Interview with TwoCultSurvivor
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18-02-2014, 12:04 PM (This post was last modified: 18-02-2014 12:43 PM by TwoCultSurvivor.)
RE: Interview with TwoCultSurvivor
(18-02-2014 02:12 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  Thank you for the thread. It is fascinating for me to read the personal accounts of other Atheists. I am especially interested in your story.

My fascination comes from my own upbringing. I was raised a Mormon in an extended family of Mormons. My own deconversion took a turn for the best when I discovered the Jehovah's Witnesses. The similarities between the indoctrination techniques, and the methods of control, were too obvious to ignore.

I have a few questions for you.

1. Are you familiar with the Mormons and were you as believer? If you were, did you notice the similarities?
I was not familiar with Mormonism as a believer, except for some rudimentary knowledge. I did connect Joseph Smith's claims with the founder of The Way, but the founder of the Way made a show of sticking with the Bible, so I didn't really connect them as well as I could have.

Quote:2. What is the purpose behind the forbidding of holiday and birthday celebrations? What is the Jehovah's Witnesses' official reason, and what is your own private opinion?
Most holiday celebrations are non-Christian in origin (Christmas and Easter, which is actually named for a pagan goddess!), so refusing to celebrate them makes good Christian sense. The Jehovah's Witnesses commemorate the death of Jesus and rejoice in the resurrection. They just shun the rest of the trappings of Easter. Birthdays are also non-Biblical, and on the two occasions in the Bible when birthdays are celebrated, disaster struck.

Quote:3. Were you psychologically or emotionally abused as a child by means of religion?
No. Abused is a very strong word. I was deprived of certain experiences that are considered normal for most American children. But I was also showered with genuine parental love, and never lacked what I needed.

Quote:4. What led you to become an Atheist, rather than remaining a member of your second cult?

That's a bit of a long story. I invite you to my prior posts on the subject. Links coming up.
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18-02-2014, 12:05 PM
RE: Interview with TwoCultSurvivor
Seeing the Dark

My first funeral as an atheist

Those are the two threads that best describe my deconversion.
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19-02-2014, 04:08 PM
RE: Interview with TwoCultSurvivor
Sample question:
What was the strangest thing you believed?

Each cult had a number of candidates for "goofiest belief ever."

Jehovah's Witnesses believe the second coming of Christ began in 1914, culminating with the heavenly crowning of Christ as king in 1918. The failed end of the world predictions never slowed them down. I remember growing up fairly convinced that I would not reach adulthood before the second coming was 100% established. Jehovah's Witnesses refer to the post-revelation Earth as "the new system of things." I used to parrot that expression. Other Christians had no idea what I was talking about.

In The Way, we were taught that the founder received a special revelation from God while praying in despair for his vanishing faith. God promised him He would teach him the Word as it has not been known since the First Century, if he would teach it to others. That explained why his doctrines were so similar to yet different from mainstream Christianity.

One thing he taught was that Jesus was conceived in Mary when she was still a virgin, but that she had sex with Joseph even before Jesus was born. That was odd.

He also taught that abortion was not murder. Convenient, considering how many women he and his closest followers were knocking up.

Trying to think of what the strangest doctrine might have been, but I have to think the fear of impending doom inculcated in my head by the Jehovah's Witnesses and the coming of the new system of things probably has to take the prize.
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24-02-2014, 08:40 AM
RE: Interview with TwoCultSurvivor
Sample question:

What was The Way's hook? How did they draw you in?

Similar to any Christian sect or cult, the Way's hook was its claim that its unique approach to the Bible was the only correct reading. They would contrive a particularly odd interpretation of scripture that challenged a minor mainstream doctrine, then use that interpretation to build to something more significant. For example, if Jesus died on Friday and got up on Sunday, then he wasn't dead for three days and three nights, as he said he would be. He must have died on Wednesday and gotten up on Saturday (early evening). Then he would be up by Sunday morning. The "sabbath day" after he died would have to be a special holy day,. not just the weekly sabbath. Lo and behold, the Bible goes out of its way to tell you that the sabbath after Jesus died was a "high day." Makes sense if he died on the day of preparation for the Passover, because the next day is indeed a high day that is regarded as a sabbath. It just wasn't a Saturday. It was a Thursday.

So Jesus dies on a Wednesday, is buried for three days and three nights, and on Sunday morning he's already up!

See how careful we are in "rightly dividing the word of truth"?

Also, if you carefully review all four gospels, you realize that two men were led with Jesus to be crucified at the same time, while two men were brought to the hill after Jesus. That makes a total of five crosses on the hill. That's why in one gospel it says that both men crucified with Jesus reviled him, but another gospel says one of them asked for forgiveness. No contradiction: we have four people with him up there, not just two. See? We are so good at interpreting the Bible!

So when we get around to larger doctrines, like the question of whether Jesus is actually God or whether dead people go to heaven immediately or "sleep" until a later date, we are already enthralled at how careful the Way is when it comes to examining scripture. We're hooked!
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