SURF

Deisy Garcia

Leaving the Faith: The Relationship Between Social Media and the Withdrawal of Jehovahs Witnesses

Jehovahs Witnesses, a small Christian religion, are discouraged from conducting outside research on their religious organization. JW.ORG, their online website, is their recommended source of information. Today, social media platforms are ubiquitous, and Jehovahs Witnesses are constantly exposed to apostate websites; Youtube, Reddit, and Facebook discuss the religious organization from a different perspective which may challenge a members beliefs. Thousands of Jehovahs Witness members exit the religious organization each year, losing their social ties during the process. Taken together, this raises the question: What role does exposure to social media platforms play in the withdrawal of Jehovahs Witnesses, and how does engagement in social media platforms offer a community that would otherwise be lost? I hypothesize social media platforms contribute to the withdrawal of Jehovahs Witnesses and simultaneously offer Ex-Jehovahs Witness members along with current members who are questioning their faith, a community of support, and acceptance. Because this population and question are understudied, answering this question will offer a view into religious structures of control/surveillance, deviance, family, and virtual communities.

Message to Sponsor

I had never considered graduate school until I became a SURF fellow. As a first-generation student, research seemed very intimidating to me. Participating in the SURF program gave me the confidence and skills I need to apply to grad school and conduct research. Thank you so much to the anonymous donor who made this possible.
  • Major: Sociology
  • Sponsor: Anonymous Donor
  • Mentor: Joanna Reed