Hi! I'm Sanmarie...

Hi, I’m Sanmarie.

I’ve been off the crazy stuff named religion for about 2 years now - and love being sober.
Spent 17 years of my life as a Jehovah’s Witness. What a flippen waste of time and energy. Still can’t fully understand why. I mean, God (if he exists) is such a loser.

If I ever knocked on your door - sorry!

Apology graciously accepted. :wink:

Welcome! Hope you like it here.


Wow… Jehovah witness, I think you’re the first here from that particular sect, they’re pretty good about keeping their flock in chains. What made you see the “light” and how did you go about distancing yourself from them?


Welcome Sanmarie…you’re contributions could knock some sox off too!!

Maybe it’s something to with there being about eight million Jehovah’s Witnesses actively spreading the word on the planet but space for only 1.8 per cent of them in heaven? Even Mensa boasts a better acceptance rate.


Hi Sanmarie

Welcome, what are are you from?

Yes, it strikes me as a kind of spiritual pyramid scheme: if you convert early enough, and manage to convert enough other people, you stand a chance of being one of the lucky ones who get into heaven. Thus you are basically trampling on the coverts below you to get to the top.

The whole thing is profoundly immoral, and one wonders whether it should at all be legal - aren’t there laws against pyramid schemes? :slight_smile:

Many, many years ago I was paid a surprise visit by two Jehovah’s Witnesses. Through the window, I could see an ancient Volkswagen Beetle coming to rest against the garage wall. The rusty doors sort of opened, and a bubbling brook of joy containing two girls in their early twenties poured out. They looked friendly and intelligent and were simply jaw-droppingly gorgeous. I promptly cancelled all plans for the afternoon. The percolator was on before they reached the front door … which I opened trying to look as annoyed as possible. It became a near perfect afternoon, and I was beginning to regret that my knowledge of the Bible was so rudimentary. I later resorted to making some pizza … and show off my dough spinning skills. We had some good, leisurely disagreements on whether Jesus was crucified on a pole or a cross, and whether a blood transfusion might have saved him. Sadly, neither of them had a phone number, so I was unable to contact them with any further Theological inquiries. I wonder what happened to those two kids.

A warm welcome, Sanmarie. :slight_smile:


Apology accepted - and if my dog ever bit you, sorry!
Welcome, Sanmarie.

Welcome. I’d like to apologise if I ever held you up for a couple of hours tying your arguments in a pretty knot.

But then that apology is just for you, next Jehovah at my door is getting it. >:D

Their regular brainwashing session (loving correction and guidance from Jehovah) makes sure that the sheeples don’t stray. BUT, with the availability of the internet (Satan’s toolbox) I’m hoping, beyond hope, that the Watchtower Society takes a tumble in grand style.

I don’t know if I ever believed their BS to be honest, but they came into my life in late 1992 and I was interested when they told me they could give me a ‘satisfying answer’ to why God permits suffering (BTW never did get that answer - not a satisfying one anyway). I spent years sitting in their indoctrination sessions thinking “I wonder if anyone else here thinks this is ridiculous”

In 1994, my husband (now ex) 2 kids and I were heading for New Zealand just before the elections, when my marriage went south and he landed up in rehab. The JWs were so supportive to me and my kids (9 and 14 yrs old) that I just got swept up in it. My son later decided in wasn’t for him (wise lad) and left, meaning that we were all required to pretend he didn’t exist (I kid you not) what the JWs call “disfellowshipping”. (Next time JWs knock on your door, ask them to explain “disfellowshipping” to you - then sit back and watch them squirm.) That was the deciding factor for me. Being commended for rejecting your own flesh and blood - and reprimanded for not doing so.

Extricating myself has been difficult. My daughter is still a JW and married to one and doesn’t speak to her brother, and if I leave she will be required to cut me off. So I fly under the radar, avoiding the JWs in town and ignoring phone calls and text messages.

The ex Jehovahs Witness forum has nursed me through the past two or more years, but it irks me that some there have left the cult for Christianity. One load of BS for another. Hence my search for a site with like-minded people. Those with no patience for all the religious BS out there.

Thank you !

True - and when Armageddon comes, everyone who is not a JW will be killed and the birds will come and eat our fleshy parts as our bodies lie from one end of the earth to the other.

Their meetings (services) are for young and old alike (no Sunday school where kids sit drawing pictures - they have to sit still for 2 hours listening to all this). Little children sit and listen while they discuss how everyone will be destroyed and the wrath of Jehovah etc… It’s child abuse really.

They even try to govern what people do in the privacy of their own homes. This article has a hilarious remix of an actual video taken off the official JW website where they are telling deaf people not to masturbate.

If the link doesn’t work, copy/paste it into your browser, it really is funny… Other remixes have been removed from youtube, but they missed this one.

You hit the nail on the head there, the whole thing IS profoundly immoral. For example, here is a link to a website Silent Lambs which details authentic cases of abuse within the JW congregations which have been covered up and not dealt with by the authorities. Most rank-and-file JWs are not aware of this and because they are being taught that the internet is being used by Satan to discredit Jehovah, most would not believe it anyway.

I must say, that was one of the things I liked about the JWs when I first got involved. The young people welcomed my children with open arms and they had loads of fun together. But, they look at ‘worldly’ (non-JWs) with a mix of pity and carefully concealed contempt, simply for being ‘in the world’. and the day they announced at a meeting that my son was no longer a JW, not one of them ever contacted him again.

Thank you - and if you need ammunition for that next JW, just let me know :wink:

Sanmarie, I’m interested to know how you came to be a JW and then also why you opted out: we virtually all come from from some religious background (conditioning if you like)and followed different paths to where we are now. I think you are our 1st JW and it’ll be interesting to get your side of it.

Brian - thank you for your interest. I gave a short summary of why I joined and left the JWs in my reply to Faerie on Page 1 of this thread. But it is obviously a lot more complicated than that.

I’ve always battled with the concept of a loving god in the face of all the suffering in the world.

I think Epicurus said it best:
“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?”

But I was willing to hear what the JWs had to say on the matter. They were there for me when I was unbelievably vulnerable, and for a time it was just easier to let them think for me. I was just so tired and overwhelmed by responsibility.

The thing with the JWs is that they are like Hotel California… you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave – at least not without serious consequences. They are a doomsday cult, even though they are not holed up in a compound somewhere. They are “Captives of a Concept” (http://captivesofaconcept.com/) which is even worse. Escaping something you carry with you everywhere is very, very difficult.

The majority of them are very kind and sincere people. They genuinely believe they are doing life-saving work by trying to convert people. They also believe that if they don’t try and reach every single person on earth before the end comes, they will be blood guilty and be destroyed along with everyone else. So they are driven by fear. To be sure they call it a “healthy fear” of displeasing Jehovah - but fear nonetheless. Also maybe by selfishness to a large extent. Buying their way into Jehovah’s favor and a paradise earth.

I went through the motions for 17 years for a number of complex reasons. It was good for a while to be part of a community that seemed genuinely to care about my welfare and my kids. But my son had his doubts for a long time and when he was about 20 he left. They disfellowshipped him - and we were forbidden to have any contact with him. While he was still living in my house of course I could speak to him, but once he moved out I was not allowed to. Then it really hit me that this was not an organization of love, but of control. The level of control is mind-boggling. They say disfellowshipping is for an expression of love to make the erring one see reason. But it is emotional blackmail and many return simply to reestablish contact with their families.

My daughter is still a JW (and married to one), and doesn’t speak to my son. He stayed in Jo’burg. She is in PE. It is heartbreaking really. I don’t want to jeopardize my relationship with her, so I just keep a low profile. It is just a technicality really that she still speaks to me and not to him. If the elders in the PE community wanted to, they could push the fact that I don’t associate with them anymore and announce to the congregations that I am no longer one of them, signalling that they should shut me off (my daughter included) which is what happened with my son. If that ever happens, I’ll have nothing to lose and will be more verbal as an apostate. But for now, I vent on forums anonymously. Glad that I found this one.

I think I’ll start a thread under Religion and Philosophy with some info on my experience with the JWs. They are not a benign group with a high nuisance factor. The organization is toxic. It breaks up families and drives people to suicide. In fact, one of the forum members on the ex-jw facebook group recently committed suicide as a direct result of being shunned by his family. Don’t get involved with them and if anyone you know is talking to them, try to intervene.

Anyway, I’m rambling - thanks for listening.

Yes, the vile and absurd conceit that is theodicy. A tawdry joke with an unintelligible punch line. I find it both interesting and more than a little psychotic that when people observe the world to fall far, far short of what one would expect from a perfect, all-powerful, all-wise caring creator, they would rather construct inordinately contrived excuses than face the simple solution, namely that that creator doesn’t exist and that the universe isn’t troubled by or about our existence. Viewed from our own subjective stance, there is a tragic majesty about our insignificance.

Upwards of 80% of humanity seems to need this type of BS. Where people cannot find an attractive version of it off the shelf, they’ll contrive it. It seems we are an innately superstitious species with an irrepressible bent for the mystical or transcendent or numinous. As far as we know, it’s the way our heads are wired, nothing more.

Our legacy in that regard is legion. Around here, the life expectancy of godbots is shorter than Abraham’s sanity…

But they heard them coming, did they? ;D

Your accounts of “disfellowshipping” and suicide put the lie to the claim that religions promote goodwill, harmony and tolerance (as if it was ever really in contention that this claim wasn’t a fiction). Maybe the true value of the JWs is merely to exemplify it more acutely.


This is the one question that never seemed to me to be a serious problem for religion. But both believers and atheists seem to be very hung up about it.

The majority of them are very kind and sincere people. They genuinely believe they are doing life-saving work by trying to convert people.

That has been my experience with them as well, though I have to say that to some extent it comes across as a creepy, Stepford Wives sort of kindness… :slight_smile:

Some months ago I received an old-fashioned, handwritten letter in my mailbox from an extremely polite lady, with an impeccable handwriting, inviting me to think a bit about some metaphysical problems. She included some pamphlets as well. It was pretty clearly JW stuff, but I was actually quite impressed by their dedication, because they surely did not just write to me. I.e. they have teams of people writing out thousands of pamphlets by hand.

Anyway, I just had to reply (it had been many years since I had last received a handwritten letter!), so I made some comments on her comments, informed her that her metaphysical questions are not ones that have ever really bothered me but invited her to write me some more if she wanted to. I received a reply a month or two later - she was delighted to have received a reply. I have to guess it was probably the very first time ever that anyone replied to any of the letters she wrote.

She included some more pamphlets, including the customary anti-evolution ones. For some reason, the JWs are obsessed with evolution, and cannot pass up an opportunity to attack it. Of course, as you well know, their anti-evolution arguments vary from the naively uninformed to outright lying. I replied to the lady’s letter, informing her that seeing as I studied biology, I would not be fooled by those sort of arguments. I did remain very polite throughout, mind you, and even invited her to write some more if she wanted to.

She never did. Either she sadly gave up on my soul, or perhaps her handlers realized that if she kept up correspondence with me her own soul might be in danger (I am going to take a guess that she showed my replies to her superiors in the organization, who decided how to handle the situation.)

Anyway, that was my experience with the cult. I have always had something of a soft spot for them, because during the apartheid era their young men suffered very greatly for their refusal to be conscripted into the army. Most of them courageously stuck to their guns (er, so to speak) and were then arrested, and sentenced to six years’ imprisonment which were then commuted to six years of “community service.” After that, they would then have a criminal record. Years ago I worked in the then Department of Manpower, where we had a young JW serving his sentence. He did various types of admin work, at the same pay a conscript would get (basically just pocket money); presumably his family and church looked after him. He was extremely kind and decent, and in some ways a better man than I, who, like most young South Africans, did not have the guts it took to look the apartheid authorities in the eye and tell them to go screw themselves.

But you are nevertheless right: the JW are indeed members of an extremely dangerous cult, and South Africa is at the moment a very rich breeding ground. I see groups of them every morning when I take my walk. Interestingly, they mostly ignore me, focusing most of their efforts on black folks, probably realizing that black people are mostly poorer and less educated and therefore easier to suck into the cult.

I remain a bit perplexed that such an utterly evil cult can be made up by, on the whole, such exceptionally kind and decent people. As I mention above, there is something quite thoroughly creepy about it.