Questions & Comments

  1. If you have questions or comments related to recovery from cult controls and abuses, feel free to submit them here. I will do my best to respond.
     
  2. Bonnie…I happened to stumble across your books on Amazon and ordered them. Anxious to get them tomorrow and start “healing”. Born and raised as a JW and disfellowshipped 6 years ago has made me a wreak. Divorced of a 18 yr marriage with 3 children. 2 daughters are baptized and have had nothing to do with me the past 6 yrs. I get my son every other week(per divorce), Judge gave ex custody of all 3 as the religion provided a more stable enviornment for the kids. It devasted me. All family and friends i’ve ever known..gone. Remarried a wonderful man last year. Things are great but the emotional effect leaving the religion has me a mess. Glad i found your books and am looking forward to the healing & moving forward process. Thanks again!!!

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    • Thank you Tamara. You have really been put through a terrible ordeal by an organization that has no qualms about tearing families apart. While no book can eliminate the pain of being ostracized by your children, I feel confident that you will acquire tools that will help you manage the emotional challenges and pain you face. Wish you all the best!

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  3. I can not express enough gratitude for sharing your story. The largest residual effect of leaving the JW cult is isolation and a lack of belonging. When I left, the internet was in it’s developing stages, and I spent years re-building without a community to commiserate and heal with. When I discovered your books, I re-visited my trauma, hearing your story. You confirmed so many suspicions regarding illness, repression, emotional abuse, etc. that I always knew, but couldn’t put into certain terms. We need each other, and voices like yours, to heal. Thank you so much Bonnie.

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    • Margo – You are SO welcome. Warms my heart to hear that my books have affirmed what you already knew about the devastating effects of all the deception, betrayal and coercion we experienced in a cult. And, yes, it is wonderful to have access to an ever-growing, worldwide community of cult survivors. Thank you for this encouraging comment!

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  4. Bonnie,
    My wife and I just took placement of 3 foster siblings that we intend to adopt. All 3 were in separate foster homes. The 8 year old girl was in the home of a JW for approximately 1 year. She was instructed to ask us not to take away 3 JW books that were included with her possessions. We knew that it wasn’t the time to remove them. Are there are signs we should watch for? Would an 8 year old girl really see a difference between JW and church?

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    • Hi Richard,
      My guess is that, for now, she may have an emotional attachment to the books – but probably not to the contents (dogma) of the books. New people, including children, who attend the JW meetings are greeted with what is called “love-bombing” and she may have felt more acceptance and ‘love’ in that organization that she had ever experienced in her little life. I would not make a big issue about the books as you indicate you are already aware. I would just make sure she feels loved and accepted and forms a bond with you and your family which will ultimately take precedence over previous, briefly formed attachments and loyalties. As well, I would be careful about JWs trying to insinuate their way into her new life with you and your family. All the best to you and your growing family!

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  5. I’ve had many years of experience in a religious group colloquially known as the 2 X2s, the Friends or the Truth. I wondered if you’re familiar with the group? If so, how would you suggest helping a former member of this group?

    Please advise – many thanks,

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    • Hi Cory,
      No, I’m not familiar with the group. Since I know nothing about the person or the group or the circumstances, there is not much I can say here. I would recommend they read my book, “The Challenge to Heal After Leaving A High-Control Group”. There is a lot of good information in it.

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20 thoughts on “Questions & Comments

  1. Hi Bonnie,

    I was going to do a podcast and wanted to know if I could use some material from a worksheet that I got somewhere on your site. Conditions commonly experienced in a high-control group and the effects after exiting. I have been a blogger for a while and just started podcasting. Thank you.

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  2. Bonnie – wow. I devoured your Fading Out book. I’ve been out of the “truth” for about 10 years. However, I never dealt with any of my issues appropriately. I managed to push them aside and forge on, seemingly successfully. However, when I became a mother, something shifted and I have been dealing with my issues with a therapist. The last 4-5 years have been rocky. Finally dealing with everything the last year with my therapist and addressing these issues head on have had a huge positive impact. I can’t believe how much I have been suppressing! Your book has given me validation I didn’t even know I needed. Thank you, sincerely and honestly for your book. You have no idea how it has helped me.

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    • Research! If you were a JW, watch videos that totally debunk 607 BCE. Read articles and watch documentaries about the veracity of the Bible. Look at the behaviors (works, actions) of those who believe and decide if they are something you want to follow and what that indicates about the bible. You can also google for “thought-stopping techniques” to help you if you find such thoughts become nagging and/or obsessive. You have a world of information and techniques available at your fingertips – Google.

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  3. Hello Bonnie, I want some information about JW mixed marriage with people out of their cult. My wife is in JW religion, I am not, nor have I ever been and i have no contact to them.
    She is not fanatical, she has already been cut off once, but its environment is too fanatical.
    I never go to their meetings, and my wife also does not go often, but when she goes she turns somewhat different. We have two young children as well. I want information on what a witness marriage with non-witness means (NOT APOSTATE, things then are getting harder). I am very negative with their religion.I remember the way they face her when she disfellowshiped(shame for human species). I do not know what they (elders or brothers) can advise her, which behavior they suggest. I have both Franz’s books, surfing AAWA, sites of ex-jws, and recently I found your site. I want some advices and i want to you to help me if its possible with information based on their publications, not on the experiences of former witnesses.
    Can I find your books in Europe?
    Thank you very much, keep doing what you do.

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    • Unfortunately, I do not keep abreast of current JW publications so I can not advise you based on their recent publications as you request. In general terms they will inform any woman married to an unbeliever, to be “obedient” to her husband unless what her husband wants conflicts with the Bible and their interpretations of the Bible. Sounds like the possibility for her eventually waking up is good if she has already experienced their harsh judgments, and does not attend meetings on a regular basis. Each person is unique in terms of their level of indoctrination and their vulnerability to influence and manipulation. I hope she finds her way to leave and that you and your family can live free of cult undue influence. (Yes, my books can be purchased on Amazon in Europe.)

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      • Thank you so much for the reply.
        I was late to answer because we are on vacation.
        I will order some of your books from the Amazon.
        I will contact you again when we return.

        Regards, Tom

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  4. Hi, I’m not certain if I’m leaving this comment in the right place but I found your website following a google search about leaving anonymous reviews on Amazon. My only issue was I personally knew the author but my review of the book was unfavourable, if honest. The matters your website deals with appear to be much more serious than that, so I thought I should just post a warning. You can, as you say, alter your name on Amazon to something generic like ‘Amazon Customer’. However, if the reader clicks on that name, they will see your other reviews on Amazon. While those other reviews will also be by e.g. Amazon Customer, they may well give clues to who the person is. I know this happens because I tested it with a separate book review. I haven’t found out yet how to get round this. If anyone else does, do please say! Regards. Phil

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  5. Hey,
    I am excited I just received your book. I have been out of the JW cult for 9 years now. I was doing ok till recently when I had to go to the KH for my grandfathers memorial service. Needless to say shunned and looked down upon. It hit me like a ton of bricks, how they can make your skin crawl. I would have been fine after that incident eventually. However my dad, who never had an interest growing up, is now studying with the JW’s. My fear is that they will get in his head an brainwash him. He has always loved me no matter what, even when I came out after divorcing my husband and all my tattoos, lol. So for this to be something that would cause him to not be in my life is almost to much to face. He has always been my rock and loved me no matter what. I am seeing a therapist who recommended your book. There are no support groups for EX JW’s or outcast from cults of any kind here that she new of but ,there needs to be one. She said it might help me and that she would back me up if I would like to start one. I just don’t know how to go about it. So I was reaching out to see if you had any suggestions on getting one started or where to go for info on starting something like that. I live in a big enough town that it would be beneficial to help those that are wanting out but do not know how to start. Or suicidal like I was in my teenage years. I want to be there for those that want help so that they do not have to suffer as I did. This life is amazing. I want others to feel the freedom and self love that is truly meant to be.
    Namaste,
    CR

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your comment, Chaz. It is too bad that your father is studying with the witnesses. Have you mentioned to him that they would expect him to shun you if he becomes actively involved. You might also ask him, what it is that he needs or is seeking that has prompted him to study with them – and if there is another way (apart from joining such a high-control group) that he could get those needs met – and how you might be able to help him do so?

      Support groups can be really helpful and setting up one would involve finding a meeting place and advertising in local papers or on local bulletin boards. Once you have a few people, you could meet and share your stories and see if there is any subject matter that you would like to discuss in future meetings – and then each person could do a little research on the topic and speak about what they discovered at the next meeting. Certain ground rule should be agreed upon and if you are seen as the organizer or ‘leader’ you would have to be prepared to receive phone calls and requests for help at all hours of the day or night. If you don’t want the on-going responsibilities as the organizer you could propose that organizing chores rotate among members from month to month – or something like that. It would be good to compile a list of resource addresses and phone numbers for your area to hand out to members. It would also be good to stipulate that while this is a group designed for support, it does not make each one responsible to meet all the needs of the others, as is the case in JW congregations. You want to offer support while encouraging people to become independent and self-directed. You also need to clarify that it is a support group and not a therapy group.

      It is admirable that you want to help in this way, but it is also important to realize that you cannot alleviate everyone’s suffering. Those who leave will have come through a terrible struggle in their process of exiting and they will then find themselves in a grieving process for the life that was stolen, the loved ones lost, and the lost ‘worldview’ (even if they know now it was erroneous). “Suffering” is part and parcel of what people will be dealing with. Prepare yourself by reading up on the topic of cults and the after-effects of leaving one as much as is possible – and, as said, have printed lists of local resources (suicide help-lines, police, social service, food banks, therapists, adult education, etc., etc.) for those that come. I wish you all the best!

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  6. Bonnie,

    If you still consider Skype sessions, please contact me if you would. I’m carrying quite a heavy weight with me and I am trying everything I can think of to help change my life for the better. I would love to speak with someone that can understand my pain.

    Hope to hear from you soon,
    Stephanie

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    • Hi Stephanie, So sorry to hear you are in such pain. Unfortunately, I am retired now and do not take on any more clients. As a therapist I noticed throughout my career that pain is pain and that the particular story that elicits the pain becomes rather incidental to the therapist – what they have to help the client with is the pain. Therapists understand trauma, grief and pain. If you can find a good therapist locally they will be able to help you without necessarily understanding all the nuances of life as a JW. If you want, you could give them my book (Cracking the Cult Code for Therapists) to help them better understand what you have been through, but my guess is that the way they will treat you and your pain will remain the same. Do reach out now and find an experienced, local therapist and get the help you deserve. Wishing you well. Bonnie

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  7. Hello Bonnie, I came here really hoping you still take on clients, since I have read your book and live near you (my parents went to meetings at a KH in southwest Mississauga in the late 80’s) I am looking for a counsellor, since I left the cult 9 years ago, with my parents and brother, but was already married to an inactive JW and we have 4 young kids. I’m having a hard time dealing with his attempted indoctrination of the children and not allowing us to celebrate birthdays etc. Anyway, since you are not providing counselling, can you recommend anyone in the north of Toronto area? Orangeville is the closest bigger city near us. Thank you!

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    • Hi Christine. Good to hear you ‘escaped’, but sorry to hear that your husband is still using JW beliefs to influence the children. I cannot keep up with the names of psychologists around the country (or world, for that matter!) but would recommend you connect with the Ontario Psychological Association to help find one that suits you: https://www.psych.on.ca/Utilities/Find-a-psychologist.aspx Just know that they all are trained to deal with relationship problems, trauma, emotions, catch-22 situations, etc. no matter what the source or specific details. You could also bring along my book “Cracking the Cult Code for Therapists” to help them better understand how your husband is indoctrinated and trapped in that thinking and how you and your children are affected. Tell the therapist you are shopping around for one – and they will understand if you say you will get back to them (if you think they might not be right for you). Wish you all the best …

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  8. Hi Bonnie,
    First off, I want to thank you for your work. I was raised in the JWs as a child, and have only began to realize the impact that it had on me a few years ago, and I am on the road to healing. I think I only began to realize how much it all affected me because of the publicity that Leah Remini’s exit from Scientology. Over one summer, I read her book, Jenna Miscavige-Hill’s, Lawrence Wright’s Going Clear, Ron Miscavige’s book, and Jon Krakauer’s Under the Banner of Heaven, and while I had originally just been interested because of the publicity and “weird beliefs” I eventually realized that these groups were eerily similar to my experience in the JWs and was floored.

    I am currently in graduate school for my MLIS (Masters in Library & Information Science), and I am taking the opportunity to use my first research paper on information communities and their behavior to focus on former JWs, Mormons and Scientologists and their reddit communities. I was wondering if you were aware of any studies that are available on people who leave these groups in particular. I’ve found lots of theory on religion and apostasy, but not many studies. I would love to hear your input.

    Thanks in advance for your help, and again for all the work that you do. I watched one of your videos after hearing you mentioned on a podcast, and it was so reassuring to finally know that there were others…many others, unfortunately, with my same lived experience.

    -Leah

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    • Hi Leah, My area of expertise is recovery from the trauma from having been in a cult – not on the entire cult phenomenon per se. Up until recently most information gathered about cults was based on anecdotal reports. The International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) may be able to refer you to recent research about cults. Steven Hassan, while not providing research, does provide a model of typical cult controls called BITE – the “I” standing for “information control”. You can also read Lifton, Lalich, and Singer books. Wish you well on this research paper and your future endeavors.

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