Growing Up Jehovah’s Witness

John Dehlin Mormon 11 Comments

This is fascinating to watch as an active Mormon, raised in the church. It’s a young lady who discusses her experiences being raised as a Jehovah’s Witness, and ultimately choosing to leave the church (in 3 parts).

For me, it might serve to help us see more clearly where religion goes right, and where it goes wrong. (Thanks to Jason for the head’s up)


Part 1


Part 2

Part 3

Comments 11

  1. Thanks for the post. Brilliant stuff. Her relationship with her parents reminds me of a book I read called “Unconditional Parenting.” It really brings out what children need from their parents.

    Militant religion can, to some people, be detrimental to spirituality. See Road Less Travelled.

  2. Truly touching.

    I felt very strong correlations between her story and my own, upon my exit of Mormonism.

    This video especially hit home when she made the statement that “people don’t leave because they were corrupted or by demonic thinking” (I would also add ‘or past sins or the desire to sin’), but because there are legitimate reasons to do so. Unfortunately, not everyone is like John Dehlin, and the vast majority do not try to understand why people like her and myself leave our respective churches. Instead, we are branded apostates, heretics, and infidels, and it is assumed that Satan has now grasped our souls. My Mormon parents will not leave me alone with my siblings for fear that I might taint them with the corruption of Satan.

    It is now my opinion that Mormonism is just as much a cult as JW, as it also has a highly authoritarian system which instructs its followers on what to wear, how to think, what they can or cannot say, etc. I thought very strongly that there Mormonism was modern and secure enough to withstand scrutiny, and open to question and critical analysis. I found that this was very much not the case in my own personal exodus.

  3. Interesting post. Very interesting interview.

    Michael, what are you talking about? It can’t be anything the Church teaches. PEOPLE do what you describe. PEOPLE tend to be judgemental. PEOPLE don’t understand free agency.

    But I’ve never heard the Church support or encourage anything like this woman explains or what you apparently experienced. Don’t blame the Church for PEOPLE’S failings. We humans tend to be flawed.

    You apparently left the Church for reaasons you feel are legitimate. Accept responsibility for your decision. Don’t try and blame the Church for it.

  4. Jer,

    I like your logic, but you must extend it a little further. If the Church does not cause people to isolate their family, friends or associates based on their choices or beliefs then the Church does not cause people to be good. The challenge with any religion, Jehovah’s Witness, Mormon or not, is that you can find teachings to justify almost any behaviour. What makes a religion “good” are the choices that people make to follow certain admonitions and ignore the rest.

    My wife and I went through a period in which we could not accept the Church in any form. Immediately we were isolated from our very loving families (I intend no irony). A brother-in-law, who happens to be a convert to the Church, who doesn’t really believe everything, who has never read the Book of Mormon, said if we were ever to say anything to cause his children doubt, he would cease to associate with us.

    To illustrate that the Church does encourage this behaviour in some form, read the following excerpt from the most recent priesthood conference:

    “If I have friends who are bad influences for me, the advice is clear: “It is better for thee to enter into life without thy brother, than for thee and thy brother to be cast into hell” (Joseph Smith Translation, Mark 9:41). The Lord applied this same principle when warning Nephi to depart from his brethren who became a dangerous influence (see 2 Nephi 5:5).
    “It follows that such cutting off refers not only to friends but to every bad influence, such as inappropriate television shows, Internet sites, movies, literature, games, or music. Engraving in our souls this principle will help us to resist the temptation to yield to any bad influence.” Elder Walter F. González, Today Is the Time, October Conference 2007
    People make a religion good; people make a religion bad. If the Church does not want this type of behaviour to exist, then it should explicitly say that it is wrong. But, then as you say, people either will or will not listen.

  5. John,

    Wow! The parallels between mormonism and JWs is amazing. Not so much doctrinally but similar in the manipulation techniques used by both JWs and the mormon church. John, I appreciate you posting this and the work you are doing here. Despite my opinion that the fundamental premise of your work is irreparably flawed (ie: mormonism is a worthy cause to be associated with), I still appreciate your work as it is thought provoking and helps me understand myself, my previous psyche and frame of mind, and how I could have been taken in for so many years. Keep up the good work.

  6. That is an interesting point, Jer. I would agree with you in that most of the backlash that I received was from people within the church, and that the actions of the people do not inherently condemn the doctrines of the church.

    Reading what I wrote, I don’t see a place where I “blamed” the church. I certainly lament the way most Mormons I have encountered view those of us who leave.

    I do condemn the church, however for several doctrines I disagree with. It does advise on what to wear, what not to think, and what one ought not to say (the FSOY pamphlet alone!) among other things.

    I most strongly condemn the church as well as the people in it for demonizing documents critical to the church (Vaughn J. Featherstone once called it ‘theological pornography!’). It is my belief that one ought to analyze both sides before choosing one.

    John Dehlin, for example, likely knows more about Mormonism than I do, yet chooses to remain. I chose to leave. I would consider us both, however, in the minority, as we both know many things that have been included in “anti” material. It is my belief that if I were to ever meet him or anyone of the same perspective, we would be able to respect each other because we understand each other.

    Unfortunately, this is highly uncommon.

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  8. “It is now my opinion that Mormonism is just as much a cult as JW, as it also has a highly authoritarian system which instructs its followers on what to wear, how to think, what they can or cannot say, etc.”

    Is it your opinion that conservative churches of any stripe, including Southern Baptist, Orthodox Jewish, or Islam do not instruct their followers on manner of dress, controlling your thoughts, and appropriate speech? Because that’s all the LDS church teaches. Are these organizations “cults?”

  9. Today it has been exactly 4 months since my baptism. Four months and still going strong. I’m always sad to see the pain the church has caused so many people. For me it has been a great blessing, I guess its not for everyone. Please visit my blog when you get a moment.

    realmormonism.blogspot.com

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