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Growing up as a Jehovah's Witness

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libertygrl
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Posted 01/07/12 - 12:45 PM:
Subject: Growing up as a Jehovah's Witness
in answer to thinker's questions from another thread.

jehovah's witnesses consider themselves to be christians, although they use their own particular translation of the bible, which is called "the new world translation". it's pretty similar to a regular bible, except it's written in modern english (no "thees" and "thous"), and some of their translations put a slightly different spin on things. for example, the famous scripture at john 1:1, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a God." (most bibles say "the word was god".) like most christians, they believe that their own interpretation of the bible is the only correct one.

JW's have many strict practices from which deviation will lead to ostracism by the congregation. you are expected to attend 3 church sessions per week (totalling 5 hours), in addition to preaching at people's homes at least once per month. things like fornication (which in their minds includes having sex before marriage, as well as gay sex), drug use and other "sins" may lead to being called out by the "elders" privately or publicly (they call it "public reproof", which means your sins are announced to the congregation). if you are sufficiently repentant and your sin is not too great in their eyes, they will handle it privately. but if you get in trouble repeatedly and do not show enough remorse for it, they will reprove you publicly. i myself was privately and publicly reproved on various occasions (publicly for having sex with my fiance).

eventually, my wayward behavior led to my being "disfellowshipped". this is the worst punishment you can receive from the church. disfellowshipped individuals are not allowed to associate with anyone in the church, not even their own family members. i had spent my whole life feeling that i didn't really belong there, but it wasn't until i was disfellowshipped that i saw how cold and ruthlessly hypocritical they could be. my father complained to the elders about how harshly i was treated by members of the congregation after i was disfellowshipped, and he was told that i knew what i was getting myself in for. of course, you're told these things but the reality of it happening is much worse.

anyway, at that point, i left my very unhappy marriage to my first husband (who was a JW) and started dating my second husband, who didn't have much use for god and who taught me a lot about philosophy and psychology. it was while i was married to him that i began frequenting different forums, firstly madphilosophers, which still holds a special place in my heart.

at some point along the way, i came across some text on pantheism and it resonated very strongly with me. it described things that i already believed, but it was amazing to see it put in words and to find out that other people believed similarly.

thedoc
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Posted 01/07/12 - 6:01 PM:

Interisting, I grew up lutheran and still attend a Lutheran church but my ideas on religion and God have changed a lot. I've been reading Joseph Campbell 'Thou Art That' and it seems like he was writing many of the ideas that I have had for many years now. It's like discovering that there are others who believe like I do.
Thinker13
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Posted 01/08/12 - 2:23 AM:

libertygrl wrote:
in answer to thinker's questions from another thread.

jehovah's witnesses consider themselves to be christians, although they use their own particular translation of the bible, which is called "the new world translation". it's pretty similar to a regular bible, except it's written in modern english (no "thees" and "thous"), and some of their translations put a slightly different spin on things. for example, the famous scripture at john 1:1, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a God." (most bibles say "the word was god".) like most christians, they believe that their own interpretation of the bible is the only correct one.



Are JW suggesting the possibility of multiplicity of Gods? I think, Christianity, Islam and perhaps Judaism accept only one God.



JW's have many strict practices from which deviation will lead to ostracism by the congregation. you are expected to attend 3 church sessions per week (totalling 5 hours), in addition to preaching at people's homes at least once per month. things like fornication (which in their minds includes having sex before marriage, as well as gay sex), drug use and other "sins" may lead to being called out by the "elders" privately or publicly (they call it "public reproof", which means your sins are announced to the congregation). if you are sufficiently repentant and your sin is not too great in their eyes, they will handle it privately. but if you get in trouble repeatedly and do not show enough remorse for it, they will reprove you publicly. i myself was privately and publicly reproved on various occasions (publicly for having sex with my fiance).


Oh! You had to learn harsh lessons because of your religion. In my case, there were no such reproofs but mere logic and debates based on this made me reject entirety of rituals, for once and for all.


eventually, my wayward behavior led to my being "disfellowshipped". this is the worst punishment you can receive from the church. disfellowshipped individuals are not allowed to associate with anyone in the church, not even their own family members. i had spent my whole life feeling that i didn't really belong there, but it wasn't until i was disfellowshipped that i saw how cold and ruthlessly hypocritical they could be. my father complained to the elders about how harshly i was treated by members of the congregation after i was disfellowshipped, and he was told that i knew what i was getting myself in for. of course, you're told these things but the reality of it happening is much worse.


Indeed. shaking head

anyway, at that point, i left my very unhappy marriage to my first husband (who was a JW) and started dating my second husband, who didn't have much use for god and who taught me a lot about philosophy and psychology.


Wait a minute. If I have not missed anything, your first husband was your fiance as well, who was pretty much himself violating the JW and should have also been disfellowshipped. How come you say that you left your first husband who was JW?



it was while i was married to him that i began frequenting different forums, firstly madphilosophers, which still holds a special place in my heart.


Same here. hug Thanks Pamela, Monk2400, Henry Quirk, DerEngie, Willem and Xanthos and many others.



at some point along the way, i came across some text on pantheism and it resonated very strongly with me. it described things that i already believed, but it was amazing to see it put in words and to find out that other people believed similarly.




Was it a book by Alan Watts?
libertygrl
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Posted 01/12/12 - 5:40 PM:

Thinker13 wrote:
Are JW suggesting the possibility of multiplicity of Gods? I think, Christianity, Islam and perhaps Judaism accept only one God.

they believe there is only one "true" god, the one they call jehovah. but they believe people worship different things as gods, and they believe that "logos" (translated "the word") was one of the things people worshipped as a god. other things people may worship as gods may be sex, drugs, money, and so on. but they consider these "false" gods.

Thinker wrote:
Wait a minute. If I have not missed anything, your first husband was your fiance as well, who was pretty much himself violating the JW and should have also been disfellowshipped. How come you say that you left your first husband who was JW?

my fiance, who later became my husband, was indeed a JW, but he was not disfellowshipped because he showed sufficient remorse. at the time i was disfellowshipped, i was doing a lot of theater (acting in plays and such), and this exposed me to what they call "worldly" people, or in other words people outside of the church, which they do not like at all. i had made a lot of good friends in the theater.

the elders told me that they would refrain from disfellowshipping me as long as i agreed to stop doing theater and not see those "worldly" people ever again. they of course expected me to show remorse as well. i told them they can go right ahead and disfellowship me, that i was done with it all. it was at that same time that i decided to leave my first husband. we had a very unhappy marriage and the religion was only a part of it. but ultimately, i think we could have worked things out if it were not for the fact that he wanted to remain a JW and i did not.

Same here. hug Thanks Pamela, Monk2400, Henry Quirk, DerEngie, Willem and Xanthos and many others.

hear hear thumb up

Was it a book by Alan Watts?

no, alan watts was a teacher of buddhism and taoism, but i don't know if he ever taught pantheism as well. i don't think so. my first exposure to pantheism was through conversation with a former madphilosopher. i don't even remember his username anymore because we started emailing back and forth after a while and he only frequented madphilosphers very briefly (probably around 2001).

libertygrl
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Posted 01/12/12 - 6:28 PM:

incidentally, i have read before that the early israelites who lived during the time of moses, originally practiced polytheism, and jehovah was actually one of their polytheistic gods. then moses began writing about how their god was the only true one, and they began shifting toward monotheism.
Thinker13
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Posted 01/13/12 - 1:40 AM:

libertygrl wrote:

they believe there is only one "true" god, the one they call jehovah. but they believe people worship different things as gods, and they believe that "logos" (translated "the word") was one of the things people worshipped as a god. other things people may worship as gods may be sex, drugs, money, and so on. but they consider these "false" gods.


Do they believe that ‘logos’ is not as great as true God? I mean, I have hitherto believed that logos is given much importance in Christianity. Are JW comparing logos with other things like sex, drugs or money? That seems to be one difference among many others from Christianity (orthodox systems). Logos is a false God according to JW. Is my understanding correct?


lib wrote:
my fiance, who later became my husband, was indeed a JW, but he was not disfellowshipped because he showed sufficient remorse. at the time i was disfellowshipped, i was doing a lot of theater (acting in plays and such), and this exposed me to what they call "worldly" people, or in other words people outside of the church, which they do not like at all. i had made a lot of good friends in the theater.


Oh, you have worked in theater! I always fancied working in plays, but alas, other things kept me engaged. Your stint in theaters ended long back? Now I understand clearly, why your fiancé was not shown the way out.



no, alan watts was a teacher of buddhism and taoism, but i don't know if he ever taught pantheism as well. i don't think so. my first exposure to pantheism was through conversation with a former madphilosopher. i don't even remember his username anymore because we started emailing back and forth after a while and he only frequented madphilosphers very briefly (probably around 2001).


That’s fine.
Thinker13
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Posted 01/13/12 - 1:48 AM:

libertygrl wrote:
incidentally, i have read before that the early israelites who lived during the time of moses, originally practiced polytheism, and jehovah was actually one of their polytheistic gods. then moses began writing about how their god was the only true one, and they began shifting toward monotheism.



This tends to make me think that the name 'Jehovah', which was given first to one of the Gods in ancient Israel, was later adopted by Jehovah's Witness for 'only true God'.


I am still curious why Jehovah's Witness is the name given for this group? Is it that they are all witness to the truth that Jehovah is only true God? Moreover, do they believe that Jehovah is father of Jesus Christ?

I suppose they don't because they don't approve of Logos as something near to God and I have read somewhere that Jesus was Logos-the manifestation of the word in the flesh.

Thinker13
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Posted 01/13/12 - 1:48 AM:

libertygrl wrote:
incidentally, i have read before that the early israelites who lived during the time of moses, originally practiced polytheism, and jehovah was actually one of their polytheistic gods. then moses began writing about how their god was the only true one, and they began shifting toward monotheism.



This tends to make me think that the name 'Jehovah', which was given first to one of the Gods in ancient Israel, was later adopted by Jehovah's Witness for 'only true God'.


I am still curious: Why 'Jehovah's Witness' is the name given for this group? Is it that they all acknowledge that they have witnessed the truth that Jehovah is only true God? Moreover, do they believe that Jehovah is father of Jesus Christ?

I suppose they don't because they don't approve of Logos as something near to God and I have read somewhere that Jesus was Logos-the manifestation of the word in the flesh.

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Posted 01/14/12 - 10:36 AM:

Well, lib I came from a JW background but never gave up my position, god thank I have strong willpower ;-) and yes I do know if you are don’t something which doesn’t compare to their rules and regulation, they will kick you out no matter how long you followed their cote of behaviour.

On the other hand I have to tell you, the higher someone’s position within the JW the greater his/her freedom to do what they want. Of course hidden away from others which are not of the same social

Even treating their own family rotten will be accepted within members, somehow I thought they were Christians, but ask you self, is it christen to be so intolerant?

Isn’t it rather the other way around, that Christians having a commitment to be tolerant to others?

To be honest with you, the JWs are to my understanding pseudo Christians interpretation the Bible according to their set moral values ;-)
libertygrl
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Posted 01/19/12 - 1:15 PM:

Thinker13 wrote:
Do they believe that ‘logos’ is not as great as true God? I mean, I have hitherto believed that logos is given much importance in Christianity. Are JW comparing logos with other things like sex, drugs or money? That seems to be one difference among many others from Christianity (orthodox systems). Logos is a false God according to JW. Is my understanding correct?

my understanding of it is not that good anymore. i did a search on google, just now, and it sounds like JW's believe that jesus was logos, that their interpretation of the scripture suggests that jesus was treated by many as a god, although a lesser god than the "true" god. in other words, he was a god in the perception of man, not a "false" god, but treated as a god.

Thinker wrote:
Oh, you have worked in theater! I always fancied working in plays, but alas, other things kept me engaged. Your stint in theaters ended long back?

theater - or perhaps better spelled "theatre" in this case (to distinguish theatre as a field of study from "theater" as a building where films or plays are shown) - is indeed a lot of fun and i do miss it. the last play i was in was 2005. it is very time-consuming, though, and i let it go in favor of pursuing filmmaking. i feel that having some experience in acting has been a valuable contribution to my work as a director.

Is it that they are all witness to the truth that Jehovah is only true God?

yes, that is exactly what they believe.

Moreover, do they believe that Jehovah is father of Jesus Christ?

yes

libertygrl
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Posted 01/19/12 - 1:20 PM:

Morgena wrote:
Even treating their own family rotten will be accepted within members, somehow I thought they were Christians, but ask you self, is it christen to be so intolerant?

Isn’t it rather the other way around, that Christians having a commitment to be tolerant to others?

To be honest with you, the JWs are to my understanding pseudo Christians interpretation the Bible according to their set moral values ;-)

i totally agree that their behavior is not consistent with the teachings of christ. christ taught love, tolerance and forgiveness. pseudo-christian interpretations is a very accurate description of what the JW's teach. thumb up
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Posted 01/19/12 - 1:27 PM:

libertygrl wrote:

my understanding of it is not that good anymore. i did a search on google, just now, and it sounds like JW's believe that jesus was logos, that their interpretation of the scripture suggests that jesus was treated by many as a god, although a lesser god than the "true" god. in other words, he was a god in the perception of man, not a "false" god, but treated as a god.


That makes it clear.

theater - or perhaps better spelled "theatre" in this case (to distinguish theatre as a field of study from "theater" as a building where films or plays are shown) - is indeed a lot of fun and i do miss it. the last play i was in was 2005. it is very time-consuming, though, and i let it go in favor of pursuing filmmaking. i feel that having some experience in acting has been a valuable contribution to my work as a director.



That is true. Most accomplished actors in Bollywood have been polished first by theatre. They love working in theatre and they consider that to be far more challenging and profound experience than acting in a movie.




libertygrl
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Posted 01/19/12 - 1:38 PM:

doing a play is definitely a profound and wholly different experience from acting in a film. in a film, often there are many takes for the same scene, and often the scenes are filmed out of order. in a play, each performance shares the story in full from beginning to end, and each performance is different depending of course on that day's idiosyncrasies, not only from actors but also from the audience whose reaction will also influence the performance in progress. it is really a unique experience, and if you ever have the opportunity to try it out, i highly recommend it. thumb up
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Posted 01/19/12 - 1:45 PM:

libertygrl wrote:
doing a play is definitely a profound and wholly different experience from acting in a film. in a film, often there are many takes for the same scene, and often the scenes are filmed out of order. in a play, each performance shares the story in full from beginning to end, and each performance is different depending of course on that day's idiosyncrasies, not only from actors but also from the audience whose reaction will also influence the performance in progress. it is really a unique experience, and if you ever have the opportunity to try it out, i highly recommend it. thumb up



To a T.

A question comes to my mind: The movies like Memento use a lot of technical expertise and they are rare gems as well.

You have a unique position of having closely observed theatre and cinema. Do you also think that cinema has an advantage of creating masterpieces like Memento, over theatre?

Or do you think that theatre playing of stories like Memento can be more powerful than what you see on big screen?


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Posted 01/19/12 - 2:07 PM:

oh yes, while theatre has some unique advantages over cinema, it does indeed go the other way - cinema has unique advantages over theatre as well.

with a film like memento, it would be near impossible to create a similar experience for the audience in the form of a play. this is in part due to the intricacy of the sequencing of events which would be extremely difficult to reproduce in a play setting. i am not referring to the chronology moving backward in time but rather things like flashbacks to the actual assault which pass through the film in a way that is very reminiscent of a fractured consciousness. i suppose this could be remedied by having a television screen onstage which shows the audience the painful fragments of leonard's memory. i've seen plays which make effective use of television screens onstage in this manner. so, it may be possible to do an effective stage production of memento, but i think it would be extremely difficult.

the advantage that you have in making a film is that you can incorporate an abundance of intricate details which may be missed on first viewing, but multiple viewings can reveal more and more subtle clues as to what the director intended. the director can finesse the actors to achieve exactly what sentiment he or she desires from the scene. the sequence of events can be re-arranged in post-production to give greater flexibility in telling the story.
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