Would you go to a JW Bible study?

(90 Posts)
quizzywizz Tue 09-Apr-13 21:13:39

I have wanted to do a Bible study for a while but there aren't many around here and the times at the church ones just don't fit in with everything else that I do.

I work with a Jehovah's Witness and she said that they do Bible studies in people's homes or in the home of the JW and they work right through the Bible and the key features. She said that a lot of non-JWs go the the studies and that even some non-believers do too. They are usually 1 on 1 or 2 JWs and 1 student.

Would you go to a JW Bible study? Do you think there would be anything to worry about?

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Fri 12-Apr-13 20:46:14

JWs are not what people mean when they say 'Christians'.

Depends who you talk to. They use the bible, so I'd consider them Christians.

Christians possibly. Not mainstream.

So, would your viewpoint be that the OP shouldn't go along to the Bible study then?

Presumably because people will try to convince her of their ideas and get her to join their religion?

Is that so very different from what I am saying, apart from the fact that you disapprove equally of my choice of denomination?

ItsYoniYappy Fri 12-Apr-13 20:54:26

No I wouldn't I have had several from my FIL who is an Elder and my STBXH

I have thought I would like to look into a religion but this one is not for me at all.

So there are only so many 'chosen ones' (not all JWs will go onto to this life)would be chosen for the everlasting oh so perfect life free of crime drugs, where everyone is happy and no-one ever has affairs etc

It's a lovely thought but I don't believe a word of it, on saying that there is no harm in you finding this out yourself.

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Fri 12-Apr-13 20:57:07

I think if you want to study the bible then it doesn't really matter where you go to do that. You will be given a different interpretation everywhere you go, so why not expand your understanding by taking in different view points?

You'll only get sucked in by the JWs if you believe what they say about not speaking to other people. If you are still sound of mind then it's just another place to get a different view point.

headinhands Fri 12-Apr-13 20:59:53

I don't disapprove as such, I think the point being made is that JW's have no more or less basis for their beliefs as any single other theist.

narmada Fri 12-Apr-13 21:04:10

Surely the alpha course is a way of recruiting members into the Christian faith, though? How is it different from JW bible study groups? Genuine question - I am not a believer.

narmada - I'm not that keen on Alpha either tbh, but the big difference is that you are not on your own in a house with two people trying to convince you, you are part of a bigger group and are likely to hear a few more questions and dissenting comments.

It's like, I'd sooner go to a presentation than have a pair of double glazing salesman in my front room (or be in theirs). It's about the feeling of being outnumbered, and being made to feel like the one unreasonable person who isn't agreeing with their carefully-thought-through points. The pressure is a lot greater in that situation.

narmada Fri 12-Apr-13 21:16:33

I do see your point amuminscotland now you put it like that.

stressedHEmum Sat 13-Apr-13 13:38:35

AMIS has the right if it. The situation with a JW study is that there are always 2 of them and usually only 1 student.

The questions are all very leading and the WBTS publishes books for it's members giving answers to counteract all kinds of questions that you might have. There is literature on how to deal with Muslims/Buddhists/Hindus etc. on how to answer questions about life after death, mainstream Christian beliefs, the blood issue, the bad associations issue, on their belief that their leaders are the "faithful and discreet slave", how to diffuse questions about all their false prophesies of doom... you name it. It is all very clearly thought out and planned to lead you where they want you to go.

They are not mainstream Christians, many believe that they are not Christian at all, by accepted definitions, just like LDS.

It can be really hard not to get "sucked in" because of the situation. They are always very reasonable and make you feel unreasonable if you don't believe. When you go along to meetings, you are smothered with love and attention and drawn in. The move to distance you from your friends and family is quite subtle, and any opposition that you come up against is just used as proof that you are on the right track. Opposition is Satan's way of keeping you from the truth.

In saying all of that, I despise things like Alpha as well. I would start by reading the bible and some kind of commentary as mentioned above. I believe in people making their own mind up not in leading folk to the decision that you want.

quizzywizz Sat 13-Apr-13 20:22:26

Is it something to worry about then? I work with the girl who suggested the Bible study.

I am pretty secure in my faith but don't know many believers at all. Hmmmmm....

Their aim will be to "suck you in" - unless you are either super-confident of your ability to resist that sort of thing from people who are lovely and friendly and nice and make you feel guilty, or you'd actually like to join a religion that will make you feel loved and accepted just as long as you accept what they say 100% and don't want to continue being in close contact with anyone else, then I'd really, really say "Don't do it".

FWIW we did have a bible-study thread on here for a while, but interest sort of drifted off - would something like that work for you?

Are you Someone with your own thoughts, ideas and reasonings? Then you won't be sucked in. The thing with all christian religions is to actually focus on the bible not on mans interpretation of it. If you want to learn more about the bible, by all means have a study. You know you can insist on continuing to use your own bible. You can decline the NWT politely if offered. You are not a sheep and can decide for yourself how to live or how far you want to go with any religion.

quizzywizz Sun 14-Apr-13 16:26:22

You see I already think I would feel a bit weird insisting on using my Bible.

I have my own ideas and thoughts but they are probably very convincing people.

She was trying to explain what they think of the Trinity to me and it sounded rational - just not what I believe.

It's very tricky discussing things like this with people who already have a convincing set of answers worked out, as you tend to think "I must be being thick/awkward". And most people want to fit in with those they are spending time with, specially if they feel those people are "taking the time" to be nice to them.

I expect your colleague is actually a nice person, and the people who you did the bible study with would probably also be nice people. And they would try, for your own good, to convince you that what they believe, and what makes them feel happy and special, would be a good thing for you too. They don't even have to be deliberately manipulative. to push you into feeling that you "ought" to try to see their point of view.

But they do have training in "being convincing" and in a set of arguments for their point of view that have been worked out in advance to give to people like you - whereas you will be trying to express your doubts and concerns for the first time, struggling to put them into words, which puts you at a big disadvantage when trying to stick to your own viewpoint.

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Sun 14-Apr-13 18:09:40

But, as long as you have a decent understanding of your own faith, there shouldn't be an issue surely? Either you can agree with what they are saying or disagree. And if you agree with it all, then chances are its the faith for you.

stressedHEmum Sun 14-Apr-13 18:10:53

Again, completely agree with AMIS. You have to be super secure and confident in your own ideas or else don't do it.

JWs have a special weekly meeting, called Theocratic Ministry School, that all publishers should attend. The aim of this meeting is to teach them how to put their point across and how to answer questions in such a way that they seem right, reasonable and well thought out and everybody else is actually being blinded by Satan.

It all seems so reasonable and they are so earnest that it is very, very difficult, once you start, the break away. So unless you are looking for something that, literally, takes over and dictates the very minutiae of your live and separates you from all your current family and friends, I would not take your friend up on her offer.

MareeyaDolores Thu 18-Apr-13 06:37:01

I would expect the local Baptist church could send someone to do a Bible study with you, if you explained that your need for non-standard timings was such that you were about to sign up for JW training sessions. They're generally really good about nurturing new or wobbly Christians.

A chat with an RC priest might be worth thinking about too, especially if he can put you in touch with another mother who wants to look at each Sunday's Bible readings; JW are often told not to go back to the homes of committed Catholics (too good at awkward Scripture questions wink).

Branleuse Thu 18-Apr-13 06:52:59

i know someone who has recently left JW after being brought up in the religion. Her whole family including her parents have been made to abandon her because of it and it has been heartbreaking

stressedHEmum Thu 18-Apr-13 10:42:50

Bran, that's what happens when you leave. JWs practice shunning so people who leave lose their entire network of friends and, often, family. I was lucky because none of my family were JWs, I was a convert, so I at least had that to go back to. Lots of people are not so lucky.

Shunning is supposed to be about loving discipline and about keeping the congregation "clean", but it is unbelievably cruel.

quizzywizz Sun 21-Apr-13 21:10:03

I went to the meeting the other weekend and it was a little odd!

Big thing that stood out was that they have different ideas about the Trinity.

All a bit confusing and lots of talk of demons and people being led astray. Not sure if I am seen as a bad influence!

People were mostly friendly - lots of hand shaking.

SilveryMoon Sun 21-Apr-13 21:22:54

My neighbour is a JW. She is very nice. Rather pushy about her views though. We have had a number of discussions about religion. I am unsure of whether I believe or not and what exactly i do believe or want to believe.
We had discussions about a range of things and she managed to push my views aside and dismiss them quite easily. Which is fine, because I'm only debating things and trying to understand.
She gives me magazines, she lends me dvd's for my dc's to watch, all fine, the dvd was quite nice, but I'd be wary.
She invites me to meetings and the like often, and although I said I'd think about it and I am open to hear anyone's view, I don't think I ever will.
Something about the pushiness makes me feel very uneasy.

MareeyaDolores Sun 21-Apr-13 22:25:42
stressedHEmum Mon 22-Apr-13 10:35:40

There is a lot of talk about demons. Satan is prowling around like a hungry lion, waiting to pounce on any weakness and drag you away from the truth.

Any and all opposition is proof that you are on the right track and that Satan is worried that you are learning the truth. All sorts of things are connected to worshipping Satan and false religion - clinking glasses in a toast, saying bless you, listening to sacred music or music connected to other faiths...

As far as being a bad influence - you will be until you are more firmly attached to the congregation. Your friend and other JWs will be encouraged to associate with you but not in social situations. Now that you have been to a meeting, you can expect more talk of bible studies etc.

people will be VERY friendly because they are trying to attract you in. Did you know that JWs are encouraged to believe that it's all right to not be truthful about all their beliefs to outsiders. it's a combination of theological warfare - where they don't want the devil to know about their plans/beliefs etc. and the belief that "milk comes before meat."

quizzywizz Fri 26-Apr-13 17:09:00

I was surprised at some of the clothes worn at the meeting - I assumed it would all be really modest but although the skirts were knee length they were really tight pencil skirts.

I kind of like the idea of being a bad influence - never been considered that before!

Lots of talk of demons floating around - oh and if you used tarot cards you will have demons around you forever trying to mess up your life.

quizzywizz

I'll just mention what I said on another thread about the topic of what a cult is. Here are a couple of dictionary definitions of cult.

"a relatively small group of people having religious beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or as imposing excessive control over members"

oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/cult

"A religion or religious sect generally considered to be extremist or false, with its followers often living in an unconventional manner under the guidance of an authoritarian, charismatic leader."

www.thefreedictionary.com/cult

Anyone can look up the defininitions yourself.

I would be interested to know if those who have had direct contact with Jehovah's Witnesses, as a group, would say if they think JWs are a cult.

Of course there are many who do not like all religions and would happily lump them altogether. With all respect some people who post here are atheist so presumably are not making comments about one religion because they think it is correct, not if they are an atheist and they think they are all wrong.

It seems from their website that JWs believe themselves to be Christians but they do not believe in the Trinity, which is one of the main thing which defines a Christian. Having said this I have met very lovely JWs on my doorstep. We chatted, I said what I believed, they said what they believed and we ended up hugging each other! I am sure there are lovely people amongst the JWs.

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