The purpose of this paper is to vary the essentially negative image of Jehovah’s Witnesses that is presented both in research and in the media. Therefore, this paper seeks to investigate whether the community within the Jehovah’s Witnesses contribute to the members feeling tran- quil, secure and having a meaningful life. This by providing the members with fixed boundaries consisting of values and principles to live by. The approach in this paper is inspired by phenomenology and hermeneutics. The phenomenology has significance in the methodological approach as the purpose is to seek to understand the phenomenon Jehovah’s Witnesses as it appears to the subjects. The phenomenon and the way it appears is understood as real, and therefore there isn’t a search for something underlying, but instead an examination of why the phenomenon appears as it does to the subjects. The hermeneutics is expressed throughout the whole process. It is a part of the interviews as we try to ask the witnesses about the meaning and intention in their actions, and also in the later interpretation of this.
To examine this further we apply theory by Lawrence Lilliston and Gary Shepherd that estab- lish elements which are seen as either positive or negative to members of religious movements. This is supplemented by professor in psychology Preben Bertelsen’s theory about the human as a social existence. Bertelsen’s theory is used in the analysis to explore what it means to the witnesses to be a part of this group. With a detailed examination of four interviews with five active members of Jehovah’s Witnesses the paper shows how they find meaning, tranquillity and security in being members of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The religion provides the witnesses with clear boundaries and expectations, a long-term perspective and strong social support. The clear boundaries and expectations also make the witnesses feel secure in each other’s company. At the same time this can also lead to exclusion if the members don’t live up to the group’s expectations, and therefore it can be seen as a negative element. It is therefore not possible to say anything unambiguously about whether the group contributes with positive or negative elements to its members. It depends on a complex relationship between the religious system within the religion, the expectations to the members, and the members mental condition.
|Uddannelser||Psykologi, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Bachelor|
|Udgivelsesdato||16 dec. 2019|
- Preben Bertelsen
- Lawrence Lillison & Gary Shepherd