What practical problems arise from leaving Jehovah's Witnesses? This question was inspired by a poster whose JW friend refused to be a reference for an apartment. I wonder if most JW's know deep down that they need to maintain some ties with non-JW's in case they find themselves either deciding to leave or ostracized for some reason.
Practical Problems Arising From Leaving Jehovah's Witnesses - not on jw.org
The key is to prepare before exiting. Make some worldly friends. Establish some contacts to help you get a job. At the very least, register with a temp agency, as temporary jobs often can lead to full-time employment.
If there are unbelieving relatives or friends from high school who will take you in until you get established, ask them for help. They may be delighted to help you exit the cult. It helped me to move to the other end of the country, where I had a cousin, and where jobs were plentiful at that time.
Best wishes to your friend. and to all struggling with becoming free,
The biggest problem has to be having to leave Bethel. Especially if you never developed any job skills, no money or health insurance.
Then there are the ex JW's who worked for another JW, so you get to lose your friends, job, maybe close family.
And some people wonder why some ex's don't DA themselves right away.
Maybe a non believer needs a year or two to get everything in place before they fade away.
"I wonder if most JW's know deep down that they need to maintain some ties with non-JW's in case they find themselves either deciding to leave or ostracized for some reason."
I think that's true of many dubs. While still a dub, I married a non-dub, despite the many warnings and threats from the elders. Subconsciously, I think I knew marrying a dub was to invite a world of trouble. It also helped that I loved my husband! After 41 years of marriage, I still do.
Rules for the Practical Side of Leaving the Dubs:
1. If any of your dub family wish to stay in touch with you, great. Discard all other dubs. They're dead weight.
2. Immediately get some education, whether academic or trade, to be able to make a decent living.
3. Read about the WTS cult and cults in general. This will remove any lingering doubts and will help you rescue any salvageable family.
4. You will have nightmares about being back in the cult. These are normal; they will fade.
5. Cultivate friendships among the "worldly." Join a club, develop a hobby, volunteer at the SPCA.
6. If you develop any doubts or fears about your decision, come to this site. We will help.
One of the most important life lessons is that real happiness comes from a combination of having a strong family, and giving service to something greater than yourself. this can actually give you true sustainable happiness.
everything else is really just fads. even sex in a way, if you have been sexually frustrated in the jw org and go out and start going sex crazy, even that wears off. what happens is it becomes more of a necessity , becomes an addiction if you lean on it too hard, and it will not give you happiness over time. anything that is not in the first sentence is just a vice that brings a temporary rush. it would be similar to buying a new ferrari; right away yea you will be really hyped, but over time, it isn't nearly the kick that it once was. and then what, as the years go by it just becomes less and less valuable.....pretty much anything that is outside that first sentence is going to fall all in this same category of being a quick rush that really won't do much for you overall.
happiness is a fundamental practical matter, shouldn't even really call it happiness, more like relative contentment. if you don't feel that you have some connection with a relative contentment and you leave the organization, it may be ugly. i know that if i didn't have what i have going on, and i just had some very minor responsibilities and not much else, (as well as the family and friends that have been telling me to get out of there for years) ,i would just dwell on all the negativity that the WT put into my life, and probably jump off a building. not trying to make a joke out of it at all. because from their perspective, you are now to be shunned and all that, so if you don't have something significant to step into , then you got a bunch of people thinking they are benefiting you by trying to make you feel like the biggest dick on earth....just could see how ugly that would get.
As the Saying goes, don't put all your eggs in one basket. If your friends, family and source of income is all tied to the religion, it will be much more difficult to leave. Even if you are not yet ready to leave, start looking at broadening out in your relationships. It will seem strange at first, especially if you have never done this, but take baby steps at first.
Don't feel you have to explain anything to anyone, you are an adult, and answer to no one. The dubbies are good at butting into each other's lives, don't let them. Practice making people respect your boundaries. When some dubs came to my door and I told them I was a former Witness, they asked me what congregation I was from, as if they were entitled to that personal information. While I never should have told them anything, it really is none of their business. When I first left, I probably would have told them, I hadn't yet learned to put up those barriers. The less information given, the better.
The points raised in the OP highlight one of the main reasons the GB wants their followers to not form friendships with non-JWs: It keeps them dependent.
If and when you leave, you'll be all alone. Many can't make it so they return like an abused spouse.
I knew this guy who left in the early 80's because he didn't accept the 607 chronology ,he didn't try to cause a problem ,he went about his business quietly .Problem was that his employer was JW and his wife was a JW too. Man ,did they percecute him like a dog? Name calling ,emotional blackmailing ,finally one extra active CO got his employer to sack him because his was an apostate .This place wasn't easy to find another job .I still remember him .All that time I thought he was a nasty apostate .These bastards I'll never forget for telling us lies ...
When I suggested to my JW acquaintance that something might be wrong with disfellowshipping b/c the disfellowshipped person loses his/her social structure, her exact words to me were, "They can find other people. They knew the deal before they got baptized." What do you think of her comment? Is she being fair or perhaps overly callous?
Return of Parakeet provided very sound advice. And 00Dad right on with your analysis as to the reason why.
Adding to RofP, it is extremely difficult for young adults to break free and start their life from scratch when they loose their entire support network, financially, physically and emotionally.
My kids friends, some whom are on the fence JWs are in that very predicament. They are confused, afraid the loose their family/friends and paralyzed with fear as how to enter the world, where or how to begin. They have been kept in a bubble their entire life as parents coddled and helicoptered over them fearing the end was coming before they would enter high school - and quite a few are home schooled. The few I have met are drifting aimlessly without emotional support from their own parents other than bribes to stay in, bribes of money, possessions, love etc, thereby hindering the growth of them into mature individuals who are self sufficient.
My heart goes out to these kids and I found that I have become a surrogate mother helping them with decision making when entering college, encouraging them when they need support, giving accolades when they do well and listening when they are feeling down. I want to see each and every young adult succeed. I was robbed of my youth and pursuing a higher education - the least I can do is help them!!
Many can't make it so they return like an abused spouse. ______00DAD
To shun is a barbaric way to control resources of those in need
Even in a divorce, a spouse has to pay support to the children
and sometimes transitional support
The absent parent is free to choose to shun the spouse and kids
their is no law that forces them to visit to my knowledge
but they are not free to shun life sustainin' support
JW business owners with close links to the organization but who have doubts about the organization have to carefully weigh up the pros and cons of leaving because it could have serious consequences for their business or employment and could even risk their livelihood.
A JW acquaintance of mine had a carpet cleaning business with quite a few JWs and JW-friendly customers. When his meeting attendance declined over a matter of months he was left in no doubt that he risked losing JW customers. He decided to become more regular in his meeting attendance and put in the occasional field service to reduce his anxiety over losing business. These gestures certainly helped allay his anxiety. Ulitimately though both he and his wife realized they were living a lie for the sake of the business and he purposely developed a customer base outside of his JW circles and he eventually left the organization.
There was a Robert Bryant and family in California that was df'd and lost all his customers. He and family moved to McMinnville and things seemed to be okay but then he killed his family and himself. There could have been other factors in play, but start picking up non-jw customers that won't drop you if you are inactive or df'd by jws.
When I had my own business, I made it a point not to work for other jws. It prevented misunderstandings and b eing stiffed by a jw customer.
To shun is to judge. Period. These fanatics don't even realize they are going against scripture in "judging" others.
What's worse, they don't judge for themselves, but according to the decision of a commitee that has judged for them.
They don't even have the curiosity to question the commitee! Absurd and wicked.
// When I had my own business, I made it a point not to work for other jws. It prevented misunderstandings and b eing stiffed by a jw customer.//
Smart move Blondie! I agree — NEVER do business with a JW. THey COUNT on the fact that you will never sue them.
Make sure you have a job not tied to JW - this is number 1!
I would recommend getting a job in a big company, or university, anywhere where there is a big group of people your own age (whatever that is ). Having a social network is so important. A lot of JW find socializing awkward, particularly out in the world. Work socializing makes it easier, because you already have something in common to talk about. A lot of big companies run sport teams, volunteer at charities etc, do it all.
Sport/ gyms give you another layer of social activity.
I think a practical problem can be the combination of extra free time & loss of all your old friends & activities. Tire yourself out, walk to work & home, get a second job on the weekends, to much spare time to think can be so hard....and can lead to self medicating with drugs and alcohol - not a good idea.
Also, if you grew up JW there are lots of things you just don't know, like politics, history, current affairs etc, start learning on the Internet, everything can be googled. If you don't know something and get caught out, just laugh, no one is judging you like they do in the org.
JW paint the world as a grim depraved place...it isn't so! It's full of amazing people and experiences!