help ex-Witnesses get over personal encounters with Jehovah’s Witnesses who are determined to “fix” them by converting them back. These attempts at conversion can be very tedious and upsetting to say the least. In fact, they usually backfire by pushing former Witnesses even further away from the Society than we already were!
Ex-Witnesses aren’t the only ones who can benefit from this article. Even Jehovah’s Witnesses who are in good standing might find a list of their most common blunders interesting. If you are a former Witness like myself, see how many of these you can spot the next time a Witness knocks on your door and wants to have a little chat about “The Truth.”
But Tough Love Isn’t The Same Thing As Abuse!
I realize that some readers will never be convinced that Jehovah’s Witnesses are mistreating former members, even ones who behave just as I have described. Many who believe the Watchtower Society is the one and only “True Religion” will accuse ex-Witnesses of being overly sensitive or insist that the actions of so-called “abusive” Witnesses are both selfless and justified. I’ll agree that we sometimes need to push loved ones into doing what’s best for them – even if that something is painful at first. This is what’s called “tough love.” I have little doubt that this is how some Jehovah’s Witnesses see their attempts to pressure former believers into compliance with the Society’s teachings. But like the subtitle says, there are differences between tough love and plain old abuse. It’s tough love if we try to push someone into doing something that’s painful when we know the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. However, we should always leave tough choices to the individual when the benefits are in doubt. We also need to realize that we might be the ones who are wrong instead of assigning ourselves the role of moral superiority. This is a mistake that many Jehovah’s Witnesses seem to make.