Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Jehovah's Witnesses, Celebrities and A Whole Lotta Crazy...

I've been a bit triggered today in coming across these two bits of media.  You can take the girl out of the cult but you can't take the cult out of the girl.  

This is an interview from 2007 with actor Terence Howard on NPR, where he says that if he could be less "selfish" and give up smoking, he'd become an active Jehovah's Witness, which he was exposed to as a young adult through a schoolmate.  His ex-wife, children, and the rest of his immediate family are JW's.  

During the interview, Howard expresses how impressed he was by his JW classmate's conduct for getting up and leaving a conversation of his peers when they began speaking of sex.  My stomach did a flip at this point in the interview and I actually threw up in my mouth a little. I was that good little JW who would leave the table when my friends would talk about sex or other stuff I deemed "worldly".  I could quote scripture like Howard and defend my beliefs diligently to anyone that asked.  Sigh.  I can't believe how upset this is making me.  I don't think I'll ever be rid of this very deep response to the JW's no matter how far from it I get.   

What's worse than hearing Howard speak of his "faith"?  Reading the comments of ardent Jehovah's Witnesses responding to the interview:  

"I Hope I see you one day in the paradise Terrence. There will be people that have done much worse and have been more selfish than you there. Stay close to the congregation and keep your eye simple and you will be happy in life. Many are searching for happiness but few are finding it." (michael M)

"Terrence,I really enjoyed hearing this interview. My family has always enjoyed you as an actor. However, I would like to show some tough love to you. Don't wait too long to get "qualified". When Armageddon arrives, those who know about Jehovah, but didn't do anything about it, will be done away with. It would be a shame for you to miss out on everlasting life and for your family to live it without you. Now's the time, don't delay!!!" (Becky Dotson)

"There seems to be a misconception about being a fence sitter. It has been pointed out countless times, the fence belongs to Satan, not Jehovah so those that are not making their choice as to who to follow, are in serious trouble if they don't get it done soon.

'Foxhole' conversions may leave people in a state of shock. We must prove ourselves now, not wait till Armageddon."  (Carol Collins)

And then, there's this article from the July 23, 2009 Los Angeles Sentinel.  The article, "Michael Jackson and Jehovah's Witnesses" is written by Dr. Firpo W. Carr, author and Jehovah's Witness apologist.  I'm not entirely sure what his relationship to the Jackson family is, as Carr states only that he is "one who has tracked the family's religious progression for four decades".  Speaking of a conversation with Jackson in 2004, Carr says:

"He then told me, among other things, that he wanted me to study the Bible with his children, and that he wanted them to be raised by his mother as Jehovah's Witnesses should anything happen to him. This explains in part why these same children were being seen attending a Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses here in Los Angeles after his funeral."

Blech.  Blech.  Blech.  I fear for those children.  

Once again, the comments after the article raised the bile for me.  Firpo Carr, who doesn't make clear whether he's an active JW or not, defends the JW's and their Watchtower organization with great fervor.  It's the same old rhetoric but it still manages to make me squidgy in the belly every time I  hear it.

Excuse me while I rinse out my mouth.  

tall penguin

3 comments:

Umlud said...

Ah but if we could have chosen to whom we were born, then we would only have ourselves to blame about the pieces of culture in which we grow up.

I don't know much about JWs, but am learning about them (perhaps from a negative standpoint) by reading your blog posts. It's been a long time to shake myself free of many of the ties with the relatively hands-off Christianity in which I was raised. Based on the things you write, I can only guess how hard it is for you.

Keep at it though. Eventually - perhaps - you will turn on the TV, see an interview of a JW and have no reaction at all as you turn the channel.

tall penguin said...

Hey Umlud, feel free to do your own research on the JW's. Throw the words "Jehovah's Witnesses" into a google search and see what you get. You'll be surprised.

Also, you can see the official JW website at www.watchtower.org. Or you can speak to any of them the next time they come knocking at your door. I don't think you need to read my blogs to form a "negative" standpoint.

Having said that, you must recall that my very lovely parents are still JW's, who are extraordinary people. Indoctrinated, yet extraordinary. I can separate the two now. For the most part anyhow.

"It's been a long time to shake myself free of many of the ties with the relatively hands-off Christianity in which I was raised. Based on the things you write, I can only guess how hard it is for you."

Yes, it's hard. Every day there is something that creeps up on me. Most of the time though, I can move through it quite easily. Today, I had to vent. It happens.

"Keep at it though. Eventually - perhaps - you will turn on the TV, see an interview of a JW and have no reaction at all as you turn the channel."

I'm glad that my body still has this reaction on occasion. It keeps me from making similar mistakes in the future.

Heidi said...

Isn't it strange that things like that can still trigger such a response? That happens to me every once in a while. I think the way I work through it is just to collect the stories, help others, remember, speak up...

I think you are very wise to separate out the person from the affiliation. For one thing, kindness that might have been undermined can possibly re-emerge.

I just keep coming back to the basics...

Thanks for writing this!