But Aren’t These “Abusive” Witnesses Simply Trying To Correct Wayward Members?
When Jehovah’s Witnesses in good standing approach former believers about a loss of faith in “The Truth,” they often start out with a friendly, conversational tone. But things tend to get out of control when the Witness starts building a case to win over the inactive one. The conversation can become adversarial as the Witness switches to a tone of righteous indignation, then gets openly insulting as they accuse the ex-Witness of being weak, petty, or even spiteful in their refusal to conform. (See Signs Of Abusive Behavior From Witnesses) It seems that nothing will satisfy the Witness until the former believer is completely demoralized.
Before I give anyone the wrong impression, I want to acknowledge that not all Jehovah’s Witnesses are openly abusive toward former members. Still, ex-Witnesses are generally frowned upon by believers who see them as “bad associates” to be avoided. Since Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that they have the one and only “True Religion,” rejection of that religion is one of the worst sins their members can possibly commit. Even ex-Witnesses who keep to themselves and avoid criticizing the Society are often seen as little better than apostates. When combined, these attitudes can lead to tense situations where people can say and do some really stupid things. Especially to people they love.
Why Do So Many Witnesses Mistreat Former Witnesses?
Many ex-Witnesses have to deal with Witness relatives or friends who go all preachy on them from time to time. The evangelist may not notice it, but these little “conversations” (their word) tend to get ugly and abusive pretty quickly. They always seem to deteriorate from, “I want to convince you to come back to us,” into something more like, “I hope you feel ashamed of yourself for making me and Jesus cry!” I’ve never been able to figure out if the Witnesses pulling this kind of stuff are simply unaware of how much personal anger they’re dumping on people or if they actually think it’s justified. I suspect it’s a combination of both.
Is it my imagination, or do most Jehovah’s Witnesses seem determined to bring ex-Witnesses back to the Kingdom Hall by shaming us to death? A lot of their standard “attacks” are mostly emotional, and one that I’ve heard from a lot of ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses is the lovable old chestnut you see in the title. Here it is worded another way: “Hey, Jehovah’s organization has gotten us this far. How can you turn your back on it after all the Watchtower Society has done for you?” I suppose they could have added something like, “You dirty, rotten traitor!” to really make your eyes water. But that would be too obvious. It’s hardly necessary since that’s pretty much what they’re implying any way.