We need help

by _Atlas 25 Replies latest jw friends

  • _Atlas

    I don’t post too often but I’m always lurking from my workplace. But now I feel the need to ask for any advise from you guys.

    A while back, when I decided I had enough of the WT internal politics and the ‘wait on Jah’ attitude, I faded away from the Hall and basically disappeared into the night. I had a close group of friends that where almost happy to turn their backs on me when one by one they noticed my lack of ‘spirituality’. All but one.

    This friend kept calling me, harassing me and encouraging me to come back to Jah, against the advice of all others. While others were ‘happy’ to see me every time I somehow stumbled upon them in the market or at the mall, this girl went the extra mile to truly help my wicked self.

    One day I decided to drop the bomb on her and basically told her how I truly felt about it all. I can still hear that ‘Oh my god!’ reverberating on the speakerphone at my desk. To my surprise, although she was scared to the bone at the beginning, she kept hearing all the WT facts I had to share and never rejected me and stood her ground against my points of view with a respect atypical of JWs.

    To make this story short, she is mentally out of the org. and now has jumped the fence all JWs fear the most. She only remains inside looking for an opportunity to breakout of the org without hurting her relatives too much. Now, when I hear her speak of the WT, even I get the goosebumps. It is like night and day. She went thru Franz’s CoC in a flash, even calling me at work with outbursts of pure rage after reading of Malawi and Mexico, etc. etc. She has grown not only intellectually and emotionally but IMHO even professionally.

    I felt like a proud father. She is free to decide.

    But death was a subject she will most happily avoid. She never could get a grasp on the repercussions of a purely materialistic approach to existence.

    Well, fast forward to today. My friend, who remains inside because of her immediate family, is losing that special someone she loves the most. As days pass by and the news get grimmer and grimmer I am feeling less and less proud of myself.

    Back in the day she might have that transparent look, that blank stare that too much WT/Religion Koolaid in the bloodstream will cause. I can almost hear her say: ‘Oh well, inherited sin…"

    Not anymore. I killed this girl’s faith. I personally smashed it. Shredded it to tiny pieces and burned them. She is a now wreck.

    As she is on the phone and breaksdown as the bad news that pour down from almost all directions, she backs me into a corner I never figured to be at.

    In this situation, What do you say to someone you had personally made aware that there might not be an afterlife after all? What words will soothe a full frontal confrontation with mortality? I even tried to pull that ‘Well, you never know’ card. A rather sad attempt for succor.

    When the cute elders go to reassure her family with the joyful and great resurrection hope, it has the complete opposite effect on her. She sinks deeper and deeper into the abyss of facing death. I am not an emotional person, but to hear her speak when she describes the conversations, makes me tremble of pure guilt. When she points out the ‘love’ the brothers are ‘showing’ and the disappearing act of family friends I know she will see this from a completely different perspective if it wasn’t for me.

    To say I am second guessing myself will be a gross understatement.

    Was all this worth it? What did I left her with, besides regrets for a life ‘wasted’ pursuing a dream? What besides a hole in her roof that will just let the storm in every time it pours?

    Although I made her strong in many respects in her life, I now feel I left her susceptible to the big equalizer itself.

    A thread a while ago addressed the benefits of religion in dealing with these situations.

    My friend is a fellow member and she will be referred to this thread to read your words. I spent all my ‘wisdom’ already.

    Please help me find the words she needs to hear on these difficult times.

  • FMZ

    Atlas... Quite a predicament, I will say, but you must remember you did no wrong. You opened this girl's eyes, and, although ignorance is bliss, you and her both know that actual truth is better in the long run. You simply told her the truth, it was the WTBTS that lied.

    As far as where to go from here mate, that is totally dependent on her. She seems like a very "feeling" individual, and it seems that she intuited the truth in the words you spoke when you told her of the problems you have with the organization. The passing of her loved one will surely hurt her, as it does regardless of the belief system. The pain she experiences it NOT your fault.

    As I sit here, I am getting a sense that she'll be OK. Not just in a "Ohh, she'll work her way through it" kind of way... but... she'll feel something, and she'll know it's OK. Hard to explain, wish I could do a better job.

    What is left for you to do? Be there for her. Don't feel guilty, don't blame yourself, just be there for her. It's all you can do. It's all anyone can do for a friend in pain.


  • candidlynuts

    aww hugs to your friend. how sad and stressful to deal with the loss of a loved one.

    i'll tell you what i tell myself..

    I believe in God, i believe we just dont know what happens after death .No one other than Jesus has came back to tell us about it. and he didnt tell us much and what he DID say is second hand told thru the eyes of others, and manipulated by 1000's of religions over 1000's of years, to fit their own agendas.

    I believe if there were only ONE path to god (ie: one belief, one religion etc) it would be a lot clearer what that path is.

    I believe that when someone i love dies, their memory , their love, lives on in my heart and mind. and i carry a bit of everyone that i've loved that has died.

    Will i ever see them again? I dont know.

    is she wanting assurance that she will see her loved one again?

    is she afraid that she is too much of a sinner to qualify for Gods approval?

    I believe that since i was raised a JW i do not have the coping skills to deal with grief. and i've had to get help with that..she may need help to.

  • nsrn

    I agree--just be there as a friend and a listening ear. I can imagine how infuriating it is to hear the resurrection prattle. But it's not the time to debate the theology of afterlife...Please try to focus on supporting her feelings of grief--the anger, denial, etc. Witnesses are not good at allowing people to grieve. They think the resurrection 'hope' should suffice. You've given her the gift of realistic thought.

  • Synergy

    Please don't beat yourself up too much. Everyone needs freed from the Watchtower. However, no one needs a life without God. I gave up on the cult and became a true Christian who has a real relationship with Him and I rest assured that when I die, I'll go home to Jesus. It is a beautiful hope. More of a hope to go to heaven immedately than be rotting in a grave waiting on God's memory to create a new body where I can pet lions, eat grapes and plant flowers for eternity and wear long dresses carrying baskets of fruit on my head.

    I can only say pray for God to reveal himself to you in the way He wants you to see him and that He would comfort you in your hour of darkness. God shows himself to those who want to find him. I'm angry at the cult for wasting my life and lying to me but I don't blame God or loose faith in him. I'm a much stronger advocate of him now than I was when a JW. I will pray for you to draw comfort from God and that you truely find him.


  • parakeet

    In spite of the constant trumpeting of their "resurrection hope," the JWs I knew didn't bear up better than anyone else when a loved one was sick or dying. In some cases, I believe they had a tougher time because they were expected to demonstrate their hope to the world by keeping up a "brave" front. Being a JW does not inoculate one against life's traumas.
    From your description, it sounds like your friend is suffering as much from the JWs' empty comforts as from her personal tragedy. Although you feel responsible for some of her pain, I believe it's just unfortunate timing that her understanding about the JWs was not followed quickly enough by her leaving the org. She's caught in the middle at a very painful point, but I don't believe that's your fault. And I'll bet she doesn't believe it's your fault, either.
    The only bit of advice I can offer your friend is to do whatever she feels necessary to get her through this trial. As for the comfort of belief in an afterlife, I've never seen anyone, even JWs, eager to die to get to that afterlife. Even for believers, death is still an open question. None of us really knows for certain. Personally, I find comfort in that uncertainty. After the suffocating confines of JW certainty, a little uncertainty can be reassuring.

  • Confession

    To Atlas and friend...

    The WTS is not what we thought it was. For those of us who truly believed in it, this strikes us with varying degrees of shock. First, as FMZ brought out, you've done nothing wrong, Atlas. You told the truth. And you did it--I would imagine--for all of the reasons I would have: because you wanted your friend not to be deceived any longer.

    As I was coming out, a friend who'd been away for some time posed a question to me: If you had terminal cancer, would you want to know--or not?

    I know some (including my daughter in the beginning) who really would rather not know. Not me. I've got to know the truth. The real truth.

    The consolation I can give you? After nearly two years I feel the following...


    -I am living my life authentically now--nothing artificial.

    -I have more confidence in myself than I ever had as a Witness.

    -I have friendships with people not based upon their relationship with a religious authority structure.

    -I make decisions based upon what I believe--not based upon what a religious publishing company tells me I should do.

    The fact that your friend is troubled is normal. However it was not caused by you, but rather by this organization who deceived her for so long. What is worse? The legalistic, authoritarian religion, manipulating lives and hiding the truth? Or the person who simply tells the truth about them?

    To Atlas' friend: My heart goes out to you, dear. I was positively crestfallen when I discovered what I did. I'd been an elder and am in a family that has been in the organization for four generations and more than sixty years. I am the only one in my family to wake up so far.

    But, as you probably now realize, your faith was not really in Jehovah or Jesus, but in a religious publishing company. As you heal, you have many paths down which you may choose to go. You may continue to find strength in Jesus Christ or the Bible. You may not. But whatever you decide, it will make sense to you.

    If this is particularly hard on you, I would highly suggest seeking the help of a therapist. Any of us would benefit from such help. It would also not be a bad idea to connect with others who have gone through what you're going through now. There are lots of us who are full of compassion for what you're experiencing--and understand. If speaking to us helps, don't hesitate.



  • SixofNine

    Not to be flippant, but it's sad when someone you love dies. Hell, I cry reading stories about strangers in the paper.

    Your friend will be just fine, after much pain, sadness, and mourning. Hollow promises didn't really comfort anyone anyway. Ever notice a witness funeral? What are the people doing at witness funerals? That's right, they're crying their eyes out. Remarkably similar in that respect (and only in that respect) to "worldly" funerals. Who would have guessed?

    At least now you know that all humans have the same eventuality, kinda like the only intelligent bible writer (the Ecclesiast) tried to tell us. There is something very comforting in that.

  • bebu

    Hi Atlas,

    Ray Franz also wrote a book called, "In Search of Christian Freedom" which I hope your friend may have read. I think it helps people evaluate what the next steps can be. A great many here recommend it.

    It was just the other day I posted a comment somewhere here about how losing a close relative (my mom) cemented in me a certainty of the significance of life. Life often all looks so white/black, and the black often looks to be the ultimate winner. But there is something deep within me that simply rejects the appearance of insignficance. If your friend is wrestling with that aspect, I hope she can see that not everything that is Real is material. There is more to Life than meets the eye.


  • PopeOfEruke

    Faith based on a pack of lies is useless anyway.

    Dylan says it right "You say you lost your faith but that's not where it's at, You had no faith to lose and you know it".

    You done right bro. Just comfort your friend and do the best you can.


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