Jehovah's Witnesses, return and report

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dande48
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Re: Jehovah's Witnesses, return and report

Post by dande48 » 16 Sep 2018, 19:47

DarkJedi wrote:
16 Sep 2018, 12:32
Huh??!! 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).
It's easier to "sweep under the rug", is more what I meant. Easier to pretend everything's fine, ignore it, etc. I'd say the more obvious sins are judged harsher than the quiet ones.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

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SamBee
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Re: Jehovah's Witnesses, return and report

Post by SamBee » 17 Sep 2018, 00:24

LookingHard wrote:
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.
Indeed, that's what the film Apostasy is about.

And yes, it means members treat you as invisible and inaudible. If you keep regular contact with such a person, you may end up shunned yourself.

I have been "shunned" in a non-JW context. I was very young and it was horrible. I had just been expelled from a school and a friend and his father never ever spoke to me again and treated me if I wasn't there. I think I could stand it better now but as a child I didn't have those resources.

That said, this thread isn't mainly about shunning but my impressions of one service.
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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LookingHard
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Re: Jehovah's Witnesses, return and report

Post by LookingHard » 17 Sep 2018, 07:23

And what is the worst about JW (and scientology) shunning is how it is "enforced" especially in families. For a JW that finds himself on the outs, his parents are really pressured to knot even make eye contact with the child, let alone ever talk with them. That is just cruel.

Roy
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Re: Jehovah's Witnesses, return and report

Post by Roy » 17 Sep 2018, 08:36

DW and I met with a very nice JW couple for several months. Observations:

1) JW beliefs are generally internally consistent. Looking from the inside there is nothing that seems off. They have a system of belief based on the bible with particular emphasis on some verses over others (just like other Christian churches of which I am familiar).

2) One of the biggest differentiators to other religions is the degree to which JW's take seriously the concepts of God's kingdom on earth, God's special people, and remaining separate and apart from "the world." This helps explain many of their more notable behaviors like not voting, not entering the military, and not celebrating many "normal" holidays. This to me also represents one of the bigger sacrifices of belonging to this religion as there appears to be intentional isolationism from broader society. (incidentally, such isolationism may make "shunning" more severe as all your social eggs might be concentrated in the JW basket).

3) JW's services are not entertaining. DW and I have visited a JW service before. There was a cry/baby room in the back for those with young kids and we stayed there with our young children. The JW's come to church primarily by the force of their conviction. This is similar to LDS but the JW's seem to take it more extreme. The LDS have cub scouts, ward socials, and other activities that might interest non-members. The Jehovah witnesses do not seem to be interested in such activities but focus on indoctrination.

3) This JW couple was content visiting us as Mormons. They openly commented how nice it was to talk to people that believed the bible. My "sheepese" allowed me to talk the talk. The flexibility of my nuanced religious worldview allowed me to explore and be fascinated by their religious system on one hand while staying grounded to my own religious beliefs on the other hand. Ultimately, They stopped visiting us because of my eventual confession to non-literal belief in the bible. I imagine that without a literal belief in Adam and Eve they saw no path forward for my conversion.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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SamBee
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Re: Jehovah's Witnesses, return and report

Post by SamBee » 17 Sep 2018, 13:23

Roy wrote:
17 Sep 2018, 08:36
DW and I met with a very nice JW couple for several months. Observations:

1) JW beliefs are generally internally consistent. Looking from the inside there is nothing that seems off. They have a system of belief based on the bible with particular emphasis on some verses over others (just like other Christian churches of which I am familiar).
There are other issues. They tend to use their own translation which suits their doctrine and is inconsistent. Stylistically I find the NWT horrible - JWs have never has a knack for beautiful prose.

Also, a lot of their doctrine is dependent on Watchtower. And doctrine changes on a regular basis. A lot of JWs notice this if they are around for long enough.
Roy wrote:
17 Sep 2018, 08:36
2) One of the biggest differentiators to other religions is the degree to which JW's take seriously the concepts of God's kingdom on earth, God's special people, and remaining separate and apart from "the world." This helps explain many of their more notable behaviors like not voting, not entering the military, and not celebrating many "normal" holidays.
I respect their military stance very much. We are at the opposite extreme.

No Xmas, no birthdays. I wouldn't miss Xmas one bit though. I detest it. (Except the carols)
Roy wrote:
17 Sep 2018, 08:36
3) JW's services are not entertaining. DW and I have visited a JW service before. There was a cry/baby room in the back for those with young kids and we stayed there with our young children. The JW's come to church primarily by the force of their conviction. This is similar to LDS but the JW's seem to take it more extreme. The LDS have cub scouts, ward socials, and other activities that might interest non-members. The Jehovah witnesses do not seem to be interested in such activities but focus on indoctrination.
Scouts are on the way out with us. We never had them in my ward. I found the meeting a bit circular. Basically I was being told how to do street work, even though I wssn't a member. Or to put it another way - to see how to get people to come along to see how to get other people to come along.

LDS meetings can be entertaining. It does happen! You hear funny stories. The JW service had no such wriggle room.

Indoctrination is a harsh word perhaps. It's not brainwashing, but reinforcement IMHO.
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 » 17 Sep 2018, 16:54

SamBee wrote:
17 Sep 2018, 13:23
They tend to use their own translation which suits their doctrine and is inconsistent.

Also, a lot of their doctrine is dependent on [Ensign]. And doctrine changes on a regular basis. A lot of [Mormons] notice this if they are around for long enough.
This sounds a lot like us, doesn't it? :twisted:
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
-Lemony Snicket

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SamBee
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Re: Jehovah's Witnesses, return and report

Post by SamBee » 18 Sep 2018, 00:52

dande48 wrote:
17 Sep 2018, 16:54
SamBee wrote:
17 Sep 2018, 13:23
They tend to use their own translation which suits their doctrine and is inconsistent.

Also, a lot of their doctrine is dependent on [Ensign]. And doctrine changes on a regular basis. A lot of [Mormons] notice this if they are around for long enough.
This sounds a lot like us, doesn't it? :twisted:
The short answer is no, we don't use Ensign to anything like the extent they use Watchtower except perhaps the General Conference issues. Watchtower is more like their equivalent of the Book of Mormon. The articles in Watchtower tend to be unsigned too. Unlike Ensign.

Watchtower is famous outside the JWs. A lot of non-members have read it. But we hardly ever see LDS missionaries just handing over copies of Ensign to people they have never met before. Like I say, Watchtower is more like their BOM. Try name recognition with non-members - everyone's heard of Watchtower, no one's heard of Ensign... (but may have the BOM)

I only occasionally read Ensign. But I can get away with that and still pose as a "good" LDS. With a JW, not reading every single Watchtower makes you bad.

Also we don't use our own translation of the Bible - except for a few stray bits in the Triple Combination. The JST doesn't feature that much and no one carries a complete copy of it in the LDS. (A lot of parts of the JST are no different to the KJV). Again, the BOM is a more appropriate example. LDS prefer to add books to the scriptures rather than changing the Bible. (The NWT is something else - you'll never see the word "cross" or "church" in it for example.)

Yes the LDS changes doctrine, but I think it is fair enough to say the JWs do it even more. I can still quote most of the talks from the 50s and 60s (black priesthood stuff aside!!!) in church, but with the JWs, you only want to do that with stuff from the past five years. Most of our major change happened between JS and WWI.

We've had some pretty radical changes over the past 120 years. But the JWs have even more form. There have been claims the world would end at least twice in the 20th century from their leadership at specific times. People were discouraged from having families, now they're encouraged. People would sell everything. Now they're told to dig in. JWs also get told previous leaders were wrong. The LDS can never quite do that. I put this down to them being a younger organization.

Over the past twenty years some stuff has changed. But very little of radical import IMHO. Most of it has been cosmetic. Lowering missionary age for example. Merging HP & EQ is the most radical thing I've seen. The last really big one I would suggest is the temple back in 1990, nearly thirty years ago.
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."

Roy
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Re: Jehovah's Witnesses, return and report

Post by Roy » 18 Sep 2018, 09:55

I am by no means an expert of Jehovah Witnesses - just sharing observations from my experience.

Watchtower: For a time I was somewhat jealous of this publication. It seemed to have articles that were scholarly with footnotes. I got the impression that I was learning about a variety of topics (Science, sociology, archeology … with perhaps a less than subtle JW interpretation). Many the issues would ask a doctrinal question on the cover and then answer it on the inside. (I am the type that read Mormon Doctrine and all 5 volumes of Answers to Gospel Questions and took them as Gospel truth). The Ensign by contrast can feel trite, retread, or stale.

Now that I am not a traditional LDS believer I am glad that I did not read tons of Watchtower-like articles to learn about the world around me. It can be hard enough to disentangle what I believe doctrinally from what I was taught. It might be harder still if my understanding of a variety of subjects where intertwined with religion worldviews. (for example if I had misconceptions about archeology from reading watchtower/FARMS)
SamBee wrote:
18 Sep 2018, 00:52
There have been claims the world would end at least twice in the 20th century from their leadership at specific times. People were discouraged from having families, now they're encouraged. People would sell everything. Now they're told to dig in.
Part of this comes with how seriously they take their religion. The bible does talk about the end of the world, that we are in the 11th hour, Jesus will come like a thief in the night, etc. When people believe that the end of the world is immanent they act differently. One of the primary justifications used for polygamy was that it was necessary to produce righteous offspring quickly on the eve of the millennium. I am very happy that the millennial rhetoric in Mormonism has been steadily toned down since the time of JS and BY.
SamBee wrote:
18 Sep 2018, 00:52
JWs also get told previous leaders were wrong. The LDS can never quite do that.
The leadership was explained to me as a stewardship. Like Aaron was tasked with overseeing the administrative tasks of the camp of Israel while Moses was away. The JW are stewards but they are not prophets. They lead with prayer, deliberation, and inspiration - but not revelation. They are safeguarding the kingdom until Jesus returns to take command. Leaders can be shown to be wrong in hindsight as they do their best.

SamBee wrote:
18 Sep 2018, 00:52
Over the past twenty years some stuff has changed. But very little of radical import IMHO. Most of it has been cosmetic. Lowering missionary age for example. Merging HP & EQ is the most radical thing I've seen. The last really big one I would suggest is the temple back in 1990, nearly thirty years ago.
To be fair to the LDS church, If I had to choose a church with steady almost imperceptable changes or a church with sudden whiplash changes I would most definately prefer the former.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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SamBee
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Re: Jehovah's Witnesses, return and report

Post by SamBee » 18 Sep 2018, 11:11

I would suggest we got the big changes out of the way early on back in the 19th century. The JWs are some decades younger than us and didn't even become like they are until the 20th century.

Dwight Eisenhower was a JW in his childhood but really nothing like the modern outfit.
Roy wrote:
18 Sep 2018, 09:55
The leadership was explained to me as a stewardship. Like Aaron was tasked with overseeing the administrative tasks of the camp of Israel while Moses was away. The JW are stewards but they are not prophets. They lead with prayer, deliberation, and inspiration - but not revelation. They are safeguarding the kingdom until Jesus returns to take command. Leaders can be shown to be wrong in hindsight as they do their best.
This is actually a very healthy way of looking at things in my view.

Some early JWs such as Judge Rutherford were treated like prophets though... but he doesn't have the same kudos JS or BY did. Interesting to note that the JWs didn't get a seventy/GA type system until the 70s, and it is only in more recent decades rank and file JWs really knew who they were.
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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