Last week I went to a screening of an exposé on the Jehovah Witnesses called “Truth be Told”. The film is a montage of interviews with several ex-JWs who discuss their childhood indoctrinations, their deprivations from holidays, their witnessing habits, the insular back-biting community and the difficulty leaving their religion.
The film did not discuss prayer, god or doctrines (nothing on blood transfusions, for instance). Instead it was about the escapees’ inner turmoil. It was a bit long for me but interesting. What made my outing interesting was the discussion afterwards.
The theater had about 60 people, 2/3 of whom were former JWs. The only JWs I had known until then were patients — we had a surgeon in our group who did surgeries without transfusions for JWs. So listening to these JWs describe their indoctrinations and difficulty leaving their faith was fascinating.
I asked one question of the producer: “Your film seems to show problems in many religions, not just JWs. In your experience, what percentage of JWs leave to become believers in another faith?” He thought it was 10% and several ex-JWs jumped in agreeing with him saying, once you see through the bullshit, it is hard to get tricked again. But I do know many join other Christian groups. Here is a 7 minute youtube, of one such woman. One ex-JW said that JWs so stress that there can only be ONE truth, so for her, saying “No” to the Witnesses made it impossible to join yet another truth monopoly.
As I listened to these ex-believers give their anti-testimonies, I walked away with one interesting insight: I had a lot in common with many of these folks. I realized that those who have left an enthusiastic faith often share many attitudes – no matter what religion or fanatic group they left. I was surprised to see I had so much in common with EX-JWs. If you’ve never been part of a fanatic group, you don’t know what you are missing! 🙂
Question for readers: Have you ever felt commonality with other ex-believers of a completely different group?