Jehovah's Witnesses, return and report

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SamBee
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Jehovah's Witnesses, return and report

Post by SamBee » 14 Sep 2018, 07:56

Now this is an interesting one. Never been to one of their meetings before but happen to know a lot about them from their own literature and from (ex-/current) members. This was a mid week one.

Recently I watched the film Apostasy which partly sparked my interest.

JWs are interesting to LDS because it can sometimes be like looking into a fairground mirror for them IMHO. It is a bit like that for me. Everybody's wearing suits, the language is peculiar - in fact more peculiar than us in some ways (faithful and discreet slave?), but to be fair they were fairly pleasant to me. I don't mean we aren't peculiar, we're just familiar to ourselves now!

The besuited elders (what their leadership is called) got a hold of me practically I came in the door, asked me my name and a whole host of other personal info.. much like the LDS do. The building was extremely plain. Just a room with cheap chairs.

The meeting was a bit of a surprise though. Very tightly controlled and I mean really tightly controlled. You could follow it all through JW.org and all the other kingdom halls do the same thing on the same week. There was little room for a real talk. All the readings were short and prescribed (although strangely not all from the New World Translation - that was a surprise). All the answers were tightly controlled - who could speak and who couldn't was decided by two men (both African) with a roving mike.

There was another surprise as well. There was no musician in the kingdom hall whatsoever. An overhead projector beamed the songs and other material onto the wall - a very standard message. The music was piped in. The hymns were extremely strange and not what I was expecting. I believe the JWs have copied the LDS over the years (e.g. adopting a family message which they never had sixty years ago)... but I didn't realize they'd been copying evangelicals as well. The first hymn was kind of jazzy in a bizarre way and could have just about been happy clappy but not quite. The others had weird orchestral backing. One of them had very anti-racist lyrics.

Videos was featured heavily and integrated into the program in a way ours aren't. Again very different. They featured people in blacked out silhouette talking to each other in missionary situations. They were extremely unrealistic on a number of levels. I know the general public well in this sense. One brother gave a reading and the pausing and emphasis in his reading was discussed. V. different too.

There was the token bored 12 year old boy, and younger folk who wore slightly off beat clothing (dark shirts). Oh and a couple of absolutely gorgeous women who were sitting in front of me (some of the younger men were actually pretty good looking too although at 30 they seem to look clapped out).

So would Sam Bee join? A resounding no. Nice people, until you cross them and then shunning comes in. I couldn't take that. I did ask about the 144,000 and was given a very good answer. He said that they were the "first fruits" - their language, but far more than that would be saved. Good answer. Funnily enough I couldn't fault the theology in the Bible discussion but the whole thing was much more mechanical than us. They really have no life outside their organization - which they should - since spirituality is more than that. Little beauty in their artistic works either.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Jehovah's Witnesses, return and report

Post by Curt Sunshine » 15 Sep 2018, 15:13

Interesting. Thanks for the insight.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

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SamBee
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Re: Jehovah's Witnesses, return and report

Post by SamBee » 16 Sep 2018, 05:44

These are the things which stood out as similar:
* The dress.
* The leadership.
* The audience participation.
* The heavy use of jargon

And as different:
* The fact that everything was so scripted to the letter, even the responses.
* The use of audiovisual.
* Lack of windows.
* Piped music.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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nibbler
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Re: Jehovah's Witnesses, return and report

Post by nibbler » 16 Sep 2018, 07:33

SamBee wrote:
16 Sep 2018, 05:44
And as different:
* The fact that everything was so scripted to the letter, even the responses.
* The use of audiovisual.
* Lack of windows.
* Piped music.
Maybe every ward is different but I can honestly say that I've been to LDS meetings where each of these differences has held true. :P

I do find myself wondering how a JW would review our meetings. They certainly feel stranger and stranger to me as time goes by.
And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold
-Jesus

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Gerald
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Re: Jehovah's Witnesses, return and report

Post by Gerald » 16 Sep 2018, 08:55

I once worked with a woman who was a JW. She told me about a young woman in their congregation who had become pregnant out of wedlock and was shunned as a result. I will say that she told me that she took no pleasure in not interacting with her and after a period of time (I don't know how that was determined) the young woman was welcomed back into "the fold." This colleague told me that the end of her shunning was marked by an informal celebration and that everyone was relieved and happy it was over.

I've no idea if this is typical but it gave me an interesting insight into at least this woman's view of shunning. My takeaway is that for Jehovah's Witnesses shunning is a formal disciplinary process that all agree to. I do believe shunning takes place in the LDS Church but that it is done informally (if at all). I'm not saying for a moment that I agree with either religion's approach but just offering it up for comparison and contrast.
So through the dusk of dead, blank-legended And unremunerative years we search to get where life begins, and still we groan because we do not find the living spark where no spark ever was; and thus we die, still searching, like poor old astronomers who totter off to bed and go to sleep, to dream of untriangulated stars.
---Edwin Arlington Robinson---

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SamBee
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Re: Jehovah's Witnesses, return and report

Post by SamBee » 16 Sep 2018, 09:32

nibbler wrote:
16 Sep 2018, 07:33
SamBee wrote:
16 Sep 2018, 05:44
And as different:
* The fact that everything was so scripted to the letter, even the responses.
* The use of audiovisual.
* Lack of windows.
* Piped music.
Maybe every ward is different but I can honestly say that I've been to LDS meetings where each of these differences has held true. :P

I do find myself wondering how a JW would review our meetings. They certainly feel stranger and stranger to me as time goes by.
Trust me.... this was A LOT more scripted than LDS meerings. It was timed to the minute. The LDS don't do that. Not just the recorded videos, but everything else. In LDS discussions you get curve balls - not here though.

When I say scripted... I mean scripted by ten times of any our meetings. Imagine if ALL our hymns had a MoTab backing track. Imagine if reading Ensign was compulsory rather than obligatory (and you can get away with it, trust me)

Our nearest equivalent would be general conference. Except this wasn't a general conference equivalent but a weekly meeting.

Like I say... a fairground mirror show. I could see the similarities but also the differences.

I agree that our meetings are strange but they are familiar to us.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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dande48
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Re: Jehovah's Witnesses, return and report

Post by dande48 » 16 Sep 2018, 10:30

Gerald wrote:
16 Sep 2018, 08:55
I once worked with a woman who was a JW. She told me about a young woman in their congregation who had become pregnant out of wedlock and was shunned as a result.
I've seen this happen (informally) in LDS culture. I always thought it was kind of silly. Having sex out of wedlock is a sin. Getting pregnant out of wedlock is not. In fact, if you get pregnant out of wedlock, that usually means that the accompanying sex-out-of-wedlock wasn't premeditated. It usually was a sin out of passion, in the heat of the moment... and chose to stick with the consequences. But for someone who took some preparations for committing the same act is usually not looked at as bad.

Sorry, off the post random tangent. I just think we should take a little more compassion on those who get pregnant out of wedlock. They should be viewed for their courage, rather than "shunned".
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

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DarkJedi
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Re: Jehovah's Witnesses, return and report

Post by DarkJedi » 16 Sep 2018, 12:32

dande48 wrote:
16 Sep 2018, 10:30
Gerald wrote:
16 Sep 2018, 08:55
I once worked with a woman who was a JW. She told me about a young woman in their congregation who had become pregnant out of wedlock and was shunned as a result.
I've seen this happen (informally) in LDS culture. I always thought it was kind of silly. Having sex out of wedlock is a sin. Getting pregnant out of wedlock is not. In fact, if you get pregnant out of wedlock, that usually means that the accompanying sex-out-of-wedlock wasn't premeditated. It usually was a sin out of passion, in the heat of the moment... and chose to stick with the consequences. But for someone who took some preparations for committing the same act is usually not looked at as bad.

Sorry, off the post random tangent. I just think we should take a little more compassion on those who get pregnant out of wedlock. They should be viewed for their courage, rather than "shunned".
Huh??!! :problem: I know the church is a bit different in different places, but getting pregnant out of wedlock is looked at with the same judgementalism here as just having sex out of wedlock (except that when one becomes pregnant the sex is more obvious and probably adds to the judgementalism). This actually happened in our ward last year (teen pregnancy) and the girl and her family have since dropped out of sight.

My son's best friend in high school was a JW. My son thinks highly of JWs, and did attend a couple of meetings (they have weeknight study meetings as well). After high school his friend "fell away" and is currently being shunned. He doesn't care about the shunning per se right now because he, like lots of LDS boys, has decided the "church is not true" and doesn't desire to be part of it any more (and would have to do a whole lot of penance to return anyway). The thing that bothers him is his family. They won't speak to him or other wise have contact with him. A few months ago he went out to dinner at a restaurant not knowing they were there. They were in the middle of their meal and got up and left. I'm not condemning them, I'm just saying that shunning is part of their practice and culture and were it part of our practice and culture we'd do the same thing and be fine with it.

(I recognize that Mary seems to have been an exception, but I think what little we know about that story indicates she was looked down upon as well.)
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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LookingHard
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Re: Jehovah's Witnesses, return and report

Post by LookingHard » 16 Sep 2018, 18:01

Gerald wrote:
16 Sep 2018, 08:55
I once worked with a woman who was a JW. She told me about a young woman in their congregation who had become pregnant out of wedlock and was shunned as a result.
Shunnings within the JW is WAY more than in the LDS church. Go listen to the podcast "Shunned" to get a sampling.

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mom3
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Re: Jehovah's Witnesses, return and report

Post by mom3 » 16 Sep 2018, 18:53

A friend of my husband is JW and experienced shunning. During her shunning she took advantage of the disconnect. However, something drew her back. She's never said what, but once was allowed back in the fold she has returned with zeal.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

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