Spirituality

Spirituality

  1. Zugzwang
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    01 Dec '19 23:473 edits
    _Leaving the Witness: Exiting a Religion and Finding a Life_
    by Amber Scorah (2019)

    https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2019-12-01/

    "In Shanghai, a Jehovah’s Witness finds freedom — and space to question her beliefs"
    --Amber Storah

    "I had been raised as a Jehovah’s Witness — change had nothing to
    do with me. That was God’s department. My role was to preach about
    the end of the world, Armageddon, which I knew was imminent, and
    to wait for the paradise on Earth that God promised would follow.

    Of course, only God knew when the apocalypse would come, so it
    helped to keep busy in the meantime. I had figured a good way to
    pass the time until Armageddon would be to learn Mandarin and
    go to China to preach."

    "For the first time in my life I had some freedom. Unlike at home, there
    were no meetings three times a week, no meet-ups every morning for preaching.
    There were no rules against getting close to “worldly” people."

    "When my students told me about their ancient culture, it made me feel arrogant.
    Here I was, a white person, instructing them to trade in their thousands
    of years of cultural wisdom in favor of my 120-year-old American religion.
    Cracks in my faith began to form."

    "Because we were forbidden from reading anything critical of our religion, I was
    afraid of what Jonathan (a man in Los Angeles) might tell me. But I started listening.
    After a year of this, I had begun to see that some things in my religion were simply untrue.
    Yet I had built my whole life around these beliefs. Without them, who was I?
    If I renounced my religion, I would be shunned by everyone, including my family and friends.
    I had been a Witness my whole life. I didn’t know how to live without it."

    "I made the decision to commit adultery without really making it. A kind of robotic
    force propelled me to do it; not desire, not lust, nothing purposeful. It was more a passive action.
    I needed a way to bring about my own apocalypse, because that was the only ending I understood.
    In my religion, there was no other way out.

    Years later, shunned by my family and friends, I became interested in understanding how
    something that was so obviously false had so fully controlled me, a reasonably
    intelligent human being. Had I been in a cult?"

    "Even though I am no longer religious and do not feel bound by rules from an
    ancient book, I still feel shame at times for ending my marriage the way I did.
    My husband had admitted he didn’t love me, but I still felt bad for hurting him by
    burning everything down.

    Now I understood: The great irony was that I had needed to.
    I had to commit this biblical sin [adultery] in order to find my God-given freedom.
    To get out, I had to let someone in [life and body]."
    --Amber Storah
  2. Subscriberdivegeester
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    02 Dec '19 08:501 edit
    @duchess64 said
    _Leaving the Witness: Exiting a Religion and Finding a Life_
    by Amber Scorah (2019)

    https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2019-12-01/

    "In Shanghai, a Jehovah’s Witness finds freedom — and space to question her beliefs"
    --Amber Storah

    "I had been raised as a Jehovah’s Witness — change had nothing to
    do with me. That was God’s department. My role was to preach a ...[text shortened]... o find my God-given freedom.
    To get out, I had to let someone in [life and body]."
    --Amber Storah
    That someone has to commit adultery in order to get freedom is very sad and not really freedom. But at least this person is free of the grip of the pernicious Jehovah's Witness cult.

    Thanks for posting.
  3. Subscribermoonbus
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    02 Dec '19 19:201 edit
    @Duchess64

    I've read similar accounts of how difficult it is to leave a Mormon community and scientology. They exert a lot of psychological pressure on members not to leave, reminding them in not very subtle ways how much everyone in the cult will miss them if they go.
  4. Zugzwang
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    02 Dec '19 21:43
    @divegeester said
    That someone has to commit adultery in order to get freedom is very sad and not really freedom. But at least this person is free of the grip of the pernicious Jehovah's Witness cult.

    Thanks for posting.
    Amber Storah could have left the Jehovah's Witnesses without committing adultery.
    Yet she felt impelled to do it because she knew that becoming an adulteress would
    make her break with the Jehovah's Witnesses (and her family) final and irrevocable.
  5. Standard memberhakima
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    03 Dec '19 02:39
    @moonbus said
    @Duchess64

    I've read similar accounts of how difficult it is to leave a Mormon community and scientology. They exert a lot of psychological pressure on members not to leave, reminding them in not very subtle ways how much everyone in the cult will miss them if they go.
    It was very easy for me to leave the Mormon church. Although they may not have agreed with my decision, the Mormon members of my family provided nothing but support regarding my decision. I was also very clear in my letter to the general administration of the church regarding my request that my name be removed from membership with no consequences to myself or family members still in the church. I respectfully year clearly stated that if there were any reprisals I would not hesitate to pursue legal recourse. I received a very cordial letter in response that stated that they would comply with my request, and to this day, over a decade later, there have been no harassment or reprisals for my leaving.

    I understand that there have been local leaders as well as individuals’ family members who have applied pressure to individuals who have left the Mormon church. In my case, I feel that writing the letter and being proactive in my approach was an important part of the aftermath (or lack of) my leaving without pressure or repercussions.
  6. Subscriberdivegeester
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    03 Dec '19 06:46
    @duchess64 said
    Amber Storah could have left the Jehovah's Witnesses without committing adultery.
    Yet she felt impelled to do it because she knew that becoming an adulteress would
    make her break with the Jehovah's Witnesses (and her family) final and irrevocable.
    It’s not irrecoverable though, the witnesses do have rehabilitation mechanisms within the cult which returning members can be processes through should they be deemed to be exhibiting the required penitent attitude and repented behaviours. It would be an unpleasant experience though.

    Not much surprises me with this particular church cult.
  7. Subscribermoonbus
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    03 Dec '19 21:49
    @hakima said
    It was very easy for me to leave the Mormon church. Although they may not have agreed with my decision, the Mormon members of my family provided nothing but support regarding my decision. I was also very clear in my letter to the general administration of the church regarding my request that my name be removed from membership with no consequences to myself or family members st ...[text shortened]... ch was an important part of the aftermath (or lack of) my leaving without pressure or repercussions.
    I find it creepy that you felt it necessary, or needful, to write a letter to be able to leave without reprisals or that you felt you had to threaten legal recourse if there were any unpleasant consequences. Imagine feeling you had to write a letter to the Democratic/Republican party, or to RHP, threatening legal consequences if they wouldn't simply let you go. Wouldn't that feel creepy to you?
  8. Standard memberhakima
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    04 Dec '19 02:57
    @moonbus said
    I find it creepy that you felt it necessary, or needful, to write a letter to be able to leave without reprisals or that you felt you had to threaten legal recourse if there were any unpleasant consequences. Imagine feeling you had to write a letter to the Democratic/Republican party, or to RHP, threatening legal consequences if they wouldn't simply let you go. Wouldn't that feel creepy to you?
    It was effective. I never thought about it feeling “creepy” then and it doesn’t feel “creepy” now.

    What’s the difference between “necessary” and “needful”?
  9. Subscribermoonbus
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    04 Dec '19 05:47
    @hakima said
    It was effective. I never thought about it feeling “creepy” then and it doesn’t feel “creepy” now.

    What’s the difference between “necessary” and “needful”?
    "Necessary" means it wouldn't have worked without it; a "need" is something stronger than a desire.

    I would find it creepy if I felt I needed to threaten a group with legal action in order to leave it.
  10. Subscriberdivegeester
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    04 Dec '19 17:20
    @hakima said
    It was very easy for me to leave the Mormon church. Although they may not have agreed with my decision, the Mormon members of my family provided nothing but support regarding my decision. I was also very clear in my letter to the general administration of the church regarding my request that my name be removed from membership with no consequences to myself or family members st ...[text shortened]... ch was an important part of the aftermath (or lack of) my leaving without pressure or repercussions.
    This account is wonderful.

    Well done you!
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    05 Dec '19 20:19
    @divegeester said

    Well done you!
    Buzz off, you!
  12. Zugzwang
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    07 Dec '19 00:171 edit
    @duchess64 said
    _Leaving the Witness: Exiting a Religion and Finding a Life_
    by Amber Scorah (2019)

    https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2019-12-01/

    "In Shanghai, a Jehovah’s Witness finds freedom — and space to question her beliefs"
    --Amber Storah

    "I had been raised as a Jehovah’s Witness — change had nothing to
    do with me. That was God’s department. My role was to preach a ...[text shortened]... o find my God-given freedom.
    To get out, I had to let someone in [life and body]."
    --Amber Storah
    Here's the conclusion of Amber Storah's memoir (p. 276):
    "This alchemy of life, this magical planet, they bewilder me, they awe me.
    But no understanding comes, any more than it did to any other human who walked
    this hard land, feeling entitled to explanations where there are none.
    I have called a truce with the unknown, and I am learning to live with the disquiet.
    I do not attempt to pray to a God who will not answer."

    Then Amber Storah clarifies that she's not quite an atheist (p. 277):
    "When I left the Jehovah's Witnesses, I was without a friend in the world.
    And now, not only do I have friends, I have friends who are like family. ...
    It is these people that make it possible for me to hold on to some fragment of
    belief that there may be a loving higher power out there somewhere because
    of all the goodness they have shown."
  13. SubscriberFMF
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    07 Dec '19 00:24
    @duchess64 said
    Then Amber Storah clarifies that she's not quite an atheist (p. 277):
    "When I left the Jehovah's Witnesses, I was without a friend in the world.
    And now, not only do I have friends, I have friends who are like family. ...
    It is these people that make it possible for me to hold on to some fragment of
    belief that there may be a loving higher power out there somewhere because
    of all the goodness they have shown."
    So, Ms Storah believes that "goodness" requires some sort of supernatural being affecting people in order for it to occur, it seems. I wonder if this belief will wear off as her time in a Christian cult slips further and further back in her personal history.
  14. Zugzwang
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    @fmf said
    So, Ms Storah believes that "goodness" requires some sort of supernatural being affecting people in order for it to occur, it seems. I wonder if this belief will wear off as her time in a Christian cult slips further and further back in her personal history.
    I suspect that, when she left the Jehovah's Witnesses, people there may have told
    Amber Storah that she was unworthy of receiving goodness from anyone out there.

    Evidently, she was a fairly young attractive white woman, so she should have not
    been too surprised that some people (men) would offer their friendship to her.
  15. SubscriberFMF
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    @duchess64 said
    I suspect that, when she left the Jehovah's Witnesses, people there may have told
    Amber Storah that she was unworthy of receiving goodness from anyone out there.

    Evidently, she was a fairly young attractive white woman, so she should have not
    been too surprised that some people (men) would offer their friendship to her.
    I suppose, reading between your lines, you are suggesting that I ought to think about what would have happened to her belief in the supernatural source of "goodness" if she'd been black or mongoloid and not white, or if she'd been other than "young" and "attractive", or if the people who'd offered their friendship to her had been lesbians and not men.
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