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Moving Forward after Spiritual Abuse

Related imageHarriet Tubman of the Underground Railroad was asked “how many slaves did she help to get free?” Thousands she said, but I could have helped thousands more if only they knew they were slaves.

Like the Pharisees of Jesus day, the watchtower organization has an additional set of laws and rules in addition to the Bible, a book, “Shepherding the Flock”. It has more laws than the Law Covenant and restricts Christian liberty and freedom. It binds you in slavery to an organization and men. 

Mark 7:8-10 (ESV) says “8  You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.” 9 And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ 11 But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban”’ (that is, given to God) — 12 then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, 13 thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.”

Image result for family separation

Many leaving Toxic religions don’t realize they were being ‘Spiritually Abused’. With the witnesses you normally lose your family and friends suddenly, the trauma can be abusive, even overwhelming. Follow these steps to recover:

Step 1: Allow yourself time to grieve. Death of family and friends has occurred. You may feel numbness, depression, anxiety, anger even question whether there is a GOD. Those are normal responses and are generally short lived.  You must embrace this important process of grieving.

Step 2: Get away from the abusive situation gradually as a fade or quickly, cold turkey. Whatever works for you. It is okay to stop attending the religious services so you don’t hear the abusive voices. Often you won’t heal unless you stop going or stop reading their books, literature and lectures.

Step 3: Remember to love yourself (Mark 12:31; Ephesians 5:29).   It simply means you care enough about your life that God gave you to try and save your spirituality.  Give yourself some space and stretching room. Create a corner where you can just breathe and pray directly to GOD thru Jesus Christ only, no mention of elders or governing body as many do when praying at the kingdom hall.   http://www.friendsofjehovahswitnesses.com/2010/11/26/learning-how-to-pray-from-the-bible/         Get a massage, take walks, look around at the creations of God. Smile, wave at people you pass. Take off the headphones and just open your eyes and ears to take in the sights, sounds and smells of the beauty of Jehovah’s creation and thank him, talk to him. Crying is okay, arms above your head and breathe in deeply. Now exhale.

Step 4: Don’t think you have to throw the baby out with the water. We never want to get stuck in the victim mode but want to progress and become VICTORS!  Explore other religious voices on subjects and yes you can read the Bible by itself and ask God for his Holy Spirit to understand it.  Ask in Jesus name, Christ promised you will get help. Read the book of John listen as Jesus says farewell until he comes again. He didn’t come to judge the world but to save it, so don’t be afraid of Armageddon.     http://www.friendsofjehovahswitnesses.com/2017/09/09/feb-4-conference-call-who-will-survive-armageddon-only-those-in-the-jehovahs-witness-organization-ark/

Step 5: Be patient with yourself. Don’t be afraid to seek professional help to sort out the pieces and put them in their proper places. It could be a counselor or another spiritual person or group that listens. Get involved in things you like to do, that makes you happy, volunteer and enjoy the happiness of giving, it is good for the soul. Smile, laugh, and get tons of good quality sleep without having to get up and knock on doors and disturb others. Give yourself time to recover and make your own decisions. Your sins are forgiven by the shed blood of Christ. Drop them at his feet! http://www.friendsofjehovahswitnesses.com/2013/03/11/how-do-we-manage-guilt/

“Toxic faith has bad results, while real spirituality has good results. Toxic faith condemns; real spirituality releases. Toxic faith is works-based; real spirituality is faith-based. Toxic faith judges; real spirituality is all about grace.”

Matthew 7:1-5 “Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged. For with the judgment you use, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and look, there’s a log in your eye? Hypocrite! First take the log out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”

 

Ephesians 4:32: (ESV) “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

96 comments to Moving Forward after Spiritual Abuse

  • Jacqueline (Bible Student)

    Aww, Christopher since you love their question from readers, here is another for those wondering what happened to Greg Stafford. and a question from readers.(lol)

    * Does “the faithful and discreet slave” endorse independent groups of Witnesses who meet together to engage in Scriptural research or debate?–Matt. 24:45, 47.

    No, it does not. And yet, in various parts of the world, a few associates of our organization have formed groups to do independent research on Bible-related subjects. Some have pursued an independent group study of Biblical Hebrew and Greek so as to analyze the accuracy of the New World Translation. Others explore scientific subjects related to the Bible. They have created Web sites and chat rooms for the purpose of exchanging and debating their views. They have also held conferences and produced publications to present their findings and to supplement what is provided at our Christian meetings and through our literature………….. click here for more
    http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/2007/08/04/the-watchtower-tightens-the-leash-on-jw-apologists-once-more/
    http://www.apologeticsindex.org/915-greg-g-stafford

    Also James Penton since it came up tonight on our Wednesday night study.
    https://ad1914.com/jim-penton-dramatic-break/ His story and he is 90 years or close to it.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Penton

    • just Stay Sweet and Good

      Jacquelne.. Again we have word games. “Does the GB endorse independent study groups?” Oh of course not! They don’t endorse anything, but what they are doing. Why does a person need an endorsement to do something? Its still a free country isn’t it? Oh, of course, there are consequences, but what are the consequences of cowardice? of wilfull ignorance? of supporting a lie? or just plain falling asleep on your watch? The whole original thought of a “Watch Tower” was to be looking ahead to see what is coming so as to be prepared and not taken by off guard. Jude 1:3,4

    • greg (Bible Student)

      Jacqueline,

      What interesting timing. I had prepared the following snippets from my yesterday morning for posting today. And I wholehearted agree with the JSS&G’s recent comments regarding the “word games.” Thanks for the links you posted.

      This is part of a Journal entry from June 10, 2013

      (begin snippet)

      And now it’s 6:46PM. U– has been here… and left. He spoke of the [2013] District Convention program. He said the counsel stressed the importance of making one’s spirituality one’s own, making it a priority to give personal attention to one’s growth, one’s conscience, one’s relationship with God, one’s study of the Bible.

      He specifically mentioned the need to unwaveringly adhere to what one knows and understands Jehovah’s view to be on any specific matter.

      That’s what they say they want a person to do. Except when I actually do that, I’m condemned. When I ask questions, I’m shunned. When I try to speak up about it, I’m labelled a dissenter, an apostate, a rebel, an unruly and independent thinker.

      I don’t get it! Make up your minds! Argh!!!!!!!!!!!

      Argh!!!!! AAAARRRGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

      Ugh! Sigh…

      I recall… how U– had served on a judicial committee where he had been told by the other elders how the judgment was going to go even before they had met with anyone.

      Sigh… If that kind of prejudice CAN exist, then surely it does exist. And regardless of IF it does, I have a myriad questions because I know it can. Actually, I know [first-hand that] it does. I’ve experienced it.

      If someone can be condemned not because they broke God’s law, but merely because they disagreed with MAN, then what recourse is available?

      I’m so very confused right now!!! I don’t know who or what to believe or trust. I’m going to stay close to Jehovah in any case. At least, that’s my hope and plan. I don’t need an assembly program to remind me to take a personal stand that respects Jehovah’s view on matters. I do that constantly as it is. I have done so for years now. It’s nothing new. It’s not like I’m going to stop now. Not after all I’ve been through. But which way is forward? Argh!!

      HOW to proceed is the question. What do I do now?

      Should I try the Bible Students? Sigh… I don’t know what to do… I know that I no longer can trust JW’s. I’m so frustrated…

      Does no one really care about thinking and meditating anymore? Does no one care about truth? Does God not want me to serve him? The most plausible understanding I have to date is… that our language has so corrupted our thoughts that we can’t easily see the flaws in our thinking and speech. Nothing else explains everything so satisfactorily. But why am I the only one that sees it? Oh yeah. I had [many powerful experiences that I could not ignore] and I chose to look at ALL the evidence without denying my reality, and I also chose to question whether or not what I believed (was taught to believe) was worth believing. In short, I chose to learn from MY OWN experience by Dropping all the Foolish, Blinding, and Defensive Distortions that learned ignorance and dogma create and sustain. I took my green sunglasses off. I stopped seeing the world through the narrow minds of others, and started seeing what was really there to be seen!!!

      But what good does it do me? How does it help me fulfill my dedication vow to Jehovah?

      SIGH…………………………………….. Cry…. Sob Sob Sob…
      (end snippet)

      I’m so grateful to Jehovah and his Son Jesus that I have been led to real waters of refreshment and inspiration and encouragement by my association with other sincere Bible students!!

      -greg

  • Jacqueline (Bible Student)

    I was just thinking: There is no sorrow that God can’t conquer so if we find ourselves in the wrong story it is okay to LEAVE!

    Loss of family and “friends” produces sorrow but friends can be replaced and probably should be if they turn on you.

    Family can’t be substituted so you pray to God to conquer this so your heart can deal with it.
    I am coming off of a grand babies high. I have had them for 4 days and everyone knows this is GOD!

    Now I am renewed in my spirit, God is good! (Also getting me some sleep, the olde grey mare is not what she used to be.)

    • Jacqueline (Bible Student)

      I was just looking up spurious text at this site,https://www.godstoolsforus.com/spurious-passages/, and thought how true these statements are:

      “Doctrines are the individual basic beliefs that define a Church and distinguish it from other religions. And again, doctrines are never to be questioned or researched. But when religious debate is no longer allowed, people stop searching for answers, and that’s where spirituality ends. In other words: They stop thinking and learning. The religious song Old Time Religion(for example) encourages this, by telling people to unthinkingly adopt the beliefs of earlier family members.

      What is spirituality? It is an inner thing that comes from God; it’s what started you searching and brought you here. A few have it, but most don’t.

      Editors Note: Many of the spurious passages above have been corrected in modern versions of the Bible, but we should always be careful when accepting man’s interpretation of God’s Word.”

      Una and I are looking for information on Matt. 24:40-42.
      The best I could reason is that one might be looking in the wrong direction and taken completely by surprise when the Lord 2nd coming happens. Or does it mean the death of all Saints? hmmmmmm
      I found another commentary
      https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/matthew/24.html

      • greg (Bible Student)

        Jacqueline and Una,

        Studies in the Scriptures, Volume 4, pages 606, 609, and 611, have some of Br. Russell’s thoughts on the application of said scripture. There are also many other references to said passage on the Harvest Truth Database. I could quote some of the paragraphs here, but then I’d rob everyone of the opportunity to discover some other good stuff for themselves. 🙂

        I also found Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Matt 24:40-42 to be quite thought-provoking. Even though I’m not 100% sure about whether he sometimes seems to imply that person’s are already on trial for everlasting life now and in this age, I’ve often found his work to be an insightful and invaluable supplement to me over the years. See what you think.

        You can read his comments regarding the Lord’s 2nd coming here:

        http://www.ccel.org/study/Matthew_24

        Just select the Commentary from the menu on the right side, and then scroll down and click on verse 40 on the left side. There is also another commentator in the list, but I didn’t read his comments.

        -greg

  • Jacqueline (Bible Student)

    Sometimes persons think that a victim is not a victor if he talks about his experiences. That is not so, for example a man gets his arm cut off but get a prosthetic one and learns to use it. Then he goes on to help others who have lost a limb get over some of the feelings of the ghost arm. He also tells them maybe where they can get care and a limb for themselves. He HAS dealt with his situation but he has some limitations and effects from losing a limb. He talks to others and they are there for the new ones that have lost a limb. It is called Love.
    We must not stop talking on here because we hear weekly how someone said they were helped from listening to us or saw a comment that helped.
    Victims must never forget or they will repeat it and become a slave or controlled by someone else.
    The governing body would like for us to stop talking about how to heal or share our horror stories and how Good we feel now. So keep the talk flowing.
    I was on youtube and learned a lot about who Gog and Magog is. Some say Turkey and not Russia and I am really enjoying the different dialogues on this subject with Israel celebrating the 70th year.
    Any thoughts on Magog? I didn’t know Noah’s son had a boy named that.

    • Nubby Tope

      Jacqueline, here is a theory of mine and I have to admit I do have a vivid imagination! But please don’t hold it against me! LOL!

      Like you, I was a JW for many years and Gog of Magog was thought to be Satan himself. Then the GB changed it and now don’t know who or what he is but probably some political entity that we haven’t realised yet. Now Gog is mentioned in Ezekiel (?) but also in Revelation. In Revelation 20 where it is talking about things after the 1000-year Rule of Christ and it mentions Gog being present then, but if Armageddon is about ending the System as it is now, then does this mean that whatever Gog is now somehow survives the end and manifests itself after the Millenium?

      Just suppose all this talk in the media of a “one world government” comes true and a New World Order gains control. Could that be Gog? And after the 1000 Years if some people give into temptation and form another NWO, then wouldn’t that be a revival of Gog? Or what if Ezekiel’s prophecy about Gog doesn’t apply to our time but to the time after 1000 Years, as similar language is used – gathering against God’s people?

      In other words, I haven’t a clue! Like I said, just a theory. Time will no doubt reveal all but it is so interesting to have these discussions, and we must keep on talking on this site so as to encourage one another. Or maybe I really am barking mad and really need a “check-up from the neck up!” I’ve been feeling a lot better now than I was a few weeks ago and I have you and everyone else on here to thank for that!

      • Jacqueline (Bible Student)

        Nubby Tope, on this link if you put in Magog in the search engine it will bring up a number of Bible student talks on Ezekial 38.
        http://bibleresources.info/audio-hymns/audio-sermons/

        On You tube. Put magog or gog and Magog and you will get great views on who they might be. Daniel is so precise that many think it was written after the events. Ezekial is like that and is very precise. Just I see Bible prophecy fulfilling right before our eyes like nations saw Egypt exodus of the Jews and all of them dying in the Red sea. I listen as I work all day. I can actually understand the Bible now by listening because we have a huge background legacy. We are blessed.

        https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=gog+of+magog+revealed

    • greg (Bible Student)

      Thanks for your expression Jacqueline.

      I APOLOGIZE IN ADVANCE that this post is so long. I opted to aim for sincerity and clarity over brevity. Feel free to stop reading anytime.

      I’d like to add that, in my experience, talking things through is crucial to healing and growing and moving forward. When we go to all the trouble to put words to our experiences, we are actually accomplishing a lot of good therapeutic work.

      1) When we break the traumatic events down into words, we make it easier for ourselves to understand and process the how and why and what about the things that really happened.

      2) We make traumatic events accessible to our memories so they can be “stored”, filed, integrated (made a part of ourselves without totally consuming us), and then they can be set down and left on the shelf to be recalled later safely, rather than carried around as a toxic burden.

      3) We can more easily communicate about our experiences with others (as Jacqueline mentioned), and then others can better communicate about their experiences with us. As this exchange occurs, the barriers of isolation, of loneliness, of alienation, of solitary confinement, of different-ness are also dismantled, and we find our connection to ourselves and to the rest of humanity is restored, and as a result, our capacity to trust (both ourselves and others) is slowly restored.

      4) We then find meaning, purpose, and hope in our lives.

      A word of caution: While talking about the past to some extent is necessary, our greatest healing occurs when we talk about the present. Put somewhat differently, trauma does tend to imprison us in the past. But we live and feel in the here and now. So just simply telling the story about the past is not nearly as healing as telling the story of how we’re struggling TODAY (because of the past).

      Talking about how we felt is often very liberating. But talking about we feel NOW is even more liberating. If you don’t have someone who is willing to listen, find someone who is willing to listen! Don’t let anyone tell you, “That was a long time ago. You just need to forget it.” The truth is You can’t just forget it. To try to just forget something painful is like trying to cut off your leg because someone else stepped on your toes.

      But what if you just can’t find someone who will listen?

      Remember, Jehovah God is a GREAT Listener. HE never interrupts. HE always knows what you’re trying to say, even if you’re not sure. HE also already knows what has happened to you, and knows better than you just how and why that is affecting you today.

      If prayer seems too difficult, writing your most private thoughts can be both incredibly difficult and infinitely healing. Writing allows you to listen to yourself in a special way unlike how you usually hear your own inner chatter. And it can help you to safely (a little at a time, as you’re able to) unlock discoveries that are both exciting and unanticipated.

      What if those methods don’t seem do-able?

      I want to confess that there were some days when I couldn’t pray or even write. I was so desperately trying to find a way and a reason to stay alive that I went out and got myself a new and special Teddy Bear to talk to and to hold onto. I was in my late 30’s at the time. Laugh or mock if you like. But it was the most amazing and healing experience at the time. You see, the hurting child inside of me needed to find a way to express itself to the grown up part of me. And the stuffed animal bridged the gap nicely.

      A small part of me can’t believe I’m telling everyone this story here, on this website. But this story is part of what I’m trying to convey–that healing occurs when we take the time to notice and express what we’re needing right here, right now, today!

      When we focus on the present, we can make choices that are good for us today and tomorrow. When we only think about the past, we can tend to get hopelessly stuck there making judgements of ourselves and others because, no matter how much wishing and regretting we do, we can never change the past. But if we focus on the here and now, we free ourselves from getting stuck in a world of judgments, and so we begin to change our attitude about the past, and that helps us change our relationship to the past, and that unlocks choices, possibilities, and hope TODAY for better todays and better tomorrows.

      Speaking from my own experience, it’s never healthy to stifle my feelings. I don’t have to let my feelings do my thinking for me. That’s not their role. Thinking is best left to my brain. But whenever I deny my own feelings about something, I’ve SHUNNED MYSELF, and I’ve put another nail in my own coffin. If I deny my feelings long enough, I become a zombie, a walking dead person, a person who might as well not even be here because I don’t even know how to acknowledge myself. What a tragic way to “live” that is.

      I’m always here, if anyone needs a listening ear. And our testimony meetings on Saturday nights is designed to provide a safe time and place to be heard and encouraged.

      -greg

      • Jacqueline (Bible Student)

        Greg beautifully expressed. Some of the strongest websites by ex-elders and others were once people on this site or on the phone speaking to Br. Peter and I. 9 hrs one day was spent helping a person by phone and it is a joy to see this brother running one of the most powerful websites out there. Another huge youtube site and webpage is a brother that we directed to the convention in Los Angeles, Ca.. He had not been disfellowshipped then but went and Br. Parkinson and a few built him up in a few hours to stand up and be courageous. He posted one the most powerful disfellowship judicial committees that I have seen so far. You would be surprised how many of the big internet guys coming out came here first when the Chicago Bible students put this site up.
        We are a different kind of site, we are patient and don’t go after any one to come out but will stick with them if they decide to come out on their own.
        I say this so that persons like Traveler will realize they should open a site and go for it.
        We however have to stick to the work God has called us to do.
        This site is effective, I have actually had the Watchtower society send persons to my house to reprimand us, claiming we are doing damage to the organization. I explained to one particular hostile agent of theirs that we only help victims that come to us and we can’t back down. I suggested they simply stop their foolishness! It didn’t go over very well. I have had the CO sit in the car in my driveway with others while an elder came up to my house to try and get me to come down to the kingdom hall. They were taping me. I talked about my enjoying our Bible student brothers and acknowledged the problems he as an elder have to deal with. In other words I presented myself as not a Jehovah witness. My card is in another country so no local congregation have a card on me and therefore have to trick me into attending their meetings again. He even asked where every one of my JW relatives are so they could put the word out to tell if I attend in any of those cities. They just don’t understand that I puke if I see or hear the governing body talk. I get physically ill, don’t know why but it happens.
        That is why I feel they are coming from another angle on this site to say you can admit we are wrong but we just want BODIES IN THE SEATS, DON’T LEAVE.
        If I am wrong then I err on the side of what I see. The governing body cannot tell this site how to operate. Br. Peter and Br. Kris and I are the operating committee on this site with others. Now we have our little core group that has relieved the brothers and you guys ares stepping in and up.
        Thank You. You help so many.
        An example of others that are fighting:
        https://www.hartlepoolmail.co.uk/news/hartlepool-mp-to-act-on-jehovah-s-witness-concerns-from-former-church-member-1-9175206

  • Jacqueline (Bible Student)

    This is the rest of the story when a mother got up killed her husband 2 children and herself.
    A couple of months ago, we wrote about Lauren Stuart, the aspiring model who was shunned after leaving the Jehovah’s Witnesses and ended up killing her whole family. It was easy to pin blame on the Witnesses at the time, but critics would say that was just low-hanging fruit and that there may have been another, more direct, cause (if not many others).

    But more details have emerged about the case and it turns out there’s a very clear link between the Witnesses’ actions and the triple murder-suicide. That connection is worth exploring….. Read more here
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2018/05/21/how-jehovahs-witnesses-and-shunning-contributed-to-a-triple-murder-suicide/

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