Perfectly flawed human

“And stop being molded by this system of things, but be transformed by making your mind over, so that you may prove to yourselves the good and acceptable and perfect will of God…” (ROM. 12:2)
The lights, they are focused on you. Omnipresent, ever so powerful and judgmental… he knows if you are doing your best.  Honesty, love and all the traits of a true Christian should be refined at every moment. Constantly “renewing your personality”, your flaws.  Your skin, your wardrobe… what does it say about you as a person?  Is it appropriate?  Is it too much?  Is it too plain?  Does it make you look vulgar or “worldly”?  Do your best!  Your brothers and sisters expect nothing but a flawless (yet flawed and sinful) human.  Now strut on the catwalk, you are going to the podium. Don’t forget to smile~

Good afternoon.

Jehovah Witnesses, as a cult, have always been focused on appearance. The men wearing their outdated suits and ties, short haircuts and shaved faces.  Women wearing skirts that have been meticulously chosen to, not only to match their blouses, but to oppose most of the fashion industry by trying to find the extremely rare skirt that is long enough to cover their knees.. only to give up, visit a thrift shop or flea market instead and lie to themselves and others that they, deep down, love “vintage”.

However, it goes beyond a mere physical outlook. It is also the way one speaks, one thinks and one behaves.  No swearing, no immoral thoughts, no doubts, no ambitions outside of the cult… the list goes on.

Always a constant pressure.  After all, it is demanded of Jehovah Witnesses to always do everything everyday in the name of their God.[1] Be it sleeping, eating, working, socializing, hygiene, preaching, going to the meetings.  Not doing so may upset God. Such may lead to one’s demise in Armageddon and shunning.

Interestingly, with most former Jehovah Witness that I’ve talked to, most share that very same unhealthy personality trait:  Perfectionism.  The reason is quite obvious.  Yet it is tragic that Jehovah Witness, not only are they perfectionists, they are also judgmental of others’ flaws.[2]

The gossips that surface, about sister Barbara’s make-up during the memorial.  How brother Tom hasn’t been preaching as much as he used to.  That one family that never appears when it is time to clean the Kingdom Hall.  The lack of spirituality from sister Teresa because she didn’t study for the meeting, even though she’s unemployed and has no child.

Gossips turn into infamy and social pressures.  Which later turn into shunning.

A child that is born within a Jehovah Witness’ household is exposed to such environment and requirements early on.  Expectations higher, specially if the child has a father that is an elder and/or both parents have been pioneering for quite some time.  Like a child born within nobility, exposed to the high prestige environment of those who are considered “spiritually strong” in the region.  One’s vocabulary must be carefully thought out before spoken.  A smile being the greatest virtue when talking to others.  It truly feels that the spotlight is on top of one’s family, given that their family has become “the perfect example” of a Christian household.

Such child cannot be truly a child in their youth, since they are required to study harder and preach more often.  To comment more and encourage other children to be just like them.  I’ve heard parents telling their children to be more like “that one child” from “that one elder”.

That is not love… but a recipe for a personality disorder later in life!

The frustration, guilt, insecurities all come from the same source of reasoning and self-doubt.  Double checking… triple checking.  Asking the opinions of others and still not trust their opinion.  Comparing yourself to others, resentfulness, envy and selfishness. Ironically, leading to other more horrendous “sins”.  Yet the environment encourages such behaviors indirectly.

The requirements and demands come from the Governing Body after all. For example, if one is old enough to get a driver’s license… then why haven’t they “decided” to get baptized?[3] Are they not dedicated enough?  Do they love God?

Jehovah Witnesses, in their pursuit to please their God, to please their peers… they leave much of themselves behind. A feeling of emptiness, sour bitterness behind droopy eyelids.  They do not experience certain aspects that are required in childhood, such as the need to be free and truthful to one self.  Free to explore themselves, to love themselves for their flaws and virtues.  Such experiences also develop empathy and tolerance for others, who are just as flawed.

It is known that perfectionism is a learned behavior, not something that is genetically shared by one’s family.  Plenty of studies are easily available on the subject by a mere search on Google. As such, it is fair to conclude that perfectionism is, once again, a flaw that is taught and ingrained within most Jehovah Witnesses.

I, too, am a perfectionist.  Though the years and recent life experiences in the last half a decade have made me more tolerant and empathetic of others’ flaws and inconsistencies… I too cannot simply cease to be a perfectionist when addressing my own flaws.  It’s natural to blame ourselves for our flaws, then later blame ourselves to be perfectionists.

Yet, as we keep explore the intricacies of our former cult.  As we learn of other people’s experiences and express ourselves to those who can aid us.  Then, just like many of our other flaws, we can better understand and not blame ourselves for who we are.

No one is perfect.

[1] “How different the attitude is of those who, prompted by Jehovah’s holy spirit, display love, kindness, and goodness in their dealings with others! (Gal. 5:22) God’s Word tells us to focus on the needs of others ahead of our own. Therefore, we take an active interest in one another, though we are careful not to interfere in personal matters. (1 Cor. 10:24, 33; Phil. 2:3, 4; 1 Pet. 4:15) We show particular consideration for fellow believers. Still, we also strive to be helpful to unbelievers. (Gal. 6:10) Can you look for an opportunity today to demonstrate kindness to someone you meet?”​ – Use Each Day of Your Life for God’s Glory – The Watchtower – January 15, 2010 – p. 22-23
[2] “What about God’s standards? If any code needs to be followed, it’s not a code of silence. Rather, you should adhere to God’s moral code as set forth in the Bible. The fact is, when you stand up for what’s right, you make your Creator’s heart glad. (Proverbs 27:11) In addition, you feel better because you know that you truly acted in your friend’s best interests.​—Ezekiel 33:8.” Awake! December 8th, 2008 – p.20
[3] Jehovah’s Witnesses 2015 Convention Sunday last talk MORRIS Encourages COERCED BAPTISM of Children

 

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