Welcome to the board!
A Brief History
Your story is very interesting. I am happy you are on the other side of the JW journey sounding very emotionally, mentally and spiritually healthy. And yes the jurney continues....
You've been through a great deal, that's obvious, but, in reality, the more you come here and read you'll find your journey isn't much different from thousands of others. At the time we think we're alone; that we're the only ones going through this and no one understands us. Wrong! There are many, many, many people here who can identify 100% with everything you have written - and more - and you will undoubtedly identify with them.
Very well put. After making the break, the sense of isolation can be overwhelming. You thought you knew what was right, what the future held, what your place in this universe was--now suddenly you had reason to doubt the very foundations of your worldview and everything else came tumbling down like a house of cards. I remember literally feeling sick to my stomach, as if the ground had been pulled out from under my feet. It took a couple of years to sort of get my bearings and figure out where I fit into the wider world. In the meantime, sites like this where you can hear from others who have gone through the same experiences are invaluable.
Again, thank you all for the welcome. Due to popular demand, the story continues...
So I found myself utterly alone in a strange city with limited resources, struggling to keep my sanity and without the social skills or mental stability to make any friends. I often thought about the fact that everyone in the family and in the congregation had looked up to me as an example of deep spirituality, and how I had failed them so miserably by not continuing to faithfully carry my burden of "Christian responsibility". I stopped praying because I felt God was so deeply ashamed of me for abandoning my post so deep into the time of the end that my approach to him would be blocked "as with a cloud mass" until I returned to the organization and asked the elders, then faithful men of God in my eyes, to intercede in my behalf, to beseech Jehovah to once again incline his ear to hear me despite my inadequacy. It was hell, rejected and alone in the dark, evil world surrounded by agents of the devil who could not be trusted. Somehow, I found within me the fortitude to secure a job and an apartment and immediately started visiting a local library. I would check out 10 books at a time and read them all in a week. I was especially interested in understanding the question of what was wrong with me, my brain must be broken I thought so psychology was a special draw at first and continued to be as the programming that streched into the deepest recesses of my mind would not even allow me to consciously, out loud, admit to the possibility that there was something wrong with the way I had been believing and living at the behest of the GB. But eventually I would begin to find the answers I sought, one piece at a time.
Amazing what love can do ... true unconditional love. I look forward to the next installment.
Riveting stuff. :)
Welcome! Great story,very interesting.I often wonder what it was that made elders,ms's and pioneers pack it in.I've been tempted to phone some df'd pioneers just to get their point of view but my wife would freak if I did that.Anyways,keep writing,I'm enjoying your story very much.As for the compliments you receive,accept them and just say Thank You.I learned that from The Psychology of Winning by Dennis Waitley,it was a great help for my mental well-being.
Okay I won't leave you hanging for too long, and since you don't seem to mind long posts...
After many months of establishing myself as a regular on that forum, I suppose that I became somewhat of a mystery to the other regulars, the only one who never disclosed any personal information. It was as if I was a man without a past, and the last thing I wanted to talk about was my past although I needed to more than anything...there was so much fear in me. But my saving grace was that I began to chat privately with a very special girl after being impressed with the feeling and expression behind some of the very candid poetry she had written. We began having lengthy, deeply meaningful exchanges. Late one night in a chat, I confessed to her my deepest darkest secret, that I had been...a Jehovah's Witness! My tears poured out because I was simultaneously confessing to myself what I had been and I thought surely no person in "the world" would befriend me if they knew who I had been and of my fight to stay sane. However, these were of course my own distorted perceptions and she happened to be a person of great compassion and sincerity.
Over time, our far-away friendship deepened and progressed to weekly then daily phonecalls, and eventually we came together in person as well. Since I had developed almost a split personality, for a long time she had to contend with my vascilating back and forth between my "Witness mind" and my new ideas about the world. Often she was not sure which one I really was! It was a great struggle to learn how to interact with another human being without controlling them through guilt or clever arguments, to learn to truly listen to and respect another's viewpoints and abandon the mentality of requiring others to conform to my views. Fortunately for me, I had found a true friend who showed me what it meant to believe in myself and how to become more concerned with others feelings than with whether or not I am "right". I had found a mirror that I could look into and make sense of myself, someone who allowed me to make sense experientially of the countless reams of data I kept taking in through my personal research. I was determined to understand life and I studied those books and websites just as intensely as I had the Bible! I have found the answers to my two most burning questions: What was wrong with me, and what is love.
Like all of you I haven't survived without scars, but with each passing day I feel more free and the once dark, evil world becomes more full of brightness, love and hope in my mind's eye. I feel a kind of calm and inner peace that I never knew was possible in this "old world". The war is over- the new system has come for me. This is my paradise, I do not fear death. I plan to continue learning and growing, and each day that I continue living will be a day that I feel a deep gratitude for my life and for my freedom.
A little love goes a long way.