Author Topic: Hi, I'm Tonus  (Read 692 times)

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Offline Tonus

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Hi, I'm Tonus
« on: March 02, 2013, 08:36:54 AM »
I guess if I'm going to welcome others, I should introduce myself first.  :o  I hope no one minds that I'm going to copy/paste my introductory post from ATT.  I'll make it up by adding a footnote, thereby making it an exclusive!

I was raised a Jehovah's Witness.  My experiences with them were generally positive, and I cannot recall ever being troubled by the teachings or doctrine or lifestyle*.  But I never developed the deeply-ingrained loyalty that is required for anyone to remain within that organization.  Over time I drifted from it and after many years came to terms with who I am and what I do -and don't- believe.  Even so, it wasn't until last year that I started to read books and sites critical of the Watchtower organization, and that led me from one book to another and one site to another.  Eventually it led me to the godisimaginary site and finally here.

I am an atheist.  It took some time to understand that being an atheist is nothing like I imagined, especially when I was religious.  Being an atheist is... I guess I would say that it is passive, where being religious is active (especially if you're a JW).  I'm comfortable with who I am and the life I lead and the world I live in.  On the one hand, I wish I'd known all of this years ago.  On the other, religion was useful, providing an easy path out of a poor environment.  I bear no scars and no bitterness (well... some bitterness) and am enjoying the sense of freedom that I have felt now that I understand that my future is my own to manage.

By day, I keep a computer network running for a mid-sized engineering company in New York.  By night, I draw.  In between, I live life.  Which is a euphemism for playing video games and reading comic books and any number of other things that might make you think I'm a geek.  Which is fine, because I am.

*I suppose I should qualify this.  During the time that I was active (until the late 90s) and for years afterwards, I did not consciously question any JW or Bible teachings.  Even those that I couldn't reconcile, I assumed were a failing of my own that god would clear up in due time, even if that meant waiting until after he'd brought about paradise on Earth.  Subconsciously, this sort of self-deception didn't seem to work, and various beliefs and explanations that couldn't fit logically worked to undermine those beliefs that I held by default (ie, god exists).  But it wasn't until I'd drifted away that I began to look at the teachings with an eye towards deciding if they really did make sense.  The rest of this post should make clear where that led me.

Offline Nick

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Re: Hi, I'm Tonus
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2013, 10:49:20 AM »
Welcome Tonus.  My delusion was Roman Catholic (we are all very sad now that we are popeless ;))  I have to ask, "did you go door to door with the JW mindset?"  and if so, "how does that make you feel now?"  I would have had a hard time doing that even if I believed.
Yo, put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Quit ragging on my Lord.

Tide goes in, tide goes out !!!

Offline One Above All

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Re: Hi, I'm Tonus
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2013, 10:50:03 AM »
Welcome to the forum.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One.

Offline Tonus

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Re: Hi, I'm Tonus
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2013, 11:51:58 AM »
Thanks for the welcomes.
I have to ask, "did you go door to door with the JW mindset?"  and if so, "how does that make you feel now?"  I would have had a hard time doing that even if I believed.
To answer that, I have to provide some background.  I believe that my mother turned to the JW faith because their concept of the future provided her a way out of a situation that she did not want to be in.  To clarify: Jehovah's Witnesses believe that god has not abandoned his original plan of allowing humanity to enjoy an unblemished and unending life on an Earth that was designed to cater to their every sense.  The Devil may have sidetracked that plan with Adam's help (Eve being an unwitting pawn who nonetheless shared the penalty for man's sin), but god is determined to provide us with that original paradisaical existence.  Those who serve him as he demands will be so rewarded (excepting those who are part of the anointed class, and will rule in heaven with Christ), while those who reject him --or don't serve him well enough, I guess-- will be destroyed.  JWs do not believe in a fiery hell where souls are tormented, they believe that if we reject god's demands, then we will cease to exist.

Anyway, back to Mom.  She was married to a man she didn't love and resented the family that they built together, to the degree that psychologically, she blamed us (her children).  I can remember times during my early childhood, when she would bitterly proclaim that none of us would join her in the "new system" because we were going to be wiped out by god beforehand, and she would not mourn us, because (and I quote) "the Bible says we cannot feel sorry for those who die at Armaggedon."  Please note: this was not some misguided attempt at urging us to agree to god's demands in the hopes of being saved.  This was the spilling over of bitterness that she simply couldn't contain.  Is this a horrible thing to tell a child even once, much less numerous times?  Yeah, I certainly think so.

With that in mind, it's not surprising that although I accepted the belief system and could explain it quite well, my mother sometimes had to drag us to meetings as children.  And in spite of her predictions of doom, she made every effort imaginable (and with a nonbeliever dad who was almost never around, it was not a minor effort) to get us to every meeting and to get us to every assembly and yes, to get us out on the door-to-door activity.  Door-to-door preaching wasn't terrible, in that I never had any truly distasteful experiences.  I can't say it was ever great; I never really felt as if we were out there accomplishing something significant, treading a path blazed by Jesus.  I would say that there were times when I approached it with "the JW mindset."  That is, the feeling that we were trying to save people.  As opposed to hoping that there was no one home.  :-[

How do I feel about it now?  I'm fairly ambivalent about it.  I feel bad for the people we inconvenienced.  I can still recall an elderly man who became flustered when I knocked on his door and identified myself as a JW.  He snarled something at me and disappeared, so we wandered to the next door.  Moments later, he emerged, waving several of the WT magazines and cursing us for visiting him "three times this week!"  JWs take care to rotate assignments so as not to visit an area so frequently, but individuals will occasionally go their own way.  This poor fellow apparently put up with the first two visits, perhaps out of a desire to be polite, but we'd burned up whatever patience he had left.  In most circumstances where someone gave us grief, we'd have just chalked it up to Satan exerting influence on some poor schmuck, but realizing what he'd been through managed to get through the shell I'd built around my brain.

More than anything, today I feel a sense of relief.  I found that being a JW massaged my ego tremendously.  You mean that I won the cosmic lottery, that I'm one of the 0.01% of people born into salvation?  That god chose me?  And that I'm BETTER THAN THE REST OF THESE LOSERS?  Letting go of religion deflated the ego balloon.  I am now a part of the rest of these losers, and it feels pretty damned good.

Offline Nick

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Re: Hi, I'm Tonus
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2013, 12:29:05 PM »
Interesting.  Aren't tjhe JW also the ones who don't celebrate birthdays and such?  That had to suck as a kid.

So how would/do you react now then they come to your door?

You are right.  That was a terrible thing for your mother to do to you as a kid.  She sounds like a lost soul searching for meaning.  Really sad.
Yo, put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Quit ragging on my Lord.

Tide goes in, tide goes out !!!

Offline Tonus

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Re: Hi, I'm Tonus
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2013, 02:37:30 PM »
Yeah, we didn't celebrate... anything, really.  JWs only celebrate one thing as an organization, that being the Memorial.  Basically, they celebrate mass once a year.  Any other holiday is forbidden, as are birthday celebrations.  Some celebrations, such as baby showers or wedding anniversaries, are allowed.  The amount of control is pretty extensive.  One of the stranger ones is that you cannot say "bless you" to someone who has sneezed.  That is something that can make for the occasional awkward moment.  If you and your community don't celebrate certain things, and reinforce that it's for the best, I think it diminishes the bad feeling of being left out.  Frankly, I don't recall feeling bad about missing out on holidays.  What really made me feel like an outsider was being the only one (or one of very few, if there were others) who sat while everyone else spoke the pledge of allegiance.  Or worse, being asked to wait outside of the classroom while it was done.

If they come to the door, I just smile and say "no, thank you."  Same on the street if they make the offer.  Telling them that I'm an apostate might provide a moment of smug satisfaction (and potentially, comic relief), but I've never been the type.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2013, 02:39:41 PM by Tonus »

Offline Graybeard

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Re: Hi, I'm Tonus
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2013, 05:02:26 PM »
Thanks for the insight into the JWs. I have a theory that if you make a group believe in or do things that nobody else does, the only people that those in the group can talk to are themselves. At the same time, you ensure that the group is kept busy doing things together – things that will give them a belief in themselves and forge bonds of loyalty and friendship.

At this stage, nobody should feel that they want to leave, but if they do, the first duty of members of any group is to hold the group together. If, nevertheless, the member does leave, they have a huge emotional void to fill. It is not for nothing that shunning and “to us you are dead” go so well together.

A long story short: Many years back, my parents were very friendly with the next-door neighbours. My mother was forever chatting across the fence with the woman and always, one would invite the other in for coffee. Except once. The neighbour said that coffee was poison. My mother was more than amazed. The neighbour explained that they had seen the light and had become JWs. Within a month, they were never seen – they would have nothing to do with us.

After 6 or 7 years, we moved house and about 7 or 8 years after that, the neighbours came to the new house. My parents suspected that this was going to be a conversion attempt, but no. Their eldest daughter was dying and their faith had gone. They were trying to pick up the pieces of 14 or so years of isolation. They explained how they had been duped and deceived, how they had ruined their lives.

It was all very sad.

2nd Corinthians 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
2nd Corinthians 6:15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
2nd Corinthians 6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
2nd Corinthians 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate , saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

The early Christians, like fundamentalists everywhere, were masters of mind control.

 
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline Andy S.

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Re: Hi, I'm Tonus
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2013, 06:21:29 PM »

2nd Corinthians 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
2nd Corinthians 6:15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
2nd Corinthians 6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
2nd Corinthians 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate , saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

The early Christians, like fundamentalists everywhere, were masters of mind control.

Welcome Tonus!  I was I Christian fundamentalist and our stories are somewhat similar in that we both discovered we were being brainwashed. 

It's funny, I remember just 6 months ago I gave my sister advice on what to do concerning a non-believer that she was dating.  As a Christian, she came to me for advice because she knew I was a real "bible thumper".  I told her she should break-up with the guy because God's word says so and I gave her these exact verses that Graybeard referenced.  I'm glad she didn't listen to me or God because the guy is really pretty cool.
"The most detestable wickedness, the most horrid cruelties, and the greatest miseries, that have afflicted the human race, have had their origin in this thing called revelation, or revealed religion."
~Thomas Paine (The Age of Reason)

Offline The Gawd

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Re: Hi, I'm Tonus
« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2013, 07:31:44 AM »
Welcome Tonus!!

Offline Tonus

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Re: Hi, I'm Tonus
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2013, 07:40:02 PM »
The early Christians, like fundamentalists everywhere, were masters of mind control.
Yep.  I think that we're wired to be social, our brains work in ways that promote our desire to be with and around one another.  I find that I am very introverted and standoffish with people until I know them, at which point I'm open and social and (hopefully) fun to be around.  High-control cults use that "on/off" social switch to control behavior.  There are times when it is baffling, times when it is very sad (your neighbors, for example) and times when it is frightening (the stories I've read from young teens who escaped such cults are heart-rending).

Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: Hi, I'm Tonus
« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2013, 08:22:30 PM »
Welcome Tonus!

Not everyone is entitled to their own opinion. They're all entitled to mine though.

Offline kaziglu bey

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Re: Hi, I'm Tonus
« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2013, 09:40:55 PM »
Hello and welcome to the forum! Sorry to hear that you had been a witness. That had to be the pits. Glad to hear that you have made a full recovery. Enjoy your new home here!
Seriously though... What would happen if the Great Green Arkleseizure didn't fram up the rammastam before the hermite curve achieved maximum nurdfurdle velocity? Now THAT would be something. AmIrite?

Offline Traveler

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Re: Hi, I'm Tonus
« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2013, 01:50:49 PM »
Hello and welcome aboard! Thanks for providing some insight into the JW mindset. Its always been a puzzle to me.
If we ever travel thousands of light years to a planet inhabited by intelligent life, let's just make patterns in their crops and leave.

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Re: Hi, I'm Tonus
« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2013, 06:58:24 PM »
Welcome to the forum, Tonus.
Live a good life... If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. I am not afraid.
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