Thesis Title

Can I Get a Witness?: Narratives of Disaffiliation as Narratives of Healing Written By Women Who Grew Up as Jehovah's Witnesses

Date of Graduation

Fall 2006

Degree

Master of Arts in Religious Studies

Department

Religious Studies

Committee Chair

John Schmalzbauer

Keywords

narratives of disaffiliation, cradle Jehovah's Witnesses, women in new religious movements

Subject Categories

Religion

Abstract

This thesis looks at the narratives of disaffiliation written by women who grew up as Jehovah’s Witnesses. I use the narratives written by these women to exemplify the holes in the sociological literature on apostate narratives. I use the theoretical framework of David G. Bromley as a representation of the hermeneutic of suspicion the sociological community directions at narratives of disaffiliation. The dominant sociological literature on narratives of disaffiliation overlooks the unique experiences of women who are of the second generation. The narratives used in this thesis were taken from ex-Jehovah’s Witness Websites. Thirty-one narratives were utilized in this study. All narratives were written by women who grew up as Jehovah’s Witnesses in the United States. I neutralize the lens of suspicion directed at narrative of disaffiliation by showing alternative motivations for writing such a narrative. These women are writing narratives of healing in an Internet community of sharing. I also show that the narratives are shaped by the culture of the Watchtower Society rather than anti-cult networks.

Copyright

© Mary Marguerite Langille-Hoppe

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