Jehovah's Witnesses and Mental Illness.

'A Human Tragedy of Our Century', by Dr. Jerry Bergman.

Dr. Jerry Bergman, a psychologist and former Jehovah's Witness minister or 'overseer' was interviewed in Nov 2007. The interviewer, Leonard Chretien, who was also a former Jehovah's Witness elder, stated that one million people have left the Watchtower religion in the past ten years, adding that it is 'common knowledge'. That's about a third of their total current, and active membership of three million people. Dr Bergman did not agree or disagree with those numbers. Watch the Video

The literature published by the Watchtower Society talks about happy families and clean living so you would assume that Jehovah's Witnesses are well adjusted happy people for the most part. However Dr Jerry Bergman says the incidence of mental illness is much greater among Witnesses than people who belong to other religions. In fact he refers to Jehovah's Witnesses as a 'human tragedy of our 21st century'.

Dr Bergman was a former Jehovah's Witness minister or 'overseer' within his congregation. At the same time as a Doctor, he treated troubled Witnesses for emotional problems. This puts Dr Bergman in a unique position to explain the subtle dynamics within the religion from a clinical and human perspective. His experience within the religion combined with his professional experience as a Psychologist will give you a rare glimpse into reasons why so many have abandoned their faith in the Watchtower Society in spite of severe consequences.

Since Jehovah's Witnesses are discouraged from going to College or University, it is unusual to find a former Jehovah's Witness who is also a licensed Psychologist. Not only that but Dr Bergman also worked in the capacity of a minister within his congregation. Witnesses came to him with spiritual questions and for emotional healing. Dr Bergman explains what it's really like to be a Jehovah's Witness and gives you a rare glimpse into a secret society.

What Happens To Jehovah's Witnesses Who Leave?

Leaving the faith is a devastating experience for Jehovah's Witnesses, - much more so than with other religions. On top of that Jehovah's Witness families are not allowed to talk with disfellowshipped (or excommunicated) relatives. Disfellowshipped relatives are treated as if they are 'literally dead'. Can you imagine how you would feel if your mother, father, sisters, brothers, and all your friends died all at the same time? That's only a small part of the emotional trauma a Jehovah's Witness experiences when they cross the line and leave their religion.

The extreme penalty that the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania imposes upon Witnesses who disagree with their teachings or leave the organization has caused some people to commit suicide. Others have been emotionally wounded for years, even decades as they try to integrate back into society, while at the same time holding on to some of the beliefs that Jehovah's Witnesses have.


The unhappiness is not only experienced by people who leave the Watchtower Society, but also by the people who stay! Dr Bergman says that the Watchtower has tremendous 'holding power'. Witnesses who have questions about the Bible that can't be answered in the Watchtower publications are told to stop asking the questions. If they continue to question or look for answers elsewhere, they are disfellowshipped for being an 'apostate' or 'going ahead of Jehovah's organization'. Many are not willing to lose their marriage, their children, their parents, brothers and sisters, and friends, so they stop asking questions.

Why Jehovah's Witnesses Don't Leave.

Dr Bergman explains that another reason why so many people stay so long is that their is so much 'good' in what the Watchtower teaches. 'The emphasis is on clean living and importance of families, ... so there are a lot of positive things that the Watchtower emphasizes'. Dr Bergman says 'if it was all negative it wouldn't attract anyone'.

Bergman says that 'the reason the Watchtower has grown so much is because there is a lot of positive there. It's like the honey with the poison in it. People generally don't eat poison by itself. You've got to put poison in something good. ... so cleaning out this stuff is not easy. It is very difficult. It's hard to separate the arsenic from the honey and that's why people stay so long. People stay years after they see clearly that there are things wrong, ...' Bergman says that outsiders only see the bad. They don't see the 'tremendous holding power that the Watchtower Society has upon us'.

How Can We Help Jehovah's Witnesses?

The following video will give current Jehovah's Witnesses, and non Witnesses a clear understanding of the faith from sincere and loving perspective.

The video is a must see for everyone. It ends with a plea to help disfellowshipped Jehovah's Witnesses with love and compassion so they can adjust back into society.

Churches like this one need our help. Pray for God to reveal his divine love to all religious leaders and affect change. Pray for all religions to be united in God's love. World peace cannot happen as long as people fight over who has the best religion. Instead of being angels of doom, fear, and destruction, pray that all religions learn about peace, love, morality, and justice. Love is the path to God.

You will be shocked and moved by the contents of the following video.

A Rare Glimpse Into The World Of Jehovah's Witnesses by Dr. Bergman.

Licensed Psychologist, College Professor, and Former Jehovah's Witness, Dr. Jerry Bergman Ph.D., Talks About Mental Illness Within The Organization.

(recorded November 21, 2007)

  1. Reasons Why Jehovah's Witnesses Are Happy
  2. Reasons Why Jehovah's Witnesses Are Not Happy
  3. 141 Things Jehovah's Witnesses Can't Do