Opinion by Beroeans Creed

We all know by now the acronym PIMO[i] for those of us who are awake to the Organization’s malfeasance and eisegetical method of scripture interpretation, yet remain in the congregation for generally one reason—the fear of loss. We cannot underestimate this fear of losing all contact with family and friends, due to the Organization’s extreme shunning policies, and suggest that this fear is not well founded and imbedded in the mind of every baptized Jehovah’s Witnesses.

That is exactly what the organization has counted on for control over the decades. We can be confidant that those who are awake (PIMO) and remain in the congregation are at the very least annoying to the Governing Body, and in their minds potentially the only real threat inside the congregation as a “wild card” they cannot predict or control.

The expression “out of the cell, but still in the prison”—and for some awaiting execution (disfellowshipping)—is apropos for PIMOs in this situation. We could make the assumption from the number of members on this site using aliases that they are probably PIMOs themselves (with exceptions, of course) and like many of us experience some of the same transitional stages no matter what was the trigger that began individual PIMO journeys.[ii]

Those who have exited the Organization either by fading or through disassociation/disfellowshipping have, for the most part, been neutralized, having little, if any, influence on active members in the congregation by being unable to expose the Organization’s dirty laundry.  Thus the evil genius behind the infamous extreme shunning policies where the excuse of “keeping the congregation clean” based on 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 is overextended[iii] to silence any member who even thinks of asking questions.  In the collective minds of the Governing Body, this is perceived as challenging to their self-appointed Guardians Of Doctrine[iv] status. 

PIMOs therefore are a real threat, especially those that are active inside the congregation who become incognito activists.

The Journey 

“It is necessary to the happiness of man that he be mentally faithful to himself, infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving, it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe.”

Thomas Paine

Those of us who now find ourselves here as PIMOs certainly relate to Paine’s words and wrestle with this daily as we come to appreciate even more 1 Thessalonians 5:21, 1 Corinthians 4:6, and Acts 17:11 when reading Watchtower literature or attending meetings.

Many have personally experienced, are currently experiencing, or at least can relate to the following sequence of events on the journey to PIMO. 

Initially cognitive dissonance kicks in.  The idea that “this can’t be true it’s from APOSTATES!”

Fear of being disloyal to the Governing Body first and then to Christ and Jehovah. (That’s a sad sequence of steps.)

Shock and surprise as you dig deeper at the solid documented evidence (UN NGO alliance, child abuse scandals, etc.)

High anxiety, depression, and even thoughts of suicide. Especially if we where devoted to the Governing Body as the Faithful and Discreet Slave; trusting them completely.

Paranoia about being exposed for even reading what is deemed as apostate material, becomes all-consuming.

Despair that you are all alone with not one friend or family member to confide in.

Constant mental anguish rules your every waking moment.  (Unless one has experienced this, it is difficult to describe or comprehend.)

Extreme anger at anything and anyone connected to the Organization.

Loss of faith.  Some even ditch God altogether from thoughts of how “could he have let me be so deceived?”

Searching the net and generally ending up on websites of other angry ex-witnesses that helps to feed their anger, and eventually realizing some have been posting their hate for over 20 years.  NO THANKS!

Spiritual limbo. The fear of loss is intensified; cognitive dissonance kicks back in to protect sanity.  The thought process goes like this: I can’t leave.  But if I stay, then what I’ve discovered remains like a splinter in my mind.  There’s no going back. You can’t unwring a bell.

The New reality. Silent compromises are made.  The mind begins compartmentalizing everything.  The PIMOs double life is now in motion.  You constantly perform mental gymnastics to justify why you should do this.

Finally, there are those of us who have accepted the PIMO condition for the present, as we refuse to pay the “pound of flesh” for leaving, demanded by the organization—or could there be an additional reason?

“What then?” you say.  Consider, if you will, that we could adopt a new acronym. Instead of PIMO, why not PISA: Physically In, Scripturally Awake.  Those who choose to be PISA are doing it so that they can to help family and loved ones to wake up; at least until the day they can no longer tolerate it or are exposed.

You might feel that is a tall order.  Well, the intension of the next article is to discuss that by developing the new PISA mindset.  We can look at techniques and methods to accomplish our spiritual activism while remaining undercover. (Matt. 10:16) This will at least be a venue for PISAs to offer the opinions and experiences as part of the growing great crowd of PISAs within the organization.[v]

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[i] Physically In, Mentally Out. Is should be noted that those who have successfully left the organization may view PIMOs in a negative way, reasoning that these remain in due to fear of man. They may denigrate them as supporting a cult, spreading lies, or via an assortment of other insults.
[ii] This can be difficult, if not impossible for most to accomplish. Resulting in many just tearing off the band aid, setting themselves free, whatever the cost and we should not judge them.
[iii] To clarify, even applying the JW shunning policy to the sins outlined in Corinthians is overextending the meaning of Paul’s words, and Jesus direction at Matthew 18:15-17.
[iv] Guardians of Doctrine is a term Geoffrey Jackson used during his testimony at the ARC hearings to describe the key role of the Governing Body.