“WHOM SHALL WE GO AWAY TO?”
How To Deprogram Yourself From JW Thinking
“If I find myself in a situation where changes seem hard to accept,” admits one longtime elder, “I reflect on Peter’s words to Jesus: ‘Lord, whom shall we go away to?’ Then I ask myself, ‘Where shall I go away to—out there into the darkness of the world?’ This helps me to hold firmly to God’s organization.” (John 6:68)
The comment above is taken from the daily text of Jehovah’s Witness dated August 22, 2007. This uncertainty often keeps active JWs from leaving the organization and inactive members from voicing their true opinions about how they feel.
For many when leaving the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses there is often a spiritual vacuum in trying to regain trust in spirituality. While there is no one answer for all persons there is certain information that might help gain a broader perspective in what you have come out of as well as how to avoid putting yourself back into a similar situation. I have found that many that leave the JWs either become atheist or charismatic fundamentalists. Both seem to be extreme and seem reactionary to the indoctrination of the JW belief system. You see, as a JW you are taught to live life with answers you cannot question. If you as a JW question the answers, you are disfellowshipped. In leaving the organization you need to face a simple truth, that is, learning to live life with questions you cannot answer and be at peace. How do you do that? The simplest explanation is learning to think for your self. You see as a JW at each meeting you were indoctrinated to think of every aspect in life as what Jehovah (organization) wanted you to do. Each hour of the day your thoughts were programmed to focus on what the organization’s rules and principles required you to do. In that process you never measured up. Individuals find they were never good enough elders, pioneers, publishers, wives or husbands. Why? You were programmed to believe that you were always falling short of the organizations standards. As a result this kept you with low self esteem and easy to control.
So often when Jehovah’s Witnesses have doubts about the organization they have a phrase that replays in their minds over and over again, “Whom shall we go away to?” That terminology is ingrained into your brain to work as a type of fail safe to prevent you from thinking for your self. You are taught in the organization that the meetings are “education” on how to serve God. This could not be further from the truth. Think about what happens at every single meeting of JWs. Each meeting has questions and answers. Questions and answers means that you read a paragraph and then the conductor asks a question, you then look at the same paragraph and provide the answer. Is this education? When you are in school or college how does typical education work? First you do research on a topic, form conclusions based on the information, discuss this with the class and then write an essay or thesis on what your perceptions are of the material. A teacher reviews your essay and then critiques the information to make sure that now you have a learned concept of what ever the topic was.
In the JW organization questions and answers are not education but instead programming. You will find the answers are often the same over and over again with the ultimate solution, preach or God kills you. This “programming” becomes deeply ingrained into your mind to the point that you react automatically without thinking on a day to day basis. The “programming” is reinforced about every two days and as a result it becomes strongly entrenched much like the grooves on a record. How do you break these patterns? Using the record as an analogy, what would happen if you took a knife and scrapped back and forth across the record? Would it ever play again the same way? So too with JW programming, there are certain exercises that can help you not fall back into thought patterns that are self destructive.
To understand this more completely think of a thought stated to all JWs. It goes something like this, “When you come into the organization one demon leaves you but if you ever leave, seven demons enter into you.” What does this mean? Basically if you ever leave JWs you will be seven times a worse person than you were before you came in. Is this true? Sadly, in many cases the answer is yes. The reason is not because you are a bad person but you have been programmed to self destruct. Remember the earlier comment, “Preach or God kills you?” Well as part of your little record that is made when you are a JW you believe in your subconscious mind that if you are not out preaching for Watchtower you are going to be destroyed at Armaged
Is this really the better way of life? Do you really need someone or some entity to watch and tell you what to do for the rest of your life to keep you from killing your self or destroying your self esteem? The answer is no! The key is learning to think for your self and breaking the internal sub conscious programming of the JWs. If you can do this, you learn to take responsibility for your life and view each day as a gift to be enjoyed, not beating yourself up mentally.
In my personal journey I have been approached by thousands of former and current JWs that all asked the same question, “Where do we go from here?” In defining the answer to that question I developed a program called, “The Seven Steps”. The information does not use anything that speaks negatively about the organization. The reason is learning to think for your self does not require someone to tell you how bad the organization is. I feel that is once again allowing someone to give you answers that they have developed and as a result you are playing the same mind games with different leaders.
The seven steps is an email program that asks you to do seven different exercises and write an essay about your conclusions. You then send in your essay and it is reviewed to see if you were able to grasp the full picture of the information provided. You might be provided with previous essays that were submitted to help you see how others that completed the steps came to their conclusions. In the end after each step is completed you then move on to the next.
I have personally worked with several hundred people doing the “Seven Steps” each and every person has stated that it forever changed their life for the better. Many find that they are in a form of paralysis mentally after leaving the organization. After doing the steps they discover they can now move on with their lives. Many start college, healthy relationships, become stronger emotionally and find new paths to spirituality. Understand that the steps do not point to any one conclusion, if we did that what would be the point in learning to think for your self?
So the question is, are you ready to move on with your life? Do you really want to learn to think for yourself? Do you really want to know, “Where do we go from here?”
If so, then you might be a good candidate for the “Seven Steps”.
The program costs you $35 for each step, you can send payment by check, money order or pay pal at this link.After you complete each step if you wish to proceed to the next then you send your next payment. Certain steps may require an additional purchase of material that is inexpensive. In the end what would it cost you to find a therapist that understands JW issues to basically produce a similar result?
Finally the “Seven Steps” is not a pass-fail program: you get out of it what you put in. We will not think bad of you if you just do two or three steps that is not the point. This is your opportunity to stop being paralyzed and break free from WT programming. What you choose to do with the opportunity is your responsibility.
For information on starting the Seven Steps you can email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org Just say how do I get started on the “Steps”? We will be glad to help you from there.
Also if you find you are in legal matters involving the JW organization, this could include child custody or any type of litigation, please see our website at: www.jwchildcustody.com
It is our purpose to help you to seek closure from JW beliefs while offering healing by gaining perspective. Hopefully in reviewing the material it can help you to see the past does not equal the future and give you the freedom to choose the spirituality that helps you to move forward in a positive way with your life.
William H. Bowen