">
Site hosted by Angelfire.com: Build your free website today!
UBM Solution Finder
« November 2008 »
S M T W T F S
1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30
Entries by Topic
All topics  «
Backgrounder
Forecast
Friends
Parenting
Solutions
Welcome
Blog Tools
Edit your Blog
Build a Blog
RSS Feed
View Profile
You are not logged in. Log in
Thursday, 19 April 2007
Backgrounder - the Circuit Assembly
Mood:  lazy
Topic: Backgrounder
There are several assemblies throughout the year. There are circuit assemblies and district assemblies. I believe the circuit assembly is smaller and shorter.
The Jehovah's Witnesses, being a centrally controlled organization, run a very tight ship for scheduling and planning. ALL CIRCUIT ASSEMBLIES will have the same printed agenda. Here's the general outline of an assembly:

The meeting will start punctually with a short announcement from the speaker and piped music to remind attendees to make it to their seats.

Start with a song.

A variety of talks and mock dialogues will be conducted throughout the day, broken up with a song here and there (to wake up your behind).

Just before lunch on Saturday, baptisms will be announced. Typically the first couple rows of the auditorium will be roped off for them. The speaker will give a short talk on the significance of the baptism, and will ask the candidates to stand. Candidates are not announced individually. They respond to two questions from the speaker and then file out to the applause of the assembly. They are baptized at noon, often surrounded by a small crowd of well-wishers. They are asked to bring their own bathing suit and a modest t-shirt for the baptism.

Everyone else has a lunch they have packed for themselves, typically in the same facility. If a space has been designated for lunch, a clean-up crew will shoo them back to their seats when the meeting is about to start again.

A variety of talks and mock dialogues will be conducted throughout the afternoon, broken up with a song here and there (to wake up your behind).

A keynote speaker typically wraps up the day. They are often a fairly high-ranking personage in the organization, perhaps a Bethelite. Couched in his talk will be any changes in direction or policy from head office. He will speak louder at the conclusion of the talk as a signal to the audience for a little enthusiasm.

The second day is a repeat of day one except there is no baptism, there is a reading of the accounts (they always announce they are a little short) and a prayer.

Everyone goes home.

The meeting place:
Year texts will be displayed prominently around the room.

The stage will be quite plain. There will be a podium with seats and microphones arranged for the various presentations.

Perhaps off to the side or in a separate room will be the baptismal tank.

There will be designated slots for receiving contributions, perhaps discreet boxes placed at the entrance in to the facility.

Here are some pictures from the Circuit Assembly from an amazing Jehovah's Witness meeting hall, the Stanley Theatre. Most meeting places are not this ornate. Circuit Assembly, Stanley Theatrehttp://family.webshots.com/album/192410240ilMmnJ

Here are detailed notes from a Circuit Assembly last year:
Notes from a typical circuit assemblyhttp://www.jehovahs-witness.com/6/105774/1.ashx

And a YouTube portrayal of a typical DISTRICT ASSEMBLY (slightly larger). Note the badges, which are given only to members who are pioneers or publishers. My husband, who is not COMPLETELY accepted by the Jehovah's Witnesses, worries every year if he will be given his own badge.

YouTube Circuit Assemblyhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVaRRIKJ08c&NR=1

Posted by ab6/jgnat at 6:29 AM MDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Saturday, 31 December 2005
2006 Yeartext: "We must obey God as ruler rather than men." -Acts 5:29.
Mood:  crushed out
Topic: Forecast
Commentary:

This article gives me chills. No, in these last days the persecution JW's suffer is not from being thrown in jail or to the lions or boiled in a headhunter's pot. The persecution JW's face today are:

- a Christian youth with unbelieving parents or a
Christian wife with an unbelieving husband.
- What about a single Christian man or woman seeking a marriage mate?
- Or brothers and sisters who must have daily contact with non-Witness coworkers?

"...While not challenging his headship, neither the child nor the wife will compromise his or her faith. When it comes to attending Christian meetings, preaching the good news, avoiding unchristian customs and practices, and so on, each one "must obey God as ruler rather than men," remembering that Jehovah God is Head over all.-1 Cor. 11:3; Col. 3:23."


Forecast:

It's going to be an awful year for those of us with JW loved ones or subordinates. We'll be viewed as the persecution every time we try and insert some normalcy.

Antidote:

To obey God rather than men includes the leadership of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. In the months leading up to 2006, why not encourage your partner to study the bible on his own, without the guidance of any imperfect men, to make up his own mind on things. After all, doesn't he want to obey God rather than imperfect men?

Posted by ab6/jgnat at 12:01 AM MST
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Sunday, 11 December 2005
2005/11/01 Will You Walk With God?
Mood:  down
Topic: Forecast
Synopsis: The Watchtower trinity of meeting attendance, field service and study.

Forecast: Take advantage of one of those free passes to a fitness club and spend a few hours with your partner, side by side, on the treadmill.

Posted by ab6/jgnat at 12:01 AM MST
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Sunday, 4 December 2005
2005/11/01 Jehovah is Our Shepherd
Mood:  hug me
Topic: Forecast
Synopsis: Self-explanatory. This looks like a repeat. I know I've seen the picture before.

Forecast: Feel-good article. Good week to have a heart-to-heart with your partner.

Posted by ab6/jgnat at 12:01 AM MST
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Monday, 28 November 2005
Analysis of the talk, "Do Not Follow Artfully Contrived Stories"
Mood:  mischievious
Topic: Backgrounder



Here's my notes from the Public Talk, "Do Not Follow Artfully Contrived Stories", taken in the summer of 2005 at our annual District Convention.

Logical Fallacy Employed [bracketed phrases are my additions and comments] repetitive phrases in red





































[Opening illustration]

[Nazi] Goebbels - watch your little children before Passover.

[Evolutionist] Richard Dawkins -It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I'd rather not consider that).

- you will not die.

Plays the logical fallacy, "Hitler card". http://www.fallacyfiles.org/adnazium.html The implication is that propaganda is bad because Hitler employed the propagandist Goebbels.

In context, Goebbels repeated age-old myths and about the Jewish people to spark fear and hatred:

Anti-Semitic hate spewed out of the press and government information offices during this period. Julius Streicher's Der Stürmer, a German newspaper, carried a 14-page special issue which included the age-old charge that Jews used Christian blood to bake their Passover matzoh.

http://www.remember.org/guide/Facts.root.solution.html

In context, Richard Dawkin's quote in full.

http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/p88.htm

Technically, Dawkin's quote is not an example of propaganda, just an inflammatory comment to a fundamentalist. An outrageous claim must be supported to be taken seriously. Dawkins does provide this with his book, Blueprints: Solving the Mystery of Evolution.

Propagandists are put in the same bed with Hitler, Evolutionists, and

. Logical fallacy: "Guit by Association"

http://www.fallacyfiles.org/guiltbya.html

Set up for later strawman argument. Since propaganda is bad, any negative information about the Faithful and Discreet Slave is also bad.http://www.fallacyfiles.org/strawman.html

Deception, propaganda, false stories. Develop our discernment.

2 Peter 1:16 Eyewitness of His magnificence.

Divinely inspired spiritual truth.

Is the audience given specific instructions or guidance on how to discern false from true?

Full quote, 2 Peter 1:16 NWT No, it was not by following artfully contrived false stories that we acquainted YOU with the power and presence of our Lord Jesus Christ, but it was by having become eyewitnesses of his magnificence.

Interestingly, here Peter is seeking to convince his audience that he has not made outrageous claims about Christ, that they can be backed up by eyewitness accounts. Can the Watchtower society back up their claims as well, such as "Jesus was enthroned invisibly in 1914"?

[Illustration}

Stick Men vs Accomplished Artists

Liars vs Con Artists

This illustration suggests that the makers of false stories and propaganda are slick, skilled. Perhaps an implication that the average listener could not discern on their own if they were being lied to.

and fellow Apostates are artists in developing false stories.

and Apostates are lumped together. There is no further mention of Apostates in the talk. Perhaps the WTS is hinting that Apostates influence higher education, the media, and the internet?

Propaganda is spreading like gangrene, undermine the bible, true Christian teaching. As bizarre and hate-laden as Goebbels.

Reference to the Straw Man introduced at the beginning of the talk, the Hitler card. Straw Man fallacy. http://www.fallacyfiles.org/strawman.html

Outrageous claim, no specific examples are given. The one who makes an outrageous, extraordinary claim is obliged to prove it.

Logical fallacy, "Weak Analogy"

http://www.fallacyfiles.org/wanalogy.html

Higher Education.

Education gateway to success.

Success through learning.

Drive of this system is to be elevated by education or financial status. People are convinced pursuing these things will provide satisfaction.

Matthew 5:3 Life and happiness. World provides so much propaganda on what makes us happy or free.

What does higher education have to do with artfully contrived stories? Logical fallacy, Red Herring.http://www.fallacyfiles.org/redherrf.html

Full quote, Matthew 5:3 NWT Happy are those conscious of their spiritual need, since the kingdom of the heavens belongs to them.

Carrot, suggesting that people who take care of their spirtual needs are truly happy. It is suggesting that other's pursuit of wealth or goods are under the influence of propaganda and are not really happy or free.

Pornography. World attitude is "It’s safe". 260 million pornographic images.

Sex is most commonly used word in all search engines.

More commonplace, acceptable.

1 Thessalonians 4:3-5

God disapproves of covetous sexual appetite.

View of world towards marriage. "The Right to Try Again" book quote.

What does pornography have to do with propaganda? Logical fallacy, Red Herring.

http://www.fallacyfiles.org/redherrf.html

The the internet is targetted, ambiguously, as a source of propaganda.

Full quote, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 NWT NWT 3 For this is what God wills, the sanctifying of YOU, that YOU abstain from fornication; 4 that each one of YOU should know how to get possession of his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in covetous sexual appetite such as also those nations have which do not know God;

I was not successful in finding the book or quote mentioned.

Media wrong information and spread far and wide. Relentless efforts of

to spread lies.

Incessant barrage of propaganda.

Collosians 2:8 Look out

Congregations were warned back then what they will face.

Full quote, Collosians 2:8 NWT NWT, Look out: perhaps there may be someone who will carry YOU off as his prey through the philosophy and empty deception according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary things of the world and not according to Christ;

But what are the criteria are we to use to discern if the person is trustworthy? Is the Watchtower speaker giving the audience tools for discernment, or are various groups simply lumped together? Who is using "empty deception"?

Matthew 19:6[???]

World’s philosophies and false stories. Whose interests are served by the World’s philosophies?

Propaganda.

The verse in context doesn't make sense. I may have copied it wrong.

Good question. Whose interests are served when the media breaks a story?

Whose interests are served to demonize the media, higher education, and the internet?

All designed to weaken our faith in the organization and the teachings of the Faithful and Discreet Slave today.

No specific examples cited. Slippery Slope fallacy. There is a design? Who is the designer?

http://www.fallacyfiles.org/slipslop.html

[Illustration]

Merry go round.

Spinning so fast to make you fall.

Place of protection is to move to the centre and hold on tight.

Stories swirling around us.

Stick to the Faithful and Discreet Slave.

Carefully following the direction they give to us.

Focus on something stable, prevents the nausea.

These stories that are designed to dizzy us and confuse us.

Direct emotional appeal.

http://www.fallacyfiles.org/emotiona.html

I can see the scenario as plain as day.

I provide a reasoned argument to a Jehovah's Witness.

They begin a Cognitive Dissonant episode, suddenly feeling faint.

"Wait! Faint? Dizzy? I was warned these feelings are from Satan. Away from me you worker of inquity! Where's my Watchtower so I can cling to it? When's the next meeting?"


Posted by ab6/jgnat at 6:47 AM MST
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Logical Fallacies
Mood:  mischievious
Topic: Solutions
Opening Story:

In the summer of 2005 I attended the annual district assembly of Jehovah's Witnesses here in Edmonton, Alberta. Darcy Harris gave a talk entitled, "Do Not Follow Artfully Contrived Stories". I made notes of this talk, which provides many examples of logical fallacies and manipulative language. I analysed this talk to practice spotting the ways I was being manipulated in to a particular way of action or thinking. I hate being manipulated. I do this type of analysis once in a while to sharpen my skills in discernment, and I habitually apply these principles when reading a Watchtower article.
Here's a link to my analysis

An unfortunate spinoff to my newly sharpened critical skills is I can't help analysing every appeal or call to action, including my poor pastor's sermons. Appeals to emotion don't work very well on me any more.

General comments from the talk,

It is ironic that a talk designed to warn the hearers away from propaganda is an excellent case study on how to manipulate an audience using strawman arguments, targetting and associating unlike groups as being dangerous, vague threats, and appeal to emotion. Certain words and phrases are repeated, "artfully contrived stories" and "propaganda". There are no specific guidelines given in the entire talk, however, on how to spot the propaganda. Instead, Higher Education, the Media, the Internet and Pornography are all lumped together as being under Satan's influence. Though not specifically mentioned, I believe this talk is priming the listeners to ignore critical information about the society. They are specifically warned away from from the Universities (possibly because of Critical Thinking courses), and the Internet (open and free exchange of information), without providing any evidence that these places are hotbeds for propaganda.

Context:

How do Jehovah's Witnesses make their arguments sound so convincing? Are they using logical fallacies and manipulative techniques to draw the audience and the reader to a desired course of action? None of us want to think that we are robots or puppets. Can you learn these techniques of manipulation?

Lots of other organizations and groups use manipulative techniques to influence their audience. We see an average of twelve commercials per television show. Not all of these sales attempts are sinister. I like milk, and I buy a new car every four years or so. Nevertheless, it is helpful to understand how these groups manage to influence you in a particular direction, so that you are not unduly influenced, and you maintain your autonomy.

Problem:

You may be witnessing someone being sucked in to the Jehovah's Witness arguments. Are they being "brainwashed", and if so, how is it being accomplished? You may be worried that you too may be drawn in to the JW thinking, against your will. When you understand how language is used to guide people in to a certain course of action, you will be able to defend, or inoculate yourself, against it's effects.

Forces:

Jehovah's Witnesses talks and literature use a predictable pattern of logical fallacies and manipulative language.

A person deep in Cognitive Dissonance is desperate for any reason to maintain their pattern of behavior. You may see some creative reasoning an excuses to defend their choices.

Elders, too, are experienced in drawing congregation members to a certain course of action.

The study leader will have warned their study partner that Satan and "worldly people' will be opposed to their newly discovered spirituality. You may not be able to defend yourself against what is said about you in your absence.


Essence of the Solution:

Take time to learn cricial thinking skills, including learning to spot Logical Fallacies. By learning how arguments are designed to manipulate the audience in to believing something that is illogical, you inoculate yourself against the argument. You are then free to choose to follow or to walk away from their chosen path for you.


More about the Solution:

You can practice locating logical fallacies by taking a section of Watchtower writing. You don't have to do the whole article at once. Take a small section of the article and analyse that.

1. First of all, read the article for key words or phrases.

Can you spot the manipulative language? (underline words or phrases like "should", "a reasonable person would" or "how do you feel"..with answer provided

Watch for words like "likely", "evidently". It means that the WTS is speculating and adding to the bible account.

Is the "carrot" mentioned (everlasting life on earth)?

Are code words and phrases used that have unique meaning for the JW- such as "True Christian" (only JW's), and "Conscience Matter" (an issue the JW must be careful to follow the direction of the Watchtower Society).

2. Are there any Logical Fallacies? Learn to spot illogical arguments. Here are some illogical arguments often seen in Watchtower articles:

Straw Man - an extreme example is given first and defeated. Then the article goes on to dismiss milder examples. For instance, an extreme example of bad reporting by the media is given, quickly followed by a statement that "media feed us lies".


Bait and Switch - the article starts out with a generally accepted religious principle, "Obey Christ" and ends with "Obey Jehovah's Organization."


3. Does the topic hint at the issues worrying the Watchtower Society (for instance, constant encouragement to settle offences may mean that this is a big issue for the organization)?

4. Look up all quotes. If they do not reference the author, try doing a googlegoogle search for the source. Are authors and bible verses quoted in context? Were they represented accurately?


Do other translations give another slant to the meaning?

Online searchable bibles:

www.blueletterbible.org

www.biblegateway.com

What was left out between the three dots?

5. Is there a setup for Cognitive Dissonance, for instance, mention of ambiguous hazard or ambiguous reward, so the reader will "fill in the blanks"?


Resulting Context:

Logical arguments can only take you so far. People have many reasons for doing what they do, many of them emotional. That's OK, recognize the forces that you and your loved ones are drawn by, and adapt to them.

Many people join the Jehovah's Witnesses for emotional reasons. Trying to point out the logical fallacies may push your listener in to increasingly illogical reasons for remaining. I explain these forces in my article on Cognitive Dissonance. You may need to address the emotional reasons that a JW is drawn to the Witnesses before you tackle the logical fallacies.

The JW's in turn accuse opposers of using "Artfully Contrived Stories" to draw converts away from the "truth". In the end, you will have to make up yuour own mind on who is trying to deceive and why.
In the head of the moment an experienced debater may sound more convincing than your best argument. You may have to be content to concede for the time being. Take a few days to mull over your opponent's arguments to find the holes.

Known Uses:

A side benefit to this new skill is that you will become a logical thinker not easily taken in by con artists, phone solicitors, activists, Multi-Level Marketing schemes, or politicians.

Posted by ab6/jgnat at 6:42 AM MST
Updated: Monday, 28 November 2005 6:48 AM MST
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Logical Fallacies
Mood:  mischievious
Topic: Solutions
Opening Story:

In the summer of 2005 I attended the annual district assembly of Jehovah's Witnesses here in Edmonton, Alberta. Darcy Harris gave a talk entitled, "Do Not Follow Artfully Contrived Stories". I made notes of this talk, which provides many examples of logical fallacies and manipulative language. I analysed this talk to practice spotting the ways I was being manipulated in to a particular way of action or thinking. I hate being manipulated. I do this type of analysis once in a while to sharpen my skills in discernment, and I habitually apply these principles when reading a Watchtower article.
Here's a link to my analysis

An unfortunate spinoff to my newly sharpened critical skills is I can't help analysing every appeal or call to action, including my poor pastor's sermons. Appeals to emotion don't work very well on me any more.

General comments from the talk,

It is ironic that a talk designed to warn the hearers away from propaganda is an excellent case study on how to manipulate an audience using strawman arguments, targetting and associating unlike groups as being dangerous, vague threats, and appeal to emotion. Certain words and phrases are repeated, "artfully contrived stories" and "propaganda". There are no specific guidelines given in the entire talk, however, on how to spot the propaganda. Instead, Higher Education, the Media, the Internet and Pornography are all lumped together as being under Satan's influence. Though not specifically mentioned, I believe this talk is priming the listeners to ignore critical information about the society. They are specifically warned away from from the Universities (possibly because of Critical Thinking courses), and the Internet (open and free exchange of information), without providing any evidence that these places are hotbeds for propaganda.

Context:

How do Jehovah's Witnesses make their arguments sound so convincing? Are they using logical fallacies and manipulative techniques to draw the audience and the reader to a desired course of action? None of us want to think that we are robots or puppets. Can you learn these techniques of manipulation?

Lots of other organizations and groups use manipulative techniques to influence their audience. We see an average of twelve commercials per television show. Not all of these sales attempts are sinister. I like milk, and I buy a new car every four years or so. Nevertheless, it is helpful to understand how these groups manage to influence you in a particular direction, so that you are not unduly influenced, and you maintain your autonomy.

Problem:

You may be witnessing someone being sucked in to the Jehovah's Witness arguments. Are they being "brainwashed", and if so, how is it being accomplished? You may be worried that you too may be drawn in to the JW thinking, against your will. When you understand how language is used to guide people in to a certain course of action, you will be able to defend, or inoculate yourself, against it's effects.

Forces:

Jehovah's Witnesses talks and literature use a predictable pattern of logical fallacies and manipulative language.

A person deep in Cognitive Dissonance is desperate for any reason to maintain their pattern of behavior. You may see some creative reasoning an excuses to defend their choices.

Elders, too, are experienced in drawing congregation members to a certain course of action.

The study leader will have warned their study partner that Satan and "worldly people' will be opposed to their newly discovered spirituality. You may not be able to defend yourself against what is said about you in your absence.


Essence of the Solution:

Take time to learn cricial thinking skills, including learning to spot Logical Fallacies. By learning how arguments are designed to manipulate the audience in to believing something that is illogical, you inoculate yourself against the argument. You are then free to choose to follow or to walk away from their chosen path for you.


More about the Solution:

You can practice locating logical fallacies by taking a section of Watchtower writing. You don't have to do the whole article at once. Take a small section of the article and analyse that.

1. First of all, read the article for key words or phrases.

Can you spot the manipulative language? (underline words or phrases like "should", "a reasonable person would" or "how do you feel"..with answer provided

Watch for words like "likely", "evidently". It means that the WTS is speculating and adding to the bible account.

Is the "carrot" mentioned (everlasting life on earth)?

Are code words and phrases used that have unique meaning for the JW- such as "True Christian" (only JW's), and "Conscience Matter" (an issue the JW must be careful to follow the direction of the Watchtower Society).

2. Are there any Logical Fallacies? Learn to spot illogical arguments. Here are some illogical arguments often seen in Watchtower articles:

Straw Man - an extreme example is given first and defeated. Then the article goes on to dismiss milder examples. For instance, an extreme example of bad reporting by the media is given, quickly followed by a statement that "media feed us lies".


Bait and Switch - the article starts out with a generally accepted religious principle, "Obey Christ" and ends with "Obey Jehovah's Organization."


3. Does the topic hint at the issues worrying the Watchtower Society (for instance, constant encouragement to settle offences may mean that this is a big issue for the organization)?

4. Look up all quotes. If they do not reference the author, try doing a googlegoogle search for the source. Are authors and bible verses quoted in context? Were they represented accurately?


Do other translations give another slant to the meaning?

Online searchable bibles:

www.blueletterbible.org

www.biblegateway.com

What was left out between the three dots?

5. Is there a setup for Cognitive Dissonance, for instance, mention of ambiguous hazard or ambiguous reward, so the reader will "fill in the blanks"?


Resulting Context:

Logical arguments can only take you so far. People have many reasons for doing what they do, many of them emotional. That's OK, recognize the forces that you and your loved ones are drawn by, and adapt to them.

Many people join the Jehovah's Witnesses for emotional reasons. Trying to point out the logical fallacies may push your listener in to increasingly illogical reasons for remaining. I explain these forces in my article on Cognitive Dissonance. You may need to address the emotional reasons that a JW is drawn to the Witnesses before you tackle the logical fallacies.

The JW's in turn accuse opposers of using "Artfully Contrived Stories" to draw converts away from the "truth". In the end, you will have to make up yuour own mind on who is trying to deceive and why.
In the head of the moment an experienced debater may sound more convincing than your best argument. You may have to be content to concede for the time being. Take a few days to mull over your opponent's arguments to find the holes.

Known Uses:

A side benefit to this new skill is that you will become a logical thinker not easily taken in by con artists, phone solicitors, activists, Multi-Level Marketing schemes, or politicians.

Posted by ab6/jgnat at 6:34 AM MST
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Sunday, 27 November 2005
2005/10/15 Cultivate Genuine Humility
Mood:  chatty
Topic: Forecast
Synopsis: Soccer players succomb to the worldly tendency to excel, very bad. Stop fighting with other members of the congregation.

Forecast: Great anti-witness picture on page 28. Apparently soccer is evil.

Posted by ab6/jgnat at 12:01 AM MST
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Saturday, 26 November 2005
Trust in a Religiously Divided Household
Mood:  hug me
Topic: Backgrounder
I polled a group of Unbelieving Mates, or UBM's on their feelings on trust in their marriage. From the poll results it is clear that intimacy, trust, and honesty go together. Each is impacted by the others in dozens of ways. Any can be improved or weakened by action or inaction, each of these principles of relationships require effort to achieve and maintain. It is clear too, that if communication and intimacy had broken down before a partner changes faiths, it makes it doubly hard afterward to salvage the tatters. All human relationships involve trust to varying degrees. Marriage is probably one of the ultimate expressions of trust because both of you are vulnerable on so many fronts (physical, emotional, financial ). Before making a major life change (like changing religious beliefs), think of your spouse.

Trust means:
- You've got their back.
- Trust can be like money, it can lost but can be earned back. The earning it is hard once it is lost.
- When you trust someone, you can rely on them and have confidence in the decisions they will make. I think it’s closely related to predictability.
- Marriage is completely betting the farm on another person. Not just yours, but all your progeny as well.

Want to be trusted?

-Say what you mean and mean what you say.
- Stay trustworthy, even when it hurts, especially through the tough times.

Here are some more comments:
Trust is a very big issue in the divided religious household. I have had 3 major surgeries and some illnesses since my husband and I have been married. I had to trust him that he would follow my instructions against his religious beliefs. That's a big thing. But in the same regard, I have to do the same if he's ever in that situation. And we were in that situation this summer. I watched him say no to blood products while having surgery. While I completely disagree with this, its his life and his decision to make.

I just asked my wife if she trusts me. She said "not entirely." I asked "why?". She said, "Because I know you are going through some sort of midlife crisis these days, and I don't know really what to expect from you..." I had to laugh because she is such a straight shooter, and because I can only imagine how she must see me in her ultra-moral and boring JW life, where I am the evil atheist who is screwing up his life and throwing caution to the wind and has a purposeless existence. Which is all true, I may add. But ya, I can see what she means. I have had a lot of surprises for her in the last year. Probably coming out of the closet as an atheist that had been praying to a non-existent Jehovah, and closing in a non-existent Jesus' name, and commenting at the book study about stuff that I thought was total BS for months and months, was a blow to her trust in me. It seems silly to me, but it's obviously not to her.

The biggest break of trust in our marriage happened when he realized that I wasn't going to be a JW anymore. For a while it really shook his trust in me. He thought that everything about me had changed. In fact, he told me that he didn't know me anymore, that I wasn't the person he had married anymore. That hurt, because I was the same person, still a good wife and mother... believing that the WTBTS is not God's mouthpiece on earth does not make me a bad person!! Once he realized that my ‘apostate’ activities were a betrayal to the WTS and not to him personally, or to our marriage, the trust he had in me before all this slowly returned.
I have never lied to him or misled him or hidden anything important from him - until now, leaving the [Watchtower Society]. And he knows that I hide some things now, but he also knows the reasons why. And I honestly think that if he didn't trust me so much, he would give me a much harder time about my clandestine activities than he does.

The big thing where we are lacking is that she joined [the Watchtower Society] after I asked her to put it off. I only wanted a little time to understand the implications of her baptism. I also thought it was reasonable to ask her to look at the facts, with me, with a fresh set of eyes. I felt that, as her husband, this was a completely reasonable request. I would never have joined if she came to me that way. But the effects of mind control are deep and profound. She made a profound change in our life without my consent. To me, there is no "us". There is only "her". Even if she left the [Watchtower Society] tomorrow, I would still be looking for her next catastrophic choice.

Posted by ab6/jgnat at 8:46 AM MST
Updated: Saturday, 26 November 2005 8:48 AM MST
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Wednesday, 23 November 2005
Dress for the Hall
Mood:  flirty
Topic: Solutions
Opening Story:

My missionary friend had just come back from Mexico. We talked about the cultural differences and getting used to life in Canada. He noticed that he had to "pause and reflect" before he went outdoors. In Mexico, he never gave a thought to the weather before he went outside. I noticed that Mexicans require much less personal space. My missionary friend reflected while innocently cuddled side-to-side on a park bench. I love talking to friends from the tropics, too, because of my own homesickness for the West Indies.


The markets are so different than in Canada. You are expected to barter. When a white person enters the market, the prices rise in a wave before them. It is assumed that if you are a tourist, you can afford the markup. This was a problem for my missionary friend, a nordic blonde, as he was living as a native and had no more income than the people he was serving. He got in to the habit of bringing one of his native-born daughters along. As soon as his girls started chatting in the native dialect, the merchant relaxed. And relaxed the price.


People are more relaxed when they are with their own, an identifiable group. When you attend a gathering as an outsider, it helps to do what you can to "fit in". If you dress like a native, people you meet will likely be more relaxed and treat you more like their own kind. My first, dramatic, visit to a Kingdom Hall certainly bore this out. I'll give you the back story to set the scene.


I and my Jehovah's Witness husband had married months before, the culmination of a three-year courtship. While I was dating Art he had started studying with the Witnesses. He chose to keep our relationship a secret. He did try "testing the waters" a couple of times, confessing that he was dating a non-JW but each time he received a firm warning that scared him off from bringing it up again. So we married quietly, with my parents and my children, my granddaughter and the Justice of the Peace. After we were married I told my husband he had to come clean at the hall. I was tired of being treated like an embarrassing secret. He kept putting it off. The last time he'd brought it up, he lost two night's sleep over it. He had told the elders he'd prayed about it and was content to leave his fate in Jehovah's hands. The elders had replied, "What makes you think that Jehovah hears your prayers?" So we continued our early married life in limbo. He continued going to the Kingdom Hall, and I went to my church half a block away.


We were quickly heading for a collission, though. The elders were talking about granting my husband more responsibility. I warned Art that he would be deceiving these Elders and lying to the Holy Spirit if he continued in this lie. Still he put it off.


The final straw, I am ashamed to admit, came on a day I was a woman scorned, aggrieved and neglected. Art had put off my amorous advances that morning. Even though he knew I was a simmering cauldron of feminine misery, he chose that morning to pretend that I would peacefully let it pass, if he ignored me long enough. So I made my decision. I dressed carefully, did my hair up nicely, and put on a full application of war paint. I asked him to drop me off at church on his way to the hall, our regular pattern. He dropped me off at the rear entrance, pecked me on the cheek, and drove off to his own service. I watched him drive out of sight. Then I picked up my heels and trotted off to the Kingdom Hall myself. I walked in shortly before the service was to begin, located my husband, and sat myself beside him. The look on his face satisfied my burning desire for justice. He whispered furiously if I might sit somewhere else. "No way, I am your wife," I answered. In a panic, he ran to the back of the hall to request an emergency meeting with the elders. His moment of truth had come, the elders would know about me.


I came to this first Kingdom Hall meeting dressed to fit in, even though I was a complete stranger to the ladies there. During that first meeting a few ladies confided some of the local gossip, assuming I was the wife of the visiting speaker. I learned a lot about the plans to renovate the hall. Word was out within the week of course, and I never had such a candid conversation again. It was fun while it lasted.


Context:
When you do get together with the Jehovah's Witnesses, either at the Kingdom Hall or informal gatherings, dressing like them can help them relax, help them to be more open, and help you fit in.

Problem:
You don't want to be treated like "fresh meat" or a "worldly person" or even worse, a "pagan" when you first visit the Kingdom Hall.

Forces:
Your partner may also want you to "fit in" with the "clean living" members of the Kingdom Hall.
You may feel like rebelling at times - why do you have to conform? You don't of course, and there may be times that you choose to overtly rebel to preserve your individuality. If you treat the dressing up as a way to appease the natives, and not a reflection of your true nature, the dressing up can be made tolerable, even fun.

Jehovah's Witnesses are more relaxed when they are around people who dress and act like them.

Essence of the Solution:
To fit in at a JW gathering, dress conservatively, as if you were attending a business meeting or a funeral.

More about the Solution:
I have the advantage of having a full wardrobe that fits the JW standard for modesty. Their standards are very similaer to any evangelical church that bought in to the "holiness" movement in the seventies. For those of us who lived through it, Christians attempted to set themselves apart from the "world" by dressing differently than the "world". The holiness movement also affected makeup, reading, music, and recreation. The holiness movement inspired book burning, record burning, and measured skirt hemlines. I am certain the Jehovah's Witnesses got caught up in this movement as well, and though the rules are gone, there is still a strong standard for dress and appearance for both men and women. Also, Rutherford, the former president of the Watchtower Society, wished it's representatives to dress themselves in a clean and decent manner when presenting their literature at the doors. This tradition continues to this day.

Men:
Clean-shaven
Hair well trimmed above the collar
Suit or sports jacket with dress slacks
Dress shirt and tieTie
Dress shoes
Portfolio or suitcase
No: dreadlocks, tattoos, body piercing, "soul patch", beards, jeans, turtleneck sweaters, sneakers, hair coloring other than natural colors.

Women:
Hair - streaks OK, but no unnatural colors.
Makeup OK, modestly applied.
Dress, suit-dress, or blouse/sweater and skirt
Skirt, short slit only. Length below the knee is best.
Button collar one higher than you are used to.
Nylons, dress shoes
Usually don't bother with a hat or other formal head-covering.
No: dreadlocks, tattoos, body piercing, slacks/jeans/pants of any kind, sneakers, hair coloring other than natural colors.

Resulting Context:
Congregation members have gone so far to mildly accuse me of "fooling" them. As far as possible, be honest regarding your stand regarding the JW's. Your goal is to put them at ease, not to creep them out. If asked where I have come from, I usually respond, "My husband attends XXX congregation."
You may get fed up with fitting in,and have an overwhelming desire to express yourself. If you are at the point where individuality must express yourself, do it! Once in a while I wear slacks. Nothing terrible happens, I'm not expelled or anything. When I do wear slacks though, it does mark me as an "unbeliever", and I am treated more like "fresh meat" than "interesting stranger".
Your partner may demand that you fit in. I don't have this problem, as I usually dress conservatively anyways, and my husband is very accommodating. I always ask before we go if I look OK.

Known Uses:
Dress up for a visit to the Kingdom Hall, conventions and assemblies to keep the JW's at ease.

Posted by ab6/jgnat at 6:56 PM MST
Updated: Wednesday, 23 November 2005 6:55 PM MST
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post

Newer | Latest | Older