Goodbye to the Good and the Bad, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Featuring Tyler

By Scott Douglas Jacobsen (w/ Jeff McBrine)

Tyler is a former member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Here he discusses some facets of life in and out of the community, the faith.

*Due credit to Jeff McBrine for the push and organizational skills here.*

*Interview conducted July 22, 2020.*

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: In terms of entering into the Jehovah’s Witnesses at a later period or birth into the Jehovah’s Witnesses communities, what are the early parts of the personal story in the Jehovah’s Witnesses for you?

Tyler: I was born-in in 1982.  My parents converted in the early 1970s, getting baptized in 1974.  I have two older brothers (one in, one disfellowshipped) and one younger sister (disfellowshipped).

Jacobsen: Within community, hierarchs or leaders exist who have more authority than others. Members of the community respect them or fear them, or both, and can report grievances or concerns to them. Can you relate any experiences in which personal life was brought to the congregation or members, even hierarchs/leaders, within the Jehovah’s Witnesses in which you felt demeaned or as if personal privacy was violated?

Tyler: My oldest brother schemed with two elders (father and son) to get “revenge” against myself and several others, for things that they deemed sinful or disrespectful.  He wrote approximately 10 pages of complaints, that I was forced to go through with four elders.  The four main topics discussed ranged from “speaking disrespectfully” of an elder (I exposed the father stealing from the congregation), to sharing inappropriate things on social media (the three other elders laughed at their “examples”), to being accused of trying to force myself on my sister-in-law (18 months after the “fact”?), to the sexual activities of myself and my wife.

Jacobsen: As a social species, social links matter deeply to us. What were some of the communal or social positives while in the Jehovah’s Witnesses? Those good things that came with the community of faith.

Tyler: It’s hard to deny the sense of community that comes with being a believing JW.  However, once you no longer believe, you learn that this community is conditional.  Up to that point, it’s a nice feeling to be able to approach a witness anywhere in the world, and find a “friend.”

Jacobsen: Many individuals have been expulsed, kicked out, from the Jehovah’s Witnesses for a variety of reasons. Others have been scared or pressured/coerced into staying in it. Were social ostracism and threat of expulsion real threats for others or yourself when questioned on matters of a highly private nature if refusing to respond to the questioning?

Tyler: I have been avoiding speaking to the congregation elders for about 9 months, because there is a judicial committee waiting for me.  Now that I no longer believe, I also have to fear disfellowshipping simply for that.

Jacobsen: In terms of individual and community behaviour towards you, what Jehovah’s Witnesses policies seem fair and humane within ordinary legal and sociocultural contexts? Please provide examples as you feel comfortable.

Tyler: I actually struggle to find any policies exclusive to the religion that are beneficial to the community, or individuals. (Please see the next response.)

Jacobsen: In terms of individual and community behaviour towards you, what Jehovah’s Witnesses policies seem unfair and inhumane within ordinary legal and sociocultural contexts? Please provide examples as you feel comfortable.

Tyler: The only policies they employ are based on unsubstantiated claims to authority.  And even seemingly benign practices, like their policies on preaching put undue stress on followers.  Meeting attendance puts children at an unfair advantage, because they are not able to perform to the full potential at school, nor encouraged to learn critical thinking skills.  Elderly ones are left pinching pennies, after sacrificing their time and money for decades, because they are unable to save, due to constant propaganda to donate financially.  My father went to work in Puerto Rico for two months on his own dime, and the kingdom halls they rebuilt have since been sold by the organization, after collecting the free laboir, materials, and often insurance checks.

Jacobsen: If any examples, have you ever been coerced by the community or the leadership of the Jehovah’s Witnesses to relinquish individual civil rights and human rights for the sake of the Jehovah’s Witnesses?

Tyler: I can’t think of any examples of this in my life.

Jacobsen: Many people, as per the “social species” example before, can suffer from mental anguish or even mental illness (if prolonged stressors) as a result of coercion from the community, expulsion from the community, even banishment from family, friends, and community all-at-once. Sometimes, this can lead to the extremes of suicidal ideation, even suicide attempts (often as a cry for help). If I may ask, what were some mental health issues and unhealthy, towards the self, behaviours as a result of the process of leaving the Jehovah’s Witnesses, i.e., as a result of the loss of community, threats of shunning, removal of friends and family, and other forms of coercive attempts at control?

Tyler: Each type of example provided has been used against me.  In addition, I’ve been told that I’m a failure and a loser, and that I don’t love my children.  These control methods have led to serious mental health problems, suicidal ideation/planning, anxiety and depression.  I have since started seeing a therapist, which I would recommend for any former witnesses.

Jacobsen: Thank you for the time and opportunity to tell your story here today.   

Jeff McBrine: Thank you Scott for those questions. I’d like to add one too…

Do you feel Jehovah’s Witnesses that stop believing are forced to suffer a way of life that they find unacceptable or can’t find any true enjoyment in because they fear leaving the religion and then having all of their social structure taken away? Basically, do you feel any are trapped in the religion and are suffering psychological damage or violations of their personal freedom and rights? Do you know anyone that fits this description? Explain if you want.

Tyler: Up to this point in time, I would say I fit that description, as well as countless others.  While I haven’t attended any meetings since last year, and would consider myself POMO, I still receive constant pressure from my wife to get me to return.  This constant pressure has trapped me within my own home, in a sense.  Additionally, my sister told our mother that she didn’t believe when she was 15 or 16, and was forced to go to meetings until she moved out the day she turned 18.

Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Unsplash

Scott Douglas Jacobsen
Scott Douglas Jacobsen
Assistant Editor, News Intervention, Human Rights Activist. Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He focuses on North America for News Intervention. Jacobsen works for science and human rights, especially women’s and children’s rights. He considers the modern scientific and technological world the foundation for the provision of the basics of human life throughout the world and advancement of human rights as the universal movement among peoples everywhere. You can contact Scott via email.

Related Articles

2 COMMENTS

  1. Jehovah’s Witnesses (JWs) predicted the end of the world, IN WRITING, numerous times. Not once did they come true. They truly are known for their ‘False Predictions’ the world over.

    JWs are taught that they alone are TRUE Christians and that all other people not JW will soon be destroyed. This is no exaggeration.

    JWs will allow their own children TO DIE rather than accept a life saving blood transfusion even in severe medical emergencies. It has already happened THOUSANDS of times!

    Just like this mother died unnecessarily! http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/shropshire/7078455.stm

    Two recently in Canada! http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-42002996

    Or this teenager that also DIED: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/west_midlands/8690785.stm

    This pregnant JW and her baby died.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3027599/Jehovah-s-Witness-baby-die-refuses-blood-transfusion-seven-months-pregnant-cancer-80-chance-surviving-treatment.html

    JWs NEEDLESSLY die for this sorry blood policy today.

    From the same organization that has an entire 100 + year history of similar bad and embarrasing policies.

    As a 15 year active JW (and an elder) here is my own story: http://www.bibletoday.com/archive/JW_Disassociation_letter_by_Vinny.htm#.W0E7_K2ZMVc

    JWs used to forbid Vaccinations and Organ Transplants (calling a life saving transplant “Cannibalism”) for a combined 33 years.

    This JW elder refused a kidney transplant and DIED only to have JWs say transplants are now OK 2 years later. http://ajwrb.org/debbie-shards-story

    JWs enforce extreme shunning for any JW that decides to leave their religion or who sins without showing enough repentance to the elders.

    I have literally seen parents cut off all ties with their children solely because the kid did not want to remain a JW but went in another direction.

    Even ex-JWs who leave the religion on their own, are 100 percent truthful, sincere, love God, pay taxes, help others and more are still SHUNNED by all current JWs and marked as godless, proud, sinning apostates. The Awake magazine recently called them “mentally diseased”.

    And MANY contemplate suicide because the penalties of losing everything are TOO MUCH TO TAKE.

    But an honest question is: Why do so many JWs leave after being one time followers?

    As I eventually found out, the JW religion did say, IN WRITING, that the end would come in 1914 and then again in 1925. Was Jehovah directing all that? 1914 and 1925 came and went! They were proven false predictions. Period.

    They also said the end very likely would happen in 1975 and even commended (in the watchtower) witnesses for selling their houses and pioneering because of it.

    But 1975 came and went!

    They also said (for many decades) that the end would come before the generation born in 1914 passed away. In fact up until 1995 it was written inside each Awake magazine cover. Only they then had to change that meaning as well (including the Awake masthead) because that generation CAME AND WENT TOO.

    I was an active JW (and elder) for 15 years before leaving because of the blood policy 13 yrs ago. Today I’m shunned by all JWs simply because I left the religion.

    Most JWs accept everything the Watchtower teaches and says as “food from God”. Just like I did.

    Most believe God has chosen the Watchtower Society as his “channel”, which provides food from God Himself to their religion and ONLY their religion.

    But an honest look at the facts of the JW religion shows God has not chosen the WT for anything!

    Take a LOOK: https://jwfacts.com/watchtower/changed-watchtower-teachings.php

    ALL FROM THEIR OWN LITERATURE WITH DATES & PAGES TO SEE FOR YOURSELVES!!!

    Pages and pages of mistakes, embarrassments, false predictions, medical disasters, weird science, doctrinal failures and more for over 100 years now!

    Obviously ‘GOD’ would not get things wrong like this. Obviously ‘GOD’ did not provide bad food like that for their entire history.

    But most JWs have no idea about these things. They’re told to stay away from anything critical of their religion.

    For example: Was God’s spirit with JWs when they said Organ Transplants were a “conscience matter” in 1961?

    OR,

    Was God”s spirit with WT when they THEN SAID Organ Transplants are same as “Cannibalism” in 1967 and forbid them?

    OR, was God’s spirit with the WT when they THEN SAID Organ Transplants are NOT the same as cannibalism in 1980 and now allow them?

    Was God behind all those changes each time? Did ((GOD)) get all those things wrong each time? How many JWs like that elder above DIED by refusing kidney transplants, only later on to be told they’re OK to have now?

    Which is why some end up taking their lives due to losing their family or feel compelled to speak out about it, like me right now.

    And because I walked away JWs are demanded to shun you for life (including your very own family).

    Examine this religion and ask as many questions as you can!

    Vinny

Leave a Reply

Stay Connected

15,000FansLike
2,604FollowersFollow
12,800SubscribersSubscribe

Latest Articles