I was associated with the Witnesses for about twenty-five years. I can remember bringing my children to the meetings and expecting them to behave. I tried to apply the WT Society's standards to my children. I was too rough on them because I thought that behaving at the meeting was pleasing to Jehovah. I wanted them to learn to be good little Witnesses. About four years ago I found out the truth about the WT. Imagine how devestated I felt raising my children in this religion. I was a staunch JW and I expected my children to behave accordingly.
This stringent upbringing affected my children greatly. My oldest suffered the most as the oldest ones of the family normally do. Even before I found out the truth about the WT I went through years of severe depression, guilt, regret, remorse, etc. What I didn't realize is that my attempts to be perfect and expecting my family to be perfect were killing me. Instead of leaving me feeling fulfilled, I felt overwhelmed, stressed out, empty and depressed. Add to the mix that we had always struggled financially and that just exacerbated all our problems.
I take full resposibility for my actions, but why did I make most of the decisions that I made? Because of the WT and their teaching. What was really killing me Gary and causing me great emotional turmoil was my twenty-five years of trying to please the WT. I was trying to please a group of men that spoke for me and robbed me of my right to make decisions for myself and my family. Everything in my life was micromanaged by the WT police. There was always the pressure to conform to a standard that none of us can ever live up to. Is it any wonder why so many Witnesses are suffering from mental illness?
If Jesus's yoke is to be kindly and his load light, then why do so many Witnesses feel the exact opposite? Because they are carrying a very heavy load that the elders and the Governing Body expect all JW adherents to carry. Here you are with your three young children and your wife coming faithfully to the meetings and trying your best to participate in the ministry on a regular basis. Instead of being praised for your efforts, you are brought before your fellow elders for what seems to be a judicial matter. You are lined up before them like you are on a firing squad or like they are preparing to relive the inquisition through you.
Let me tell you Gary, if I could go back in time to when I was a teenager and choose not to become involved with the Witnesses, that is what I would do. I can't tell you how much remorse, regret and depression I would have saved myself and my family. You have the opportunity to slip quietly away while protecting the mental health and stability of your children. Your kids are young, so they may likely not recall the few years that they attended meetings. Let them live a normal life. Let your wife live a normal life and don't let the anal retentive PO and elder body cause your wife to shed tears. Were the elders imitating Christ in their actions? All they did was add more woe and pressure to your already pressure filled and stressful life.
If we have a God given conscience Gary, then why do we let other persons choose for us what we will decide to do with our lives? We have the right to autonomy. We have the right to make independent decisions about our lives and families without being made to feel guilty by a multi-billion dollar corporation. If you don't want to go through the regret and emotional turmoil that I have gone through, then I would urge you to cut off the WT tentacles that are holding you down and live the life that you deserve to live and that God wants you to have.