My mother came from a religiously split family - her mother became a JW whilst her husband remained cool and awesome. When they had kids, they were taken to church from Day 1 and taught as JW's - The father had no interest in religion, and just wanted to fish.
My fathers family became JW's when he was about 16 after receiving a knock at the door from evangelists. My dad was entranced by the amount of young girls in the congregation, and went along willingly.
By the time I was born, they had already been married and served as Baptised Publishers for years. Any relationships from before their conversion were long gone, and a massive new network of friends inside the church was in place. One needs to understand the mindset of the JW's in this concern - the way they view the outside world is important.
There are no walls, no compounds (apart from Bethel) - there is simply a perspective similar to Islam, but without the hatred.
By choosing God's rule, they qualify to be put on the "right hand" of Christ as he separates "the sheep" from "the goats." In his prophecy about the last days, Jesus foretold: "All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will put the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left." The sheep are humble people who associate with and support Christ's brothers, submitting to God's rule. The goats are stubborn people who reject Christ's brothers and do nothing to support God's rule. With what result? Jesus said: "These [the goats] will depart into everlasting cutting-off, but the righteous ones [the sheep] into everlasting life."—Matthew 25:31-46.
Only those who support God's Organisation are at God's right hand; a position of privilege!
But what of those outside? The descriptions of 'Wordly people' are a mixture of pity (for being so misled) and fear (for being directly influenced by the Devil). I was taught to view the world's population as a shambling mass of blind and ignorant people.
Below is an illustration used to depict the 'world' outside the JW's
|Herp derpa derp...|
Of course, you are bound to meet people along the way that are clearly not ignorant or blind - and here we introduce The Devil.
Satan was originally an angel, living up with God and his peeps. When God created the earth and humans, Satan felt the need to mess God's plan up by challenging his sovereignty by misleading Eve. That horrible woman managed to drag Adam down with her.
In a rather convoluted bunch of reasoning's, we are taught that after the Garden of Eden the entire world was given to Satan to govern as he chooses, and he was kicked out of Heaven with all the angels that supported him. This amounted to "a third of the stars of heaven", so significantly more than 20.
If, after an agreed period of time, the devil managed to turn everyone against God, he gets to keep it. And God has to do a nudie run around the pool table.
Hence, Satan and his cronies kick about, confined to the Earth and it's people with the express goal of corrupting them from THE TRUE METHOD of serving god. Because God has taken a holiday to the Pegasus Galaxy, he plays no part in what happens down here.
Therefore, if we meet any non-JW who seems to be well-reasoning and grounded - BE WATCHFUL! It is most likely the Devil attempting to coerce you into doubting your faith. Here are some quotes from the JW publications:
The Bible makes it clear that Satan is not "an aspect of God" but an enemy of God. (Luke 10:18, 19; Romans 16:20) He defies Jehovah's sovereignty, and his intentions toward humans are hardly "loving." He heartlessly vents his wrath on God's earthly servants. He accuses them before God day and night!* (Revelation 12:10, 12, 15-17) Satan is intent on corrupting them at any cost. His merciless persecution of the righteous man Job exposed his callous attitude toward human suffering.—Job 1:13-19; 2:7, 8.
"An Angel of Light"
It should not surprise us that the Devil can make divination appear beneficial, even angelic. The Bible says that Satan "keeps transforming himself into an angel of light." (2 Corinthians 11:14) He can even fabricate portents and then make them come true, deceiving onlookers into thinking that the omen is from God. (Compare Matthew 7:21-23; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12.) But all of Satan's works—no matter how virtuous or how sinister they may appear—serve one of two purposes: to turn people against Jehovah or simply to blind their minds so that 'the illumination of the glorious good news about the Christ might not shine through.' (2 Corinthians 4:3, 4) This latter method of deception is often the most effective.
Consider the Bible account of a servant girl in the first century. Her predictions brought much gain to her masters. For many days she followed the disciples, saying: "These men are slaves of the Most High God, who are publishing to you the way of salvation." Her words were true. Yet, the account tells us that she was possessed, not by an angel, but by "a demon of divination." Eventually, Paul "turned and said to the spirit: 'I order you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.' And it came out that very hour."—Acts 16:16-18.
Why did Paul expel this spirit? After all, it provided much income to the masters of the demon-possessed girl. With supernatural powers, the servant girl may have told farmers when to plant, maidens when to marry, and miners where to look for gold. Why, this spirit even moved the girl to speak some words of truth, publicly praising the disciples!
Nevertheless, it was "a demon of divination." As such, it had no right to make proclamations about Jehovah and his provision for salvation. Its complimentary speech, perhaps uttered to lend credence to the servant girl's predictions, distracted onlookers from Christ's true followers. With good reason, Paul warned the Corinthians: "You cannot be partaking of 'the table of Jehovah' and the table of demons." (1 Corinthians 10:21) Not surprisingly, first-century Christians destroyed all their books that were associated with divination.—Acts 19:19.
This is the environment I was born into - a 'theocratic' hierarchy spoken to directly by god and therefore beyond questioning, coupled with a xenophobic mindset of anything outside the religion, viewing 'normal' people as innocent pawns in a demonic creature's rampage against me personally.
It was awesome. Imagine being so elite! We were swept up in the fervor of battle, fighting daily against demons and their corrupting influences in order to rescue as many people as possible before the End of Days.
Only now do I see that those so-called demonic attacks were simply people trying to rescue me, speaking plain logic and reasoning about the aggressive cult that I was part of.
Questions? Statements of shock and disgust? Donations of over $2 are tax deductible...